What better way to see Rome than with someone who’s loved living and working there for over 30 years? A Holy Year in Rome, by Joan Lewis makes me want to visit Rome again. Gypsies accosted us right inside the church last time I was there. In addition there were death defying encounters with traffic. Not to mention the endless wanderings thru tourist traps. Joan makes Rome come alive with fascinating people and colorful history. She also provides insider travel tips and advice.
A Holy Year in Rome, is subtitled The Complete Pilgrim’s Guide for the Jubilee of Mercy. It begins with a description of the book’s meaning of pilgrimage and shrines. Next comes a glossary of terms. Such Catholic ideas as jubilee, basilica, and cathedral can be difficult to understand. Furthermore, the author explains the concept of holy doors in simple language.
Ms. Lewis gives an interesting history of jubilee years from the first one in 1300, through the current one. She explains why Pope Francis called an extraordinary jubilee. She also points out the significance of the dates of opening and closing this jubilee.
A full chapter is taken up by a self-tour guide book to the 7 pilgrimage basilicas. It features the highlights of each, in an orderly fashion, from entering to exit.
Another chapter contains a history and detailed description of the catacombs and their frescoes, paintings and stuccoes.
One chapter offers a self-guided tour of the vatican city-state.
Yet another is devoted to a history and guide to the pope’s second home, Castlegandalfo.
The book concludes with 3 chapters of Rome-specific travel advice. Joan gives her readers insider tips on navigating and getting the most out of their Rome visit. She also recommends books and links for further reading.
I thank Sophia Institute for providing me with a review copy of A Holy Year in Rome. I did not receive any other compensation for this review.