on April 21, 2004
I've used Fodor's on and off through the years, with mixed results. Sometimes they sound like promotional brochures, sometimes they have real insights. This book falls into the latter category. I carried it with me on a two week trip to Florence, Tuscany, Umbria, and Rome, and I wasn't disappointed. Before going I sat down with this book and with Frommers and Rick Steves. They all have good information about the classic sights, but this book seems to go one layer deeper (which may explain why it's so big). The restaurant and hotel recommendations were pretty accurate, and there wasn't a tourist trap among them (ate some fantastic food as a result). Fodor's uses local writers, and you can tell the difference. The writing can be a little inconsistent, but you find out about places that Rick Steves doesn't have time for (since he's busy writing about other countries in Europe too). And looking around in the bookstore I noticed the writers for Frommers are the same guys who write the Frommers guide to England and to France. How much can they really know about so many different places? The Fodor's writers (there are little bios of them in the front of the book) are writing about places they really know.