Here are two sketches from my travel journals of years past. Neither is in the book, but if you like either and are so inclined, please "like" this post on your Facebook page. Grazie mille (click to enlarge)
It has been years in the making and over a year in waiting. Like birthing a baby, all one can do is wait. Except nowadays, there is work to do while waiting: the preparation of the book's social platform. What does that mean? It's like preparing the nursery for a newborn except instead of a cradle, diapers, baby clothes, and stuffed animals, you need a website, a blog, blurbs, reviewers, a media kit, early readings, and books that guide you. The Frugal Book Planner by Carolyn Howard-Johnson is a favorite. With the birth of Salento By 5 imminent, we five authors are ready (sort of) to launch it from its social platform. Now what's a media kit again?
As you may know, I am a songwriter. My songs are about Salento, its people, the way we fall in love surrounded by a nature like the one you can only find travelling to the south-east. The sun is always with you, reflecting your soul; the sea changes its mood every time you change yours; the wind brings you every single sigh and tear shed by your beloved. The sun, the sea, the wind: the master keys to open Salento’s real soul, the very cypher key to my new album, “Lu Mare tu Salentu”.
I have been visiting Otranto almost every year for more than ten years, but it wasn’t until recently, while viewing Otranto from above with the “Google Earth” app, that I discovered the formal names of the main street that runs along the bay, connecting the town’s public garden near the historic center to the Chapel of the Holy Spirit on the other side of the bay. I always knew the street by its common name, the “Lungomare.” But the full name is “Lungomare Terra D’Otranto”. At least, that is the name beginning at the public garden. About half way along the bay, the name changes to, “Lungomare John F. Kennedy.” “JFK,” as we Americans refer to him, was one of our country’s great presidents and it is an honor for us American visitors to know that Otranto has named one of its principle streets for him.
One morning, I arose before dawn and took a walk along the Lungomare. I looked across the bay toward the sea and saw fishermen on the rocks of the pier silhouetted in the dawn light. The scene inspired the journal drawing below.
In the Fall of 2006 (ten years ago), the fourth year in a row that we found ourselves back in Salento, we sat around the Sunday dinner table at Carlo and Lucia's summer home in Mancaversa.
Someone said, "We should write a book—a book together."
Maybe it was the wine, the afternoon sun, our satisfied bellies. Let's blame Lucia's homemade limoncello.
"Sure, let's write a book together," we answered in chorus.
(Dianne Hales is the author of numerous delightful books about Italy, a blog, and lots of chat about the Italian language)
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