I have travelled widely in Italy, tuning into locations for the atmosphere and authenticity of La Bella Figura. Bologna, Rome and the Adriatic Coast all feature, as well as the province of Frosinone where the action begins. The photos show hints that found their way into the novel.
I have spent a great deal of time with my head in books reading accounts of Italy during the 1920s and 30s and the impact of Fascism on everyday lives. There are many little snippets which crept in, but my favourite find was most definitely the magazines written by priests studying at the English College in Rome during that period. Tucked away on an upper shelf of the Villa Palazzola library and probably not having seen the light of day for some considerable number of years, they particularly inspired the section set in Rome in 1925.
Other important sources include:
Atina - the village of my forefathers, such is the place Maria and Peppe can never quite forget.
The original black and white photos on the website are from the archive of the Biblioteca Comunale di Atina.