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Book Review: Secret Rome by Genevra Lovatelli, Adriano Moribito, et al.

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Secret Rome, part of a series of guides by local people of famous cities provided by JonGlez Publishing, is a delight whether you are planning a trip or just enjoy reading about and imagining the secrets of that great city.

Here, you will learn of ancient Roman ruins hidden in the basement of churches, restaurants and hotels. You will discover an isolated cemetery where such famous poets as Keats and Shelley are buried, and learn the places where relics such as the bones of saints, pieces of the true cross, and even Jesus’ alleged foreskin from when he was circumcised as an infant are carefully preserved.

You will discover a lost masterpiece of Bernini, a motorized Rubens, and amazing optical illusions among other art works.

As you read, you will encounter many stories of saints, strange legends, and fascinating bits of history that you are almost guaranteed never to have heard before. You will gaze upon fabulous photographs of vast palaces, forgotten gardens, artwork and oddities.

Secret Rome is, in fact, an altogether mesmerizing book. However, there are a few problems with it. Because of the size of the book, the print is rather small and difficult to read in places, especially in anything other than bright light. The orange color used for the sidebars that provide so much information you do not want to miss are even harder to read. For those with perfect eyesight this may not be much of a problem, but all other readers should be aware that it may be a struggle at times. It is well worth it, though, to persevere.

For anyone who wants to go beyond the usual tourist places, and even below the surface world, this book is indispensable. For those who only want to learn more about some fascinating history and intriguing places, it is equally so. Every person with an interest in Rome and a taste for the quirky or extraordinary should read this book.

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About Rhetta Akamatsu

I am an author of non-fiction books and an online journalist. My books include Haunted Marietta, The Irish Slaves, T'ain't Nobody's Business If I Do: Blues Women Past and Present, and Sex Sells: Women in Photography and Film.