A response before I forget, since I've more to talk about after I finish re-reading..
The book I'm reading now is Rome
, by the australian art critic/art critic at Time for years, Robert Hughes. I'm only on page 21, gripped... at this point. I've read scads on Rome; I've not exactly a mush brain, but one that retains impressions, visualizations in my mind, more than exact data. He's telling the history again, in a rich way for me - different brain/eyes from all those others. Olivier, apropos of another thread, his comments (already, before page 21) on Campo dei Fiori are everything I think about it.
It's not really an art/architecture book, it's a critic's many years' research on the city over time.