Tag: Steves

Travel Expert Rick Steves Talks Coronavirus And Business Ethics. Plus, Why You’ll Want To Read His Enticing New Book

Wrap your stay-at-home thoughts for a few minutes around travel guru Rick Steves — an American best-selling author, TV host, radio personality, activist, teacher, speaker and champion of European tourism. Come away with an eye-opening look at a successful business owner whose penchant for creating meaningful experiences for travelers to Europe is as passionate as his inclination for making ethical choices his guiding light. His tourism company — Rick Steves Europe, founded in 1976 when he was 21 years old — has, in recent years, guided 30,000 travelers annually on bus-tour getaways, bringing in $100-million revenue per annum. This winter, when the company faced uncertainty due to the novel Coronavirus’ impact on the travel industry, Steves set different wheels in motion. He fully refunded trip payments to all pre-paid customers for 2020. Then he promised job security and healthcare coverage to the more than 100 staff employees at his Edmonds, Washington headquarters (near Seattle), while not knowing how long the pandemic’s threat would last. It was a bold resolution, as well as a reassuring vote of confidence in the future.

With countries closing borders and the virus continuing to spread, Steves has remained at home. This is the first summer since 1980 that he has not traveled to Europe.

The scope of his and his team’s steady output is significant: more than 50 guidebooks, a PBS-TV travel series (now in its 11th season), a public radio show, a syndicated newspaper travel column, a Rick Steves Audio Europe app and a Rick Steves’ Classroom Europe series that produces hundreds of free short educational videos about art, culture, history and the environment that are helpful for use by teachers and homeschooling parents. Even his Facebook and Instagram feeds are lively. The timing of his newest book — For the Love of Europe: My Favorite Places, People and Stories (Avalon Travel), which spotlights 100 personal essays — will appeal to armchair travelers, particularly those who now miss moving in the wide-open yonder. Among Steves’ many skills, being a storyteller ranks high, as evidenced in these enlightening, funny, outrageous, perceptive, poignant, soothing and touching pieces. Call this book his love letter to travel. Sit with the essays, allowing the descriptions to wash over you, and feel as though you can almost imagine being there, too.

In this interview for Forbes, Steves shares insights for navigating challenging times, reaching difficult decisions, cherishing travel memories, focusing a traveler’s mindset and discovering unexpected bonuses in your own backyard.

Celebrating Success to Facing a Pandemic

In late January, Steves hosted 100 of his tour guides from Europe for a weeklong gathering of workshops, brainstorming sessions, lectures and parties at his office and home. “We were euphoric,” he remembers. “We rented a party boat on Puget Sound…and [had] an incredible time. They all flew home,

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Italy Travel Guide by Rick Steves

▲▲▲ Venice Dreamy island city, powerful in medieval times; famous for St. Mark’s Basilica, the Grand Canal, and singing gondoliers.

▲▲▲ Cinque Terre Five idyllic Riviera hamlets along a rugged coastline (and part of a national park), connected by scenic hiking trails and dotted with beaches.

▲▲▲ Florence The cradle of the Renaissance, with the world-class Uffizi Gallery, Brunelleschi’s dome-topped Duomo, Michelangelo’s David, and Italy’s best gelato.

▲▲▲ Siena Florence’s smaller and (some say) more appealing rival, with its magnificent Il Campo square, striking striped cathedral, and medieval pageantry.

▲▲▲ Rome Italy’s capital, the sprawling Eternal City, studded with Roman ruins (Forum, Colosseum, Pantheon), romantic floodlit-fountain squares, and home to Vatican City and the astonishing Sistine Chapel.

▲▲ Milan Powerhouse city of commerce and fashion, with the prestigious La Scala opera house, Leonardo’s The Last Supper, and three airports.

▲▲ Heart of Tuscany Picturesque, wine-soaked villages of Italy’s heartland, including mellow Montepulciano, Renaissance Pienza, and Brunello-fueled Montalcino.

▲▲ Assisi St. Francis’ hometown, perched on a hilltop, with a divinely Giotto-decorated basilica.

▲▲ Orvieto and Civita More hill-town adventures, featuring Orvieto’s classic views, Classico wine, and ornate cathedral plus pint-sized, hilltop village of Civita di Bagnoregio.

▲▲ Naples Gritty, in-love-with-life port city featuring vibrant street life and a top archaeological museum starring the treasures from ancient Pompeii.

▲▲ Amalfi Coast and Paestum String of seafront villages — including hilly Positano and workaday Amalfi — tied together by a scenic mountainous coastal road. Farther south is Paestum, with its well-preserved ancient Greek temples.

▲▲ Pompeii and Nearby Famous ruins of the ancient towns of Pompeii and Herculaneum, with their nemesis, Mount Vesuvius, looming on the horizon.

▲ The Lakes Two relaxing lakes, each with low-key resort towns and a mountainous backdrop: Lake Como, with quaint Varenna and upscale Bellagio; and Lake Maggiore, with straightforward Stresa, manicured islands, and elegant villas.

▲ Near Venice Several interesting towns: Padua (with Giotto’s gloriously frescoed Scrovegni Chapel),  Vicenza (Palladian architecture), and Verona (Roman amphitheater plus Romeo and Juliet sights).

▲ The Dolomites Italy’s might alps, featuring Bolzano (home of Ötzi the Iceman), the charming village of Castelrotto, and Alpe di Siusi (alpine meadows laced with lifts and hiking trails).

Riviera Towns More Italian Riviera fun, including the coastal towns of Levanto, double-beached Sestri Levante, the larger Santa Margherita Ligure, gem-like Portofino, and to the south, resorty Porto Venere.

▲ Pisa and Lucca Two classic towns: Pisa, with its iconic Leaning Tower and surrounding Field of Miracles, and Lucca, with an inviting old center, encircled by a wide medieval wall you can stroll or bike.

▲ Volterra and San Gimignano Two hill towns in northern Tuscany: vibrant, refreshing Volterra and multi-towered, touristy San Gimignano.

▲ Sorrento and Capri The seaside resort port of Sorrento, and just a short cruise away, the jet-set island getaway of Capri, with its eerie Blue Grotto.

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