Touring Pittsburgh With Staci Troilo

It’s day three of the Story Empire Roadshow and I’m delighted to welcome Staci Troilo to my site. Staci is going to take you on a visit to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (a place near and dear to her heart.) Take it away, Staci!

Thanks for hosting me today, Joan. Hi, Joan’s followers! It’s nice to be back with you.

The Story Empire Roadshow takes the bookmobile to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania today. Which is fitting, because my Medici Protectorate series takes place (in part) there. I thought I’d give you a few highlights, but you can click on one or more of the links for more information.

Schenley Park

Schenley Park is right next to my alma mater, Carnegie Mellon University. When the weather is nice, and even sometimes when it isn’t, you can find college students hanging out there, playing intramural games or just taking in some sun.

Photo attribution: By Dllu (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

At the top of the hill, you will find Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens. It’s a beautiful glass building which houses displays of various flora from around the world. It’s hailed as a beautiful example of Victorian greenhouse architecture, and is actually one of the world’s most environmentally green facilities, as well. It is registered as a protected historical landmark.

Bleeding Heart has a scene set at Phipps and Schenley Park. It’s an important scene for the budding relationship between Franki and Gianni.

Duquesne Incline

The Duquesne Incline is one of two railway inclines that run from Station Square (a hotbed of social activity) by the river up to the top of Mount

Photo attribution: By Dllu – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,

Washington. From the observation deck at the top of the mountain, riders have a breathtaking view of the Pittsburgh skyline.

Mount Washington is where the Notaro sisters work. (It’s also where I got engaged. The view is gorgeous and the restaurants are top notch.) The fictional corporate office of Notaro Building and Design (NBD) has a similar view of the city.

Bleeding Heart has several scenes at NBD on Mount Washington. One of my favorites is when Gianni and Franki take a moment to enjoy the simple pleasure of the vista below them before leaving work for the day. Sometimes it’s the little things that mean so much.

Carnegie Museum of Art

The Carnegie Museum of Art is one of the four Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh. I loved going there when I was in college. One of my favorite places there was the Hall of Architecture.

Photo attribution: Moira Burke [CC BY-SA 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

The Hall of Architecture boasts the country’s largest collection of plaster casts, coming in third globally behind the Victoria and Albert Museum in London and the Musée National des Monuments Français in Paris. Pittsburgh’s architectural cast collection is renowned for staying virtually unaltered through the years. The magnificent sky-lit hall was inspired by one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus.

This location is crucial in Bleeding Heart. It’s where Franki and Gianni grow closer, and one of the exhibits there has special significance to Franki.

Carnegie Mellon University

Photo attribution: By Dllu – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,

Carnegie Mellon University was founded by Andrew Carnegie, a hard-working Scottish immigrant who came to Pittsburgh in 1848. He founded what became the largest global steel producing company by the late 1800s, and at one point, he was the wealthiest man in the world.

He believed “to die rich is to die disgraced” and by focusing his later efforts into writing, social activism, and philanthropy, he set out to give education opportunities to the general public. With a $1 million donation, he formed Carnegie Technical Schools, which offered programs in engineering disciplines. He also formed the Margaret Morrison Carnegie College for women. The schools continued to expand to accommodate a growing need for various disciplines, and in 1967 Carnegie Tech merged with the Mellon Institute (a science research center) to become what is today known as Carnegie Mellon University.

Carnegie Mellon University isn’t just my alma mater. The Notaro sisters went there, as did some of their employees. I like to think they stayed up late sometimes to paint the fence. Oh, did I not mention The Fence? Here’s a link to a cool bit of Fence tradition. You might want to check out some other cool Carnegie Mellon traditions, too. Some famous names pop up.

Pittsburgh, the City

It’s probably pretty obvious by now that I absolutely love Pittsburgh. I grew up in Vandergrift, Pennsylvania, about forty minutes from the city. My family are all diehard Steeler, Penguin, and Pirate fans. My husband and I are both alumni of Carnegie Mellon University. We’ve taken our kids to the city zoo, amusement parks, and museums in the city. One of their—and our—favorite things to do in Pittsburgh is walk through the Strip District, a small section of the city with various shops and restaurants with global appeal that you don’t want to miss.

