EDITOR’S NOTE: Half Price Books encourages you to travel more in 2016. Not the kind of travel that involves airplanes, passports and hotels, but the easier, more affordable kind — where you open a great book and let it take you somewhere. Throughout 2016 we’ll share about the world’s great destinations, along with our recommendations for the books, movies and music that will help you get there.
When I was a very young child, I would browse through postcards from my mother’s many travels. My favorite postcard was of the Trevi Fountain in Rome. I spent hours daydreaming of Rome and would later immerse myself in books and movies that featured Rome. Now I am a mother and recently had the thrill of traveling with my college-age daughter in Rome. The last stop on our trip was the Tivoli Fountain. It was more grand and romantic than I could possibly have imagined. Saying ciao, ciao a Roma, we tossed coins into the fountain with hopes of returning to the Eternal City.
With its bevy of fountains, sculptures and architectural ruins, Rome may be best known for visual splendor. But it also has a rich literary pedigree dating to its ancient past, when thinkers with one name like Ovid and Cicero wrote epic poems and invented satire. In later centuries, expatriate writers fell under the city’s charms. All roads—and lots of books, music and movies—lead to Rome.
HOW TO GET THERE
Angels & Demons, Dan Brown • Eat, Pray, Love, Elizabeth Gilbert • Gladiator • I, Claudius, Robert Graves • Italian Love Songs, Dean Martin • An Italian Songbook, Cecilia Bartoli • Music of Ancient Rome, Vol. 1, Synaulia • Roma • Roman Holiday • The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone, Tennessee Williams • Rome, Danger Mouse and Daniele Luppi • The Talented Mr. Ripley • Three Coins in the Fountain • Viaggio Italiano, Andrea Bocelli • The Woman of Rome, Alberto Moravia
DID YOU KNOW?
- Literary legends including Goethe, John Keats, Stendhal, Lord Byron and Charles Dickens have been served at Antico Caffé Greco, one of the oldest cafes in Italy.
- Keats, his friend Percy Shelley and many other expatriate writers and artists are interred at Rome’s Protestant Cemetery.
- The house in Rome where Keats spent his last months has been preserved as Keats-Shelley House, a museum dedicated to him and other English Romantic poets who were spellbound by the city.
- So many American movies were shot at Rome’s Cinecittá film studios in the 1950s and 60s that the city was nicknamed Hollywood on the Tiber.
- The area surrounding Piazza di Spagna became known as the English Quarter in the 1800s due to its large population of expatriate artists.
If you don’t want to miss a stop on HPB’s journey to the world’s great destinations, join the Half Price Books Booklovers Survey Club and we’ll send you an email each month with a new city alongside a quick survey. Plus, you’ll receive coupons to save throughout the year when you travel to your favorite Half Price Books.
Susan is Creative Coordinator at HPB Corporate in Dallas TX.