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The Path to Rome

4.1  ·  Rating details ·  250 Ratings  ·  24 Reviews
Considered by Belloc himself, and by most critics, his greatest work, this classic book is the delightful story of the pilgrimage Belloc made on foot to Rome in order to fulfill a vow he had made to "...see all Europe which the Christian Faith has saved..." In his Life of Hilaire Belloc, Robert Speaight states: "More than any other book he ever wrote, The Path to Rome made ...more
Paperback, 178 pages
Published November 3rd 2006 by Hard Press (first published 1902)
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Rick Davis
Aug 02, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction
This is a travel book; it is a history book; it is a humor book; it is an art book; it is a literary book; it is a theology book. It is a book about the land; it is a book about people; it is a book about God; it is a book about not taking yourself too seriously. I was extremely sad when this book ended because I wanted the pilgrimage with Belloc to go on forever and ever.
May 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Some people might think that a book with this title would necessarily be about converting to Roman Catholicism. It's not. It's quite literally about the physical path to Rome, the hiking trail that Belloc trudged along from eastern France to the City of Rome in 1903.

Hilaire Belloc was a French-English, turn-of-the-19th/20th century writer and a very enthusiastic Catholic indeed. No, not of the Bernanos variety. Not into serious suffering. Back in 1903, as a young man, Belloc felt he needed to c
Chuck Lowry
Jan 21, 2011 rated it really liked it
I was introduced to Chesterton, Belloc and Ronald Knox by a freshman English teacher (why yes, he was Catholic). The only fiction in the bunch, as I recall, were some wonderful detective stories by Chesterton and Knox. In fact Msgr. Knox, the first Catholic chaplain at Oxford for four hundred years, supported the University Catholic Chaplaincy by writing a mystery novel each year over the long vacation.

All this merely leads up to saying that this book reads like fiction, and along the way conta
Roger Buck
Jun 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Glorious! Filled with the sheer gusto and pure joie de vivre of the younger Belloc. Not as profound, perhaps, as the older, wiser, grimmer Belloc - but quite simply wonderful.

I hope to review this at more length at the growing Hilaire Belloc section of my blog: (which I shamelessly plug for any fellow friends of beloved HB who love him like I do ...)
Gail Pool
Jan 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing
First published in 1902 and continuously in print ever since, Hillaire Belloc’s The Path to Rome chronicles his journey from his birthplace near Toul in France to Rome, “the centre of the world.” An ardent Catholic, Belloc is decidedly on a pilgrimage. But, a canny writer as well—one of the most prolific writers of his era—he has also crafted a secular tale of adventure.

Like any good pilgrim, Belloc starts off with vows: “I will walk all the way and take advantage of no wheeled thing,” he writes
Chris J
Jan 26, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read the lion's share of this book while on vacation and the two experiences will forever be inextricable in my mind. The first 200 or so pages of this book are an absolute delight - worthy of a 5-star rating. Belloc peppers his thoughts while walking from north central France to Rome with thoughtful philosophy and hilarious anecdotes the likes of few books I have ever read. However, the final 200 or so pages have fewer of those charming moments of levity as the author seems to have become bog ...more
May 01, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Published in 1902. Belloc, like Patrick Leigh Fermor and a few other daring souls, decided to walk across Europe and his journey to Rome over the Alps is amazing. His account of hiking up a misty mountain near Interlaken and, when the clouds parted, realized that the path had ended and he was on a precipice just about to step out over a drop of thousands of feet into the lake below, is stunning. He vividly describes the mountains, vistas and his fellow travelers make this one of my favorite trav ...more
Daniel Vinzant
Jun 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing
this book has been in continual print for over 100 years and I always keep it on my bedside table
love it so much
Robert Gourley
Dec 21, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Stylistically dated, more bombastic than Chesterton, but entertaining nonetheless.
May 19, 2009 rated it it was amazing
My favorite book in the world. Belloc's walking pilgrimage from France to Rome, over the Alps, singing all the way.
Sep 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
Ein Buch, das so beginnt:
“Jedem ehrlichen Leser, der diese Buch kaufen, ausleihen oder bekommen wird, und ebenso den Rezensenten (für die es von dreifachem Nutzen ist) meinen Gruß – und was immer sonst noch gratis zu haben ist.” kann nicht schlecht sein, und dieses ist brilliant.
Belloc gelobt nach Rom zu pilgern “ohne Nutzen zu ziehen aus irgendeinem Ding, das Räder hat”. Also wandert er zu Fuß von Toul nach Rom. Und einmal fährt er sogar ein paar Kilometer mit der Eisenbahn, da ihm ein Gottesu
Jun 28, 2017 rated it liked it
Getting through this book felt like a similar slog as the author had on his journey to Rome. In his preface he goes about using as much 'clever' language to show you just how smart and nuanced he is as an author. Of course folks like Chesterton and Waugh were able to do this with an effortlessness that makes their work enjoyable.

