"Broken aqueducts, left in the most picturesque and beautiful clusters of arches; broken temples; broken tombs. A desert of decay, somber and desolate beyond all expression; and with a history in every stone that strews the ground." - Charles Dickens, on Rome
TRAVELING TO ROME
It is said that there are some places that require one day to visit, some that require three days, and just a select few that require a full five days. Rome is one of those five day places, and one of the most fascinating and beautiful cities in the world. World-class museums, lovely little neighborhoods, the Colosseum, Vatican City, not-to-be-missed shopping, and life-changing culinary experiences. Here are our recommendations on the best travel books for a visit to Rome.
DK Eyewitness Travel: Rome
Rome is one of the most culturally rich cities in the world, with an incredibly deep history and so much to see and do. As such, we recommend the DK Eyewitness Travel guidebook. There are many travel guides to choose from, but what sets DK Eyewitness Travel apart is the quality of their custom maps and beautiful color photography. Their descriptions of the many museums and cultural highlights are very impressive.
Rick Steves: Rome
The Rick Steves guide is our choice for the best guide for first time visitors to Rome. Steves provides very specific guidance on where to stay, how to get around, the best neighborhoods, how to plan the perfect trip to the Vatican, and more. His recommendations on self-guided walks are particularly good. Do get the latest version - these guidebooks helpfully are always updated yearly, helping ensure accurate information.
One of the best things to see in Rome is the Vatican, and the best book to help visitors understand the 2,000 year history of this amazing place is The Vatican, written by Michael Collins, a former St. Peter’s Basicila guide and notable church historian. It is beautifully illustrated and full of information, both on their priceless art collection and on what it is like to live and work inside the Holy City.
111 Places in Rome That You Must Not Miss
Those who have visited Rome before might find some new surprises in the 111 Places That You Must Not Miss guide. This book provides quirky insider-type ideas not normally found in other travel guides, with recommendations on lesser-known historical and architectural landmarks, beautiful views, and hard-to-find neighborhood walks. 111 Places is a great choice for those who want to experience the true character of this amazing destination.
SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome, by Mary Beard
The most complete and comprehensive book on the history of Rome comes from noted classicist Mary Beard. In SPQR, Beard narrates the history of this amazing city in a highly readable way that makes nearly a thousand years of history come to life. The book is long but entertaining, and an excellent way to get to know the city before visiting. Named as one of the New York Times Book Review 100 Notable Books of 2015.
Eat Pray Love, by Elizabeth Gilbert
Eat, Pray, Love (2006) tells the story of 34 year old Elizabeth Gilbert’s attempt to recover from a painful divorce in a one year trip around the world. She chose Rome as her starting point, in a quest to experience happiness through great food, then traveled to India in search of enlightenment, ending in Bali where she sought balance. Eay, Pray, Love is a very popular book, and while sometimes a little too predictable, a very endearing memoir. Click here for our review.