A Tour of Rome by Ellis Drake, author of The Fornarina Affair
Hey, Ana here! A few months ago my thesis advisor called offering me the opportunity to travel to Rome FOR FREE, stay in a billionaire's mansion, and spend the entire day up to my armpits in art. Did I say yes? What do you think?*
During my stay in Rome, I visited some fabulous and romantic places. Want to travel along through the magic of the interwebs? Here are the top five highlights!
Trastevere--Just southwest of the conservative area around the Vatican, Trastevere is a charming neighborhood that dates to the 6th century BC. What makes it charming? It's full of tiny alleys, quaint bars, restaurants, and shops, and a cathedral with an awesome mosaic that dates to the 13th century. You can also visit--and eat in--La Fornarina restaurant, which is in the very building that Raphael first saw his true love, Margerita Luti.
Borghese Gallery--This is one of the greatest museums in Rome! It has tons of paintings by Caravaggio, sculptures by Bernini, that sculpture of Pauline Bonaparte (by Canova--my favorite sculptor, FYI), and a copy of Raphael's La Fornarina by his best student, Guido Reni. All in a historic house surrounded by one of the most famous parks in Rome. The zoo nearby also has weirdly interactive animals, and is very cool to visit.
Spanish Steps--There's always something going on at the Spanish Steps: street art, food sellers, hawkers and tourists, it's the place people go to see and be seen. It's also surrounded by the poshest shops in Rome and historic homes like the Keats-Shelley House. The Spanish Steps have a long and romantic history, which is probably why this is where Gregory Peck accidentally-on-purpose met Audrey Hepburn in the movie Roman Holiday.
"The Typewriter"--The National Monument to Victor Emmanuel II, or Il Vittoriano, was built to commemorate the first king of united Italy and contains Italy's Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and its own museum. The Romans call it the Typewriter or Wedding Cake because that's kind of what it looks like from the ground. They're not too fond of it since its construction destroyed part of Capitoline Hill and a medieval neighborhood, and it's kind of pompous; but you can get great views of Rome from the top.
Vatican "Secret" Archives--Okay, you can't actually visit this as a tourist. You need to be a scholar and request materials and then be approved and it's a whole drawn out deal. But wouldn't it be cool to go? I never imagined when I was geeking out over this while reading Angels & Demons that some day I would be there, but thanks to my professor's invitation I got a chance! Also, the men in the Swiss Guard are weirdly hot.
Of course, there are TONS of more sites to visit while you're in Rome; that's why they say everyone returns to the Eternal City, because there's always more to see. What are some of your favorite sites or the places you're most excited to see?
*Bonus: The billionaire's son was super cute, and so was his chauffeur.
The Fornarina Affair
A recent art history graduate, Ana Moreno is thrilled when one of her former professors invites her to Rome to research a newly discovered painting by Raphael. But how does making an appointment to see a piece of art lead to murder? That's what Ana wonders when she discovers the dead body of a curator in the famous Borghese Gallery.
Between glittering balls, sunny Rome, the archives of the Vatican, and romantic Florence, Ana not only has to solve the mystery of Raphael's greatest love affair, but also a murder--or she may never make it out of Rome alive.
Buy links: Amazon
Where to find Ellis:
There is a giveaway for each tour stop. Winner has the choice of the following ebook:
Tweet The Police, Aspen House, Hanged To Death or The Fornarina Affair
(Giveaway ends 3/15/13 12PM EST. Please leave email with comment of choice of book to enter giveaway)
Tweet The Police blurb:
Rick thought being a sheriff's deputy in the small New Mexico town of Ultima would be a quiet job--but that was before he met Mrs. Pendergast, the local busybody who fancies herself an amateur sleuth.
When Mrs. P sees a tweet asking for help on her new smartphone, she's determined to find out if the "tweep" is okay; and it's all Rick and her granddaughter, Sylvie, can do to keep up with her.
Aspen House Blurb:
Immediately after graduating from college, Miranda Morton suffered a severe illness. Now she has 100 dollars in her bank account and is on the verge of homelessness. That’s why she accepts a job she’s totally not qualified for: personal chef to rock god Michael de Bracy at a remote mountain retreat. Although Miranda expects to face challenges in cooking for de Bracy and his five friends, her real problems turn out to be much more serious: three people are viciously murdered with an ax during a freak snowstorm, and no one sees or hears a thing.
Now Miranda finds herself stranded in the mountains with a killer. Even worse, she thinks the killer might be the man she’s fallen head over heels for, Michael de Bracy. Can Miranda protect herself and her heart until the police arrive
Hanged To Death:
College intern Rachel finds out just how much of killer art and museum politics can be while setting up her first art exhibit.
Find out more information by clicking on the pic below: