Rick Steves' Rome 2011 Paperback – Sep 10 2010
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Top Customer Reviews
I've never tried one of his restaurant suggestions - I always wander around and find my own. Maybe now I'm in Pisa for a week with the Italy guide, I will try one.
I especially LOVED:
1.) As in all Rick Steves guide books, he has detailed info on information on the nearest tourist offices; on all of Rome's major tourist spots; Rome's public transport system (with bus numbers, routes and stations that most tourists use) and alternate routes of travels; the central train station, Termini Station, which is very tourist friendly; how to get there and back; great places to eat and stay in that won't break the bank; and reliable, high quality local guides who work there and can show you around!
2.) In each of these locations, Rick outlines the main tourist spots that YOU MUST visit while you are there and also gives very helpful, detailed and humorous blurbs about each of these places and with helpful maps and directions on how to get there through all means of transport. I especially love reading his blurbs on each of Rome's must-see archaeological sights, long after I had visited them!
3.) Rome is a MASSIVE city and it can take hours to walk around or explore, which can become very exhausting in the hot and dusty streets of a proper Roman summer. So, he helpfully points out the major sites that one must see at large places like the Trastavere neighborhood, the massive Vatican musuem and etc! In this way, you can save on precious and limited time and energy, by seeing the places that must be seen and appreciated, while skipping over the rest that is not too crucial.Read more ›
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
If you are interested in what Rick is interested in, you'll do great. If not, you may miss out on a lot of sights and attractions. Some of his favorite places are virtually next to other attractions of which his book makes no mention.
Rick's tours and focus have a definite "Christian" slant. While early Christianity and the Catholic Church play a huge role in Rome and its' place in history, I felt his self guided tours and places to visit steered the reader more to this part of Rome than necessary.
On the other hand, the DK Eyewitness Traveler Rome packs a tremendous amount into their book, but lacks the detail and descriptions of Rick's book.
We used each book about evenly, with a slight advantage to the DK book. Towards the end of our stay, after becoming more comfortable in our surroundings, we found ourselves using the DK book more and more.
A hint that neither book mention: Men..wear pants and polo or short sleeve shirts; women and girls...forget about the short-shorts, tank, tops, or spaghetti strap tops. Many, many of the attractions associated with the Church, from the Vatican to The Capuchin Monks Crypt, REQUIRE modest dress. Women must have covered shoulders and appropriate length leg coverings (like capris or a skirt). Likewise men shouldn't show up in shorts and muscle t-shirts.
Also for women...those great looking sandals you like so much...ok to bring them, but not the best thing for walking around Rome. Most of the tourist areas are cobble stone or Roman roads. Comfort is a must.
Rick Steves' Rome is subdivided into several categories: Introduction (planning tip, what to know before you go), Orientation, Sights, Sleeping (accomodations), Eating (restaurant suggestions), Rome with Children, Shopping, Nightlife, Transportation Connections, Daytrips, Roman History, Appendix and the Index.
* The "Sights" section alone covers over 230 pages with fantastic and detailed information on Self-Guided Walks (Nightly Walk, Trastevere Walk, Jewish Ghetto Walk) and Self-Guided Tours (including the Colosseum, Roman Forum, Pantheon, Capitoline Museum, Borghese Gallery, Vatican Museum and St. Peter's Basilica to name a few). Each section of this self-guided tours and walks has practical information (hours, cost, how to get there, how to avoid long lines), background history, descriptions of the interior and exterior, maps, pictures and details on each "must see" (whether its a painting, sculpture, structure or item of architectural/historical interest). I've browsed through many travel books on Rome and Rick is one of the few (or the only one) who has given useful tips on the best tours to take, how to avoid long lines, what sights are not worth the trip, what sights are underrated, and how to travel well on a budget.
* "Sleeping" and "Eating" sections covers his recommendations for a wide range of budgets (although those who know Rick knows that he specializes in travel for cost-conscious travelers).
* "Shopping" covers tips on markets, ideas for souvenirs and general shopping tips. It is sparse, however, so if you plan to do some serious shopping, then I recommend that you supplement this book with a "Rome shopping guide" as well.
* "Daytrips" covers Ostia Antica, Tivoli, Naples and Pompeii (sights that are within a 2-hour train ride from Rome). If you are looking for sights around Tuscany/Umbria, then you will want to pick up Rick's "Florence" book for information on those areas.
