Rome on Foot: an Introduction
Rome guidebook with videos, by Dennis Callan
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Brief demonstration of the book.
This new interactive Rome guidebook presents six walking tours, vividly illustrated with 36 videos, photos, practical maps and 600 pages of detailed text. This is the best way to discover Rome. Our ebook travel approach is unique: the entire guide is filled with information about efficient step-by-step walking routes that cover all the major historic attractions and many out-of-the-way modern delights. Thirty-six short movies bring the most important sites to life for you, while lively descriptions offer a clear understanding of the sites; and a historic Baedeker guide provides added travel information.
We have prepared a sample of photos from the book to share with you. Take a look at photos of Rome.
Rome on Foot will be a pleasure for everyone who enjoys travel, whether you are heading to Rome in the near future or not. It is especially useful as a guide during your trip: reading through the routes and viewing the videos and photos will help organize your itinerary to get the most out of the experience. This book is also fun to read at any time, whether you anticipate a journey to Rome in the future or are looking back on a past trip. If you love travel and have not yet been to Rome or Italy, this is the next best thing; and you will surely be there some day. Armchair travelers not going anywhere will also enjoy the book as it transports them to one of the world's greatest cities without having to pack up and go. But go you must; you must go to Rome!
One usually appreciates reading about a place after being there because you can visualize things as they were and recall the sights, sounds, smells and events. This video ebook, the first of its kind, is the next-best thing to being there: the numerous videos and photos will truly give you a vivid picture of Rome's attractions. The book is now available at Apple's iBookstore with full video, and is also available in a non-video version at Amazon and Barnes & Noble for those who do not have an iPad or iPhone.
Rome on Foot is NOT padded with redundant, obsolete information about hotels, shops and restaurants that you can more accurately find online. Nor is it a typical, disconnected list of sites from A to Z offering no clues for getting around in the most efficient way. We connect the dots, serve as your personal tour guide, and take a step-by-step approach to cover all of the major sights and many of the minor ones. Armed with this practical orientation, you are empowered to then strike off on your own and wander freely through these wonderful lanes, making your own personal discoveries.
Rome is one of the world's best cities to discover on foot because its compact center is filled with both fascinating history and vibrant, modern life. The book describes exactly how to choose the best walking routes, understand what you see and make the most of your precious vacation. Don't waste time with a city bus tour: most of Rome's important sites can only be reached on foot, while a bus will waste half your time stuck in traffic you can easily avoid as a pedestrian.
Experienced travelers know that the best way to explore a city is walking. Practical suggestions will ensure that time is not wasted getting lost or wondering what to do next. The book offers strategies to bring you in direct contact with the people and places that make Rome such a special destination. We cover the major historic sites, the lively shopping streets and dozens of narrow, cobblestone lanes where you can leave the crowds behind and experience peaceful local neighborhoods. Yes, walking takes effort, but its rewards are great. Not only is it free and educational, but walking is healthy and helps you to burn off those calories from great Italian meals so you can maintain your fitness while on the road. You will be amazed at how effortless and what fun it is to walk on a route lined with fascinating sights!
Six, half-day walking tours are presented in a logical sequence to fill three days, with the afternoon walks beginning where the morning walks ends. Obviously you are free to rearrange things as you wish, depending on your schedule and interests.
Walking routes are planned for the best time of day — for example, some places are better in the morning, like the outdoor food market of Campo dei Fiore; most churches are closed for siesta from 12-4pm; if you arrive at the Vatican Museum in mid-morning you might wait on line for hours; Trastevere is the perfect place for an early-evening stroll; specific shopping streets are best in late afternoon for the passeggiata (evening stroll) of stylish Romans promenading with friends; and so it goes through the daily cycle of the city.
This three-day period provides a basic format because a good visit takes that long and is the typical amount of time people have for a city as they travel. If you have more time, our itineraries can be expanded over additional days, while those with less time will find tips to help shorten the visit. If you only have one day (and that would be unfortunate), pick those parts of our itineraries that most interest you and do as much as you can. These carefully structured schedules have flexibility built in for personal interests and to accommodate surprises: you'll want to stay open for exciting distractions and spontaneous events that you may find waiting around the corner.
