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What's the Best Street-Map of Rome to buy?

As it happens, we at Romebuddy are
rather fond of maps, so you're in for
a definitive, if rather pedantic survey of which
map of Rome to buy.

In London, it's the 'Geographer's A-Z'
In New York, it's the 'Hagstrom 5 Borough Pocket Atlas'
In Rome, it's the 'Guidaverde A-Z L'AutoStradario',
a superb publication, and excellent value
at L.15.000 (about £6)

There are two other maps we will also
recommend. The first is free and is the
'Tutto Citta', which is given free with every
phone book to all telephone subscribers.
There's a new one published every year,
and if you're friendly with the people you're
staying with, they might let you borrow it.
Even if you're not friendly with the pensione
management, they've probably got half a
dozen back-issues from previous years
stuffed in the cupboard under the phone, and
won't notice if you swipe one for a day or two.

The only drawback with this map is its size - It's
as big as a magazine, and thus clumsy and fiddly
to use, is printed on cheap paper, so gets
ripped and dog-eared easily, has an
awkward-to-follow page-numbering and
street-indexing system, doesn't indicate where
the subway stations are, and also carries a lot of
advertisements. But it's free if you can get hold of
one, and better than a kick in the teeth...

A good investment though for short-term visitors
to Rome who are going to do the tourist-route is
the 'Falk Plan'. It costs about L.11.000 (£4) and is
basically a map which handles like a book, allowing
you to see a large area of the city on each page by
folding down flaps. This is great for making
north-south or vice-versa journeys, as you don't
have to turn the pages back and forth all the time.
It's hard to explain it really, but easier to understand
If you just buy one, and you'll soon see what a cleverly
designed map this is.

There are of course many, many other street-maps
of Rome on sale at all the tourist kiosks, but the
reason we're fussy about maps is because we don't
see any point in buying a map which doesn't come
with a street-index. And normal fold-out maps are fine
for rambling through the countryside, but in cities they
can be awkward to use and when you've got them
all folded out, they mark you out from a great distance
as a tourist. That's why we like the Falk Plan so much,
as you can use it neatly and discreetly. It costs a
little extra but it's worth it.

However, we'll finish this subject by saying a little
more about the Daddy of them all, the GuidaVerde:
For a start, although it's a fairly compact medium-sized
soft-back publication, it's properly bound, with stitched
quires and printed on good quality paper. Five different
scales are used throughout the book, from 1:40.000
for suburban areas as far out as the beach at Ostia Lido, right up to 1:7000 for the central area, which is colour-coded in blue pages,
instead of green like the rest of the book.
In my edition there's also a map of
Fiumicino Airport which must have been a kindly
after-thought as this is not mentioned on the
masterplan on the fly-leaf spread. There is a map of
the subway system, which I have not seen included on
any other streetmap, and also a schematic of the GRA
(Rome's ringroad/beltway) and all its junctions. In fact
all the major roads for some twenty miles around Rome
are shown in the book, together with their names and
numbers, so what you have here is the driver's guide
to Rome.

If you're planning on staying in Rome for a
while and starting a serious relationship with this city,
driving around and across it regularly, this is the map
to go for. It even has a little 'you are here' icon at the
top of each page, showing, well.. 'where you are'
in the general jungle of things. That sounds obvious
we know, but we've never come across this startlingly
simple but useful feature in any map of any city before.

It's printed in full colour, easy to view and read, and
every page has a half-inch overlap border around
each edge, even down the centre join, to make it
easier to follow roads across the pages. There's a
picture guide of the chief sight-seeing landmarks
with their map references, some more train-lines
mapped out, a list of repair phone-numbers for every
make of car, and even a list of local FM radio stations,
of which there are many, (though mostly dance trash).
Really, it's as if someone sat down and said 'Let's make the best street map we can'. And they did. We have only one thing against it, but a minor one; there are no lines drawn to indicate the path the subway lines take across
the city, like the London A-Z has.

Oh and one more thing missing which in
fact no map of Rome we've ever
seen has: There's a foot-tunnel which runs about
half a mile underneath the city, from the Largo Federico
Fellini at the top of Via Vittorio Veneto, all the way
down to the subway station at Piazza di Spagna.
There's even some Romans that don't know about this,
but you do now, thanks to the tireless efforts of the
team at Romebuddy.

Three maps then - Just staying overnight? - Nick your
landlady's 'Tutto Citta'. Staying a few days or more
and wanna see all the sights? Get the Falk Plan.
Planning on hanging around Rome for a while and
getting serious? Then it's the Guideverde A-Z. We
bought ours at the Economy Book & Video Centre on Via Torino. You can get the Falk nearby at the Nel bookstore on Via Nazionale.