Vir in Via

Exploring Modern Rome with a Companion from the Ancient City

by Nicholas Sudbury 

Publication Date:  25th Sep 2023


Vir in Via – travel guidebook to the modern streets of Ancient Rome. Suggests walking tours encompassing the Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain, Pantheon, Piazza Navona, Campo de’ Fiori, Colosseum, Roman Forum, Imperial Fora, Villa Borghese, Seven Hills. Covers Rome’s Rioni and Quartieri, history, layout, churches, archaeology, legends and side streets.

About this book

Vir in Via is a travel guidebook to the modern city of Rome – but with an ancient twist: it brings together a contemporary city walking guide with a traditional archaeological survey. Whether exploring Italy’s vibrant capital or delving into its past is your thing, this rich book will prove both useful and fascinating.
Detailed itineraries escort us around familiar tourist tracks and lesser-known areas of Rome while imagining that we are accompanied by Josephus Publicus, a fictional inhabitant of the ancient city. Sudbury keeps his – and our – eye on what remnants of the ancient and medieval past can be found in Rome, whether readily visible or buried underground, while our imaginary companion relates tales about his haunts and discovers what they have become. Peeling back layers of topography, Vir in Via reveals unexpected connections between past and present. Digging deep into history, it reveals how Rome has evolved into its modern guise.
Walking tours encompass all the most famous landmarks: the Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain, Pantheon, Piazza Navona, Campo de’ Fiori, Colosseum, Roman Forum, Imperial Fora, Villa Borghese and the Seven Hills. But the suggested strolls also explore areas not usually included in guides aimed at casual tourists, such as Pinciano, the Parioli hills – haunts of ancient witches and soothsayers – and modern districts such as Prati, where early emperors had their pleasure gardens. In this unique city of history, culture and much more besides, even the most far-flung parts of the city have an absorbing story to tell.
With Vir in Via in your hand, visit 500 churches (many with connections to the pagan past), 24 sets of Roman baths, 32 towers, all 13 original obelisks, 20 sets of catacombs, over 120 fountains. and 6 talking statues. Learn where to find the creepiest crypts, most ghoulish martyrdom frescoes and Roman carvings embedded in street walls, then celebrate by following hot tips on locating the city’s very best ice-creams. Whether you are an amateur archaeologist, ancient-history buff or simply a visitor who looks beyond the obvious, let Vir in Via be your guide on an unusual, absorbing tour of Rome.

About the Author

After studying Classical languages and Ancient History at Oxford, Nicholas Sudbury ( taught these subjects at schools for 35 years. He accompanied and led educational visits to various regions of Italy, particularly falling in love with Rome, which he has explored on numerous occasions since and now knows very well. Along with his passion for the place itself, Sudbury is a lover of Italian food and wine; other interests include astronomy, ornithology and various genres of music – especially 20th-century classical composers (such as the Rome-based Ottorino Respighi) and 1970s progressive rock! As a retirement project he set up the Latin language-teaching website, used by students and tutors across the world. For the last 10 years he has also been a chief compiler for the magazine ‘Logic Problems’, where one of his monthly puzzle contributions is always based around the misadventures of a group of underachieving ancient Roman household slaves!

Additional Information

Table of Contents

Chapter 1 New Banks and Old Altars
Chapter 2 Meat & Two Veg and Circuses
Chapter 3 Patricians and Bonnie Princes
Chapter 4 Jesuits, Jews and Jerkin-makers
Chapter 5 Artists and Poets
Chapter 6 Layers of History
Chapter 7 Pilgrims’ Progress
Chapter 8 Paths around the Pantheon
Extra chapter A Walk around the Forum
Chapter 9 Imperial Glory
Chapter 10 Saints and Martyrs
Chapter 11 Two-and-a-half Hills and a Pyramid
Chapter 12 The Smell of the Subura
Chapter 13 Barracks, Baths and Bernini
Chapter 14 The Real Romans
Chapter 15 Pope and Princeps
Chapter 16 The Eighth Hill
Chapter 17 Monumental Emperors of the Appia Urbana
Chapter 18 Pines near a Catacomb
Chapter 19 Living in Styles
Chapter 20 Three Quarters North (part 1)
Chapter 21 Three Quarters North (part 2)
Chapter 22 Three Quarters North (part 3)
Appendix 1 Talking Statues
Appendix 2 The Obelisk Trail