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City Secrets Rome [Hardcover]

Robert Kahn
1.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
RRP: 12.99
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Book Description

7 July 2011 City Secrets
Explore the vast and ancient city of Rome—from art, architecture, and antiquities, to hidden cafés and gourmet shops—with advice from the people who know it best. City Secrets Rome is a gathering of short, often anecdotal essays written by those who have discovered for themselves the overlooked or underappreciated places in the city we only think we know so well. This illuminating compendium of fascinating information by an all-star lineup of authors, playwrights, filmmakers, actors, songwriters, journalists, historians, architects, chefs, and travel writers is a personal, affectionate account of their favorite lesser-known attractions in the Italian capital. The 250 contributors to this collection include award-winning playwright John Guare; restaurateur Danny Meyer; artist Frank Stella; poet laureate Mark Strand; architects Richard Meier and Michael Graves, as well as many fellows of the American Academy in Rome. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to the American Academy in Rome, a center for independent study and advanced research in the arts and humanities.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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City Secrets Rome + The Companion Guide to Rome (Companion Guides)
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Fang Duff Kahn; Rev Upd edition (7 July 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0983079501
  • ISBN-13: 978-0983079507
  • Product Dimensions: 18.5 x 11.2 x 3.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 1.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 437,801 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars Do not trust this book! 5 May 2014
By Bayne
I only went to one of the recommended restaurants - the Hosteria dell'Orso - and it was so appalling that I didn't go to any others. Not remotely as described, either in quality or in price.

Also has an awkward layout and poor maps.
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Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  15 reviews
24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best guide to Rome, updated and improved 1 Oct 2011
By Susan Woodward - Published on Amazon.com
The new City Secrets, like the old one, contains the personal opinions of many experts on the glorious things to visit in Rome. The advice is poetic and philosophical. Outstanding, nothing better, and yes, like the advice of a good friend if you had friends so well-informed. Nearly all of the recommendations for places and most of the recommendations for restaurants survive into the new edition. Some blurbs are dropped but no places are. I have never been led astray by this guide.

The new edition is fatter and slightly bigger than the old one. This is mainly due to a bigger typeface (which is darker too). The new edition is not as beautifully laid out as the old, but geez it is a lot easier to read in all but the very brightest light. So, yes, the new edition is better.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great little guide to Rome 21 Jun 2012
By A reader - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
The "City Secrets" series offers a unique kind of guidebook. Rather than being written by one author, these books consist of entries by many authors, who offer their observations not only on famous monuments but also on the overlooked or unknown places and experiences found in major cities. The volume on Rome, revised and updated in 2011, is a fascinating compilation that reveals many of Rome's treasures not included in conventional travel guides.

This isn't a book for the first-time visitor to Rome. There are no illustrations--just some maps of neighborhoods. This is a volume for Rome-lovers, people who already know something of the city and who are eager to learn more. Although the book covers all the great monuments of Rome, the emphasis is on unusual or overlooked aspects of those monuments, and on places you'd never find on your own. There are also restaurant recommendations, none of which are "tourist traps," and although a few entries suggest interesting, unusual shops, shopping isn't a major focus here: art and architecture is.

The editor divided the book into 12 sections, corresponding to 11 regions of the city, plus a final chapter on the outskirts and a few sites short distances outside of Rome. In each, you'll find entries varying in length from barely more than a sentence up to 3 or 4 pages, but the length isn't dependent on the importance or popularity of the monument. Instead, it depends on the individual insights and suggestions of the author of each entry. A few are a bit too academic, like this one: "Considered the shifting point from Renaissance to Baroque, Campidoglio-- Michelangelo's landscape intervention--is a geometric organization of topography that articulates exterior space with the same precision as an interior condition." Huh??? But most entries are excellent, original and sometimes delightful, like this description of Velasquez's portrait of Pope Innocent X, in the Galleria Doria Pamphili: "Innocent X was anything but. ... He looks like he's about to exhale noxious fumes, or pull out a dagger and knife you."

Beyond major monuments, entries bring to the reader's attention all sorts of wonderful things: places to go at sunset to enjoy incomparable views of the Eternal City; places for picnics; little-known museums and archaeological sites; churches you've passed dozens of times without appreciating their facades or being aware of the treasures inside; translations of Latin inscriptions; which churches offer free concerts; the hours when certain places that always seem to be closed are actually open, and so on and on.

At the beginning there's a page listing useful websites, a particularly valuable inclusion, since it notes the sites where it's possible to buy tickets in advance to always-crowded places like the Colosseum and the Vatican Museums, thus avoiding those dreaded, endless lines.

This book shows that there's always something new to learn about Rome, even if you know the city well. As the saying goes: "Rome, a lifetime is not enough."
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good supplement to a more basic guidebook 20 July 2012
By Sarah S - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I recently visited Rome for the first time. I picked up this book along with Rick Steves' more basic guide to the city, "Rome 2012." I wouldn't try to navigate the city based on this book alone, but it was a great resource for restaurant tips and hidden spots. Our best meals and most pleasant experiences were all based on recommendations from this book.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars City Secrets Rome 27 Mar 2012
By Gary Powell - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
As advertised in the Amazon write-up, the book features experts telling us about their favorite hidden corner, building, fountain, in a great city. Organized around specific districts, the book is easy to use. The various expert writers, provide their reasoning for their favorite, fleshed out with gratifying insights. The plain cover and size invite carrying this with you as you explore, sampling the coffee and cakes from the described small restaurants hidden away among those sights. Enjoy!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent resource - Loaded with tips 30 Oct 2012
By SeattleMichael - Published on Amazon.com
An outstanding little book. We are preparing for our fourth trip to Rome and I was looking for a book that would help us find some of the lesser known gems in the city. Boy, does this fit the bill! It's extremely well organized by neighborhood and I really like the fact that it provides the thoughts and comments of many different people.
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