Travel to Fonzaso, Italy with Jennifer Anton
Travel to Italy with author Jennifer Anton
Jennifer Anton pops to The BookTrail today to take readers around the small italian village of Fonzaso. Inspired by a true story, this is a testament to the strength and resilience of the woman of that region.
A very special author visit awaits…..
Jennifer Anton’s biographical fiction novel was fourteen years in the making as she travelled to Fonzaso to walk the cobblestoned streets of her ancestors. In Under the Light of the Italian Moon, she brings you into their lives. She immerses you in to the setting via the beauty of the rhododendrons and the incense of the church. Not only that, she then takes you into the pain and difficulty of being a woman in Italy during one of Europe’s most tragic times.
In the end, you will want to have a coffee in the piazza or visit Fonzaso for the Festa dell’Uva and raise a glass to love, women’s strength and resilience….
Destination: Northern Italy
Under the Light of the Italian Moon by Jennifer Anton
Fuel for reading : This book goes perfectly with coffee and biscotti or a meal of polenta and warm melted cheese. It’s set in Fonzaso, Italy and the main character is the daughter of a strong-willed midwife who is the matriarch of the town and nearby villages. Nina Argenta wants a different life than the other women in Fonzaso and lives in her mother’s shadow. When difficulties appear or family conversations take place, coffee is always there like another character or friend. When the war begins and real coffee is replaced with chicory root, the angst is real. The lack of coffee only makes it worse.
In good times and bad. Polenta is the one staple there. Sometimes, the mushy yellow meal is served with sauce and hot cheese. You can, however, eat it when it is two days old and dry . You eat it with a pear in one hand, polenta in the other. The Italians survived on polenta and the meal remains a Sunday family ritual.
Recipes for the family polenta are in the free Book Club Discussion Guide available on www.boldwomanwriting.com
Be prepared for joy and heartache. Pack tissues and a photo of your own mother or daughter. In the end, your heart will soar because ultimately, this is a story of hope.
Fonzaso by night
Fonzaso is placed at the foot of the Dolomites, the PreAlps which separate Italy from Austria. The town campanile points into the sky under the watchful castle house built into the mountain side. The Eremo di San Michele had a hermit nominated to watch over the town for fires. He was paid in cornmeal.
Spanning over two decades, the novel tells the story of Nina Argenta, the daughter of a strong-willed midwife in northern Italy. Nina falls in love with Pietro Pante, a boy who emigrates to the coal mines of America.
As their love grows, Mussolini drives the country into chaos and an alliance with Hitler. To survive, Nina must navigate Nazi occupied Italy, in the hopes of saving her family and being reunited with Pietro again.
In the picture above, you can see Sant’Anna in the mountainside. This is where women would go to pray for their children
Monument at Sant’Anna
Motherhood and maternity is central to the novel. Since it’s set in very Catholic northeastern Italy, the altar at Sant’ Anna is a very important location. Many scenes take place here. This large altar replaced a smaller one that would have been there during the time of the novel.
Basilica Sant’Antonio, Padua
In the novel, characters study midwifery at a clinic associated with the University of Padua and walk the ancient streets of the city. You can almost ‘see’ the intricate insides of the Basilica as you sit with the grieving character in the novel…
The Albergo Sant’Antonio
As you could in the novel, you can still stay at the Albergo Sant’Antonio and the inside feels like not much has changed from when il Duce came through the town.
Chicago Union Station 1940s
More than anything, the novel brings you to Italy and into the lives of the Argenta family. First of all, you get to live alongside Nina Argenta and her mother, Adelasia, who is a force of nature in herself. Not only that, however, you will better understand how Italy moved from WWI to Mussolini’s fascist dictatorship and into WWII. In fact, you will start to empathise with them, experience love, joy, pain and fear with them. At the end of the day, you will experience a taste of the emigrant life and America for Pietro.
Through Italy’s ups and downs, it is its women that remain the fierce heart and soul. The smells, scents and visual glory of a town at the foot of the Alps will draw you in and adopt you.
Nina sees men emigrating abroad while living under the shadow of her mother. Her curiosity pulls her to the unknown but her loyalty keeps her grounded in place. Her life is touched by WWI, emigration, WWII and Nazi occupation. She must find her own strength to survive and save her children.
Today, visiting Fonzaso is a joy. Close to the prosecco region and excellent skiing, while a quiet town, it is rich in history and worth the world’s attention.
BookTrail Boarding Pass: Under the Light of the Italian Moon