Matera the Magical and the Great Chocolate Party

Matera the Magical and the Great Chocolate Party

You know, I could really wax on about this place.  I mean, it looks like this:

Those are more caves across the river, but I’m standing on a hillside of houses built into caves, too.

And remember, my photo abilities completely failed to capture this city with the full moon rising over it and lights shining up and down the hillsides!  You have to go there to see it.

And it has people like this:

Lunch in a piazza with some of the guests and organizers of the Festival.  The upside down fork would be the sign that someone who has eaten in a lot of French restaurants has been sitting there (paired with a knife, if there is one, it signals you’ve finished to the waiter).  The ones you can make out are a glimpse of the Marvelous Giulia Fea (the Fanucci publicist who had the idea for this trip and worked SO hard the entire time I was there) to the left, the Effervescent and Charming Irene Soave of Vanity Fair (Italy) across, the patient and friendly Lara Giorcelli, editor at Mondadori’s Piemme to the right, authors Rita Charbonnier and Carla Maria Russo across and midway down the table.  (Very fun and welcoming Italian authors of historical fiction.)

Talk about the ideal lunch.  Beautiful setting, fantastic characters peopling it…

This was one of the most wonderful things to me about this tour.  Normally when traveling in an unfamiliar country, your contacts with others are limited and touristic–asking for directions, talking to the hotel staff about local restaurants, interrogating local chocolatiers about their passion, striking up occasional conversations with people if a circumstance allows.

But this tour provided so many opportunities to meet interesting and engaged people.

Bloggers, for example.  I think from now on, whenever I’m in a country where my book is out, I should organize blogger coffees wherever I’m traveling.  It’s so much fun to get to talk with really engaged readers this way!  I think of book bloggers often as activist readers.  Where the love of reading has to be taken to the level of social engagement, to discuss and share with others.

In Matera, here’s the lovely June Ross, of June Ross Blog.   (If you’ve braced yourself, the link I gave to her blog will take you to the page where she posted the interview with me in Italian!  Don’t wince too much, I did my best!)

June Ross and Laura Florand, at the Women’s Fiction Festival in Matera, Italy


So we have:  Beautiful Setting.  Wonderful People.  Sleeping in a Renaissance palace,with many thanks to the organizers of the Women’s Fiction Festival for the beautiful, beautiful room:

Ladra di Cioccolato gets comfortable at the hotel Palazzo Gattini in Matera, Italy. (I thought in a room like that, I was probably supposed to sleep on the floor, myself.)

And add to all that:


A glimpse of the Chocolate Party for Ladra di Cioccolato (Chocolate Thief in Italian), hosted at the Shibuya Café in Matera by the Women’s Fiction Festival and Fanucci Leggereditore.

In the streets and plaza of the town, at 10 p.m. on through to midnight.  Chocolate provided by Shibuya Café (chocolate fondue, chocolate tarts, chocolate concoctions of every sort) and, of course, prosecco.


More of the Chocolate Party for Ladra di Cioccolato (Chocolate Thief in Italian), hosted at the Shibuya Café in Matera by the Women’s Fiction Festival and Fanucci Leggereditore.


Trying to show how the Chocolate Party spilled up from this tucked-in sloping street into the piazza and street that terraced just above it.


Thanks to Shibuya Café for the wonderful chocolate.

Once again, grazie mille, a thousand thanks, to Fanucci Leggereditore for inviting me on this tour and for the wonderful organizers of the Matera Women’s Fiction Festival for inviting me to launch Ladra di Cioccolato at this amazing Festival.  I’m very honored.

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