Like “made in Italy” the term “set in Italy” has a magical effect. Indeed, this novel is set in Italy, except for the parts set in Philadelphia and a few scenes in New York City. That Italy business is real magic because Italy seems to be at the very top of everyone’s bucket list world-wide. That is just as it should be. Italy is luscious, delicious, elegant, everything wonderful-ous.
The set in Italy is a small hill town in the Macerata Province of Le Marche. The hills of Le Marche are, to me, even more beautiful than those in Tuscany. Their colors keep changing as the seasons do and the farmers seed their crops that go from green to yellow to beigh back to green. The rose colors of all the fruits are everywhere.
The medieval hill towns of Le Marche are beloved by tourists who have walked them or cycled their environs. Castello Piceno in the book is a fictitious name but it could be any one of several of the beautiful hill towns in Macerata. The bricks of the buildings there are pink and buff colored and that orange color of Tuscany is turned into a soft color in Le Marche. This is the home of verdicchio, a crisp white wine that is made near Jesi and Matellica. Olive trees are everywhere, alone and in groves. Pecorino is the cheese made from the sheep who graze the hillsides. All of them have a central piazza with a Bar Centrale where Baldo, our beloved police chief, takes his coffee and broods.
So off we go, to Le Marche, tomorrow. More from there soon.