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Rick Steves Rome 2019 Paperback – September 11, 2018
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About the Author
Connect with Rick:
Gene Openshaw has co-authored a dozen Rick Steves books, specializing in writing walks and tours of Europe's cities, museums, and cultural sites. He also contributes to Rick's public television series, produces tours for Rick Steves Audio Europe, and is a regular guest on Rick's public radio show. Outside of the travel world, Gene has co-authored The Seattle Joke Book. As a composer, Gene has written a full-length opera called Matter, a violin sonata, and dozens of songs. He lives near Seattle with his daughter, enjoys giving presentations on art and history, and roots for the Mariners in good times and bad.
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I’m about 75% through the guide and I find most of the information very helpful and correct even if I would add a bit more information about some unique spots; e.g., about the foam on coffee at the Sant' Eustachio Il Caffè.
Another passage could use a bit of explaining: "You’ll pass (at #16, on the right) a low-key doorway protected by security. This is the headquarters of Italy’s Democratic Party. The street becomes Via di Propaganda. You’ll pass alongside the...” (Kindle Locations 2500-2502).
Not many readers will remember that the Italian Democratic Party has very different roots than the American Democratic Party – it is the Italian Communist Party that changed their name to something rather misleading. The “Democrats” mismanaged the Italian economy so badly that the current government (and the mayor of Rome) is governed by parties that were just a few years ago left- and rightwing populist movements, on the fringe of Italian politics.
As this is the first guide by Rick Steves that I purchased, I did not know that he has a very childish sense of humor in addition to out of place leftist biting remarks; e.g.
“And the big beige building with columns and clock houses the right-wing Il Tempo newspaper. It’s appropriately situated in what was the headquarters of the fascist party of Mussolini.” (Kindle Locations 2447-2449).
Sorry Mr. Steves, the fascists were just a nationalist version of communists and had nothing to do with the right wing. This comment about the Il Tempo shows the problem with making silly comments without first checking some sources. By the way, Il Tempo was founded after Liberation of Rome, so it has no connection to the fascists.
What about this childish and silly comment that a good editor should delete: “Christians blamed the fall [of Rome] on moral decay. Pagans blamed it on Christians. Socialists blamed it on a shallow economy based on the spoils of war. (Republicans blamed it on Democrats.)” (Kindle Locations 3443-3444). Why not the other way around?
The final quote shows that slandering those that Mr. Steves doesn't like takes precedence over facts: “In the 1500s, the best way to keep Protestants from stealing your church members was to reason with them. By the 1600s, it was easier to kill them, and so the Thirty Years’ War raged across Europe. The church became crusted over with the colorful, bombastic, jingoistic Baroque we see today.” (Kindle Locations 2770-2772)
Hello! What about reading a bit about what precipitated the Thirty Years’ War? Anyone knows what ended the Peace of Augsburg? What about the Defenestration of Prague? Were there more Roman Catholics or more Protestants killed before the Peace of Westphalia ended the carnage in 1648? Who won the Thirty Years’ War?
You absolutely must download the Rick Steves Audio Europe app too! You can click on Italy and then make sure to download his audio tours to your playlist for anything you plan to visit. Downloading it in advance will make sure you can access it once there since we found even our expensive cell coverage to be spotty and extremely slow. We compared the Rick Steves narrative to the official Uffizi Art museum audio tour which you have to pay for, and the Rick Steves version was more interesting and gave much more information about the context/climate of the period of paintings and better details and descriptions. My husband who I thought would be bored to tears in the art museum absolutely LOVED it, thanks to Rick’s audio narrative. Thank you, Rick Steves!
Top international reviews
Do your homework, follow his advice and travel safely and smartly. Be educated!
When traveling, you don’t want to be spending too much time looking at your travel book, yet be informed enough on what to look out for as well as get a good context of what you’re seeing.
There is also a Rick Steve’s app to download but it’s content is identical to what’s written in the book.
Spend some time reading this book before your trip if it’s your first time to Rome, and you will find this book a most invaluable companion.
Just keep in mind this book is written with an American reader in mind, but it wouldn’t matter for anyone who understands English.