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Guide Book recommendations?

New York, NY
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Guide Book recommendations?

In my first quick seach of the Italy topics, I see lots of recommendations for finding a good guide book, but few suggestions on specific books people have liked!

We are hoping to go to Italy in May or October 2007 and I have the Rick Steve's Italy book from 2004 (back when I first hoped to see Italy). I've re-read the book and found it very helpful and I am considering buying the updated 2007 version when it comes out next year. But I wondered what other books people have used that they found helpful.

My husband and I are particularly interested in historical sites, walking tours (not guided, just by ourselves), and good food (the spouse is quite the foodie and his grandmother is Italian, so he knows good food.) We're considering Florence, Rome, and the Naples area (Pompeii, Amalfi coast) and we'll probably have 7-10 days available.

Do people like to have separate guide books for specific areas? One for Rome, one for Florence, etc?

Thanks for the advice.

New Jersey
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for Honeymoons and Romance
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1. Re: Guide Book recommendations?

I have travel extensively to Europe over the years. Just returned third trip from Italy. I always purchase three guide books: Frommer's; Steve's; and D&K. Each has a different viewpoint for each of the sights we are interested in. I read the books, develop an itinerary based on what my family wants to see. The sightseeing places you have detailed you will greatly enjoy. One suggestion, which is a must see: Venice! You can do Rome in 3 or 4 days. Florence in one day, Pompeii on one day, Naples in one/two days and Venice in one day. The rails from Rome to each of these wonderful sights is very easy. Enjoy.

Graham, NC
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2. Re: Guide Book recommendations?

Hi there!

My husband and I went to Italy last year and I bought Rick Steve's city guides for Rome and Florence and the Frommer's Italy where I ripped out the pages for both cities.

I found Rick's books were great for touring the sights and museums. We never needed a tour guide. However, my luck with the restaurants in the book were not good at all. Every time we tried to find a restaurant in Rick's books, it was closed! Maybe not every time, but a whole lot.

The Frommer's book was much better for the restaurant recommendations. I also set my Tivo to tape any show on the Food network that had to do with Rome... I got a few places from Rachael Ray's $40 a day show. I also looked on Rick Steve's website in the forum section for restaurant recommendations.

Here are a few of our favorite places to eat....

Rome near Vatican city - Dino and Tony's

Florence - Aque al Due - not too far from Ponte Vechio

Have fun!!

NYC
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3. Re: Guide Book recommendations?

Hi Neighbor

the guides I like using best are TimeOut (for all-around rec's) and City Secrets Guide to Rome (great off the beaten path suggestions by expats living/working in Rome)...I absolutely love this book, small & nicely designed as well - bought it at Barnes & Noble...you can read about it at this website: citysecrets.com

Long Beach, New York
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4. Re: Guide Book recommendations?

There is a classic book entitled "Turn Right at the Fountain," which really is a collection of walking tours in the major cities such as Rome and Florence. It has been revised a number of times but its content is superb. However, it is primarily a sightseeing guide and doesn't have restaurants, hotels, and the like. Nevertheless, for a street-by-street, building-by-building tour, there is, in my estimation, none better. The author is a fellow named Oakes (now deceased) from The New York Times.

New York, NY
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5. Re: Guide Book recommendations?

Thank you so much for the advice! I can't wait to really start planning!

Orlando
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6. Re: Guide Book recommendations?

I must second the choice of Rick Steves and Frommers. No matter where I travel...I always get both books.

I would recommend getting the most updated books available so that you can have the most accurate open/close times and pricing.

Both series give very practical advice for the average traveler. When I say average...I mean someone who is not wealthy and can take a "money is no object " vacation. They are written in "real" language with directions and advice that are accurate. I wouldn't be able to take a vacation without them! :-)

nashville
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7. Re: Guide Book recommendations?

I like Rick Steves guides for many things -- and his Europe through the Backdoor is great for timid middle class middle aged Americans making a European trip for the first time --

but his restaurant and hotel suggestions are often

not very good -- we have been disappointed several times by the dumps he recommends as hotels and don't pay attention to him on that at all anymore without triangulating with other sources

our favorite guides are the Cadogan guides which have personality and have often led us to great restaurants and experiences -- they are not organized to make planning before you leave easy -- but are great to have as you go --

U.S.
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8. Re: Guide Book recommendations?

I am an obsessive trip planner (travel agent wannabe) and really have an addiction to travel books. For awhile DK was my hands down favorite - and they still are for the great pictures and for the way they divide a city, like Rome, by area. However, like the others here, I think Rick Steves does the best job in actually guiding you through a location and would be the best choice for those who like to be their own tour guide. Definitely use updated books and definitely get separate books for Rome and Florence, as opposed to getting one big Italy book.

The guidebooks I've found on the Amalfi Coast have plenty of information on Naples and good descriptions of Pompeii, but hardly anything on the little coast towns (Positano, etc). You may have to use online sources to get the information you need for them.

Have a great trip!

Chicago, IL
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9. Re: Guide Book recommendations?

Florider,

Thanks for the idea! Just ordered my copy of Turn Left from Amazon!

Long Beach, New York
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10. Re: Guide Book recommendations?

PTKeil: No, don't go left. It's Turn Right at the Fountain.