MI6 digs up one of 007's in-the-field postcards to M whilst on the Risico mission...

Postcards From Bond - Rome
27th November 2009

The fourth short story found in "For Your Eyes Only" sees James Bond in Italy, where he meets his contact, Kristatos who in turn points 007 in the direction of smuggler Columbo. To get to the latter man, Bond wines and dines his mistress, Lisl Baum. With the attention of Columbo himself, Bond discovers he has been duped and it is Kristatos who is the Soviet smuggler he is after...

Risico Locations

Above: Never-before-seen postcards from the MI6 archives - postmarked Venice 1957...

Risico Locations
In the fourth short Bond adventure we find within Ian Fleming's anthology "For Your Eyes Only", 007 is on location in Italy. Rome, one of Ian Fleming's least favourite cities, does not meet with 007's good graces either. Bond appears to have little interest in the city beyond food and the drink, and makes no effort to see the unmissable Coliseum, nor the nearby Roman Forum.

He meets his contact, Kristatos, at the Excelsior Bar. The bar belongs to the hotel of the same name, located in Via Vittorio Veneto, Rome's most celebrated avenue since featuring in La Dolce Vita, and renowned as one of the world's great classic hotels.

After his rendezvous, the two make their way to the presumably fictional Albergo Colomba d'Oro, off Piazza di Spagna at the foot of the famous Spanish Steps. The restaurant appears to have been an eye-opener for Bond; he orders "Tagliatelli Verdi with a Genoese sauce which Kristatos said was improbably concocted of basil, garlic and fir cones". Unfortunately though, Fleming fails to tell us what Bond thinks of his first taste of pesto.

Leaving the restaurant he meets the German girlfriend of Kristatos' rival, Colombo, owner of the restaurant. Offering her a taxi ride to her hotel, the Ambassadori, Lisl Baum refuses Bond's offer of a drink, but tells him she will be travelling to Venice the following day: "I bathe every afternoon at the Lido. But not the fashionable plage. I bathe at the Bagni Alberoni, where the English poet Byron used to ride his horse".


After dropping the girl at the Ambassadori, Bond continues in the taxi to his own hotel, the Nazionale. Although the Ambassadori seems no longer to exist, the four star Hotel Nazionale is an 18th century palace in Piazza Montecitorio, close to the Trevi Fountain and the Spanish Steps.

Fleming continues the tour of Rome's fashionable eateries in the evening. Left without the usual entourage of ally or girl to wine and dine with, Bond passes his evening in a fashion that fans of Fleming will be familiar with; first stop, Harry's Bar, followed by Florian's "and finally upstairs at the admirable Quadri", and although Fleming does not recount what Bond ordered in each establishment, he returns to Florian's the following day for an Americano. What is sure though is that Bond didn't travel too far, as all three establishments are in St Mark's Square.

The next day after lunch, Bond takes the vaporetto to "the tiny fishing village of Alberoni" and to the Bagni Alberoni to meet Lisl Baum, surely the most unattractive sounding name of all the Bond girls. After a half an hour with her, Bond finds he has been set up and after running off along the beach he is captured by Colombo and knocked unconscious.

Bond awakes on what "might once have been a large fishing-vessel" and concludes that "they were sailing down the Adriatic coast". Colombo wants to explain that not is all it seems with Kristatos, but before they talk, provides refreshments: "What will you have-gin, whisky, champagne? And this is the finest sausage in the whole of Bologna. Olives from my own estate. Bread, butter, Provelone-that is smoked cheese-and fresh figs. Peasant food, but good".

Colombo has discovered that Kristatos has a shipment of raw opium arriving that night, hidden in rolls of newsprint, and intends to put an end to him. The mission goes ahead as planned and having destroyed the shipment and killing Kristatos, they make their return journey. "Over a mound of fried eggs and bacon washed down with hot sweet coffee laced with rum, Colombo dotted the i's and crossed the t's". At the end of the story Colombo hands Bond some keys, telling Bond that he has happy for Bond to see Lisl Baum: "The metal tag was inscribed Albergo Danielli. Room 68". Let's hope that Bond managed to track down the five-star Albergo Danieli, a hotel just off St Mark's in Venice.

MI6 Literary Locations Guide
Rome, Italy
Venice, Italy

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Locations Coverage
Literary Index
For Your Eyes Only

  Postcards From Bond
Delve into the MI6 archives and uncover never before seen postcards from Bond's missions around the world to various MI6 personal. Recipiants include M, Moneypenny, Loelia Ponsonby and May - 007's housekeeper.
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