The Colors of Rome, by Judith Works

Pin It

Judith Works’ new release, Coins in the Fountain has been getting wonderful reviews. Now, as part of her virtual book tour with Italy Book Tours, she shares an article with use here at Jaquo.  Do take a look at her tour schedule here to learn more about the author and her newest novel.



When I come to Rome from the often drab Pacific Northwest, the first thing I notice is the color. When it’s sunny in Seattle I see dark-green fir trees, the blue Puget Sound and snow-capped mountains. But far more often I see woods devoid of color under heavy skies of pewter, iron-gray waters, and cloud-shrouded mountains. The city holds glass-faced skyscrapers and homes built of wood, often painted brown or green.

There are no tall buildings in Rome – The dome of St Peters dominates the horizon. Nor are there houses made of wood. And Rome displays a different palette, one that often reminds meof food, not forest. Brick apartment buildings are faced with stucco colored a delicious apricot, caramel, or maybe pomegranate; window surroundings are sometimes the color of eggplant. Shutters can be zucchini green.

The monuments, fountains, and statues, originally of brilliant white marble, have weathered to a softer color. The only marble that never seems to discolor is the monument to Vittorio Emmanuele II dominating the Piazza Venezia. It shocks the eye with its dead white massand offends many Romans who call it the wedding cake or typewriter.

Some of the old buildings have doors of wood weathered to a soft gray. The bronze doorsof the Roman Curia (Senate) in the Forum have turned to verdigris green, as has the statue of Augustus along the Via Fori Imperiali and those of many ancient churches. The gilded bronze equestrian statue of Marcus Aurelius, the only surviving such work from the Roman Empire, glows a soft green and gold. The ruins of aqueducts, walls, and palaces on the Palatine Hill, long stripped of their marble, seem to retain heat from millennia of sun. Their burnt sienna and terracotta colors radiate warmth absorbed over the centuries.

My favorite color is Pompeiian Red – that rich red tinted with orange, so beloved by the ancient Romans to express the richness of life and so often used in frescoes and walls. The color draws me into a world that I can never understand with strange rites and scenes of gods, nymphs and satyrs. The color was made of cinnabar which contained mercury; now it made from iron oxide. If I had a home in Rome I’d paint it that color and dream of the past.

The Roman designer, Valentino, has his own flaming signature color. The luscious red signifies the allure of fashion and temptation.

The tall cypress trees shaped like flames, and umbrella pines shaped like their namesake, are a deep and dark green. Bright-red poppies peek from crevices in ancient walls. The vivid Italian flag of simple red, white and green flutters against a brilliant blue sky.

Book Description for Coins in the Fountain:

Innocents Abroad collide with La Dolce Vita when the author and her husband arrive in the ancient city of Rome fresh from the depths of Oregon. While the author endeavored to learn the folkways of the United Nations, her husband tangled with unfamiliar vegetables in a valiant effort to learn to cook Italian-style. In between, they attended weddings, enjoyed a close-up with the pope, tried their hands at grape harvesting, and savored country weekends where the ancient Etruscans still seemed to be lurking. Along the way they made many unforgettable friends including the countess with a butt-reducing machine and a count who served as a model for naked statues of horsemen in his youth.

But not everything was wine and wonders. Dogs in the doctor’s exam room, neighbors in the apartment in the middle of the night, an auto accident with the military police, a dangerous fall in the subway, too many interactions with an excitable landlord, snakes and unexploded bombs on a golf course, and a sinking sailboat, all added more seasoning to the spaghetti sauce of their life.

Their story begins with a month trying to sleep on a cold marble floor wondering why they came to Rome. It ends with a hopeful toss of coins in the Trevi Fountain to ensure their return to the Eternal City for visits. Ten years of pasta, vino, and the sweet life weren’t enough.

Part memoir, part travelogue, Coins in the Fountain will amuse and intrigue you with the stories of food, friends, and the adventures of a couple who ran away to join the circus (the Circus Maximus, that is).

Buy the book: Amazon    Barnes & Noble    iTunes    Amazon.UK

City of Illusions: Amazon

Judith Works

Author’s Bio:

Life was routine until the author decided to get a law degree. Then a chance meeting led her to run away to the Circus (Maximus) – actually to the United Nations office next door – where she worked as an attorney in the HR department and entered the world of expat life in Rome.

Her publishing credits include a memoir about ten years in Italy titled Coins in the Fountain, a novel about expats in Rome, City of Illusions, and flash fiction in literary magazines. She continues to travel in her spare time, having fitted in over 100 countries. And when she is in Rome, she always tosses a coin in the Trevi Fountain to ensure another visit.

Connect with the author:  Website   Twitter   Facebook   Pinterest   Instagram   Blog


Italy Book Tours Logo in colour

Author: Merry Citarella

Share This Post On

Submit a Comment