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15 Rad & Rustic Books To Make Your Rome Trip A Dream

These books will show you the essentials and the little-known wonders of this ancient city!

Rome is a must visit for any trip around Europe. Shrowded in history and some mystery, this city has lived through world wars, gladiator fights and has risen to become one of the best cities to visit as a tourist.

There are certain ways of doing things around here, though. These books will help you avoid the common tourist traps and make sure you don’t miss essential photo moments.

They’re also super informative and fun to read through, which will only improve your trip to Rome. There is a reason why they’re the most popular recommendations when we reached out to experts on visiting Rome.

#1 Quiet Corners of Rome by David Downie

Quiet Corners of Rome by David Downie
Who recommended this book?
This was recommended by Jordan Bishop from Yore Oyster.

Quiet Corners of Rome by David Downie explores 60 peaceful places of beauty in Rome, away from the noise and crowds of the city, each with beautiful photos. The book is small and easy to carry along on your visit to Rome. It’s also a great gift book or book for the armchair traveler.

Before buying a book make sure to compare price and outlet, we have included links below to several large book outlets for different regions in the world:

#2 Eating Rome: Living the Good Life in the Eternal City by Elizabeth Minchilli

Eating Rome: Living the Good Life in the Eternal City by Elizabeth Minchilli
Who recommended this book?
This was recommended by Jordan Bishop from Yore Oyster.

Flavors of Rome takes a look at the food of Rome, with a particular focus on how it differs from Italian food abroad. There are good restaurant recommendations and a handy food glossary at the end. The book is small and lightweight so easy to carry on a trip to Rome.

Before buying a book make sure to compare price and outlet, we have included links below to several large book outlets for different regions in the world:

#3 The Rome Guide by Mauro Lucentini

The Rome Guide by Mauro Lucentini
Who recommended this book?
This was recommended by Jordan Bishop from Yore Oyster.

This well-written, in-depth book presents 10 different walks through the city with lots of detail about monuments and history. This is a great book for those who want something more than the usual guidebook.

Before buying a book make sure to compare price and outlet, we have included links below to several large book outlets for different regions in the world:

#4 Clash of Civilizations Over an Elevator in Piazza Vittorio by Amara Lakhou

Clash of Civilizations Over an Elevator in Piazza Vittorio by Amara Lakhou
Who recommended this book?
This was recommended by Matt Glodz from Resume Pilots.

Lakhou’s story is a hilarious depiction of life in Rome once you venture beyond the often romanticized tourist sights.

His novel offers a glimpse into what the clash of civilizations between immigrants and Italians looks like on a day-to-day basis (in this case, when one of the neighbors in a Piazza Vittorio apartment gets murdered).

Before buying a book make sure to compare price and outlet, we have included links below to several large book outlets for different regions in the world:

#5 History: A Novel by Elsa Morante

History: A Novel by Elsa Morante
Who recommended this book?
This was recommended by Will Hatton from Hotel Jules.

Morante’s 1974 novel talks of Rome during the second world war and follows the lives of Ida Ramundo and her two sons. The book created great controversy when it was published.

This book starts off slowly and then inexorably extends its hold on you evolving into a gripping page turner. The tale of how odinary people survived WWll. It deeply illustrates what life was like under world WWII as both a Jew and a woman.

An enthralling historical tale intertwined with personal and political journeys.

Before buying a book make sure to compare price and outlet, we have included links below to several large book outlets for different regions in the world:

#6 SPQR by Mary Beard

SPQR by Mary Beard
Who recommended this book?
This was recommended by George Edward from Audiobook Explorers.

SPQR is the best recent book on ancient Rome, taking a new look at 1,000 years of history. Mary Beard, Professor of Classics at the University of Cambridge makes the information accessible and highly engaging. Covering and debunking many myths, religious controversy, achievements, importance and the history of the empire from its humble starting point as a small village. Ancient Rome is a fascinating and rich subject that is really brought to life in SPQR.

Before buying a book make sure to compare price and outlet, we have included links below to several large book outlets for different regions in the world:

#7 DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Rome by DK Travel

DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Rome by DK Travel
Who recommended this book?
This was recommended by Andrea Spallanzani from Travel Addicts.

The books often end with a practical guide that includes maps of public transportation (i.e. Subway, busses), useful phone numbers, safety tips, and so on.

Before buying a book make sure to compare price and outlet, we have included links below to several large book outlets for different regions in the world:

#8 The Odyssey by Homer

The Odyssey by Homer
Who recommended this book?
This was recommended by Alberto Navarrete from Frisco Maids.

This one doesn’t talk directly about Rome, but if you want to feel immersed in that era this is the single best book to read about it. It’s a window in the past, read about the book that you think about when they talk about that era if you haven’t already.

Before buying a book make sure to compare price and outlet, we have included links below to several large book outlets for different regions in the world:

#9 The History of Rome in 12 Buildings by Phillip Barlag

The History of Rome in 12 Buildings by Phillip Barlag
Who recommended this book?
This was recommended by Alberto Navarrete from Frisco Maids.

