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Rick Steves' Italian Phrase Book and Dictionary Paperback – November 11, 2008

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Product Details

  • Series: Rick Steves
  • Paperback: 296 pages
  • Publisher: Avalon Travel Publishing; 6th edition (November 11, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1598801880
  • ISBN-13: 978-1598801880
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 4.1 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (197 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #57,078 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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 (, 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.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

285 of 285 people found the following review helpful By Marisa Martin on May 22, 2002
Format: Paperback
A friend bought Rick Steves' Italian Phrase Book & Dictionary for me last summer before I embarked on my first trip abroad. My Italian speaking friend had actually lived in Italy for a few years, and after careful consideration, felt that this phrase book/guide would be useful for me. He was absolutely right.

The book proved to be invaluable. It was compact enough that I could carry it around with me in a small purse/backpack that I carried with me throughout my entire trip. I did not speak any Italian whatsoever, and found the words and phrases in the book to be exactly what I needed to get around and communicate effectively. I especially appreciated the pronunciation guide to each Italian word in the book- that was extremely helpful. The practical advice given throughout the book proved to be invaluable, as well as humorous, and the menu decoder was also of particular help. I quickly got over any "qualms" I may have had over appearing too "touristy" on my trip and used the phrase book repeatedly as it proved to be a most definite asset. Thank you Rick Steves' for so accurately predicting the needs of the average beginning traveler. The book greatly enhanced a most wonderful traveling experience. In fact, I am still studying it in anticipation of my next trip to Italy.
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136 of 140 people found the following review helpful By Mark A. Savage on February 22, 2001
Format: Paperback
Now if you read this book, you'd know what that means (Can I help you. Do you speak Italian? Here it is). It's not a high school langauge class, but it's a lot more fun, and with some time you'll get pretty good.
I think Rick does a great job is laying out the phrases that you'll need if you go to Italy. We're going in a few weeks, and it's really helping. Now if he could only improve the memory.
The book is small, will fit in a shirt pocket. It's broken down into sections (basics, eating, chating, etc.) so you can focus in on a section that you need, master it, then move to another section. After you've been through it all, you can then start combining different phrases and make some great sentences. It's got a lot of mnaterial in it, so start early when you decide to use it.
Thanks Rick, I actually feel that I can go into the Italian world and be somewhat understood. And, not to worry, I'll smile as I butcher the language, use my hands a lot, and laugh at the whole thing.
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44 of 45 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 3, 2002
Format: Paperback
I purchased Rick Steve's Italian Phrase Book & Dictionary in preparation of my trip to Rome. Rick not only makes Italian easy, he makes it fun. This book spells out hundreds of everyday words and phrases, as well as the common phrases and words that will be used by a tourist. He gives helpful hints on how to speak with the locals and make the most of your experience. He also includes many words/phrases that many people would want to know how to say but would be embarrassed to ask someone to translate for them. His attention to detail is fantastic. Although this book will not teach you fluent Italian, it gives you a great foundational vocabulary to start you on your way. A must for anyone planning to travel to Italy! Buon viaggio!
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33 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Samuel A. Lappano on September 26, 2001
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a nice way to start to learn "By the Phrase" Italian. Having just been to Italy, I can vouch for the generally friendly and helpful nature of most of the residents. Also, in most of the more popular tourist destinations, English is often spoken. So, if you were to work with this book and learn some of the useful, ordinary phrases, it would probably make a nice impression on the native Italians and would make you feel less like a clueless tourist. This book will not make you really fluent, nor will it teach you the real mechanics of the language. Keep in mind this a phrase based, quick start approach that is easy to read and should help the average tourist.
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30 of 31 people found the following review helpful By PB on October 26, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I'm going to have to break with other reviewers here, and give my less-than-stellar review of this book. We purchased this before we left for our European trip to Paris and 3 cities in Italy. We also purchased the French book by Steve's. Before we left we thought we'd found the perfect book with the perfect phrases, although they were harder to find due to the way he lays out the book. But after much research we settled on these books and were happy....until we had to use them in France and Italy. I quickly discovered that although the book had helped with pronunciation, almost none of the words we needed were in the dictionary in the back, nor could we find simple words or phrases in the proper sections of travel and dining, that we found in real life situations. This was very disappointing, first in France then in Italy. I quickly went to Google translator, put in all the phrases I needed but did not find in the book, and wrote them all down. This helped tremendously. I also searched for words that weren't in the dictionary and wrote them down, as well. Almost every night I did this as we encountered new circumstances that the book didn't have anything helpful for. Also, when you're in the moment and you need something, trying to find first the section which seems haphazardly placed in the book, then the area of the section where the phrases are located, then go down the list for the correct phrase, is time consuming of time you don't have, and frustrating when after all that time you don't find what you need. Meanwhile the person you're trying to speak to is just staring at you. Things worked much better when I whipped out my handwritten phrases and asked my direct question. Just remember that you probably won't understand what their answer is unless it's a simple yes or no.Read more ›
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