“All roads, they say, lead to Rome. But choose carefully which road to take, and just as importantly, when to take it. Go too early, and you will struggle against the winter storms. Go too late, and all the festivals and spectacles will have finished, and everyone who can will have fled the summer heat to the seaside resort of Baiae, or to the cool of the Tuscan hills. Really late arrivals will be just in time for the first damp of autumn – the unhealthiest time of year in an eternally unhealthy city.
In short, the journey must be carefully planned.”
The book tells you all you wanted to know about visiting Ancient Rome and more. This is great light fare to read at odd moments. Light though it might look, the book is meticulously researched, drawing on sources ranging over 300 years. The pages are sprinkled with ancient quotations: from epigrams, satires and other writings by the Latin poets and playwrights; from philosophers, historians and letter writers; tomb inscriptions; graffiti from Pompeii; and inscriptions from Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum. And each chapter has artistically designed sidebars, headed RES ROMAE and containing related trivia.
The Independent provides an edited extract (not sure how long this link will be available):
Roman holiday: A trip back in time
Sun, saunas, sex, and sandals - Ancient Rome had it all. But what was it like to walk the streets, gaze at gladiators and jostle with locals of the Eternal City? Oxford professor Philip Matyszak takes you on an extraordinary journey to the cradle of civilisation.
Philip Matyszak has a doctorate in Roman history from St. John's College, Oxford, and is the author of Chronicle of the Roman Republic, The Enemies of Rome and The Sons of Caesar. He teaches an e-learning course on Ancient Rome for the Institute of Continuing Education at Cambridge University.