Other guidebooks provide useful material but they are not organized in daily schedules that connect attractions into convenient walking routes: none takes our approach of time-based itineraries through Rome with detailed walking routes joining sites into sequences. Most travel books have either too much information, with endless, quickly outdated lists of restaurants, hotels and shops, or too little, lacking exact directions, except perhaps a one-page walking tour tossed in here and there.
We have selected the most enjoyable sights and placed them in the proper order, so that you can easily walk to a series of attractions and find interesting features all along the way. This arrangement solves the basic challenges of travel: where to go and what does it all mean. With this book you can focus on enjoying what you see rather than trying to figure out where you are and what to do next. Nothing is more frustrating than investing time and money in a much-anticipated trip and then getting lost, visiting the wrong sites at the wrong time of day, fighting the crowds or wandering into boring neighborhoods, wasting time and money.
Rome on Foot is based on the author's experiences leading European walking tours for the past 26 years, producing a travel series for television, and writing many, many articles about walking itineraries. All that time spent traveling with groups has provided valuable insights into what people actually enjoy doing and what can be skipped. This book will be a personal tour guide, with comprehensive text that is richly illustrated with videos, photos and maps that help you understand and enjoy the city. Each route has been thoroughly tested many times to make certain that everything works perfectly.
Rome has so many wonderful sights it could be overwhelming, but don't worry: this guide shows how to efficiently cover the major attractions in a few days and find the real character of the city. Of course, the major destinations like the Colosseum, Forum, Pantheon and Vatican are included, but there is so much more to experience. Special tips will reveal miles of pleasant cobbled pedestrian lanes alive with shops, restaurants and locals all day and into the night. This contemporary face of the city is just as interesting as its ancient one, but it is missed by too many travelers. Rome is a city with 2,700 years of history, art and culture, which you can see in a short time if you know where to go. We will bring you the history along with today's life in the city, explored on foot.
You will get a close look at what makes Rome so special and learn ideal walking routes with techniques for getting around in our detailed day-by-day outlines. Rome on Foot includes exact directions on where to walk, best times to visit, what to skip, descriptions of sites, how to get around by transit and taxi, avoid crowds and many more helpful recommendations. These guidelines will deliver an authentic experience that puts you face-to-face with the people and history of this amazing city. Time is precious when traveling and you don't want to waste it getting lost, going in circles, visiting less-important places or following inefficient routes. The routes described here pack in the sites efficiently, enabling you to carve out some free time to follow your own passions.
Wear comfortable shoes to protect your precious feet, crucial to discovering this city. Running shoes are the best choice, slightly broken in but not more than one year old, so they still have some bounce left. You are going to be on your feet much more than normal, so sandals or walking shoes might not be up to the task. Sorry, but you cannot see much of the real Rome on a standard bus tour or from a cruise. You must stay several days and walk to appreciate the incredible art, ancient architecture, the best food, impressive churches, quaint cobbled alleys, unlimited shopping and cozy neighborhoods. This is not a marathon race, so you don't have to be an athlete to complete the course. Just follow your own pace and stop frequently to absorb the sites. It is important to sit and rest for a few minutes every hour, which is yet another reason to visit all those churches and sit on their benches. Get in shape before leaving home by walking at least 30 minutes daily for a month, and you will easily cover everything presented in this comprehensive plan.
Fortunately most of the streets you will be walking are quiet lanes with very little automobile traffic. Many narrow streets are semi-pedestrian with few cars coming along, so you can walk in the road, especially since sidewalks are often non-existent or blocked. Keep your ears open for oncoming traffic and walk on one side as courtesy to the drivers and as safety for yourself. However, there are some big streets with crazy traffic you must deal with. When possible, cross at a traffic light and go with the green, but this convenience is in short supply. Jaywalk to save time and energy when necessary, but do so very carefully. Don't expect cars to stop for you when you are in a marked crossing. When Roman drivers see a pedestrian in the street, they will be aiming their vehicle to just miss you on one side or the other, so if you abruptly change your speed, or stop, you might throw off their calculations and get hit. Don't confuse them. Just make your move and walk at a normal, steady pace so the traffic can pass around you. Another strategy is to stand next to locals and walk next to them as they cross the street, but don't lag or blindly follow. Stay Alert. You are ultimately responsible for your own safety.
Practice with your camera so that shooting becomes automatic: learn how to force the flash on and off; keep the camera turned on and in your hand; shoot a lot and delete at night for feedback and to save space. Do your research before the trip and bring the camera manual with you.
