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Italian Lakes and Mountains
with Venice and Florence

Book Review

book cover Italian Lakes and Mountains
with Venice and Florence

Barbara Radcliffe Rogers, Stillman Rogers, Paul Carr
Paperback,  288 pages
UK: Thomas Cook, £14.99
Globe Pequot, $22.95
ISBN 0-7627-2229-0

Car touring is the focus of this handsomely illustrated Signpost Guide from Thomas Cook Publishing, which is billed as "your guide to great drives." The book divides Northern Italy into 24 touring areas, with the major tourist cities of Venice, Florence, Milan, and Verona receiving chapters of their own.

The city chapters include tips on arriving and departing, getting around, sightseeing, accommodation and food, shopping, and entertainment. Each chapter ends with a suggested walking tour; sights along the tour are keyed to numbers on a highlighted map.

The car-touring chapters are organized a bit differently: Each has a brief introduction to the local area, followed by descriptions of important towns and a suggested driving itinerary. Touring routes are shown in yellow on road maps, and the town descriptions include information on such topics as parking, tourist-office locations, hotels, restaurants, market days, and local museums or monuments.

In addition to city and touring chapters, Italian Lakes and Mountains has a 9-page "Travel Facts" section, a 6-page "Driver's Guide," advice on getting to Northern Italy, and a "Setting the Scene" chapter that offers a quick introduction to the region's geography, history, and art. In the back of the book, you'll find a one-page language guide that includes both obvious phrases ("Thank you") and terms that Berlitz may ignore ("Pig," "Leave me alone").

Color photos are used throughout the book to give you an idea of what you can expect to see during your travels.

About the authors: Barbara Radcliffe and Stillman Rogers have traveled in Northern Italy since their post-university days, when they lived in Verona; Paul Karr has written guidebooks on Rome and other European cities.

Recommendation: Italian Lakes and Mountains (with Venice and Florence) is a first-rate motorist's guide to the Italian lake region and the Dolomites, with the Venice and Florence chapters being an attractive bonus. If you're planning on driving in Northern Italy, the book will help you narrow down your touring choices, and you'll want to keep it in the glove compartment during your trip.