“The Romans on the Bay of Naples: An Archaeological Guide” by Lawrence Keppie.
The History Press Ltd (paperback) 2009, 192 pages, ISBN: 978-0752448404
This book makes an excellent travelling companion for a tour of the Bay of Naples. The author takes us around the bay from Ischia to Capri visiting all the sites, large and small, in just enough detail to keep our interest without over-doing it. His background chapter sets the scene nicely with a good broad approach bringing together different aspects of the region’s archaeology. Buy at Amazon.
“The Complete Pompeii” by Joanne Berry.
Thames & Hudson, 2007 (paperback), 256 pages, ISBN: 978-0500051504
This popular and well-received guide to Pompeii is arguably the best on the market. It is excellently illustrated and packed full of interesting information not just about the ruins but about life in this Roman town, and the numerous fascinating insights into the past that archaeologists are discovering from this prime site. Buy at Amazon.
“Pompeii: The Life of a Roman Town” by Mary Beard.
Profile Books, 2010 (paperback), 368 pages, ISBN: 978-1846684715
As we have seen from her TV programmes, Mary Beard has the gift of making the past intriguing, vivid and down-to-earth. In this similarly accessible study of Pompeii she successfully blends scholarly acumen with quirky details to fire our imagination and breathe life back into the streets, homes, shops, bath-houses and beds of a town blissfully unaware of its fate. Ideal before-you-go reading. Buy at Amazon.
“Herculaneum: Past and Future” by Andrew Wallace-Hadrill.
Frances Lincoln, 2011 (hardback), 352 pages, ISBN: 978-0711231429
This is the definitive and most up-to-date study of Herculaneum written for the general public by the world’s leading expert, and lavishly illustrated with hundreds of high-quality photographs. By highlighting the uniqueness and importance of Herculaneum this book is the perfect antidote to an unbalanced emphasis on the town’s more famous neighbour at Pompeii. Buy at Amazon.
“Paestum: Greeks and Romans in Southern Italy” by John Griffiths Pedley.
Thames & Hudson, 1990 (hardback), 184 pages, ISBN: 978-0500390276
This is still the best of the bunch of books available on Paestum. A concise and authoritative guide. Buy at Amazon.
“Bay of Naples and Southern Italy. Cadogan Guide” by Dana Facaros and Michael Pauls.
Cadogan Guides, 2007 (paperback), 312 pages, ISBN: 978-1860113499
A useful general guidebook to the region which helps to fill out an exploration of the towns, villages and countryside beyond the main archaeological sites, including the Amalfi Coast, and to broaden into Italy’s more recent history and culture. Buy at Amazon.