My newest novel, In The Shadow of The Apennines, is set in modern days – in the Abruzzo mountain town of Marsicano, and in the nearby town of Pescina at the eve of WWI.
While Pescina is very real, Marsicano is an invented Italian mountain town. However, it bears a striking resemblance to the real village of Ovindoli, but my story needed a quieter setting, and a bustling ski resort in winter just wouldn’t work. Nevertheless, those who know Ovindoli will recognize a lot of similarities, so it’s not surprising I took my novel to visit many of its locations.
Here I am with my novel at the high point in town. These are also the remains of the castle, since the town’s center was enclosed within those fortress walls.
It was a clear day when I was visiting, so you can see the view behind me and down to the Fucino. This was a well-known lake, even documented in Ancient Roman times, that was drained at the end of the 19th century. It is noticeable today as a flat plain when seen from on high.
Here you can see my novel in front of Ovindoli’s soldier statue, which plays a role in my novel.
I also “stole” some of the old-fashioned names, like Serafino and Sabadino, from the names of local soldiers who died during the First World War.
Here in the distance you can clearly see the Gran Sasso, the Apennines highest peak. My character, Samantha, often admires views of this famous summit.
Here are the mountains surrounding Ovindoli/Marsicano, where Samantha often goes to hike.
These two photos show the historic center of Ovindoli/Marsicano. Samantha (and Elena) actualy live at then edhe of town, with views over the old borgo (the medieval town attached to the castle).
Samantha and Elena both walked these streets – before the locals decided to shun them.
The next two photos are taken from the ring path, where Samantha often goes hiking, jogging or mountain biking.
This ring trail is also where many of then mountain trails, and the Celano Canyon trail begin.
Haha. Here’s my book taking a little breather on this spanking new bench.
When my kids were small and in the baby backpacks or the baby seat behind my bike, I would have killed for these great benches to rest and gain back my strength. : )
At the edge of the Arano Trail loop, with great views over the surrounding mountains.
Same view, but with delicious pizza rossa.
Not surprisingly, Samantha often buys this fresh from the bakery to enjoy on her hike. Here I am as I suffer and do the same. Research, people! Terribly difficult research…: )
Below you see that the research suffering continues – this time over fresh gnocchi and local Montepulciano d’Abruzzo wine. Suffering for my art, dear readers, so that you can envision some of the locations and dishes in my book.
Okay, so this great weekend with perfect weather wasn’t exactly roughing it … but still fun to bring my novel “home”.