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A Penchant for Travel

Aragon Castle, Taranto, Italy
Everything, Everywhere, Travel Writer Guest Series Marcella Nardi

Italian Author, Marcella Nardi’s Quest for History and Mystery

Italian writer and traveler, Marcella Nardi, was born in Northern Italy. She currently lives in Seattle, WA. All photos in this Travel Guest interview were submitted by Marcella Nardi.

Above all, Marcella Nardi has a fondness for travel and writing mystery and detective novels. Her novels combine history and mystery into believable and engaging tales.

Similarly, “A Penchant for Travel” is an opportunity for Marcella to highlight her accomplishments while giving essential travel tips every traveler should know before going to Italy.

Marcella was born in Castelfranco Veneto in Northern Italy but she moved to Seattle, WA in 2008 and since then, dedicates herself to teaching Italian, technical translations, and writing novels. Travel, ancient and medieval history, and photography, reading, and construction of historical models are a few of her interests. She also has a Master’s Degree in computer science.

As a lover of detective novels and the middle ages, Marcella won third prize in the 2011 contest “Philobiblon–Premio Letterario Italia Medievale” (Philobiblon–Medieval Italy, literary award). The winning story was one of the six stories that gave birth to her first book, an anthology, “Grata Aura & Altri Gialli Medievali.” The first edition is called “Medioevo in Giallo.”

Marcella Nardi: History, Mystery and Travel
Award-winning Italian author, Marcella Nardi, combines history, mystery and travel as the storyline in her books.

In Italian, “Giallo” means two things: the color yellow and thriller. Between the two World Wars, a large Italian publishing company started to sell thrillers in books dressed with a yellow background cover. Since then, Italians use the word Giallo for Thriller. She translated the anthology into English, under the title “DNA Code & Other mysterious tales from the Middle Ages” a year later. In December 2014, Marcella won first prize for a story set in Gradara in the contest, “Italia Mia” (“My Italy”), organized by the Italian “National Association of the Book, Science and Research.”

History, mystery and travel
Readers find tales from many of Italy’s most cherished landmarks and cities.

Marcella continues to write novels, and since 2013, she has written more than 15 novels. In fact, she has created a detective series of six novels in which the detective resembles Marcella, having almost the same name, looks, and personality.

Legal thriller fans should check out “Morte all’Ombra dello Space Needle” (“Death in the Shadow of the Space Needle”), the first novel in Marcella’s new legal thriller series set in Seattle, WA. Her historical mystery novel, “Joshua e la Confraternita dell’Arca,” has been translated into English as “Joshua and the Brotherhood of the Ark,” and a paranormal novel, an erotic romance, and several short stories.

Marcella Nardi Mystery and History books
You can find a full collection of books by Marcella Nardi on Amazon. See the link below.

Although I’ve never met Marcella, travel and Italian heritage and traditions are a common thread we share. We’ve both mingled our traditional Italian values and culture we’ve grown up with and interfaced them with our love for writing, art, and architecture.

Marcella Nardi and her mother
Although separated from her family in Italy, Marcella, left, looks forward to the day when she can visit her mother and homeland again.
Enjoy our Q & A interview.

What is your primary purpose for traveling? What percentage of your travel is business versus leisure?  

My primary purpose for traveling was/is to know this wonderful planet and to know different cultures.

The percentage? It depends on the time in my life. There was a time in which 40 percent of my traveling was for work and the rest for leisure. It was the first seven years of my job career. After that 90 percent was for pleasure. I was on all seven continents, even in the Antarctica Peninsula.

Travel to Antarctica
Marcella has traveled the world but in the coming months, as soon as travel restrictions are lifted, she’ll plot her course to destinations in Australia and Africa. Shown is an image from her Antarctica adventure.

What are the benefits of travel?

I think the benefits are not just relax from months of working, but mostly is that knowing other places and other cultures opens your mind. You learn there are good and bad things in your country as far as in other countries. So your way to judge changes.

How does travel ignite creativity?

Travel ignites a lot of my creativity. This is due to many reasons. You can get ideas for plots, as I am mostly a writer in the last 10 years. Looking at the behavior of other people and what happens there, can be a good idea for a new novel.

