“The Monument, the Church and the Piazza” by Arthur Cola
When you’re writing a book which has its climatic scenes set in Rome the challenge is choosing places from a veritable plethora of fantastic sites in the Eternal City to include in your story. Naturally such a choice of place or artifact must add a special insight or pizzazz to the plot. Thus it has to have an interesting historical, artistic or emotional aura or background to its own story of why it survived over the centuries adding to the grandeur of Rome.
And so was my quandary as I wrote my new book, THE BROOCH.
Now it helped that I was a history teacher for many years prior to picking up the pen some six years ago to begin writing the first of my four novels. It helped that I studied in Rome and even took a group of students on a tour of Italy not long before I began my writing career. Even so, once there all bets are off as to trying to take in all that Rome has to offer. One is overwhelmed with one brilliant work of art after another nestled in magnificent Churches or outdoor niches located down a narrow medieval street still preserved. For instance, you are walking down a seemingly ordinary street lined with 500 year old buildings of no particular brilliance other that they had survived centuries of invasion, vandalism and modern day development. Suddenly you come upon what is truly Rome’s most famous fountain, The Trevi.
Later I would feel obligated to at least mention the impressive gleaming fountain in two of my books. But is has been used so many times in film making and in print that it could not, at least in my mind, be used as an intricate part of the plot in my story. No, that would be reserved for the Capitoline Hill. “Good grief,” you’re saying. “That’s probably the most famous of the seven hills of Rome.” And right you would be. However, there are three sites on that hill which are outstanding examples of faith, history and art. And those three sites were just too fantastic to the eye, to story telling, and to developing a mystery on which legends are based.
In the accompanying photo those three symbols of what I was trying to add to the plot of my story stand as shining examples of a writer’s dream. It this case, they would fulfill my vision for a story which would have its climatic sequences set on those sites. From left to right these symbols of history, faith and art are: Vittorio Emanuelle II Monument, Santa Maria Ara Coeli Church, and the Piazza Campidoglio.
How these sites came to be used in my story will be brought to light in subsequent articles.