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Silver Travel Book Club - Book of the Month - August 2017

Anything about Rome makes me nostalgic. I went to Rome in 1966 to work for the UN. The city is magical hot in summer and filled with hordes of tourists and the Romans have all gone to the beach. However it is easy to find a table at a shady restaurant and enjoy a delicious meal. The best time is winter the shops are all welcoming and the restaurants filled with locals. I look back on the time of my life and tell everyone it is the most beautiful and charismatic city in the world.

A wonderful walk through history, sadly when we went it was a very crowded walk through history though. We knew it would be busy but didn’t expect to have to queue for so long for everything, it was worse than Disney! The coliseum and cistene chapel were worth the wait and just walking through Rome was fabulous. One lesson we learnt was to lunch off the main streets because sitting outside cafes & bars with all the cruise walking trips marching past was not the most relaxing way to pass an hour or two. We loved our 3 days there and will go back for longer next time.

I would love to comment about Rome but I hVent been there yet.

@AndrewMorris – Luckily I have been back since and I got to see everything…the coliseum, the Spanish steps, the Vatican etc. Probably what surprised me the most was how small and enclosed the Trevi fountain is. I imagined it as part of some huge square but the reality is that it isn’t. However the coliseum was amazing and basically the whole city is impressive. You are just constantly walking through history. I have added the “The Rome Affair” to my TBR pile. I have read most of her other books and I very much enjoyed them so I am sure this one will be just as good. Thanks for the suggestion.

Thanks @Silvertravellerfan for your wonderfully entertaining memory of Rome.

The Vatican? The Colosseum? Piazza Navona? No. A dodgy Italian heart monitor.

Hardly surprising that this is your most vivid memory of the Eternal City, and glad the rest of the trip went well. Did you ever go back….without a bunch of dehydrated schoolboys?

I wonder if there are some equally funny moments in “The Rome Affair”….

Many many years ago on a school trip to Rome, one Year 8 boy in the group fainted just outside the Castel Sant’Angelo on a really warm day. (Despite having been nagged at many times to keep drinking!) We had had a lovely day visiting various sites and then this happened! Next thing an ambulance was called and the boy was rushed off to hospital. A male colleague went with him in the ambulance. Beep…beep..beep…beeeeeeeeeep…..went the heart monitor and so with sirens blaring, the ambulance sped through the streets of Rome. The aforementioned colleague was panic stricken. On arrival at the hospital, the crash team took the boy off to start working on him and a couple of minutes later the doctor came out to speak to my colleague. “I am so sorry,” says the doctor….“the machine in the ambulance malfunctioned. He’s fine.” My colleague…not so much! So when I think about Rome, I cannot help but think about this! The next day, we were able to carry on with our trip to Sorrento via Pompeii and an amazing time was had by all!

I enjoyed this novel. It is set in the hot months of the Summer – so it is blissful to escape somewhere sunny whilst my part of the UK is struggling to reach decent Summer temperatures. It is quite current, in that part of the story is around sinkholes and I remember seeing a programme hosted by Alexandre Armstrong http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b05xxl4t about the hidden city below the modern city.

The story has potential romance and intrigue at its heart and for me beautifully brought the city to life, with delicious food, narrow, echoing streets, the buzz and hum of the city and the little sparrows and amber light as the sun sinks….

@AndrewMorris, sorry to have to inform you but my book hasn’t arrived yet, will check with neighbours when the’re in again to see if they kept it for me.

Wakefield, West Yorks.

Thanks @Manja @LH @paulinet and @DRSask for the comments on this thread so far…I think it’s fair to say we all love The Eternal City, or would certainly like to visit if we haven’t been already.

My own first visit there was some time in the 1960s, when I was 5 or 6. My father worked in the travel industry and we were lucky to be cruising around the Mediterranean on a free trip, with a few days on dry land in Rome. In August. And in a heatwave.

Walking around somewhere near the Vatican, my older brother claimed he could see spots before his eyes. “Don’t be silly” said my Dad. A couple of minutes later, my brother had keeled over and Dad was grabbing a bucket of ice-cold water from a water-melon seller to try and revive his ailing son.

50 years or so later, I was back in Rome with my wife Gill and exploring a few of the less touristy parts of the city. We stayed in the excellent and well located Hotel Due Torri and walked for miles, especially on the other side of the Tiber river, across to the Castel Sant’Angelo, up to the Garibaldi Monument on Janiculum Terrace and back down to the cool Trastevere district. We also took a bus out to the city to see the remarkable gardens of Villa d’Este, in Tivoli, a popular summer resort since the days of ancient Rome.

So much to see and so little time….

Looking forward to immersing myself vicariously in the city this time, thanks to Karen Swan’s The Rome Affair.

Rome is a city that can be visited many times and a different experience is had each time. The Vatican is a living breathing piece of history that will take your breath away with its splendour and sheer opulence in architecture. Be sure to do some some research before you go so that the masterpieces you are looking at inside St Peters are truly appreciated. The Trevi Fountain and Spanish Steps are so accessible and beloved of tourists that they should not be missed and of course an ice cream has to be eaten at some point! Rome is a joy and to revisit it through the pages of a good book will bring it all back!

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