Travel Guides for Europe
Good travel guides help you plan your trip to Europe. I usually get a large travel guide for the whole country and use it to figure out where I want to go, then get guides for the specific areas I am going to.
There are endless online resources - travel websites, travel blogs, apps for your smartphone - but I think a printed guidebook is best for planning and traveling in Europe. They are written and edited by professional travel writers, all the information is in one place, you don't have to spend days organizing and printing out web pages. Supplement your travel knowledge with things you find on the web, but always get a guidebook for the area you are going to. (As a compromise between paper and digital, some printed guides are now available on the Kindle.)
My favorite series of guidebooks for Europe was Cadogan. The best authors in this series are Dana Facaros and Michael Pauls who wrote many of the Italy, France and Spain guides. The Cadogan guidebooks are no longer being published - so keep your old copies!
I also like The Rough Guides and Eyewitness (DK Travel). The Eyewitness guides are glossy with lots of photos, which is great for planning but not as great for carrying around (they are heavy). Cadogan and The Rough Guide books are light and you can easily tear out the pages for the places you plan to visit each day. At the end of your trip your guidebook is a mess, but it is worth it to have less to carry around during the day.
Recommended Food Guides for Italy
Italian Food Rules (Amazon.com - paperback and Kindle), Ann Reavis, 2014. This book, written by Ann Reavis who writes the popular blog about Italy - Tuscan Traveler, demystifies eating in Italy. Read this before you go to Italy so you will understand their customs and know what to expect. Available in the UK in paperback.
Italian Menu Decoder (app for iPhone/iPad), written by Dana Facaros and Michael Pauls, authors of the Cadogan guides. This app is an essential tool when traveling in Italy. Over 7,000 food terms are explained. Search by food term or by region. Easy to use. Available for Android phones and tablets.
Note January 2016. This app is no longer available but is being redone for release spring 2016.
Rick Steves Travel News - Short video clips about various European destinations taken from his Public Television series, written article, podcasts. They also produce printed guidebooks.
Lonely Planet Europe - Online travel guides for European destinations with links to popular travel blog posts. They also produce printed guidebooks.
Rough Guides - Online travel guides. They also produce printed guidebooks.