Comments on Blue Guide Rome

10th edition
11th edition

The most comprehensive guide to the eternal city, repository of many of the most famous works of art in the world.

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Is this Roman? If so, what date? See comment “lapidary fragment”.
  • 25 Comment(s)
Gravatar: JmbJmb
Very good guide to Rome [Amazon review]

First, I bought both the paperback and Kindle editions. I bought the paperback first, but it was so thick that it was impossible to carry it with me easily while sightseeing. I then bought the Kindle edition, and had no problems with faults or navigation like the earlier reviewer. One simply must go back to the table of contents (easily done) and then simply click on the site/area one wishes to explore. Like all Blue Guides, it is comprehensive, especially in its descriptions of the major churches of Rome. Some of the walks suggested were really good, and I am glad I followed the book's advice. However, the author of the book does not hold back when he/she doesn't think something is worth your time. In a couple of cases, I am glad that I went to a church even though the book said it held little merit. Still, the book made my four-day trip to Rome much more meaningful.

Gravatar: LuceLuce
Well worth the weight to take on site [Amazon review]

So glad to see an updated edition of one of the finest guide books ever. I relied on its predecessor until so many changes occurred in what it is possible to see in Rome. This is the right book for serious visitors or residents in Rome who want depth of history and solid information. Great for pre-travel study or armchair reflection. This is not the book for people primarily in search of where to eat or where to stay. Best book to take on site for thorough explanation of what you see without the book weight of colored illustrations. A must for the scholarly tourist.

Gravatar: EditorialEditorial
SPQR and expressions of Rome

As work for the 12th edition of Blue Guide Rome goes full steam ahead, we found ourselves coming up time and time again against the letters SPQR, reproduced all over the city...

Gravatar: amachinist amachinist
Roman Holiday: The Gold Standard [Amazon review]

The ROME BLUE GUIDE became like a talisman for this reviewer. It provided detailed information about each sight including directions, history, photos and drawings. There were recommendations on where to eat and sleep as well as directions on how to get places. Detailed maps were included in the back. Options for public transport were also included. When in doubt about the order of popes or emperors, chronological lists were provided. A detailed index was so helpful. For the most fulfilling visit EVER to the Eternal City, don't leave home without the Rome Blue Guide!

Gravatar: R. BryantR. Bryant
No need for guided tours when you have... [Amazon review]

We took several guide books to Italy and this was by far our favorite. No need for guided tours when you have the Blue Guide. Also loved the city walks.

Gravatar: Samantha S. Birk Samantha S. Birk
Outstanding guide for the scholar in all of us! [Amazon review]

I have used Blue Guides for years and they are excellent! They provide a detailed historical information in a concise and brief format that is easy to read. Besides solid information and historical context, they also have excellent recommendations for dining, accommodations, and things to do.The diagrams are very useful help you 'peel back' the layers on what you are seeing. Compared to other guides, I find Blue guides to be far more comprehensive and easy to use.

Gravatar: ReaderReader

Greetings, Are there plans to offer Blue Guide Rome as an e-book (Kindle or Apple) in the future? If so, any idea how soon? Thanks!

Gravatar: Rome tour guideRome tour guide
Favorite stories

Dear Sir / Madam, I am an Ph.D. archaeologist and tour guide in Rome. I have used your Rome guide to study my tour and I have really appreciated it. It is at the same time complete and clear, without unnecessary details that can confuse the reader. Thus first of all I would like to thank you for the great job! My experience as tour guide and traveler is that sometimes is nice to break the basic information with some fun but real facts about the monuments or stories related to them, that help to keep people engaged. For example I noticed that people always appreciate the story about the church of S. Lorenzo in Miranda, in the Roman Forum: according to a 13th century manuscript the last words of S. Lawrence on the grill were "turn me over... I'm done on this side". People always laugh but I explain that the interesting thing is that this was a serious manuscript about lives of the Saints, so people really believed that this words were real. Another nice anecdote is about the Trevi fountain. According to legend, the source, about 20 km from the city, quenched the exhausted soldiers of Agrippa as they returned to Rome. The exact place where the source was had been shown to the soldiers by a young girl, from which "aqua virgo". Perhaps in the wake of the legend of the soldiers of Agrippa, people began to argue that those who had been drinking this water would always return to Rome. And so, until a few decades ago, it is said that by the small fountain on the right side, took place a little secret ritual: the girls were drinking '"virgin water" at their boyfriends before their departure, all sealed by a pledge with glasses which were then broken. In this way the toast was symbolically not repeatable, and also the fidelity was assured. Not surprisingly, the fountain is still called the "fountain of love". This is my experience as Rome tour guide but when I travel I love to have curious details about the thing that I see. Every monument of Rome is full of this kind of stories and I know that it's impossible to write about everything. Anyway these are my favorites. I hope you will like them.

