Sofia Pescarin: Rome- archaeological guide to the eternal city
I bought this book a decade ago when I thought I'd never make it to Rome and wanted what looked like the "next best thing" to actually seeing the sites (not a misspelling) and getting a sense both of what was left and what the ruins probably represented in imperial Rome's heyday. It was an excellent purchase for this purpose, but I also had a chance to return to this guide in the past month as I prepared myself to spend -- and make the most of -- four days in Rome to explore all that I could in terms of what could be found from the early principate (say, Augustus through Trajan). Pescarin provides outstanding maps of the layout of all the major imperial sites, clearly labels the buildings, assembles multiple photographs of the remains so that a view will know in advance what to look for on site, and engages in the necessary artistic license to help us visualize what the buildings were before they were ruins. All of these visual aids are held together by a fully-informed and winsomely-written text.
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