In Rick Steves Best of Italy you'll find essential Rick-tested information on the following top destinations, plus brief coverage of several "Best of the Rest" cities and regions:
Venice and Nearby
Nearby: Padua and Verona
Monterosso al Mare
Hill Towns of Central Italy
Civita di Bagnoregio
Amalfi Coast and Nearby
Positano, Amalfi Town, and Ravello
Best of the Rest
Varenna on Lake Como
Self-guided walks and museum tours
Easy-to-follow color maps
Gorgeously illustrated destination overview
Trip planning: Pre-trip checklist, recommended two-week itinerary, festivals and holidays
City-specific advice on planning your time and avoiding lines
Transportation: Trains, buses, city transit, and driving
Italian history, culture, language, and cuisine
Handy Italian survival phrases
Advice on managing money, communicating, reserving rooms, handling emergencies, and other helpful hints
What's the difference between this Best of Italy guidebook and Rick's complete Italy guidebook?
Rick Steves Italy, the complete guide, offers more coverage of more destinations in a mostly black-and-white format, and is updated annually.
The shorter Best of Italy guidebook focuses on Italy's top destinations and sights, is in full color, and is updated every other year.
Both books are packed with hand-picked recommendations and Rick's travel advice and tips for saving time, money, and hassle.
Should I get the Rome, Venice, and/or Florence & Tuscany guidebooks (or any of the Pocket guides) in addition to the Best of Italy guidebook?
If you're spending only a few days in Rome, Venice, Florence, and/or the Tuscan countryside, Rick Steves Best of Italy is all you're likely to need.
If, however, you're spending four days or more in the same city, the extra information in a single-city/region guidebook can be worthwhile. Compared to the corresponding chapters of the Rick Steves Best of Italy guidebook, our full-size guidebooks for Rome, Venice, and Florence & Tuscanyoffer much more in-depth sightseeing information, several additional self-guided city walks and museum/sight tours, more detail on day-trip options, and more specifics on shopping and nightlife, plus suggestions for kids. These city/regional guides also include a few more hotels and restaurants than the corresponding chapters of Rick Steves Best of Italy, and generally a more nitty-gritty approach to practical advice.
It would make less sense to supplement Best of Italy with one of the smaller Pocket guides for Rome, Venice, or Florence. Each does have a few walks and museum tours that aren't included in the related chapters of the Best of Italy guidebook, but otherwise the Pocket guides offer far more limited coverage of each city's sights, hotels, and restaurants.
Should I get any of the Snapshot guides in addition to the Best of Italy guidebook?
If you really want to dive into one of the regions covered by a Snapshot guide for Italy, the extra information in those books can make sense (especially for Milan and Lake Como, as they're covered only briefly in the Best of Italy guidebook).