The Families Who Made Rome: A History and a Guide
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How often does a visitor to Rome drift towards some landmark – the palazzo Barberini, say, or piazza Colonna – and wonder who created it? Why? What was their story? This fascinating book provides the answers. It is at once a history and a guide, sumptuous and authoritative, with forty maps and sixty black and white illustrations. The guide divides Rome into the districts dominated by the fabulously rich families of the Popes: the Colonna, della Rovere, Farnese, Borghese, Barberini and others. In each case we learn their story – powerful, bloody and vivid – with all the scandals and intrigues as well as their relationships with artists like Bernini and Michelangelo. An itinerary with maps and engravings then provides a detailed guide to each family’s monuments.The Roman nobles, turbulent and ambitious, placed their stamp on the city, creating the dazzling splendour we see today. No other guide describes the development of Rome in this way: this book is completely new, including colourful material from old diaries and journals. As we stroll through Rome’s history – either literally or in the imagination – we discover it afresh. Famous sites like the Trevi Fountain, the Spanish Steps and St Peter’s take on new significance as we watch the city rise from cramped medieval streets to become a glorious panorama of piazzas and palaces, fountains, towers and domes.