There is a small, independent bookshop in New York dedicated to the Art of Travel. It is there that I've spent many happy hours looking through new and used books and maps- some treasures and some highly disposable.
One of the favorite places I've ever visited is Rome, Italy. And this book by H. V. Morton which is shamefully out of print, is positively the finest I've read on this forever changing, "eternal" city.
I'd never heard of Morton, but soon learned that in 1957, when this volume was published, he was "the most widely read living travel author." And now, according to research I've done online, every single one of his books is out of print. And he wrote quite a few: "A Stranger In Spain," "In Search Of London," "In The Steps Of St. Paul," et. al. Morton's method is simple and works perfectly: first a short history of Rome, then a diary-like collection of his thoughts and impressions. There are also several, wonderful photographs including a charming, color one of The Vatican's Swiss Guard---one man "at attention;" the other looking as if he had better things to do. Everything in the book is well-researched and very interestingly written, yet his description of the politics and history of The Vatican is especially fascinating, as is his description of Julius Caesar's final days. But the book is not all history. Not at all. We also read about the author's trip to an open market, Hadrian's Villa, and I particularly liked the passage about Rome in the rain, since when I was there, it rained every single day for twenty days. This is a book of fact that reads like a fine novel.
It is an absolute crime that Morton's books cannot be more easily purchased both for travellers and for people whose hobby is reading about travel. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.