Interested in the architecture side of Rome? This is the book to read about it, it compiles the best 12 buildings in Rome and all of the little secrets these monuments had. An excellent book to learn about Rome and it’s architecture.

Before buying a book make sure to compare price and outlet, we have included links below to several large book outlets for different regions in the world:

#10 Clash of Civilizations Over an Elevator in Piazza Vittorio by Amara Lakhous

Clash of Civilizations Over an Elevator in Piazza Vittorio by Amara Lakhous
Who recommended this book?
This was recommended by Audra de Falco from Get Italian Citizenship, Inc..

In Clash of Civilizations Over an Elevator in Piazza Vittorio, Tunisian-Italian author Amara Lakhous tells the story of a small, culturally diverse apartment building in the center of Rome. When one neighbor gets murdered, the community is thrown into disarray. As each character takes turns giving evidence, the drama of racial identity and the anxieties of daily humiliations born of a life spent living on Italy’s margins – but also the hilarious stories inevitable to a melting pot of cultures – unfolds. With language as colorful as the city it describes, this bittersweet comedy show Rome as only locals know – the city beyond its ruins and souvenir shops.

Before buying a book make sure to compare price and outlet, we have included links below to several large book outlets for different regions in the world:

#11 Angels and Demons by Dan Brown

Angels and Demons by Dan Brown
Who recommended this book?
This was recommended by Corina Preda from Another Milestone travel blog.

The main characters of Angels & Demons are trying to solve a mystery and along the way, they reach the main attractions in Rome and the best-known piazzas. The story is exciting and intriguing. They want to save the 4 cardinals who are most likely to be elected pope and the whole city threaten by a big explosion. To do that, they follow the Path of Illumination, a legendary trail across Rome designed by a secret society considered vanished today. As they find new clues and the action goes on, interesting facts about important buildings in Rome are revealed (Pantheon, a catholic church dedicated to St. Mary and the Martyrs was a Roman temple for all gods) and historical details are mentioned (between Vatican and Sant Angelo castle there is a secret passage). Reading “Angels & Demons” is an entertaining way to discover new information about Rome.

Before buying a book make sure to compare price and outlet, we have included links below to several large book outlets for different regions in the world:

#12 Rome (Oxford Archaeological Guides) by Amanda Claridge

Rome (Oxford Archaeological Guides) by Amanda Claridge
Who recommended this book?
This was recommended by Brandon Shaw from The Tour Guy.

The Tour Guy Chief Product Officer would recommend Rome – An Oxford Archaeological Guide. While it doesn’t cover modern-day things to do in the city, it gives new and experienced visitors to Rome a perspective of what it was like to live in this ancient city 2000 years ago. Given that Rome is the largest archaeological site in the world, it provides an introduction with essential historical background for history buffs and factoid nerds alike.

Before buying a book make sure to compare price and outlet, we have included links below to several large book outlets for different regions in the world:

#13 Ancient Rome by Simon Baker

Ancient Rome by Simon Baker
Who recommended this book?
This was recommended by Saurabh Jindal from Talk Travel.

This is the best book if you are interested in knowing the history of Rome. The book touches upon six turning points in the history of Roman Empire, as it describes – their rise, conquests and fall. The city of Roman – the capital of the Romans is well described and gives great insights.

Before buying a book make sure to compare price and outlet, we have included links below to several large book outlets for different regions in the world:

#14 Angels and Demons by Dan Brown

Angels and Demons by Dan Brown
Who recommended this book?
This was recommended by Saurabh Jindal from Talk Travel.

A thriller, as the protagonist unravels the codes within the city of Rome and Vatican, and deciphers hidden cults and secrets unknown. In the process, the various monuments and historical figures of Rome are well explained and pictured.

Before buying a book make sure to compare price and outlet, we have included links below to several large book outlets for different regions in the world:

#15 KeeKee’s Big Adventures in Rome, Italy by Shannon Jones

KeeKee’s Big Adventures in Rome, Italy by Shannon Jones
Who recommended this book?
This was recommended by Shannon Jones from Idea Sandbox.

Travel lovers, buckle up and get ready to explore Italy’s capital city, Rome. KeeKee and her friend Alfredo zip readers across town via vespa immersing them in the sights, sounds, and tastes of this historic city’s Roman and Italian culture.

Before buying a book make sure to compare price and outlet, we have included links below to several large book outlets for different regions in the world:

Contributors to this article
Jordan Bishop from Yore Oyster

Matt Glodz from Resume Pilots

Will Hatton from Hotel Jules

George Edward from Audiobook Explorers

Andrea Spallanzani from Travel Addicts

Alberto Navarrete from Frisco Maids

Audra de Falco from Get Italian Citizenship, Inc.

Corina Preda from Another Milestone travel blog

Brandon Shaw from The Tour Guy

Saurabh Jindal from Talk Travel

Shannon Jones from Idea Sandbox

Written by Zak Parker

Journalist, writer, musician, professional procrastinator. I'll add more here later.

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