Venice and Florence Tour Magic Moments
Real Experiences From Our Tour Members
Our goal as tour organizers: to pack your trip with "magic moments." Here are just a few of the many magic moments our gangs experienced on recent Rick Steves' Venice and Florence tours recently. For the inside scoop on all of our tours, check out our uncensored tour member feedback page.
A group of us went to a Vivaldi concert one evening. The concert was by an eight-piece string ensemble in a "converted" church. So, there you are, surrounded by the beauty of the art and the "history" of the place, with the amazing acoustics of the church, listening to Vivaldi in his hometown--it was truly breathtaking when they began playing.
— Christine in Cleveland, OH
Venice, Nov 7, 2004
The musicians playing in Piazza San Marco at night and walking the narrow, mysterious back alleys of Venice at night in the rain -- almost all alone. I was overwhelmed by how photogenic the city was -- everywhere.
— Betty in San Francisco, CA
Venice, Oct 24, 2004
I had to pinch myself when I was standing in the Doge's Palace on Mon. morning face-to-face with our local guide--a Venetian (Christina)--whose passion for her city's history, art, and culture were downright infectious. I was already in love with the place but Christina brought Venice's past alive for me. I felt sorry for the thousands who visit the city without the luxury of having such a wonderful guide to help them understand all that surrounds them. The talents of our other local guides, Elizabetta and Roberta, were on par with Christina's. This, for me, was the most magical aspect of the trip.
— Kim in Glastonbury, CT
Venice, Oct 24, 2004
The visit to the gondola manufacturing site was most memorable. As a former hobby builder of a small sloop-rigged sail boat, I was impressed with their skill, materials and traditions in building these boats. This experience was augmented a few days later when we chanced by a small shop nearby where they were carving gondola oars and gear posts. I got several great photos of both these operations.
Venice, Oct 17, 2004
We had one of those moments while eating at Taverna Le Coppele. A French couple sat down next to us, and the gentleman was eyeing my pizza. I saw him check the menu, and pointed out the selection as the Coppele (house pizza). We tried to converse, and his girlfriend interceded as she spoke better English than my French. We talked about Paris, and how the French can be somewhat indifferent towards non-French speaking Americans. She agreed with a quick Oui. We continued our discussion, and as they were getting ready to depart, she said the French people really do like and support the US people, although not necessarily Bush. As a registered Republican who voted for Kerry, I told her I understand, and appreciate Chirac for holding his ground! She smiled politely, and we exchanged business cards.
— Frank in Monterey Park, CA
Florence, Nov 7, 2004
Viewing the incredible spread of food supplied by the Perini family for our catered dinner Wednesday night. And then listening as Susanna described with such enthusiasm how each item was prepared just enhanced the flavor of the wonderful food. Also on the trip to Siena, hearing all about the Palio and the division of the neighborhoods of the city. That "Aha" moment when you realize that this is not somethig just put on for visitors, but a deeply ingrained part of a very different culture.
— Susan in Campbell, CA
Florence, Oct 31, 2004
After our tour of the Uffizi gallery my daughter and I were starving, so we hunted around the streets in the area until we found a great little shop. We bought a picnic dinner and ended up back at the Uffizi eating dinner on the stone benches on the porch, while a man on the steps a few feet away played classical music on a violin. The food was fabulous and the evening was magical. It was totally exotic just like a trip like this is supposed to be.
— Donna in Spokane, WA
Florence, Oct 24, 2004
#1 The David statue
#2 Every meal
— Ann in Saint Paul, MN
Florence, Oct 17, 2004
I had so many "wow!" moments, where do I begin??? First, we started the tour by visiting Michelangelo's David. Stunning. It took my breath away. It was like opening your Christmas gift on Christmas Eve. How could anything top that??? Food was an important part of my trip. Ferdi made sure (both with the group, and with off time recommendations) that we wouldn't be disappointed. Without someone that cared so much about the epicurian aspect, the tour would have paled in comparison. Thanks Ferdi! Ferdi recommended a wonderful little place called La Giostra. From the first bite of the white truffle pasta (only in season for 2 months out of the year) or the pear and ricotta ravioli, I was in heaven. Having a tour guide that shares in my passion for good food, and that also has a true love of history and the countries he visits made it spectacular! The best time well spent was at the Uffizzi Gallery. I could have spent all day there!
— Barbara in Denver, CO
Florence, Oct 17, 2004