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Simon Calder's Holiday Helpdesk: A good guide book for Rome

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Q A friend is going to Rome to celebrate her 60th birthday. Can you recommend a good guide book which I could buy for her? More doing than reading. The internet is awash and I am confused.

Janet Lloyd

A The internet certainly is awash, and I am happy to try to help out. The two big travel guide publishers have good Rome-specific books. The seventh edition of Lonely Planet’s guide (£14.99) is a year old; the Pocket Rough Guide (£7.99) is two years old. The Lonely Planet maps are better, but the Rough Guide - by the excellent Martin Dunford – is more literate.

However, for a short stay, there is an alternative. May I suggest you download and print out our most recent 48 hours in Rome from September, located at bit.ly/Rome48, free of charge. It prescribes the best way to spend two days in the Italian capital. Then buy your friend a priceless treat: a personal tour of one corner of Rome with the excellent James Hill, a British guide who lives in the city and is steeped in its stories. You can contact him at jameshill150@gmail.com.

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