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RICK STEVESEUROPE: Tuscany’s Dolce Vita

Airs Saturday, February 22, 2014 at 4 p.m. on KPBS TV

Above: Rick Steves relaxing at Tuscan Agriturismo, Italy.

Rick Steves advocates smart, affordable, perspective-broadening travel. As host and writer of the popular public television series RICK STEVES' EUROPE, and best-selling author of 40 European travel books, he encourages Americans to travel as "temporary locals." He helps American travelers connect much more intimately and authentically with Europe — and Europeans — for a fraction of what mainstream tourists pay.

App for iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, and Android

The Rick Steves Audio Europe app organizes Rick's vast and varied library of audio content into geographic-specific playlists so you can enjoy ready access to the information that relates specifically to your travel plans. You'll get Rick's self-guided tours for dozens of Europe's top museums, sights and historic walks — plus 200 tracks of travel tips and cultural insights from his radio show — all for FREE! View a demo.

"Tuscany's Dolce Vita" - The small towns and rural charms of Tuscany give us a healthy dose of the "sweet life" as we hunt for truffles in an oak forest, nibble through an artichoke festival, share a farmhouse feast, and ride a classic convertible through the cypress groves of Mona Lisa's back yard.

For lots more information, check out our best-selling Rick Steves' Italy guidebook — or join us on one of our free-spirited tours in Europe.

Rick's Travel Philosophy:

Travel is freedom...one of the last great sources of legal adventure. Travel is intensified living, with maximum thrills per minute. It's recess, and we need it. Experiencing the real Europe requires catching it by surprise, going casual...Through the Back Door.

Rick Steves is on Facebook, and you can follow @RickSteves on Twitter.

Video

Rick Steves' Europe: Tuscany, Italy: Rustic Slow Food

Above: When travel dreams take people to Italy, Tuscany is often their first stop. There's something almost seductively charming about this region and its rustic good living. Today we'll experience two classic examples of "la dolce vita" (the sweet life): joining an early-morning truffle hunt through an oak forest, and tasting the bounty of a small-town artichoke festival.

Video

Rick Steves in Tuscany, Italy: Farmhouse Dolce Vita

Above: Rick stays at a farmhouse B&B in Tuscany's hilly Crete Senese country, where generations of the same family have celebrated "the sweet life" with locally-produced pecorino cheese, prosciutto ham, and Chianti wine. For more information on the RICK STEVES' EUROPE TV series — including episode descriptions, scripts, participating stations, travel information on destinations and more — visit www.ricksteves.com.

Video

Rick Steves in Tuscany, Italy: The First Tuscans

Above: Tuscany is named after the Etruscan people who lived here centuries before the region was conquered by ancient Rome. Over 2500 years ago, long before anybody had heard of Julius Caesar, and back when Rome was just a small town, the Etruscan civilization flourished in this part of Italy. What little we know about the Etruscans we've learned mostly from their fresco-covered tombs. For more information on the RICK STEVES' EUROPE TV series — including episode descriptions, scripts, participating stations, travel information on destinations and more — visit www.ricksteves.com.

Video

Rick Steves' Europe: Montepulciano, Italy: Tuscan Dolce Vita

Above: Montepulciano welcomes visitors with views, villas, and vino. Streets are lined with noble palazzos because Florentine nobility favored Montepulciano as a breezy and relaxed place for a summer residence. Thanks to aristocratic egos, each palace was built to outdo its neighbor. For more information on the RICK STEVES' EUROPE TV series — including episode descriptions, scripts, participating stations, travel information on destinations and more — visit http://www.ricksteves.com.