Antarctica Adventures
Learning more about world culture is a driving force for this Italian author.

What are a few experiences you’ve encountered while seeing the world that has had a profound impact on your life?

It’s a difficult question. I’ve traveled a lot. I could say that visiting the ancient Egyptian temples made me understand how for every civilization there is a rise and fall. If we don’t understand this important topic, and the reasons,  we are doomed to fail.

Marcella Nardi

How would you describe Italy to someone who has never visited your country’

Italy is considered, worldwide, the best or one of the best countries on the planet. I think that it is right, not because it is my home country but because of its history. All the invasions we had for more than 2000 years, made Italy a unique place. The architecture is different from the rest of Europe and the Romanesque and Gothic styles are different. Our cuisine and the people are different from the other European countries. We are a big mixture of people from the very north of Europe and from the Middle East and from Asia and Africa. So a trip to Italy is something that everybody should do in their own life. 

What to see in Sienna, Italy
Italy offers architecture, food, and history one won’t find in other European countries, according to Marcella.

Coming from Italy, one of the world’s most breathtaking, scenic, cultural, and romantic travel destinations, what are a few of the cities and experiences you believe travelers are missing if they adhere to only the most-visited tourist sites?

I think that the typical touristic destinations are nice, but there is so much more to visit. Umbria region, in my opinion, is one of the most beautiful areas in Italy. Apulia, too. It’s difficult to answer just in a few phrases to this question.

One of the treasured Gubbio landmarks Marcella photographed during her travels.

Why are the Umbria region and Apulia two of the most beautiful areas in Italy? What makes them so enticing to visit?

They are not the best but they are very interesting.

Umbria is similar to Tuscany, but is cheaper to go there and its history is great, too. Many old famous families from Tuscany invaded Umbria in the past. You see small villages on the top of mountains as in Tuscany. And the food is quite unique. They have their own cheese and meat that are fantastic.

Apulia was the greatest and the biggest ancient Spartan Greek colony, outside ancient Greece. Also, they have a particular kind of stone, for building, that makes the centuries, churches and the castles really different. Then, in many places, the dialects are like Greek. The Romanesque style in Apulia is very different from other places in Italy and Europe.

Aragon Castle, Taranto, Italy

When you visit Italy, what’s the first place you visit? What’s on your must-see list?

I go back to Italy every year. The first place I go to is Taranto, Apulia. My mother is still alive and she lives there. I spend two weeks with her and then I select an Italian area that I never saw, before. I reserve a hotel room in the middle of that area and with my rental car, I visit two places every day. I am discovering the beauty of my Country.  

What are your plans or dreams for the days ahead when we can travel again?

There are many other places I want to see on this beautiful planet. One is Australia and the Great Barrier Reef; then I would like to see Spain and Northern Africa. I already was in Egypt, but never in other places in Africa.

You can contact Marcella through her web site, and her Facebook timeline,

Marcella Nardi Italian author Joshua English translation The story of a man who became the Son of God.

My Books:

English (ebook & paperback):

English and Italian:

All my other books are in Italian. Follow the link below to find all of her books, including a new series, a legal thriller located in Seattle (“Morte all’Ombra dello Space Needle” and “L’architetto dei Labirinti”) and an audio book featuring Marcella as narrator. You can find her books on Amazon in a digital (eBook-Kindle) and paperback unless otherwise noted. Please note the books do not appear in chronological sequence

If you found A Penchant for Travel, an Interview with Marcella Nardi of value and you’re looking for more travel stories, read other selections in the digital guest travel series.

Submit a story or podcast idea for consideration here.

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Abu Dhabi Animals in their natural habitats Couple's Getaways Lifestyle Sri Lanka Travel guests Travel Stories Travel Stories to Help You Deal with COVID-19 What to see in Abu Dhabi What to see in India What to see in Sri Lanka What to see in the Maldives Where to find peace in troubled times

Sri Lanka to Abu Dhabi

Sri Lanka to Abu Dhabi A Couple's Getaway

A Couple’s Getaway

Anant and Alka Patel Experience Breathtaking Wildlife and Culture

Enjoy these guest travel stories from around the world.

