“Italy: Instructions for Use” – Italy Book Review – Win a Free Book


Want to have a chance to win your very own copy of this book? Be sure to leave a comment on this post by 11:59pm Pacific Time on Monday, May 18, 2009 to be eligible to win a copy of Italy: Instructions for Use by Nan McElroy!

italyinstructionsYou know that section of any decent travel guidebook that tells you general stuff about visiting a place? The part that most people skip over to get to the write-ups on attractions, restaurant recommendations, and lists of hotels? It’s this general – and often-ignored – stuff that can make or break a vacation.

No, that part of the book isn’t going to help you decide how much time you should devote to Vatican City or choose whether between day-trips to Siena or Lucca, but that part of the book will give you an incredibly important foundation for traveling in the country. It’ll give you valuable lessons about basics like what the local customs are about tipping, how to use the trains, what’s acceptable attire for religious sites, etc. In other words, it’s all the basic instructions for a place that’ll help you fit in from the point when your plane lands.

So it’s only fitting that a book which contains only these basics calls them exactly what they are – Italy: Instructions for Use.

When I found the book Italy: Instructions for Use on the shelf at my favorite local bookstore a couple years ago, I was immediately struck by its genius. It’s a tiny thing, so it’s perfectly easy to bring along on any trip to Italy so you can refer to it along the way. And unlike the section of your big guidebook that’s devoted to these basics, this book’s sole purpose is to lay the appropriate foundation for a successful and enjoyable trip to Italy.

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Italy: Instructions for Use is written primarily for an American audience, and it was originally billed as a guide for people who haven’t been to Italy before or traveled much – the “enthusiastic but inexperienced traveler,” as it used to say on the book’s cover. And it totally works on that level. I’d recommend this book to anyone who’s never been to Italy, and I’d recommend it even more highly to people who don’t have much travel experience in general. But what’s so fabulous about this little gem of a guide is that it also works for people who are more familiar with Italy and who do have travel experience under their belt. I think the publishers must have realized this, because the 2nd printing says “enthusiastic (even experienced) traveler” on the cover instead.

The author of Italy: Instructions for Use, Nan McElroy, is a travel consultant who makes her home in Venice, so the book also has the added benefit of being written from the point of view of someone who knows and loves Italy. It’s readable and interesting, and although it’s small it’s packed with information.

Win a Copy of “Italy: Instructions for Use”

The book was originally published in 2004 and has been completely updated for 2007 in its newest edition. And it’s that fully-revised edition that I’m giving away to one lucky reader! To be entered into the drawing for the latest publication of Italy: Instructions for Use, leave a comment on this post with your best overall Italy travel tip – not the #1 sight to see or meal to eat, but your best basic tip that will make traveling in Italy easier and better for anyone. And if you haven’t been to Italy yet, please leave a comment anyway to be in the running for the book – its information will be even more valuable to you!

The deadline for leaving a comment and entering the drawing is 11:59pm Pacific Time on Monday, May 18, 2009. I’ll use a random number generator to choose the winner. Be sure to include your email address in the appropriate field in the comment form so I can reach you if you win!

And in bocca al lupo!

>> If you want to just go ahead and buy a copy of the book, you can buy “Italy: Instructions for Use” on Amazon.

Full Disclosure & Whatnot: Just so y’know, the author sent me a copy of this book to give away for this contest, but I bought my own copy of this book years ago with my own hard-earned money.