• Colosseum in Rome
  • Volterra
  • Wine Tasting in Tuscany
  • Tuscan Hillside
  • Bicycling in Lucca
  • Vernazza in the Cinque Terre
  • Ponte Vecchio in Florence

Tour Questions? Call 425-608-4217

Heart of Italy in 9 Days Tour

Tight on time? This tour is Rick's personal "best of" distillation of our Best of Italy tour. Beginning with the "must see" sights of the Eternal City of Rome, your Rick Steves guide will help you experience the very heart of this remarkable country: the Tuscan hill town ambiance of Volterra, the pedestrian-friendly streets of Lucca, harbor-hugging villages of the Italian Riviera, and the amazing art of Renaissance Florence. Along the way, you'll enjoy Italy's distinctive culture, wine and cuisine. Join us for the Heart of Italy in 9 Days!

What's Included

  • A small, friendly group of 24-28 people — half the size of most tour groups
  • Full-time services of a professional Rick Steves guide and local experts who will make the fascinating history, art and culture of Italy come alive for you
  • All tours and admissions — at no extra cost — covering at least 16 group sightseeing events • Ancient Rome walking tour • Colosseum tour • Roman Forum tour • Pantheon • Evening walk through Rome • St. Peter's Basilica tour • Vatican Museum & Sistine Chapel • Volterra walking tour • Guarnacci Etruscan Museum tour • Alabaster workshop • Wine tasting • Lucca walking tour • Orientation for "vacation" day on Italian Riviera • Renaissance Florence walking tour • Florence's Accademia (Michelangelo's David) • Uffizi Gallery tour...and more
  • All group transportation from Rome to Florence
  • 8 nights accommodations in memorable, centrally-located hotels
  • All breakfasts and half your dinners
  • All tips for guides and driver
  • Free stuff including Rick Steves Italy guidebook, Italy Sightseeing Supplement, Italian phrase book, moneybelt and earplugs
  • Guaranteed tour price, locked in the moment you make your deposit
  • Optional single supplements — this tour has a limited number of private rooms for solo travelers for an additional fee
  • Tour alum discount of $50 for each tour you've taken prior to 2015
  • 50% discount on a consulting appointment with our in-house experts to assist with your pre- or post-tour travel plans
  • Flexibility should you need to transfer, or cancel/interrupt your tour
  • Fine print: You are responsible for the cost of your drinks and free-time sightseeing. See our Tour Conditions Agreement for important details regarding everything listed above

Itinerary

Daily Activity Key
  • Light = 2-4 miles of mostly level walking throughout the day.
  • Moderate = 2-6 miles walking throughout the day with some hills and stairs.
  • Strenuous = 2-8 miles walking throughout the day with lots of hills, stairs and uneven terrain.

Day 1: Welcome to Italy

We'll have a get-acquainted meeting at 3 p.m. at our hotel in Rome. After an orientation walk through our neighborhood, we'll learn about the city's transportation system. Then we'll enjoy a fountain-splashing, la dolce vita trek through the heart of Rome, soaking up the city's evening ambiance at the classy Piazza Navona and the remarkably-preserved, 2,000-year-old Pantheon before enjoying our first Italian dinner together at a favorite restaurant. Sleep in Rome (2 nights). No bus. Walking: strenuous.

Day 2: St. Peter’s and the Vatican Museum

Today we'll focus on Renaissance Rome. We’ll meet our local guide on the other side of the Tiber river and introduce you to the greatest church in Christendom, the awe-inspiring St. Peter's Basilica, home to Michelangelo's sublime Pietà. Then we’ll take you to the sprawling Vatican Museum, where you’ll see an endless collection of treasures as you make your way to one of the world's most famous works of art: Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel. Your afternoon is free to explore more on your own. Don’t forget to taste some delicious gelato along the way! No bus. Walking: strenuous.

Day 3: Ancient Rome and the Heart of Tuscany

We'll devote today to Ancient Rome. A local guide will take us on a walking tour through the ancient heart of Rome, telling us vivid tales of the larger-than-life Colosseum and the birthplace of Ancient Rome: the Forum. Then we'll leave Rome and drive to Tuscany, ending our day in the hill town of Volterra, enjoying a Tuscan feast together at a favorite local restaurant. Sleep in Volterra (2 nights). Bus: 5 hrs. Walking: strenuous.

Day 4: All Day in the Hill Town of Volterra

This morning we'll take a walking tour with a local expert who will make Volterra's traditions and history come alive. We'll also visit an alabaster workshop and tour the Guarnacci Etruscan Museum, one of Italy's best places to learn about this mysterious pre-Roman civilization. Then you'll have time to poke around the ancient lanes on your own. We'll regroup later this afternoon to learn about and taste some of the region's famous wines, followed by dinner on your own. No bus. Walking: moderate.

Day 5: Lucca and the Italian Riviera

Today we'll head west, stopping in the charming and prosperous town of Lucca, home town of Puccini. We'll take a walking tour of Lucca's elegant pedestrian streets and many Roman reminders, with free time to explore its impressive outer walls on foot or by bike. Later this afternoon we'll complete our drive to our seaside getaway, nestled along the harbor-hugging villages of the Italian Riviera. You'll have plenty of free time to explore before we gather this evening for dinner at a local family restaurant. Sleep in or near the Cinque Terre (2 nights, may be split between two hotels). Train: ¼ hr. Bus: 4 hrs. Walking: moderate.

Day 6: Exploring the Cinque Terre

You'll take a "vacation from your vacation" today in our Mediterranean getaway. You may choose to hike the famous cliff-side paths, taking in lots of fresh air and panoramic views between Cinque Terre villages. Or pick a village where you can spend your day exploring the stairways and alleyways, sunning yourself on the rocks, or sipping cappuccino or vino, and catching up on your journal at an outdoor café. No bus. Walking: light to strenuous (your choice).

Day 7: Florence and David

Today we'll drive straight to Florence and take a Renaissance walking tour of the city's historic center. We'll see and learn about Brunelleschi's magnificent cathedral dome, Ghiberti's Baptistery doors, and other creations that helped define this world-changing era. We'll end our tour at the Accademia Gallery to marvel at works of sculptural genius: Michelangelo's rough-hewn Prisoners and his greatest masterpiece, David. Then you'll be free to find a special trattoria for dinner on your own. Sleep in Florence (2 nights). Train: ¼ hr. Bus: 4 hrs. Walking: moderate.

Day 8: The Uffizi Gallery

This morning we'll devote our time to the breathtaking Renaissance art of the Uffizi — home to the finest collection of Italian paintings anywhere — including masterpieces by Leonardo, Botticelli, Michelangelo and more. The afternoon is yours to visit more of the city's art-filled churches and museums, or browse the colorful markets. As it's our final night together, we'll have a grand dinner to share travel memories and toast new friends. Salute! No bus. Walking: strenuous.

Day 9: Tour Over After Breakfast

Breakfast is provided, but there are no group activities today.  It's a breeze to reach Florence's airport by taxi or train. Your guide will help you with any post-tour planning, leaving you well prepared for the road ahead. Grazie e ciao!

Itinerary specifics subject to change.

Activity Level

Our tours are physically active! It’s an essential part of the Rick Steves tour experience. On our Heart of Italy in 9 Days tour — among other things — you'll need to happily...

  1. Carry/roll your luggage over uneven pavement (several blocks possible) and up stairways to reach your hotel; then up several flights of stairs to reach your room.
  2. Be on your feet, walking and standing for up to four hours, indoors and outdoors, in all weather conditions.
  3. Sleep with street noise and no (or weak) air conditioning.
  4. After orientation and transportation lessons, be able to navigate towns and cities on your own.

Reviews

Michalle

Fort Collins, CO

Tour: 10/08/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour exceeded my expectations. Nina, our guide, was so knowledgeable and entertaining, plus she had a great sense of humor. Not only did we see the sites, but we learned about the past and current Italian history, politics and culture. The guides we had throughout specific sites were also excellent. They shared their enthusiasm for art and history in a way that made me feel like it was their first presentation, not just a rote spiel.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were so many, it is hard to isolate a single moment. When the bus dropped us off in Volterra at dusk, and we walked the narrow, shop lined streets to our hotel I knew I was in a very special place. The wine tasting, truffle pasta event in an underground cellar would be high on the list. Cinque Terra was awesome as well. Standing in the Colosseum in Rome was daunting. Not to mention all the fabulous meals provided by the tour."

Barry

Fort Collins, CO

Tour: 10/08/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our guide, Nina, made the trip great. She was very knowledgeable, very organized, full of energy, and a lot of fun to be with. Our group was diverse, yet we clicked right away. The accommodations were more than adequate and the common meals were outstanding. The individual tour guides along the way were all great. I would certainly do another Rick Steves' tour!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Volterra was the wow moment. We could have spent another day exploring that quaint hill town."

Thomas

Chelsea, MI

Tour: 10/08/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

GREAT! I'm someone who would rather stay near home than travel, and have never taken a tour. Going to a predominantly nonEnglish speaking country was a daunting proposal. Our tour guide, Nina, came highly recommended by friends who had Nina as their guide for the same tour about 3 years ago. Nina's introductions to basic language skills and her preview of each town along the tour route were most helpful in raising our comfort level as we embarked on our own.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Observing the interaction of the cars, trucks, mopeds, scooters, etc. in Rome! A mix of chaos, confidence, craziness, and courtesy resulting in an unbelievable display of fluid motion. I spent time on many street corners, and especially on the front steps of the Hotel Alimandi watching the driving/survival skills of the citizens of Rome. Wow!"

Nancy

Herndon, VA

Tour: 10/05/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was the trip of a lifetime and I had an absolutely wonderful, unforgettable time! It was packed with information, exposing us to as many travel and cultural experiences as possible. The trip had the perfect balance of scheduled activities and free time. The way the tour is planned and the way information is given during the tour teaches the participants to be good travelers and be respectful of Italy. I cannot say enough good things about the tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Everything about Volterra. Learning about the city's history from excellent guide Annie was awesome and eye-opening. The wine tasting followed by the impromptu truffle dinner put on by locals was amazing. Walking down the stairs into a wine cellar with a 2500 year old wall and a 600 year old olive press blew my mind. My sister and I had an unforgettable experience talking with a local artist and seeing her shop."

Christine

Erie, PA

Tour: 10/05/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Aside from my luggage being lost for the first 3 days, I found the tour to be delightful. Our tour guide, Dimitri was awesome. He safely and efficiently got us everywhere and taught us how to use the local transportation. The hotels were very nice, and the dining experiences were unique. We got to taste the foods which represented each area of Italy that we visited. The local tour guides were so knowledgeable about the each town we visited. We learned so much about Italy and it's history.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I was totally charmed by the town of Volterra, It was like going back in time. The local tour guide, Annie, was a wealth of information. The wine tasting and dinner were fabulous."

John

Dublin, OH

Tour: 10/05/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The 'Heart of Italy' tour was excellent and words can't describe what a wonderful trip this was for us. Our tour guide was outstanding and I would definetly recommend this tour to anyone who wants to visit Italy for the first time. I guaratee you'll want to do another tour with Rick Steves.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"To me, every moment was a "wow" moment, beautiful sites, great food, excellent wines and lots of history which I enjoy."

Jim

Media, PA

Tour: 10/05/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was everything I hoped it would be. And it would be hard to find anything to criticize but .... I would like to have seen our morning activities start a little later. Those early walk up calls were rough.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Cinque Terre. Starting with the balcony view to the trail hike. Clearly the star of the tour."

Chuck

Fernandina Beach, FL

Tour: 10/03/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was great fun and we met an outstanding group of tour buddies. The was an awesome way to experience Italy for the first time.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Pantheon and Volterra"

Raymond

Monument, CO

Tour: 10/03/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Thought the tour was well planned out with a sense of a complete history starting in Rome and ending in Florence. The additional tour guides brought in for specific areas was great. However the tour of Lucca seemed hap hazard and with no central theme. The best part of our tour was Karin as our tour guide who was able to connect the lines between all aspects of the 9 days of tours. She had great insights after living in Italy for 15 years but still with a view of looking in from the outside!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My best wow moment was seeing the David as we walked down the hall towards it. It was every bit magnificent as expected, it did not disappoint! Standing in St Peter's square was also a favorite wow moment."

Marie

Monument, CO

Tour: 10/03/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Amazing experience overall. Good mix of group time and free time. Excellent guide (Karin) and local guides at each site. Good choice of hotels.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were a few "wow" moments: - standing in the Colosseum and forum - touring Volterra - viewing Florence from the tower of our hotel"

Cathy

Blanchard, OK

Tour: 10/03/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Long story short- one of the highlights of my life!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The wow moment... there were so many! But if I had to choose just one, it would be opening my hotel balcony doors and looking out over Monterrosa in the Cinque Terre early in the morning and the back drop is the beautiful blue Mediterranian Sea, with a bell tower ringing and I can see the bell going back and forth! Or walking in Volterra under a full moon! Or walking into our hotel in Florence built in the 13th or 14th century!"

Debi

Fernandina Beach, FL

Tour: 10/03/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my husband and my first Rick Steve's tour. I was concerned 28 people was too large a group, but it actually was perfect. Everybody in the group had a common thread; love to travel and experience different cultures. I got to know everybody and there was always somebody to share a dinner or hike the trails in Cinque Terre. Our guide Karin was fantastic. She put so much effort in making this experience special. Already planning our next Rick Steve's tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"So many but one of the coolest was doing a wine tasting in Volterra in a wine cellar dating over 2,000 years. Got to eat Truffles which are delicious."

Marie

Wayne, PA

Tour: 10/03/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We thoroughly enjoyed our time in Italy. Our guide, Karin, was wonderful. She was interesting, entertaining, knowledgeable and passionate about her work. We had never taken a tour before and were a bit nervous, but the members of our group were all easy to get along with and fun loving. The local guides were amazing, especially Annie in Volterra. We felt the balance of tour time versus down time was about right. Overall a great experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Our favorite "wow" moment was spending a magical evening in an Etruscan wine cellar tasting different local wines followed by a white truffle pasta dinner. This evening was a particular highlight for us. Annie's husband gave an entertaining and informative presentation of local wines. This evening was a surprise event, and most enjoyable."

Jimmy

Perry, GA

Tour: 10/01/14

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Extremely informative, chocked full of all types of interesting facts and photo opts. Ah ha moments at most every turn. Lots of fun, excellent guide, group gelled extremely well and had no problems we knew of. Transportation was very good and the hotels were much nicer than I had expected. Out of 100 I would give the tour a 99. Surely something was missing, I just don't know what it was. Out tour guide was Ben.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Pieta in St. Peter's basilica and David by Michaelangelo"

Peggy

Auburn, WA

Tour: 10/01/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our first RS tour and my bucket list trip to Italy was a dream come true. Led by our patient, funny and knowledgeable guide extraordinaire, Ben, we experienced and learned so much more than we ever could have on our own. We enjoyed getting to know everyone in our group, and now have 22 new friends. Perfect weather,well-planned schedules and itineraries,plenty of free time,expert local guides,amazing group dinners,convenient hotels,and comfortable buses -- couldn't have asked for more!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"How can I choose? Local guide Francesca helping me experience the Colosseum in such a personal way. The Vatican and attending mass in St. Peter's Basilica. Arriving in Volterra as it was getting dark, walking to the hotel and feeling as if I were on a movie set. The boat to Manarola with Ben generously spending half of his free day leading us on paths high above town for the perfect views I had only seen in pictures. And there are no words for the David."

Robin

Vicksburg, MI

Tour: 10/01/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The Rick Steve's Tour was beyond our wildest dreams. We had never been on a tour before and was a bit apprehensive, but it was fabulous. Our tour guide, Ben, not only took us to the best places in Italy, he made each stop fun, interesting and he became a good friend. Our whole group enjoyed each other's company, as we explored the back streets of Italy. During our free time, we were able to visit many other recommended sites, while drinking wine & conversing with the locals. A Dream!!!!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I thought my heart would stop, when we viewed The Colosseum, David & the painting, The Birth of Venus, in the Uffizi Gallery. However I was brought to tears when we had a truffle meal in Volterre, while tasting the best wines of the region in an ancient underground building with our new best friends. Our local guide's friends found the truffles just that morning and they invited us for an impromptu dinner, while her husband, the sommelier, taught us the fine art of wine. Heavenly!!!"

Kamilah

San Ramon, CA

Tour: 10/01/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my first time traveling solo out the country, however somehow I found it easy to explore on the tour without intimidation or fear. By the end of the vacation I felt empowered because I had been educated both before the tour began with the Rick Steve's website and through my tour guide Ben. I had everything I needed to make sure my trip would be a complete success. Thank you for all the materials, tips and travel suggestions that were made available to me.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The entire trip was a WOW!"

Debbie

Plymouth, MI

Tour: 10/01/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I had a great experience with this tour! Ben was very knowledgable, upbeat, funny and a great tour guide. I felt like I saw so much in the 9 days with the tour that I possibly would not have done as much or as well on my own. Everything seemed to go according to plan and without a hitch. Even the weather cooperated!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I don't have one particular "wow" moment - the entire trip was fasinating, the meals were wonderful, etc."

Joseph

Boca Raton, FL

Tour: 10/01/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was everything we imagined and more.It was a great mix of free and group time. A bit tough at the beginning dealing with the time difference and early morning wake up calls, but the anticipation of the upcoming day got us going.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"So many "wow" moments can't just mention one. Here are a few: Turning the corner and seeing the Pantheon at sunset. Standing before La Pieta. Brought me to tears. Wine tasting with a Sommelier in an Etruscan cave followed by an unplanned truffle dinner. Liguria feast in Levanto"

Richard

Northville, MI

Tour: 10/01/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Starting out I was a bit nervous as I had never been on a group tour before but it turned out great! Our guide Ben was excellent at entertaining and enlightening us throughout the entire time. He facilitated interactions amongst the group and shared his knowledge and experiences for the entire journey. Happy we opted for this tour at this time with this group of people.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The biggest WOW was in Rome -- the history, the art and the never ending chaos of the streets. It was surreal for the entire time we were there."

Deborah

Aurora, CO

Tour: 10/01/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Wonderful people sharing an exquisite experience, terrific food (with one exception), tour guides that painted colorful pictures of the past and how it blends with the present. The Vatican Museum tour was awful - it left me wanting to get away from it and all the people as fast as I could. Just too many people. You may want to rethink how you offer the museum tour in the future.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Seeing Michel Angelo's David was my "wow" moment. It literally took my breath away."

