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Rome and Environs (Blue Guides) Paperback – 4 Nov 2008


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Product details

  • Paperback: 512 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Co.; 9th Revised edition edition (4 Nov. 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393328872
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393328875
  • Product Dimensions: 1.3 x 0.3 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,631,546 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Marco M on 12 May 2009
Format: Paperback
The first time I was in Rome by myself, I took this guidebook and the DK Eyewitness guide and the lonely planet guide. I found myself using this one 90% of the time, and the other two 10% of the time.

When you're looking through it before buying it, it looks thin on photos and other pretty things, but when you're there, the information is brilliant. What it lacks in looking pretty, it more than makes up for in accurate historical and cultural information.

It takes you by the hand and walks you through every detail of every major monument in the Eternal City. The maps at the back are quite detailed, but like all guidebooks, use the internet to find hotels and/or restaurants; so ignore that info. (No guidebook will be up-to-date regarding hotel and restaurant prices etc - prices are changed quicker than a new edition of any book can be printed.)

If you're going to Rome to experience its magnificent art, architecture, history and culture, this is the only guide you will need. If you're going to Rome to party till dawn, you probably wont understand any word or concept printed in this book.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Artemisia on 8 Jan. 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
One usually supposes that a guide is for visitors or foreigners. I have been living in Italy for the past thirty years or so and I think I can say that of the very many times I have been to Rome (or anywhere else in this country for that matter)I have never gone without taking the appropriate Blue Guide along. Like other Blue Guides the present volume tends to weigh a ton but no other guide to Rome can compare with the high level of its historical and artistic comments. Also much appreciated by English-speaking locals and of course by "double culture" creatures like myself.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Book worm on 14 July 2009
Format: Paperback
Rome Blue Guide (9th edn) (Blue Guides S.)

By far the best guide I have found on the market. Very informative and well researched. Great attention to detail and it was not necessary to carry any other guide.

Monuments, museums, churches and art galleries are all extremely well
described.

Sensibly sized street maps.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By C. Baily on 7 Feb. 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Still the best guide for the serious culture vulture - but for many titles earlier editions are better. They must beware of slimming down.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 12 reviews
44 of 44 people found the following review helpful
Probably too dense to take along 7 July 2007
By Aquila - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
On his website, travel guru Rick Steves says that Blue Guides take "a dry and scholarly approach to the countries of Europe. They're ideal if you want to learn as much about history, art, architecture, and culture as you possibly can." This is basically true, though I much prefer a "dry and scholarly" tone to Rick's "nerdy and precious" style. He's great when it comes to practical tips, but he can't touch the historical, artistic and architectural content of the Blue Guides.

Blue Guides pack a tremendous amount of information into their pages, much more than any other guide I've used. They're wonderful for reading before and after your trip, but they're probably too dense to pack and take along for most people. Before leaving on my honeymoon to Italy, I photocopied the relevant pages of the Northern Italy book to avoid having to pack it because I knew I wouldn't be visiting most of the cities it covers. On that trip I field-tested three guides: Rick Steves, Eyewitness, and Blue Guide.

Blue Guides are not good to use as your main guide. They're far too light on practical matters such as maps, directions, hotels and restaurants, and they're not updated every year. I used Eyewitness to plan and get around and then pulled out the Blue Guide once I reached a major site. I used Rick Steves so little and found him so unhelpful that I left his books behind in hotels along the way.

