• Lake Como
  • Castelrotto in the Dolomites
  • Gondolas and Church of San Giorgio Maggiore at sunset, Venice, Italy
    Venice
  • 'Birth of Venus' (Botticelli), Uffizi Gallery, Florence, Italy
    Birth of Venus in Florence's Uffizi Museum
  • Vernazza (Cinque Terre), Italy
    Vernazza in the Cinque Terre
  • Leaning Tower, Pisa, Tuscany
    Leaning Tower of Pisa
  • Duomo, Siena, Italy
    The Duomo in Siena
  • Assisi
  • Wine tasting, Orvieto, Italy
    Wine Tasting near Orvieto
  • Colosseum, Rome, Italy
    Colosseum in Rome

Tour Questions? See our FAQ | Call 425-608-4217

Best of Italy in 17 Days Tour

from $5,095 per person + air

Optional Single Supplement $775

See Tour Dates

The Rick Steves Best of Italy tour is exactly that — the very best. Starting on beautiful Lake Como, this tour treats you to Italy's must-see destinations: timeless Venice, Renaissance Florence, Eternal Rome, and St. Francis' Assisi. You'll also soak in Italy's quieter side: hill town vineyards, mountain-ringed Alpine meadows, cliff-clinging Cinque Terre villages, and cozy fishing harbors — all accompanied by memorable meals and local wines. And Rick's guides will make Italy's art, history, and dolce vita come vividly to life. Join us for the Best of Italy in 17 Days!

Dates & Prices

2018

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 26 group sightseeing events • Lake Como ferry pass • South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology (Ötzi the Iceman) • Venice walking tour • St. Mark's Square and Basilica • Renaissance Florence walking tour • Florence's Accademia Gallery, including Michelangelo's David • Uffizi Gallery • Pisa • Pesto demonstration • Orientation for "vacation" day in Cinque Terre • Hill town • Siena walking tour • Siena Duomo • Siena contrada visit and dinner • Artisan workshop • Assisi walking tour • Basilica of St. Francis • Umbrian wine tasting • Orvieto orientation and San Brizio Chapel • Ancient Rome walking tour • Colosseum • Roman Forum • Pantheon • Vatican Museums • Sistine Chapel • Evening walk through Rome including Trevi Fountain…and more
  • All group transportation from Varenna to Rome
  • 16 nights' accommodations in memorable, centrally located hotels
  • All breakfasts and half your dinners
  • All tips for guides and driver
  • Rick Steves Travel Store credit to use toward guidebooks for your trip
  • 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 2018
  • 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 of walking throughout the day with lots of hills, stairs, and uneven terrain.

Day 1: Welcome to Italy

The sleepy Lake Como village of Varenna is a quick, easy train connection from Milan. At 5 p.m. you'll meet your guide and fellow tour members at our hotel for a get-acquainted session. We'll then take a village orientation walk, pointing out places for dinner on your own tonight. Sleep in Varenna (2 nights). No bus. Walking: light.

Day 2: Cruising Lake Como

Equipped with your included Lake Como ferry boat pass, you'll have the entire day and evening free to explore the villages and waterways of romantic Lake Como, including the elegant town of Bellagio. Or hike up into the Alpine foothills for unforgettable vistas. At breakfast, your guide can help you plan your day. No bus. Walking: light to strenuous (your choice).

Day 3: Scenic Drive to the Dolomites

Today we'll hit the road and drive high into Italy's Dolomite Alps, where locals speak German first, Italian second. Our destination is Europe's largest (and arguably most beautiful) Alpine meadow, the Alpe di Siusi. This evening, we'll share a hearty Tirolean dinner together at our mountain retreat. Sleep peacefully in the Alpe di Siusi area (2 nights). Bus: 6 hours. Walking: moderate.

