Posted in Just For Fun
September 12, 2012

Ahh Italy! The food, the sights, the art . . . the romance?

Having just returned from a vacation in Italy, I was struck by how much that country is a venerable feast for the senses. Smells and tastes of sumptuous food, sights of stunning art and architecture from cities steeped in history, the soul-stirring ringing of church bells, the rugged feel of the cobblestones beneath my feet while strolling the streets.

As a writer of both contemporary and historical erotic romance, I look at Italy as a near perfect setting. Certainly the Italians don’t shy away from love, and they’re not exactly prudish when it comes to the naked body, either.

Take a gander through any art gallery and you’ve got pisellos gone wild. Pisello, as I’ve come to learn, is Italian slang for penis. (the actual definition is peas) They’re all over paintings and sculpture, and contemporary Italy continues to celebrate the phallus through calendars. Yes, calendars. Every year you can get your copy of “Pisello,”  a standard wall calendar that comes with a different picture every month of the penis in all its glory. Ancient pisellos from the frescoes in Pomeii brothels, sculpted pisellos from Michelangelo. You want a pisello, or any form of nakedness, you can get it in Italy.

So we’ve got the nakedness, the sensual experience, the fascinating history . . . think powerful Italian families like Medici, Borghia, Farnese, Sforza . . . and it seems like Italy would be the perfect setting for historical romance. But yet, dear readers, we just don’t see it. Historical romances in the U.K. abound, and there are plenty in the U.S. as well. But Italy?  In my years of reading historical romance, I can recall reading exactly one book that was set in Italy. How about you? Anyone have a different experience? And if not, then why? Love to hear your thoughts on why publishers say “no grazie” when it comes to setting a historical romance in Italy.

Arrivederci until next time,


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  • Author Charmaine Gordon

    Lady Smut? I love the very words. And the peni in all his glory. Delicioso! A pinch in the butt is all I got on my last trip to Italy. Well, not all. You haven’t lived ’til you’ve made love in Capri. So write your historical or contemporary and set it in Firenze or anywhere; against an olive tree or in an alleyway. I’ll buy it, dear Elizabeth and thanks for this informative bit of history.

    Reply to Author Charmaine Gordon
    • Post authorelizabethshore

      Making love in Capri? Now THAT’s truly delicioso! Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment, Charmaine. You’re the best, my friend.

      Reply to elizabethshore
  • ellaquinnauthor

    I’m going to mess her up the spelling of her name, but Jannine Corte Peski, writes historical romances set in Italy.

    Reply to ellaquinnauthor
    • madelineiva

      Good to know! Thanks for the recommendation, Ella. 🙂

      Reply to madelineiva
    • Post authorelizabethshore

      Grazie, ellaquinnauthor! Ms. Jannine Corti Petska does indeed write romances set in Italy. So now at least we know of one!

      Reply to elizabethshore
  • Liz Everly

    Who comes up with these rules about where HR is set? I, for one, would love to read an HR set in Italy.

    Reply to Liz Everly
    • Post authorelizabethshore

      Me, too. It seems like such an obvious choice. Beautiful settings, great history, food! What more can a romance-loving gal want?

      Reply to elizabethshore
  • Jennifer Probst (@jenniferprobst)

    Love this post! I adore Italy and am looking forward to going back this upcoming summer. And yes, finally, a country celebrating the penis! I, too, rarely see any historical Italy novels, especially erotic – which could be so much fun! Love the new blog…

    Reply to Jennifer Probst (@jenniferprobst)
    • Post authorelizabethshore

      Thanks Jen! Really appreciate you stopping by. I owe you a picture. Saw your book prominently displayed in the airport and I snapped a pic.

      Reply to elizabethshore

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