Rick Steves: The Traveler's Aid

Rick Steves has spent his life making Europe more manageable for Americans. His secret to finding a good meal? Listen for a blaring TV

Massiimo Sestini / Frazia Neri for TIME

Rick Steves

Rick Steves, perhaps America's most accomplished European tourist, was looking for a cheap but charming steak place in the ancient Tuscan town of Montepulciano last month. Following a local lead, he ducked into an osteria he'd never noticed before: a vaulted medieval cellar jammed with locals sitting at a common table. A man worked an open fire at the back of the room. He carved chops from a huge side of beef lying on a gurney, presented them in butcher paper to each customer for inspection and then fired them one by one, seven minutes on each side. "There was no...