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Books About Rome

Rick recommended almost 30 books about Rome in his guide book, of which two caught my eyes: 1. City: A Story of Roman Planning and Construction by David Macaulay; and 2. A Day in the Life of Rome by Alberto Angela.

Have you read one or both of these and what did you think? Thank you.

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Rick has a lot of nice recommendations on that page!

Two books he left out—perhaps because they take place in towns just outside of Rome—that I think are great reads are:

"An Irreverent Curiosity: In Search of the Church's Strangest Relic in Italy's Oddest Town," a nonfiction book that is part travelogue part history and part detective mystery about Calcata, a medieval hill town 35 miles north of Rome where there was a strange holy relic in the church—the foreskin of Jesus (I'm not joking)—that recently went missing under mysterious circumstances and the author, David Farley, tries to find out what happened to it. In the book, he also ends up hanging out a lot with the hippies and artists who live in the village.

"Pasquele's Nose: Idle Days in an Italian Town," is a travelogue where author Michael Rips moves to the town of Sutri (not far from Calcata, actually) with this wife and child to hang out with the many eccentric locals. It's a classic fish-out-of-water story, but in Italy.

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Alberto Angela's A Day in the Life of Rome is an interesting and informative look at the city of Rome through the eyes of its residents. The book follows a day in the life of several different people, from a young girl who is learning about her Roman heritage to a man who is struggling to keep his business afloat. Angela also looks at the city from an historical perspective, discussing how Rome has changed over the centuries. While some parts of the book are better than others, overall it provides a fascinating glimpse into the everyday lives of Roman citizens.
I really enjoyed the structure - I've read a lot of books/research works on ancient Rome as powerful ancient civilization (ancient Rome was an influential, and impressive empire) but here learned an incredible amount by going through the day and seeing what a typical day (may have) looked like.