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Rick Steves' Italy 2013 Paperback – November 6, 2012
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More About the Author
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.
Top Customer Reviews
My family and I have been travelling to Europe every 2 years since 2005 when my kids were little and I have used Rick Steves's guidebooks on all our trips. Everywhere we go, we would spot his signature blue books and, those of us who tote it would recognise/nod/smile/greet those others who also flash it, finding an instant camaraderie with each other. This means that those of us who like Rick Steves and his advice are sort of a siblinghood -- you must subscribe to his way of travelling. What is that way, you ask? Look on the back cover of every one of his guidebook and it says "Get the most out of every day and every dollar." That is Rick Steves's and his followers' creed!
I was happily and satisfactorily using the 2012 Italy book to plan my upcoming trip when I chanced upon the 2013 edition and was shocked by the scathing reviews. I decided to buy myself a copy from my local B&N just to see what everyone was complaining about. I will say that each new publication doesn't differ that markedly from the previous year's, only with updated info (hotel rates, entrance fees, opening/closing times), so too is the 2013 edition. And well it should be because, once it's been written, there's not much else to write about the same monuments, castles and art work that have stood for centuries.
Yes, the cities, hotels and restaurants listed in the book are Rick's personal recommendations but they are merely suggestions. In this information age, it would be remiss of you not to let your fingers do the clicking. Go online and search for more hotels and places to see.Read more ›
First, this guide is concise and practical. It doesn't claim to represent each and every location in the country, but is a selective overview of the sites the author knows we are interested in. Venice? Check. Florence? That too. Rome? Good to go. Perugia? Maybe not. I like its concise, selective format because it makes the book readable and useable. I'm not bogged down in page after page of minutiae, and that can be an effective stress reliever when planning an itinerary. Rick's books are intentionally "on the beaten path," but since they include such helpful hints, you'll enjoy the "beaten path" like a native.
Second, the guide is honestly written. If a restaurant's service is poor, it will be noted here. If a hotel's rooms are loud or small, it's noted here. If there's a shortcut to help you avoid a long queue, it will be mentioned. All of the Rick Steve's guides are updated annually, so you can be sure that the feedback is relatively recent. The authors also use a simple rating system for sites and listings (similar to Michelin Green Guides) that will help any reader prepare a high-quality itinerary. It really IS like having a tour guide in your pocket.
These features make this particular guide superior to others. Don't buy this book if you're looking for a visual guide full of color photography.
I also picked up Rick Steves' Rome 2013 and Florence & Tuscany 2013 as we were spending significant time at those locations.
However, this book works very well as a quick overview for day trips from major destinations. For instance, we did Venice as a day trip from Florence, and Vesuvius/Pompeii as a day trip from Rome.
In both cases, the information provided in this book was sufficient to ensure that we could plan and enjoy our trips.
If you are planning on a day trip from Rome to Vesuvius/Pompeii:
1. On its way to Vesuvius, the EAVbus stops right outside the Scavi station. However, EAVBus' reliability was spotty - 2 scheduled return trips were canceled without notice stranding us on the mountain (according to the driver, just those two trips were "on strike").
2. There is a taxi stand right by the station - which would have been more convenient, in hindsight.
3. Tickets can also be purchased at the Anfiteatro entrance. This worked out better for us, as it cut down our walking to the Scavi train station at the end of the day when we were exhausted.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Go to Italy without Rick? Are you crazy? This is an excellent guide and I used it from Milan, to Venice, to Florence, to Rome to Pompeii. Thanks, Rick!Published 28 days ago by junimoon
Used this guide during our trip to Italy. I love that Rick Steves shows you how to avoid the tourist traps and travel like the locals do. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Paul Hanzel
Rick Steves' guide is an excellent guide for the independent traveler. This book served as an indispensable resource when touring Italy with my lady and made planning our next... Read morePublished 9 months ago by v3rtuoso
Rick Steves is the best! I bought it on my kindle so that I could pack lightly. It's a little difficult to flip back and forth compared to a paperback.Published 9 months ago by Chelsey S