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Rick Steves' Italy 2013 Paperback – November 6, 2012
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My family and I have been travelling to Europe every 2 years since 2005 when my kids were little and I have used Rick Steves's guidebooks on all our trips. Everywhere we go, we would spot his signature blue books and, those of us who tote it would recognise/nod/smile/greet those others who also flash it, finding an instant camaraderie with each other. This means that those of us who like Rick Steves and his advice are sort of a siblinghood -- you must subscribe to his way of travelling. What is that way, you ask? Look on the back cover of every one of his guidebook and it says "Get the most out of every day and every dollar." That is Rick Steves's and his followers' creed!
I was happily and satisfactorily using the 2012 Italy book to plan my upcoming trip when I chanced upon the 2013 edition and was shocked by the scathing reviews. I decided to buy myself a copy from my local B&N just to see what everyone was complaining about. I will say that each new publication doesn't differ that markedly from the previous year's, only with updated info (hotel rates, entrance fees, opening/closing times), so too is the 2013 edition. And well it should be because, once it's been written, there's not much else to write about the same monuments, castles and art work that have stood for centuries.
Yes, the cities, hotels and restaurants listed in the book are Rick's personal recommendations but they are merely suggestions. In this information age, it would be remiss of you not to let your fingers do the clicking. Go online and search for more hotels and places to see.Read more ›
First, this guide is concise and practical. It doesn't claim to represent each and every location in the country, but is a selective overview of the sites the author knows we are interested in. Venice? Check. Florence? That too. Rome? Good to go. Perugia? Maybe not. I like its concise, selective format because it makes the book readable and useable. I'm not bogged down in page after page of minutiae, and that can be an effective stress reliever when planning an itinerary. Rick's books are intentionally "on the beaten path," but since they include such helpful hints, you'll enjoy the "beaten path" like a native.
Second, the guide is honestly written. If a restaurant's service is poor, it will be noted here. If a hotel's rooms are loud or small, it's noted here. If there's a shortcut to help you avoid a long queue, it will be mentioned. All of the Rick Steve's guides are updated annually, so you can be sure that the feedback is relatively recent. The authors also use a simple rating system for sites and listings (similar to Michelin Green Guides) that will help any reader prepare a high-quality itinerary. It really IS like having a tour guide in your pocket.
These features make this particular guide superior to others. Don't buy this book if you're looking for a visual guide full of color photography.
I also picked up Rick Steves' Rome 2013 and Florence & Tuscany 2013 as we were spending significant time at those locations.
However, this book works very well as a quick overview for day trips from major destinations. For instance, we did Venice as a day trip from Florence, and Vesuvius/Pompeii as a day trip from Rome.
In both cases, the information provided in this book was sufficient to ensure that we could plan and enjoy our trips.
If you are planning on a day trip from Rome to Vesuvius/Pompeii:
1. On its way to Vesuvius, the EAVbus stops right outside the Scavi station. However, EAVBus' reliability was spotty - 2 scheduled return trips were canceled without notice stranding us on the mountain (according to the driver, just those two trips were "on strike").
2. There is a taxi stand right by the station - which would have been more convenient, in hindsight.
3. Tickets can also be purchased at the Anfiteatro entrance. This worked out better for us, as it cut down our walking to the Scavi train station at the end of the day when we were exhausted.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Go to Italy without Rick? Are you crazy? This is an excellent guide and I used it from Milan, to Venice, to Florence, to Rome to Pompeii. Thanks, Rick!Published 6 months ago by junimoon
Used this guide during our trip to Italy. I love that Rick Steves shows you how to avoid the tourist traps and travel like the locals do. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Paul Hanzel
Rick Steves' guide is an excellent guide for the independent traveler. This book served as an indispensable resource when touring Italy with my lady and made planning our next... Read morePublished 14 months ago by v3rtuoso