I'm on a multiple month journey and just spent a month in Morocco in which the Rough Guide was my bible. That book was so much more helpful than any of the other guides that I gradually jettisoned the Blue Guide, Cadogan, and Lonely Planet. When I arrived in Italy, I felt like I owed it to Rough Guide to get their Italy volume because they earned my trust with their careful attention to detail, their informative commentary, and their (mostly) trustworthy judgment in the Morocco book.
Big mistake. I've been in Rome for a week and the Rough Guide has let me down again and again. I keep getting lost because their directions are dreadful! For example, I wanted to see the Capuchin cemetery (p. 651). The site received a mere two-sentence description, and there was NO ADDRESS LISTED. Honest! The directions were "A little way up Via Veneto on the right. . . " and it took me 45 minutes and asking for directions twice to find the place. That's because none of the three maps of Rome provided in the book labeled the street Via Veneto! And once I found it, it's a long street on a steep hill, and I had to keep walking up and down the hill (in 90+ degree heat) to find it. If this were the only such incident, I'd shrug it off, but things like that keep happening when I try to depend on this book. The maps are terrible--so many streets aren't labeled with names, and it's tough because in Italy you can't always find a street sign, so it's always a crapshoot whether the street signs you manage to glimpse will show up on the page, and vice versa. There has got to be a better guide to a city this well-traveled.
I purchased this book in Italy and paid an enormous markup--it cost me over $33. And I still might throw it away and get something different because it's making my trip way too complicated and not providing nearly enough useful content. It is not helping me understand what I see. And it's actually making it harder for me to enjoy the city, not easier. And if it's this bad for Rome, I can't imagine how bad it'll be for smaller cities.
I bought the Rick Steves guide on Kindle, but it's hard to use a Kindle while traveling. It's so far superior to this volume, though, that I may suck it up and buy it in hard copy too because the Rough Guide is just barely better than nothing at all. Take a hard look at this book before you buy it--if your time in Italy is limited, you probably don't want to spend it wandering around in circles because you've got bad maps. And even if it does eventually get you to your destination, it falls short in explaining the significance of so many of these places. If you look around, I'm sure you can find something better than this book--I wish I had.