We’ve all heard the saying, “Free is a very good price.” Well, free is only a good price if you get something worth more than you’re paying for it in return. With that in mind, let’s take a look at the “Free Milan Guide” and “Free Rome Guide” put out by SAS Scandinavian Airlines.
The Italy offerings are sparse, as they only cover Milan and Rome, but I took a look at them and I have to say that while they look slick and are extremely convenient in that they’re in PDF format and downloadable/printable, they are – at best – a decent start to a travel guide. There are some choice nuggets in each guide, things you might not find in any other travel guide, but there are some big omissions, too. No visitor’s information for the famous La Scala opera house or the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II shopping center in Milan? No details about how to get to the Colosseum or Vatican City in the Rome guide? Perhaps the assumption is that one will have a main guidebook that will include all these things, but these days travelers are more and more likely to use the internet and only have printed material guide information in small supply, so it seems silly to leave these things out.
Another beef is that although there’s a calendar of upcoming events right at the front of each guide, they’re sponsored events and there are big things that aren’t listed. So don’t rely on these calendars to be 100% accurate of all that’s going on in a given city. And finally, while the maps at the end of the guide are good, the average traveler won’t need the full three-four levels of increasing zoom offered. One good map of the city center, perhaps two if it’s really spread out, is plenty – and makes for less paper to cart around, too.
All in all, the Free Milan Guide and Free Rome Guide aren’t a bad way to get introduced to Milan or Rome if you’re visiting either for the first time – but please don’t rely on them as your sole guide to either city, as you’ll likely be missing out on some big attractions.
You can find these free city guides, plus many more cities besides, at the SAS website.