Jane

San Jose, CA

Tour: 09/28/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Well, it was our very first visit to Europe. We decided on the Italy tour after seeing Rick in Santa Clara, CA at a travel show. I thought my husband and I were too young to go to a travel show, but it was great! As we listened and read through information, and decided on our focus (Heart of Italy), it just felt exactly like what we were looking for: a relatively informal, yet guided, tour of the most special places we wanted to see. Our group was great! And Alfio was terrific!!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"For me, it was the art and architecture, but mostly "wow" was the way we were able to view "David"!!! I have been studying and reading about the artist and statue for years. The way Alfio led us into the viewing area (back first) was an outstanding and emotional way to view this work of art! I will never forget it!"

Julie

Woodinville, WA

Tour: 09/28/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our first time on a tour, and as fairly experienced independent travelers we weren't quite sure how we'd like it. We chose the Heart of Italy tour because it sounded like the most efficient way to visit many of the places we wanted to see, and we liked the idea of having a guide to explain the cultural and historical background of each place. We're happy to say that the tour exceeded our expectations in every way!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Very hard to pick just one--I think we had "wow" moments in each place we visited! Stand-out moments, though, included walking through the Colosseum and Forum for the first time and feeling the history saturating those places, wandering the streets of Volterra, hiking the Cinque Terre, and experiencing the David in Florence with an incredible, creative introduction by our guide Alfio!"

Heather

North Platte, NE

Tour: 09/28/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour exceeded my expectations! It made me want to go back to Italy on my own (with the Rick Steve's book) and to take another tour in a different country! Italy itself was amazing! The history, the architecture, the food, the wine, the country side and especially the people themselves! We had a very good balance of free time and guided time. We hit the "hot" spots to see from a tourist standpoint but also got a real flavor of just being in Italy, living thanks to our fantastic tour guide

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Alfio had all of us walk backwards facing him (we didn't have to though) towards the David and then turn around to see the statue for the first time. It was both fun, but mostly amazing. Because as he stated, there is only one "first" time to see the David and for all of us on this trip, this was it. It was amazing that something so simple was so effective. That and the Mediterranean sea was the bluest, cleanest water!"

Kim

Montgomery, TX

Tour: 09/28/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I really enjoyed the walking around the cities we visited. Our guide, Alfio, was outstanding. We thought the guides that were expert in that particular area was incredible too.the Vatican tour was longer than expected , restaurants were a taste of Italy as well as the hotels. It was nice not to have to book any of it ! I appreciated alffio taking the time to address any questions , big or small. In my opinion , our tour was supposed to be a lot like a European would take a holiday.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The roman ruins and the Magnificat churches were truly breathtaking. The Pieta and statue of David were ones I will always remember. I loved the countryside and it was cool being able to somewhat get around thanks to our guide. We learned some Italian from him which was very helpful. Alfisols was so personable and attentive throughout our trip. I loved hearing the history of each town. It's too hard to put one thing down . All of it was fantastic... Better than I imagined!"

Johnie

Milwaukie, OR

Tour: 09/28/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Excellent tour, guide and tour members. The tour schedule had a nice mix of group activities and free time for personal exploration.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The first sight of the Statue of David"

Jerry

Katy, TX

Tour: 09/28/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Tour was well organized and on time. A schedule was given and adhered to. Tour guide was extremely well informed about places we went and made great suggestions for meals and downtime. As the tour promo stated, exercise was not missing in this tour. Both my wife and I did not gain one pound, and we enjoyed the Italian cuisine.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Each place had its own high points, so it is tough to pick one over the other."

Pamela

Katy, TX

Tour: 09/28/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was great! Our guide, Alfio, was very knowledgeable and personable. It was nice to know that all the details were taken care of - from our excellent local guides, to the fabulous restaurants we enjoyed as a group. I also appreciated that he managed our time well and was able to accommodate persons in our group with special needs. I would love to go on another Rick Steves' Tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were several "wow" moments, but I must say that it was the viewing of the David sculpture in Florence. Our guide, Alfio, made it extremely special. He lead us backwards until we were close to the sculpture, then we turned around and saw it for the first time. Amazing! I will always remember this moment."

Douglas

Montgomery, TX

Tour: 09/28/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Everything was so well planned and facilitated. Alfio was GREAT! He was extremely knowledgeable, approachable, helpful and accommodating. As well, all the other guides utilized were very good. All the group events, tours, meals...we're excellent. Timing was well organized and followed.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It was all a wow experience!"

Pat

San Jose, CA

Tour: 09/28/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our guide, Alfio, was excellent. The site guides, Paolo, Alessandra, Annie and Cynthia were equally as informative and fun to interact with. Prepare to be flexible, both literally and figuratively, as the Italian toilets can be challenging to Americans. Each city had its own separate charm and our guides made each new experience unforgettable. Recommendations of local favorites by Alfio during our free time was welcome and rewarding. Each hotel was centrally located which was appreciated.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Didn't think I would be wowed by Cinque Terre as I am born and raised in California, but WOW! The entire free day was used to explore the coast from Porto Venere to Bonassola. Spend the extra Euros on the ferry to Porto Venere. But since this was my first trip to Italy, everything from Rome and Florence, the walled cities of Volterra and Lucca were wows on top of wows."

Sandra

Milwaukie, OR

Tour: 09/28/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This trip met all my expectations. Every tour activity was well planned and coordinated with no details left out. I enjoyed the enthusiasm and passion each local tour guide offered. The food was delightful and never ending.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"When we went to see the DAVID our tour guide presented the viewing in a unique way. we lined up in rows of 4 with our backs to DAVID and slowly moved backwards towards the incredible sculpture while he told us of Michelangelo and the carving. Then when we were close we turned to view the amazing site."

Maggie

Tigard, OR

Tour: 09/28/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I expected to enjoy the tour and I wasn't at all disappointed! Our guide, Alfio, was great at making the info interesting and making sure everyone was taken care of efficiently. The contrast between the large cities and small villages made my view of Italy so much more complete. The local guides were just as knowledgeable and excited about their beautiful area. I noticed as we traveled on our own after the tour and took excursions, I missed the "family" we had gotten to know!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The guide for the Colosseum made it come alive for me - and I am not a great fan of Roman ruins having seen many of them. She really painted a picture that let me "see" what was no longer there and enjoy learning about its history."

Diane

Prospect, CT

Tour: 09/26/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My first trip to Europe and an exceptional tour. Way beyond my expectations. Hotels were all well located and accommodations clean, staff helpful. Tour offered enough free time to explore and enjoy time with other tour members. Our tour guide was excellent. Filled with information about local customs, history and multiple suggestions to interest all of our tour members as we struck out on our own.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The village of Volterra. Immersing ourselves in this little town was wonderful. Few tourists and lots of insight into the life of this ancient community. The alabaster factory was one of the best highlights."

Pang-ning

Reston, VA

Tour: 09/26/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

From the start to the end we truly enjoyed our trip. Our guide was knowledgeable and made our trip enjoyable and memorable.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"We really liked the town Volterra, it was just an amazing place to be in."

Judi

Woodinville, WA

Tour: 09/26/14

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

This was a trip of a life time to Europe (age 59) and my first ever trip to visit a family friend who lives in Bologna (not in the tour). We had our challenges to get to the starting point in Rome by way of the highway due to traffic and distance. The Vatican City tour was moved up due to an "open museum day" the next day which would have made it near impossible to see it during the day. So we had our first group dinner and the Vatican tour that night...whew what a whirlwind!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Florence was WOW for me. The Renaissance art was amazing! I spent all my free time looking at this amazing history through its art. That is a city I want to visit again. Very walkable and doable without buses and trains."

Kevin

Calgary, AB

Tour: 09/21/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Hi! This was my first visit to Europe and it was fantastic. Part of the success has to go to Patricia and Katie. The first time I met Katie I was having trouble with my phone getting access to what's app, etc. Katie was very patient and helped me out. After that I asked her tons of questions and she was always very helpful and patient. Patricia was a wonderful guide. She really worked hard to take care of us, especially watching for "gypsies!" :) I salute Patricia for her help!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"This is really tough as there were many. I think it was the first time I saw the real David! I took pictures and there were orbs in my pictures which adds even more intrigue."

Paul

Maryville, WA

Tour: 09/21/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Loved the people that worked for you, from Patricia to all the guides. They were all great. I thought it was a nice balance of group time and individual time. The meal set up was very good. After the guides I loved the meals. I even learned to enjoy the wine with each meal.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"How about one word? Vatican."

Andrea

Canton, MI

Tour: 09/21/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We were blown away by this experience. The trip exceded ALL of our expectations. The itinerary was perfect and the stops included were exactly what we wanted to see in all of the regions. The logistics were flawless, the other travelers were all on the same page as us,the meals and hotels were memorable. We couldn't be happier with every single minute of the trip.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Going to the Cinque Terra was our wow moment. It has been a place that we have been dreaming about going to for over 5 years. The weather was picture perfect and getting a chance to take the train, hike the trail, roam through the towns and take the boat along the coast was really a glorious experience. Every time I looked at my husband that day, I was overwhelmed with emotion."

Cathy

Troy, MI

Tour: 09/21/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Patricia and her assistant Katie were amazing and really made our total experience the best possible! I found the exercise beneficial, the fellowship heartwarming and the history knowledge shared enlightening. I cannot say enough good things about our tour of Italy including Rome, Volterra, Lucca, 'Cest Levante and Florence. Memories of a lifetime!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Turning the corner in the museum in Florence and seeing DAVID. I'll never forget that moment."

Robert

Poway, CA

Tour: 09/19/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

From Janice and Robert. Our overall tour experience was outstanding. We have traveled to Europe numerous times as independent travelers utilizing the RS backdoor philosophy and travel skills so it was not clear if we would get the extra value of an organized tour. That concern went away immediately as we met our tour guide and fellow tour members. This type of tour was well worth it. The organization, tour program, local guides, accommodations and meals made for a very enjoyable efficient tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I think it was the hill town of Volterra. It was a true backdoor experience with Annie the local guide, her husband's wine tasting, the group dinner and the special white truffle dinner. Considerably less crowds than the more "known" towns with a variety of things to do and see including the local market day and porchetta sandwiches."

Cherie

Elgin, IL

Tour: 09/19/14

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Overall it was very good. I know we would not have gotten nearly as much out of it had we tried to do this on our own. Having guides who taught us the history and details about what we were seeing made everything much more meaningful. It is also much more fun to be with other people to share the experiences with.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"That i difficult to pinpoint. Everywhere we went were new "wows", but in different ways. The Roman ruins were a wow, but so were the many fantastic pieces of art and churches. the Vatican, on the other hand, was not a pleasant experience. It was so overcrowded and hot, you could not enjoy it. The Sistine Chapel was a very big disappointment. They hearded hundreds of us in there at a time and you could not even stop and take it in before they were yelling at you to move along."

Glenn

Elgin, IL

Tour: 09/19/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Tour experience was everything I could have asked for due to your company's detailed preparation and Reid's outstanding execution. Sites were well chosen and tour pace was very good. Can't give you credit for the good weather but it was frosting on the cake! My goal was to experience and learn about Italian history, art, culture and lifestyle and your tour and Reid made it happen.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Very difficult to choose....tossup between the local guides in both Rome and Volterra and the city of Volterra itself. St Peter's Basilica would be close."

Joe

Roseburg, OR

Tour: 09/12/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour exceeded my expectations. The guide, hotels, places we visited, food we shared,tour companions, and even the weather were all right on.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I have lived most of my life in the northwest where "old" means 100-150 years. Walking the streets of Volterra and realizing that people have been living on that site for 3000+ years pushed me to change my ideas about what old means. There are many other places on the tour where I had similar thoughts, but they were strongest in Volterra."

Sherrie

Olympia, WA

Tour: 09/05/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We booked our tour early which gave plenty of time to plan. We arrived in Rome on a Tuesday and were able to do some of the suggested side trips and walks before meeting the tour group on Friday.By then we were over jetlag and ready to go.I highly suggest getting there early so you have plenty of energy to absorb all the sights and history on the tour. The Guides were excellent and we would have hated to miss a thing. Trina,our guide was amazing and the guides at the sites were equally as good.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The complexity of Rome and all the layers of history throughout the places we visited. The hill towns were amazing. There was a wow moment around each corner."

Kimberly

Auburn, NY

Tour: 09/05/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

WOW, our tour was just amazing. We experienced regional feasts, wine, gelato, hiking, biking, art, strolled piazzas, ancient structures, churches, museums (no waiting in lines), architecture, artisan workshops, language, art & history lessons. Met wonderful people, local families & wonderful guides (especially our fearless leader, Trina!) that brought everything VIVIDly to life. A trip that was so inspiring and beautiful, filled with surprises around every corner. Now, where to next???

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Each day was full of surprises, but I'd have to say walking up the hill into Volterra at sunset. It was like walking back in time. Loved learning the history from Annie and all about wine from Francesco. The Cinque Terre was so beautiful, too!"

Lucy

Bend, OR

Tour: 09/03/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Karen is an Italian tour guide extraordinaire! Andiamo! And we would gladly follow her to the ends of the earth. I felt like I was living a dream.I love not having to work out the details myself.it was the right balance of guided touring & free time for me.my favorite spots were Volterra- Alabaster workshop, wine tasting, Florence & the Cinque Terre. Although, I did enjoy the Coloseum, the Forum, Vatican museum, Sistine chapel & St. Peter's Basillica knocked my socks off in Rome. Awesome Trip!!!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"St. Peter's Basilica Tour! I knew it was big and beautiful, but it knocked my socks off! I really felt God's presence there. I felt extremely Blessed to be there."

Mark

Eugene, OR

Tour: 09/03/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We were on our honeymoon and honestly can not think of better people to spend it with. Our fearless leader Karen is amazing at her job and such a sweet and caring person. We saw many other tour groups and leaders and we are so thankful we chose your tour and felt very lucky to have had Karen. She was so passionate and full of spot on information. We feel we really have not only wonderful memories but gained real friends with Karen and within our small group. We will only use your services .

Favorite "WOW" moment

"voulterra was amazing! We had never even heard of it and it was one of if not the favorite stop. It is a beautiful clean place rich in history. We were wowed by how your tours use local guides at every destination to explaine that specific stop. Each and every one of them were very passionate and knew their history and helped us fall in live with each spot! Your recommendations for where to eat was spot on too! Great recommendations from our guide on every place we asked for."

Leonard

Redmond, WA

Tour: 09/03/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My wife and I had a great time on our Heart of Italy tour. I think it was a good mix of big city experiences (Rome, Florence) along with a break of visiting smaller towns in between (Voltera, Cinque Terre).

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Wandering around Volterra, Lucca and Cinque Terre were probably the highlights of my trip. When booking I was expecting that Rome and Florence would be the highlights."

David

Bend, OR

Tour: 09/03/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my first tour, so I had no idea of what it would be like. I didn't expect the amount of info and personal care we would receive could be so wonderful. I am a head and back injured 65 yr. old and figured that most of my joy would come from my wife's enjoyment of the tour. I was overwhelmed by the 1 on 1 personal contact our tour guide gave us all. Karin was wonderful and very informative in all aspects of our tour. To make this short I feel we all just simple had a ball.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"seeing all the sights was great. But I am dyslexic and hearing all the stories of the different historical events I was seeing was the real eye opening event for me. I lover Volterra best. Being in some of the places that were the starting points of our world as we now know it, was very great for me."

Mark

Sylvania, OH

Tour: 08/31/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My wife and I have taken dozens of self-planned trips in our 39 years together but this was our first-ever organized tour. The tour exceeded my expectations on almost every count. Our group of travelers bonded very quickly, and the friendships we established are one of the delightful benefits that I didn't particularly expect. Our tour director Ann was outstanding and the itinerary was just right for what we wanted - a "sampler" of Italy. Couldn't imagine doing it better.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The tour of the Uffizi Gallery and the wonderful interpretation of Renaissance art by our guide Ricardo was priceless. It brought the whole Italy experience together for us."

Bart

Wenatchee, WA

Tour: 08/31/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We spent two weeks in Italy on our own before the tour started. We had seen Milan, Venice and Siena on our own and were comfortable with travel, eating, and seeing the sights. Our tour was a different, but very enjoyable experience. It was faster paced, but very well run and highly efficient. Our tour leader, Ann, and our local guides all focused on what was most important for us to see and understand in the short amount of time we had in each city.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"We were in a church in Lucca and our local guide was just starting to speak. Another touring group, apparently from Slovenia, had quietly entered and moved to the front of the church and started singing Leonard Cohen's, "Hallelujah" in full choral voice. Everyone was mesmerized. The hair was up on the back of my neck."

Mauricia

Wenatchee, WA

Tour: 08/31/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I loved our tour guide and our local guides. I felt we were taken to all the must see places, and a lot of extra places, too. We got to learn to make pesto by hand, learn about wine tasting, watch an alabaster bowl being made, and many other things.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I don't like picking favorites! It was all really good."

Claire

Grand Rapids, MI

Tour: 08/31/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Wow!! I LOVED the Rick Steves' Heart of Italy trip because of the interesting people we met, the variety of sightseeing and activities, and our outstanding guides. Best of all, it was hassle-free.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It is difficult to put into words my feeling when I saw Michelangelo's David up close. I've seen a picture of the David many times, but when you see this beautiful 17 foot statue in person, it takes your breath away. The David is an exquisite masterpiece."

Thomas

Omaha, NE

Tour: 08/24/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

All aspects of the tour were great-the accommodations, tour guides, food, transportation, etc. The other folks on the tour were great also. Karin did a great job and is an excellent tour host.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The sites in Rome-Vatican, Pantheon, and Coliseum. Also, the great history on Florence. But all of the cities and sites were great."

Julie

Redmond, WA

Tour: 08/24/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My mind is full of history, art and beautiful scenery.... and of course, good food and wine!!! overall experience was fantastic! I wouldn't hesitate to go on a another tour of this kind.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It was all a "Wow!" Every hotel, every museum, the people, the meals, the scenery, the walks and discussions..... loved it all!"

Marty

Appleton, WI

Tour: 08/24/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour provided an excellent mix of historical, contemporary, and cultural aspects of the heart of Italy. The program was well organized; transitions were smooth with no hitches; and excellent allocation of organized activities and free time. We were given an appropriate amount of historical information about each place we visited as well as a good introduction to how people lead their lives today.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"1. 80% of ancient Rome still lies buried below ground. 2. The aquaducts and sewer system of ancient Rome are still in use. For example, you can take potable water from any fountain around the city. 3. The stories of resistance of the Volterran population to the Medicis and to the Nazis. 4. The trails and views between the villages in Cinque Terre."

Sharon

Edgewater, FL

Tour: 08/24/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My overall experiences is that one of awe.......We met with Karen in Rome, Hotel Aberdeen was everything I thought it should be. Wonderful staff. Karen our tour guide was wonderful and had such a friend and terrific sense of humor. We had wonderful tour guides for each occasion, Karen gave us wonderful instructions before every tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My "WOW" moment was several, Vatican, Roman Coliseum, Volterra, Levanto and Florence (Tower at Hotel Torre Guelfa), I have to say every night that we had meals together was quite a wow too."

