Modern-day Florence. Camelia, a sweet and caring noblewoman who lives on Ponte Vecchio and has two passions: animals and perfumes. A pet shop named “Paws to the Sky” where its animals have never been on sale… And a series of adventures these little pets embark on, all around the city of Florence. This is the premise of “Paco & Camelia: The Venus’ Mystery and other Secrets,” a new book for kids aged six and up which comes to life through a comical yet educational storyline.
Written by a relatively new author on the Italian literary scene, Francesco Ciai, the native Florentine began developing this story in 2004 and, after a series of challenging life events, used this project as an outlet with which to escape daily hardships. The end product, Paco & Camelia, is a whimsical book that reflects the classic literary style of masters such as Lewis Carroll and Rudyard Kipling. Even for adults, 96 pages filled with striking illustrations send our imaginations wild and leave us with valuable life lessons to keep in mind.
But, as a blog about Florence, what strikes us the most, is that the book pays homage to the author’s home city and its culture by intertwining a contemporary story and typical Florentine phrases with the secret history of our city, complete with the likes of a big Medici secret, the Boboli Gardens, the Vasari Corridor, and – as the title suggests - Botticelli’s Birth of Venus which becomes the protagonist of a major plot twist.
The book is out now in both English and Italian and is available in bookshops and via the official site, PacoCamelia.com. And to give you even more of a reason to buy a copy, part of the proceeds from the book will be designated to a fund to help children victims of road accidents via the Claudio Ciai Foundation.