What do you think of when you think of Italy? Pizza? Pasta? Roman ruins? The Sistine Chapel? Why not the Greek city of Naples or the Celtic colony of Turin? Italy presents us with a history as rich and diverse as any on the planet, and more than most. I’ve just begun to dip my toe in it, driven by the necessity of novel writing, of course.
Situated on a vast peninsula stretching into the Mediterranean, Italy possesses world-class ports, rivers, and mountain strongholds that were the envy of the ancient, medieval, and, yes, modern worlds. This came to me forcefully on a recent trip to Ravenna, a city that was capital to three empires or kingdoms due to its strategic location and port.
Ravenna became the capital of the Roman Empire in 402 before the small communities to its north (those…
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