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Arts & Culture

RICK STEVES' EUROPE: Rome, Florence, Venice And Paris

The interior of the Colosseum, Rome.
Courtesy of Rick Steves
The interior of the Colosseum, Rome.

Airs Saturday, March 9, 2013 at 3 p.m. on KPBS TV

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.

Rick Steves beneath the Oculus of the Pantheon, Rome.
Courtesy of Rick Steves
Rick Steves beneath the Oculus of the Pantheon, Rome.
Florence skyline
Courtesy of Rick Steves
Florence skyline
Venice Lagoon: Zattere waterfront
Courtesy of Rick Steves
Venice Lagoon: Zattere waterfront
The interior of St. Chappelle, Paris.
Courtesy of Rick Steves
The interior of St. Chappelle, Paris.

In this special episode, Rick shares travel tips and stories, taking viewers to the biggest destination cities in Europe including Rome, Florence, Venice and Paris.

First, in Rome, resurrect the rubble and bring back to life the capital of the ancient world. Focusing on the grandeur of classical Rome, we marvel at the Colosseum, the Pantheon, and the empire's exquisite art. Go offbeat by bicycle to see the Appian Way and marvels of Roman engineering.

Then enjoy the exquisite artistic treasures of Florence, the city that propelled Europe out of the Middle Ages. Side-trip to a couple of rival cities and cultural capitals in their own right, Pisa and Lucca to marvel at a tipsy tower, circle a city on its ramparts, and enjoy some Puccini in his hometown.

And later, after sorting through the monuments of Venice’s powerful past, trace its decline from Europe's most powerful city to its most hedonistic one. Cruise the Grand Canal, luxuriate in a venerable café, and savor fresh fish canalside with Venetian friends. Becoming as anonymous as possible in this city of masks, viewers will be dazzled by masterpieces of the Venetian Renaissance and get intimate with the city of Casanova...on a gondola under the moonlight.

Finally, in Europe’s “City of Light,” ride a unicorn into the Middle Ages at the Cluny Museum, take a midnight Paris joyride in a classic car, get an extremely close-up look at heavenly stained glass in Sainte-Chapelle, go on a tombstone pilgrimage at Père Lachaise Cemetery, and savor the Parisian café scene. Few cites are so confident in their expertise in good living—and as travelers, we get to share in that uniquely Parisian joie de vivre.

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.

This program is part of our TV Membership Campaign. Support quality programming you depend on from KPBS. Join or renew today!

Rick Steves' Europe: Rome, Italy: Catacombs and Appian Way
Rick Steves' Europe: Rome, Italy: Ancient Wonders
Rick Steves' Europe: Florence, Italy: Uffizi Gallery
Rick Steves' Europe: Florence, Italy: Brunelleschi's Dome
RICK STEVES' EUROPE: Venice, Italy: Gondola Gliding
Rick Steves' Europe: Venice, Italy: The Doge's Palace
Rick Steves' Europe: Paris, France: Icons of the City
Highlights Of Paris: Lunching On The Seine