Old Feb 24th, 2011, 12:13 PM
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I am planning a trip to Venice, Florence, Siena, and Rome. We will not be taking this trip with a tour group and we will probably not hire many, if any, tour guides while we are there. I already have a copy of Frommer's Italy 2010. Should I invest in any additional books? i.e. Fodor's Rome, Rick Steves Florence and Tuscany, Gourmet Guide to Italy, etc.
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Old Feb 24th, 2011, 12:22 PM
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I like the DK Eyewitness Travel guides, personally, and buy at least one for each place I visit. They have one for each of the 3 major cities you mentioned. They also have smaller, almost pocket-sized "Top Ten" guides that I like as well. They sometimes have information not found in their larger guides. They also contain pull-out maps. I might just by one of those for each city since they are small and weigh less.
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Old Feb 24th, 2011, 01:32 PM
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The Michelin Green Guides are the best for sights and sites. For hotels and restaurants Fodor's and Lonely Planet are OK. Rick Steves is rubbish.
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Old Feb 24th, 2011, 02:22 PM
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I also like the Michelin Green Guides, especially since you will be visiting so many different cities.

To me it seems as if the DK guides have more pretty diagrams than Michelin, but the Michelin Guides have more information about the sights. I traveled with a friend who had a DK Guide while I had a Michelin. When we compared listing for various sights, my Michelin always had more to say while her DK had some great cutaway diagram. It depends on which you prefer.

I love Fodor's "See It—Venice" guide, but it is probably more comprehensive than you need. I will be in Venice for 8 nights so I appreciate its detail about more obscure churches and sights. For your trip you probably need a guide for all over Italy combined--don't want to fill your luggage with heavy books.
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Old Feb 24th, 2011, 02:34 PM
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Get some guidebooks out of your public library; see what you like. Or stand around in the bookstore evaluating different books.

I like the Michelin Green Guides and Rick Steves' books for prioritizing, telling me which sights are must-sees. Also, in general, Rick Steves is good for nitty gritty details, like the locations of landromats, and some self-guided walking tours. I like the DK books; they're pretty and help me decide where to go, but they're too heavy to carry.

Some people tear out the pertinent chapters in a guidebook and just bring those. I've started bringing guidebooks on my Kindle. So it serves double duty: reading books and guidebooks.
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Old Feb 24th, 2011, 02:58 PM
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I also suggest using the library to see what you want. Guidebooks are very personal as to what appeals. I don't like DK books AT ALL, for example. They are heavy, expensive, and don't have very comprehensive info in them, as far as I'm concerned. Just snippets here and there.

I like both Fodors and Frommers for a good, general one. Other than that, I would most likely supplement with Michelin Green Guides for details on the area and sights. Gourmet guides are up to you, I'm not a foodie so don't ever buy guidebooks like that. Now I don't like a lot of things about Rick Steves books, but I did find the one for Switzerland pretty good for me for some sightseeing within cities and train info. I think he likes Switzerland a lot, though. I hve found his books for France to be terrible. Don't know about Italy, but if you have a general one, you probably don't need another.
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Old Feb 24th, 2011, 03:01 PM
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I like Frommers, too. And as Mimar said, I use Rick Steves' books for prioritizing and for those nitty gritty things, too.

There are some picture-filled books that are good for planning and daydreaming, like the DK and some of the Fodors, but I don't need all those pictures when I'm actually in the country.
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Old Feb 24th, 2011, 03:42 PM
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Top 10 is helpful to give you ideas...but I love Time Out guides as they are so honest! Really enjoyed the one we used when in Venice...
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Old Feb 24th, 2011, 04:34 PM
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I like many different guides for different reasons, and I one like for each city with good maps. RS' books do a great job with up-to-date information on trains, buses, museum tickets, etc. His guided walks are also quite good in some cities. Fodors and Fromers are great all purpose guides. I like DK, but prefer to buy picture books of each city when I am there. Whatever you choose, do get more. It is well worth $10 to $20 for another guide book for each city, so you get the most out of your trip, and is really a miniscule ammount compared with the total cost of your trip.
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Old Feb 24th, 2011, 04:45 PM
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I have found these guidebooks the best for me, but the info I need/want may be different from what you need/want.

Rough Guides (by city)
Access Guides (by city)
Time Out Venice

Do go to a book store and check out the books recommended here and others at the bookstore, and see what you like best.
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