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I have just been reading Rick’s update on the Monterosso Midnight Fair via his Facebook page here – how brilliant it to be able to go back to Italy with Rick, having now been there myself.

Monterosso in June

Rick came to the rescue on several occasions during our Italian sojourn, and the information in Italy was very helpful in the planning stage of our trip. Recently, I was talking to a colleague who was about to go to Italy. She was very excited because her copy of Rick Steves’ Italy 2012 had arrived just in the nick of time. I had recommended it to her, and lent her my own well-used 2011 edition until her copy arrived. I think I can safely say she will find it as useful as we did – without Rick’s Italy we would have been at a loss several times on our trip.

If you are travelling to Italy this year, I would highly recommend you have your own copy of Italy 2012. Not only is it valuable for practical travel details, like where to where to stay and eat according to your budget, and how to stay safe etc, it is a mine of historical information. If you have the book, along with Rick’s Steves’ Audio Europe – which is a free app – then in my opinion, you probably have everything you need in terms of guidance and practical travel advice. It is also useful to follow his travel notes/updates on Facebook here.  I look forward to these updates – they are  informative and invite so much interaction between would-be travellers or those who have been to Italy.

I think I am right in saying that Rick counts Italy as his favourite European country and we, the traveller can benefit from his knowledge and experience. I was very disappointed to discover that I had missed possibly meeting Rick in Rome. We stayed at the Hotel Lancelot and he had stayed there with a travel group two weeks before we arrived.  Rick rates the Lancelot, so combined with his recommendation and that of a friend who stayed there, we chose it and loved it.  Some hotels also give “Rick Steves discount” which means a discounted rate for guests. Lancelot is one such Hotel.  Here is the cute private balcony outside our room….

If you haven’t downloaded Rick’s Audio Europe before you travel to Italy, then I suggest you do. He has excellent information on all the famous tourist spots that you are likely to want to visit,  and if you prefer not to have the audio, you can get the scripts via the the app instead. I actually found I preferred this, is it is less intrusive when you are accompanied by others. I read up on the places prior to visiting them, and had the scripts at the read on my iphone when I wanted to refer to them again.

Rick’s scripts were great for the Colosseum

So there you have it, my endorsement from my own personal experience of using Rick as my very able guide.  I am looking forward to more Italian adventures in a year or so, and there is no doubt that the current edition of Rick’s Italy will be the first thing I pack….