Could this be what Roma Nova looks like?

View from St Katerina, above the Vintner Gorge, Slovenia

When I placed Roma Nova, the setting for the Carina and Aurelia adventures, in ‘Central Europe’ (wherever that is), it was vaguely based on Austria and Slovenia. I was lucky enough to visit both countries this year (2023) and see some wonderful Roman archaeology. But what about the landscape – the places where people lived, farmed, and worked?

Drying shed and farm, Slovenia

Despite the cities and towns in both countries, a significant number of people in Austria and Slovenia still work on the land, whether part time or full time. Many have roots ‘back on the farm’ and return there at festival and/or holiday times.

Don’t run the cows over! Magdalensberg, Austria

Roma Novans have this ‘split identity’ – it’s a reflection of the land itself which has pastures, fields, forests and mountains, plus some spectacular rivers. So in this post, you’ll see a few inspirations…

Woodland, Predjama, Slovenia

Forests and the timber industry are extremely important, especially in Alpine countries where it often is/has been the main source of fuel and building material.

As well as hosting the great rivers of the region such as the Danube, the Sava and the Drava/Drau, these mountains are often endowed with fast flowing rivers that cut their way down through the rock making steep-sided gorges.

Vintner Gorge, Slovenia

In an area covered by glaciers in the Ice Age, the resulting flat-bottomed valleys have been cultivated by humans over thousands of years and today provide rich pasture as well as fields for wheat, spelt, oats and barley. (Ignore the tourist who photobombed the field.)

Hayfield, Maria Saal, Austria

And there are lakes everywhere in this Alpine region – some formed where the glacier has scoured the valley particularly enthusiastically such as Lake Bohinj in Slovenia, some from a tectonic depression (as my Geography teacher called a hole in the  ground) or a combination of both such as the famous Lake Bled, also in Slovenia. As in the photo below, castles commanding the landscape were often built to watch over valleys, lakes or rivers.

Lake Bled with Bled Castle

Villages, towns, markets, even small ports and resorts have grown up round these lakes.

Bled (It was raining!)

But the mountains are always around you, even when you are driving out of the city into this landscape.


Alison Morton is the author of Roma Nova thrillers –  INCEPTIO, CARINA (novella), PERFIDITAS, SUCCESSIO,  AURELIA, NEXUS (novella), INSURRECTIO  and RETALIO,  and ROMA NOVA EXTRA, a collection of short stories.  Audiobooks are available for four of the series. Double Identity, a contemporary conspiracy, starts a new series of thrillers. JULIA PRIMA, a new Roma Nova story set in the late 4th century, is now out.

Download ‘Welcome to Alison Morton’s Thriller Worlds’, a FREE eBook, as a thank you gift when you sign up to Alison’s monthly email update. You’ll also be among the first to know about news and book progress before everybody else, and take part in giveaways.

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