George

Truckee, CA

Tour: 08/24/14

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

I found everything first-class, he takes you getting around in the various cities. It probably bothered me much more than the other others in the group as I and 91 years old. I found many cases that we had to park far away from our destination, this included our hotels and museums. Our guide in was absolutely superb. Make sure that everything was fine for all on the tour. All your speaker sat stops were very interesting I have a fairly good selection of photographs if you would like to see them

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My overall impression was that each city we visited was very special."

Judith

Maple Valley, WA

Tour: 08/24/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Ancient Rome and how our guide brought us to that time period."

Gloria

Daytona Beach Shores, FL

Tour: 08/24/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Perfect tour, great group, amazing guides, wonderful hotels and meals! It was everything and more than expected.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Learning the history and feeling the strength of Volterra!"

Theresa

Omaha, NE

Tour: 08/24/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The trip was more than I had even hoped for. We were able to experience the culture and beauty of Italy with this trip.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The travel guides provided fabulous history that made all of the sites feel as if we were a part of the place and time."

Danielle

Arcadia, CA

Tour: 08/03/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Before leaving the States, office support at Rick Steve's was patient, helpful and encouraging from travel itinerary to picking out luggage. On arrival in Rome, Alfio was a great surprise. He's knowledgeable, fun, organized, and was passionate about giving us the best experience possible. I felt he cared about each of us, yet kept the group together and moving. Every guide chosen at destinations was also very special, conveying information about history and art with vitality.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The entire tour was perfect!Good surprises: Dancing and wine tasting in Volterra, bike riding in Lucca! The screen above won't let me write more, but I liked the pace and lineup of the trip: beginning in a Rome, (which I could never have tackled on my own, where I learned so much), followed by Volterra, Lucca, Cinque Terre and finishing in Florence. I'm so glad the tour included Etruscan Volterra. I loved its heartbeat and would not have thought of exploring there."

Ann

Corvallis, OR

Tour: 08/03/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was easy, well-organized, and well-balanced (between group-time & free-time and between natural beauty, history & art. We had great food, a great group, and the best tour-guide ever!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Volterra...I didn't want to leave!"

Deanna

Marysville, WA

Tour: 08/03/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was spectacular. The itinerary was amazing and I thought starting in Rome and ending in Florence was perfect. The tour was an excellent mix of walking, bus time and free time. The tour members were a super fun bunch of people. The itinerary was sufficiently full to allow maximum sightseeing but also allowed enough free time to explore. The highest value was in bypassing lines and interacting with local guides in places where sightseeing could be overwhelming, such as the Vatican.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The enchanting town of Lucca was a favorite but my "wow" moment was Florence and the Duomo! I agree with Rick that the Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore is the most beautiful church this side of Heaven. Every time I saw it, it made me happy!"

Gayle

Newhall, CA

Tour: 08/03/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I can't say enough about what a fabulous time my son and I had. I was concerned when signing up that this trip would be interesting enough for both of us. It was, We enjoyed spending time together seeing Italy and thoroughly enjoyed our diverse group of traveling companions. Our tour guide Alfio was terrific. His personality meshed with everyone and his knowledge of the cities, art and history and the enthusiasm he had to share this knowledge was so appreciated and enjoyed.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"loved all of the locations but my two favorites were the Colosseum in Rome and Volterra. at each of these locations I had to consistently remind myself to breathe. I was so overwhelmed by the beauty, grandeur and history. Cant wait to get back to the Tuscany region!"

Gary

Corvallis, OR

Tour: 08/03/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The only way it could have been better you would have had to control the weather. I'm fairly certain that's not going to happen. We loved it!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"David"

Ellen

Talent, OR

Tour: 07/27/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my first time in Europe and the experience was everything I had hoped for and more. I was traveling with my daughter and together we had a wonderful time. Having lived in Puget Sound for many years, I was well aware of Rick Steves' reputation and we are so glad we chose this tour. Everything was great, from the first "get acquainted" meeting to the last meal together in Florence, we could not have been more pleased.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were so many "Wows" it is hard to pick. Rome was amazing, there was so much history, so many beautiful cathedrals, and best of all the tour of the Colosseum and the Roman Forum with the fabulous Francesca. But, I have to say my favorite place was the Cinque Terra."

Chlene

Morris, MN

Tour: 07/27/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was the perfect tour for our family. We have traveled independently to countries on six continents, but as we planned for Italy, we realized we'd need meticulous planning and a fair amount of luck to see everything on our list in 10 days. We were reluctant to join a tour, but after reading about Rick Steve's philosophy and style of travel, we were willing to try. We loved traveling with like-minded people, and the small group activities and meals added so much more to the experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I expected to be "wowed" at the big ticket items like the Coliseum, Sistine Chapel, and David, but the unexpected "wow" moment was sitting on our patio at Hotel Steno in Monterosso. The view was wonderful during the day with the colored houses, vine-covered hills, water, and sky. The view was magical after sunset when this village on the sea started to turn out the lights."

Laurie

Columbus, MT

Tour: 07/27/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I have been raving about our tour. It was well set up. Our guide Nina was the best. So personable, knowledgeable and helpful. I felt well taken care of. All areas of the tour ran smoothly and there were no hitches at any time. The bonuses were all the tour guide we had at each of the tour stops. All our guides were well educated on history and art and you could tell they had a passion to pass that knowledge on to us with great skill. I will be taking more tours with Rick Steves.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Rome was my favorite with it's rich history and archetecture. I would never have imagined standing in the Parthanon or the Coloseum. The size alone is outstanding. The architecture of the surrounding buildings is outstanding and the sculputures are breathtaking. Truely imprinted forever in my memory."

Catherine

Oklahoma City, OK

Tour: 07/27/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Sold on quality of Rick Steves Tours!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Too many to pick one!! Exceeded all expectations!"

Kendra

Austin, TX

Tour: 07/27/14

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Great tour, good mix of history, food and culture. I had been to Italy before but got much more out of it this time because of the knowledgable nod enthusiastic guides. Nina was fun but structured and most of the local guides were so engaging!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Francesca, our guide for the colosseum and roman forum was spectacular!"

Leslie

Frederick, MD

Tour: 07/20/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Every aspect of the tour far exceeded our expectations! This was a mother-daughter trip and the composition of our tour group made the experience very enjoyable. We chose a Rick Steves tour because of his travel philosophy and reputation. The tour itinerary and Tommaso as our guide delivered everything as promised and more.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Each place we visited delivered more than one Wow moment. The one that stands out the most was staying in Levanto near the Cinque Terre during the town's religious festival. The first night we enjoyed performances by the local community, and the second night we watched the most fantastic fireworks display at the beach!"

Mary

Mill Creek, WA

Tour: 07/20/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My family and I had a wonderful trip. I was so pleasantly surprised with my tour group. I met so many interesting, kind people and really appreciated that there were many younger tour members around my age (18). It was so amazing to experience the history of Italy with my family and experience the Italian culture. Tomasso, our tour guide, was outstanding. One of my favorite memories from the trip was our first dinner as a group. The food was delicious and I had a great conversation with Tomasso.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I loved the Colleseum tour with Francesca! It was amazing to be there, but it wouldn't have been nearly as great without Francesca. She had us use our imaginations to pretend that the Colleseum looked just as it did when the Romans first built it, and it was such a cool way to experience it. I learned so much about the Romans and what a smart project it was for the emperor to build the colleseum. I really understood the effectiveness of creating all of these incredible buildings and sculptures."

Doug

San Clemente, CA

Tour: 07/20/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My overall experience with become a Rick Steve's traveler surpassed my expectations. Our group was a pleasure to be around. There wasn't one moment were I felt someone was unhappy, unpleasant or disagreeable. I believe the pre tour info helped establish this expectation. 100% of the time I felt my intellect was respected and my questions were answered with respect and a loving humility. The balance of big city & countryside villages was wonderfully balanced with information & time to reflect.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Everyday had a "WOW" moment. Cinque a Terre with all its nooks and eccentrics was so fun to explore. My family recorded over 22,000 walking steps in one day roaming around the little villages. This was our high water mark for walking in one day. Only to be revived with a wonderful meal with the group at days end only to conclude with a fantastic city festival and fireworks display over the Mediterranean Sea. It was a special day that will live within me forever."

Mina

Redmond, WA

Tour: 07/20/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our family really enjoyed this tour in Italy. From our tour guide to our fellow travelers, to the beauties and delicious food of Italy, there was not a moment of disappointment. I was impressed at the organization and planning that had taken place by the tour to make our experience seamless, comfortable, and fun.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were a lot of "wow" moments but one of the outstanding ones was seeing the statue of David at the Academia in Florence. It surpassed all my expectations."

Carol

Richmond, TX

Tour: 07/20/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The Heart of Italy tour exceeded my expectations in all aspects. First, the tour group was a delightful mix of ages. My teenagera and I enjoyed the variety of ages and experiences on the tour. Our primary tour guide, Tomasso, was funny, insightful, witty, and informative. We also had the benefit of expert guides at each location tour. These guides brought the locations to life with history and perspective.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Our tour of the Colosseum was incredible. The pile of rock and stone came alive with our guides interpretation of the reality of the Roman experience."

Cindy

Mill Creek, WA

Tour: 07/20/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Wow - the tour experience was beyond our expectations. We adored Tommaso - so approachable, so knowledgeable. Having someone do the arranging of hotels, touring agenda, restroom stops, dinners took away so much stress, yet there was also plenty of time to ourselves. As long as I showed up in the hotel lobby at the right time in the morning, I knew it would be a fantastic day.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Roman Colosseum & Forum. Rounding the corner in the Uffizi (sp) museum and seeing David."

Dave

Mill Creek, WA

Tour: 07/20/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My family and I had so much fun making this trip together! Our Guide worked very hard to make sure we learned about the sites, the people and the culture of Italy. He and the local guides could not have been any warmer or more helpful! Perfect mix of guided and independent travel - great tours, guides and meals together but also plenty of open time. Our 18 and 23 yr olds were glad 10 of 28 group members were their age or younger. Great food, nice hotel staff, rooms simple but clean.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Francesca's tour of the Coliseum and Ancient Rome - so much more than pictures alone could tell!"

Wendy

Sherman Oaks, CA

Tour: 07/20/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour surpassed my expectations. I wanted to see the art and architecture of Rome, Florence and the beauty of Cinque Terre, and since I was traveling alone, I wanted nice people to share the experience with. I got all that and more. It was my first visit to each location, and I was delighted. The local tour guides were inspiring (especially Francesca) and each allowed me to see so much more that I would have seen had I been on my own. Finally, I totally enjoyed our leader, Tomasso.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Well, I can't just pick one. Michelangelo's David literally took my breath away. I also loved not just seeing the Coliseum, but gaining insight into how it fit into the Roman culture and how it and other Roman structures were cannibalized to become parts of later buildings. Volterra was a complete surprise. I had never given a moment's thought to the ancient Etruscans, but I now find them fascinating, and I loved the story of the Etruscan Gate saved by the residents at the end of WWII."

Christy

Cincinnati, OH

Tour: 07/20/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was wonderful. Tommaso was great, and we had a really good group of people, which helped tremendously. It was more than I had hoped for for my 13-year-old son's first experience of Europe.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Coliseum tour with Francesca. She is the best tour guide I've ever had. Her knowledge is extensive, but it's her ability to evoke the past and make you FEEL what ancient Romans felt that made it incredible."

Craig

Bellingham, WA

Tour: 07/20/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Tomasso was an excellent tour guide. By staying in everyplace for 2 days we were able to settle in. The amount of museums and the variety made the experience good and not overwhelming. Having free time to explore the Cinque de Terra allowed us to go at our own pace. Highly recommend it to others.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It was all a wow, but the fireworks at Levanto were amazing."

Robert

Athens, GA

Tour: 07/13/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

As an avid photographer, until now I have shunned organized tours because of the rigid structure which severely curtails my ability to create gallery quality photos. The Rick Steves' tour offered free time so I decided to give it a try. I am very pleased with both the free time, and flexibility while with the group to wander for photography while listening with ear buds to a local guide live in real time. We are looking for other destinations to tour with Rick Steves again.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Three "wows": 1) seeing the huge stone Pantheon dome built 2000 years ago. 2) seeing the huge complex, sophisticated construction of the stone Colosseum built almost 2000 years ago. 3) finding spring fed free water dispensers in most public piazzas all over Italy."

Katherine

Chicago, IL

Tour: 07/13/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was such a wonderful way to get a taste for Italy, particularly Tuscany! I traveled by myself, but never felt uncomfortable or left out. I met a ton of fantastic people, many of whom I plan on keeping in touch with. Ann, our Rick Steves guide, was an excellent resource as we journeyed across the country. Our local guides were extremely knowledgable, and it was great to hear about the town we were visiting from someone who actually lives there. My favorite stops were Volterra and 5 Terre.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Oh my goodness, this is really difficult to answer! I loved driving into Volterra and exploring all of the narrow streets there - it seemed like a "real" Italian town. Everything about Cinque Terre blew me away, particularly seeing the 5 towns from the ferry, just stunning! Our group meals were outstanding, particularly our special pesto demonstration and seafood-based feast at the Primavera Hotel in Levanto. Seeing the David and Bottecelli's paintings in Florence was unreal. I loved everything!"

James

Camillus, NY

Tour: 07/13/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Absolutely wonderful!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Volterra and the Cinque Terra...spectacular!"

Kerry

Camillus, NY

Tour: 07/13/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was everything we had hoped it would be. The sights, people, guide, accommodations, food, etc were all outstanding!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I think we fell in love with Tuscany! Driving up the mountains to Volterra, the fields of sunflowers and olive groves...I felt like we were on a movie set. Our other favorite "wow" moment was the views on the Cinque Terra. Again, the views and scenery were breathtaking!"

Suzanne

Modesto, CA

Tour: 07/13/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Only 500 character limit!? :) It was amazing. We had "pinch-me" moments from beginning to end. We really enjoyed all the others on the tour. A wonderful balance of "tour-time" and "free-time". The shared dinners were wonderful events in and of themselves. Lodging and transportation were better than expected. Encounters with locals were wonderful- geocashed with our waiter! Thanks for the surprises - bike ride and cemetery stop! Love, love, Ann!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Walking from the bus to the hotel in Volterra. It was dreamy. A bit unreal to think it was real Tuscany - better than my imagination. Just moments later I was in a shop across the street chatting with the owner about the hole in her floor showing a Roman grain mill thousands of years old and three parts on her walls from three different civilizations!"

Krisha

Marion, IN

Tour: 07/13/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our first Rick Steves tour exceeded our expectations! We LOVED every moment. So much so, that the moment we were settled in back home we began planning our next Rick Steves tour! SIMPLY AMAZING!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The entire tour was a "wow" moment. From throwing coins into the Trevie Fountain to seeing The David in person. From riding bikes on the walls of Lucca to watching an alabastar craftsman create a bowl right before my eyes. From feeling the Tuscan sun on my face to feeling the Riviera breeze in my hair. From my first taste of gelato until my last. SIMPLY AMAZING!"

Kimberly

Palatine, IL

Tour: 07/13/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I enjoyed this tour very much! Ann our tour guide was wonderful and the people on the tour formed a group bond which made so many great and fun experience for all. The city guides in every town were excellent and so well informed.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Going and seeing the Sistine Chapel!!!"

Andrea

Athens, GA

Tour: 07/13/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We loved our cheerful and knowledgeable tour leader, Ann. We were pleased with the intro. walks and then the free time in each place. We saw such different places that we feel we know Italy much better from this trip.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The consistently delectable dinners even though I eat a Gluten-free diet. The colosseo up close!"

Randy

Palatine, IL

Tour: 07/13/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was outstanding, we really got a very good taste of Italy over the 8 days. I believe this was made possible by the fact that we had an excellent tour guide in Ann. She was simply outstanding, her personality and passion for what she does was outstanding.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The "wow" factor hands down was Cinque Terra, I can't wait until I can go back and visit this area of Italy."

Lana

Boise, ID

Tour: 07/13/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We loved our tour. So happy we decided to go with Rick Steve. Can't imagine doing this trip on our own. Some of the things that made this trip-- Wonderful tour guide (Ann Long) The perfect mix of cities visited (large and small) Hotels in the heart if the cities Great attractions visited ( tickets included--didn't wait in the long lines,wasting valuable time)

Favorite "WOW" moment

"We loved Volterra. When the bus dropped us off at the bus stop, where you couldn't see much, I thought to myself."what will we do here for two days?" As we walked a few yards into town, I said, "This is exactly what I have pictured Italy should be". I could have stayed there for a month!"

Don

Modesto, CA

Tour: 07/13/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My wife and I were celebrating our 30th anniversary with our trip to Italy. After searching and discussing serveral different options, we decided on Rick Steves' Tours. What a great decision it was! The people of the group made our travels that much more memorable. We loved the small town of Volerra the most. Our guide, Ann, was the best! She was so helpful in so many ways. Our next big trip with definately be with RS again. Thanks for helping us make an mmorable anniversary. :)

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Our time in Volterra was an excellent surprise. Small, historical village iwith an awesome feel."

Caitlin

Lynnwood, WA

Tour: 07/06/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had a wonderful time on this tour! There was a great balance of time with the tour group and time on our own. The guides were fantastic throughout the trip. There was such a variety of experiences...bicycling in Lucca, swimming in Cinque Terre, walking tours of so many amazing cities and all of the art. We feel so blessed to have gotten this experience. I know we never would have been able to plan such an amazing adventure on our own.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My very favorite tour was the Coliseum and Roman Forum with our guide, Francesca. She really brought the place and the stories to life. Her passion for Roman history shined through her stories and explanations of everything that happened there."

Alan

Hamilton, OH

Tour: 07/06/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Tour group size and pace of the tour was outstanding. Time to explore sites in depth and no tour bus fly-by's! Our tour guide Caterina was engaging and informative and bent over backwards to ensure we all got the most from our experiences. The local guides were all top notch. Would certainly consider another Rick Steve's tour in the future.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The trails of Cinque Terre as we would round a corner and see the next hill town were an unforgettable experience."

William

Tacoma, WA

Tour: 07/06/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was great because it freed us from the fretfulness of foreign travel (finding places to good places to stay and to eat; transporting us from city to city; securing advance tickets to museums that allowed us to avoid waiting hours in line to enter; hiring knowledgeable local guides). Then, in the time freed from fretting, we were able to devote ourselves to enjoying fully the Italian experiences made available to us. I wouldn't tour Italy any other way!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were many great moments, some of them much anticipated, such as seeing the statue of David and walking through the Colosseum and Roman Forum. But perhaps the ones I'll remember most fondly are the ones that I hadn't expected, especially the wonderful group dinners during which we got to know our tour companions in convivial conversations that rose to high hilarity when fueled by great food and wine."

