Every major travel publisher from Lonely Planet to LUXE makes at least one Italy guidebook. Here are my tips for choosing the best one for your trip.
If you will be visiting a lot of places in Italy, getting a larger guidebook like the Rough Guide to Italy is a good idea. If you’re handy with scissors, you can cut out the chapters you need and leave the rest of the book at home to save room as you pack your bags. Alternatively, you can get the digital version or app for your phone or tablet.
Most guidebook companies also publish books on specific cities or regions because many destinations provide enough material for their own full guidebook. As such, if you’re only planning to visit one major city or region in Italy, getting a specific guidebook for the area is a good idea. For example, Lonely Planet’s book on Rome gives good in-depth coverage of the city and the surrounding area.
Once you know what size Italy guidebook you need, shop around for one that fits your travel style. If you’re backpacking, Lonely Planet, Let’s Go, and Rough Guides offer some of the best Italy guidebooks.
If you’re going upscale, look into guides like the Hg2 Rome (A Hedonist’s Guide to Rome), the Wallpaper Guide to Venice, or the LUXE guide to Milan. They offer suggestions for high-end hotels, fine dining restaurants, and luxury shopping.
If you love sightseeing, consider picking up an Eyewitness Travel Guide for a city like Rome. With photos and illustrations on every page, Eyewitness guidebooks are great for explaining the details of a city’s historic buildings and landmarks.
On a budget? A lot of the best deals on Italy guidebooks can be found on websites where travelers that have just returned from Italy are selling their books. If you’re lucky, you can get a copy with good notes and suggestions written in. Additionally, there are often giveaways and discounts on digital versions and guidebook apps for your phone.
One last tip on finding the best Italy guidebooks: check the date the guidebook was published. If it is more than a year old, don’t buy it. Things change so quickly in Italy that an old guidebook will be of little use to you today.