Italy Guide Books – The Five Best – Italian Tours and Places

Though for sure there are a lot of Italy Guide Books on the subject of “Italy Tours 2018“, according to our reviews, the best ones boil down to the 5 below.

And in the opinion of this writer, they fall into two categories:

  1. “Good for DIY” (Do It Yourself) – good Italy Guide Books for travelers planning their own trips, or
  2. “Historical and Info” – Good Italy Guide Books for travelers on an organized tour.

That is why I recommend DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Italy for travelers on tours.

Any of the DIY Italy Guide Books is going to spend at least half of the book on hotels, restaurants, train schedules — all things that are of no importance to someone on an organized tour. If you are going on an organized tour, that is why for an Italy Guide book, you want info on the places, not hotel names. The Lonely Planet Italy Guide books, although full of information, usually have no pictures, and are mostly locations of hotels, restaurants, and train stations.

The Rick Steves Italy Guide Books get very high ratings, and of course Rick Steves is really well known. But these books again have a lot of information about where to stay in cities, which you do not need on a tour. However, again, the Rick Steves guide book gets very good reviews.

In addition, if you end up with a tour that includes major cities, it may be a good idea to get the second (Frommer’s) book on the list, which concentrates on just that.

We can’t emphasize enough that if you are going to take a pre-planned, organized tour to Italy, it is a complete waste of time to have hotels and trains listed in your Italy Guide Books, and many books spend a lot of time listing these for the DIY traveler.

DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Italy
List Price: $30.00
Price Disclaimer
The DK Eyewitness Travel Guide is consistently rated 5 stars. Sample review from Amazon: “This book has a lot of maps, historical information, descriptions of cities and sites to see, useful travel information, and color pictures.”  They don’t spend as much time on where hotels and restaurants are, because if you are on a tour, that is being handled by your tour operator.  Buy NOW From Amazon

Frommer's Italy 2017 (Complete Guide)
List Price: $24.95
Price: $24.95
Price Disclaimer
Rated equally 5 through 2. Sample Amazon review: “If you are into traveling around Italy with a little Do-It-Yourself attitude but you’re looking for some more of structure about seeing cultural activities than you find in other good Italy travel guide books then Frommer’s is for you.  They have been in the market forever!” Also: “Kindle version [ed: like many books] is hard to navigate through.”  Buy NOW From Amazon

Lonely Planet Italy (Travel Guide)
List Price: $27.99
Price: $11.42
You Save: $16.57
Price Disclaimer
Rated equally 5 through 2. Sample Amazon review: “If you are thinking about traveling around Italy in “do-it-yourself” (DIY) style or you want to see more outdoor and cultural activities than offered by other well-known guides, such as Frommer’s or Fodor’s, then Lonely Planet might be a good guidebook for you.  This is the current versions but does not specifically say 2017.” Also: “Kindle version [ed: like many books] is hard to navigate through.”  Buy NOW From Amazon

Rick Steves Italy 2017
List Price: $25.99
Price: $10.51
You Save: $15.48
Price Disclaimer
Very highly rated (5 star), generally by DIY travelers. Sample Amazon review: “This book was amazing. I would by Rick’s book for anywhere I was visiting. Tons of good tips, and it’s great even if you like to really go off the beaten path like do.”  Buy NOW From Amazon

Fodor's Essential Italy 2018 (Full-color Travel Guide)
List Price: $25.99
Price: $17.67
You Save: $8.32
Price Disclaimer
Rated 5 through 3, not too many purchased or reviewed. Sample Amazon reviews: “The book is just basic.” to “Very comprehensive.”  This is the current version, but it is not marked 2017.  Buy NOW From Amazon

Of course, if you get Italy Guide Books from a local book store, of course you will be spending your money locally, which is definitely something desirable to a lot of people.

However, if you are planning something in the category of “Italy Tours 2018” you should be doing it well ahead of time. So you can order books from Amazon, for example. And it is far easier to return a book to Amazon, and it is generally cheaper, than how things would go at a local store.

It only takes a minute to get a return authorization from Amazon on your account page, and then you just drop it off in a mailbox. The postage is less than the overall cost to pay for gas to go to store or the value of the time it takes you .

The Best Italy Guide Books for Tours to Italy

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  • Reply Shirley Biggs (Amazon) April 6, 2015 at 12:14 pm

    DK Italy: This book was very helpful on my trip to northern Italy, I loved all the pictures and information on all the cities.

  • Reply Admin at Best Reviews May 14, 2015 at 8:13 pm

    Yes, I hear a lot of good things about DK.

  • Reply Phoenix 77 (Amazon) August 7, 2015 at 3:44 pm

    Good, and helpful — all of the DK guides are – but probably if we had got a guide to Rome guide it might have helped rather than an Italy guide that included Rome. We also visited Venice and Florence.

    For currency conversions use credit cards for travel where you can save on foreign transaction fees — like Chase silver, do not use shops that exchange currency, they are really high rates — as much as 10% or more, though there were not any “fees”! Also rates in Venice are higher than Florence or Rome. Debit or ATM cards use bank rates that are international. So my first preference is using credit cards with no foreign fee, then a bank ATM card, and last exchange case — which is always the worst. I love Italy. Also usually no tipping, though we might leave the extra change.

  • Reply Admin at Best Reviews August 7, 2015 at 3:59 pm

    We try to pick the books for the top usefulness given you are going on an escorted tour to Europe or Italy. In general, we would also suggest you get deeper books in specific areas that your are interested in, and we will add this concept to this review. But also, one has to consider weight of the books. Each one weighs more than a pair of pants!

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