I don’t know if you’ve ever been to Pittsburgh. There’s so much to do there. I could never do the city justice here. I miss the ’Burgh every day, which is why I pay homage to it in many of my stories. Thanks for indulging me in this wistful trip through the city. I hope you enjoyed this brief glance at just a few of the many landmarks. And if you get a chance, visit Pittsburgh. You won’t be sorry.

And, because you were troopers and read through to the end, I’m offering you the chance at two prizes. One commenter will receive a free eBook of their choosing, not just from the Medici Protectorate series (although you can choose one of those), but from any of my works (the complete list can be found by clicking here). Another commenter (US only) will be sent a Medici Protectorate pen. Good luck!

Medici Protectorate Series Premise: The four Notaro sisters are the secret legacy of the Medici, famed rulers of Italy. Michelangelo promised his Medician benefactor that he’d always watch over the family, and as such, he formed the Medici Protectorate to guard them throughout the generations. Now, Italy is in political turmoil and revolution is imminent. The people are calling for new rulers, and the Notaros are poised to assume control. But a nefarious opposing faction wants the power for themselves. Never was the family in more jeopardy. The four sisters are protected by the Brotherhood—four elite warriors of the Medici Protectorate prophesied to keep the family safe until they fulfill their destinies. They journey around the world in an effort to keep the family safe and the future of Italy secure.

Book One, Bleeding Heart: Gianni, a warrior destined to defend the secret legacy of the Medici, protects his charge Francesca from a prophesied assassin. Their worlds collide in passion and violence, and he must conquer her fears and his demons in time to save them both.
Bleeding Heart is only $.99 throughout the duration of the tour. Click the universal link for purchase information.

Book Two, Mind Control: Vinnie copes with his own identity issues while he struggles to protect the one prophesized Medici descendant, Jo, who refuses to embrace her heritage. With lives in peril, can they find the strength to overcome their tragic pasts, or is it too late?
Mind Control is only $1.99 throughout the duration of the tour. Click the universal link for purchase information.

Book Three, Body Armor: Nico works to increase his powers and save the Notaro family matriarch, but his private agendas put his charge Donni’s life at risk. When secrets and lies result in three abductions, the group will need to place their trust him to save them all.

Social Media Links:

Web | Blog | Newsletter Signup | Twitter | Amazon | Additional Social Media Links

Staci, I enjoyed hosting you again today. Staci is giving away some cool prizes, so be sure to leave her a comment for a chance to win. And don’t forget to check out the other authors on this week’s tour by clicking the links below.

Craig   |   Mae   |   Harmony   |   Joan   | P. H.















  • Staci, as always it was a pleasure hosting you today. Loved the tour of Pittsburgh. From the photos, I can see why you love it so. I especially like the view from the incline. And I’m enjoying Bleeding Heart.

    • Thanks, Joan. I appreciate you hosting me.

      That was the view we had on the night I got engaged. Hubby took me to a fabulous restaurant at the top of Mt. Washington. The place had everything—the view, the food, the ambiance. The best part was the company, of course, but it really was a picture-perfect evening. In ever sense of the word.

  • C. S. Boyack

    You make Pittsburgh sound like a great place to visit. Hope you get a ton of attention today.

    • Thank you, Craig. I try to give a little back to my roots where I can. If I can convince even one person to make a visit, I’ll be happy. It’s a great place.

    • Yes, her post has me wanting to see the city and I’m a small town girl.

  • As a native Keystoner, I’m ashamed to say I’ve never visited Pittsburgh. Of course, it’s on the other side of the state. The city looks great, if a bit overwhelming to this small town girl (and I thought Harrisburg was intimidating, LOL).

    The fence painting tradition sounds like a lot of fun. You made this tour of Pittsburgh a blast. It’s obvious you love the place!

    • For shame! A PA resident who hasn’t gone to Pgh? Sigh. I have a lot to teach you, Mae. 😉

      One of the best things about Pittsburgh is that it’s not BIG in a metropolis kind of way. It’s beautiful, and there’s plenty to do (I didn’t even scratch the surface), but it’s kind of a bunch of small little pockets of wonder all under the same big umbrella. It’s not intimidating. I think you’d really like it.

      • Well that makes it sound less intimidating…maybe a smidgen, LOL.
        Yes, you’ve got your work cut out for you.I can’t even get the “h” on the end, remember 😀

        Actually, I think my parents took me to the zoo there when I was a kid, but that memory is very, very foggy.

