The Eyewitness Travel Guides are known for their comprehensive and detailed pictures, drawings, floor plans, neighborhood maps, and illustrations. It's a great planning tool even though it's not updated yearly as some of the other guides are. My only complaint is that it is a little heavy to carry around.
Fodor's guide includes unique sections with insights from locals and recommendations from other travelers. It also includes tools for trip planning, tips, cultural background, lots of photos, and maps in addition to descriptions of what to see.
See It Italy includes lots of photos and maps. The bulk of the book covers the "Sights" broken down into 9 regions. The book also has sections on Understanding Italy, Getting Around, What to Do, Out and About, Eating and Staying, and Planning. It's a little heavy to carry around but a good resource for before you go.
National Geographic Traveler is full of beautiful photos and good information about Italy. The book is divided into sections by region and has maps, a section on history, and a travel wise section.
This app for iDevices, written by myself, has travel tips and basic information about top places to go in Italy to help you plan your trip, know what to expect, and get the most out of your visit.
Here's a book I've used frequently since the first edition came out in 1996. An updated fifth edition came out in May, 2010, and it's still good for travel planning. Fred Plotkin gives a culinary overview of each region with restaurant and food information for 300 towns and cities in Italy that includes must-see towns in each region, festivals, and in-depth looks at classic towns. This is not your typical travel guide but a good book to read before you go and take note of places you want to eat or visit, especially if you're interested in food or getting off the beaten tourist path.
Italy has many interesting World War II sites. This compact, well-written book covers major museums, monuments, and battlegrounds associated with World War II and includes a historical introduction, visiting information, and travel directions for each of them. Also in the book are maps and haunting photos from the war.
101 Places in Italy is a new, expanded version of 52 Places in Italy. Francis Russell, an art expert who has traveled in Italy for more than 50 years, shares his recommendations for 101 Italian towns to visit and 1001 pieces of unforgettable art to see. This is not a typical tourist guide but more of an authoritative guide to art and architecture.
Laura Morelli's book is a shopper's guide to Italy's best artisan traditions. A great book for shoppers as well as those interested in Italian handicrafts and traditions.
Travelers often include Rome as part of their Italian itinerary. If you're planning to visit Rome, take a look at these guidebooks. We also have recommendations for Florence Guidebooks.