I recently stumbled upon this guidebook after reading about its debut on another blog about Rome, RomePhotoBlog. The concept of a guidebook written solely by inhabitants of Rome (Italian and non-Italians) fascinated me, and my curiosity got the better of me, and I just had to buy a copy of this book.
Written by inhabitants of the city rather than visitors, this guidebook on Rome (they also have guidebooks for other Italian cities – Venice, Florence, Milan, Turin, etc.) is available both in English and in Italian and features a wealth of recommendations and ideas for your trip to the Eternal City.
The book is divided into sections such as Shopping, Eating and Drinking, Art and Culture, and more, with each section having a couple of “ambassadors” who provide recommendations on things that they might do in the city – such as giving you the skinny on the best and most authentic of restaurants, off the beaten track museums and sites to visit, as well as the best places to shop. I find that the first person consiglio (advice) provides a very personal touch to the book that is absent in many other publications.
Like your standard guidebook, there is an index which contains practical information such as phone numbers, places to sleep, information on important museums. Another of my favorite chapters is called “24 ore a Roma” with two inhabitants giving itineraries are some things that you must do if you have a day in Rome – they highlight some pretty unique places that a standard guidebook might have you avoid. The section is framed in a series of questions, as if the person writing would be your guide for the day, with questions such as “What would we do for lunch?” or “What should I see first?”.
The end of the book has some decent maps of the city, and places that are discussed in the book are referenced on the maps so there’s no guessing as to where things are. The book also does a good job by telling you the best way to reach a certain place, like when it is near a certain metro stop or which bus to take. You might say that most guidebooks do this, but most guidebooks don’t always provide the best map references, and who better to give you directions around the city than someone who lives full-time in Rome.