I highly recommend this book to anyone (especially budget-conscious travelers) who is contemplating a trip to Rome. In my planning, I have also supplemented this book with the latest version of Rick's "Europe Through the Back Door" (fantastic practical planning guide) and "Europe 101: History and Art for the Traveler." If Rick's books have a shortcoming (and, yes, no travel book is perfect), it is the lack of glitzy color pictures that some travel books have. What he lacks in snazzy pictures, he makes up for in content. His self-guided tours and walks, and his tips and budget recommendations are always excellent. However, if you are a "visual" person like me (who must have my pictures) and particularly if you are going on your first trip to Rome, then I have found that Fodor's Rome (Full-Color Gold Guides) with its color pictures, visuals and maps is the perfect complement to Rick's books. I always find that investing in a guidebook or two, and a really good map are well worth it. As a seasoned European traveler, I know that Rick's Rome book, Fodor's Rome and MapEasy's Guidemap to Rome are all I need to help me make my trip a success.
I decided at the last minute to order this book, and boy was I happy that I did so.
I spent five days in Rome (which is just about the perfect amount of time to see everything) and brought this book with me everywhere I went. Let me tell you, it was a necessity.
I was shocked that every single tourist attraction (the Colosseum, Pantheon, Forum, Vatican, etc.) did not offer any information at all about the history of what exactly it was that you were looking at. Some of these places let you rent an audio guide with headphones for a fee, however I find those annoying and they don't always tell you the whole story. If it were not for me purchasing this book, I wouldn't have learned half of the stuff that I did. Constantly throughout my whole vacation, I was shocked to see tourists walking around looking at these ancient ruins without any clue at all what exactly it was that they were looking at, because there are no types of historical information presented to you when you visit them (Literally! There's no signs that say what something is, no pamphlets that you can pick up, nothing!) Without this book, my vacation would have been totally different.
The self-guided tours in this book are fantastic. Rick Steves will have you walk into a museum, and literally step-by-step he points out where certain objects in the museum are and gives you plenty of background information, which is presented to you in a light-hearted, fun way. This was definitely most beneficial at the Forum and Palatine Hill, where you literally walk amongst hundreds of ancient ruins that have no signs or explanations telling you exactly what it is that you're looking at.
My favorite parts of the book were the self-guided Night Walk Tour, and also the self-guided tour of Trastevere. Those are definite musts to do on your trip; we had a lot of fun. He even points out great places to get gelato and cappuccino along the way! It felt almost like a scavenger hunt - it was both educational and fun.
The tone of the book is very conversational and quite often humorous. It is not a dull, boring history book at all. Rick Steves really brings excitement into the trip. He also presents everything in an even, unbiased way, not trying to re-write history (for example, many items used to build and decorate some churches and other buildings were often stolen from other people/places, etc). This was especially beneficial in a place such as the Vatican Museum, where if I had to guess a lot of that type of information was probably not presented to the people who rented the Vatican's self-created audio guide headphones.
I will definitely advise anyone visiting Rome that bringing this guide book with them is a must (and literally, carry it around with you everywhere, you won't regret it. It can fit in a jacket or a small bag. I carried it in my backpack, which I brought with me everywhere. Don't worry about feeling like a tourist when you take it out and read it while standing directly in front of the site that you are reading about - plenty of people were doing that, it is very beneficial. Of course, you don't want the fact that you are a tourist to stick out like a sore thumb due to pickpockets, so be somewhat careful). If you don't buy this particular guide book, then at least buy some other guide book to carry around. Without a guide book, your trip to Rome will be less interesting, again due to the lack of information that's presented to you at the actual sites.
This was the first Rick Steves book that I bought, and the next time I go anywhere else in Europe, I now plan on getting his other books too.
The formatting for Kindle was as good as any other Rick Steves book - navigation, maps, and hyperlinks were all good. The tours of the Vatican Museums, St. Peter's, and some of the other churches really added a nice touch to my trip and, as Catholic, helped me appreciate some of the really incredible pieces of Christian history. I really liked that it suggested churches off the beaten path that were really beautiful and I wouldn't have known about otherwise.
Rome is my favorite European city and this book really helped me take my experience there to the next level. And now I have even more things to check out for my next trip to Rome!