This beautifully written, informative study is a portrait, a history and a superb guide book, capturing fully the seductive beauty and the many layered past of the Eternal City. It covers 3,000 years of history from the city's quasi-mythical origins, through the Etruscan kings, the opulent glory of classical Rome, the decadence and decay of the Middle Ages and the beauty and corruption of the Renaissance, to its time at the heart of Mussolini's fascist Italy. Exploring the city's streets and buildings, peopled with popes, gladiators, emperors, noblemen and peasants, this volume details the turbulent and dramatic history of Rome in all its depravity and grandeur.
Part 1: myths, monarchs and republicans; imperial Rome; bread and circuses; catacombs and Christians; infamy and anarchy; saints, tyrants and anti-popes; "the refuge of all the nations"; Renaissance and decadence; patrons and parasites; the sack of Rome. Part 2: recovery and reform; Bernini and the Baroque; il settecento; Napoleonic interlude; the Risorgimento and the Roman question; royal Rome; Roma fascista; epilogue - the eternal city. Part 3: notes on topography, buildings and works of art.