by Enrico Bruschini
Most travel guides are long on information and short on wisdom; readers going to Rome will find plenty of both in Enrico Bruschini’s In the Footsteps of Popes. Bruschini, a noted expert on the Vatican, writes with the enthusiasm of Rick Steves and the calm assurance of a Fodor’s guide, with a depth of knowledge about religious and art history that exceeds them both. His book is literally a step-by-step guide through the Vatican’s museums, the Sistine Chapel, and St. Peter’s Basilica, with photographs and histories of every major point of interest, from the Pietà to Raphael’s Transfiguration. Bruschini candidly informs readers of his opinions about what’s worth seeing and what can be skipped. And he breathes fresh life even into descriptions of the best-known sites, as when he reminds readers of the familiar story of Michelangelo’s creation of the Sistine Chapel’s frescoes: for four years he worked lying on his back, “the paint dripping in his eyes.” Details like that make In the Footsteps of Popes a valuable addition to the growing body of guides for spiritual travelers.