18 July 2012

Destinations from Literature


We’ve all experienced that feeling of being transported to another world by a book or a piece of writing. Beautiful, vivid descriptions can immerse us in a completely different part of the world, sometimes even a completely different period of time.

Travel also has this incredible effect. Sometimes we travel to lose ourselves, sometimes we travel to find ourselves, often we do both.

Escapism and discovery are two of the greatest charms of reading too. In my varied travels through novels I’ve been to Narnia, Emerald City, Hogwarts, First World War trenches, Roaring Twenties parties, antebellum America, afternoon tea with Mr Darcy, Middle Earth, Communist Russia, Victorian orphanages, the list goes on.

Thankfully there are thousands of settings you can go to in reality, not just in your imagination. So this week we’re taking our travel inspiration from the locations of some of our favourite stories…


“The half-forgotten island of Cefalonia rises improvidently and inadvisably from the Ionian sea: it is an island so immense in antiquity that the very rocks themselves exhale nostalgia and the red earth lies stupefied not only by the sun but by the impossible weight of memory.”

Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, Louis de Bernières

Despite what de Bernieres says, Cephalonia is definitely an island not to be forgotten. In fact one of its beaches, Myrtos, has made Beach Tomato’s favourites list.

New Orleans

“Don’t you just love those long rainy afternoons in New Orleans when an hour isn’t just an hour – but a little piece of eternity dropped into your hands – and who knows what to do with it?”

A Streetcar Named Desire, Tennessee Williams

The French Quarter of New Orleans is full of colour, vibrancy, music and passion. It’s still the festival capital of the world with the best soul fests, jazz clubs & Mardi Gras parade.

New York

“The city seen from the Queensboro Bridge is always the city seen for the first time, in its first wild promise of all the mystery and beauty in the world.”

“I began to like New York, the racy, adventurous feel of it at night, and the satisfaction that the constant flicker of men and women and machines gives to the restless eye.”

The Great Gatsby, F.Scott Fitzgerald

The city that never sleeps hasn’t lost its top spot since flappers danced the charleston through its bright streets nearly a century ago. Check out Black Tomato’s spotlight on the current arts scene.

French Rivera 

“On the pleasant shore of the French Riviera, about half way between Marseilles and the Italian border, stands a large, proud, rose-colored hotel. Deferential palms cool its flushed façade, and before it stretches a short dazzling beach. Lately it has become a summer resort of notable and fashionable people.”

Tender is the Night, F.Scott Fitzgerald

This ‘rose-colored hotel’ is actually based on Hôtel du Cap Eden Roc, in Antibes. It was a regular European hang out for Fitzgerald himself, as well as, Hemingway, Picasso, Churchill, Elizabeth Taylor, and all the cool gang in their heyday. Their presence helped transform the area into the affluent summer playground it is now.


The Talented Mr Ripley is mostly set in the fictional town of Mongibello. But don’t fear, the town was modelled on the real life gem that is Positano.

Highsmith isn’t the only fan. John Steinbeck famously remarked, “Positano bites deep. It is a dream place that isn’t quite real when you are there and becomes beckoningly real after you have gone.”

And we have to agree. Read why here, on Beach Tomato.


Words by Hannah Silverto