Sri Lanka to Abu Dhabi recaps a couple’s getaway to India, Maldives, Sri Lanka, and UAE-Abu Dhabi. This interview with Anant Patel epitomizes what itinerant travelers are eager to experience again: travel and culture. Anant and his wife, Alka, were on a monthlong adventure that brought them to some of the world’s most captivating destinations. Their children are grown and living on their own giving this couple the time and freedom to explore.

You will be captivated by their story and photos that depict a more peaceful time. Enjoy this interview and continue to dream of your next vacation.

Sri Lanka Breathtaking Scenery and Wildlife
An elephant herd in Sri Lanka provided a rare opportunity to see these majestic creatures in their natural habitat.

Where were you born and raised?

Anant: My wife and are of Indian origin.  I was born in Yemen during British rule. Both my dad and mom are Indian born.  My wife was born in India. We’ve lived away from India since the late 70s.  Both of our families are from the State of Gujarat.  Our hometowns are located in small villages.

Were you celebrating a milestone birthday or anniversary?

Anant: We planned to attend our friend’s son’s destination wedding so we attended the wedding celebration and added our own travels for our 32nd Anniversary celebration.

What was your favorite destination and how were they all meaningful?

Anant: There so many beautiful places we visited but the Maldives was our favorite from a relaxation perspective.  The all-inclusive hotel we stayed at occupies the entire small island so all you can do is relax by the beautiful beaches with crystal clear water.  The pure scenic views and privacy made it an enjoyable stay in the Maldives.

Did you stay in hotels, inns, or other type of lodging?

Anant: All of the countries we visited, we stayed in hotels.

Did you participate in guided tours or self-guided sightseeing?

Anant: We did the self-guided sightseeing with a private driver for car transportation.  

Romantic roads through Sri Lanka
The couple traveled Sri Lanka’s romantic roads.

What experiences would you classify as pivotal?

Anant: In Sri Lanka, we visited their national parks to see the elephants and the leopards. The raw presence of wildlife in those parks was just breathtaking.  We saw elephants in the wild where you can just reach out and touch them.  We were fortunate to see two elephant herds near a water body and a leopard up close. That is rare.  

A Sri Lanka Leopard Up Close
Anant and Alka’s leopard sighting in Sri Lanka during a wildlife safari

What are some of your observations about the India leg of your journey?

Anant: Since the 70s, India’s infrastructure has improved significantly.   The poverty is there but the famine of the past is gone.  People are doing a lot better.  The use of cell phones is everywhere and people are very well informed and know many apps very well and can teach me new tricks.  

Even poor people use cell phones so the awareness level is high.  With the Modi government in place for the past five years, in the next five years, the infrastructure will be at a different level with so many roads, railway, and hospital improvements. The country will be well prepared for the future.

The hotel and tourism industry is doing well and many foreigners are pouring into India. There is room for improvement in the availability of the public restrooms that are clean and up to modern standards. It has improved a lot since I left in the 70s but still requires more work.  

South India landscape and beauty
South India is known for its natural beauty from scenic coastal towns to a hill station getaway like Munnar.

What are some of the highlights of your time in India?

Anant: Specifically, seeing our families after such a long period – for me, 42 years and 52 years for my wife. We visited Goa for the first time, which is a beautiful coastal town, the natural beauty of the State of Kerala with the hill station getaway like Munnar, tea and spice plantations in Thekkady, and the backwaters of Allepy.  

Also, the southern food is cooked differently thus we enjoyed many southern dishes at various locations. People were very friendly but the language barrier was very noticeable. In South India, they do not speak our national language Hindi very well and most people speak very little English compared to North India.  

We enjoyed our trip and still have much more exploring to do so we will go back in the future.  

Maldives romantic getaways
Crystal-clear water, luxurious sandy beaches and plenty of privacy are the words Anant Patel used to describe their time in the Maldives.

Many thanks to Anant for sharing his adventures. Message me with your questions about their trip and I’ll get the answers for you.

If you’d like to share your travel story, contact me. This guest series will run indefinitely as a public service to all travelers who, in spite of travel restrictions, want an emotional reprieve from the isolation COVID-19 has ensued.

Stay safe and healthy.

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