Under Vesuvius: A Reflective Travelogue in Verse and Prose traces a 2016 vacation in and around Sorrento, Italy. In the spirit of the Grand Tour and Mark Twain’s Innocents Abroad,
the author writes about sights and sounds of the Italian countryside, shorelines and islands around the Tyrrhenian Sea, from Naples to the Amalfi Coast and the islands of Ischia and Capri. Under Vesuvius celebrates life in what feels like a magical land of cliffs and flowers, olives and lemons, evidenced by locals met along the way. It simultaneously discovers and contemplates lessons from the region’s long past peoples and the places and edifices they left behind, whether still incredibly above ground and undisturbed for two millennia in Paestum, or sadly buried for as long by Vesuvius in Pompeii and Herculaneum. This book urges a consideration of faith, art, sacred spaces, friendship, honor, witnessing truth in the face of abusive secular and ecclesial authority, the holiness of a person’s name, and the relentless, devastating effects of lead toxicity on unsuspecting victims two millennia ago and in our current day.