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Rick Steves' Florence and Tuscany 2009 Paperback – September 1, 2008


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Product Details

  • Series: Rick Steves
  • Paperback: 472 pages
  • Publisher: Avalon Travel Publishing (September 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1598801090
  • ISBN-13: 978-1598801095
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 4.5 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,000,287 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Steves preaches a low-cost, low-to-the-ground style that not only saves money, but gets you closer to the real Europe, the way Europeans experience it.

More About the Author

Rick Steves advocates smart, affordable, perspective-broadening travel. As host and writer of the popular public television series Rick Steves' Europe, and best-selling author of 40 European travel books, he encourages Americans to travel as "temporary locals." He helps American travelers connect much more intimately and authentically with Europe -- and Europeans -- for a fraction of what mainstream tourists pay.

Over the past 20 years, Rick has hosted over 100 travel shows for public television, and numerous pledge specials (raising millions of dollars for local stations). His Rick Steves' Europe TV series is carried by over 300 stations, reaching 95 percent of U.S. markets. Rick has also created two award-winning specials for public television: Rick Steves' European Christmas and the ground-breaking Rick Steves' Iran. Rick writes and co-produces his television programs through his company, Back Door Productions.

Rick Steves also hosts a weekly public radio program, Travel with Rick Steves. With a broader approach to travel everywhere, in each hour-long program Rick interviews guest travel expert, followed by listener call-ins. Travel with Rick Steves airs across the country and has spawned a popular podcast. Rick has also created a series of audio walking tour podcasts for museums and neighborhoods in Paris, Rome, Florence and Venice (with more tours, including London, coming in 2010).

Rick self-published the first edition of his travel skills book, Europe Through the Back Door (now updated annually), in 1980. He has also written more than 40 other country, city and regional guidebooks, phrase books, and "snapshot" guides. For several years, Rick Steves' Italy has been the bestselling international guidebook sold in the U.S. In 2009, Rick tackled a new genre of travel writing with Travel as a Political Act, reflecting on how a life of travel has broadened his own perspectives, and travel can be a significant force for peace and understanding in the world. Rick's books are published by Avalon Travel, a member of the Perseus Books Group.

In addition to his guidebooks, TV and radio work, Rick is a syndicated newspaper columnist with the Tribune Media Services. He appears frequently on television, radio, and online as the leading authority on European travel.

Rick took his first trip to Europe in 1969, visiting piano factories with his father, a piano importer. By the time he reached 18, Rick jokes, "I realized I didn't need my parents to travel!" He began traveling on his own, funding his trips by teaching piano lessons. In 1976, he started Europe Through the Back Door (ETBD), a business which has grown from a one-man operation to a company with a well-traveled staff of 70 full-time employees. ETBD offers free travel information through its travel center, website (www.ricksteves.com), European Railpass Guide, and free travel newsletters. ETBD also runs a successful European tour program with more than 300 departures -- attracting around 10,000 travelers -- annually.

Rick is outspoken on the need for Americans to fit better into our planet by broadening their perspectives through travel. He is also committed to his own neighborhood. He's an active member of the Lutheran church (and has hosted the ELCA's national video productions). He's a board member of NORML (working to reform marijuana laws in the USA). And Rick has provided his local YWCA with a 24-unit apartment building with which to house homeless mothers.

Rick Steves spends about a third of every year in Europe, researching guidebooks, filming TV shows, and making new discoveries for travelers. He lives and works in his hometown of Edmonds, Washington, where his office window overlooks his old junior high school.

Amazon Author Rankbeta 

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#97 in Books > History
#97 in Books > History

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Rick Steves makes traveling abroad enjoyable and educational.
Dan K. McCoy
We had Rick Steve's Rome for the Rome portion of our 10 days but we found ourselves in Florence without his Florence and Tuscany book.
P. Leonard
This is the type of tourist guide we like...lots of walking tours with information on what you are seeing.
Neal P. Cohen

