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International Bestselling Author of Historical Fiction
Photos and Videos
If you’d like to see a selection of videos of Venice and northern Italy, as well as some interviews and lectures I’ve given for Our Darkest Night and The Gown, please visit my new YouTube channel by clicking here.
Below are some images that trace the journeys I took – and Nina and Nico, too – in creating Our Darkest Night. There are some mild spoilers in the captions so you may wish to hold off on scrolling through until you have read the book. I took all the photographs here, with the exception of one archival photograph of Bassano after the war.
Our Darkest Night begins here, in the Casa di Riposo, where Nina is visiting her mother. The Casa still exists, though now operates as a guest house and kosher restaurant.
"Her journey home took her across the still-busy piazza, through the gloom of the Sotoportego de Gheto Novo, and up and down the steps of the bridge..."
"...then a quick turn into a narrow and darkening calle, then another..."
...perched at the edge of the murky waters of the Rio del Gheto, the slender afterthought of their house, its facade a patchwork of crumbling ocher stucco and rosy brick. The number had faded away long ago, but they’d never felt the need to repaint it. Everyone knew to knock on the green door for Dr. Mazin and he would come, no matter the hour.
"...now he stopped and pointed to a cluster of buildings in the middle distance. 'Can you see the church and campanile? The sun makes them look very white. That is Mezzo Ciel.' 'But it’s halfway up the mountain!' 'I swear it only looks that way. We’ll be there in another hour. Maybe a little more.'"
"The house stretched to three stories, the bottom of fieldstone and the upper two of a mellow, rosy brick, though the top floor was only two-thirds the height of those below. The windows that faced the courtyard, four to each story, were shuttered against the midday sun."
"The entrance was set into the center of the bottom floor, its threshold shaded by the silvery boughs of an ancient olive tree, and next to it a pair of low stools sat waiting for occupants."
A ruined farmhouse not far from the site of the imaginary Mezzo Ciel; one of the images that inspired my descriptions of the Gerardi farm and surrounding countryside.
Several kilometers north of San Zenone is a crossroads named Mezzo Ciel; I borrowed the name and moved the location to the foothills farther north.
A view of the countryside near Mezzo Ciel from the ancient ramparts of the Rocca di Asolo.
A small church in Borso del Grappa that inspired my description of the Chiesa Santa Lucia in Our Darkest Night.
A view of the beautiful city of Bassano del Grappa; most of it was in ruins at the end of WWII
In Bassano, on what is now known as the Viale dei Martiri - the avenue of the martyrs— memorial plaques are affixed to each of the manicured trees where thirty-one young men were hanged by the Nazis on September 26, 1944.
In January 2020, I visited Birkenau for the first time. I took no pictures; this is a snapshot I captured from the window of my car as I was driven there at dawn.
An archival photograph of the all-but-destroyed Palladian bridge in Bassano del Grappa. It was restored after the war, though now is used only for foot traffic across the river.
Two Stolpersteine, or stumbling stones, located near the Casa di Riposo in Venice's Jewish Gheto Nuovo. The marker to the left commemorates the residents of the old age home, among them Rabbi Adolfo Ottolenghi (and, fictionally, Nina's parents), who were deported to their deaths on August 17, 1944.