Blue Guides have come a long way over the years. I was given an older edition of the Rome guide many years ago, and I couldn't believe how small the print was; it had a lot of detail but would have been very difficult to use while traveling. The publishers have learned their lesson: the current edition of the Rome guide is far easier to use and much more attractive, with colorful maps and an easier-to-read format. They've improved on the practical aspects as well, but you'll probably be in trouble if you rely on this book to get around in Rome. I recommend packing a more comprehensive one-volume guide such as Eyewitness and using Blue Guide to learn about specific sites once the other guide gets you to them. Keep Blue Guide on your shelf as an attractive reference and let it inspire you to return to Rome in the future!
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
A book to keep 5 July 2006
By K. Mitova - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The best guide available for those who plan to spend a longer time in Rome. It can also be used as a reference source by art historians, architects, and archeologists. Well-structured, well-written. It's printed on high quality paper, which makes it a little too heavy to carry, but this is how such books should be published -- you wouldn't like to part with your Blue Guide at the end of your trip.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
excellent update of classic guidebook 4 Jan. 2007
By Steven C. Porter - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have used the Blue Guides all over Europe, frequently in the older French-language versions, and have found them exceptional. My Rome Blue Guide was the 1978 version and is still very functional. However with the amazing upgrades to all of Rome for the millenium I thought I'd try this 9th edition of the Blue Guide on my second trip in 2006. It is great: better graphics, better details, better suggestions for walks and how to access museums, palazzi, the Vatican, everything. For my 3rd trip in 2006 with a group of friends who'd never visited Rome before, I left behind my 1978 edition and just took this one.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Incredibly Thorough 12 Feb. 2007
By MV - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Unlike the usual guidebook, the blue guide provides an incredibly indepth look at each place in Rome you might visit. This is not a "visual" guide like the DK series, but a text with pages of description. Some excellent maps of the interior of sites and some beautiful pictures. I used this book along with a more traditional guidebook. Armchair travelers would appreciate this book because of the depth of the descriptions.

One disadvantage is how heavy the book is. Another potential disadvantage is the lack of "practical" info. If you want to know what the airport is like in Rome, how to travel with children, or much about hotels or restaurants, this guide is not for you. There is a brief "visitor information" section at the back, but it is very brief.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Excellent for what it is. 22 Oct. 2008
By A. Keiser - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
In this review, the strengths and weaknesses of this travel guide will be listed. A few recommendations will also be given.

The Blue Guide Rome book is excellent as a guide for "high" culture such as art, ruins, monuments, and the like. It lists all the museums of importance, historical areas, ruins, churches, etc. Their hours and contact information are listed as well but admission is never listed. A good deal of secular information is given regarding each place. The focus is largely historical with a bit of politics thrown in as well. Much of the information on location and hours and the like, especially for churches, is difficult to find elsewhere. Also, the maps in back emphasize historic locations, which greatly aids in planning a day. The book is divided into chapters on various geographical areas, which helps plan a daily trip as well. Basic information such as bank hours, emergency numbers, public holidays, pharmacy info is included as well. A glossary lists some important terms and the index is thorough, although one or two places are listed differently in the index than they are on the map. As a "bonus" a chronological list of popes is thrown in. The maps are good but there aren't very many. After the chapters on literally hundreds of main sites, an appendix of lesser attractions (minor churches and things) and their contact information and hours is also given, which is very useful for the long term vacationer. These are the high points of the book.

Now for the minuses: The book's information on dining and lodgings is only applicable to those for whom cost is irrelevant, although a little is mentioned about snacking, which can serve as a meal. Its section on transportation is simply too brief to be very useful, although it does give some good tips. For the pilgrim, this is an annoying book because it seldom mentions that a saint is buried in this or that church. Instead, it focuses solely on architecture, patron, and the like. The book also has an anti-clerical tone, which may annoy some Catholics. Some folks dislike its judgments of various areas and works of art, but these can simply be ignored. Lastly, it calls itself a cultural guide but mentions virtually nothing about modern Italian culture and etiquette, which can be a bit of a shock to a foreigner. The emphasis is on art and history and little else is covered to any major degree.

If you're going to spend only a few days in Rome, don't buy this book. It is for a vacationer of a week or more. Instead, buy a standard travel guide and it will list more than enough wonderful things to keep one occupied. On the other hand, if you are staying for a while, this book will save you a lot of time and money in finding the less visited attractions and how and when to visit them (i.e. strange hours, how to make an appointment, when things aren't crowded, etc). The historical information is interesting as well. Additionally, however, you'll need a regular guide for getting about, finding a place to stay, and the like.
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