ADRIANA TRIGIANI, AUTHOR AND FILMMAKER

Where is it?

St Andrew's Cathedral, Glasgow.

Why do you go there?

I was directing a movie in Scotland and had a weekend to walk around Glasgow. I made a list. I began the day at St Andrew's Cathedral where a wedding was taking place.

Italians consider weddings good luck, so I crashed the nuptial mass standing in the back of the church. I stayed until the end and went outside as the bride emerged. The piper played the family out of the church.

It was a glorious wedding. The bride was resplendent. A gorgeous family. I was taking photos when a man asked: "Who are you?". I turned and it was the priest. I said: "Oh, Father – I'm just a tourist." He asked me my name, and then he said: "You're Italian. You need to see the garden."

HeraldScotland: St Andrew's Cathedral in Glasgow. Picture: Lenny WarrenSt Andrew's Cathedral in Glasgow. Picture: Lenny Warren

How did you discover it?

After the revellers dispersed, I walked over to the garden gate and went inside. The Italian cloister garden honours the memory of the Italian Scots who perished aboard the Arandora Star in July 1940.

The Arandora Star was a luxury ocean liner that had been requisitioned to haul prisoners of war out of England. The Italian Scots and Britalians across the country were rounded up and falsely imprisoned simply because they were of Italian descent.

I had never heard this story or read about it. When I returned home and worked with historical researchers, we found a steady drip of anti-immigrant propaganda in the newspapers. I printed one of them in my latest novel.

What first drew you to the subject?

I believe subjects find writers, and if the writer is open, a story is born.

HeraldScotland: The British liner Arandora Star was sunk by a German U-boat off the west coast of Ireland in July 1940. Picture: Fox Photos/Hulton Archive/Getty ImagesThe British liner Arandora Star was sunk by a German U-boat off the west coast of Ireland in July 1940. Picture: Fox Photos/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

What did you discover during your research?

When I was growing up the word immigrant was a word of honour in our home. I discovered that the plight of the immigrant around the world never changes. No matter what you achieve, or how much you contribute, on a fundamental level you remain an outsider.

When the Italian immigrants were rounded up, there was no struggle because they were friends and often family with their fellow countrymen.

What's your favourite memory of visiting?

The garden was serene. I became very emotional as I read the names on the plinth. The roster of names broke my heart.

Who do you take?

I would hope every tourist to Glasgow would visit the garden, and hopefully every family in the UK. There's a feeling inside that garden that elevates us to our best selves, reminding us to do better because we know better.

HeraldScotland: Italian Cloister Garden at St Andrew's Cathedral, Glasgow. Picture: Colin MearnsItalian Cloister Garden at St Andrew's Cathedral, Glasgow. Picture: Colin Mearns

What do you take?

A camera and a notebook.

Sum it up in five words.

Emotional. Spiritual. Artful. Peaceful. Italian.

What other travel spot is on your wish list?

Home to the mountains of Italy.

The Good Left Undone by Adriana Trigiani (Penguin Michael Joseph, £14.99) is out now