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Publisher's Summary

Rome - as a city, as an empire, as an enduring idea - is in many ways the origin of everything Robert Hughes has spent his life writing about with such dazzling irreverence and exacting rigour. In this magisterial book he traces the city's history from its mythic foundation with Romulus and Remus to Fascism, Fellini and beyond. For almost a thousand years, Rome held sway as the spiritual and artistic centre of the world.

Hughes vividly recreates the ancient Rome of Julius Caesar, Marcus Aurelius, Nero, Caligula, Cicero, Martial and Virgil. With the artistic blossoming of the Renaissance, he casts his unwavering critical eye over the great works of Raphael, Michelangelo and Brunelleschi, shedding new light on the Old Masters.

In the seventeenth, eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, when Rome's cultural predominance was assured, artists and tourists from all over Europe converged on the city. Hughes brilliantly analyses the defining works of Caravaggio, Velasquez, Rubens and Bernini.

Hughes' Rome is a vibrant, contradictory, spectacular and secretive place; a monument both to human glory and human error.

©2011 Robert Hughes (P)2011 Orion Publishing Group Ltd

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    3 out of 5 stars

Totally engaging.

Having listened to Mike Duncan’s brilliant Podcast The History Of Rome, I’ve been quite interested in the Roman Empire, and I was interested in another perspective. I was thrilled to find this book because Robert Hughes’s The Fatal Shore has always been my favourite book. This audiobook has been my favourite so far, it is the perfect blend of ancient and modern history, culture, art, religion and politics. Every aspect of the Italian psyche is concisely covered without getting even remotely long-winded or boring. David Timson read it with engaging perfection. I simply loved listening to this one! Bravo!

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    2 out of 5 stars

struggled to finish

excellent first half falls off track badly into an almost pompous view if Roman / Italian Art post about 350 CE. unsatisfying however if you have a more academic pent then you may enjoy the second half as well.

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