Before I started my journey abroad my employer loaned me some of his old Rick Steves travel guide DVD’s. They were fairly outdated, but I still watched and laughed at how dorky they were. My grandma owns the Rick Steves travel Italy book and she swears that it is the best. My mom suggested I download the app or the podcasts and listen along on his guided tours. “No mom, Rick Steves is for old people.” Well I’m here right now with a complete change of heart. I like Rick Steves a lot, and I think he’s a funny man and a great writer.
Have you ever gotten the audioguide at the museum and found yourself completely bored by it? Yeah, story of my life. Listening to a guy (usually british) talk way too long about something uninteresting is…. well, really uninteresting. What I like about the Rick Steves’ tours are that they are short and sweet. No nonsense, just get to the point and talk about things that people actually care about. Plus it’s guided! We did the Vatican Museum audio tour and we felt it really helped us not get overwhelmed by how huge the museum is. We were able to hit all the big things in the museum, learn a lot of interesting facts, and also LAUGH! Hardly ever have the audioguides included humor. Rick Steves and his female host are able to bounce dialogue off each other to create movement both in the writing and in the audio, so nothing becomes monotone. Sometimes Rick will say something weird.. something that a dude would say. Like “oh look at those pretty ladies (towards a statue)” and his female host (forgot her name) would be like “Rick pay attention! Those are sirens, they will lure you to your death!” Funny things like that. Makes for an interesting storyline.
We have only done some of the audio tours in Rome, including the one in Pompeii. We only had around 2.5 hours there, so listening along to him expedited our trip and allowed us to conquer at least some of Pompeii during our short time. We also used his audio tours to explore some of the neighborhoods in Rome, including the city center with the Trevi Fountain, the Spanish Steps, Campo Di Fiori, and all the cool things few and far in between.
I know he has several other tours for other cities in Italy, including Florence and Venice, and other for other countries as well. It is worth checking out, plus it’s free! You can check out his website at Ricksteves.com.