There were little moments in this journey that were captivating, especially when he was able to focus on the local people and places of his trip, but his endless philos
Jane Mackay
A four-star book with one star removed for the didactic preaching and closed-mindedness (and the whiff of misogyny). The descriptive passages are wonderful, often sublime, and the fact of the journey itself -- to undertake to walk from northeastern France to Rome in a straight line (through the Swiss Alps!) -- is fantastic and marvellous.
Along with the sublime descriptive passages (his description of his first view of the Alps made me catch my breath and mark the passage to copy and save), a tr
Jul 17, 2017 rated it liked it
I read this together with my husband. The author is the biggest grouch, drinks altogether too much wine, and profoundly despises tourists. He is at the same time laugh-out-loud funny and deeply philosophical. It was fascinating to experience a pilgrimage on foot across a large part of Europe at a time when tourism as we know it today did not exist. We loved following his path on the map, and now want to visit some of the obscure places he passed through we never even knew existed!
Lisa Powell
Mar 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: all-ages
Fabulous -- make sure you get an edition with sketches.
Matthew Dambro
Oct 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A delightful travelogue that is really about religion and history and the meaning of life. He was only about 32 when he made the pilgrimage to Rome. He broke most of the vows he took before he embarked on this exploration of his soul. Belloc is at his snarky best here. One can see the determined, almost ruthless polemicist that he was to become. His literary skills are first class and his humor is unforced and springs from deep within his being. It is truly a wonderful excursion into life with a ...more
Apr 21, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2012, hiking, travel
I really enjoyed this book. Belloc is a great writer, witty, self-deprecating and somewhat mad. Yes he does go on about religion a bit and he can go off on lengthy digressions but these are easily skipped over.

The heart of the book is in his encounters with the people he meets on his journey, I laughed out aloud on a number of occasions. A great book, looking forward to reading his account of the Pyrenees next.
Nov 16, 2009 marked it as to-read
Recommended by James Schall in Another Sort of Learning, Chapter 12, as one of Ten Books by Hilaire Belloc Well Worth Reading.

Recommended by James Schall in Another Sort of Learning, Intro to Part Three, as one of Schall's Unlikely List of Books to Keep Sane By---Selected for Those to Whom Making Sense Is a Prior Consideration, but a Minority Opinion.
Laurie Graham
Mar 07, 2012 rated it really liked it
It's dated, but still very fine. I'd forgotten how satirical Belloc could be and I loved his asides to the reader. My favourite quote: 'So to make a long story short, as the publisher said when he published the popular edition of PAMELA...'
Aug 02, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is supposedly Belloc's best book and, by his own admission, his personal favorite, but it's not my favorite Belloc book. This is like a 1900's version of Bill Bryson's 'A Walk in the Woods'. There is, however, greatness in his blunt honesty and confidence. I like his history books better.
Jan 09, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed reading about Belloc's journey to Rome and how life use to be.
Scott Lake
Jul 05, 2013 rated it really liked it
Belloc writes as if the reader is a good friend. I'm sure I would have enjoyed chats with him, Someday....
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Joseph Hilaire Pierre René Belloc was an Anglo-French writer and historian who became a naturalised British subject in 1902. He was one of the most prolific writers in England during the early twentieth century. He was known as a writer, orator, poet, satirist, man of letters, and political activist. He is most notable for his Catholic faith, which had a strong impact on most of his works and his ...more
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