Day 4: Hiking the Dolomites

From your totally yodely home base, you'll have all day to explore the dramatic Dolomites, Italy's hiking and skiing mecca. Choose from an array of challenging hikes, join your guide (weather permitting) — and the free-roaming cows — for a peaceful walk among towering granite cliffs, or wander through the squares and side streets of a mountain village and enjoy the unique blend of Italian and Austrian cultures. We'll regroup tonight for dinner at our cozy hotel. No bus. Walking: light to strenuous (your choice).

Day 5: The Iceman and Venice

We'll head downhill from the Dolomites with a stop in Bolzano to visit its most famous resident: the 5,300-year-old, naturally preserved remains of Ötzi the Iceman, along with a museum exhibit on prehistoric European life. After some free time for lunch, we'll set a course for Venice, where we'll board a vaporetto boat for a Grand Canal ride to our hotel in Venice's historic heart. Tonight we'll take an alleys-and-canals orientation stroll before setting you loose for dinner on your own. Sleep in Venice (2 nights). Boat: ½ hour. Bus: 5 hours. Walking: light.

Day 6: Exploring Venice

Our local guide will join us this morning for a historical walking tour, with a modern Venetian's-eye view, through the backstreets of Venice. Along the way, we'll learn about the city's remarkable past and its challenging future. We'll finish our morning walk in St. Mark's Square and Basilica. The afternoon and evening are yours to explore the imposing Doge's Palace, maybe take in a church concert, waltz on St. Mark's Square, or pub-crawl your way through this unique city. Later tonight, your guide will help organize an optional romantic gondola ride for those who are interested. No bus. Walking: moderate.

Day 7: Florence and David

We'll drive straight to Florence this morning, and hit the ground walking with a Renaissance 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 walk at the Accademia Gallery to marvel at works of sculptural genius: Michelangelo's rough-hewn Prisoners and his greatest masterpiece, David. Sleep in Florence (2 nights). Boat: ½ hour. Bus: 4 hours. Walking: moderate.

Day 8: Renaissance Florence

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 works by Leonardo, Botticelli, Michelangelo and more. The rest of the day is yours to stroll across the delightfully medieval Ponte Vecchio, visit more of the city's art-filled churches and museums, browse the colorful markets, and find a special trattoria for dinner on your own. No bus. Walking: moderate.

Day 9: Pisa and Cinque Terre Villages

Winding our way towards the coast, we'll first stop to gaze at Pisa's leaning tower and Romanesque baptistery. Today's final destination is Italy's enchanting Cinque Terre fishing villages, laced together with hiking paths that meander between vineyards and the deep blue sea. Upon arrival, your guide will give you an introduction to the town, leaving you with plenty of free time this afternoon to explore on your own. We'll regroup tonight for an entertaining pesto-making lesson and special pesto dinner at a local family restaurant. Sleep in Monterosso (2 nights, may be split between 2 hotels). Train: ¼ hour. Bus: 4 hours. Walking: moderate

Day 10: Exploring the Cinque Terre

You'll take a "vacation from your vacation" today in our Mediterranean getaway. Hike along the trails, 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 and catching up on your journal at an outdoor café. No bus. Walking: light to strenuous (your choice).

Day 11: Tuscany and Siena

Today we'll venture into the heart of magical Tuscany, stopping on the way to poke around the quiet lanes of a friendly hill town. Saving the best for last, we'll take an orientation tour of our home for the next two nights — remarkable Siena — a "living museum" brimming with some of Italy's finest Gothic architecture and perhaps its best public square, Il Campo. Tonight we'll visit and enjoy dinner at one of the town's proud contrade — 17 neighborhoods that compete for glory in the famous Palio horse races. Sleep in Siena (2 nights). Train: ¼ hour. Bus: 4 hours. Walking: strenuous.

Day 12: Savoring Siena

This morning we'll visit a stained-glass workshop where a local artisan will show us how he fuses traditional and contemporary stained-glass techniques. Then we'll tour the elaborate cathedral and learn how Siena's rich medieval history and rivalry with Florence shaped this city. You'll be well oriented for your free afternoon and evening to enjoy Siena, from its dramatic city hall tower to its well-respected enoteca (wine bar/museum). No bus. Walking: moderate.

