AOL Travel

Rome Pop Culture

One of the most striking things about watching old Italian films set in Rome is how little the city has changed. To get a great sense of the Italian capital on celluloid, a few films are a must: Bicycle Thieves (sometimes called The Bicycle Thief), made in 1948, is set in post-WWII Rome. Similarly, Rome, Open City, made in 1945, is a powerful film from Roberto Rossellini about the city during the German invasion. Moving up a few decades, the films of Federico Fellini, and particularly his film La Dolce Vita (which has launched a thousand cliché slogans), is one of the most important films set in Rome.  For better or worse, author Dan Brown will long be linked to Rome for his books "The Da Vinci Code" and, particularly,"Angels and Demons", which takes historical conspiracy theories related to the Vatican and sets them into a fast-driven plot. For more promising literary fare, try Anthony Doer’s travelogue "Four Seasons in Rome: On Twins Insomnia, and the Biggest Funeral in the History of the World", which tells the tale of one writer’s recent year living in the Eternal City. David Farley’s "An Irreverent Curiosity: In Search of the Church’s Strangest Relic in Italy’s Oddest Town" takes readers through Rome, the Vatican and a medieval hill town near the Italian capital in search of an unlikely holy relic. Finally, writer Tony Perrottet’s "Pagan Holiday: On the Trail of Ancient Roman Tourist" is a history-heavy travelogue about following the trail of ancient Rome travelers. The biggest musical happenings to hit Rome in recent years is the opening of Parco della Musica, a complex of auditoriums designed by Renzo Piano. It hosts jazz, classical and rock concerts.