Trever

Bothell, WA

Tour: 07/06/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Caterina was truly a special person. She not only was a wonderful tour guide, but someone who cared about tour members. She went the extra mile to care for my wife when she got ill on the trip, and we greatly appreciated to care and sincere desire to assist. She is a great representative of Rick Steves.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Despite all the "huge" things in Italy - the coliseum, St Peters, the Duomo - my 'wow' moment was upon entering Riomaggiore by boat. The quaint seaside fishing village, opening into a local "working town" street with markets and walk-up fish eateries, was very, very special to me."

Charles

Bellingham, WA

Tour: 07/06/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Seeing the original David was amazing. I just had to stand and soak it in."

Thomas

Homewood, IL

Tour: 07/06/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Great overall tour. A good plit between scheduled events and free time

Patricia

Homewood, IL

Tour: 07/06/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I have been dreaming about visiting Italy for YEARS and this tour was everything I hoped for. The Heart of Italy tour was very well paced and we were able to experience so much variety over the nine days. I was hoping to get a real taste of the culture while there and thanks to our wonderful tour guide, Caterina, and the way the tour was structured, I felt engaged and not just an observer wherever we went. I had expected an adventure of a lifetime, and I was not disappointed.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"How to choose a favorite?....a near impossible task, like trying to choose a favorite gelato flavor. It just can't be done. There was a "wow" moment for me each time I was in a new place. St. Peter's, the Sistine chapel, the inside of the Colosseum, the Medieval streets of Volterra, the stunningly beautiful Ligurian Sea, the first look at Florence. I will treasure the memories of all these places in my heart forever."

Carole

Tacoma, WA

Tour: 07/06/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I had heard from friends that Rick Steves tours were great, and this trip confirmed their reports. The travel itself went like clockwork, our main and local guides were wonderful, and our group of varied ages and backgrounds was very congenial. I enjoyed the opportunity to learn from the guides and then to have "time off" just to explore and relax.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Probably the view from the balcony of our hotel room in Monterroso, one of the Cinque Terre towns. Unbeatable!"

Kenneth

Metairie, LA

Tour: 06/29/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The Rick Steves literature says their tours are not for everyone - well, our tour was perfect for us! We liked staying two nights in each place, the mix of guided and free time, the restaurants, the hotels, and especially the local guides. The hotels were in great locations. We had a great tour group and Tommaso is a fantastic guide.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"We decided to climb to the top of the dome of St. Peter's in the Vatican. What I did not know was that, after climbing up part of the way, you emerge from a doorway at the base of the dome, at the level of the roof of the cathedral, on the inside of the dome looking down at the cathedral. It was breathtaking! You could see mosaics and artwork that you never could see from the floor - fantastic!"

Melinda

Murphy, TX

Tour: 06/29/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

There was a great mix of group tour and time to explore on your own. The 9 day tour had a nice balance of big cities and quaint smaller gems. The local guides were terrific in sharing their vast knowledge of the particular town or meuseum we visited.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Vatican City, specifically the basilica, was more than I could have imagined."

Jessica

Chippewa Falls, WI

Tour: 06/29/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had a great group! Everyone was friendly, prompt, and fun. Tommaso did a great job organizing all the tours and dinners, the food was wonderful. We hit all the highlights in Rome and Florence, but really enjoyed the small towns. Volterra was quiet, interesting, and allowed the kids some time to explore safely on their own. At first, I was disappointed we were staying in Bonassola because I couldn't find it in a guidebook or Trip Advisor, but it was a genius place to stay! Much less crowded.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The view of Manarola from the vineyard walk was even more beautiful than I expected! Foodwise, the first time I had a "plain" sandwich of bread, ham, tomato and mozzarella I couldn't believe how perfectly simple and delicious it was. And of course, David."

Chipp

Boise, ID

Tour: 06/29/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Excellent! I was very impressed with the flow/tone of the entire experience. I never felt rushed or bored. The days were divided up between guided tours and free time, in just the right proportion. the hotels were great! Location, hotel staff, and facilities were ideal. Tomasso (SP) was the best! His knowledge of Italy and ability to make tour decisions based upon the groups' attitude was amazing. It just alawys felt right. Also, he was very clear in his directions.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Traveling to and spending time in Volterra after Rome was special. The local guide was very good. I found myself thinging about taking a Art History class because of her enthusiam."

Randall

Chippewa Falls, WI

Tour: 06/29/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Perfect balance of following the group and touring vs time to do what you want. Guide was outstanding fit for our family, as he was pleasant and not overly loud or boisterous, and good at his job.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Favorite wow was seeing the statue of David. There were so many oohs and ahhs when seeing the cities we visited, but that was a "wow". It also came at a good time in the tour where we had time just to sit and look."

Amy

Wylie, TX

Tour: 06/29/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was great. The amount of prepared tours each day was perfect and gave us enough time to do whatever we wanted in each location.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Probably climbing to the top of the Duomo in Florence and looking out over the city. After completing the climb I understand that it could never be an included activity with a group since so many wouldn't (and shouldn't) complete the climb, but it was pretty spectacular."

Laura

Bellevue, WA

Tour: 06/27/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was such a relief to have someone else plan our day-and make arrangements to entry into popular exhibits. I liked having the big bus with few people on it so that we could each have our own window-or stretch out to fall asleep if we couldn't help it! I enjoyed most of the stops, although the stop in Lucca wasn't too exciting-except for the bike ride around the city wall. I am wondering if there would be another point of interest that could be added in the place of Lucca?

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Turning the corner and seeing some of the ancient Roman structures pop out in front of us!"

Lana

Westfield, IN

Tour: 06/27/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Virginia made the tour! What a wonderful tour guide! Many have asked since we've been home if it was worth it and we've wholeheartedly endorsed your tours. I wouldn't have changed a thing.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Rome and the coliseum. Amazing that everything is so old."

Amy

Mount Pleasant, SC

Tour: 06/27/14

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

We had a great tour. Enjoyed Virginia, and especially liked all the fellow travelers on the tour!

Nancy

Issaquah, WA

Tour: 06/27/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

it was delightful. everything from Virginia our tour guide who was excellent to the fun group. the pace was great and down time was wonderful also.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"seeing some of the sites that I had not seen ever. Cinque Terre was amazing"

Sybil

Vashon, WA

Tour: 06/27/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

A delightful tour guide (Virginia);a comprehensive and well paced itinerary; great food and hotels were fine. Groups members bonded well and really enjoyed each others company. I felt it would be a challenge to have the time of this trip during high tourist season but I thought it was carried off in great fashion and I truly felt immersed in the culture and high points of Italy.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Visiting Volterra and Florence both were the high points for me."

Patrick

Milford, CT

Tour: 06/22/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It far exceeded our expectations, which were pretty high to begin with. The tour host, Caterina, was the perfect guide and helped us every step of the way. The other guides, Francesca, Annie, Maria were extremely knowledgable and passionate about their topics. The hotels were excellent!!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Seeing the Pope! As we were staying right across from the Vatican, we took a stroll on Sunday morning around our neighborhood after breakfast to explore the area. When we saw people streaming into St. Peter's Square, we followed, curious to find out what was going on. We learned that Pope Francis was in town and that he would be saying mass at St. Peter's and then giving his blessing in the square at noon. We were in time for the blessing and saw him from his balcony!"

Julia

Thousand Oaks, CA

Tour: 06/22/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I was nervous, since I was traveling alone. Worst case: endless hours on a bus, with drivel commentary of poor jokes, endless hours of waiting. None of my fears were realized. This was an excellent tour. 1) I learned a lot- just the right level of teaching, interesting things 2) the tour guides at the sites were excellent. 3)our guide was a delight: charming, knowledgeable, taught us a lot, "made" the tour.3)excellent tempo of sites, rest (bus rides), time together and time alone.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Impossible to say, there are too many. Loved the Etruscan arch in Volterra, and how the citizens protected it in WWII (Annie was guide). Loved our group dinners, especially the last one, accompanied by a thunder and lightning storm."

Timothy

Escondido, CA

Tour: 06/22/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was a great experience for my wife and myself. I felt the pace was good. I think on whole, it had a good balance of planned activities and free time. This was a very active tour ( over 60 miles of walking) but I feel the pre tour information prepared us for that. In fact, the pre tour materials for tour preparation is very good and critical. Documentation required is clear and concise. The Rick Steve's books are excellent aids and added to the experience. This was our second Steve's tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Colosseum."

Jeff

San Jose, CA

Tour: 06/22/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The quality of our tour can not be overstated. Though hotel accommodations were sometimes modest, every other aspect of the trip was top notch. Our guide Caterina was helpful, charismatic, and extremely knowledgeable. The sites selected for visiting were managed in such a way that the main focus points were those of highest significance in terms of historical and artistic preeminence. We can't wait for our next RS vacation.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It would be hard to top the Roman Colosseum on the wow factor meter. Our guide for the day, Francesca, open up our hearts and minds to envision the spectacle of every day events over 2000 years ago."

Jay

San Ramon, CA

Tour: 06/20/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Best trip ever. Loved the fact that it was a smaller, more nimble tour group (28) and that our tour guide Jamie was so knowledgable on the Italian history, knew so many people everywhere we went, was quite a foodie and and wine lover. He was fun to be around and took care of everything hotels, transportation, tours and meals. It was so nice not to have to make too many decisions on where to go and where to eat. He was a very fun personaility.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Loved the wine tasting evening in Volterra in a wine cellar with a great Sommelier. Outstanding and we learned so much! Also, dinner in Monterosa (in the Cinque Terre) along the Mediterranean eating the fresh seafood caught that day. In addition, our Rome hotel had a roof-top deck over-looking the city and the Vatican that you can relax, have a glass of wine and have a quite moment. Also loved biking in Lucca."

Margo

Camby, IN

Tour: 06/20/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Jamie, was absolutely fantastic. If we would have done this tour ourselves we would NOT have seen 98% of what we experienced. The meals, hotel rooms, buses and drivers were absolutely fantastic. We are already searching Rick Steve Tours for next year.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Cinque Terre was one of the most beautiful places I have seen."

Richard

Helena, MT

Tour: 06/20/14

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

We had a wonderful trip. Jamie was terrific; knowledgeable, enthusiastic and a good teacher. Other local tour guides for our group were outstanding as well. Each was impassioned with their subject and truly conveyed a feeling for "place". The food and wine were great. The hotels were very nice.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The duck was delicious."

Robert

Camby, IN

Tour: 06/20/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I thought our tour guide was excellent. He was very knowledgable and helpfull. The hotels fantastic, and the meals were wonderful.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Visiting the Vatacant was one of my bucket list items. I was not disappointed. St. Peter's was far more then I expected."

Cynthia

Menlo Park, CA

Tour: 06/20/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The genesis of this trip was a bucket list item to take my family to visit their Italian roots and relatives while I could still travel and translate (husband obligingly went along though already overwhelmed by my family here). I chose "Heart of Italy" because it was near to our other destinations and so I wouldn't have to be tour guide for the whole trip. Great decision. The mix of small and large cities was just right, the tour group congenial, and our guide was a perfect fit for my family.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"This is a trick question, right? Any visitor to Italy should have many "wow" moments A bit to my surprise, my most emotional reaction on the tour was at the ancient Etruscan gate to Volterra where Annie related a story about the locals saving the structure during the war. It encapsulated the real Italian experience of living with so much history. You find this sense of place in many regions there but don't always experience it as a tourist unless you make an effort to find out."

Tracy

Monrovia, MD

Tour: 06/20/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Everything was better then expected. The itinerary was well balanced and hit a good variety of experiences and locations, but also left us time to explore on our own. I liked not having to stand in line too long at the big attractions like The Vatican Museum and the Uffizi Gallery. I also really liked having a smaller group too! The tour guides were also all awesome and very knowledgeable!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Tasting and drinking awesome wine in an authentic wine cellar in Volterra. Also seeing Michelangelo's David and other Renaissance and Baroque masterpieces up close and personal."

Stephanie

Dublin, OH

Tour: 06/15/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was the perfect tour for our family: small group, good balance of structured and free time, immersive activities similar to what we would normally plan for ourselves(bike riding, wine tasting, pesto making, etc.), and not touristy at all.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"This trip was filled with "wow" moments for me being a lover of art and history! But even for my husband and son, it was special and meaningful."

John

Woodinville, WA

Tour: 06/15/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Everything was first rate. All activities were well planned and executed. The provided dinners, each preceded by a "happy" social hour were excellent. The local guides were top notch. I would recommend a Rick Steves tour to anyone and I plan on joining another one in the future.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Each stop had it's own "wow" moment, it's really hard to select one over the other. I enjoyed both Volterra and the Cinque Terre."

Diane

Fort Wayne, IN

Tour: 06/15/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was a good mix of organized, tour time and you're-on-your-own time. Lisa did a great job making suggestions of things to do in Rome and Florence and help reassure me that we could navigate the city on our own. There was just not enough time to do all I wanted to do. Food was great, hotels were conveniently located. There was a lot of walking and museum time, but the tour description warned of the activity level. So I was ready for that. Good shoes are a must.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The scenery of Tuscany could take your breath away. The narrow lanes in Volterra seemed like they were from a storybook. Also, I was so happy to see Vernazza from the trail we were hiking from Monterosso--picture postcard perfect."

Sheryl

Seminole, FL

Tour: 06/15/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I absolutely loved this tour. In 9 days, I experienced so much more than I could have imagined. The artwork in the churches and museums was breathtaking. I loved hiking in the Cinque Terre, biking the wall in Lucca, visiting historical sites, and just wandering. I took over 900 pictures. The tour guide, Lisa, was terrific, and we had a really fun group. When the tour ended, we enjoyed 2 days in Venice before returning home.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I knew that this trip would be educational for my teenage son, but I was astonished by how much both of us learned."

Debra

Troy, MI

Tour: 06/15/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Overall a good experience. Glad I went.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Seeing the Colliseum.Being in the Sistene Chapel came close . But I lost my breath seeing ancient Rome."

Elizabeth

Saline, Fife

Tour: 06/15/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Thoroughly enjoyed being on the other side of an RS tour! Loved the whole experience.....and learned a lot in the process!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Our guide (Francesca?) at the Colosseum in Rome. She was a model of good practice in setting the context for the group and drawing them in to her stories and information. As a fellow guide it was a joy to spend time with her!"

Bennett

Dublin, OH

Tour: 06/15/14

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

I had a really good time and especially enjoyed Rome, Volterra and the Cinque Terre.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Definitely the Colosseum and Forum in Rome. I also enjoyed the beach at Monterosso."

Olivia

Sunnyvale, CA

Tour: 06/15/14

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

I thought the tour was very fun. I got to meet lots of new people. However, at times I felt a bit rushed because of the busy schedule. But I thought getting to learn about the culture and experiencing what it is like to live in Italy was really fun.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favorite "wow" moment of the tour was going to the Colosseum and realizing that we were actually there and able to see it for our own eyes because up to then, I had only saw it in books and magazines and such."

David

Troy, MI

Tour: 06/15/14

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Florence"

Scott

Dublin, OH

Tour: 06/15/14

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Rome hotel breakfast/wi-fi was poor,front desk staff was very helpful & a great location. Rome guides were excellent, would be really nice to see Vatican at some off peak time. Would of been nice to have the group photo by the coliseum or at Monterosso. The bus and driver were very nice and professional. Volterra hotel the ac didn't work & room was noisy. Lucca was fun. Life was good in Monterosso. Florence was fun, but busy, good guides & hotel.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Listening to Elizabeth and Brian sing us their Tour Trail tune. Taking extra time to see David and spending extra time in the Ufizzi. The RS dinner in Florence. Hiking the Cinque Terra, I would of enjoyed another day or staying later and arriving in Florence later."

Stephanie

Sunnyvale, CA

Tour: 06/15/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This is our family's first experience traveling with an organized tour. It is really nice not to worry about many of the logistics. We are particularly grateful that many of the tickets/reservations were taken care of prior to our arrival. But most important of all, we impressed with all the tour guides we have encountered and the wonderful tour members we have met. Finally, we were surprised how much our two teenaged daughters have enjoyed the trip.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Definitely the Colosseum tour with Francesca. Her amazing story-tell skills helped us visualize the Colosseum 2000 years ago. It was not only a learning tour, but an emotional experience to stand on that historical ground and consider the different mindsets of various perspectives (i.e. the Emperor, the spectator, and the gladiators). We also fall in love with Cinque Terre and would love to go back soon."

Jeri

Missoula, MT

Tour: 06/13/14

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Our trip was wonderful. In a short time we hit all of the high points of cities I wanted to see, Rome & Florence. We were introduced to places about which I knew little. Volterra was an amazing city & our guide outstanding. The food and especially the vino was all delicious. With the Rick Steves plan we tasted dishes we may not have tried ourselves. They were delizioso! All the vino was a treat. Even the least expensive was comparable to expensive wines at home. It was a true gourmet trip.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were so many. The wine tasting in Volterra was a real treat and fun! It was number one. The alabaster factory was fascinating, but too short. I would have enjoyed staying there longer."

Donna

Silver Spring, MD

Tour: 06/13/14

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

The tour was very good. Our guide Nina was wonderful. Very knowledgeable and just a great person. The additional guides like the one in Rome, Volterra and Florence were wonderful. We had a great group of people on the trip. (that you cannot plan for) ONe issue was that I wish we had more time in Florence. Not enough time. The hotel in Volterra had wonderful views but the room itself was very old.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The statute of David was my WOW moment. Also the town of Montorossa was very nice. It was one of the most beautiful places I have ever been."

Jim

Lone Tree, CO

Tour: 06/13/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

A great experience from several perspectives: a single older-person traveler, a single traveler with a tour group, and a first time out-of-the-country traveler. Nina our guide was superb, and the entire 28 person group of several age groups meshed very well, and looked out for each other. The expert guides for each location were the best. The group dinners were excellent and entertaining, and the restaurant owners were fantastic. A great tour, a great experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hard question to answer, can't say just one: 1. With Elaria the expert guide - visiting the Roman Coliseum and nearby ruins and listening to her expert narration. 2. Seeing The Duomo in Florence - was the single most impressive building I saw on the tour. 3. All the group dinners in wonderful restaurants with great hosts."

Lew

Gainesville, FL

Tour: 06/13/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Nina and the individual guides were all superior. The group meals were very good and lots of fun. Good selection of cities to visit. We especially enjoyed Volterra and Cinque Terra. It was good to do Rome at the beginning of trip and not at end of trip. The only complaint that I have was a lack of wifi at most hotels. We were very pleased with the tour and will do more Rick Steve's tours in the future.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Walking around the towns of Cinque Terra."

