Man stands on stairs overlooking sea and colorful houses in Italy

Rick Steves' Heart of Italy

Rick delves deep into the Italian heartland — the place where la dolce vita is a way of life. He starts in Umbria and connects with rustic, traditional culture, sleeping in a farmhouse, seeing how prosciutto and pecorino cheese are made and hiking down into ancient and fragrant wine cellars. Then he tours Assisi and its inspirational story of St. Francis, its stop-and-smell-God's-roses spirituality and its awe-inspiring basilica. In Siena, Rick enjoys a front-row seat at its wild horse race and marvels at cultural treasures from the city's glory days, when it rivaled Florence for dominance in Tuscany. He finishes with the ultimate Riviera getaway — Cinque Terre — where he gets to know each of the "five lands," from the dramatic, vineyard-surrounded Vernazza to hardscrabble Riomaggiore, to the pint-sized resort of Monterosso. From hill towns to harbors, and from vino rosso to Giotto, Rick Steves' Heart of Italy savors the good life in the Italian heartland.