A glossy and seductive volume crammed with colour photographs and illustrations. Restricted inevitably by the scale of its subject it is able to cover only the best and most famous sights, but does so admirably. Those seeking practical travel advice should look elsewhere, but for pre-trip inspiration and post-trip nostalgia, this is hard to beat.
A reliable and exhaustive practical guide for the independent traveller on a slender budget. The informal LP tone is present throughout, as are copious details on price and timings. Sticks mostly to the beaten path and doesn't offer a great deal in terms of Italian history or culture.
Opting wisely not to attempt total coverage, Time Out instead pick 30 of Italy's choicest destinations and arrange them according to theme: Rural Idylls, Cities, Coasts & Islands, Small Gems, and Lakes & Mountains. Each spot is set in context before its best hotels, resturants and sights are listed and reviewed. An unusual guide then, but rather a brilliant one.
A new venture for Blue in which the best of their extensive regional Italian guides is condensed into a manageable single volume, packed with highlights. We suspect the hardest part was deciding what to leave out: everything here is of the highest standard, and for a country-wide cultural tour it cannot be bettered.
A comprehensive general mid-budget guide, with excellent coverage of everything from restaurants to ruins. Colour photographs and good thick paper throughout make it a joy to use, if a struggle to carry. Though geared primarily towards American visitors, its tone is by no means exclusive. The pull-out maps at the rear are reliable and clear. It is a guide that attempts to do everything that its competitors do and more, and for the most part it succeeds.
A comprehensive hotel and restaurant guide that includes some rudimentary road mapping. The book is arranged alphabetically by region and uses a long-established system of symbols to list and rate facilities. As with all Red Guides, bar that for France, the home language is used throughout and thus some basic grasp of Italian is crucial.
Bulky, well-composed sightseeing companion packed with colour photographs and illustrations, focusing primarily on museums and architecture. Covers practical travel information briefly in the back pages. Best for a pre-arranged trip, or as a memento.
Unbeatable cultural companion for visitors seeking a scholarly understanding of the city and its history. First class writing on all the major sights with intermittent photographs and maps. Practical basics are covered to a very limited extent.
Budget practical travel guide with plenty of listings on sights, hostels, bars, restaurants. Little to read beyond that. Presentation is basic with few photographs, though perhaps simpler to navigate for that.
Once the only guides worth carrying, Baedeker have recently returned to the fray after something of a hiatus. Their layout may seem unusual to newcomers but the quality of information and insight is exceptional. The large pull-out city map is also first rate.
'50 Adventures on Foot' presented as a deck of sturdy cards so you need only carry one at a time. Each card offers a proposed route with a map and sightseeing information. Beautifully presented and great fun.
Excellent general touring guide, arranged alphabetically by region. Plenty of colour photographs and maps, and introductory chapters are strong. Some customers have criticised the absence of website addresses.
Increasingly Time Out's main focus, the annually-updated Shortlist gives a brief introduction to the city then cuts right to the chase, directing you to the best sights, bars, restaurants and so on. Pocket-sized and perhaps all you need for a weekend visit.
Intelligent and thoughtful general guide that balances practical tips with extended reading on history, offering a strong sense of place. Geared towards travellers who have hung up their backpacks and are now looking to explore in greater comfort. Note that the Rome section is only one of many, and as such the guide should be approached as one that covers the entirety of Central Italy.
Essentially a notebook containing a few useful maps and tips, this stylish pocket volume will appeal to the traveller looking to create a personal guide and aide-memoire filled with their unique impressions and discoveries.