I love books. I always have. I love the smell, the feel, the comfortable form of them in the hand. Within them are knowledge and escape, adventure and pleasure, sometimes deep emotion and sometimes revolutionary thought. The ideas in books are far more powerful than violence. They are the barometer of civilisation. 

About a year ago I achieved the simple ambition of gathering my many books into one room. Alright, so it’s called a library! I prefer the word study. The walls are lined with books interspersed with a few poster of my beloved Italy. My genealogical books, papers and records are also there. All in easy reach! 

History books from “Lucy, The Beginning of Mankind” by Don Johanson to “The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich” by William L. Shirer; from “Ordeal of the Union” by Allan Nevins to “The Annals of Imperial Rome” by Tacitus, and so much in-between. 

In the corner sits my computer with a relatively large collection of CDs, both classical and modern. 

There is one bookcase dedicated to my favourite genre of fiction, the detective novel! Here you will find all of Donna Leon’s works featuring Commissario Guido Brunetti of Venice. Here you will find all of Andrea Camilleri’s books of the Sicilian detective Inspector Salvo Montalbano. There are also the stories of Chief Superintendent Michele Ferrara, penned by an ex head of the Florence Flying Squad, Michele Giuttari. On the shelves can be found books by Peter Robinson (DCI Alan Banks), Ian Rankin (DI John Rebus), Colin Dexter (Morse), the amazing Michael Dibdin (Aurelio Zen), Magdalen Nabb and her wonderfully bumbling Marshal Guarnaccia of Florence, plus Henning Mankell’s haunted Kurt Wallander and P.D. James’ cerebral Adam Dalgliesh. 

Two new names have recently joined the ranks. David Hewson is an Englishman whose hero is a young rookie in the Rome Police named Nic Costa and Jo Nesbø has only just been translated from Norwegian to English. His character is the Detective Harry Hole, a real loner with almost as many problems as Wallander! Yet another new character is Ruth Galloway, a forensic archaeologist created by Elly Griffiths. There are four book so far with at least another to come. By the end of the fourth book I felt I could probably recognise some of the character in the street which can't be bad!

About 12 months ago I invested in an Amazon Kindle. It may not have the magic of a book but you can carry a large proportion of your library in a pocket and you never lose your place!

It is to my study that I retreat to work on the website, to read and write. Every man needs a haven. Some may have a shed at the bottom of the garden or an allotment; others head for the golf course. I have my study. 

Apart from my family, for contentment I need three things; my books, my music and a broadband connection!