Program 335a: Family Croatia; Bumpy Balkans; Exploring Northern Italy

Release Date: 03-19-2016


Hear what two Americans learned about a different way of life after immersing themselves in everyday life in the Balkans, including Croatia. Then listen in as we explore the highlights of northern Italy, from Milan and Lake Como to small Alpine towns where Germanic influences add an intriguingly un-Italian touch.


  • Jennifer Wilson, author of "Running Away to Home" (St. Martin's Press)
  • Travel writer Francis Tapon, author of "The Hidden Europe:  What Eastern Europeans Can Teach Us"  (Wander Learn Series) 
  • Ann Long and Riccardo Panareo, tour guides based in Italy 

Related Links

  • Jennifer Wilson first told us about her "Running Away to Home" experiences in Croatia on Travel with Rick Steves program #286 in 2012.
  • Francis Tapon's book about his three years exploring the eastern half of Europe is called "The Hidden Europe: What Eastern Europeans Can Teach Us."
  • Enver Hoxha was the dictator of Albania, who imposed severe isolationism on his country until his death in 1985.
  • Francis Tapon is in the middle of an extended adventure to travel to each of Africa's 54 countries by 2016.   He posts progress reports about his trip on his website, which includes a preview of the series he is filming about his journey.      
  • Rick writes about the sites in Milan, including the dining scene in a popular district of the city, and a number of his favorite small town settings in Northern Italy.
  • Varenna is a popular honeymoon destination on Lake Como.
  • Villa Verdi is in the village of Sant'Agata, where Giuseppe Verdi lived, and near the village where he was born.  Reservations on its website are required for a guided tour. 
  • Italian tour guide Riccardo Panareo writes about life and food in Italy on his "home baked" Piano-Piano website.  

Haiku Awards

Road Trip Haiku


Summertime roadtrip.
Load up the car with children.
Fill tank, keep driving.
— Starla Little, Beaufort, South Carolina.


Niagara Falls
Antsy three year old daughter
Honeymoon on hold.
— Priscilla Morin, San Diego, California  


Three syllables from
Just four letters, it’s more than
You think, Ohio.
— Rick Hyde, Hiram, Ohio


Best people watching
in Austin: Broken Spoke on
a Saturday night

Singing Cream at free
High Ball karaoke, sounds
like tired starlings

Austin never met
geezer singers, tattoos or
dogs it didn’t like."
— Neil Ruddy, Carlisle, Iowa