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4.1 out of 5 stars
The Rough Guide to Naples & the Amalfi Coast
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43 of 43 people found the following review helpful
on 20 June 2009
We have just returned from a fabulous trip to Sorrento and found this guide to be invaluable. Particularly the information on the local trains which allowed us to visit Pompeii without any hassle. The town maps and the picture of the Circumvesuviana(train) route and stops, were very detailed and helpful.
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36 of 36 people found the following review helpful
on 19 September 2010
I'll make this short and sweet...My husband and I spent two weeks on the Amalfi Coast this Summer and this book was a last minute purchase before we left. We had already bought another well-known guide, but although its pictures were pretty, it seemed to be lacking in text and substance. This little book was the one that we took everywhere - its packed full of interesting and invaluable info. We read it while we were sight-seeing and also as we planned excursions. It's absolutely brilliant and I'm sure we wouldn't have got so much out of our fantastic holiday without it.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
I bought this before a week in Sorrento, also visiting Pompeii, Herculaneum, Vesuvius, the Amalfi coast and Capri, and whilst generally quite a good guide, it is a little hit and miss in parts. I feel that it excels in the general information and the discussion of places of interest for tourists. On the downside the maps can sometimes be a little confusing with things occasionally in slightly the wrong places, plus some descriptions of how to find some places were also a tad confusing at times.

The restaurant recommendations in Sorrento were on the whole OK, but the descriptions did make me wonder whether the writers had actually experienced all of them for themselves or had been partly relying on hearsay. A couple of them were somewhat overrated in my opinion, and a couple of others not listed herein which we visited were of a high enough standard that they really ought to have been included. (Perhaps in their defence, this kind of information can get out of date rather quickly however. As another example of this, though this was published 2009, in 2010 you can add one or two euros to every entry price and so on quoted in the book.)

In summary, it's a useful guide in the main, but you should maybe be prepared for the occasional difficulty in locating something or slightly disappointing restaurant recommendation.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 14 October 2012
We used this book as our sole reference on a long weekend in Naples.

On the plus side, we were aware of little that was missing or inaccurate. However, we found it a bland, uninspiring book which gave commentaries on what you could see but because of an apparent phobia towards expressing an opinion or describing the relative merits of one attraction versus another, made it very difficult to make informed decisions about how to spend limited time. For instance, we love subterranean attractions, be they catacombs, underground cemeteries, churches, tunnels or sunken cities. Naples has all of these in abundance and far too many to see all in the limited time we had available. However, when we tried picking out the 'best' we simply couldn't use the text to help us form an opinion and nearly missed the incredible Saint Gennaro catacombs which is one of the best we have seen anywhere in the world. The old practice adopted by Michelin guides of using a simple star rating system is what is really needed to determine what is 'unmissable' and what is 'worth a detour' but a good guide expresses opinions which serves the same function. And tho we may not always agree with the author's opinion, an experienced traveller learns to read between the lines and make his own mind up. This guide is all information and no guiding.

Another issue concerns the maps. Generally adequate (tho often missing the names of streets useful for navigation), the habit of just placing an arrow to indicate the general direction of an attraction which is a few hundred yards off the map is extremely unhelpful and irritating in a place like Naples where it can be very easy to lose your orientation or get lost. There must be a better technique than the lazy arrow! Also, who at Rough Guide thinks it's a good idea to indicate the physical route of a metro and the physical location of the platforms? We wasted a big chunk of one evening trying to locate the Amedeo metro station. We found ourselves at the top of a hill, bang on the spot where the metro was indicated, yet no sign of it. Passers-by told us the station could be reached via the nearby funicular or by going back down the hill and turning right, neither of which was apparent on the map. In the end, we realised, we were in the right place, only 200 metres ABOVE the platforms! The map editor should be aware of this risk in hilly locales and, as a rule, adopt the practice of indicating the entrances, not the platforms.

In conclusion, this book is not bad, it just lacks character and needs backing up with other guides so you are not abandoned by its indifference to the guiding bit of "Rough Guide".
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29 of 31 people found the following review helpful
on 18 March 2010
Pre holiday -- As about to go on holiday to this area we wanted to know all the best places to visit apart from the obvious like Pompeii and Vesuvius. We have also discovered the easy ways to go to Herculaneum and Ischia apart from many others. Will be taking this book with us as a guide to what and how to visit when there, but it is great to read up before hand just to have a bit of overall knowledge . Post holiday -- Having just come back from the Naples area we found this book invaluable. How and where to buy bus tickets, journeys on the train and funicular, opening times of castles etc. In fact there was so much info in this book I cannot give it justice in my review except to say buy a copy and refer to it for whatever your needs.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 30 July 2011
I bought this book on the basis of another review - and was very pleased that I did. The information was up-to-date, accurate and the opinion sensible. It allowed us to travel independently and avoid the crowds (go early and ignore queues as much as your conscience will allow). We found that the Tour Operator's trips, certainly at the height of season, would have been possible and more enjoyable if we had used this book and journeyed under our own steam - particularly Capri where the crowds spoiled any charm that the place had and the tour guide, although knowledgeable, did not take us to places we would have chosen to visit on the island. The book is a handy size too and I found it good to 'gen' up on places to visit in advance.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on 18 May 2011
This book was our unfailing and invaluable friend on our trip to Naples. Without it, the streets would have been impossible to navigate and we would not have dared try out the trains. It also guided us around Pompei and Herculaneum. Because of this book we discovered some of the wonderful churches that the city had to offer and paid a visit to the underground tunnels. If you take any guide book to Naples with you, let it be this one
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 12 September 2013
The maps are so wrong that the Naples underground station we wanted was three streets and a half mile away up a steep hill from the map's pretended location - that's some error, and it took us quite a while before we believed it could be true. The Rough Guides used to be useful guides, with interesting information and up to date. This was useless - the restaurant reviews were far too generous and gushy and the price is too high for a naff book of this sort. Avoid it like the plague and if you accidentally buy it then treat like a plague victim; bury it fast. Or make papier mache toys. Anything - but as a guide book it is hopeless and a web trawl is actually more informative and more reliable.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on 9 July 2009
Spending 6 days in Naples in June, this guidebook was an excellent tool for the preparation. The vibrant, huge city contains so many facets that it's difficult not drowning i details. The rough guide made it possible to choose and pick according to our wishes: The Roman past and the Bourbon period. Not only well-known Roman sights like Herculaneum and Pompeii but also the amazing underground Roman city-streets in the charming old town and the huge underground complex for wild animals and gladiators in the theatre in Possilippo.

During the actual visit we used the book intesively, often with great pleasure. However, were a bit disappointed by a somewhat random accuracy of information and especially with the maps. We bought a city map and solved the problem, but it is a definite weakness. Also, we missed more detailed information on the public transport.

Naples is an amazing city and rather a newcomer on the European city-break holiday circuit of the low-cost airlines. A city to return to again and again like Paris, Barcelona and Rome. It deserves to be treated with just the same accuracy in the guidebook.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 29 September 2011
I recently stayed in Sorrento and having this book on a Kindle was great - it saved weight when visiting the various attractions along the coast and being able to search was invaluable.

The big problem is it often refers to the included maps - these are probably fine in a print version but the resolution of the map (even when zoomed) on the Kindle makes them completely unusable. The text is not readable and you cant see any of the marked locations
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