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3.3 out of 5 stars
3.3 out of 5 stars
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on August 10, 2003
I began using Frommer's travel books/guides in the 1970s, for Central and South America, and Europe. They were my favorite guide books then, and are still the best, providing clear, concise information for the traveler, with a predominately midlevel budget range. All their books, however, usually contain excellent low-budget suggestions, as well as information provided for luxury accommodations. With that endorsement, I most highly recommend "Frommer's Italy." I have lived in Rome, but that was 20 years ago, and on a glorious return trip to Italy early last spring, I found the updated guide even more informative than the one I used so long ago.
"Frommer's Italy" provides a wide range of suggested accommodations, from budget to luxury, and I decided, before my trip, on a lovely pensione in Rome, which was my "base of operations." I made reservations, by telephone, a month in advance and found the place, and the price, to be exactly as described, along with the excellent service. Frommer's suggested trattorias became my favorites, and the pensione owners also made some excellent suggestions. I selected my lodgings in Firenze, Venice, Naples, Milan and Palermo from Frommer's, as well, and although I clearly preferred some over others, I was comfortable at all. The information in the guide was accurate in all cases. My ideas for day trips, from each of these cities, were based on a combination of past experience, the advice of friends and Frommer's suggestions. Frommers had the best and most original information about off-the-mainstream places of interest, including festivals, fairs, markets, shopping, entertainment, nightlife, etc.
The fold-out country map, and city maps are extremely easy to follow. I have the world's worst sense of direction, and never got lost - even on my own, original walking tour of the winding streets of Venice.
All of the many magnificent things to see in Italy, each city's major attractions, the museums, churches and galleries are obviously included. It is the selection of lesser known sites, and out-of-the-way itineraries that makes this guide so special. I have read that some people find the book to be too big or bulky. I find it to be just right, and never needed to refer to another guide during my entire trip.
For before trip preparation, you may wish to brush-up on Italian history, art, the Renaissance - whatever your area(s) of interest. If so, you will do well to look at books specifically on the topics of your choice. Frommer's does provide a BRIEF nine pages of historical information. It may be sufficient for your needs, but I think it worth mentioning here.
Overall, this is the Best book to take, especially if you plan to take only one, to assist you in enjoying the glories of Italy, past and present!
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on April 8, 2001
Frommer's guide books have become a standard of excellence in presenting good, easy to use, reliable information for the traveler. These guides are not for those seeking hostels, cheep eats & sleeps and/or backpacking. Frommer's have target those in the mid to upper price range. Case-in- point, "Frommer's Italy 2001" at the front of the guide lists the 'best luxury hotels' and the 'best moderately priced hotels' , but skips a mention of the best budget hotels.
After using Frommer's for two weeks I found the recommendations to be right on the money (accurate, concise, and informative - listing some of the best selections in the areas). The maps in major metropolitan areas (Rome, Florence, Venice, but not Milan!) are graphically laid-out with restaurants and accommodations numerically located each on a separate map (this really helps).
A separate large folding map of Italy is attached at the back of the book, is a nice addition indeed. The color photo plates are superb, and especially helpful is the thin chapter "Online Directory" that lists a useful scattering of websites to help you plan your travel. Very impressive is that most of the listed accommodations have website and e-mail address. If you get a chance check out [...] and [...]
On the short side, but not a significant deterrent, Frommer's gives only nine pages to introduce you to 3000+ years of Italian history, and covers Italy's art, architect, culture and food in twenty one pages (30 pages total). Safety, especially thief and robbery is scantily mentioned in the guide and not even listed in the Index, (Italy has the highest rate of thief and robbery in Europe - See US State Department warning). These points set aside, this is a great guide for Italy and ranks at the top. Highly Recommended.
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on April 21, 2004
Just click on the names of the writers listed above. It's mindboggling to see the other books they write. Frommers Germany 2004, Frommers Spain 2004, Frommers France 2004, Frommers Bermuda 2004, Frommers Bahamas 2004 ... and a lot more. I'd love to have their frequent flyer miles! I'd also buy a book by them about how to pack or how to get around the airports of the world. But there's no way I'd use one of these travel guides. I looked at this book but didn't buy it before making a two-week trip to Italy. When I got back, I looked at it again the next time I was in a bookstore. All I can say is, I didn't regret my choice. It's a big world out there. If you want to take a trip to Italy (or Spain or France or Bermuda), you can end up having a great time or a lousy time depending on what kind of information you have. These guys are stretched too thin. The Italy book, at least, is full of tourist traps and stereotypes.
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on February 6, 2001
If you are planning a trip with only a couple of major stops, this isn't the right guide for you. It's very thick and very condensed. The maps, although a nice book size, may not help you all that much getting around in a city. This is a guide for someone who has the time to travel all around Italy (I envy those people!). For those of us who are going to Venice and Florence, individual city guides have much more specific information and better maps. The Blue Guides are perfect for history, art, and culture (great walking tours). Most of the specifics for planning can now be found on the Internet, instead of in a bulky guide. But if you need a more planning oriented guide of only a city or two, try the Access Guides. They have great maps of each neighborhood of a city, along with hotel, restaurant, and sight-seeing tips.
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on May 27, 2004
Allow me to differ from what some of the negative postings stated, saying that the authors have never been in Italy for the last 10 years. How can it be then that the information given are in euros??? I find Frommer's Italy guide really useful, even if the descriptions of the monuments are often really scanty, but if you are interested in digging into the history of a city, then get the Blue Guides. Frommer's give the tourist that wants to visit Italy, the essential but precious info on how to get from one city to another, what to see, what to do, where to sleep, where to eat in the most visited places in Italy. ALL IN ONE BOOK. I LOVE my Frommer's copy!
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on March 27, 2004
I have had mixed results with Frommer's books. I like their maps and guides to attractions... BUT... The hotels they recommend in the lower end category often fall short. I especially did not like their recommendations for Rome.
The book has a great layout but the hotels need to be rechecked. I would make sure to balance this book with another guide like Karen Brown's or Fodor's... I make sure any hotel I stay in has a good rating in at least two sources....
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on May 8, 2004
It takes nerve for them to put the date "2004" in the name of this book. There's a lot of stuff that's clearly out of date. One small but disturbing example: they say that Harry's Bar is the best restaurant in Venice. I GUARANTEE you no one from Frommer's has been there in the last ten years. For longer than that Harry's has made a business of fleecing tourists. The Frommer's recommendation is a disservice to travelers who trust their advice.
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on June 20, 2001
I thought this book was very helpful in outlining everything there is to see in Italy. I used it primarily for Rome, Florence, and Venice. It gets right to the point about sights and has some great maps outlining restaurants, hotels, and famous spots. This is filled with great information. I would suggest combining it with another well-reviewed book. I personally combined it with Rick Steve's guidebook.
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