Everyone says that in an effort to pack light, you should photocopy pages from guidebooks, however...what are your favorite, practical guidebooks that you would bring to Italy if you could bring just 1 or 2? (other than Rick Steves, of course)
RS's book is all you need, other than good maps.
I love Eyewitness books. Much more info, covers almost every single town you can imagine, and let's you know if it's really worth a visit.
Rick Steve's books are good, but they are not the "end all" There are lots of good books out there. Visit your local book store, look through several and decide which one(s) suit your travel needs.
Also, instead of photocopying pages, which are heavy, etc., people recommend cutting the spine of the guidebook with an x-acto knife to just take the sections that you want/need. This way, the pages stay bound.
My wife and I did a great job of traveling light. We each had one 22" piece of luggage plus a light carry on. We're seniors so we carry on our medications and other necessities that we cannot afford to lose. My wife's bag weighed 25lbs and mine weighed 29lbs. We were able to find local launderias to do the laundry. For travel books, we took three RS books (Florence/Tuscany, Italy & Switzerland). For Venice our best book by far with the Eyewitness Top 10 travel guide. It's better than RS for the sights and places to eat.
For my last trip I generally depended on the Rick Steves guide books. I was traveling with a child and took pages from 2 books on traveling with children.
There are a lot of good books out there with beautiful pictures and a lot more coverage. With that said, I know I can rely on the information from Rick. Other guide books cover all of the places without bias, like every town is the best place in the world. My experience in 4 trips using Rick's info is that he is almost always spot on! This way I know which sites and towns I should try to see, and which ones are probably a waste of my time. I find that the directions he gives to sites and hotels are very reliable.
I cut up my guide books so that I had the info town by town, and just threw them out when I went on to the next town. I do this knowing that I will buy the updated books for my next trip.
We also used "The Rough Guide to Italy", and my son who spent several months in Spain swears by guidebooks by The Lonely Planet.
Pauline Frommer's Italy guide is also very good. I plan on taking the Rick book and photocopying portions of her guide.
We won't leave without taking Rick's Italy book, and I ALWAYS take a Lonely Planet. They do a great job complementing each other.
We usually spend a night in the bookstore comparing books on every trip, and we always end up with these two books.
........and I alwsys take Rick's small phrase book, "bone up' when I am on the plane, and then slip it in a vest pocket for daily reference.
RS and Lonely Planet are brilliant companions - you can find cross references and each tends to fill in information not in the other.