Program 734: Saving Europe's Art; Overlooked Cuisines of Italy; Belgian Treats

Release Date: 11-11-2023


Hear about the risks and heroism it took to protect Europe's art treasures during World War II. Then vicariously eat your way through four of Italy's lesser-known regions — where specialties include elaborate seafood stews, spreadable salamis, and some of the world's best sheep's-milk cheeses — with Italian-food expert Fred Plotkin. And listen in as two Belgians discuss the hearty comfort food of their homeland.


  • Robert M. Edsel, founder of the Monuments Men and Women Foundation
  • Italophile Fred Plotkin, co-author of "Rick Steves' Italy for Food Lovers" (Avalon Travel)
  • Belgian-born tour guides Nina Dierckx and Ferdi Menghi

Additional Info

  • Robert M. Edsel spoke with Rick about the work of the Monuments Men and Women on Travel with Rick Steves program #565 in May 2019, on program #353 in February 2014, and on program #186a in November 2012.
  • A roster of dozens of military and civilian people from many nations, who contributed to saving the art treasures of Europe during the Second World War, is included on the website for the Monuments Men and Women Foundation.
  • The last surviving member of the original Monuments Men, Richard Barancik, died in July 2023 in Chicago at age 98.
  • A permanent exhibit on the work of the Monuments Men and Women is featured in the newly-opened Liberation Pavilion at the National World War Two Museum in New Orleans.
  • Rick collaborated with Fred Plotkin on the book "Italy for Food Lovers."
  • Fred wrote "La Terra Fortunata" about the foods of the Friuli-Giulia region of Italy in 2001.
  • Fred posts episodes from his live Idagio Friday arts interviews on YouTube.   
  • Rick, Nina and Ferdi refer to Vincent Van Gogh's painting of "The Potato Eaters" as being true to life in Belgium, not so many years ago.