Blue Guide Venice
By Tim Synge
This really is a fantastic guide. I was fortunate enough to be able to spend a week in Venice and many of my target destinations were based on the contents of this book. It is so incredibly informative and authoritative that it knocks the information in other guides, such as Baedeker and Lonely Planet, into the long grass. Of course, it is much more of a specialist publication with an unapologetic focus on art, architecture, sculpture and history, so you would expect it to do better than general purpose guides.
A couple of minor drawbacks: firstly the ordering of contents (once you get beyond the six districts of Venice) is a little opaque. The mini-maps for each major site are loosely indicative, but you do need a proper streetmap too. Secondly, it is a job to distinguish between one-star and five-star recommendations. Granted, it is not for this book to be too populist and rank its contents, but sometimes a real gem is almost lost in a small paragraph. I am not sure how this could be improved, but I often found myself cross-referencing against a “tourist” guide to decide how to prioritise the visits.
All in all, an excellent work. My first Blue Guide, but emphatically not my last.