Exploring Rome Through Literature: Six Must-Read Books for Travelers

Rome holds within its ancient walls layers upon layers of history, culture, and intrigue. For travelers visiting this timeless destination, reading interesting literature can offer a unique perspective and deeper appreciation for the marvels awaiting them. Whether you’re drawn to historical dramas, tourist-related topics, or simply wish to immerse yourself in the essence of Rome before your visit, here are six captivating books to add to your reading list.

If you want to read some of the books, then it is possible to buy these and lots of other books at Amazon.

Are you ready to be inspired? Here you have six books that will bring more value to your days in Rome!

books about rome

Six books that will help you catch the atmosphere of Rome before you arrive.

“SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome” by Mary Beard

Dive into the fascinating narrative of Rome’s rise to power and dominance with Mary Beard’s masterful work. “SPQR” provides a comprehensive overview of Rome’s evolution from its mythical founding to the sprawling empire it became. Beard’s engaging storytelling and meticulous research offer readers a vivid portrayal of ancient Rome’s politics, culture, and daily life, laying a solid foundation for understanding the city’s rich heritage.

“Angels & Demons” by Dan Brown

Embark on a thrilling journey through the heart of Vatican City and Rome’s iconic landmarks with Dan Brown’s gripping novel, “Angels & Demons.” Follow symbologist Robert Langdon as he races against time to unravel a sinister plot that threatens to shake the foundations of the Catholic Church. As Langdon navigates the labyrinthine streets of Rome, readers are treated to a vivid portrayal of the city’s architectural wonders and hidden secrets, adding an element of mystery to their upcoming visit.

“The Agony and the Ecstasy” by Irving Stone

Immerse yourself in the life of one of history’s greatest artists, Michelangelo Buonarroti, with Irving Stone’s classic biographical novel, “The Agony and the Ecstasy.” From the sculptor’s humble beginnings to his legendary masterpieces, Stone paints a rich portrait of Renaissance-era Rome and the tumultuous times in which Michelangelo lived and created. Through vivid prose and meticulous detail, readers gain a deeper understanding of the artistic genius and the city that inspired him.

“Eat, Pray, Love” by Elizabeth Gilbert

Join Elizabeth Gilbert on a transformative journey of self-discovery as she travels through Italy, India, and Indonesia in search of meaning and fulfillment. While Rome is just one stop on Gilbert’s itinerary, her vivid descriptions of the city’s culinary delights, bustling piazzas, and timeless charm will undoubtedly captivate readers planning their own Roman adventure. “Eat, Pray, Love” offers a heartfelt exploration of Rome’s enchanting allure and the universal quest for happiness.

“Roman Tales” by Alberto Moravia

Delve into the underbelly of Rome with Alberto Moravia’s collection of short stories set in the city’s gritty neighborhoods and back alleys. From tales of love and betrayal to snapshots of everyday life, Moravia’s vivid prose captures the essence of post-war Rome with unflinching honesty and raw emotion. “Roman Tales” provides readers with a glimpse into the city’s lesser-known corners and the lives of its diverse inhabitants, offering a more nuanced perspective beyond the tourist attractions.

“Rome: A Cultural, Visual, and Personal History” by Robert Hughes

Experience the splendor of Rome through the eyes of acclaimed art critic Robert Hughes in this sweeping cultural history. From the grandeur of the Colosseum to the intimacy of neighborhood trattorias, Hughes offers a multifaceted exploration of Rome’s past and present, weaving together art, architecture, politics, and personal anecdotes with unparalleled insight and wit. “Rome” serves as a comprehensive companion for travelers seeking to uncover the city’s hidden treasures and timeless beauty.

Whether you’re a history enthusiast, an art lover, or simply someone eager to experience the magic of Rome, these six books promise to enrich your journey and deepen your appreciation for this captivating city. So, before you embark on your Roman adventure, be sure to pack these literary gems and prepare to be transported through time and space to the heart of the eternal city. Buon viaggio!

If you have any other book recommendations that you would like to share with our readers, write a comment below. Have you read any of the books listed above? Which was your favorite? Share your thoughts!

Five Cool Activities for Parents with Strollers in Rome

Rome, the Eternal City, with its rich history, stunning architecture, and vibrant atmosphere, is a fantastic destination for families. If you’re a parent navigating the city with a stroller, fear not! There are plenty of family-friendly activities that allow you to explore Rome with ease. Here are five cool activities for parents with strollers:

Five cool and family-friendly activities in Rome

1. Stroll Through the Villa Borghese Gardens

Escape the hustle and bustle of the city by taking a leisurely stroll through the picturesque Villa Borghese Gardens. This expansive green oasis provides a peaceful retreat for both parents and little ones. Paved pathways make it stroller-friendly, and you can enjoy the beautiful fountains, sculptures, and even rent a rowboat on the pond for a serene family experience.

2. Explore the Colosseum and Roman Forum

Immerse your family in ancient history by exploring the iconic Colosseum and Roman Forum. Many areas are accessible with a stroller, and you can witness the grandeur of ancient Rome. Consider joining a guided family tour, which often includes interactive elements to keep your kids engaged while you soak in the historical marvels.

