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Eyewitness Travel Guides Florence And Tuscany [Paperback]

Dorling Kindersley
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Book Description

March 25 2003 DK Eyewitness Travel Guides
Eyewitness Travel Guides are the original illustrated travel guidebooks-and they're still the best. Since 1993, the Eyewitness brand has established itself as one of the industry leaders, with sales of more than 6.5 million copies in the U.S. alone. Featuring more than 70 worldwide destinations, new titles are being added to the best-selling Eyewitness Travel Guides series each year. In 2003, to mark the 10th anniversary of the publication of Eyewitness Travel Guides, DK is re-launching the entire series, fully updated, and with a brand-new look.

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The people of Tuscany are fiercely proud of their ancestry, which they trace back to the Etruscans. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Most helpful customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Saving Time and Money Aug. 4 2009
Format:Flexibound
With the Eyewitness Travel Guides to Florence and Tuscany, Rome and Italy in hand, we were able to make the most of our brief stay in these areas. By using the Guides to prepare for our trips to see the most important sites and attractions, we saw as much as possible in a very limited time. We often had a tour guide leading us, but the knowledge we gained from the Guides enriched the experience.

Courtesy maps given out by businesses were notoriously inaccurate when trying to find notable attractions. The maps and 3-D illustrations in the Guides were very useful. We saw most of the things we wanted to see and we had time to shop and dine without feeling we had missed too much. These guides were good investments.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Make Eyewitness essential part of your travel fun April 30 2004
By Jie Yin
Format:Paperback
DK's Eyewitness Travel Guides are our best travel companion during our tour of Europe. Full of tips, pictures, maps, site info, history, local reference ... every page is not only helpful but beautiful. The layout anf format is very innovative and reader friendly, a ture standing out from any other travel books. It was interesting to see that almost everywhere we went, we saw other people (tourists apparently) holding and checking the same DK book on the street.
The coverage is comprehensive and growing year after year, Paris, Rome, Florence, Venice ... every city we went have its own Eyewitness serie. We studied them before our trip, consulted them during our trip, and kept them as memo and photo book after our trip. They are simply essential part of the travel fun.
I recommend buying indiviual city/area book wherever possible instead of the country book. For example, buy Rome, Florence, and Venice books instead of Eyewitness Italy (unless your destination doesn't have its own Eyewitness). That way you get more detailed and targeted info.
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5.0 out of 5 stars I am very thankful for the DK Eyewitness Guides! Aug. 19 2003
Format:Paperback
As I've said in my review of the Eyewitness Guide to Rome, I am very impressed by the aesthetic qualities of the DK books. They make a great show and tell after you've taken the trip, save you from having to take many pictures, and inspire others to want to go there. The content, in terms of guided walks and tours, is just what you need if you're spending more than a day in the beautiful city of Florence. Face it, if you just spend a day, go to the Uffizi and the Palazzo Vecchio area, maybe the Duomo... and let them speak for themselves. But this book goes into decent depth for a variety of attractions and locations. If you are only there three days, you can pick and choose, and it doesn't skimp. I could see how the Eyewitness Guide to Florence would equip you for a month of travel in Tuscany, easily. I unfortunately couldn't get out of the city, but that leads to another praise of the book...
I had a significant medical problem in Florence, and needed immediate attention. The book gave the address for a clinic specifically for tourists (I didn't see this listed in the other guides I had access to). All of the doctors at this clinic spoke English, and I didn't even have to speak to hospital staff or reception. The thing is, even if many foreigners speak enough English to impress, in health situations it's very different and easy to confuse and become confused. Trying to get surgery isn't like ordering dinner. So the directions to this clinic allowed me to get the surgery I needed from someone fluent in my language and made the rest of my trip so much more enjoyable.
The bottom line is, if you're going to Tuscany, you can trust the DK guides to take care of what you need!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent travel guide April 6 2003
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
This travel guide came in very handy during a recent vacation trip to Florence. It's one of the best I've seen, though not perfect. This book is packed with useful information about the major attractions, interesting historical tidbits, lots of color photos and illustrations, and suggestions on things to buy and foods to eat. The maps of central Florence are very helpful to anyone planning to wander a lot by foot which is really the best way to see the city. Most of the major sights are within easy walking distance of one another. There is also information and photos of other towns in Tuscany with brief descriptions. This guide book has sturdy laminated covers which means it won't fall apart on you, even after constant use. My biggest gripe concerns the hotel and restaurant recommendations. Most of the hotels listed are very expensive. And the restaurant list could be better, in my opinion. It would have also been helpful to have more information about bus routes to places of interest outside Florence. My wife and I, for instance, took a side trip to a small town just south of the city. We found a local bus that took us there and the fare was less than two euros. But all of these faults are minor. I would still strongly recommend this guide to anyone visiting Florence.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  39 reviews
99 of 101 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I am very thankful for the DK Eyewitness Guides! Aug. 19 2003
By J. Krueger - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
As I've said in my review of the Eyewitness Guide to Rome, I am very impressed by the aesthetic qualities of the DK books. They make a great show and tell after you've taken the trip, save you from having to take many pictures, and inspire others to want to go there. The content, in terms of guided walks and tours, is just what you need if you're spending more than a day in the beautiful city of Florence. Face it, if you just spend a day, go to the Uffizi and the Palazzo Vecchio area, maybe the Duomo... and let them speak for themselves. But this book goes into decent depth for a variety of attractions and locations. If you are only there three days, you can pick and choose, and it doesn't skimp. I could see how the Eyewitness Guide to Florence would equip you for a month of travel in Tuscany, easily. I unfortunately couldn't get out of the city, but that leads to another praise of the book...
I had a significant medical problem in Florence, and needed immediate attention. The book gave the address for a clinic specifically for tourists (I didn't see this listed in the other guides I had access to). All of the doctors at this clinic spoke English, and I didn't even have to speak to hospital staff or reception. The thing is, even if many foreigners speak enough English to impress, in health situations it's very different and easy to confuse and become confused. Trying to get surgery isn't like ordering dinner. So the directions to this clinic allowed me to get the surgery I needed from someone fluent in my language and made the rest of my trip so much more enjoyable.
The bottom line is, if you're going to Tuscany, you can trust the DK guides to take care of what you need!
75 of 77 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Best Overall Tour Guide to Florence April 8 2005
By Diego Banducci - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
If you plan to buy only one travel guide to Florence and Tuscany, this is the one. It provides an overview of all aspects of Florentine life and then proceeds to discuss the attractions in different sections of the city, complete with street maps. Major attractions are given several page spreads with open building diagrams from which you can determine where a particular painting or sculpture is within a building.

