19 January 2011

the Light in Between by Marella Caracciolo Chia


Umberto Boccioni, 1911

I just read the most beautiful book- a Love story-& recommended by Ulla of the blog Model's Own.  I did not read it in Italian, She may have, as she speaks five languages-Italian must be one? I don't know. Nonetheless, I highly suggest it to you- whether English or Italian.

I was ready for a pure book.
A book that moved me away from some cumbersome novels & biographies.
Cleanse the palate.  
The Light in Between did just that. The author Marella Caracciolo Chia, niece of Marella Agnelli, narrates the story. She found it hidden amidst in depth research on a related subject and this little twist stopped her cold.
She had to write this book.
It must be that moment of  finding a story that needed to be told, small pieces fitting- and yet still mystery. I was caught up in her findings and the letters of  its two unlikely lovers- Italian Princess Vittoria Colonna, wife of Prince Leone Caetani, Duke of Sermoneta, & Futurist painter Umberto Boccioni . The affair unfolds in the summer of 1916, against the backdrop of  Lake Maggiore and Vittoria's retreat, the Isolino, a small island on the Lake.

Vitorria in 1898

 Summer of 1916, on the Isolino

What captivates me with The Light in Between is Vittoria's love for her island, her gardens, her house and her need to be loved. The dynamic Buccioni swept in to her life with full force -what happened?
and what did Vittoria lose in its wake?

Love-don't we all understand that?

the young Boccioni-a self portrait

Buccioni about the time he met Vittoria

from the summer on Lake Maggiore, Boccioni's portrait of  Ferruccio Busoni
(Italian pianist and composer)

The Duchess of Sermonetta at her Palace, late in life



  1. Great, I'm in the middle of reading a very boring book. Just what I need!

  2. I read Vittoria Colonna's autobiography "Sparkle distant worlds" many years ago and found it fascinating..I look forward v much to reading this book...

  3. I am always looking for a great book to read. Thank you for the recommendation... off to Amazon, or perhaps i will download to my IPad which I never use. Somehow, I am very old fashioned, I just love feeling and turning pages of a book, and then looking at all my small well read bookish treasures in my library.

  4. I also remember that Vittoria wrote that to buy her island she fled to Paris and sold her finest row of pearls and a pink diamond....however beautiful..it was a small price to pay for such an idyllic place...sad she was buried so far away in Norfolk..I wonder who owns it now..

  5. It is a book I have been wanting to read--ever since Ulla mentioned it. Now with your recommendation also, I will look for it.

  6. Oh, thank you for posting this. Am adding it to my reading list.

  7. Sounds FABULOUS!! I adore that area as well - have been there several times including my honeymoon!

  8. Thanks for posting this its on my list as well.

  9. I know Lake Maggiore well . . . and I find it a wonderful setting for love. I still remember evening strolls along its lake shore with my own love as if it were yesterday. I too will be searching for the book!

  10. I wonder if she always carried that deep sadness that appears in both the sketch and photos. I think I'm going book shopping. As always, thanks for making me think a little more deeply.

  11. I know you will all love it- as I say, simple, poignant, sad in many ways. email me after you read it, I would love to know your thoughts. many questions left unanswered for me concerning V.

  12. I speak 5... hope you got the other book I mailed you.

  13. Ulla, how can one be so lovely, and wise-is beyond me, I will look for the book! pgt

  14. ..oh.. credit my parents.. they are renaissance people. I am quite silly.

  15. nonsense, I look forward to any book you recommend granted it is in eng. I have changed the 4 to a 5. pgt

  16. Thank you for the book recommendation. This looks just like the kind of thing I will enjoy. Wonderful images here.
    I have been enjoying this and some of the recent posts here this Sunday morning.
    All the best,

  17. I was close friends with the daughter of Leone Caetani, Vittoria's husband who left Italy, Fascism, the family land and wealth, and Vittoria behind him in 1921 and moved to beautiful British Columbia...

    This great book is just a piece of the amazing story.

    - homesteadlite

  18. For those who read in fench the book is available in canada and in paris
    The paris edition is coming out this week
    As a translator i called it Un bonheur inattendu (an unexpected joy)



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