Anyone who has ever planned a trip to the Bel Paese on their own is very familiar with the big names in Italy travel guides. Frommer’s, Fodor’s, Lonely Planet, Rick Steves and DK Eyewitness travel books all top the list.
And while all of those guides are well-respected and serve a very specific, important purpose, I just love to shout from the Italian terracotta rooftops when I come across a unique travel guide about Italy.
When someone takes a creative approach to a place as written about as Italy and puts a different spin on it, looks at it through a different lens and then writes about something that appeals to a specific type of traveler, I like to talk about it. Reading an Italy travel guide with a quirky theme or a unique angle really gets me excited, especially when a learn something new at almost every page turn. It renews my passion for the Bel Paese.
Today, I thought I would share some that speak to me personally, which is why I have recommended them.
1. 100 Places in Italy Every Woman Should Go. Susan Van Allen has created a delicious list of some fabulous places that travelers headed to Italy should experience. From spas to shopping, ceramics to churches and everything in between. And though the title speaks to females, perhaps for marketing reasons, there should be no reason that men wouldn’t enjoy most of the suggested items.
2. Italy for the Gourmet Traveler. More than a travel guide, this is a giant bible that should be on every food-worshiping Italophiles’ nightstand. Fred Plotkin is *the* ultimate Italian food foodie and his book focuses on, you guessed it, food. But not just the typical restaurant recommendations for the largest cities. Instead he aims to educate the reader on food, wine, recipes, customs and cultural traditions throughout more than 500 cities and all 20 regions of Italy. A favorite for getting off-the-beaten-path.
3. Made in Italy. This Italy guidebook is a shopper’s dream. It’s a perfect resource for those who wish to shop, experience or just browse through artisan shops and boutiques while traveling throughout Italy. The guidebook focuses on the artisanal traditions that Italy is famous for – jewelry, leather, ceramics, Murano glass and of course, food and liqueurs.
4. The Romantic’s Guide to Italy. No doubt about it, Italy is one of the world’s most romantic destinations. For those who want to have a love affair with Italy, get married or honeymoon in Italy or just spend time in some of those most charming and idyllic spots, this is the Italy guidebook for you!
5. Italy : Instructions for Use. Perhaps my favorite Italy guidebook isn’t packed with local addresses, restaurant and hotel suggestions or drop-dead gorgeous photos. Instead it has what travelers to Italy need most – practical advice. Tips on using Italy’s transport systems, the language, store and restaurant hours, cultural notes and more. It’s how to do Italy right. Don’t leave home without it!
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