This charming guidebook celebrates more than fifty of the most beautiful, tranquil, and often hidden places in the Eternal City: courtyards where mossy fountains splash; landscaped staircases clinging to Rome’s Seven Hills; cool, quiet cloisters; atmospheric ruins dating to the days of Caesar; gorgeous gardens scented by boxwood and bay trees. Some of Rome’s quiet corners boast breathtaking views, while others are filled with archaeological or architectural details, from crumbling aqueducts or majestic stone archways, to Renaissance garden follies, frescoed walls, and baroque fountains.
Author David Downie and photographer Alison Harris climb the Janiculum-the highest hill within Rome’s ancient walled fortifications-and find hidden benches with see-forever views; a church forecourt where Goethe sat and sighed, drinking in the inspiration; and the park of a once-noble villa now luxuriantly overgrown, its long trellises knotted with fragrant wisteria and climbing roses. On the Palatine, they find a narrow lane that passes over the ancient ruins, affording rare glimpses of the Forum and Colosseum, free of charge and with no wait. Beyond the Domus Aurea of Emperor Nero, they discover a sweeping staircase from a century ago and the massive brick remains of a temple to Isis. Even the most intrepid travelers who think of themselves as Rome “insiders” will be surprised when they follow the author and photographer of this guidebook through the Roman labyrinth. Historical anecdotes and quotations from antiquity to the present day are woven throughout the text, bringing Rome alive.