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March 9, 2016

Proceedings of the Natural Institute of Science | Volume 3 | MAPSS 2

Viva l'Italia! Rick Steves' Europe features Italy more than any other country

We love Rick Steves' Europe, the fantastic public television travel show hosted by the equally fantastic Rick Steves. We love how Rick gives informative tips on the basics of European travel. We love how Rick emphasizes visiting the people of a country just as much as its destinations. We even love the proper usage of the possessive apostrophe in the show's title. So as our homage to Rick, we thought we would do a data tribute and figure out which countries have been featured the most on Rick Steves' Europe.

Rick Steves' Europe began in September 2000 and has had its latest season in 2014. We used his website, Ricksteves.com, to see which countries he has visited the most throught all 8 seasons. We counted by episode, so countries that were visited in consecutive episodes (like Episodes 701 - 703, which all deal with Rome, Italy) were counted as if they were separate visits (which they probably weren't). We also disregarded 'special' episodes, like his European Travel Skills triad.

Rick Steves Country Count

Throughout all 8 seasons of Rick Steves' Europe, Rick visited a different country a total of 138 times. From the map, it's clear that Rick has amore for Italy, featuring that country in 23 episodes. Put a different way, there is a 16.7% chance that the Rick Steves' Europe you are about to enjoy will feature Italy. Following Italy is France (15 episodes), the United Kingdom (14 episodes), and Spain (11 episodes).

Rick has featured 30 different European countries on his show. Since Europe has approximately 50 countries, this means that Rick has covered about 60% of Europe in 14 years, with a clear focus on the western European countries. If Mr. Steves takes requests, we think Romania would make a great episode.

We're not experts, but it appears that Rick Steves' Europe has featured some decidedly non-European countries, such as Morocco, Egypt, Israel, Palestine, and Iran (and maybe Turkey depending on your geographic ideologoy). Thus, perhaps a more descriptive title should be Rick Steves' Europe, Southwest Asia, and Somewhat Friendly Africa.

So, Rick Steves, if you are reading this, we think it's time you give Italy a break and feature some other countries more (like Sweden!). And also, please, keep on travelin'!


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