Unfortunately, the coverage tends to be uneven. For instance, very little is said about the Museo dell'Opera del Duomo, the museum that houses Michelangelo's second Pieta, Donatello's Mary Magdalene, and other significant sculpture by Donatello, della Robbia and others.

The listings of hotels and restaurants are limited, and for our purposes, were of little use. Better to use a current version of a guide dedicated to those subjects. Recommended: Time Out Shortlist Florence.

The best museum guides are the small inexpensive (about 8 euro) ones that are available at the major museums. These exist for the Academy, the Bargello, San Lorenzo, San Marco and the Museum of Archaeology. There is also an excellent, slightly larger guide to the Museo dell'Opera del Duomo that can be bought in their bookshop (You do not have to enter the museum to use the bookshop, which has a fine collection of books on Florence). We bought an entertaining and useful book there (Alta Mcadam's "Americans in Florence" [ISBN 88-09-013157-1]), which offers a series of walks with recommendations for sights restaurants, and hotels along the way. Unfortunately, it does not appear to be available in the U.S., although some of the same information may be available in the Guinti Guide to Florence.

Also consider purchasing the Knopf Guide to Florence, which is less functional but has beautiful pictures of the city.

The best map is the Knopf CityMap. Compact and very useful.

Recommendation: Our most impressive and beautiful experience in Florence was attending the afternoon vespers in the crypt of San Miniato, at which the Benedictine monks sing Gregorian chants. It's as if you were taken back 1,000 years. Truly lovely. Every afternoon at 5:30.

One last thing: Be sure to check the hours of the places you plan to visit. Many of the museums (e.g., the Bargello and the Medici Library) are only open during very short hours and only on certain days.
37 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent travel guide April 6 2003
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This travel guide came in very handy during a recent vacation trip to Florence. It's one of the best I've seen, though not perfect. This book is packed with useful information about the major attractions, interesting historical tidbits, lots of color photos and illustrations, and suggestions on things to buy and foods to eat. The maps of central Florence are very helpful to anyone planning to wander a lot by foot which is really the best way to see the city. Most of the major sights are within easy walking distance of one another. There is also information and photos of other towns in Tuscany with brief descriptions. This guide book has sturdy laminated covers which means it won't fall apart on you, even after constant use. My biggest gripe concerns the hotel and restaurant recommendations. Most of the hotels listed are very expensive. And the restaurant list could be better, in my opinion. It would have also been helpful to have more information about bus routes to places of interest outside Florence. My wife and I, for instance, took a side trip to a small town just south of the city. We found a local bus that took us there and the fare was less than two euros. But all of these faults are minor. I would still strongly recommend this guide to anyone visiting Florence.
33 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars DK EYEWITNESS HISTORY GUIDE OF FLORENCE AND TUSCANY 2006. March 8 2006
By Andrea Bowhill - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
QUICK INFORMATION:

The DK Eyewitness travel guide is firstly what it says it is - A Guide. It is there to help you with advice to resource you with useful information for your forth-coming travels. I have especially used these while travelling in Italy and always found it offers visitors a detailed guide for today.

These guides I would suggest are for the following - if you are combining a holiday with a spot of sightseeing, require a history element, maybe taking off and having your own little adventure, wish to par take in travelling in your own style by rented car, train or by bus this is the guide for you. I do not advise this pitcurticlar guidebook for backpackers or people travelling off the beaten track. Backpackers may require a bit more in-depth information.

