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When in Rome: 2000 Years of Roman Sightseeing

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'In the middle of the second century BC Rome was under threat. The danger, however, was not military. It was the one-legged sideboard that, apparently, posed the gravest danger to Rome's power - at least according to the historian Livy. There were other worrying signs: bed curtain, bronze couches and a fad for female lute players at private banquets. To the stern fathers of the Roman Republic these corrupting manifestations of 'Eastern luxury' were deeply troubling.' So begins Matthew Sturgis's book - a guide to Rome with a difference. For over two thousand years Rome has been acknowledged as one of the world's great cities. It has been the hub of a magnificent empire, the birthplace of an enduring Church, the spring from which the Renaissance would draw its knowledge of the Classical past, the goal of every educated European making the Grand Tour and a pre-eminent centre of mass tourism. Here is Rome through the eyes of the travellers who have flocked there over the centuries: from the sophisticated Turkish ambassador who found Republican Rome a bit crude and primitive, really, to the eastern Emperor overawed by the glories of Imperial Rome, to the pilgrims who in the Dark and Middle Ages visited the 'pitiful, malodorous but sanctified rump' that Rome had become; then to the eager classicists and collectors who flocked to Renaissance Rome, followed by the Grand Tourists, the Romantics, and the rather less grand tourists of today. Hide synopsis

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