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Book recommendations please re Italy/Rome...

Book recommendations please re Italy/Rome...

Nov 26th, 2012, 06:23 PM
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Join Date: Dec 2005
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Book recommendations please re Italy/Rome...

I will be taking my 22-year-old nephew on his first trip outside the country. He is accompanying me to Italy. We will spend most of our time in Rome, but he has asked to go to Pompeii. I believe we will probably get in a couple days in Florence and a few days in Venice.

He says he is a big history buff (I'm afraid I don't know him as well as I should. He lives in another state and his father, my brother, passed away when my nephew was just 10).

I'm looking for recommendations on a few books I can send him that he can read between now and early March. Anything that will help him enjoy his stay more than just going.

Thanks, all!~!

(PS This is also posted in the Lounge, fyi.)
sarge56 is offline  
Nov 26th, 2012, 06:47 PM
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The Agony and the Ecstasy: A Biographical Novel of Michelangelo

Written like fiction. The story centers around Micheangleo, but deals with the country as a whole during his time. Very well done.
jerrylee is offline  
Nov 26th, 2012, 06:47 PM
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When you find a book you like or that was recommended, go to www.abebooks.com for a really good price.
Rastaguytoday is offline  
Nov 26th, 2012, 07:01 PM
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Hi Sarge

Since coming back from Rome I started "Roma" by Steven Saylor - A novel of ancient Rome. I was working off a list that Marigross had included in one of her Italy trip reports with her ratings. (thanks Marigross!). That book was in the Rome apartment I rented, and Luca said a guest had left it as a gift. So that was two recommendations.

Since then I have also discovered goodreads, which is probably very well know, but new to me.- that also had nice lists of books grouped by subject matter.
davispeets is offline  
Nov 26th, 2012, 07:18 PM
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Here is a sample of a goodreads list of books on ancient Rome.


Marigross book list with ratings:

davispeets is offline  
Nov 26th, 2012, 07:28 PM
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sarge, there are so many books about Rome.If your nephew like ancient history of the city the "Emperor" series by Conn Iggulden is excellent and so is "Roma" by Steven Saylor.

I recommend also Christopher Hibbert"Rome the Biography of a city.
This is really an interesting book and a must read book.

Another excellent book is "The Race for Rome"how the eternal city was saved from Nazi destruction,by Dan Kurzman
kismetchimera is offline  
Nov 26th, 2012, 07:42 PM
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Since he wants to visit Pompeii he should read the book Pompeii by Robert Harris.
adrienne is offline  
Nov 26th, 2012, 11:38 PM
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For Pompeii -

Mary Beard's Pompeii; The Life of a Roman Town

Charles Pellegrino's Ghosts of Vesuvius
farrermog is offline  
Nov 27th, 2012, 12:48 AM
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Robert Graves' I Claudius and Claudius the God are both excellent.

Claudius was the architect of Ostia Antica I believe which whilst not as spectacular as Pompeii is still very interesting and very accessible from Rome.

While we're here, [and excuse me if I'm teaching my granny to suck eggs] if you are planning on Venice and Florence as well as Rome, you could do an "open jaw" flight into Venice and out of Rome, to cut down on the travelling time between cities. OTOH if you decide on "round trip" flights, it can be a good idea to put the place that you are flying out of at the end of the trip so that you are in the right place for flying home. so if you are flying into and out of Rome, a good idea is on arrival to take the train straight to Venice, then the train to Florence and finally the train to Rome.

Sorry for the gratuitous advice if it is unnecessary or unwanted.
annhig is offline  
Nov 27th, 2012, 01:45 AM
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Anthony Doerr - "Four Seasons In Rome"; H.V. Morton - "A Traveller in Rome"; George H. Sullivan - "Not Built In A Day"
opaldog is offline  
Nov 27th, 2012, 04:45 AM
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Georgina Masson's Companion Guide to Rome and if you want to know about the area of N. Lazio, Etruscan area http://www.elegantetruria.com/books/
vetralla is offline  
Nov 27th, 2012, 05:17 AM
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We are currently using the Mondadori apps for a virtual history of both Roma, and Firenze. Your nephew can download them through the iTune app store. (We also downloaded the Travelpedia Rome app, plus Fodor's Rome, but mostly used Mondadori.) It's been very convenient, and informative, to have everything on our iPad while we're here, in Italy.
just27 is offline  
Nov 27th, 2012, 03:45 PM
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For a history buff I think the best guide for the sites is the 'Oxford Archaeological Guide Rome'.

Also this would make an excellent reference book to have on-hand while reading-up, watching a movie or a documentary on Rome before the trip.

For the majority of people IMO the most interesting period of Rome's history is from Julius Caesar to the end of the 1st Century.
Thru movies, books, documentries, etc we all know about Julius Caesar, Augustus, Caligula and Nero.
And usually something about Tiberius, Claudius and Vespasian.

Suetonius' 'The Twelve Caesars' (Michael Grant's version is the best with his narrative) puts you in that era from Julius Caesar to Domitian. And the majority of sites you will see were either there already or built during that era (but often rebuilt later due to fire).
Rostra is offline  
Nov 27th, 2012, 04:40 PM
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Great advice! Thanks
willowjane is offline  
Nov 27th, 2012, 05:41 PM
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thanks, everyone! And, yes, please do list documentaries or videos you can also recommend!
sarge56 is offline  
Nov 27th, 2012, 06:36 PM
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Documentaries: Currently on the History Channel, "Mankind the Story of Us" the "Empires" episode. I have Directv and see one more showing of this episode repeated on Dec. 4. I thought it was very good.

Ron in Rome has a nice collection of documentaries and movies summarized:


I have on my DVD shelf left to finish HBOs Rome and Starz'sSpartacus -- both of those seem like good action shows for a 22 year old.

I watched both tv versions the tHe Borgias and actually liked the Lionsgate version with John Dolman (really bad accent though) more than the Showtime version with Jeremy Irons. The Lionsgate version is on Netflix streaming..
davispeets is offline  
Nov 28th, 2012, 10:53 AM
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Few years ago I watched "Rome", the HBO tv series ..It was excellent and perhaps the local library may have it.

sarge, Roma,the biography of a city is excellent.i have truly enjoyed reading it many years ago and I am from that city...

The book has everything that you need to know.

You can buy it from Alibris..
kismetchimera is offline  

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