Sandy

Blacklick, OH

Tour: 06/13/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my first tour experience this is what I liked, the tour guide, the interesting people I met on the trip. It was an interesting way to re-learn history in a much more meaningful way. The buddy system was a wonderful way to meet a fellow traveler instantly.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I cannot say I had a wow moment. I came home with some wonderful memories"

Priscilla

Las Vegas, NV

Tour: 06/13/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Roger AND Priscilla are commenting here as a couple. In a word WOW! The Rick Steves' team delivered beyond our expectations. Our guide Nina made us feel welcome and cared for. Her expertise, passion and commitment to the group were genuine and her knowledge and ability to share Italian history brought the past to life. The accommodations were delightful and the itinerary was well planned. The "no grump" policy proved effective. All our tour mates were fun to travel with.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Seriously, we only get one? Most impressive was the "hidden value" of the tour guides in Rome, Volterra, Lucca and Florence. We so much appreciated the quality of the folks selected to enrich our experience of what we saw. More than sight-seeing, the tour was a rich education in both history and art. We also loved our hiking to the cemetery and vineyard in Monterosso."

Dick

Blacklick, OH

Tour: 06/13/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Very good. Nina was great and very helpful especially in some difficult circumstances. I particularly enjoyed the hill towns and the group we were with.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Better understanding the real, more-people-centered history of the Roman Empire and the nature of the city states and the competition among them. The more one learns of the real past, the more we can see human history as a constant repetition of the same human tendencies and social patterns."

David

Silver Spring, MD

Tour: 06/13/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Would rate it overall between Outstanding and Very Good, but lean toward Outstanding. I really had a wonderful time- our group was great, Nina was a joy as our tour director, local guides were excellent, and range of experiences were more than I expected in 7 full days and 2 partial days. My only complaint is there was not enough time in Firenze - wished I had known that we were only going to spend about 1.5 days there so that I could have planned an extra day on there on my own.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I have more than one but if I have to choose just one I guess it would be the views of the Cinque Terre on the hike from Vernazza to Monterosso - so many superlative, breathtaking views first in the direction of Vernazza and beyond and then coming down to Monterosso. I have had a professional picture of the Cinque Terre in my office for over a decade and getting to see where that picture was taken for myself and taking numerous pictures of my own was truly a big "wow" moment for me!"

Linda

Hubbardston, MA

Tour: 06/13/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

seamless, well organized, from the pretrip planning and education to the trip itself I felt prepared and energized. The "no grump" mantra worked like a charm: there was not a deadbeat in the group!!!!!!! Our guide Nina was exceptional in making every person feel like they were her only concern. Pace,every other night meals kept the group co hesive and the free time suggestions and maps were invaluable in allowing us to feel like capable travelers

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I was moved to tears at Cinque Tere My room was PHENONMINAL and the Hotel family was so committed and artful. Just loved the pesto demo and will fondly use the lesson in the future w wonderful remembrances The water, beach, conviviality of that place will reside in my heart!"

Barbara

Los Angeles, CA

Tour: 06/13/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My husband and I chose the Heart Of Italy tour for our honeymoon. We had never traveled with a tour group before, but we watch Rick Steve's t.v. show almost every night and knew it would be a great experience. The tour was very organized and well balanced with free time and group gatherings. Nina was an absolute delight to have as a guide and our group was a lot of fun. I also very much enjoyed the local tour guides in Rome, Volterra, Lucca and Florence. The food and hotels were excellent!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It is so hard to pick a favorite "wow" moment. The Pantheon in Rome was so spectacular. Also the view from the hotel in Cinque Terre overlooking the Mediterranean."

Edward

Huntsville, AL

Tour: 06/13/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was great; informative, educational, scenic and all the rest but at the core it was simply fun. It felt like an extend party.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Chasing down and viewing Caravaggio's paintings was definitely my "wow" moment. I have read about and studied him and his paintings for more than 40 years. I have more than a dozen books on Caravaggio but to finally be there standing three feet in front of the painting literally produced goose bumps and took my breath away. It's trilling to be such a nerd."

Julie

Gainesville, FL

Tour: 06/13/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It's difficult to describe what a wonderful experience this tour was! I went to the Rick Steve's website for help with planning the trip, and when I discovered that y'all do tours, my planning was done...what a great decision! I must admit the "one carry-on and a backpack" was almost a deal-breaker for me, but I was inspired by all the commentary about "you'll never go back to checked baggage". Your packing cubes were THE best investment, and it was so liberating to travel this way!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Seeing all the fun being had on our dinner together that first night in Rome. You probably hear this often, but our group dynamic was just wonderful...Nina was the most awesome guide I can imagine, and the "cast of characters" was perfect. My concern that the boys would be bored with only two other "kids" on the tour was put to rest when they were falling out of their chairs over RG(age 65)informing the waiter that the eggplant was so good he'd "like his wife to lick it off his chest". Hahaha!"

Richard

Sugar Land, TX

Tour: 06/13/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Great group of people on the trip. Wonderful variety and pace of locations and activities. We really appreciated the balance of scheduled activity vs. free time.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Snorkel in Cinque Terre!"

Robert

Harlan, IA

Tour: 06/08/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Wonderful first time tour because Robyn was a great tour guide; the pace of the tour was ideal; good bunch of co-travelers; never waited in line(thanks to Robyn); and beautiful sights.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"David in the Accadamie in Florence and St. Peters Basilica in Rome. Their beauty in beyond words."

Brent

Alpine, UT

Tour: 06/08/14

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

We had a wonderful trip. We enjoyed getting to know the other travelers in our group, and Robin was very helpful. We had read so many rave reviews prior to our trip that we probably had unrealistic expectations. I wouldn't say the tour lived up to every rave review, but it was a great experience, and I would certainly recommend the Rick Steve's tour to others.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I would say my favorite wow moment on the tour was the hike between Monterosso and Vernazza. When we got near the top of the trail you could see the small Cinque Terre villages along the Italian Rivera, and it was absolutely breathtaking."

Kimberly

Tacoma, WA

Tour: 06/08/14

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

It was a great tour, and will do it again!

Robert

Meridian, ID

Tour: 06/08/14

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Great group of people. I was a little concerned since in the introduction meeting the tour group had two sets of people traveling together; one group of eight and the other of six. However, these folks interacted wonderfully with the rest of the tour group.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"When we visited the Medici chapel, you first go through a small museum which had some interesting artifact. Then through the rear of the museum you enter the Medici chapel - WOW - the visual effect was amazing!"

Michael

Santa Barbara, CA

Tour: 06/01/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I had a really nice time. First time on a travel tour, so that was pleasant outcome. Nina did a great job and the local guides also added a lot to the experience. I thought the mix of organized and free time was good. I am glad we had organized group meals. They were some of the best times.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Cannot even come close to picking. People, art, architecture - so much of it was incredible. The tours and time in Volterra and Lucca were great. I love to walk cities, and they were all so memorable. Listening to the monks in San Miniato al Monte, then watching the sunset glint off the face of the church - wow!"

Lauri

Beaverton, OR

Tour: 06/01/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The balance between arranged tours and individual exploration time was wonderful. It was great to experience the Rick Steves philosophy in action, and I appreciated everything about the tour planning and execution.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The winetasting event in Volterra. Our tour group members had reached a level of comfort with each other to start bonding more. With enough familiarity and wine, the silliness and laughter started, and just kept going :)"

Michael

Faribault, MN

Tour: 06/01/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our first Rick Steves tour and it will not be our last! The Heart of Italy Tour was amazing, not only did we see Italy but we meet a great group of people and had a great guide in Nina. The group dinners, hotels and transportation were first class.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Stepping off the bus in Volterra and seeing the hill country and getting off the train in Cingue Terre Villages."

Andrew

Smyrna, GA

Tour: 06/01/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Good mix of scripted and unscripted tour events.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Swimming off the coast of Cinque Terre."

Marie

Smyrna, GA

Tour: 06/01/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I really enjoyed the trip to Volterra. It was incredible."

Deborah

Salem, OR

Tour: 06/01/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I really enjoyed the tour. We had such a great group and I loved everything we did.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Going to Volterra. There is something about that old Italian town that made me feel like I was home. I was sad that we only were able to spend two days there. Visiting Volterra makes me want to go back and spend more time in there. My other "wow" moment was stepping out of the train station in Cinca Terra. It was breath taking."

Allison

Golden Valley, MN

Tour: 06/01/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I have never been on a tour before and wasn't sure what to expect, but I absolutely loved it! I loved learning about the cities we were in from Nina and then having a lot of time to explore them on our own. It was a perfect mix of information and adventure. I would definitely do another tour through Rick Steves.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were so many wow moments with the amount of history that is in Italy, but I think my favorite was Cinque Terre and just the beauty of being by the sea. We loved Vernazza and spent a lot of time lounging on the rocks and jumping into the sea. It doesn't get much better than that!"

Paul

Granbury, TX

Tour: 05/25/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Loved Italy.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Seeing The David sculpture in the Academia in Florence."

Donna

Granbury, TX

Tour: 05/25/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I had never signed up for a tour before but I've been a fan of Rick Steves for many years and always thought that one of his tours would be fun. I was looking for a mix of free time and structured time and the chance to see Italy beyond the large cities. All of my goals were met by this tour and it exceeded by expectations. It was probably the least stressful vacation we've had in a long time because we didn't have to worry about logistics other than getting to Rome on the first day.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Looking out at the Tuscan countryside initially from the bus and then from Volterra were "wow" moments for me. I had only seen those iconic landscapes in movies or travel magazines and it was surreal to see the perfectly manicured villas and tree-lines roads. It was magical."

Kerry

Dallas, TX

Tour: 05/25/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

the time of our lives... very much appreciated the RSteve's philosophy of experiencing as much "non-touristy" stuff as possible... nice blend of scheduled touring & on-your-own time... happy to recommend to anyone... and we'll take another Rick Steve's tour again... LOVED Italy!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"hard to choose... Volterra, the whole thing... David, in Florence ... Pieta in St. Peter's Basilica"

James

Mill Creek, WA

Tour: 05/23/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Absolutely wonderful. The tour itinerary was clearly well thought out, timed and [INVALID]d by the Rick Steves group.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Looking down from the hillside hiking trails to the various towns along the Cinque Terra."

Cathryn

League City, TX

Tour: 05/23/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Fantastic family vacation! This was our first RS tour and it truly exceeded our expectations. Karin shared so much information as she led us through a great educational, cultural adventure. It was a perfect mix of education/entertainment and excitement/relaxation. We will always remember the amazing sights of Italy, the delicious food and the wonderful fellow-travelers.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"So many WOW moments! I literally gasped when I saw some of the beautiful views in Cinque Terre. The artwork in the many museums took my breath away. Viewing the city of Florence from the tower of our hotel was stunning. Dancing late at night with our tour-buddies was a blast. The endless quest for the best gelato provided many "wow" moments :)"

Daniel

Cleveland, OH

Tour: 05/23/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It more than met my expectiatons.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Manarola Vineyard Hike and the whole Cinque Terre area. Volterra was a great city to visit and stay at. Groups dinners were nice."

Ginny

Village Mills, TX

Tour: 05/23/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Well organized. Appreciated tour guides expertise. All participants were friendly and eager to work together to have a positive experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Stepping into St. Peter's. Awed. Loved the view of the Med at Cinque Terre. The David."

Rosemary

Fairport, NY

Tour: 05/23/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Enlightening enthusiastic guide who truly loved her vocation. Very excellent group of people with a range of ages. Extremely active which is what I wanted to keep up my stamina and future ability to travel. I am 67 and want to maintain a very active lifestyle as long as I am able.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Taking my day off from vacation to relax in Levanto by sitting at the wonderful Mediterranean watching the surfers, walking along the streets looking in shops, having a caipirinha at a beach bar with my niece, having lunch with my new friend Honey in Levanto who was also taking vacation from vacation. My hotel in Levanto had a wrap around balcony where I could see the Mediterranean , feel the breeze, and observe all the hikers with backpacks walking below."

Carol

Beaumont, TX

Tour: 05/23/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This trip was more than I ever imagined it would be. Karin was an excellent guide and we had such a great group to travel with. Would recommend this tour to anyone.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Definitely seeing The David!"

Dana

Mill Creek, WA

Tour: 05/23/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had an awesome trip. We balanced out the tour with two add'l days in Rome, one add'l day in Florence and three nights in London. So we had the perfect balance of a portion of our trip totally on our own, and the rest with a group. I would recommend a Rick Steves tour to anyone - absolutely great!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were so many great moments, I appreciated each place we visited. I think hiking from town to town in Cinque Terra was great, the views were awesome!"

Lucretia

Richmond, VA

Tour: 05/23/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The Heart of Italy was truly outstanding. Karen was an excellent, knowledgeable and fun guide. In addition, we had excellent specific tour guides at museums, locales, etc. I truly enjoyed everything that we did on the tour [INVALID] the choice of places to visit, the museums, discovering the local culture and the food! I was very impressed with the balance of group time and individual time [INVALID] just perfect.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Visiting Volterra and viewing the Tuscany countryside!"

Cheryl

Boise, ID

Tour: 05/23/14

Overall rating: rating 3 of 5

Blend of history, culture, nature, cuisine and art.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Viewing David in Florence"

Paul

Edmonds, WA

Tour: 05/18/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our guide, Virginia, was just so nice and full of information. And Fun!! We enjoyed having the afternoons as free time to do as we wished and also enjoyed meeting with our group later for dinner or some little tour. I think we would recommend this tour to anyone especially if they don't really like planning and making reservation on their own. Perfect for us.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I really like the Tuscany region. I loved the3 countryside and the fabulous views. I'm not sure of one particular Wow moment though."

Mary Beth

Nashville, TN

Tour: 05/18/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We enjoyed every aspect of our Heart of Italy tour, led by the fabulous Virginia ! The locations were interesting and beautiful and everywhere you looked you felt the need to take a picture. The hotels were very nice and the staff were always friendly and helpful. We loved the variety in our meals, from the multi-course dinners to our special group lunches at the Italian Autogrill, they bonded our group together. It was a fun-filled, educational week that exceeded our expectations!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I think my favorite "wow" moment was opening our room window in Cinque Terre and finding the most beautiful view of the sparkling ocean below. It was an amazing way to wake up each morning, especially knowing that we got to go downstairs and enjoy the tasty breakfast at Hotel Pasquale!"

Janice

Cameron Park, CA

Tour: 05/18/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Smooth. Tour went without any real hitches and when one almost occurred our guide was prepared and no glitches occurred.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Seeing David. The guides set us up for a spectacular first sighting."

Amy

Clackamas, OR

Tour: 05/18/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We were so impressed with the Rick Steve's tour of the Heart of Italy. It exceeded our expectations! Neither my husband or I have ever been on a tour and we were very reluctant to take one because of the thought of being herded around like cattle. It was so not like that and that is what we loved about it. We had a great time getting to know everyone on the trip and loved that there was such a variety of ages.Our We loved every part of the tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Our favorite "wow" moment I would have to say was Volterra. We had never even heard of this place and were excited to see it. It was beyond amazing. The history of this town alone and the fact we were in such an ancient place was surreal. Our tour guide did an excellent job walking us around the village and giving us detailed history of all the significant places."

Janet

Torrance, CA

Tour: 05/18/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The guides on the Rick Steves' tours are amazing. Virginia was enthusiastic and knowledgeable. She was right - the food at the Autogrill was really good. A great group of people and great hotels and food.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Cinque Terre was so beautiful and having time to explore on a lovely day was a wow. The view from my hotel window was amazing. Also - walking in and seeing the David for the first time was overwhelming - even if people have been telling me how amazing it is. Has to be experienced to really feel it."

John

Cameron Park, CA

Tour: 05/18/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Guided tours through the museums were all outstanding with knowledge. The free day to explore the Cinque Terre was placed at just the right time in the trip.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Arrival in the Cinque Terre and first seeing the ocean view."

Maureen

Richardson, TX

Tour: 05/18/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour guide was amazing! Everything was carefully planned out. The hotels and restaurants were great. I would (and have) recommended your tour to all my friends and family.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Being in Cinque Terre."

Margaret

Brentwood, TN

Tour: 05/18/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was an amazing experience. It included an expertly put together itinerary that ensured that we saw the highlights of our destinations. We had so much fun and learned so much about the language, culture, and history of Italy.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"This is incredibly tough to try to answer. My sister and I hiked from Monterosso in the morning of our second day. After climbing one of many staircases, we rounded a bend and suddenly saw Vernazza's charming colorful rooftops, standing out in the beautiful tree-ed hills with the waves crashing. It was stunning."

Roger

Wichita, KS

Tour: 05/18/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Everything was very well thought out. The pace was great, with restful days and afternoons interspersed at just the right times. Tour group size was perfect and bus travel was very comfortable, with Virginia making it fun. I'd do a Rick Steves tour again and again; this was top of the line. It's hard to imagine a tour being better than ours.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Wow moment: The first moment I saw Michelangelo's "David." A month later I was still getting choked up telling people about it. (By the way, having read the first chapter of Malcolm Gladwell's David and Goliath added to the experience.) Wow moments: Sitting down to dinner each night. I had no idea dining could be that tasty and fun all the time."

James

Okotoks, AB

Tour: 05/16/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The overall experience was excellent, we will definitely do it again! I liked the blend of group activities and free time. If you wanted help or information, it was always there, but you could do your own thing at times. One of the guides talked about being a traveller, not a tourist. That really hit home for me - this type of tour will let you be a traveller, and get to know the places you`re visiting a little bit better.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The time we spent in Volterra was the best for me. The local guide Annie who lives there, married to a local man, really brought the history of the town to life for me. The combination of the beauty of the area, and the history of the area was very powerful. When we learned more about the town's history during the sacking from Florence, and the occupation during WWII, I really got a sense of the people's pride in where they lived and who they are, and what it might have been like."

Veronica

Setauket, NY

Tour: 05/16/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I was very happy with Rick Steves' Tour. Our Guide- Nina was friendly, knowledgeable and truly passionate about her work. Our experience was going to be a good one!. I enjoyed everyone in our group. Our hotel experience was positive- accommodations were neat and clean and the attendants were friendly and helpful. The city guides were excellent. Food was delicious and mini excursions like wine tasting were great. I will definitely recommend Rick Steves' to others!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Vatican in Rome- was so amazing, the history, St Peter's Basilica, The Sistine Chapel- breathtaking."

Paige

Okotoks, AB

Tour: 05/16/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my first tour ever and I was so impressed with the experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My wow moment was the great group of people in our tour group. Italy is a fantastic country and I loved seeing the `Heart` of it and I was so impressed with the people I was able to share this experience with."