Families in Rome

3. Discover the Trevi Fountain

A visit to Rome is incomplete without tossing a coin into the Trevi Fountain. While navigating the crowds might seem challenging with a stroller, visit in the early morning or late evening for a more tranquil experience. Your little one will be mesmerized by the grandeur of the fountain, making it a memorable family moment.

4. Indulge in Gelato at Piazza Navona

Piazza Navona is not only a breathtaking square with its stunning fountains and Baroque architecture, but it’s also a fantastic spot to savor some authentic Italian gelato. Most gelato shops in the area are accommodating to strollers, allowing you to enjoy a sweet treat while taking in the lively atmosphere of this historic square.

5. Visit the Bioparco (Rome Zoo)

For a day filled with family fun, head to the Bioparco, Rome’s zoo located in Villa Borghese. The zoo is stroller-friendly, and your little ones will delight in seeing a variety of animals from around the world. With playgrounds, picnic areas, and educational exhibits, the Bioparco offers a well-rounded family experience.

Rome is fun for the entire family!

Rome is not only a city for history enthusiasts but also a family-friendly destination. With these cool activities, parents with strollers can confidently explore the beauty and charm of the Eternal City. Whether you’re strolling through gardens, marveling at ancient wonders, or indulging in gelato, Rome has something for every family to enjoy. So, pack up your stroller and create lasting memories in this enchanting city!

If you want to learn more about the attractions in Rome or maybe find out more about what’s happening in Rome, look at all the different pages and information available in our Rome Guide.

Are you visiting Mount Etna? All you need to know!

This is a Rome Guide. As a result, almost all our articles deal with the city of Rome, and the articles contain content of interest to those visiting the city. But, sometimes, we publish articles that deal with other cities and areas in Italy. In the text you are reading right now, we will give you interesting and useful information if you plan on visiting Mount Etna, located south in Italy on the island of Sicily.

It is normal to have lots of questions before you visit Mount Etna. Maybe you are visiting the city of Catania or Taormina, and right now, you are sweating and looking at temperatures around 35 Celsius. But, what is the reality if you decide to visit Mount Etna? How big is the temperature difference between the sea level and the top of Etna?

We will answer as many questions as possible about Etna in this article. If you have further questions, use the comment field at the bottom of the article. We will do our best to answer additional questions as quickly as possible.

hiking on mount etna

Advice as you plan your trip to Etna.

You should know many things as you plan your trip to Mount Etna. First of all, you need to get close to the mountain itself. If you live in Catania, you need to travel approximately 35km to get to Rifugio Sapienza, the most popular place for starting your hike to the top of Mount Etna.

Rifugio Sapienza is about 1900 meters above sea level, making it a perfect starting point for any excursion. Here you have a large parking lot, restaurants, and a hotel.

You can start on foot from Rifugio Sapienza or use the popular cable car to take you up to a height of 2500 meters. From there you can travel by special buses to a height of 2900 meters from where you must have a licensed guide to escort you further up. The highest peak of Mount Etna is approximately 3350 meters.

If you decide to walk on your own, it is possible, but you cannot climb higher than 2900 meters on your own without a licensed guide. The local guides always come equipped with radios and necessary security equipment, something that can come handy as Mount Etna is an active volcano capable of erupting without warning.

the top of mount etna

How to get to Mount Etna (Rifugio Sapienza)

The easiest way to start is from Rifugio Sapienza. You can travel to this location by bus from Catania every morning at 8.15, and the same bus can take you back at 16.30. The timetable and further information about this bus can be found at http://www.astsicilia.it/bus-catania-etna/.

Another way more convenient option is to join a tour that includes transportation to Mount Etna. Many such tours are available, many of them starting from Catania, but some offer pick-up or Taormina and other similar cities as a starting point. You can look at all these tours at GetYourGuide.

All hotels in Sicily offer tours or transfers to Mount Etna, which is also an option you could consider. It is most likely more expensive than joining an organized tour, but it is still worth considering all the options.

What temperatures can you expect at Mount Etna?

This is one of the most tricky questions and one you definitely need to think about. It is hard to imagine a cold mountain top as you sweat and try to survive 35 Celsius in Catania. But, many have been surprised by the weather at Mount Etna before, so prepare properly to avoid surprises.

A good place to look before your trip is at MountainForecast. Here you can see a weather forecast for Mount Etna, and it is possible to look at the differences between the top (3350 meters), 2500 meters, and 1500 meters. During a warm summer day, the temperature at the top of Mount Etna is about 25 Celsius colder than the sea-level temperature. In other words, if you experience a temperature of 35 Celsius by the sea, it might be that the temperature at the top is only 10 Celsius.

Another thing you need to consider is the wind. What feels like a fresh breeze in Catania, might feel as a chilly storm at the top of Mount Etna. If you haven’t brought a jacket, it is posible to rent a jacket at Rifugio Sapienza. But, don’t forget to wear many layers of clothes, and to wear clothes capable of keeping you warm at temperatures around 10 Celsius with a fair amount of wind.

