Rome, the Eternal City, has captured the imagination of travelers for over two millennia. From the city's ancient ruins, to the Christian monuments and pilgrimage routes, to the modern architectural works and interventions, visitors have flocked to Rome to study history, art, religion, architecture, and literature. Guides to the city's wonders were produced as early as the 12th century, such as the Mirabilia Urbis Romae (Marvels of the City of Rome), providing visitors with keys to unlocking the city's greatest treasures. These historic guides offer unique glimpses into the past and how the city has been viewed, transversed, and studied. The 18th century and the Grand Tour brought increasing numbers of visitors to Rome and accelerated the number of illustrated travel guides that were published. Today there's no shortage of guides to the city, available on each street corner, in nearly every language. These guides can offer more than mere lists of things to see and do; they can teach us how hundreds of years of visitors viewed the city and how the city has changed to welcome them. The following three guides provide an introduction and insight into the rich history of travel literature. They illustrate different perceptions of Rome and highlight the way the city was viewed and presented during several centuries. The team has provided simple and literal translations to allow for a basic understanding of the texts for English speakers and to provide a starting point for those interested in further translating the content.

1569

Gamucci

An illustrated, sixteenth-century guide to the marvels of ancient Rome divided into four books. Experience Renaissance Rome through lively woodcut illustrations and discover ancient monuments that are no longer standing.

1643

Franzini

Seventeenth-Century guided tour of Rome providing three daily itineraries and extensive wood-block print illustrations. Discover Baroque Rome and gain further insights of Rome’s elite and their palaces.

1777

Vasi

Eighteenth-century “Grand Tourist” guide to Rome divided into eight extensive and rigorous daily itineraries covering the vast majority of the historic city center. Experience Rome as a grand tourist and explore the city at every scale from its smallest to largest treasures.