Despite the popularity of travel information on the web and people's use of it - plenty of folks still want or need a guide book. Some of them (to me) are indispensable as they provide a depth of knowledge you would have to spend forever searching for online all in one place. And to be fair to book authors, a lot of the stuff you find on travel websites is recycled garbage. Not that many travel books are pretty useless too - I especially don't care for the corporate type titles (Fodor's, Frommer's) that all basically have the same info, much of it stale, and a very middle of the road slant on everything.
That being said - here a few guide books to Florence, with my comments:Blue Guide to Florence
The Blue Guide to Florence is my favorite book for this city. It isn't everyone's cup of tea, as it is not a set of instructions on how to arrive, where to eat, what line to stand in, etc. It is much more of a historical reference that details the art and architecture of Florence. I wish this book was more popular - I do see it from time to time, but no where near as much as the next couple of titles.
Consistently ranked as the top guide (by sales) to Florence and Tuscany, Rick's book is extremely useful and practical. With popularity fueled by his TV program, the Rick Steve's "effect" can quickly swamp hotels and restaurants however and turn them into tourist only places - which depending on your outlook may be okay. For me, the brevity of information about the art, history, architecture, etc. of Florence is just too superficial, but this book is chock full of real world travel tips, and the specific instructions can be especially helpful for the first time visitor to Florence. You see copied of this in tourists hand every day in Florence.
The Eyewitness Guide to Florence is another popular book which is sort of in the middle of the Blue Guide and Rick Steves. Not quite the depth of the Blue Guide, but many more photos and illustrations, and not quite the practical side of the Rick Steves book. It is good for a walk around the city and will point out all the important sites with enough facts so that you'll know what you are looking at!
What's your favorite Florence travel guide? Leave a comment and let us know!