How often does a visitor to Rome drift towards some landmark and wonder who created it? Why? What was their story? This fascinating book provides the answers. At once a history and a guide, it divides Rome into the districts dominated by the fabulously rich families of the Popes: the Colonna, della Rovere, Farnese, Borghese, Barberini and others. In each case we learn their story – powerful, bloody and vivid – with all the scandals and intrigues as well as their relationships with artists like Bernini and Michelangelo. As we stroll through Rome’s history – either literally or in the imagination – we discover it afresh. Famous sites like the Trevi Fountain, the Spanish Steps and St Peter’s take on new significance as we watch the city rise from cramped medieval streets to become a glorious panorama of piazzas and palaces, fountains, towers and domes.