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.
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.
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.