Books, Art, & Visual Culture


Writing and design by Melissa Hill, graphic designer.

The Lover's Guide to Rome by Mark Lamprell

Lovers Guide to Rome.jpg
Let me tell you about Rome, my beloved Roma, so ancient she is called eternal, the city that has always been and will always be. Assured of her own magnificence, her venerable significance, she does not seek comparison - and yet I find it almost impossible not to compare her.
— Mark Lamprell, The Lovers' Guide to Rome

This is the opening of Mark Lamprell’s The Lovers' Guide to Rome and I fell in love with these words immediately. I was compelled to read them aloud, they have a wonderful lyrical quality to them.

Have you ever been to Rome? The author’s note says this novel was written outdoors, around the streets and piazzas of Rome and it shows. There is a lovely liveliness and intimacy in the treatment of these locations that took me right back there amongst the stone angels and gelato stands.

This book was given to me with the description that it was a "happy book". As most of my reading material tends toward more UNhappy themes, I thought this might be a nice (and mentally healthy) change.

I was pleasantly surprised. The Lovers' Guide to Rome is a lovely, breezy, sunlit romp through the streets of Roma, as comfortable and cheerful as the best rom-coms, but beautifully written, with descriptions that make you want to read them aloud. I found the cast of characters engaging, with enough about them to be curious about and sympathise with, to make me want to read on.

I zipped through the first half on this on a two hour train journey and it was ideal for the task. Because you shouldn't have to put up with poorly written junk just because you're in the mood for something light!

Photo by Melissa Hill