Rome wasn’t my long suffering husband’s first choice for a city break, but having heard my book, ‘The Senator’s Assignment’ was to be published, I really wanted to see the area I’d been writing about. I never dreamed Rome would be bathed in a heat-wave in October.
Regardless, I trailed a red-faced sweating husband up Palatine Hill, and while my imagination saw Praetorian Guards guarding a grand palace, wonderful gardens and the palatial villas of the equestrians, senators and the rich and noble, Colin’s imagination saw an icy cold beer in the shady garden of our hotel. Where I enthused over the magnificence of the Senate House, Colin saw a derelict building, rubble and a pile of old stones.
‘Just think,’ I said excitedly halfway up the hill. ‘My protagonist, Vivius walked up this very hill to receive his assignment from the Emperor Tiberius.’
That was when he stopped to frown at me. ‘Too much sun. Vivius is a figment of your imagination, remember?’
Seeing sights I had only read about when doing my research drew me back to those years of 30-40AD. But it was only when I gave in to the grumbles and joined my husband in an ice cold beer on the terrace of our hotel that evening, that I reflected how that wonderful city of Rome, which had been instrumental in persecuting and killing the early Christians, was now the centre of the Christian Church- the Vatican, the Pope.
Who would have predicted that? What a strange world we live in.