Dino Island, Crawford Tower, Francis Marion Crawford

Francis Marion Crawford and the Italian Novel

What 19th-century American writer set 20 novels, a short story, 5 non-fiction works and a play in Italy? Prolific, imaginative, romantic, entertaining and fantastical, the born storyteller possessed a firm grasp of Italian culture, a sensitivity to character and a penchant for the bizarre. But alas, he is nearly forgotten. Francis Marion Crawford, who traveled the world over and made …

Bernalda, Murder in Matera

Murder in Matera: Southern Italian Skeletons in the Family Wardrobe

How would you feel if you were the descendent of a murderer? Helene Stapinski grew up hearing stories about her great-great grandmother, the strong-willed matriarch and murderess who fled to America and gave life to the Vena family of Jersey City, New Jersey. The legend gnawed at Stapinski, so she decided to play history detective and embark on a journey …

women travelers in south Italy, Emily Lowe

Early Women Travelers in South Italy

UNPROTECTED FEMALES IN SICILY, CALABRIA, AND ON THE TOP OF MOUNT AETNA Intrepid is the word that comes to mind when characterizing women travelers in remote regions. Take Mrs. and Miss Lowe, two proper British ladies, a mother and daughter team that tramped all over the “continent” in the middle of the 19th-century to both the horror and delight of …