I just returned from a fabulous trip to Italy, including my first ever visit to Rome. Don’t worry, this isn’t a travel log. I mention it here because for the first time in my life, I correlated my vacation reading to my destination. Wow! It added a whole new dimension to my visit. If you have never done this, I highly recommend it.
Here are the books that added so much to my trip. They are all worth reading, even in your arm chair at home. First, I read Four Seasons in Rome by Anthony Doerr. Doerr spent a year in Rome with his wife and infant twins while he was a fellow at the American Academy of Arts and Letters. I finished it on the plane and arrived in Rome dying to visit the Pantheon and to check out the Janiculum area of the city where they lived. He is a great writer. Now I want to read his fiction. Second, I read Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love. (I may be the last person on the planet to have done so – every time I mention it to friends they nod knowingly) It’s a romp but her enthusiasm is contagious. Lastly, I worked my way through Basilica by R.A. Scotti. Thankfully, I read it after touring the Vatican because by then my curiosity was aroused. Scotti chronicles the building of St. Peter’s Basilica through its many starts and stops during the century plus it took to complete. This is not a light read but it is definitely enlightening.