Mary

Leawood, KS

Tour: 05/16/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I enjoyed the tour immensely. My expectations of the overall Italian experience was very high since I had been waiting many years for my "dream trip". I wasn't disappointed. Our guide, Nina Dierckx was very knowledgable, intuitive and fun. Having some planned activities and a block of free time each day provided a good balance. The group was very cohesive and really bonded. Choices for cities and sites met our needs. We did add extra time in Rome and Venice to the trip on our own.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I loved hiking the trails of Cinque Terre. My many wow moments were looking down on the cities after a challenging climb. I was happy to go back to Levanto to stay since the main cities were so crowded."

Barbara

Huntington Beach, CA

Tour: 05/16/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my first Rick Steves tour and definitely not my last. This was by far the best vacation I have ever been on! I was kind of concerned going solo, but not to worry! I had the very best group of travelers I could have ever dreamed of, and had a fabulous time! Besides the best group, I had the best guide, the best hotels, the best group meals, and the most fun and educational experiences! I'm almost afraid that no other trip could top this one!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were several, but walking into the little town of Volterra was like someplace out of a storybook. Loved it there! Also, walking the trails in the Cinque Terra and seeing the Mediterranean for the first time. Beautiful! Also, David and the Duomo in Florence were definitely WOW moments. Honestly, the whole trip was a "pinch me" experience!"

Diana

Woodbridge, VA

Tour: 05/16/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour experience was excellent. We had just the right mix of group time and personal time. Nina was an excellent guide. She provided support as we needed it and was always sharing information as well as, personal stories. The restaurants that we ate at as a group were outstanding. We would not have been able to find all of these restaurants if we had been on our own. I would definitely encourage others to take this tour and I would consider taking another Rick Steve's tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were so many!!!! A "wow" moment for me was spending time at the colosseum and the forum in Rome. The history and time span for this area was amazing. The town of Volterra - the history of the Etruscans and the history of the town. Cinque Terra was beautiful. We had perfect weather and we were able to hike between the towns."

Timothy

Setauket, NY

Tour: 05/16/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Best vacation I've had in my 54 years. The hotels were situated ideally close to major attractions and were clean, comfortable with pleasant personnel. Our leader Nina was full of knowledge and advice that helped us make the most of our time both with the group and on our own. the guides at the attractions were energetic and fun to listen to and had passion about the places we were at. The food was good and healthy, and the rest of the tour group was fabulous.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Too many to list"

Dominic

Belmont, NY

Tour: 05/16/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Taking our first trip to Italy we thought a RS tour would helps us navigate through the business details of the experience. We were right! Great hotels, smack in the middle of the action, museum and bus tickets ready for us, a comfortable bus between cities and fantastic dinners took care of virtually all the details on the tour. Experienced guides, fantastic meals and our group's camaraderie made this trip an unforgettable experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It REALLY is difficult to pick one moment that stood out but if I had to pick just one I'd give the nod to the dinner in Levanto. It started with our host (and cook) Carlo, who welcomed us with a glass of Prosecco and a pesto-making demonstration. A seafood lover, I was knocked over by the variety and number of seafood dishes that he had prepared for us. Every taste bud I had was awoken at that meal...and the limoncello!"

Sam

Santa Rosa, CA

Tour: 05/16/14

Overall rating: rating 3 of 5

First tour for me as all previous travel on my own. Good value, excellent tour guide and nice mix of hectic and relaxing. Nina's charm, sense of humor and ability to quickly define the Italian culture was refreshing.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Voltare was pleasant surprise. Rome is necessary evil...overwhelming but so necessary if visiting Italy for first time."

Mark

Elmwood Park, NJ

Tour: 05/16/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

the tour was everything and more than what I expected. Our guide (Nina) was exceptional, the local guides very informative and the tour group all jelled like family

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Vatican was my wow moment. The Sistine chapel is something that has to be experienced to fully appreciate it. Saint Peter's is so enormous that photos don't do it justice"

Bobbie

Huntersville, NC

Tour: 05/16/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

WOW! I could stretch that out to 500 characters, but I couldn't say it better! The length of the tour and depth of information was excellent and about all I could take in at one time. Also, I was glad we started with Rome, as it was intense and I was ready, but it also laid the groundwork for so much of the history.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I loved Volterra, and also Lucca. It was fascinating to experience that much history still flowing and appreciated by modern inhabitants. All of our guides were excellent and shared our enthusiasm; it was just fantastic!"

Lorraine

Elmwood Park, NJ

Tour: 05/16/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Overall, the tour was a great experience. We had a wonderful group of people and Nina was exceptional. Besides offering information about the sights and places, she was able to share experiences of living in Italy. There was a good balance of togetherness and being off on our own. Nina provided valuable information and guidance to help us enjoy our own time.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I was wowed in Volterra when we looked over the wall and saw the Roman Amphitheater. Nina did a good job of ensuring the surprise."

Kathie

Lenexa, KS

Tour: 05/16/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The whole experience was wonderful. We stayed at very nice, comfortable hotels. Everything went right on schedule and transport from one place to another was efficient and comfortable. The dinners that were provided were delicious and fun. Our group could not have been better. Everyone was cooperative and friendly and they would be people I would love to travel with again. The Heart of Italy tour took us to wonderful cities although we added Venice on our own after the tour.

Ray

Alachua, FL

Tour: 05/16/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Another great Rick Steves' tour that delivered everything as promised and met my expectations. There is much value in time and more sightseeing opportunities when someone else makes all of the arrangements.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Cinque Terre definitely! I have been watching Rick Steves' travel shows for 20 years and always wanted to visit the Cinque Terre. Everything was awesome - the mountains, the sea, the hiking, the weather and the food. Such incredible views on the Vernazza-Monterosso trail and a cold beer waiting at the end of the trail in Monterosso!"

David

Leawood, KS

Tour: 05/16/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Just the right mixture of planned activities and free time.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The coliseum."

Vanita

San Jose, CA

Tour: 05/11/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Outstanding experience. Excellent local guides and Karin is awesome.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"During our second day in Rome I thought about how there are real people living real, modern lives among all the history of the place, and the juxtaposition of the "now" against the "ancient" is something that we don't experience in America. Walking in the Colosseum and the Forum and realizing we were following the footsteps of people who lived there over 20 centuries ago -- that was a "wow" moment."

Robert

Lilburn, GA

Tour: 05/11/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I had high expectations for an enjoyable tour having followed Rick Steves on PBS for the past few years. I was completely surprised by the experience because it far exceeded my hopes. The planning and professionalism displayed were awesome.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"A couple in our group had celebrated their fiftieth. The Rick Steves people were notified by the couple's daughter and we had the opportunity to share their moment thanks to our tour guide Karin. It was a very touching scene at one of our group dinners and very much appreciated by everybody in our group. This was not the only personal touch during the tour. It seems the Rick Steves people go out of their way to make their tours special experiences."

Gary

South San Francisco, CA

Tour: 05/11/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our tour was better than our wildest expectations! All the tour guides were infomative,personal, and fun to be with. Especially Karin. We enjoyed the history and art expertise of our guides. Very enjoyable and educational for me. We saw more of Italy in a better format than if we had tried on our own. Yet still had enough time to ourself. Outstanding! Thank You and all your staff. Sincerely Gary

Favorite "WOW" moment

"2000 year old arciteure,the skill of the craftsmen and artists. Michelangelo!s DAVID."

Debra

Minneapolis, MN

Tour: 05/11/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Destinations were all fabulous. There was a nice balance between art and historical sites in Rome and Florence with the more peaceful, beauty of the smaller towns and countryside of Volterra, Lucca and the Cinque Terre. This tour also was well balanced in the amount of tour group time and on your own time. What made this tour great was the special events like the wine tasting, the alabaster demo, the pesto demo and the special dinners, none of which could have been experienced on our own!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I celebrated my birthday on the day we were in Volterra. After the alabaster demo, I decided I wanted to buy the alabaster bowl that was made while we were watching. When we went back to the studio to buy it, we discovered that it had already been sold. Later that evening at the wine tasting, I discovered that Karin found out it was my birthday, purchased that bowl and gave it to me as a birthday present from the entire tour group making it the best day and the most memorable birthday ever."

David

Commerce Township, MI

Tour: 05/11/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Karin is an exceptional tour guide, knowledgeable, experienced and fun to follow! We had exceptional weather (I've already forgotten the 2 hours of light rain just before we left Rome). Our tour group was exceptional, ready for adventure and fun. Did I mention that everything was exceptional? This was our first Rick Steves Tour and it won't be our last. What I liked most was that the tour insures you experience the "must see" sites, while providing plenty of time for on your own exploring.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Every single day was a "wow" moment day. If I must pick one moment, I would say that the half day we spent in Lucca was my "wow" of "wow"s. It was so charming! To some extent, I think the city walls keep this beautiful town isolated and protected from the hussle and bussle of today's world."

Cheryl

Commerce Township, MI

Tour: 05/11/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was the first group tour we had ever taken - two previous trips to Europe were on our own. We had a wonderful time and really loved our tour members. Our group clicked right away and we had a blast. It was great to have someone else do the heavy lifting so we could just show up and enjoy! Clearly, being on a Rick Steve's tour brought much clout based on the reaction of shop keepers, restaurants, hotels. Can't wait to sign up for another trip!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My wow was when we first saw Cinque Terre - breathtaking!!"

Louis

Minneapolis, MN

Tour: 05/11/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The entire tour was fantastic - it was a perfect balance of scheduled activity and free time, of seeing historical sites and experiencing the culture of the region. We had a terrific group of 28 people, got to know each other well and had a lot of fun traveling together. This was my first Rick Steves' tour - but I'm a huge fan. We will definitely do another one soon.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"We visited an alabaster shop in Volterra where we watched an artisan create a bowl for our group. It was my wife's birthday, and without our knowledge, our tour guide, Karin, arranged to have the bowl given to her as a surprise birthday present. It was a very special moment thanks to Karin."

Laura Lee

Kaysville, UT

Tour: 05/11/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Great experience, I will defiantly use Rick Steves again when I travel to Europe!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My wow moment was seeing the countryside of Italy. I loved Tuscany, it was so beautiful and peaceful."

Kathryn

Tucson, AZ

Tour: 05/11/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Wonderful tour guide, wonderful group of fellow-travelers, wonderful sites. I loved my tour

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Loved Volterra and Cinque Terre (but then I loved the whole thing)"

Shelly

Temecula, CA

Tour: 05/11/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The Heart of Italy Tour was nothing less than spectacular! This was my first time to Europe, and it will not be my last. The people we met, the food was incredible, beautiful country. The tour provided excellent planning for what we came to Italy for, and ample free time too. We as tour guests met as strangers, and said goodbye as friends. The overall experience exceeded any expectations I had; it only kept getting better along the way! Wonderful experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"ALL of it !! The Italian culture, the FOOD, the people. Ancient Rome to the Vatican! Sistine chapel To be able to walk on a road that Julius Caesar walked on; to be inside the Sistene Chapel where Michelangelo spent 4 years painting! Volterra and Lucca's charms. The people of Italy. Cinque Terre to Florence. The Italian countryside was gorgeous! And again, the food!! The entire tour was a "WOW" moment!!"

Randall

Buffalo Grove, IL

Tour: 05/09/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I loved it. The guides were all very knowledgeable, the scenery (both urban and rural) were spectacular. The relatively small group (27) made traveling as a group enjoyable. And nearly everyone in the group was a joy to know. The days were a nice mix of group activities and independent time.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The group dinners were one of my favorite parts of the tour (I love trying new foods), though some of the other activities (e.g., the wine tasting in Volterra) were quite memorable as well. The drive through Tuscany on the way to Volterra was gorgeous. Actually, most of the tour was spectacular (we had great weather, which helps immensely)."

Edward

Fallbrook, CA

Tour: 05/09/14

Overall rating: rating 3 of 5

I think there were pros and cons of the tour. In my opinion 27 people is too large a group. I also feel that there has to be a better way to transport baggage from the bus to the hotels. It is not you fault that the Vatican does not limit the number of people allowed in at one time. So the Rome experience was not so hot. The rest of the trip was really good.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Walking down the street from our hotel in Levanto and seeing the Mediterranean."

Denise

Fredericksburg, VA

Tour: 05/09/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our tour was a wonderful experience. I would recommend Rick Steves tours to my friends. We will most likely try another tour. Everything was well organized and all details were taken care of for us.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My "wow" moment was seeing Michelangelo's David. It was very beautiful and pictures do not do it justice. It is magnificent!"

Martha

San Diego, CA

Tour: 05/09/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Wonderful group of people, excellent guides, great itinerary!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Fantastic guide of the vatican and sistine chapel. Our guide made me so appreciate something that I had seen before but never really understood! That and our fantastic group meals...such fun and so fantastically delicious!"

David

Fredericksburg, VA

Tour: 05/09/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We have toured major European/Asian cities on our own before. We wanted to see the major cities in Italy but also some of the smaller towns. We found ourselves with a very short travel window that was coming up fast. We went with the Rick Steves Heart of Italy Tour and it met what we were looking for. We enjoyed the other people we met on the tour. We found the meals to be something to really look forward to. Our guide was really first class!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Seeing the Sistine Chapel. I had seen TV and articles on it but just walking in and looking up..."

Laurie

North Richland Hills, TX

Tour: 05/09/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Donald White was an excellent tour leader-very knowledgable-would have liked to have had a little more time with him but I understand he is trying to please 27 people and checking on arrangemetns for other upcoming tours. I am not a "tour" person but the way your tour was constructed I felt I had plenty of time away from the group so my husband and I could venture on our own without any of the hassles of transportaion and accomadations.The dinners we did have together were excellent

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Cinque Terre - strenuous hike but worth it- breath taking view around every corner! Runner up Uffizi Gallery - Cindy was a Great guide - massive change in the museum since I last saw it 30 years ago!"

Frank

Anaheim, CA

Tour: 05/09/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Well organized and well paced. Saw a lot in 9 days.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Seeing Michelangelo's David."

Mary

Fallbrook, CA

Tour: 05/09/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Each day was packed with interesting sights and facts. The meals were fantastic and hotels well appointed and in very close proximity to the areas of interest. There is no way we could have experienced the flavors Italy in such a personal way without the tour and fabulous guide.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"While in Volterra, we were standing in the archway of the ancient city gate. The guide was explaning the heroism of the citizens during the seige by the WWII German forces. I looked at the "still intact" gateway and the plaque honoring the valient Volterran effort and felt the chill of history beyond a textbook!"

Janet

Cincinnati, OH

Tour: 05/09/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our guide Donald was great. He made the most of the time we spent on bus and pre-tour to make sure we would all get the most out of every visit and place. Kudos to him for making us a cohesive group who enjoyed meeting new friends while we visited so many wonderful locations. And the weather cooperated nicely! Italy in May is a treat, sunny days, cool evenings, it was just perfect. The meals on our tour were feasts, each one providing great local tastes with food and wine.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Sistine chapel. It really does meet all expectations, and thanks to our guide we were able to see so much. a real joy."

Lexie

Arlington, VA

Tour: 05/09/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We were very impressed with our guide and with the local guides that worked with our tour group. They were all excellent. I very much liked the pace of the daily activities and the variety of activities. I appreciated that we got a good bit of time for our own explorations, as well as the great tours.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There are just too many "wow" moments, but walking into the Accademia and seeing the statue of David was breathtaking. Then so was approaching the Cinque Terre by boat and seeing the Sisteen Chapel ceiling."

Susan

Temecula, CA

Tour: 05/09/14

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

I really enjoyed the whole tour. Donald White was an excellent tour guide. The only difficult part of the tour for me were the local guides. At the Vatican Museum tour the local lady was hard to understand because of her strong Italian accent. There was a lot of standing in one place while she spoke and it was boring since she was so hard to understand. The same at the Colosseum. That lady was also Italian and her accent was difficult to understand.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I loved going to Lucca and riding a bicycle on the city wall. Another WOW was going to Cinque Terre. I hiked from Monterosso to Vernazza and it was fantastic. Also the hotel in Levanto made us an amazing buffet dinner. It was so delicious!"

Patrick

Kailua Kona, HI

Tour: 05/04/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Great organization, very tightly scheduled to maximize experience and number of sights. Guides all very professional and knowledgable. Good mix of free time with advice on other sites and experiences to see. Accommodations were all very nice, clean and extremely well located. I would say that the locations all allowed for easy self navigation of areas and also cut down on travel time either walking or transiting to areas. Ideal for walking to sites and neighborhoods.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Cinque Terra - location of hotels, and 'feast' night with the owners of the hotel. 'Pesto' experience was great! Having dinner in Volterra at local eatery Annie and Stephanie recommended - we turned on Andreas Bochelli song at our table for more ambiance and one of the owners/daughters came by and said ="oh you like him? We went to school together...when you leave you'll drive by his mother's house, you should stop and say hello to her for me."

John

St Joseph, MO

Tour: 05/04/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Good to Great

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Chinque Terra and Rome night walk"

Mike

Kerrville, TX

Tour: 05/04/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

All aspects of the tour were handled with professionalism. Very enjoyable time.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"All of the historic sites in Rome."

Paul

Seattle, WA

Tour: 05/04/14

Overall rating: rating 3 of 5

Our Tour was VERY GOOD and the best part of our trip to Italy. The tour is so compact with information, education and experiences. The term tour is exactly what is. You can not call it a relaxing vacation. Perfect for me!

Carrie

Allentown, PA

Tour: 05/04/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Magical! The perfect balance between organized activities and free time. Meals together allowed friendships to develop and generated lots of laughter. Perfect combination of big cities and small towns. Excellent choices of towns for historical reasons--I never would have gone to many of them on my own--good flow of busy days and relaxing days.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"This is a tough question--there were so many. In the end, the thing I remember most are the people, the conversations over meals and the stories and laughs we shared together. I'm still smiling everyday as I think about this trip. I wish I could repeat it again and again. It was truly a special time. I miss saying Bongiorno to everyone every morning at breakfast."

Jim

Youngsville, LA

Tour: 05/04/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Great trip. We had a great tour guide (Stephanie) and a fun group of people. Lots of walking but that is the best way to see the sights. Rick's phrase book really helped and it was fun to try to use Italian with meal ordering, transportation on our own and with shops and vendors. Using local transportation as a group with our guide, eg the Metro and city buses, in Rome instilled confidence and was fun. The local guides we picked up in Florence, The Vatican, and Voltera were great also.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"walk from Monterosso to Vernaza and exploring towns on our own. Also the "feasts" we had as a group"

Arnie

Edmond, OK

Tour: 05/04/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I enjoyed the tour very much. I liked the educational aspect, especially the "classes" on Pesto, Alabaster and Wine. I definitely felt I got my money's worth.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Florence was great. Smaller city than Rome and easier to navigate with an abundance of art to appreciate."

