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on 28 February 2002
A friend lent me a copy of the second edition of this book, just before I went to Tuscany on honeymoon with my wife last year. I didn't expect much of it, as I had never found the recommendations in guide books terribly accurate or useful. On several occasions in the past, I had used them to help me acclimatise after moving to a different country: it rapidly became clear that their advice was old, too subjective or aimed at people with tastes too different to mine.
However, a dreadful meal at what turned out to be a tourist-trap restaurant pushed me to try out one of the alternatives recommended by Frommer's. It surpassed our expectations by such a huge margin (the food better than almost any we had experienced in London, the furnishings more opulent and the price much less expensive) that we went with the author's advice again and again after that.
Each time, he was right on the mark. Reading the introduction to the book revealed why. The author lives in Tuscany. He combines a refined aesthetic sense with a cool financial head, and does not shy from saying what parts of the tourist experience in Tuscany are bound to disappoint.
It was as though we were able to phone a genial expat uncle each morning for tips on how to make the most of the tourist aspects of the honeymoon. The rest of it we worked out for ourselves - although it is worth saying that the reduction in stress engendered by the book helped everything else to go swimmingly.
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on 7 October 2003
This book is written for americans with an american slant. The book is very badly laid out, with poor indexing and in too much unnecessary detail for the average tourist. If you are researching the area or indeed writing a thesis on tuscany then it would be valuable reading.
The presentation is very poor: dull and uninviting. the basic facts are what most people require and no doubt they are there if you don't get bored reading through trivial detail. I would offer this book for resale but for the fact that it was left in the boot of our hire car (by accident: honest!)
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