When you’re writing a book set in Rome, the biggest problem is deciding how to chose which of the many amazing sights to include. The Eternal City, as it is known, is like no other. Modern meets ancient in the most unlikely juxtapositions, first century aqueducts crossing busy ring-roads, the Colosseum rooted alongside speeding cars and the ruined buildings of the Palatine smack bang in the middle of a busy city centre.
As I’ve been fascinated by the Romans since I was at primary school, the Colosseum was my must-see site in the city and I had to include it in the book.
It’s one of my favourite buildings in the world, which is probably obvious to readers of From Rome With Love as I just had to take my hero and heroine there. The Colosseum is the most amazing place, not just in terms of the vast structure, but also its complexity and history. How on earth did the Romans build this huge edifice without the benefit of modern technology and power tools?
I also marvel at the sophistication behind the design, the features of which are still seen today in modern stadiums. The Colosseum was constructed with a series of 76 passageways behind the tiers of seats called vomitorium which enabled 50,000 people to reach and leave their seats in 15 minutes. Interesting fact: The word vomit comes from this, meaning to spew out.
More importantly, whether you’ve seen the film Gladiator or not, there’s an incredible atmosphere when you stand on one of the tiers looking down into the huge oval arena. It’s so easy to imagine the human history here; the Christians facing not just lions but any number of ferocious beasts, executions, animal hunts and gladiatorial combat with the audience, rich and poor, shouting and baying for blood.
Sorry, as usual when it comes to the Colosseum, I tend to get a little carried away! Which brings home that one of the hardest things about writing this book was getting the balance right between describing the places and not sounding too much like a guide book.
My hero and heroine did also visit plenty of other famous tourist sites including the Trevi Fountain, the Pantheon, the Spanish Steps, the Sistine Chapel and St Peter’s Basilica but there are many more I could have included. I hope I did justice to the city of Rome, with the ones I chose to feature, and that readers feel I’ve given them a brief glimpse of this wonderful city.
Well Jules, I think it is clear to say that you definitely love The Colosseum! Thank you so much for sharing your passion with us.
An avid reader, Jules Wake started writing when she ran out of books by her favourite authors. Her books combine some of her favourite activities, food, wine and travel. She draws on her experience as a PR in the food and drink industry, where she had to go on lots of press trips to dreadful places like Paris, Milan, Turin and Amsterdam as well as the period she spent working (hic!) for several wineries and vineyards in Marlborough, the Sauvignon Blanc capital of New Zealand.
She is allergic to dust, and finds writing the perfect alternative to housework.
If you can’t stand the heat…
Rome is the city of love and seduction, right? Not if you find yourself staying in a beautiful apartment with your childhood-friend-turned-arch-enemy, Will Ryan…no matter how hot he is!
Romance is the last thing on Lisa’s mind. She’s got more important things to focus on, like hunting down her estranged father. Except when her search falls at the first hurdle, Will doesn’t just help her get back on track, he also shares the romantic sights – and exquisite tastes – of the Eternal City, and Lisa starts to wonder if it’s not just Rome seducing her.
Only, as Lisa and Will dig into the past, neither of them is prepared for the long-buried secrets they reveal. Secrets that will turn both their world’s upside down …