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on 21 December 2012
All travel guides are different. Whether it is right for you depends on what you plan to get out of it. Lonely Planet's (LP) Italy would be a good choice for someone who is undecided on where to visit in Italy, who has never been to Italy, who is staying in the Italy for an extended time, or who is visiting several Italian cities and is unwilling to buy individual guides or is willing to do supplemental research on the internet. Even for people that meet one of these profiles, I found the DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Italy (ET) guide better for planning especially for more visual people. LP Italy was really lacking in pictures. Pictures are very helpful in deciding if a place is worth adding to the agenda or not. LP has more maps to help you get around, but you will need a GPS if driving on your own. The drawback to ET Italy is the coverage of less popular locals is thin or non-existent. But, unless you are fortunate to be in Italy for months you probably will not have time for the second tier places.

I would not recommend this guide for someone going to only one region or city. You need to get the regional guides. The level of detail is lacking except for the largest cities. I would not recommend relying on the hotel recommendations. I use Trip Advisor and Booking websites. Trip Advisor also does restaurants, but I think the guide is more handy when you want to find a good place on the run.

I recently came back from my honeymoon to Italy. We visited Rome before (I received the ET Italy for this trip) so we did not spend much time here. We went to Hercaleum, Naples, Capri, Sardinia, and Tuscany area. Rome is truly magical, but Florence is also not to be missed. The beaches of Sardinia are spectacular, as good as the best of the Caribbean, and the south side (check out Spiaggia Costa Rei) reminded me of Aruba. Make sure you take a wine tour. We took a Chianti wine tour to Castello di Verrazzano near Greve in Chianti. Highly recommended for the full tour with meal.
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on 20 January 2014
We have used LP Guides for a number of years. Sadly the quality seems to be declining and this is a perfect example. The authors seem to be interested only in churches and art galleries (ABC - "Another bloody cathedral"). We are interested in some churches and some galleries, but not to the exclusion of all else.

Our interests also include, for example, gardens and archaeology. So where is the reference to the Giardino Giusti in Verona (Wikipedia calls them "... some of the most beautiful Renaissance gardens in Europe", a view with which I agree), or the Roman Capitoleum and other Roman remains in Brescia, and even the castle in Brescia which dominates the town and contains significant museums (Go there and you seriously cannot get away from it! It is on a hill so big there is a tunnel through the middle of it). Sadly we learned of the museums from other sources but could not check times and they were closed on the days we were there.

In all we visited 8 cities in northern Italy and the Guide rarely failed to disappoint, not with the quality of the information given, but the information that was missing because of the bias to art galleries and churches in everything written.

Don't misunderstand, I do visit art galleries and Italy has many artistic wonders, but I do not expect this to exclude all other aspects of Italian life. Please LP stop employing art historians to write your reviews and get back to your base audience of travellers with an interest in the country. And please make sure the authors visit the places they write about and do not just regurgitate publicity. And please try to improve the maps; many are poor at best.
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on 18 February 2012
If you're planning on visiting Italy, either touring around or just visiting the key destinations, then I definitely recommend getting this book.

I love the new look guide, the maps have been updated and are much nicer to look at and this was definitely one of the bits that Lonely Planet needed to work on. The layout has been improved so it's easier to navigate the book and it's definitely going to be better on the road.

I am travelling from Rome to Pisa via Naples, Florence, Pompei and Sienna and this book has everything I need to make sure my journey is successful and stress free.

Overall this book covers all the details you need, from getting around to where to stay and more, and I thoroughly recommend it to anyone embarking on a trip to Italy.
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on 3 October 2013
I brought this guidebook as I thought it a good idea to have a book guidebook that would give me lots of information about different places in Italy and which I could use multiple times for different trips. I brought this lonely planet guide because I had flicked through a copy in a bookshop and saw that it was totally rammed with useful information, the sort of thing that is useful in the field like how to get from Flumicino airport to the city centre of Rome and which method of transportation is preferable if you want to avoid the pitfalls of using public transport. The guide is very dense with information but is also interspersed with little boxes of additional advice such as what sort of city pass you can buy, such as the Roma Pass and where you can buy it, these boxes of additional information help break up the main text which can be a little overwhelming. The maps as well are of good quality and well annotated and there is a helpful folding map of Rome at the back of this edition. All these things really sell the lonely planet guides, however I do have some criticisms.

The front cover has already become slightly detached from my copy, easily fixed with some glue I suppose, but it doesn't fill me with to much confidence if it has begun to degrade after only one trip and the book is rather heavy making it a little cumbersome to carry about. I had been reassured by the weight as it made me feel like it was a quality robust book that would stand up to abuse as it gets lugged around, but with the cover becoming detached I am left with the feeling that I am just lugging around a heavy book (perhaps a book specific to the city being visited would have been better).

Also my confidence was undermined by an in accuracy in the cost of city passes and attractions. Bearing in mind that the book was published February 2012 and I was in Rome in August 2013 (17 months later). Although prices will change I was surprised by the degree of inaccuracy in such a short period of time (10 euros in the case of my Roma Pass).