Gravatar: ReaderReader

We just got back from a month in Rome, something we have done for the last five years. We also lived there from 1972 through 1975. What struck us this time, even more than the previous years, is the number of new things to see and to do. The Baths of Caracalla have become a lot more interesting since part of the subterranean galleries have been excavated and made available to the general public. They are used now as some kind of antiquarium showing the architectural elements that haven’t been plundered over the last 1800 years or so, especially some very interesting figured Corinthian capitals.
The church of SS Luca and Martina may require some re-writing in your excellent guide book. After the Saint Luke’s Guild finished its restoration it is now open to the public every Saturday. English (and French and German - but not Italian) literature divides it in an upper (Luke) and a lower church (Martina) while in Italian the lower church is referred to as a crypt, definitely the more accurate terminology. Both upper church and crypt are dedicated to Santa Martina, and Saint Luke is only present in the altarpiece by an artist with the somewhat unlikely name of Antiveduto Gram(m)atica, in which the evngelist is busy painting the portrait of the Virgin. Before the church was acquired by the artists’ guild there was no mention of Saint Luke at all.
There also is great news at Santa Maria del Popolo: after many years to seems to be possible to get behind the high altar. We had a nice man (a new sexton?) give us a guided tour. And, after being closed off for seven years, the Chigi chapel has been returned to its former glory.

Gravatar: PatriziaPatrizia

Hello good morning:
I’m a spanish bookstore in Rome and I’d like to know if you have translated all your guide on Rome in Spanish language.
Thanks a lot
Libreria Spagnola

Gravatar: EditorEditor

Look at this lapidary fragment displayed in the archaeological park beside the Theatre of Marcellus. The Roman eagle sits on an orb on top of a column with the ‘lopped branch’ motif. I have seen only two other examples of this motif. In Istanbul, columns from the Forum of Theodosius can be seen in situ on Divan Yolu, outside the Archaeological Museum and in the Yerabatan Cistern. In Rome, in the National Museum in Palazzo Massimo, there is a 1st century AD statue of a dancing maiden with a lopped branch trunk behind her. What is the date of this eagle fragment? Can anyone tell me?

Gravatar: HugoHugo

We went to Rome this April with the Blue Guide. I have nothing more to say than it was fantastic. It added so much to our visit.

Gravatar: PublisherPublisher

Yes indeed, this is the right place to post comments on Blue Guide Rome, or by email to We welcome any comments: general views, or specific points that can help with future editions or that we can alert readers to via this website.

Gravatar: Mrs Pauline CritchellMrs Pauline Critchell

I would like to make comments on the Blue Guide for Rome, tenth edition 2010. Is this the correct place to make those comments and if not, where on your website is the right area? many thanks Pauline Critchell

Gravatar: ReaderReader

My wife Mia and I think your Guides are truly excellent. Last summer, we spent two months in Umbria, possibly the best summer of our lives, and the Blue Guide of Umbria was an integral part of that - always informative and insightful in the things that we are particularly interested in - cultural and historical learning.
Last week, we had a very unfortunate experience with a hotel in Roma that was particularly recommended in the ‘Blue Guide Central Italy’ edition. This is the first time we used a Blue guide for accommodation and also the first time we have written a letter like this to any guidebook or publication. After reading your recommendation on the hotel, ‘Il Covo’ in Roma, we went to their website for further research before making a reservation. Everything looked good. Sadly, what we found on arrival was a shock. We don’t know where the photos on their website were taken but it isn’t this hotel. For starters, the hotel lobby was an absolute mess. A hovel, with dirty furniture, files, and disorganized junk everywhere. Clearly they didn’t care what impression this made on guests. The room were we given was depressing and dark, with the cheapest and ugliest possible furniture. And the atmosphere was wholly disreputable and negative. My wife and I looked at each other and decided we could not stay there. So we went back downstairs, only to find that the reception clerk had gone. A sign on the door directed us to another hotel down the street. Explaining courteously our situation, the clerk became uncooperative and borderline aggressive and told us she didn’t speak English. i tried Italian and she got worse. She said we would have to go back to ‘Il Covo’ and wait for the clerk to return. We did so. When she arrived, we explained that we would not stay and would like to settle up, paying the first night. We were told there was a seven day cancellation policy and that neither of the two nights we had booked - and prepaid on Visa - would be refunded. This despite the fact that there was 24 hours notice on the second night. The hotel was so bad, we chose to pay this and find other accommodation. The clerk offered us a 10 euro per night discount, if we paid in cash, which we did, for a total of 180 euros. We were given no receipt, a violation of Italian tax law. It was clear to us that this was not the first time for these people. The immediate disappearance of the clerk after we checked in, the other hotel clerk claiming not to understand English when we had a problem, the 7 day no refund policy, all the money on Visa up front, and omitting to issue receipts said to us all this had happened many times before. They were very practiced at this scam. We don’t believe this is an Italian-owned hotel. We’ve never experienced anything like this in Italy before, after living here for almost two years. When we got home, we decided to check out ”Il Covo’ on Trip Advisor. In the ratings section, we found many letters from people who had similar highly unpleasant experiences, advising prospective customers ‘don’t stay here’. I wish we had seen these letters before we booked. Anyway, all this to advise you of the situation. It is a shame to degrade the quality of your Guide with a superior recommendation for a low life scam like ‘Il Covo’.

