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Despite incessant praise, Italy continues to surprise and delight. If you get it right, travelling in the bel paese (beautiful country) is one of those rare experiences in life that cannot be overrated.
Lonely Planet Italy is. ..
Your passport to all the most relevant and up-to-date advice on what to see, what to skip, and what hidden discoveries await you. Listen to your gondolier sing sweetly while gliding past centuries-old Venetian palaces, sample olives and wines amid the storybook hills of Tuscany, or lose yourself amid thousands of years of Roman history and art; all with your trusted travel companion. Get to the heart of Italy and begin your journey now!
In few places do art and life intermingle so effortlessly. This may be the land of Dante, Michelangelo, da Vinci and Botticelli but it’s also the home of Salvatore Ferragamo, Giorgio Armani and Gualtiero Marchesi. Food, fashion, art and architecture – you’ll quickly learn that the root of Italian pathology is an unswerving dedication to living life well.
Like a Local
A surprising number of Italians care deeply about the floral aftertastes of sheep cheese, the correct way to cut marble and the nuances of a Vivaldi concerto. Lurking behind the disinvoltura – the appearance of effortlessness– is a passionate attention to life’s fine print. So slow down, start taking note of life’s details and enjoy your own bella vita.
Then there’s the food. Italy is quite literally a feast of endless courses, but no matter how much you gorge yourself, you’ll always feel as though you haven’t made it past the antipasti. Even the simplest snack can turn into a revelation, whether you’re downing a slice of Slow Food pizza, a paper cone of fritto misto (fried seafood) or pistachio flavored gelato. The secret is an intense, even savage, attention to top-notch ingredients and fresh, seasonal produce.
Inside Lonely Planet Italy Travel Guide:
Full-color maps and images throughout
Highlights and itineraries show you the simplest way to tailor your trip to your own personal needs and interests
Eat and Drink Like a Local
Coverage of Rome, Milan, Venice, Naples, Sicily, the Italian Riviera and more
The 2012 edition of Lonely Planet's guide to Italy mostly lives up to LP's usual standards. The guide contains a blend of practical advice, historical facts, travelers' stories, and inspiring photographs. It is the sort of guide that can be used both for trip planning and for taking along on the trip itself.
Those who are unfamiliar with Lonely Planet should know a few things before purchasing this book: * LP targets independent, do-it-yourself types of travelers (who often have backpacks, railpasses, and youth hostel cards). * Travelers who are focused on staying in top-ranked hotels and eating at expensive restaurants probably won't find LP's sleeping and eating recommendations to be very useful. * Most LP guides that cover large regions, including this one, are written by a team of contributors. * New editions of a guide usually are updates of previous versions and are not entirely rewritten from scratch.
So, how useful is this guide to Italy? As with most things, it depends. If you want to travel around Italy in DIY style or you want better coverage of cultural and outdoor activities than is offered by more mainstream guides, such as Fodor's or Frommer's, then LP is a good guidebook for you. On the other hand, if you aren't interested in straying off the beaten path much, the LP ethos may not be a good fit for you.
Also, if you are only visiting a single region or just a couple of cities, this guide might be overkill because it covers the entire country. There are plenty of city and regional guides from LP and other guidebook publishers that will cover, say, Rome or Sicily in much greater detail than a national guide and omit several hundred pages of information you won't need.Read more ›
This is a thorough, attractive, useful guidebook printed in all color with many attractive maps and photographs.
I briefly read through some of the other reviews and was struck by how experienced some of them seem to be with guidebooks. I write on the basis of more limited experience. I have traveled (and lived in) the UK and taken one trip through Italy, Greece, and Turkey. I wish I had had this guidebook then. It's very nice and easy to read and much more useful than what I had for my trip.
The book itself covers the whole of Italy, making its coverage broader and less detailed about any specific place. The material is organize by region, typically with several cities, or a province, or region, being grouped together in a chapter. Each chapter then opens with several basic issues. Subheadings read such things as "Why Go?", "When to Go", "Navigating Venice", "Best Freebies", "Fast Facts", and so on. The following page has a map of the region, showing (in this example) Venice in relation to the Verona Wine Country further inland. There is a brief history and then, from there, the book describes all of the sites, places to eat, and other attractions that a visitor might want to see.
One other reviewer said that most recent LP changes were attempts to win back some of the younger market from the internet. Personally I find a book like this much preferable to any website. The internet can be vast and complex and sometimes misleading. A guidebook like this has a manageable list of places and attractions that you can underline, highlight, mark up, and dog ear. That's just an awesome and irreplaceable thing for anyone who has ever traveled a foreign country.
Finally, a word about what kind of demographic might find this guide most useful.Read more ›
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For the past several years, Lonely Planet has been tinkering with its format, presumably searching for ways to make their travel books more appealing and useful to an audience which is increasingly seeking travel advice on the internet. (Including from LP's own website.)Some of the changes have been helpful, some not, and some have just taken a little getting used to. This new edition of the Italy Guide seems to have settled into the new format, discarding or tweaking the changes which haven't worked, and keeping those that did. The result is highly recommendable guide, though one that you'll still want to supplement with some online research.
Good things include a section called "If You Like" with hints on things to see based on your particular interests (modern art, beaches, gardens, etc.), a month by month guide to important festivals, and a bonus map of Rome tucked into the back. Each regional chapter includes month-by-month weather charts (which could be easier to read) a brief summary of 'why you should go', and a decent regional map. Within the chapter, sections for each city include brief but good descriptions of local attractions, and lots of practical information. City maps, which for a while had been printed in hard-to-read-shades-of-blue are now printed in multiple colors, and much easier on the eyes. Minor disappointments include somewhat limited selections of hotels and restaurants, with, often, very unhelpful price information. (Reading that a double room costs from 60 to 400 Euros is not much help.) Again, I assume that LP figures that most travelers will search online for more detailed hotel info. But more restaurants would have been nice. The guide includes plenty of pictures, but they are no longer on glossy paper.Read more ›
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