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When in Rome [Paperback]

Our Price $ 16.15  
Retail Value $ 19.00  
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Item Number 158163  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   289
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.23" Width: 5.68" Height: 0.88"
Weight:   0.79 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Jun 15, 1998
Publisher   Main Street Books
ISBN  0385486472  
EAN  9780385486477  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
A lighthearted look at the varied, colorful inhabitants and history of the Vatican ranges from the medieval knights of the crusades to the Pope's personal tailor to the mummified body of Saint Pius X, as seen by an award-winning journalist. Original.

Publishers Description
Lighthearted and altogether fascinating, "When in Rome" is a delightful backstairs tour of one of the world's most mysterious and eccentric cities. With his wife and three young sons, Robert Hutchinson moved to Rome shortly before his thirty-ninth birthday, intending to explore the Vatican in depth. He sought to capture "the personality of the place: the smells and the traffic, the rich delicacies of Roman food, the perils of the Italian language, the way Italian monsignori push their way to the front of the line, just like their lay countrymen." "When in Rome" is the extraordinary journal of his Roman sojourn.
With playful good humor, Hutchinson introduces the varied and colorful individuals who live and work in the Vatican. In the process, he explores the mysterious orders of medieval knights, some dating back to the First Crusade, which still play a vital role in the Vatican; explains how bumbling Vatican archaeologists found, and then lost, the bones of St. Peter; probes the sex lives of the popes, from the "pornocracy" of Sergius III to the incestuous orgies of Rodrigo Borgia; experiences high fashion in the Holy See, including a visit to the pope's personal tailor; encounters the weird relics of Catholicism, such as the mummified body of St. Pius X and a museum made entirely out of human bones; recounts the true story behind the True Cross, now kept in a run-down church near the Colosseum; and much, much more.
Humorous, irreverent, but ultimately respectful, "When in Rome" does for the Vatican what "A Year in Provence" did for the French countryside, in an unforgettable and unprecedented eyewitness account of one of the most fascinating places on Earth.

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More About Robert J. Hutchinson

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Robert J. Hutchinson studied philosophy as an undergraduate, moved to Israel to learn Hebrew, and earned a graduate degree in theology and New Testament studies. He has written six books of popular history and travel. He lives with his wife and children in a small seaside town on the west coast.

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Product Categories
1Books > Subjects > History > Europe > Italy > General   [2677  similar products]
2Books > Subjects > History > Europe > Italy   [86  similar products]
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Reviews - What do our customers think?
A lot of fun!  Feb 23, 2007
There are many light 'travel' books intended to give a personal account of some aspect of the author's experience in a foreign country or city. This book fits into that category with a particular emphasis on the Vatican. Anyone planning a trip to Rome should consider some of the 'traveler' books along with the many excellent travel guides that are available to help you understand the city. The "traveler' books are generally much more interesting to read.

"When in Rome" is a lot of fun. Robert Hutchinson provides great insight into the Vatican and how it works (or at times doesn't!) I am reminded of the question once asked of Pope John XXIII: "How many people actually work in the Vatican?" Answer: "Not Many!"

I have been to Rome many times, but this book was still informative for me and is highly recommended for those planning a first trip to Rome, and even for the experienced traveler.
Served Its Purpose  Oct 25, 2003
Hutchinson served his purpose. He provided just enough detail about the stories he picked to keep the lay reader interested, and varied his stories widely enough to provide a wide angle portrait of the Vatican. A humorous and thoughtful look at the place and the institution which has, for better or worse, been the very center of Catholicism and the Catholic conciousness for 2,000 years.
Fun and Factual  Oct 18, 2002
Upon the advise of a good tour guide, I purchased this book after visiting and utterly enjoying the Eternal City. Please note that this is certainly not the ultimate guide to the Vatican or to understanding Catholicism. It is merely a collection of the amusing anecdotes of a journalist, who like other journalists has the opportunity to live in another part of the world and then comment about his impressions of adapting or accepting another culture.
In this instance, Hutchinson moves to Rome with the sole purpose of writing a "what I did on my summer vacation" book on the Vatican. He and his wife and three children, all practising Catholics already feel that affinity to Rome, the Pope and the Vatican that all Catholics innately experience. Here, Hutchinson explores with pure delight his connection with an institution that has lasted through 2000 years of tumultuous change and yet like the rock it was built upon, invariably stays the same.
Hutchinson's Roman adventures are sprinkled liberally with his slightly irreverant humor and yes, as other reviewers have commented, he does repeat himself. But instead of looking cynically upon these faux pas, think of Hutchinson as the prodigal son (or any other excited tourist with a film projector filled with slides) returning from the unknown and merely so thrilled by what he has seen and experienced, can barely contain himself. Enjoy his exuberance, visit Rome and share in it.
Although most entertaining for me were Hutchinson's stories about St. Peter's bones, the Borgia popes, and the holy relics, I found the entire book one refreshing breeze of a read that brought back for me the sound of the Vespas in a city that juxtaposes the old with the new in a very stylish and sophisticated way. Recommended reading for AFTER that trip to Rome---to relish all those "Roman" sensations all over again.
Vatican Eye-Opener  Sep 2, 2002
In her New York Times Book Review, Sandra Mardenfeld tells us that When in Rome is " interesting but rarely startling account." She either didn't read it or is on the Curia payroll.
A little bit of Rome each day....  Jul 30, 2002
I read this book on the bus to and from work each day and it really brought me back to the time I lived in Rome. I really enjoyed the sarcastic views and "insider" information about the Vatican. I recommend this book to any Italophile!

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