Day 13: Assisi and Wine Tasting

Let's make a modern-day pilgrimage to the hill town of Assisi, where, in a time of unprecedented church wealth, St. Francis inspired a refocused spirituality through poverty, humility, and the beauty of nature in Umbria. As we learn about the life of the saint, we'll take a walking tour of the town and its beautifully frescoed Basilica of St. Francis. Then we'll wind our way across Umbria to our agriturismo destination: a country hotel that is also a working family winery. We'll end our day amid the peaceful vines and olive groves, tasting several of our host's award-winning wines, and sharing a country-style dinner together. Sleep near Orvieto (2 nights). Bus: 4 hours. Walking: moderate.

Day 14: Hill Town Italy

This morning we'll visit Umbria's grand hill town of Orvieto. We'll get oriented to sights around the cathedral square, including Signorelli's amazing frescoes in the Chapel of San Brizio and Italy's liveliest cathedral facade. Then you'll be free to wander through the medieval old town and its shops filled with colorful pottery. This afternoon we'll return to our agriturismo, with plenty of time for a countryside walk before dinner together. Bus: 1 hour. Walking: moderate.

Day 15: A Walk Through Caesar's Rome

We'll drive straight to Rome today and spend the afternoon uncovering the heart of the Eternal City. A local guide will take us through the larger-than-life Colosseum; the birthplace of Ancient Rome, the Roman Forum; and the awe-inspiring Pantheon. This evening we'll enjoy a floodlit dolce vita stroll, soaking up the city's evening ambience at the lively campos, classy piazzas, and splashy Trevi Fountain. Sleep in Rome (2 nights). Bus: 2 hours. Walking: strenuous.

Day 16: The Vatican Museums

Today we'll focus on Renaissance (Catholic) Rome. At the sprawling Vatican Museums we'll visit what seems like a limitless collection of treasures as we make our way to one of the world's most famous works of art: Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel. You'll have the rest of your day free to continue your modern-day pilgrimage at the greatest church in Christendom, St. Peter's Basilica, home to Michelangelo's sublime Pietà. Wander through this immense church, climb the dome if you're feeling energetic, and explore more of the Eternal City on your own. This evening, we'll have our final dinner together, sharing memories and toasting our newly made friends. Salute! No bus. Walking: strenuous.

Day 17: Tour Over After Breakfast

Breakfast is provided, but there are no group activities today. It's a breeze to reach Rome's airports 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.

Physical Demands

Our tours are physically active! It's an essential part of the Rick Steves tour experience. On our Best of Italy in 17 Days tour — among other things — you'll need to happily…

  1. Carry/roll your luggage over uneven pavement (possibly several blocks) 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 three 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

Amanda

Somerville, MA

Tour: 06/20/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My 77 year old mother, my 15 year old daughter, and I all had a fantastic time on the tour!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hiking in the Dolomites"

Gary

Arlington Heights, IL

Tour: 06/20/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I turned 60 on this trip (in Rome), and this tour was one of the highlights of my life. I ate pasta and pizza, and drank Italian wine and beer for 17 days ... and lost seven pounds on this tour. I'm the guy whose hand was injured in a beach chair malfunction in Monterosso and ended up with an ambulance ride and emergency treatment in La Spezia. Even with that, this tour was fantastic. We did Best of Europe in 21 Days back in 1997, so it was interesting to compare the two experiences.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"That is hard to say. The Vivaldi concert in Venice was definitely a highlight. Also, the surprise stop in Verona; the "home" meals in Varenna, Monterosso, and Siena; the Palio trial in Siena; the rooftop view of Florence from Hotel Terre Guelfa; Michelangelo's David; the Uffizi. The visit to the Florence American Military Cemetery was also meaningful."

David

Albany, OR

Tour: 06/20/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Wonderful! It was the trip of a lifetime.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Dining with La Selva contrada in Sienna."

