Italian pseudonymous novelist Elena Ferrante said to be from Naples, which is also the hometown of the two protagonists of her famous Neapolitan Novels, Elena Greco e Raffaella Cerullo. However, the 4-part coming-of-age story – My Brilliant Friend (2012), The Story of a New Name (2013), Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay (2014), and The Story of the Lost Child (2015) – is not all set in the capital of Campania and the two characters live some chapters of their life in other Italian cities. Ferrante mentions and describes many locations that can be visited in a sort of tour guided by the books.
Turin – Here is where Elena, a successful writer in her sixties, begins writing about her life long friendship with Raffaella. The location that is most described here is Parco Valentino, the park where she walks her dog. It is the park of Castello del Valentino, a beautiful palace located on the west bank of the Po River right in the center of Turin.
Naples – Elena and Raffaella were both born and raised in Rione Luzzatti, an underprivileged neighborhood of Naples and went to church Parrocchia Sacra Famiglia. Later on in life, Raffaella opened, in the fashionable Piazza Martiri, a trendy salon where she sold the shoes she designed next to Prada, Gucci, and Ferragamo.
Ischia – On the Green Island Elena and Raffaella went on vacation in a guesthouse in Barano, near the thermal pools of Maronti beach, and in a rented house above Citara beach. On the island, they also go to Forio and hike to the top of Ischia’s Monte Epomeo to see the whole island from above and the Bay of Naples.
Pisa – After graduating from highschool Elena moves to the Tuscan city to attend the University of Pisa founded in 1343. Here it is mandatory to visit the University’s Botanica Garden, which is the oldest in Europe, and the world-famous Leaning Tower located in Piazza Duomo, next to an amazing medieval baptistry.
Florence – Elena moves to the cradle of the Renaissance when she marries the Milanese Pietro. First, they live in Santa Maria del Carmine, in the south Oltrarno district, then near the 14th-century Porta San Niccolò, a three-story gate in Florence’s old city wall.
Milan – Elena regularly visits the Lombard capital to see her publisher and her in-laws. Her sister-in-law lives in the very center of the city, near the 11th-century Basilica di Sant’Ambrogio and Libreria Internazionale Hoepli, Italy’s largest bookstore, where we imagine Elena gives her first-ever reading in Milan.
Photos are frames from “My Brilliant Friend”