I bought this book because of all the rages and reviews coming from my friends boasting about how great Rick Steve's books are so I've decided to pick up a copy for my trip to Italy this xmas. I had even went to a retail store to take a look at the information inside the book before buying. This guide appears to have plenty of history (which doesn't come with other travel books) and tonnes of useful information. It is until I go on the actual trip that I found how USELESS this book really is to me. The maps and some info in the book are inaccurate. The info and history are very minimal.
This is NOT Italy through the back door. It is more like Italy 101 for Red Neck Tourists looking for a taste of America outside of the USA.
The recommended food places are no where near authentic Italian - don't waste your money. Go buy yourself a Frommers if you need some very good restaurant recommendations. When you go to Italy and sees restaurants on the door saying "recommended by Rick Steve", walk away! You're better off going to McDonald's.
Apparently Rick Steve also missed out on the fact that Italy is famous place for SHOPPING - and to your condolences, he does NOT tell you about the great outlets to go to.
Oh, he missed the 2006 Winter Olympics city - TORINO in this book. It's such a beautiful city and is very different from other Italian cities, yet, not ONE word mentions anything about it.
The book doesn't even give you any introduction to the importance and differences of different kinds of cuisines in various regions of Italy. Lack of information on religious sites - I say that because the CORE CULTURE of Italy is Roman Catholicism, 80% of the people in Italy are Roman Catholics. How can anyone miss such an important part of its culture and its influences in the country THROUGHOUT thousands of years of history?
He also told me a taxi ride from Rome Fiumucino to anywhere in Rome is 40 euros but in fact, it is 60 euros. Yeap, I bought the 2009 book and I was in Rome in December 2008! Horrible.
Don't waste your money. That's my best advice to you.