Key To Rome

Book Review by Willard Manus

Anyone contemplating a trip to Rome this summer would do well to arm himself with a copy of KEY TO ROME by Frederick and Vanessa Vreeland (the former is a retired U.S. diplomat in Rome; the latter, a British artist). Published by Getty Publications, the slender paperback edition is a handsome and comprehensive guide to the Eternal City, written from an insider's point of view. The book is also packed with full-color illustrations, maps and portraits, making it a delight to peruse.

The Vreelands lead the reader through Rome's four major historical epochs, giving concise history lessons along the way, with special attention paid to the city's great monuments, museums, artworks, fountains, palazzis and churches. Modern Rome isn't short-changed: the Vreelands provide tips on clubs, discos, gay bars, restaurants, shopping, lakes, parks and beaches, child-oriented activities, etc. There is even a recommendation on the best place to get a haircut!

It's no wonder that Gore Vidal called KEY TO ROME "easily the handsomest and most useful guide to the city."