An architectural guide to Rome. Talking to Stephen Harby
Romance novel set in Malcesine (and the author talks location)
10th August 2017
Love at the Italian Lake by Darcie Boleyn, romance novel set in Malcesine.
(Malcesine is pronounced: Mal – chez – eenay… I had been wondering!)
This is a lovely, heartwarming novel set in Malcesine on the shores of Lake Garda. It is also a perfect choice for TripFiction because Italy and the little town are beautifully brought to life for the reader within an enjoyable story.
Sophia Bertoni is in dire need of a break. Lee, her boyfriend is a cheat. Enough is enough, and Sophia is soon persuaded to go and stay with her Grandmother – Nonna Katherine Spinoli – in Malcesine, on the shores of Lake Garda. As she arrives in the airport she literally gets knocked sideways at the airport in Verona (physically, but maybe also emotionally, let’s wait and see!) by Joe Lancaster, who as it transpires, is also spending the Summer on the same Lake, in the same town.
Sophia’s Mother and her grandmother have never really been close and it is whilst Sophia is staying in Malcesine that she stumbles upon a family secret which needs quite some emotional processing.
This novel has all the ingredients (and I haven’t even got to the foodie bits yet!) for a wonderful summer read, with a bit of romance and beautiful scenery thrown in. The markets are redolent of Italian groceries and colour – you can almost see them in your mind’s eye. Just how do you choose between all the cakes, whether it is cannoli or zeppole. Or all those vegetables just oozing colour and flavour. Or accompany Joe on the cycle route from Navena to Castelletto di Brenzone; or with Sophia from the harbour to Castello Scaligero. As readers we are taken with exuberance to this beautiful part of the world. Just sit down with a good Espresso and enjoy.
Happily, Darcie agreed to tell us how she came to set her story in Malcesine!
Tina for the TripFiction Team.
And it’s now over to Darcie for the #TalkingLocationWith feature….
With lungs full of fresh Alpine air, legs stiff from inactivity and heads dizzy from winding around the many passes of Switzerland, we crossed the Italian border. My lovely fiancé and I cruised along the Italian highway in our reliable but road-dirtied Ford Focus, while up ahead, leading the way, were my prospective in laws, sleek and sophisticated in their silver Porsche.
We were on a mission, to find a suitable location for our 2011 wedding. We’d ruled out our homeland of Wales – too expensive – then we’d given up on New York – because mums refused to fly – so we’d Googled Weddings Abroad, and Lake Garda had captured our hearts because of its beauty, romance and also (perhaps unromantically but realistically, in the economic climate) because of its wedding prices.
All of a sudden, the rain began. The sky literally threw sheets of water down, as if someone had emptied a swimming pool over the road, making visibility poor and dampening our spirits somewhat. After all, wasn’t the weather supposed to be better in Italy? Weren’t we heading out there looking for some sunshine? Thankfully, it ended as quickly as it had begun.
The Dolomites rose majestically on either side of us, ragged monuments belonging to another age, reminders of a time when that area of the world was subjected to earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and flooding. The dramatic scenery made that part of the journey more enjoyable, and gave us a taste of what was to come.
When we reached the end of the motorway, we moved onto some smaller roads, headed in the direction of Lago de Garda. By now, the light was fading, and there was a sense of disappointment that we probably wouldn’t make dinner at the hotel, then we reached a summit… and as we drove over it, we both gasped. Stretched out before us, in all of its evening glory, was Lake Garda: stunning, twinkling and luminescent in the twilight. In all honesty, it was hard to focus on it through the tears that had sprung into my eyes – due to tiredness, maybe, but definitely the emotions sparked by the incredible view.
Our two vehicles crawled slowly down to the road that runs alongside the lake and, refreshed by the beauty before us, we made our way towards Malcesine. Its medieval castle, Castello Scaligero, was soon within our sights, seemingly encouraging us to keep going forwards, and our spirits rose by the minute as we neared our destination. The castle, built into the rock on the shore of the lake, was lit from all angles, glowing invitingly, and is a sight worth seeing. Its long and detailed history is certainly worth delving into, and the castle museum is fascinating.
As for Malcesine itself, it is a beautiful maze of narrow cobbled streets, cosmopolitan bistros, bars and pizzerias, as well as home to some fantastic little shoe shops and those delicious cool, dark and cavernous indoor markets featuring locally produced olive wood wares. Malcesine offers plenty to hold your interest, including the castle, of course, with its panoramic views of Malcesine and Lake Garda, and its fascinating museum of life on the lake – entertaining for children and adults alike. We didn’t make it onto the cable car which travels up Monte Baldo, the highest mountain of the range, so that’s one for a future visit, but we did manage a speed boat ride and that was well worth the fifty euros, as it has to be one of the best ways to experience the lake!
I knew, back then in 2010, that I would set a story on Lake Garda one day. The castle, a popular wedding venue, would have to feature in the story, as would a speedboat ride, which is based on one my husband and I actually took. We didn’t get married in Malcesine, as we would have liked – we got married in the snow, and that’s a whole other story – but we did enjoy a wonderfully romantic break there and hope to return one day soon.
Malcesine is close to many other Italian attractions, such as the very pretty Limone, and Verona is just a car or bus ride away. Verona boasts many tourist attractions including, but not limited to, the ancient amphitheatre where you can enjoy the opera in all its acoustic glory, the house rumoured to belong to Juliet Capulet, and where you can have your photograph taken on the balcony, as well as some amazing places to eat and shop.
If you haven’t been to Lake Garda, then I thoroughly recommend that you put it on your bucket list. Who knows? You might just fall in love at the Italian lake too…
Thank you so much for Darcie for sharing this delightful little town on Lake Garda. You can follow Darcie on Twitter, Facebook and via her blog. And don’t hesitate to buy a copy of her lovely heartwarming book through TripFiction