Gravatar: ReaderReader

My husband and I had a 4 day, quick trip planned for Rome. He had never been before and we wanted to make the most of our time, both culturally and historically. I researched and read reviews, finally deciding to go with Blue Guide.
Not only do I love to travel, but I am a student of history as well. Half way through my doctoral work (Ph.D), I find that when I purchase/use most guide books I know more historical inofrmation about what I am looking at than the guide book! Let me say that in no way was that the case with Blue Guide. The Blue Guide, Rome was the most informative and factually heavy guidebook that I have ever come across. Typically I am a big supporter of Lonley Planet, but I have completely converted to the Blue Guide camp. My husband and I were equally impressed with the wealth of information, detailed site maps and descriptions of monuments, ruins etc… We carried it with us everywhere we went. I couldn’t have asked for a better companion to our trip. Most of my friends and family travel regularly and believe me, I will be heavily recommending Blue Guide from now on. In addition, I have a blog that averages around 150 hits a day. I will soon be posting a glowing review about Blue Guides on the blog. Any business I can send your way- fantastic. Thank you for creating the perfect guidebook for a history student. Not only that, thank you for creating the perfect guidebook regardless.

Gravatar: Minerva MagazineMinerva Magazine

Is the Colosseum falling down? “On the morning of 9 May, a section of the roof, measuring about a metre square, above one of the stone entrance ways leading into the Colosseum, collapsed. Three large pieces of ancient mortar were sent crashing through a wire mesh protective net and smashed into the ground below. ” Read the story in Minerva Magazine.

Gravatar: PublisherPublisher

The new Blue Guide Rome 10th edition is NOW AVAILABLE: details here.

Gravatar: EditorialEditorial

New exhibition at the Colosseum “The Colosseum and Vespasian’s Rome”: see Mary Beard’s article in the Daily Telegraph.

Gravatar: Architect MelbourneArchitect Melbourne

This is just a fan letter to praise the superlative quality of your guides.
A couple of years ago, I used the Rome guide in great detail in Rome, comparing it with Alta McAdam’s much earlier 1979 edition, itself excellent, which I had used since it was published, but now appreciating the astute and rigorous detail of the current edition. … Thank you so much for their crucial place in my life.


Architect Melbourne
Gravatar: Blue Guide userBlue Guide user

In the most recently published Blue Guide to Rome, November is listed as one of the least crowded months for touring the city. Is this still true? I’m asking because the guide is now several years old and I saw early November listed as \high season\ on a hotel’s website

Gravatar: anonanon

I must take exception to your recommendation of Il Covo Hotel in Rome. No doubt, the Il Monti district is charming, and the location is superb, but the hotel itself was a huge disappointment. I assume we had a room in one of the old outbuildings, because we had a three-floor walkup to a small room with cheap furnishings, including an armoire with a hanging rack so high I had to step onto the bed to reach it. Add to that climate control that was controlled centrally, meaning we had no way to manage the level of heat pumped into our room. And all this for 120 Euros a night? Thanks, but next time in Rome I think I’ll look elsewhere. You might wish to suggest your readers do the same.

Gravatar: PausaniasPausanias

Although access to the Roman Forum was free when Blue Guide Rome was published (p61), this appears to be no longer the case: you have to buy a ticket covering the Roman Forum, the Palatine Hill and the Colosseum for around €12 (I say around, there seem to be differences depending on where you come from, and there is a charge included which you don’t seem to be able not to pay for the special “exhibition” whatever and wherever that is).
To avoid the long lines for the Colosseum, buy your ticket at the Forum and do that first; anyway it is a nicer walk through the Forum to the Colosseum if you’re coming from the Capitoline Hill direction than along the street and it costs no more. The advantage is that when you get to the Colosseum you’ve already got the ticket and can go straight in.

Gravatar: Brendan SomesBrendan Somes

Re: the Palazzo Farnese (Blue Guide Rome, 9th ed., p.302) it is open to the public on specified days. The Guide states that it is not open. I have been able to arrange a visit to the Palazzo by contacting the French Embassy in Rome.

Brendan Some
Gravatar: EditorialEditorial

Update Blue Guide Rome - new museums / sites May 2008:
“Rome’s illustrious repertoire of museums has been enhanced recently by the opening of the new Museum of the Imperial Fora. This is housed in magnificent setting of the so-called Trajan’s Markets . . .” See the whole article in Minerva Magazine.

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