Twenty years ago Harelquin Romance author Fiona Harper spent her honeymoon in Lake Garda in northern Italy. This year she returned to celebrate her anniversary, and she still thinks it’s one of the most beautiful places she's ever been.
Lake Garda sits halfway between Venice and Milan, in the north of Italy, and is the largest of the Italian lakes. The northern part of the lake is mountainous and narrower than the southern end. Vast mountains fall into the sea and a narrow road snakes its way in and out of a multitude of tunnels carved into the rock.
The town of Riva del Garda sits at the head of the lake in the shadow of Mont Rosetta. So close is the mountain to the town that for the first few days of my visit I kept looking up and thinking that the giant hulk of rock was leaning towards me, and by four o’clock in the afternoon, even in the height of summer, Riva falls into shadow as the sun sets behind the peak, even though nightfall is several hours away.
The houses are interesting here – and I saw different styles sitting side by side: the shallow-roofed square houses of Italy and the chalet-style properties with wide wooden balconies that reminded me we weren’t that far from Switzerland.
I’m totally in love with anywhere that has mountains. Maybe it’s the Scottish blood in me; I just feel at home when the ground rises high and is all rocky and forbidding. Add a crystal clear lake to the equation and I’m in heaven. And Lake Garda is very clean, and the most wonderful green colour – it must be minerals in the water that make it look that way, because it really is impossibly green. I even took a photo of the water so I’d know I hadn’t just imagined it when I got home.
As you might be able to guess, I could wax lyrical about this wonderful place for paragraphs and paragraphs, but I think it’s better if I let some of my humble holiday snaps do the talking…
Boats at Limone; a view from Isola del Garda; the beach at Riva
Isola del Garda; Limone; the north end of the lake.
Fiona's next book, Housekeeper's Happily-Ever-After is out in March in the UK (as a 2-in-1 with Jessica Hart's new release, Oh-So-Sensible Secretary) and available in North America in April.
Ellie Bond tries to escape her past by taking a job as jet-setting Mark Wilder's housekeeper. But the accident that killed her husband and daughter have left scars, both inside and out, and she worries she'll never be able to leave the past behind and find true happiness.