“She Seduced Me: A Love Affair with Rome” by Mark Tedesco

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Mark Tedesco is an educator from Los Angeles; he teaches history and also works as a mentor for new teachers coming into the profession. Mark is also an author, having 7 books published, including historical fiction, poetry and memoir.

When Mark writes, the inspiration for the book usually comes to him through an experience or encounter.

This book is not a history book, though it contains history; it is not a guide book, yet it includes travel tips; it is not a memoir, though it contains the author’s experiences, and it is not a book of historical fiction, yet it includes episodes of history which bring the past to life.

The idea of “She Seduced Me: A Love Affair with Rome” came to Mark last year during a visit to the city. He was standing in front of Santa Maria di Trastevere and, like a flash, he realized that what makes Rome unique are its stories. Every street corner, building, work of art, monument, street performer and resident has his or her story. He resolved to gather these stories to invite the reader to experience Rome from its human aspect.

She Seduced Me: A Love Affair with Rome is a book of stories that the city of Rome tells: its people, art, monuments, street artists, expats, Romans and history. This makes it different from other books, since it explores the city of Rome from the point of view of its stories.

Those who participated in the writing of this book include: expats living in Rome, Romans who have lived there all their life, Italians from the north and south who now live in Rome, street performers, restaurant owners as well as the ghosts of ancient figures such as Nero, Augustus, Livia and others.

When visiting Rome and other European cities, we often walk past street performers without a thought about them. So when Mark began to do the research for this book, he started to wonder why these talented people choose such a difficult life. So he approached and got to know three street performers in Rome: Federica, who performs with fire, Ann, who dances in Piazza Navona and Jonathan, who has been a painter for decades.

What he learned from these interviews is that all three of these street artists are passionate about their craft and yet face difficulties in paying their rent and making it through the month. Why do they embrace this lifestyle? It is as if they are compelled to perform or paint. Their courage is inspiring, since they put everything at risk for their artistic pursuit. Many of us would not have this courage and we settle into a job that pays our bills but without the enthusiasm and love for their craft that these street performers have.

The book leads the reader to discover that each person has their story and that the story of these street performers is full of passion, courage and drive.

The book leads the reader to the Golden House of Nero, to the Palatine with Augustus and Livia, to the dark streets of the city while following Caravaggio, to the baths of Caracalla as two senators chat and gossip. The past comes to life as its stories are intertwined with the present, involving the reader in the drama of a city that grows and expands through its stories.

Link to author website: https://www.marktedesco.com

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