If you handhold the camera in low light, the picture will probably be blurry because of the slow shutter speed, even though it might look good in your small screen. Flash does not do any good because the distances are too great. If you have invested in a digital SLR or one of the new, sensitive compacts (a good investment), you have more flexibility, but it still helps to brace against something solid. Digital cameras can take spectacular photos when properly operated, and you can have great fun with the results in your computer later to bring back those memories.
Tips on using the video book:
Rome on Foot combines text, photos, maps and video to provide a complete picture of where you are going. Each section of Rome is summarized in one of the 36 short videos which are placed throughout the book. Written descriptions explain where to walk and help you understand the ancient and modern sights. Additional historic information is included as an appendix you can jump to using hyperlinks whenever you want to dig deeper.
Maps will help orient you and specify exactly where to walk, with options for detouring away from the main route and exploring whatever side lanes look good at the moment. Each walk is illustrated with a large map showing the entire route, and supplemented with neighborhood maps showing greater detail. They can also be enlarged with double-taps and moved around with fingertips
Hold the playback device either in vertical (portrait) or horizontal (landscape) position and adjust font size depending on your preferences. In vertical mode photos will be larger and text lines up in single column. Text and photos flow together regardless of orientation or font size. Text layout reads better if you turn off Full Justification, found in the iBooks section of Settings on the iPad. We recommend vertical orientation for reading, then swiveling to horizontal for videos, with font sized at the third level up from smallest. Arrangement of text and photos will look best with those settings. Videos will play full-frame by turning your device sideways, double-tap the picture, then tap again. Photo captions are not used because each picture is placed in context next to the relevant text. Most devices allow you to make notes and bookmarks on the pages.
Walk 1, first morning: Campo dei Fiori; little lanes; Chiesa Nuova; Piazza Navona;
Walk 2, first afternoon: Pantheon; Minerva; Ignazio; Trevi; Spagna.
Walk 3, second morning: Vatican Museum and St. Peter's Basilica.
Walk 4, second afternoon: Sant'Angelo, Via dei Coronari; SM Pace; Borghese Gallery; St. John Lateran; evening stroll in Trastevere.
Walk 5, third morning: Largo Argentina; Ghetto; Capitoline; Forum; Colosseum.
Walk 6, third afternoon: Monti; SM Maggiore; V Nazionale; churches of Michelangelo, Bernini and Borromini; Trevi, Spagna and Popolo at night.
Rome has got everything a traveller could want: history, pasta, narrow lanes, beautiful people, history, crazy traffic, mellow attitudes, easygoing lifestyles, modern fashions, compact attractions, architecture, sculpture, good weather, major piazzas, quiet corners, gelato, history, diverse hotels, public transit, cobblestones, loose cats, kids at play, animated conversations, great coffee, and so what more could you possibly need? This video book will show you how to experience it all. Bella Roma!
Two main editors have been immensely helpful: Joseph Kau, formerly an English professor at the University of Hawaii, who has volunteered for many years, editing all my travel stories; and my wife, June Callan, who has offered important corrections, polish, and the most invaluable support. Other friends have made suggestions: Joseph Kennedy, Marc DeLorme and Antonio Andres-Lopez. The classic guide book, Baedeker's CENTRAL ITALY, has been extremely helpful in providing maps and the extended text found in the back half of the book; there is detailed historical information for those of you eager to read all 600 pages. Baedeker continues to be a major publisher of the highest quality guidebooks. I have learned a great deal about page layout using Adobe InDesign 5.5, which now enables use of video in the book, and am grateful to my teacher, Sandee Cohen, author of the Peachpit Press series on that application.
In a rewarding 25-year career as tour guide throughout Europe I have led hundreds of people on walking tours in Rome, and have benefitted greatly from their comments and reactions to the itineraries. While in Rome, the Hotel Tiziano has been my comfortable home, in the historic center near Campo dei Fiori. I wrote the text, took the pictures, created the videos, did the page layout and conversion to ebook. The Honolulu Star-Bulletin published 55 of my travel articles about walking tours through Europe's major cities, with guidance from travel editor Nadine Kam. Those stories will soon be expanded into additional video guidebooks.
Rome on Foot is now available in Apple's iBookstore, with full video content. It is also available for the Kindle on Amazon and for the Nook at Barnes&Noble, with full content of text, photos and maps, but no video content on those versions.