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DK Eyewitness Top 10 Travel Guide: Rome (DK Eyewitness Travel Guide) Paperback – 6 Jun 2002
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The book doesn't give much history of sites e.g. when built, by whom, so if you want to save money on purchasing all the english translations when you are there, get the more detailed guide. I have bought Dorling Kindersley guides before and they have always been excellent but I think in future I will be buying the more comprehensive guide rather than the top 10.
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The only time the book let us down was its recommendation of Da Augusto, a restaurant in Trastevere. This was their #1 listing under "Cheap Eats" for Trastevere but it was the only unappetizing food we were served in our whole trip.
My favorite feature in the book is that in addition to the more general listings of restuarants, there are restaurants grouped by location right with the descriptions of the different sites. So, for example, if you're standing outside the Pantheon, as I did, thinking, hmm, it sure would be nice to get something to eat right about now... There's a list of restuarants in a number of price ranges that are located around the Pantheon, for example. Makes it easy either to plan out days either ahead of time or to make spontaneous decisions.
Personally, I wish I had done a bit more reading and research before I went. The information in this book is not very in depth, as you might expect from a top 10 book. However, there's no need to tote along a history book in your suitcase, and this little book does give surprisingly good overviews and juicy tidbits.
A tiny hint aside from the book, I found that many of the sites in Rome did not take as long to see as I thought. The Collosseum, the Pantheon, the Spanish Steps, were all surprisingly quick visits, it doesn't take long to appreciate and there isn't a great deal of detail to go into. Of course, this all depends on your tastes. I would have spent longer at the Vatican than I did, taken a couple tours. Also, be advised that the Sistine Chapel keeps weird hours from what I understand, so plan around it. And as for the Forum, or Il Foro Romano, nothing is labeled, and there are no official tours as far as I know, so learn about it beforehand if you want to fully appreciate it. That is my completely off-the-cuff, amateur and unsubstantiated advice. : )