Second quick checkpoint when purchasing an edition of this book, please check that you have the most recent and up to date version.

A necessary factor of any travel guide is to require the latest information most editions of these books are usually updated yearly. Although the 2005 edition would work very well for holiday makers this year, the latest edition 2006 will give you extra hotels listings, restaurants and improved maps with the layout of the book worked upon and updated.

BOOK OVERVIEW:

This book is extremely well planned and laid out, even showing you how to use this book guide. Areas of Florence and Tuscany are all identified and nicely colour coded, It covers in each section History, Art, Architecture, Culture, as well as Churches, Landscapes, Museums, Shopping, Markets, Villages, Festivals, and great days out. It starts with an introduction to Florence and Tuscany through the year, followed by an understanding of Florence and Tuscany area by area. It comes with a survival guide of practical information for each area shown, supplied with a map and street finder.

Each section of this book has then been broken down; sections and chapters with smaller surrounding areas for the following, Florence, City centre east, North and West, Oltrarno, Western Tuscany, North, East, South and Central Tuscany. An area of Florence or Tuscany has being mapped out and numbered for the items of tourist interest, where to go, location, places to see or an object being described with a picture. It also shows interior and exterior of buildings with photographs and illustrated design. It's not just reading its showing you. As in all these DK travel books it has a visitors checklist which I think is a great idea giving you information such as opening and closing times of shops, Museums, ect. Tips are given throughout to make things easy for you.

Clear Information on Chemists/pharmacy/hospitals can be found in the Survival Guide section an importance in any country, also many tips on being safe. Information on all places range, more pages are written depending on history, sights and things to do. For the not so in-depth sections I always reverted back to my bigger source when travelling around word of mouth, speaking to the locals or fellow holiday makers. Road maps, motorways are all shown and guided with direction. Once again driving in any Italian city can be tricky mostly gridlocked. A Travel section will help you with best places to pick up car rental, train, buses also airport locations. Guidebooks in general do not list prices because they frequently change; some will only estimate how much, but many handy websites can be found from key words so you yourself can go direct to information.

I love the Travellers Needs section, hotels, restaurants, where to locate food and wine; the expensive and inexpensive. How to find the most delicate of pastries or just tracking down all that glorious Italian ice cream, pure indulgence. My favourite ladies shopping, female retail therapy comes with a directory also where the markets are and what time of year you can pick up a bargain. It also tells you how to book and obtain tickets for day/nightly entertainment. As always in any city be vigilant keep those wallets/purses in a safe place.

Lastly the Italian phase page please give it a go, it brings a smile to any Italians face that you made an attempt and an even bigger smile at an attempt gone wrong.

MY TIPS:

Read this book in advance before travelling; use this book with the internet. For example, this time around I wanted to do the tour of the Uffizi Gallery, although this time I was there in Febuary queuing was lighter, one thing I learned from a previous Summer trip the queues can get long in Florence and if you're short on time queues are just not needed. This information is exceptional for the one dayer in Florence, just type in via the internet Uffizi Gallery a web site is shown where you can book online for one or many tickets, with or without a tour guide. Groups can book up to 15-20 people with guide. The difference when you arrive no queuing (so if your in the big queue your in the wrong queue) you go straight in after showing you've already pre paid pick up your guide and off you go. I would personally recommend a tour guide, Go for the 9am tour if possible it's two and half hours long. Its not to be missed, Uffizi Gallery holds one of the most important art collections including classical sculpture. Four Centuries of history makes the Uffizi Gallery the oldest in the world. If there's something that you feel you need to see to make your trip special always go to great lengths to gather information to make sure you don't miss out.

For Hotels, Bed & Breakfast or other lodgings this book supplies you with information but just go one step further, look up the Trip Advisor website, it gives you a personal review from people who have stayed at certain hotels, B&B listed from this book, management of these establishments sometimes respond on the site if a complaint is made. It gives real insight.

This book I found to be a wonderful source of information, the history element is my keen interest. These books come highly recommend from myself. Good Luck, stay sharp in any city, have a fantastic time.

The New DK Eyewitness Travel Guide Florence and Tuscany was released in the UK January 2006 by Christopher Catling, due to be released on Amazon.com on March 20th 2006. I Will Repost my review to the correct Edition 2006 when this becomes avalible.In the mean time I've posted this early for People going before March 20th or for anyone that may require additional information.

A.Bowhill
20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good background reading July 24 2004
By ItalyTraveler - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This guide has a good overview of Tuscany with lovely pictures, and its restaurant reviews are quite reliable. It is good background reading before a visit to the area, although because of its scope of coverage it is brief on details about most sights. However, I found it a little difficult to use in the field, mostly due to the placement of the maps and to the organization of the information on Florence. I would give it four stars but downgraded it to 3 for one major flaw. The guide recommends a walk to San Miniato al Monte and describes the route as dotted with cafes. There was not a single cafe along the way to the church and this error was remarkable -- beware of making this hike without several bottles of water!
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