A couple of cool Rome the Second Time events yesterday: handing (former) Rome Mayor Walter Veltroni his own copy of Rome the Second Time, and discovering RST hit #1 on the Kindle speciality travel list on amazon.com.
Veltroni wrote the enchanting and very Italian (even more so in the original - if that makes any sense) foreword to our book, but he had only read it in an electronic version until now. He gave us a huge smile and said "that's the book!" We caught Veltroni on his way to the press opening where he was commenting on a new book on Mussolini's daughter and her affair with a communist (Edda Ciano e il communista), held appropriately in the Casino Nobile of Villa Torlonia, where Mussolini and his family lived when he was in Rome.
While waiting for Veltroni, Bill and I enjoyed the Villa (it's in Rome the Second Time, in itinerary 8) and marveled again at how gorgeous it is, especially compared to the derelict park, full of abandoned buildings and detritus (vegetable, animal and mineral) we saw when we first started coming to the Villa over 10 years ago. Veltroni appropriately commented at the book session that the restoration happened under his watch as mayor (his support of culture in Rome is one of the reasons we asked him to write the foreward to RST). The Casino Nobile itself was occupied after Italy exited from the war by Americans, who purposefully vandalized it because it was Mussolini's home. Photo above right is a poster of the cover of the book (photo above left) propped up against one of the large tubs (stolen from some Roman bath) adorning the front of the Casino Nobile. Dianne