The "Best" Guidebook for Rome?

Old Jan 5th, 2005, 10:59 PM
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The "Best" Guidebook for Rome?

HI it's me again. What book would you suggest I buy to guide me around Rome? I would like descriptions after I get into a church or a gallery. Also if there are little known facts or sights that would be great.

For instance my friend said that she would have liked a book that explained a painting in a church or in St. Peters there were so many sculptures she would have liked to have known the story about them. I think I would like that too, but Amazon is overwhelming. Thanks.
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Old Jan 6th, 2005, 03:57 AM
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DK Eyewitness Rome

Read a sample chapter here:
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Old Jan 6th, 2005, 04:11 AM
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Yes, you will need a guidebook, and the best thing to do is go to a bookstore and browse. Look up the same topic in several books, to see which one treats the subject in a way that appeals to you.

I recommend also going through this Helpful Information Italy thread,it is a comprehensive resource

I have a long file on Rome; if you'd like to see it, email me at
[email protected]

You might also want to consider some guided walking tours in Rome--many of us recommend Context Rome, or Enjoy Rome, or other agencies.
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Old Jan 6th, 2005, 05:20 AM
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Blue Guides have the most detail of art and architecture but are a bit "dry". You might be better off doing some old fashioned encyclopedia or art book research in your local public library of topics that are of interest to you. Then, go on a hunt for the work or site that you have researched. It makes what can be overwhelming in Rome a much better experience. Also, I highly recommend the fictional biography of Michaelangelo by Irving Stone "The Agony and the Ecstacy". It has wonderful descriptions of his work and life in Rome. Beside St. Peters and the Sistine Chapel, don't miss his Moses sculpture in the church of St. Peter in Chains. Enjoy planning your trip!
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Old Jan 6th, 2005, 05:39 AM
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Another vote for lauri_ann's recommendation of "The Agony & the Ecstacy". I am currently reading it and it is a fascinating & wonderful book.
Old Jan 6th, 2005, 06:14 AM
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I bought quite a few guides for my trip to Rome this past spring. I'm embarrassed to admit I dragged them all along with me! I did not find one that was both a good all-around guide to the city as well as a detailed guide to individual sights. However, I would say the two best were the DK Eyewitness guide and the Michelin Green Guide. They seemed to complement each other.

In places like St. Peter's you can buy a detailed guide book and sometimes that's the best option, although it can be expensive. It is frustrating to travel so far and then wonder what you are looking at!

Two I would not take but would suggest you read beforehand and jot down a few suggestions: "City Secrets: Rome" and "Rome in Detail."

Please don't forget your local library as a great place to audition guide books -- they may not have this year's edition but you can get a good idea which ones you'll want to buy. (I think people are good about donating travel guides).

I also enjoyed reading HV Morton's "A Traveller in Rome" (although it was written several decades ago, it is very well-written) and "Michelangleo and the Pope's Ceiling."
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Old Jan 6th, 2005, 06:28 AM
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I bought and checked out every book I could find on Rome. I also read every website I could find. In the end, I put together my own guidebook by printing, typing or copying from all these sources. The benefits to me were that I could focus only on the stuff I was interested in, I could coalate in directions from one site to the other, I could tear out or markup pages when I got there.

The downside is that I spent numerous man days doing it, but for me that is part of the fun. I got a map and highlighted all my sites, then put together a calendar of sorts of what I wanted to do on each day. No one guidebook will do it and you'd be amazed at the wealth of information free on the Internet for St. Peters or the various fountains, statues, squares and so on.
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Old Jan 6th, 2005, 07:57 AM
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Thankyou for all the suggestions, it is too overwhelming to figure out all of this! I will go to a bookstore and browse at lunch and I can xerox pages from the library too. It is just hard to visualize this city, I thought that it is more ancient than it is.
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