- COFFEE - whether it's espresso, cappuccino or latte - it's always rich, delightful and best way to drink it is standing up at the counter of some gorgeous pastry or gelato shop.
- EVENING SHOPPING - in the Southern towns, the shopping centres are pretty dead during the day but at night it's like a carnival. Everyone's out, dressed in their finest. From oldest to youngest they come out to shop, eat gelato, grab an evening meal or drink coffee on outdoor patios. It's a wonderful, festive atmosphere.
- THE SANDWICHES - or pannini. We ordered a sandwich at a tiny cafe in Cosenza and the store owner lovingly cut the bread, shaved the meat and cheese and assembled it with careful precision, oblivious to the other customers who waited patiently. The result was the freshest sandwich I've ever tasted!
- COSENZA OLD TOWN - Cosenza is a beautiful city in Calabria. There's a pleasant and bustling modern town area, but the old town is breathtaking. Haunting and beautiful, it sits on the other side of the river, Winding, cobbled streets and the decaying grandeur of its buildings show that this was an important centre in the past.
- THE HOTELS - Many of the hotels are independently owned and there are few large chain hotels. We stayed in some beautiful places which were all immaculately clean and relatively inexpensive, particularly the Civico 27 Guest House in Cosenza which had an incredible common area and balcony with a breathtaking view of the city.
- THE MOUNTAIN VILLAGES AROUND COSENZA - Cosenza sits in a valley surrounded by hills and mountains. Ski towns like Camigliatello Silano are undiscovered gems, off the major tourist grid. This gorgeous mountain town just happens to be the porcini mushroom capital of Italy as well and the food stores are amazing. Fit for any gourmet traveller.
- BEACH RESORTS NEAR ROME - About 75 kms from Rome are lesser known beach resorts, popular with Romans who want a weekend away from the hustle and bustle of the city. We stayed at the Oasi di Kufra, a gorgeous beachfront hotel in Saubadia. It was inexpensive and looked out onto a vast, sandy beach where we watched incredible sunsets and sunrises from our balcony.
I've been working on a TV adaptation of my YA trilogy. I've always thought it would make a great movie or TV series and many readers have reinforced that idea. I'll keep you posted with any updates.
QUICK READING RECOMMENDATIONS:
THE UNINVITED GUESTS by Sadie Jones
A witty, dramatic and clever Edwardian story set in a rambling, rundown mansion. It's Emerald Torrington's 20th birthday and preparations are underway for an elegant supper party, but an accident nearby causes a group of mysterious and unwelcome survivors to seek shelter at the ramshackle manor. What follows is a thrilling, surprising and delightfully dark story.