Deborah

Irmo, SC

Tour: 05/04/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our Heart of Italy experience could not have been better. We were blessed with the perfect tour guide, exceptional food and accommodations, and wonderful fellow travelers. The tour was everything I hoped it would be. The pace was perfect for the active traveler. For anyone contemplating a Rick Steves tour, I would say read his books and watch his documentaries. What you read/see is what you get.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I loved it all. So many great memories to savor."

Frederick

Irmo, SC

Tour: 05/04/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

trip was as advertised and more than what we wanted, including a great group of traveling companions.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"No particular moment, our first trip to Italy and first Rick Steves tour, entire trip rated a wow moment."

Jean

St Joseph, MO

Tour: 05/04/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Very organized. Delivered more than was promised.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Cinque Terre...relaxing and beautiful. A nice respite from museums."

Gail

Seattle, WA

Tour: 05/04/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We loved the experience. We traveled for another week and a half after the tour ended and we missed having things planned and run smoothly.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"This was a trip we planned on taking for years they were all wow moments in there own way."

Gary

Columbus, OH

Tour: 04/27/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Wonderful experience with a small and lively group. Tour guide and site specific guides were great with lots of knowledge. Everything always felt very organized and according to plan, even when plans changing.

Eileen

Dedham, MA

Tour: 04/27/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Tour guides were outstanding!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Vatican"

Cheryl

Encinitas, CA

Tour: 04/27/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my first tour and I did go alone, and I have to say it met all my expectations and more. The tour guide was outstanding. She had a great sense of humor and ability to guide all of us without seeming overbearing. She was very knowledgeable and gave us many extra tidbits about life in Italy. Her assistant was also very helpful, and a nice compliment to Nina. Sarah was quieter, but very capable and always ready to assist. The itinerary was complete and full.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Watching the sun rise in Volterra. Such a beautiful village."

Ella

Grapevine, TX

Tour: 04/27/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Nina and Sarah were wonderful, they made the trip so meaningul! The places we stayed, the tours we attended and the food was all great. The people in our tour group were also a fun group to be with, so it added to the experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"That is a difficult question...there was so much WOW. The tour of the Colosseum...WOW. The journey to Volterra and then how beautiful the town and the wine tasting...WOW. Cinque Terre beautiful village and beach...WOW."

Robert

Apopka, FL

Tour: 04/27/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Glad that my wife and I did this tour. We've been traveling on our own (using the RS books), but we felt that Italy was overwhelming. Now we are much more confident about tackling hill towns and the Cinque Terre. We also learned how to use an establishment's restroom. Just order an espresso! The tour was well organized and the members were an interesting mix of folks. At the first evening meal members got to know each other, but I never felt that we had too much togetherness.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Entering the Colosseum and feeling very small. All of our guides kept explaining how the size of the buildings and statues were built to impress visitors and enemies with the rulers' power and wealth. Even with half the walls gone, the Colosseum still impresses."

Gail

Apopka, FL

Tour: 04/27/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We've been traveling on our own in Europe using RS books, but decided to tackle Italy on a RS tour. This tour reinforced our good practices, but more important, took us to Tuscan hill towns and the Cinque Terre, which we might not have done on our own. I also learned the value of a good local guide; quoted prices always seemed high to me but now I realize how much time a local guide can save while also providing valuable insights on artwork that make a museum tour that much more enlightening.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Entering the Colosseum blew me away. Local guide Francesca prepared us for the size and grandeur of this architectural wonder, but she kept telling us that photographs and videos can't do it justice. She was so right! Standing inside, I could imagine the roar of the crowds and see all the seats filled with colorful people. Other favorite moment was spotting Rick as he was filming in Monterosso. We asked if we could take a picture with him, but he said he was rushing to catch the fading light."

Elizabeth

Dayton, MN

Tour: 04/27/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour definitely exceeded our expectations. The small group size was a real plus - we could see and hear without difficulty, and it wasn't a struggle to stay together (even in Rome). I thought the pace of the tour was good - the best that could be expected for the time available. (We would have loved a longer tour but couldn't take more time off work.) With two nights at each location, we weren't constantly packing/unpacking. There was a good balance of "group time" and "on our own time."

Favorite "WOW" moment

"If I absolutely have to pick just one "wow" experience, I think it would be the Etruscan arch in Volterra. It was a combination of impressions that made it extraordinary: the beauty of the arch, the skill of the builders who constructed something that has lasted so long, and the sense of ongoing history in the community. The local guide, Annie, did a very good job of telling the stories in a clear and lively way. She provided enough information without overwhelming us with details."

Nathan

Humble, TX

Tour: 04/13/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Everything was GREAT!. We had a great time, and the tour was everything we wanted and more

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Can't figure that one, the whole tour was a wow moment. Italy of course can make the wow moments easy, just by being there. But the Tour was great, toure guides were excellent. ***JAMIE*** Where is the ketchup !!???? :)"

Diane

Mercer Island, WA

Tour: 04/13/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour exceeded my expectations. Nice hotels with bathrooms, excellent food & wine, plenty of time at all sites except David, great value, super tour guides in each city plus invaluable Jamie & Laurel. The weather was perfect except one short day of rain while on the bus to Florence. Good amount of free time to break off in smaller groups with our new best friends. I learned so much about Art, History and the culture. The trip of a lifetime.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hiking the Cinque Terre down into Monterosso with a view of the Mediterranean. Finishing the hike by taking our shoes off and walking in the water then finding sea glass in the sand. Afterwards a lovely lunch, wine and gelato. Life doesn't get much better than that."

Marlo

Houston, TX

Tour: 04/13/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I kept an open mind about this tour since I had only heard via the grapevine about them. I can definitely say that I will consider trying another Rick Steve's tour in the future and have already recommended them to others. I truly enjoyed the sites we saw, the people we met, and the time it took for to get it all in. For me it was just the right pace. Jamie and Laurel were great and truly appreciate them sharing their passon and expertise with me and my family that I toured with.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My Wow was getting a birds eye view of the Cinque Terre. Me and a few others ventured up the trails by Vernazza and as we came upon a nice scenic view, my breath was taken away from the shear beauty of view. The steps going up did a nice job of that too, but I was truly in awe."

Norma

Alamo, CA

Tour: 04/13/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Overall wonderful! Great food, wonderful group and I learned a lot. Jamie is very knowledgable about the local food and wine.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favorite wow was probably the Vatican. So much history and powerful stories."

Debora

Sedona, AZ

Tour: 04/13/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I fell in love with Italy[INVALID][INVALID][INVALID][INVALID][INVALID][INVALID]- the people, food, sights, history and art combine in a kaleidoscope of whirling senses. Rome dazzles with its old and new dancing together with elbows poking into tummies, backs, and shoulders at a wildly pulsing pace. Oh, the lovely Tuscany countryside... both soothing and thrilling with Spring flowers and baby grapes climbing fragile branches. Hiking along the Mediterranean on a cliff path between Cinque Terra's villages that cling in a rainbow smear o

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My "Wow Moment" shook me to the core in increments; over the course of our journey in Italy, I realized that a gigantic wonderful world awaits me beyond my own little country's borders. We are one gigantic family!"

Peter

New Bern, NC

Tour: 04/06/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We have been to Europe a number of times, travelling on our own. This was our first time joining a tour group. Pretty much every aspect of the tour exceeded our expectations. The guides who directed the overall tour and the local guides were EXCELLENT !! The tour group participants were of all ages and backgrounds and got along extremely well. In fact, you found that you were looking after each other as though you were family.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favorite "wow" moment had to be climbing the Duomo's Dome in Florence. While the climb up was certainly a challenge, the views from the top were spectacular."

Adam

Tualatin, OR

Tour: 04/06/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was great! This was my first group tour, and it was so nice to have everything planned for me. I was able to relax, go at my own pace, and enjoy my time in Italy. The tour was the perfect blend of informative content as well as entertainment. I would go on another Rick Steve's tour in a heartbeat.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favorite "wow" moment was when we arrived in the Cinque Terre. It was so visually stunning, it's hard to put into words. When people think of Italy, I doubt they picture a place quite like that. Staying in Monterosso al Mare was perfect. A close second was seeing the Colosseum in person. The ancient Romans were so impressive and this structure speaks to that."

Ellen

Bellevue, WA

Tour: 04/06/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Very nice fellow travelers and great locations and activities. Very packed schedule.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Riding rented bicycles around the walls of Lucca on a beautiful spring day - fabulous!"

Ellen

Redmond, WA

Tour: 04/06/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had a wonderful family vacation. How fantastic that there were SIX (very nice) high school kids on the tour, four new friends for our daughters to eat group meals with! The mix of "formal/informational" tour and our-choice free time was perfect. Stephanie's excitement for knowledge and understanding of the history, art, and modern life of Italy was infectious. She turned every moment into an opportunity to understand more about the country, inc. food, language, culture, etc.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Walking around Florence, turning the corner of a regular street and seeing the Duomo for the first time. I had no idea it was so ornate, spectacular, and right there in the middle of everyday life."

Madelyn

New Bern, NC

Tour: 04/06/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

As first time tour participant, I was very pleased by level of organization as well as flexibility for free time with helpful suggestions and encouragement to venture out on our own from tour staff. The expertise of the specialists as well as their passion for the subject matter really made the tour extra special.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Walking into Piazza Navonna in the evening after a group dinner;entering St Peter's Basilica; emerging from stairs in Florence Basilica to be feet away from frescos, and walking out of train station with the view of the sea in Cinqe Terra."

Catherine

Seattle, WA

Tour: 04/06/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour exceeded my expectations _ it was exceptional! This being my 9th RS tour, I had several experiences to compare it to and enjoyed every minute. Our tour guide Stephanie and her assistant were very warm and engaging and worked hard at providing some fascinating background. I would love to travel with them again.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Entering the Forum early before any other groups were there and having it all to ourselves. It was truly like stepping back in time - the silence was eerie as well as magical."

Toni

Lyons, IL

Tour: 04/06/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was outstanding! The smaller group and lots of free time for exploring made this a great vacation. It's clear that a lot of planning and thought went into every day: the selected hotels, restaurants, tours with local guides were all just right. Everything was perfect.Stephanie and Sara were great! ALL the tour guides were clearly passionate and dedicated to sharing their Italian heritage. I would have never seen as much in so little time on my own.I have the pics to prove it!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Entering the grounds of the Forum, at 8:30 ona Tues morning and being the first ones to arrive. There was an ethereal quality surrounding the experience."

Sandra

Flushing, MI

Tour: 03/16/14

Overall rating: rating 3 of 5

Good describes it but I was not left with the overwelhming sense of WOW as I was when I traveled to Ireland and France. Some of that is because those trips were longer - I felt in Italy I was just getting warmed up and it was time to go home so the lesson for me is perhaps longer is better. I also misunderstood our time in Florence and was very disapointed at not having time to climb Brunelleschi's dome.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The view of the sea from our hotel in Montorroso was unbelieveably beautiful. That coupled with the food and the trail made that my most memorable location."

Rhonda

Prescott, AZ

Tour: 03/16/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our first Rick Steves tour and we were not disappointed. I was a little concerned about the accomodations before the trip began, but was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the rooms. Lisa was great, very welcoming to all members of the tour and the information and insight she provided was exceptional. We also enjoyed very much the mix of big city and small town experience. Overall, a wonderful experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"When we opened the french doors from our room and took in the view of Monterrosso, I was blown away. A great place to sit and take in the scenery. It was a welcome contrast to Rome. (although we thoroughly enjoyed Rome as well)"

James

Prescott, AZ

Tour: 03/16/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was such a pleasure overall, from the choice of hotels near the city centers, to the skills of Lisa & Colin, to the effortless access to museums, the Vatican, etc. Lisa was an energetic guide who provided insights into real life in Italy, made us take the city transportation and encouraged our interactions with the locals. The choice of the towns was wonderful, and in addition to the smaller towns, I was surprised at how much I liked Rome aside from the ancient wonders.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"In the Cinque Terra the choice of hotel Villa Steno in Monterosso al Mare with our great room/porch views was a definite wow, as was the view from above Vernazza from the trail into town. Culturally, always having known of the statue of David by Michelangelo for so long but actually seeing it there in Florence was amazing. Sorry - three wows here."

Mary

Liberty Lake, WA

Tour: 03/16/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Lisa and Colin were organized, knowledgeable, professional, and very fun to travel with. I had total confidence that they could handle any issue that came up. Their language skills were excellent - I marveled at how Lisa could go so seamlessly from English to Italian. They were always polite and pleasant, even when we got a bit rowdy....they just said something like 'order in the court' which made us all smile. Loved Lisa's local connection and stories of her transition to living in Italy.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were so many!! Loved the history and beauty of the art galleries and basilicas, but also loved the beauty of the rural areas of Tuscany .... but being a water person, the Cinque Terra stole my heart! I could plant myself there for a long long time!!"

Kimberly

Carol Stream, IL

Tour: 03/16/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My very first experience with Europe - I chose Italy and Rick Steve's tours to be my 'traveling companion.' What a wonderful trip - the sights, the guides, the people on the trip, the conversation, food, culture, art. All a study for me, all taught me much more than I ever would have learned by myself. While it's important to see the sites, it's more important to travel quietly and blend in with the local people. This tour allowed that and more.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Volterra was my favorite portion. Anna described the Etruscan way of life and I fell in love with these fascinating people who rebelled against the Romans, against the Germans, salvaging as much of their way of life and their city they loved so much. Celebrating it's history, partaking in its arts, drinking its wines, eating of its wonderfully simple and pleasurable foods, tapping and humming to its music, it was a delight for body, mind and soul."

Mark

Reno, NV

Tour: 03/16/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my first experience with a guided tour and it couldn't have been any better! Lisa Anderson our guide was terrific. She had a assistant this tour learning the Rick Steves way and he (Colin) was great also. We are confirmed to repeat a tour with Rick Steves. I thought the hotels were fine, the guest tour guides were fun and informative, the group dinners were very nice. We hope to travel to Scotland with Rick Steves tour group next!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The basilica was jaw dropping to me. TV and photos doesn't do it justice. It was amazing. Volterra was also just wonderful."

Barbra

Sandpoint, ID

Tour: 03/16/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My experience was fantastic. The tour was well organized. Can't imagine any area that needs improvement. Guides, hotels, and food all perfect!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I was in "WOW" mode from the time we landed in Rome, until we departed Venice. Italy is a wonderful country full of charm and beauty."

Susan

Reno, NV

Tour: 03/16/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our overall tour experience was all we had hoped for and more. It was our first time to Europe and we are very happy we decided to book with Rick Steves. We will be return customers. It was fantastic! The pace, amount of structured activities along with "free" time was perfect.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"For me, I enjoyed it all, however, there was one moment...seeing Michelangelo's Pieta inside St Peter's Basilica. I got chills and tears in my eyes instantly."

Connie

Kent, WA

Tour: 03/16/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was a fantastic experience; I enjoyed every minute of it. Everything was very well planned. The guides, Lisa and Colin, were absolutely wonderful, and so good about answering every question. They have so much patience. The hotels were clean and comfortable. The dinners are continuing to live in my memory; so tasty. The group that I was with was exceptionally nice. Thank you for a life-time of memories.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My "wow moment" was opening the windows in our hotel (Hotel Pasquale) in Monterosso Al Mare, and hearing and seeing the beautiful sea. It was magical. I thought to myself; I really am in Italy on vacation! There were many "wow moments" when seeing the statue of David, the painting of Venus, and Michelangelo's Pieta, but there was something magical about the Cinque Terre, walking the hill path near Vernazza."

Marjorie

Asheville, NC

Tour: 03/16/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Wonderful! Fantastic! Great! Both Lisa and Colin were great, and I enjoyed spending time with every tour member. The additional guides were also great. Every place we visited was wonderful, and the guides made it even better. Our tour dinners, and other tour activities were so much fun!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I didn't have a specific "wow" moment. It was an overall concept for me: that I was seeing art in the spaces it had been created for, as well as seeing Roman ruins. Since I've seen pictures of much of the art and encountered the Romans throughout my education, seeing it all was an incredible thing for me."

Cathie

Las Vegas, NV

Tour: 03/16/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was really a wonderful tour. I was so impressed with all that we were able to see and do in a day but still have time for ourselves.

Charlotte

Seguin, TX

Tour: 03/09/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I had an absolutely wonderful experience on the Rick Steves Tour. The hotels were great, the food was amazing, and the guided tour time vs. free time was perfect.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favorite "wow" moment was riding bicycles on a medieval wall. You just don't get to do that everyday. We were lucky that the weather was perfect when we were there."

John

Nevada City, CA

Tour: 03/09/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The knowledge of Jamie was outstanding, It was more like sitting and conversing over each piece instead of a teaching. It was so enjoyable. We laughed we walked..... and soaked up the scenery.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My wow moment was getting to touch the walls of the Collesium. to be able to touch something so old and full of history, I wanted it to fill my bones. Its so amazing to have this time captured."

Kimberley

Baxter, MN

Tour: 03/09/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

First thing, it was absolutely fantastic!! We were blessed with 9 days of SUNSHINE and perfect temperatures!!Cool in the morning and night, lovely during the day!! Jamie knew soooo many things and was very helpful and organized! Patricia was a sweetheart to help us out with the language barrier and the "unplanned" train strike up at the Cinque de Terre!! All the hotels were great for their locations!! near train stations, metro stops and just being able to find them once we on our own!!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Standing on the Levanto boardwalk watching the sunset!!! Strolling down onto the beach to feel the sand on our feet and breath in the smell of the SEA!! All the people from 80's to babies sitting and running around speaking in Italian! Laughter and smiles have no language barriers to worry about to just ENJOY!! Grazie!!"

Robert

Allen, TX

Tour: 03/09/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Was reluctant to do an organised tour, as I generally like to do my own research and make my own plans. My family and I loved this tour. Our tour guide organized and planned all the logistics, and also served as an expert narrator of the places we visited. With so much to see in Italy, it is vital to understand the history of all the cities, monuments, churches, museums and ruins that you visit and the guides made this possible. Excellent trip!!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Walking into the Sistine Chapel. Walking into St. Peter's Basilica. The Pantheon, The Coliseum, Uffizi Gallery, Michelangelo's David, Trevi Fountain, The Spanish steps, Vatican museum, Ancient Roman ruins, Florence, Brunelleschi's incredible Dome in Florence; Cinque Terre...how do you pick one? I'll go with the Gelato."

Dianne

Houston, TX

Tour: 03/09/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I love the smaller group size and more active aspects to the tour compared to other tour groups. The hotels were all so convienently located and provided all of the services of much larger hotels. The choices of food provided was excellent, and our guide provided great choices of restaurants when we were on our own. Our Rick Steves guide was better with information of history, locations, etc. than any of the city guides we had.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Walk from Vernazza to Monterossa in the Cinque Terre and all of the wonderful food."

