Make A Playlist: Add a video to get started!
faq  |  playlists  |  log in  |
Make A Playlist: Add a video to get started!
Add to Playlist

Updating Guidebooks the Rick Steves Way

Varenna, Italy

Rick shares some of the challenges — and the fun — of writing and updating his guidebooks on a research blitz through Varenna, on northern Italy’s Lake Como.

Complete Video Script

It's just always impressive how much you can learn in just a couple of hours of research. Things are always changing and we got to check this information all the time.

I want to give you a little look at what it takes to update and research my guidebooks. We're in Northern Italy in a little town on Lake Como called Varenna. We are very committed to the accuracy of the information. That's why we visit every site every year in person.

Rick: The underwater Christ is here which is wrong in my book...which is inexcusable.

I always read my entry before I go in so I know what I say about the place. "Villa Elena...a grandmotherly, low energy place; it offers the best budget beds in town. English-speaking Signora Vitali rents four rooms at the same price, €40 for a double with or without a bath. Faces the piazza at number nine."

Rick: Bongiorno.
Signora Vitali: Bongiorno.
Rick: Signora Vitali?
Signora Vitali: Si!
Rick: Have you a camera (room)?
Signora Vitali: Si!
Rick: Can I look?
Signora Vitali: Si! Si!

Rick: This is beautiful! Fantastic, yes! Complimenti, Signora. So, prossimo anno (next year), Signora Vitali,...?
Signora Vitali: Quarantacinque (forty-five).

So you know you can''s so hard to get people to promise the price for next year but we do our best.

Rick: I'm just checking for the menu for next year. What do you think?
Restaurateur: Yeah. Oh, for next?
Rick: Because the book is for prossimo anno.
Restaurateur: Prossimo anno...25.
Rick: Can you promise that?
Restaurateur: Yeah.

Rick: I hope you're having a good time.
Female traveler: We are!
Male traveler: We just started.
Rick: Is that right? It's a good place to start.
Male traveler: Absolutely.
Rick: All right.

It's just kind of like an Easter egg hunt. I've got only so much time but I can go and snare a bunch of little ideas and pack them into the book and it's very rewarding because I know a lot of people are going to use the material.

Rick: No lake ambience.

Rick: (reading) "Rice litters the church's front yard." Rice litters the church's front yard. See, right here.

Rick: Nice to see you!

Rick: And then if I want to catch the 9:10 train in Milano I should leave here there 7:18?
Tourist Information employee: 7:54.

Rick: An elegant house.
TI employee: This one is in Perledo.
Rick: Where's Perledo?

Next we're going to a little new B&B. It's brand new, it's called the Orange House and it's run by Maria and we'll see how good it is.

Rick: Okay. Okay, this is good. Thank you. Yes, this is for due, con bagno (two, with bathroom)?

Rick: Complimenti.

Rick: 69 for a double room, con bagno (with bathroom)?
Hotelier: Si.
Rick: [?]
Hotelier: Si, si.
Rick: Okay, next year, prossimo anno...tante touriste (next year, many tourists).
Hotelier: Bene, bene (good, good)!
Rick: Okay?
Hotelier: OK! Si, si!
Rick: So we have to work together.

I love my work and I just absolutely love being over here. It's very gratifying because... I guess what inspires me about Europe is finding people who have found their niche and how much energy it gives them and this American has found his niche, too, and it's teaching people how to travel.

Rick: Are you having a good trip?
Male traveler: Wonderful trip.
Female traveler: Fantastic.
Rick: If you're not having fun here it's your own fault.
Female traveler: Oh, that's right! It's wonderful.

Well, that's just a quick little swing through the research tour but I'm always amazed at how much I can learn just with a couple hours of checking the information out in the guidebooks. Europe's always changing and you always got to come back. It's a nice responsibility.