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

32 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Aquila on July 2, 2007
Format: Paperback
On my honeymoon to Italy, I brought three guidebooks: Rick Steves, Eyewitness Guide, and Blue Guide. It made for a lot of extra weight, but I wanted to field-test them and see which were the most useful. Rick's books are meant for the traveler who wants to hit the highlights and doesn't care about excess detail, and he often leaves out sights (even whole areas of cities, as in Rome) that are well-worth seeing even on a short trip. Rick is very good when it comes to practical travel tips such as packing, avoiding thieves, and choosing rail passes (he also sells some great travel gear), but I prefer a more comprehensive guide that lays it all out and lets me decide what I want to see, even if it means sacrificing detail. Also, I find Rick's writing style silly and his historical commentary not always accurate (especially when dealing with Christian history, a not unimportant thing in Italy!). Unless you plan to stick to Rick's itineraries exactly and like the experience of having a very American type of tourguide in your hand, consider looking elsewhere. For my money, the colorful and user-friendly Eyewitness guides provide a good broad overview of a place and have detailed city maps. For those who like a lot of historical, artistic, and architectural detail, Blue Guides are a great choice. Get Rick's travel tips on his website and buy one of his travel bags, but pass his book by. I left mine behind in a Florence hotel lobby.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Dan K. McCoy on December 26, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
My wife and I just returned from a Fall trip to Tuscany. This little book never left my back pack the whole trip. We read and followed it from cover to cover all over the Tuscan countryside. From museums (we literally read the book from art to art throught the Uffizi) to places to eat -- it was perfect. The tips included (like ordering tickets to David by phone in advance and picking them up at will call -- phone numbers included) are literally worth the price of the book. Rick Steves makes traveling abroad enjoyable and educational. This book and the fact that it is annually updated is perfect.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By P. Leonard on April 10, 2007
Format: Paperback
We split our time in Rome with two days in Florence. We had Rick Steve's Rome for the Rome portion of our 10 days but we found ourselves in Florence without his Florence and Tuscany book. While standing in line to see the David, we slipped into a bookstore and purchased this book. It was every bit as helpful as Rick's book on Rome and I have a personal resolution to never vacation in another European city without a Rick Steve's guide book in my hand. Every recommendation... from where to get gellato, where to eat dinner, what to see, what to miss, when to visit specific attractions and how to avoid the lines was right on target.

This book allowed us to walk Florence as if we were locals and made our trip that much more enjoyable.

I recommend this book for any first or second time visitor to Florence.
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17 of 22 people found the following review helpful By S. J. Williams on July 14, 2007
Format: Paperback
I came across this in an apartment in Florence, wisely jettisoned by a traveler who had more useful things to carry in their luggage.

Steves' book IS quite good at the very practical nitty gritty of Florence: for example precisely how one collects pre-reserved Uffizi tickets, but his comments on cultural aspects are at best token and often stupid. Not everyone will want, like me, to know all about as much of the art as possible in a book about Florence, but for a travel guide to cover, say, Santa Croce and make reference to only one painting when the place is full of the most glorious and important fresco cycles by major figures is inexcusable. If the information is there, one can ignore it, but if it isn't, you might return to the US (the prime market, I imagine) and realise that you have been within yards of great paintings but the guide book didn't GUIDE you to go and look at them. Instead, in Santa Croce, he refers to admittedly interesting monuments, but fails to refer to the finest (Bruni's), he's only interested in the famous names.

His grasp of the art is very poor and he seems to address his readers as though they are 12 year olds needing asinine jokes to keep their attention. For him medieval painting is a world of never-neverland (his phrase) where the poor painters are struggling desperately to paint realistically but just can't do it! Simone Martine's Uffizi Annunciation is patronised: he can't see its beauty and sees it as a mere stone on the pathway to realism. Mary 'doesn't look too impressed': a good point if he only had the wit to see that perhaps the responsibility of her role is frightening and overwhelming - it's a very moving and human piece, but his approach seems to be,'Why try to elucidate when you can be folksy and jocular'.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Constance T on January 18, 2007
Format: Paperback
Rick Steves always gives good advice. His information is accurate and down-to-earth. We've traveled with his books before and are never disappointed. I was surprised that more than half of this book is about Florence. It provides just the highlights of Tuscany. If you want detailed information on the rest of Tuscany, you may need another book.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By PharmDoc on April 6, 2007
Format: Paperback
I usually find Rick Steves' books the best way to start planning a vacation to Europe. His suggestions for sleeping accomodations and transportation I use to narrow my search for a hotel. Using his books on Paris and Rome I found quaint hotels with wonderful staff near sights I wanted to see and close to public transporation. Although I do not always take all his tours, I read about them and take from them sights of interest to me and leave out some of his. I often coordinate the maps in his books with a more detailed map which would also include public transportation stops. His tips are usually invaluable about transporation and museums. I am only in the planning stages with my Florence and Tuscany vacation, but I am already excited about traveling to Tuscany next spring. I wish he would have added a section on cooking classes of which there are many. He mentioned only one tour company which did the cooking classes. On the whole, I find his books very valuable.
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