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The Rough Guide to Italy Paperback – May 31, 2001
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Written by Ros Belford, Martin Dunford and Celia Woolfrey.
Top customer reviews
It annoyed me intensely.
Firstly, it is unreasonably negative in tone throughout - someone who hadn't been there could be forgiven for thinking Italy is a crummy place with only a few mouldy monuments and the odd fresco to recommend it, which as a general impression is criminally wrong, and it's astounding that a guidebook should set out to give it. P>Secondly, Some of the maps aren't accurate and don't appear to have been checked or proof read. Throwaway lines such as "[the tourist office has] lots of reasonable but characterless rooms on their books and appartments to rent" on the basis of my anecdotal evidence simply aren't fair -
Thirdly it's dreadfully turgid. Cheeky charm in a guide of this sort is obligatory these days, but the writing style is frequently leaden. Witness the following insight, which is typically put: "Of all Italy's historic cities, it's perhaps Rome which exerts the most compelling fascination." Good grief.
Plus points - the "contexts" section, which overviews art, architecture, history, and the political and social set-up in italy (you know, the mafia, camorra and all that good stuff!), is a good read. There are plenty of maps of little places, too, but they're not collosally accurate. There are a few fairly uninteresting colour pics, but for my money they could have been left out and a buck shaved off the cover price.
There must be better guides to Italy than this.