Love Italy? Read This: 103 Other Adventures In and Around Rome

Dr. Jessie Voigts's picture

Think you know Rome? Here's a fabulous book that will show you SO much more to do, explore, eat, and learn than you ever thought possible. 103 Other Adventures* In and Around Rome - *Beyond the biggies like the Colosseum, the Pantheon, and the Vatican is written by Bill Richards (whom you've met here before, with Family on the Loose columns and books!) and Silvia Prosperi.

Whether you're new to exploring Rome or an old hand, there is so much packed into this unassuming TARDIS of a book.

Love Italy? Read This: 103 Other Adventures In and Around Rome

From history to the arts, and getting outside to diving in, 103 Other Adventures offers a new look at Rome and its surrounding areas, giving readers both clear guidance and pure inspiration. 

I've never seen a travel guide like this. Each of the 103 adventures is laid out thusly: interesting background; photo (good for we visual learners); why go; a bullet-point list of location, cost and time, if it is kid-friendly, if you need a guide, and when to go; fun facts; and online resources to learn more before you go (thank you!). There's an excellent section at the end with maps (!!), rainy day ideas, and a list of adventures for kids under 10.

103 Other Adventures not only teaches us a wide array of new adventures, but distills each location into bite-size tidbits that, honestly, will have you planning a LONGER trip to Rome than you ever imagined (whether armchair travel at the moment, or a physical journey). Or perhaps, like the authors, you'll find yourself living there...

Highly, highly recommended.

About the authors:
Bill Richards is the coauthor of two other travel books, Family on the Loose: The Art of Traveling with Kids and 100 Tips for Traveling with Kids in Europe. His love for travel has brought him to over 40 countries, many with his wife and kids, and he has lived in six countries on four continents. For over 30 years, Bill worked as a forest ecologist specializing in the restoration of habitat for rare wildlife species primarily in the Pacific Northwest of North America. His technical writing has appeared in scientific journals like Conservation Biology and Natural Areas Journal. He has lived in Rome since 2018.

Silvia Prosperi is a licensed tour guide in Rome and Lazio. Born and raised in Rome, she has traveled extensively in Europe and beyond, but has never strayed from Italy for very long. She received her guiding license in 2009 and has never stopped exploring and learning about Rome and the surrounding region. Her “to-see list” is still endlessly long, but her expertise made it possible to select some of the best adventures for this book. Thanks to tour guiding, Silvia has met travelers from all over the world and is constantly inspired by their tales and personal journeys.

Authors Bill Richards and Silvia Prosperi. From Love Italy? Read This: 103 Other Adventures In and Around Rome

We were lucky enough to chat with Bill about their book, inspiration, surprises, joys and challenges, and more. Here's what he had to say...

Please tell us about your new book, 103 Other Adventures* In and Around Rome - *Beyond the biggies like the Colosseum, the Pantheon, and the Vatican
The typical tourist and traveler visiting Rome for the first time absolutely has to go see the most famous Roman sites. These visitors are usually here for two or three days. They pound the pavement/cobblestones, and eat pasta and pizza and artichokes. Perfect! That's certainly what I did. But if they come to Rome a second time, stay here for a longer period, or move here, is there anything else for them to do and see? Well, of course there is, and this book is for them!

There are four parts to the book. The first one describes adventures investigating the history of Rome, from the Etruscans to ancient Rome and the Middle Ages, and from the Renaissance to Mussolini. The second section shares adventures that explore the art of Rome, including ancient sculptures, Renaissance painting, opera, jazz, and street murals. The third section takes the adventures outside, with trips to hilltowns and national parks, and includes horseback riding and skiing. And the last part is all about water - local beaches, volcanic lakes, river rafting, thermal spas, and more. 

For each adventure, we provide a description of what it is and why you might want to go there. There is information about where, when, the cost, and if kids might be interested. And we give you fun facts and ideas for enriching each adventure with nearby and related activities.

What inspired you and your co-author, Silvia, to write this book?
For me, the idea kinda' started in 2019 during the heat of my first summer living in Rome. I was desperate to find a nearby swimming hole where I could cool off, something I did frequently in my previous life in the Pacific Northwest of the United States. But outside of private swimming pools and the Tiber River, which is not particularly attractive for swimming, there wasn't anything obvious to a newbie. So I called Silvia, whom I had met on a couple of her tours, and she pointed me toward Lake Martignano. It was so close, and yet so far if you didn't know it was there or what it offers. And just walking around Rome, you quickly learn that there really are unique and fascinating stories around every corner, literally.

I think for Silvia, writing a book about Rome was something she had thought about for a while but didn't really know how to start. I mentioned the idea to her after one of her tours and we were off.

What might readers be surprised to discover, through your book, about Rome?
With over 2,500 years of history, there are landmarks and museums scattered absolutely everywhere. Underneath everything! And outside the city, there is a fantastic and active landscape. So many beautiful and friendly medieval hilltop villages to visit. So many lakes to swim in. So many beaches. There are regional and national parks for hiking. And there is skiing only 90 minutes away!

What particular joys and challenges did you have, while researching and writing this book? How did you narrow it down to 103?
The Covid shutdowns made it difficult to research the adventures that I hadn't experienced personally yet so it made my work with Silvia, an experienced guide, essential. When we were stuck at home, the work of writing helped to keep me grounded and sane during those sheltered times. 

We enjoyed some pretty special days when museums and sites started to reopen but the tourists hadn't returned yet. One afternoon, I spent an hour in the cupola atop St Peter's all by myself. That will never happen again. 

But really the true joys are going to new places and learning the stories about why they are unique and special. For that, working together with Silvia was a fantastic experience. I didn't come to Rome with any particular interest in Roman history. Indeed, I was a forest ecologist in my previous life. But so much has happened in this place over such a long period of time, it's like no other place I've lived.

I'm not sure we limited ourselves to 103 adventures as much as we are saving the others for the sequel!  

Rome. From Love Italy? Read This: 103 Other Adventures In and Around Rome

How can travelers to Italy do their best to be thoughtful visitors? Are there things to do (or avoid)?
Traveling in the next couple of years is going to include the appropriate etiquette for keeping everyone healthy. That etiquette will vary by the restrictions adopted by different places. Respecting those differences and remaining flexible will increasingly be important. I think slow and intentional travel will be easier to pull off than trying to pack many places and sites into a single trip. Celebrate the uniqueness of every place.

How can people find your work?
All three of my books are available on Amazon. We're working to get 103 Other Adventures available as an ebook (Kindle), but the others are currently available as both paperback and ebook. 

Find us online at:

What's up next for you both?
Right now, we're spending a bunch of time promoting the book. As tourists are able to return, Silvia will be evermore busy as a guide. I haven't really been able to explore the rest of Italy as I had hoped over the last three years, so I'm planning to take some longer trips in my little Fiat Panda. Who knows where that will take us?


All photos courtesy and copyright Bill Richards and Silvia Prosperi, used with permission