Susanna

Toronto, ON

Tour: 03/09/14

Overall rating: rating 3 of 5

This was my first group tour and overall it was a positive experience. I was the only solo traveller but found all my fellow group members to be friendly and welcoming and I always felt I was part of the group.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I had previously visited Italy 12 years ago as an independent traveller and chose this particular tour as it re-visited a number of my favourite places and works of art. So, this time I didn't have the "wow" moments e.g. seeing David and the Botticelli paintings in Florence; however that didn't diminish the joy at seeing them again!"

Carolyn

Houston, TX

Tour: 03/09/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I could not have asked for a better tour, its tour guides, Jamie and Patricia, and our specific group of wonderful people. Also, the local guides were tremendous! I feel we saw more than I could ever have seen had it not been for "Heart of Italy in 9 Days Tour".

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I think seeing the statue of "David" and the Cinque Terre were my "wow" moments!"

Catherine

Apo, AE

Tour: 10/27/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had a really great group. Super inquisitive but not overly so and it was very easy to get along with everyone but I think that's what Rick Steves' tours are all about; just letting your guard down and being open to new people/things/ideas. Our guides were REALLY great and had such a unique perspective on buildings and artwork in general because of their backgrounds and what they're working towards so I think we actually got a little more information out of it then if we had be with othertours

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I really loved seeing Florence's Duomo. The colors were SO unexpected then all of a sudden BAM! pink and greens! I think the guide really got a kick out of watching our faces as we rounded that corner. I know she laughed at me because I was SO taken aback!"

Kenneth

Greer, SC

Tour: 10/27/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Great tour from start to finish. Daniela and Andrea were excellent and knowledgeable tour guides. Really appreciated the expertise and passion of the local tour guides. They added greatly to the tour experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Experiencing the Coliseum and the Forum under the outstanding guidance of Francesca provided the most outstanding highlight of the tour, though other moments such as David in the Uffizi and Saint Peter's were wow moments as well."

Dwight

Jacksonville, FL

Tour: 10/27/13

Overall rating: rating 3 of 5

We have been on many (9) previous Rick Tours so knew what to expect. We were not disappointed with the experience. Our tour ran like clockwork and everyone we encountered associated with Rick Steves tours--including the local guides were excellent. My one disappointment was with the wifi in the majority of our hotels. Today most people want to stay connected and it was difficult at most of our hotels--you could only receive wifi signals in the lobby. Would be an easy fix and so much better.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Our wow moment was seeing the David. Seen it before but it is always beyond expectations."

Judith

Seattle, WA

Tour: 10/27/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Going on tour gave us a. worry-free transportation. b. guides who prepared us to thrive on our own for our next trip. c. knowledgeable, friendly local guides - without them, we would have come home relatively impoverished of information. And they were such fun. d. unexpected experiences, such as watching a master alabaster craftsman at work, a lovely wine-tasting in Volterra, feasts in Rome and Levanto. e. wonderful folks with whom to share friendship, experiences, and knowledge.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Can't pick one. It was a perfect trip. But prior to the tour, I can state that our first perfect moment in Italy was when we successfully managed to get ourselves seated outdoors at a restaurant in Rome and then ordered dinner. All made possible by the Rick Steve's Italian phrase book!!! We knew then that we would not only survive, but thrive in Italy. Thank you, thank you, thank you..."

Florence

Manhattan, MT

Tour: 10/20/13

Overall rating: rating 3 of 5

Overall it was a very good trip and we were able to cover a lot of territory.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The wow was visiting Cinque Terre and especially the boat trip back from Riomagiorre to Montemoroso."

Shawna

Newcastle, WA

Tour: 10/20/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The abundance of art, history is overwhelming. Not only Rome and Florence, every little town and village has it's own treasures and history to tell. I wish I had studied more western history before the tour so I could have appreciated more what I saw.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I was struck by the little towns endurances, histories and treasures as much as by the art works and Cathedrals of big cities. Be it the grape yards, the beaches or the wines, each town is a little country on it's own. Years ago I read a novel,"Secret of Santa Vittoria", about a little Italian hill town, on the way of retreating Germans, toward the end of WWII. The mayor and townspeople hid a million bottles of wine from the Germans, successfully. Santa Vittoria is real and well."

Deborah

Durham, NC

Tour: 10/20/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Overall tour experience was everything we hoped for and more, despite a minor health issue. We felt very well prepared thanks to the pre-tour communications from the home office. The guidebooks were so valuable, especially when we were on our own. Even still, it took a few days for us to feel confident in our ability to get around.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Cinque Terre and lunch at Trattoria dal Billy! Uffizi Gallery"

Laurie

University Place, WA

Tour: 10/20/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was really a great experience. Starting from our visit to Test Drive a Tour Guide, right down to sharing a taxi to the airport with other members of our tour. I really could not have hoped for a better experience. In reality every experience is based on the people and each and every person was someone I would enjoy a bottle of wine with. Does it get any better than that?

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The David!"

Sharon

Fort Worth, TX

Tour: 10/20/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Rewarding. I enjoyed all the walking, seeing, learning, and from central locations. It was a great overview at a good pace for a first-time visit to a region. It was fun to hike the hillside vineyard (and other places-). The tastes are important, too, so really enjoyed that part. A RS tour affords the valued op for experiencing a culture without having to handle the details, personally. Guides are great people!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Volterra! felt like stepping back centuries in time with its cobbled and narrow streets and its complicated and convoluted history. Wished for a peak into a dwelling - AND Monterosso al Mare, perched beside the Mediterranean Sea. The colors, sights, sounds, tastes (Anfora Belvedere) and smells. Buildings clinging to vertical walls: How did they DO that, given when they were built?"

Michael

Palatine, IL

Tour: 10/13/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My first trip to continental Europe and Italy in particular and I was exceedingly pleased. Our tour group was small enough to be quite manageable and we were very compatible as a group. In addition to just "seeing" the myriad sites and art works the guides gave us a real insight into the history, culture and times, as well as some insights into current events also. Accommodations were quaint; meals were plentiful; travel was comfortable.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I'm not much of a "wow" guy. I rarely give "better than expected" reviews because I expect outstanding and I was not disappointed by my Rick Steves experience."

Richard

Kingston, WA

Tour: 10/13/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The Heart of Italy Tour was just what I wanted, big cities with museums and churches balanced with small villages with local artisans and family dinners. Our group was a pleasant mix of independent thinking, considerate camaraderie, and constant inquisitiveness.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I had thought the Uffizi Gallery and Michelangelo's sculpture of David was the best. It was. Then, we entered the Museo Galileo. Inventions through the ages engage my interest near to obsession. I was on a high point after Rome, discussing Roman concrete, sunbaked brick, and column origination with our Roman Forum guide. To my amazement, I was light on my feet, with lively eyes, ready to roam the halls of genius. Telescopes, great and small; lens grinding machine, gears and all. Oh, My!"

Marlene

Torrance, CA

Tour: 10/13/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Local Guide Francesca's tour of the Roman Forum and everything about our visit to Volterra. Bike riding in Lucca was a refreshing break."

Steven

Everett, WA

Tour: 10/11/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The Rick Steves' tour took care of the logistics of the trip - hotel, transportation, schedule, etc. This saved the effort of stress and logistics of travel. Members of the tour group were great! We had exceptional guides - Nina was exceptional as our overall tour guide. The local guides in our travel were exceptional as well. Location & service at our hotels was great! I couldn't think of a more perfect trip! Tours of museums saved us a lot of wait time.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favorite "wow" moment was the tour of the Rome coliseum and the realization that any salvageable marble was removed and hearing the historical aspects of that time. The self sufficiency and survival of Volterre through all the conflicts was pretty amazing. The other aspect of the time was the number of individual city-states that existed during that time. Another incredible moment was the tour guide's explanation of the composition of art and how the Renaissance changed the way of life."

Walter

Palo Cedro, CA

Tour: 10/11/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was very good as well as the places we stayed at. Our tour guide was excellent, with a vast knowledge of the areas we visited. Our first tour after our initial meeting was a little rushed in trying to see the many places that was on the agenda. In the future, I would suggest allowing more time to cover the same agenda. Other than that, the food was great and the experience was unforgettable.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The coliseum in Rome."

Stan

Barrie, ON

Tour: 10/06/13

Overall rating: rating 3 of 5

Tour was good, but had better tours with Rick's people it lacked wow moments for me. Our guide did not offer up any information on the history or customs of the people, walks where awkward with her reading from her little orange book.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Enjoyed ancient Rome and guided tour of the Colosseum. Loved Cinque Terre."

Christine

Miramar, FL

Tour: 10/04/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Awesome

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Loved Volterra and monterrossa .. Hard to choose one."

Lora

Perry, GA

Tour: 10/04/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We could never have experienced so many must-see sights if we had attempted this trip on our own. Our guide Reid did his best to assure that we saw as much as possible in the seven (not really nine) days we toured (First day began at 3:00 p.m. and the ninth day ended with a very early breakfast). The local guides that joined our group were outstanding...my favorite was the very passionate fellow at Lucca....but they were all GREAT!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were so many wow moments, it's hard to choose just one, but I'd say that the most astounding site for me was walking into the jaw-dropping duomo in Florence. The most amazing town to me was Volterra. If I had to define the wow factor of this trip in one word, it would be "overload.""

Joseph

Calgary, AB

Tour: 10/02/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Excellent from the word go! The tour was well planned, the other tour members were fantastic to travel with and I had been introduced to Italy in the best possible way.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Too many moments to list here... standing in the Colosseum where millions have passed over two millenniums , the forum, rounding a corner and being shocked by the size of the Pantheon, wine tasting in a centuries old cellar. However, my wow moment of all wow moments came when I discovered how the Colosseum in Rome was financed and then what happened to the riches. Are you kidding me? WOW!"

Sherry

Huntington Beach, CA

Tour: 10/02/13

Overall rating: rating 3 of 5

First tour ever and first time to Europe. The hotel choices were nice and our tour guide was excellent.

Julianna

Houston, TX

Tour: 09/29/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We were slightly skeptical about going on a tour however this was our first trip to Europe and we were overwhelmed with travel planning to a place we had never visited. We were pleasantly surprised at how professional yet personal our Rick Steves tour was. The itinerary was well thought out and we felt like we were able to see the best of the cities we we visited both with the group and on our own. The best part of the tour was our guide Nina. She truly made our experience wonderful!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"So many on this trip but one that stands out is walking into the Academia and seeing Michael Angelo's David. It was a dream come true to see it in person. It was raining outside the day of our visit but we walked right passed a very long line of people waiting to get in, walked right through the main lobby and ticketing area, were ushered around the corner in the museum and there it was...Michael Angelo's David. Wow!!!"

Dianna

Olympia, WA

Tour: 09/29/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My overall tour experience was amazing! Our guide, Nina, was the best! If you've never been to Italy before, this is the way to go! You check off all the coolest places you've dreamed of, and there are special moments and experiences that will make it memorable for a lifetime. Of course, in a way, it was a survey of sights. I will definitely have to go back and spend more time at the incredible places. In Rome, there's something spectacular everywhere you turn!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favorite 'wow' moment was the Vatican. You have to stop and study/appreciate every intricate, gilded detail. There's modern art and Michelangelo. I was surprised, even confused in the Vatican. Despite a history Catholic clashes with alternate religious beliefs, there were statues of Roman gods/goddesses in the halls. I found myself in awe, and yet melancholy. With wealth and splendor on showcase, there are people in the world who don't have food or access to clean water and sanitation."

Alan

Charles Town, WV

Tour: 09/29/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was all I had hoped for and more. I loved learning about Italy and Italians through our guide Nina's eyes. I loved the "tour" parts of the 9 days (including museums, churches and other sites, and especially our meals together) as well as the non-"tour" parts when we explored, and dined, on our own. I loved learning and practicing Italian. I loved spending time with our fellow travelers. I had expected all that. Had not not expected that I would enjoy so much our guide and our fellow travelers

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I enjoyed every destination: Rome, Volterra, Lucca. Cinque Terre, and Florence. Honestly, though, my true "wow" moment was the taxi ride from the hotel to the Florence airport. Wow."

David

Seattle, WA

Tour: 09/27/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The guides were amazing, the tour group itself was filled with people that were a joy to hang out with. The structure of the tour was just right, with enough free time that my wife and I never felt like we were constrained by any arbitrary decisions. It was the perfect combination -- you guys took care of all of the things that drive me nuts, and we were able to find our own way during the free time.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Oh gosh, there were more than one having an emotional moment while seeing the David for the first time, seeing Vernazza as we descended the trail from Corniglia (best beer and pizza ever), and group dinners that were always filled with laughter and wine."

Dawn

East Hartford, CT

Tour: 09/22/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Outstanding tour and tour guide! Highly recommend to anyone who has never been to Italy or others who are looking to return.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Cinque Terra! Simply beautiful!"

Ron

Madison, WI

Tour: 09/22/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I thoroughly enjoyed my tour. It was simple , you show up and they have this wonderful tour all set to go. Our guide Virginia was truly a delight. She was great at keeping the group organized and On time. She was also great at springing little surprises along the way. The other part I really enjoyed was the amount of free time we had to explore on our own. I never felt that we were being rushed from one tour to the next. it was very relaxing.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My personal favorite moment was the architecture. I come from a building back round which really gave me an appreciation for what it must have taken to build all of these grand structures. The craftsmanship was incredible where ever you looked."

Jo

Vancouver, WA

Tour: 09/22/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I don't know where to begin! This was my 2nd RS Tour and it was fantastic. As usual, all of the tour guides were outstanding, and by the end of the tour we all wanted to adopt Virginia (our primary guide). She did such a wonderful job explaining Italian culture and her sense of humor and enthusiasm were infectious. The tour itself was perfect for my first time in Italy. I really wanted to experience "a little bit of everything" and this tour did not disappoint. Oh, and the food!!! :)

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Boy, that's a tough one...to pick one favorite moment?? When I left Rome, I thought "Oh, I can't wait to go back!". Then I went to Volterra and thought "Oh, I could stay here for a month!". Sestri Levante..."The food! I can't get enough of the food!". I am still dreaming of Florence. This whole trip was one big WOW moment for me."

Carolyn

Kent, WA

Tour: 09/20/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our overall tour experience was, in a word, excellent! From the time we signed up, to the end of the tour, everyone was so helpful and knowledgeable, the details of the tour were well planned, and it seemed that no stone was left unturned. During the 9 days, we learned about and experienced a wide range of places, history, art, culture, food, and people. From the big cities to the little villages, it was a wonderful taste of Italy.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"While there were many wonderful and memorable moments, it's difficult to top our evening in Volterra. The welcoming atmosphere at LaLa's restaurant (La Carabeccia), the chianti, the delicious food, the laughter and conversation within the group, more chianti, followed by our "surprise" of folk dancing with Luigi outside under the stars all added up to make one of my favorite all-time memories."

Joe

Memphis, TN

Tour: 09/15/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our first experience as members of a group tour and it was terrific. We were a bit anxious about the tour format but the experience was better than we imagined. Lisa Anderson was super - knowledgeable, personable, adaptable and totally organized. The "no grumps allowed" caution worked to perfection! Meeting the tour members and making many new friends was a real pleasure. All meals and accommodations were just great - much as we would have planned on our own.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Touring the Coliseum in Rome with an excellent local guide!"

Daniel

Snohomish, WA

Tour: 09/08/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We thoroughly enjoyed our tour experience. This itinerary was perfect. It was a good combination of big cities and small towns and gave us a well rounded introduction to Italy. This tour was also a good combination of scheduled and free time. Hotels were well located and comfortable. Included meals were very good. All guides were excellent.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"This being our first trip to Italy, the wow's were everywhere! If I had to pick one I would say touring the Colosseum would be at the top of our list."

Ted

Cincinnati, OH

Tour: 09/04/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My tour experience was excellent. From our fantastic tour guide, Nina, to all of the subject-matter experts, to the nicely spaced free time, I had a great time and wonderful mix of education, culture, and fun. I brought my wife for our 30th anniversary. I had traveled extensively for work, but she has not had that opportunity. So, this trip was meant to be for her - to share all the wonder I had experienced in my few trips to Italy. It did not disappoint. Thank you.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"In Italy, my favorite "wow" moment was the Vatican, St. Peter's, and the Sistine Chapel. As a devout Catholic, these are beyond explanation and simply validate my faith. Outside of religion, I just love Piazza Navonna, Volterra, the Italian Riviera, Florence's St. Croche... I'm being no help -- I loved it all."

Weather

Italy / Florence


Italy / Rome

Pre-Tour

We've put together some specific information on what you should know about this tour before you go. You'll also find more general information about "Getting Ready for Your Tour" on our Tour FAQ.

Trip Resources

Learn more about Italy: Check out a collection of Rick's TV shows, radio interviews and articles, plus find a list of recommended books and movies.

Transportation

Prior to your tour departure, you will receive detailed directions on how to get from the airport to your first tour hotel, as well as contact information for your first and last hotels in case you wish to book pre- or post-tour hotel accommodations.

Many tour members arrive a day or two before the tour begins — and those who don't, wish they had. This allows you ample time to get over jet lag and make the most of the first few days of the tour.

There is more than one way to get to and from your tour. Most tour members will arrange to fly into Rome and out of Florence (“multi-city” on flight booking websites). Booking round-trip to one city will require a connecting flight, train trip, or additional overnight stay in Europe. Both Rome and Florence are major transportation hubs, making additional travel before or after your tour quite easy. Milan and Venice are both about three hours by train from Florence, our tour's end point. Siena is less than two hours by train from Florence. From Rome, Naples is two hours south.

For information about flying within Europe, ask your travel agent or check Rick's list of European budget airlines

For information about traveling by train, read Rick's train travel and rail pass tips to decide if your travel plans merit a rail pass. You can get a rough idea of costs from the above guide or Rick Steves Italy guidebook.

If you have additional European travel or tour questions, contact the Tour Department at 425-608-4217 or email tour@ricksteves.com.

Sightseeing On Your Own

If you arrive in Rome before the tour begins, use Rick Steves Italy guidebook to get oriented. Ride the public transportation, try out a few words of Italian and get over your jet lag with lots of fresh air and exercise.

Here are a few suggestions for sightseeing that we do not do as a group: Borghese Gallery (reservations mandatory, closed Mondays); Spanish Steps; Capuchin Crypt; National Museum of Rome; Ancient Appian Way (great for biking) and catacombs.

Packing

There are great opportunities for hiking in the Cinque Terre. While hiking boots are not necessary, we recommend you bring a pair of comfortable walking shoes with soles offering good traction.

For more advice on what (and what not!) to pack, see Rick’s packing tips.