Not all tours take you to the top of Mount Etna. Some tours will only take you to 2500 meters or 2900 meters. These might not require as warm clothes as those taking you all the way to the top, but a good advice is always to bring too much clothes and not use it all.

What should I wear on Mount Etna?

We have already answered that above, but the difference in temperature between sea-level and the top of Mount Etna is often around 25 Celsius. The difference between sea-level and 2500 meters is normally around 15 Celsius. But it is very important to consider the wind.

One thing you definitely should think about is your shoes. It is worth wearing good and solid walking shoes, and you should also wear a trouser with high shocks. On a very hot summer day, you can walk in a shorts to an altitude of 2500-2900 meters, but that is only if there is little wind and very warm. You should still wear high socks and really good walking shoes. Why do you need high socks? You are walking on volcanic rocks and some of them are quite sharp. Some of these might easily hit your legs as you walk up and down. That is best avoided by wearing good shoes and high socks (or a trouser).

Sunglasses are recommended and if you fear the dust from the volcanic rocks, consider a mask (even though most people visit the mountain without).

Remember sun lotion because the sun is strong and you will have no shade to hide behind as you climb Mount Etna.

If you are worried about all of this, join a private tour that provides jackets, shoes, and other necessities for the tour.

surroundings of mount etna

Where can I go to the toilet on Mount Etna?

We all need to visit the toilet. What can you do if you need to pee while hiking at Mount Etna? There are toilets at Rifugio Sapienza; if you use the cable car to get to 2500 meters, you will find new toilets on the top. But after that, it is not much luxury to expect. If you need to pee, you must hide behind a bush somewhere. There is just one tiny problem… there are no bushes on Mount Etna. In other words, you should do your uttermost to drink only as much as necessary to keep yourself alive without making your bladder explode. You can, of course, pee here and there, but if you join a group with 20 others, it is very hard to find a hiding spot without having a group of people staring at you while you do your thing!

Is there cell phone coverage on Mount Etna?

There is mostly good cell phone coverage on Mount Etna. As you walk around, you can use your phone to call friends and family and upload a picture of yourself to Instagram, Facebook, or any other social media site you use. The signal gets weaker around 3000 meters, but in general, it works fairly nice. However, it is important to remember that smartphones often perform poorly during rain, snow, and cold weather. For this reason, professional tour guides always wear radios to communicate with other tour guides and tour operators in the area (in addition to their smartphones).

Is smoke coming out of Mount Etna?

Are you seeing something looking like smoke coming out of Mount Etna? Is it smoke or is it a cloud? Since Mount Etna is an active volcano, there is actual smoke coming out of the volcano all the time. This smoke can be quite dangerous (and poisonous), and that is why many of the peak tours that aim to take you to the top of the volcano (3350 meters) only take you to lower peaks at 3000 meters due to wind direction and also based on the stability of the volcano.

Many tours tell you that they will take you to Mount Etna’s summit (top). That is a nice promise and a nice goal, but it is important to know that no tour guide can tell your 100% beforehand that you will get to the actual top. That always depends on the actual circumstances, meaning you can pay for a summit trip without visiting the summit. Normally, no warranties are included on summit trips, so keep this in mind as you pay for a trip that will take you to the summit.

How much does it cost to travel with the cable-car from Rifugio Sapienza?

The cable car price from Rifugio Sapienza at 1900 meters to the tourist hut at 2500 meters is 50 euro (t/r). If you want to travel on from there with the 4×4 bus the price is 30 euro (t/r). If you join a private tour that takes advantage of the cable car or the Unimog bus, make sure to check whether those tickets are included in the price of the tour or not as they might come as an expensive surprise later (if they aren’t included).

How long time does it take to climb Mount Etna?

This all depends on whether you are using the cable car or not, and how high you plan on going. Some private summit tours last 8-10 hours, while others last 4-6 hours. If you plan on walking from Rifugio Sapienza on your own to the highest level of 2900 (without a guide), you should count on using 4-8 hours (depending on your physical shape). The easiest way up is following the path of the cable car and the buses, as they will take you on a clean and easy-to-follow path. If you decide to hike on your own on hidden paths, you might choose much harder and more dangerous paths, so be careful and seek the advice of professionals before you decide to do your own off-the-path tour.

Can I visit Mount Etna with kids?

Some organized tours have age limits saying that children under 12 years cannot join the trips. In such cases, follow the directions and rules of the tour you are on. Even more important, you know your children’s physical condition and abilities. Climbing Mount Etna is a tiresome experience for many reasons. Climbing 500-600 meters is demanding by itself, but if you also add the very loose soil (almost like walking in deep sand upwards), and the weather conditions, this might become a gigantic challenge, not only for the kids, but also for the adults.

If you walk on your own, you can also be flexible and stop upon request. That isn’t so on a group tour, so if you or your kid are unsuitable for the trip, you might ruin the experience for the rest of the group. That is always worth considering before you join a tour of some sort.