I find that it is hard to strike a balance between information and presenting it well. As I said before, the book was rammed with useful information, but it was not presented in a particularly engaging way. I think some more pictures, say of food to try or of some of the recommended bars/restaurants/etc. look like would help whet the appetite for a trip to Italy (DK eye witness guides are good in this respect, but weak in the field). I think Lonely Planet guides as good as they are; do not engage the reader as much as, say, the DK Eye Witness guides. A cosmetic issue for sure, but it is an area which Lonely Planet could improve and they could produce an excellent guide if they paid a little more attention to cosmetic issues.
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on 27 August 2013
I did do my research as to the most promising guide to take with me on my first trip to Italy. My choices ended up between this Lonely Planet Italy and Rough Guide Italy, as they are both equally reviewed. I ended up choosing by going to a bookshop and looking at them in person. In the end, I felt that Lonely Planet Italy had a preferable layout. I did read a little through it before my departure but my main preparation help came from the Rough Guides First Time Europe (borrowed from the library), which I highly recommend for first time travellers! I was travelling alone, I was travelling light and all over the country, and into others, so it was an excellent reference for all of these. But I digress...

Where the prowess of a guidebook shows it's true metal is on the road and that is where the Lonely Planet Italy guide failed miserably.

It began with the fold out map of Rome, one of its bonus selling features and part of the reason for my choice, as the Rough Guide did not offer this. Although all of the streets are on the map, they are not all named! So using it to walk around the city is not at all smart. I have an excellent sense of direction and map reading abilities, but basing my route on the shape of the potential street is absurd! Rome is easily walkable both during the day and at night, with the help of a serviceable map, and I was given a much better one, at the place where I stayed, for free, and with all streets named! So don't buy it for the map, as it is quite frankly a waste of paper. In fact, I would say that for all of the maps that they provide are not at all 'easy-to-use', as they suggest. I tried to use the in-book maps for Siena and Florence, but the big map is not useable as they divide it up with boxes for detailed maps on other pages and these boxes obscure the large map, while the small maps are not helpful either. So don't buy it for the maps.

I didn't really think about the weight of the thing when I bought the guide. I was travelling to many places in Italy and felt I needed an all in one. In the end, however, it is just too heavy to carry around on a day-to-day basis. I didn't need to know about all of Italy when in Rome, for example. In Rome I ended up borrowing The Eye Witness Top Ten guide, which I highly recommend. It has a good fold out map of the tourist areas, easy-to-use, all streets are named and it is light to carry!
About the information about various tourist sights provided in Lonely Planet Italy I am neutral; I didn't find it either useful or useless. Not really enough to go on in any case and many locations provide information and guides anyway. The information about where to stay and where to eat I didn't use, as I had already made my reservations before hand online and chose these based on up-to-date online recommendations. As to restaurants, they only make a few suggestions and don't really tell you were they are, apart from an address. The Eye Witness guide had a map of the areas recommended, for example. In any case, I ended up taking recommendations from people I met or by walking by and inspecting the daily specials. All of the information about travel safety and tips I had already read before I travelled in the Rough Guide First Time Europe and the language guide should be more extensive to be really useful. With regard to language I would recommend downloading an app or buying a simple listening Italian conversation and practise guide before you go, as you will hear the correct pronunciations!

In the end, I left the Lonely Planet Italy guide behind at the hotel/hostel in Florence and did not miss it for the remainder of my trip! I give it two stars because it is a complete guidebook and if you are travelling with suitcase and don't mind the extra weight of a brick in your bag then go for it. But I do not recommend it, as there are better guides.

If you are going to specific popular cities and want a guide for these I suggest investing in a number of Top Ten guides instead. If you don't want a guidebook at all I recommend buying maps when you arrive, or you might even be given one for free wherever you stay. Also, in this day of online Trip Adviser like sites, for those of you with a good smart phone, you will find that wi-fi is offered for free at many accommodations and even at restaurants! I was able to book ferry tickets from Ancona to Patras while enjoying a lovely glass of wine and aperitif at a trendy little restaurant in Florence.
So save the £10 you would spend on this guide and instead enjoy a plate of some lovely Italian cooking!

Buon Viaggio!!!
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on 13 April 2013
Main sights covered and some extremely helpful. town maps. However Italy is a big country so if you are going to one region only its not sufficiently detailed.

I found the narrative style gushing and was particularly annoyed to find that many activities / restaurants etc described were as found only in high season. Out of season many were not available or closed. .. Our itinerary was therefore frustrated on a few occasions with loss of time and money. If travelling out of season I Strongly advise you to make independent checks before adding miles to your journey.
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on 7 August 2013
Really well written and researched book. Great maps and advice on loads of different places, including how to get there, how much it costs and where to eat. It even gives seasonal advice of places to avoid/visit in and out of peak season. All the contributors have actually been there and know what they're talking about.

If you know exactly where you're going in Italy then you probably don't need such a massive book, but we didn't and it's great. It even has a pull-out map of Rome (we are going there).
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on 13 October 2013
Virtually unusable in Kindle or Android tablet format.

This guide has no useful user guide, the maps are very poor and there are no pictures. The suggestion that you go on-line and download and print all the maps before you start is laughable. Navigating from section to section within a region requires finding your way back to the beginning of the region which isn't easy without bookmarking it as you go along.

All in all an experiment that proved that you must buy a BOOK sometimes!
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on 20 August 2013
I much prefer Time Out guides over LP, but took a punt on this one and once again became totally frustrated to the point of the book's redundancy. I just can't deal with the never ending flow of text, without any clear demarcation. I'm sure the information is sound, it's just the dull looking font and the column upon column of words.
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on 15 June 2014
I bought this book for my Husband and he has been reading it every afternoon since it arrived. We both love Italy and have been to most parts over the years and to read about the places we travelled to still hope to go to is great. Even if you are not going ot Italy it is a great book to pick up and enjoy at any time.
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