        • I’ll nag you about the H until you remember. You know, if you visited, you’d probably think more fondly of it and remember on your own. (wink-wink)

          It’s not intimidating. And you’d love it.

        • Okay, I confess it’s hard for me to remember the “h”. There is a small town nearby named Pittsburg (without the h) and I’m forever getting mixed up.

          • In Arkansas, if you tell people you’re from Pittsburgh (and leave out the state), they assume Pittsburg, Kansas. That’s just wrong. 😉

    • Mae, I’ve probably been closer to your part of the state than Pittsburgh (Gettysburg). Beautiful country and hope to visit PA again someday.

  • carmen

    Thank you, greatly for this virtual tour, Staci!
    So many interesting places.I loved that mention of_ the country’s largest collection of plaster casts,

    • Thanks, Carmen. When I was in college, the museum was pretty much just down the street. I used to go there a lot. To this day, I miss it. There are some truly breathtaking displays there.

    • Carmen, thanks so much for visiting! You’ve been a great supporter of our tour.

  • T Polen

    We’ve taken the incline tour – a stunning view – but I don’t remember which restaurant we went to at the top. The Carnegie Museum of Art was fascinating – I could have spent the day there. My hubby’s family are all originally from the Pittsburgh area, so we’ve been there several times – he’s a die-hard Steelers and Pirates fan.

    • Your husband and Staci would get along famously. She and I sometimes tease one another about the Steelers and Dallas Cowboys. (Although we’ve had little to cheer about the past few years.) Thanks for visiting today!

    • Ah, Teri. I knew we were destined to be great friends. It makes my heart happy to hear that you love the city… the museum… the Steelers and Pirates (and hopefully the Pens?). I really miss being in the city.

  • Pittsburgh seems a place I’d like to visit some day. The picture of the view from Mount Washington reminds me of a view of the city of Perth in Australia from its botanic garden. It’s breathtaking from the photo and I’d love to see it in person.
    Thank you for the tour!

    • It’s on my bucket list of places to see. Oh and you’ve been to my ultimate destination – Australia. Come back to the US and we’ll all meet up in Pittsburgh!

      • Michele Jones

        If you come to the “Burg”, I’d love to meet you both. I live very close.

        • The closest I’ve been in Gettysburg (yes on the other side of the state.) If I do make it there, I’ll be sure to let you know.

      • It would be great to meet in Pittsburgh!

    • I’ve never been to Australia, Irene. It’s great that you go so many places. That must make for a lot of inspiration for settings in your own work.

      And if we’re all meeting in Pittsburgh, count me in!

      • I am a more sedentary type (I hate to pack and unpack) but Andrea loves to travel and Australia was our honeymoon. We have seen incredible landscapes!

        • No one likes to pack and unpack, Irene. LOL

          We’ve been to some wonderful places, but I haven’t crossed an ocean yet. Hubby has, but that was for work. We were supposed to go to Italy (my dream trip) in 2001, but then 9-11 happened, and we canceled our plans. Hope to get there someday, though!

          • If you come to Italy we MUST meet! I live in the middle between Milan, Genoa and Turin. I’m sure you’d love Turin. It’s so full of mystery!

          • If (when) we make plans, you’re the first person I’m contacting!

  • Harmony Kent

    Pittsburgh looks so beautiful, Staci. What a lovely tour, and great pics! I have the first two books in the Medici Protectorate series, and can’t wait to dive in ?

    • Thanks, Harmony. Much appreciated.

    • I sure enjoyed that tour. Now I want to see Pittsburgh. Thanks for stopping by, Harmony!

  • Michele Jones

    I love that you have Pittsburgh as the backdrop for many of your stories. It’s a beautiful city. I use it when I write as well, it has so much to offer.

    • Michele, I loved the photos. Looks like a neat city. Thanks so much for stopping by today!

    • I couldn’t agree more. It’s a great setting for a story. And a great place to visit!

  • Hi, Staci! 🙂 I’ve got a lot of catching up to do! 😉 I love you tour around Pittsburgh! One of my favourite places to visit in London when I was studying art and design was the Cast Courts at the Victoria and Albert – I’m sure Pittsburgh’s are equally impressive! 😀
    Thanks for hosting Joan! 🙂

    • Hi Jan – Staci’s description makes me want to visit there. Thanks for stopping by!

    • That sounds lovely, Jan. If I ever get to London, I’m going to check that out.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  • Pingback: The Modern Medici()