Lonely Planet Florence Encounter by Robert Landon
Reviewed by Jason Koivu
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Firenze, tu sei il mio preferito città Italiane!
I was working at a map company, was about to go on vacation to Italy, and this was the only book we carried specifically on Florence, so I bought it. It wasn't the most useful travel guide I've ever used, but it's very compact (an actual "pocket book" that fits in the pocket, wow!), it's got some fancy pictures and if you're looking for places to eat, it gives you a nice, general rundown of what to expect in this most wondrous city!
Slim and more snapshotty than other more thorough and comprehensive Lonely Planets I've used, Florence Encounter provides a few good ideas that may not have been on your vacation itinerary if you're a first time visitor to Florence. One of my favorite experiences, learned about in this little book, was I Fratellini, a curbside wine and sandwich shop that serves up a simple, but delicious and inexpensive meal that you eat standing in the street or while literally sitting on the curb as we and my others did. It's a fantastically quick and cheap way to get something good in your belly, so you can move along to more touristy sights without spend all afternoon at a restaurant (sometimes it takes a while to eat in Italy I've found).
Travelers' Tip: When my wife and I went to Italy a few years back I learned some basic Italian so we could get around via train and bus, order in restaurants and handle hotel reservations. Because we were always in the major urban areas, it probably wasn't necessary, but it did come in handy now and then. Many Italians speak English, but certainly not all. And heck, it's just polite to exchange pleasantries in your host country's language.
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