Tom Fort reviews an interesting new book, When in Rome, the story of the Eternal City through the eyes of visitors who wrote about it. Few visitors can rival the historian Edward Gibbon, who spent 18 weeks in Rome and wrote later in his Memoirs:
It was at Rome, on the [fifteenth] of October[,] 1764, as I sat musing amidst the ruins of the Capitol, while the bare[-]footed fryars were singing [V]espers in the temple of Jupiter, that the idea of writing the decline and fall of the [C]ity first started to my mind.Though there is some doubt as to the precise date, the very idea of conceiving such an undertaking while sitting in the ruins of the Capitol is astonishing.
There is, Tory Historian can assert, something extraordinarily exhilearating about the moment one can say for the first time: I am walking in the Forum Romanum.
To descend from the sublime though not to the ridiculous, one of Tory Historian's favourites among the Ngaio Marsh novels is also called When in Rome.