Three weeks ago, I had the honor to speak with author Mario Dell’ Olio. He is the author of Forbidden Rome, an LGBT romance novel which tells the story of three young seminarians who travel to Rome to start a new chapter of their lives. They will begin their studies before entering the priesthood. Anthony, the protagonist and gay, falls in love with his new friend Kevin–an adventure that leads to a passionate relationship.
Their love affair must be kept in secret because they know the consequences of being discovered. That fear of being discovered forces them to cling onto each other even more, knowing their love affair can only endure in secret.
This book exposes the hypocrisy in the Catholic Church and the untold stories of gay life in the Vatican. When he was young, Mario went to study in Rome to be a priest. His experiences there had changed his perspective on life in the priesthood. Shortly after he arrived in Rome, the rector gave him and the other seminarians a list of places in the city that were off limit. Mario uses that experience and shares it with his readers through the voice of Anthony, the protagonist.
That passage comes right at the beginning and effectively sets the tone of the story. “Why does he know all these places?” Mario said to himself, referring to the rector as he talked to me.
“Was that why you put it in the book?” I asked.
“They knew what was going on. This was part of the subculture there that was very interesting to say the least,” he replied with an awesome laugh.
Forbidden Rome is the second LGBT romance I have read. As a great writer, Mario seems to have found the magnet that traps his readers and keeps them there. His style of writing, which flows like a river spring, is arguably that invisible magnet. It took him two years to write the story as he told me.
Mario Dell’ Olio is the author of several books, including Letters from Italy, Body and Soul, and New Men: Bonds of Brotherhood. To learn more about Mario Dell’ Olio’s works, please go to his website.
You can also follow him on Twitter.
You can watch the video below.
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