Gene

Anacortes, WA

Tour: 06/08/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Great mix of sites, pace, history looking forward to figuring our next Rick Steve's tour

Favorite "WOW" moment

"there were many Dolomites, Florence - David - sculptures, Cinque Terre views, leisure Siena,"

Josephine

Bellevue, WA

Tour: 06/08/18

Overall rating: rating 1 of 5

We were so disappointed in our tour of Italy with the tour guide

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Lake Como Cinque Terre Florence"

Ruby

Anacortes, WA

Tour: 06/08/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

As someone familiar with the Rick Steves travel philosophy, my expectations were high, but they were nevertheless surpassed. From the first hotel, to the last tour, everything was excellent and we're already talking about our next tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Opening the shutters of our first hotel (Hotel Cipressa in Varenna) to see the breathtaking view of Lake Como."

Gerald

Bellevue, WA

Tour: 06/08/18

Overall rating: rating 1 of 5

Less than adequate follow up on missing the St. Peter's Bacillica on our tour. Not recognizing the need for frequent rest stops for the rest room breaks. Not giving adequate instructions on direction to various sights. Very disappointed

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Lake Como Rome Florence The Dolomites"

Dennis

Santa Rosa, CA

Tour: 06/08/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Magical, well directed/organized. Molly was superb...caring while taking charge. This was my first time in Europe. This experience whetted my appetite to do more. Maybe Portugal. Th

Favorite "WOW" moment

"This is a tough one. Viewing David."

Mary Jo

Cincinnati, OH

Tour: 05/27/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Incredible! Sarah was the BEST guide - very knowledgeable, thoughtful, full of interesting suggestions for side trips and restaurants. She added little touches to our trip making it special. Also, the group we traveled with got along famously. It felt like we were traveling with family and friends. We were pleased with the amount of free time we had to explore and get lost on our own. We were free to do as much or as little with the group as long as we were back at the meeting spot on time.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favorite WOW moment was the view of the Ligurian Sea and the Cinque Terre villages on our hike from Vernazza to Monterosso. The view from this hike was incredible! The combination of the blue sea, the green mountainside, the colorful flowers, and the multi-colored painted homes in the villages dotting the hillside provided a spectacular view while hiking on the trail."

Susan

Stafford, VA

Tour: 05/27/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It surpassed my expectations. It truly was my magical trip of a lifetime; from our amazing tour guide to the beauty of the Italian countryside and the friendliness of the Italian people.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Oh my, There were so many of them; it's hard to choose. Standing looking up at the ceiling of the Sistine chapel moving from different vantage points was just awe inspiring. You have to be there to get the full impact. The mountains and landscapes of the Dolomites were so beautiful. It gives you a true appreciation of God's natural beauty. The dinner at Chef Ferrechio Castelli's house in Varenna was a wow moment. His background is so interesting. Great family also."

Bob

Appleton, WI

Tour: 05/27/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

What a joyous experience! In our group led by Sarah Corfield I was able to find like minded adventurers for hiking, biking, dining or just plain walking around and observing life in Italy. Each new location provided the perfect mix of structured touring and opportunities for serendipitous wanderings.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I did not expect the Dolomites to be quite so visually impressive. Hiking the high flower-strewn meadows of Alpe di Siusi was a wow moment at every turn of the trail."

Colin

Pittsburgh, PA

Tour: 05/27/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

What a whirlwind of a tour! We hit 8 major cities (2 days each) in 17 days. More than that, we made day stops while driving between destinations, some of which were quite fascinating and greatly added to the tour experience (like Verona, Vinci, and the Florence American WW2 memorial). The food was incredible, the hotels were quite comfortable, and the transportation was comfortable and enjoyable. This tour was amazing and I will definitely search out more Rick Steve's tours in the future.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favorite "wow" moments from the tour both happened in Venice. First was when we climbed to the second floor of St. Marks Basilica and walked towards the balcony. The lights were on and all of the gold frescos were glistening. It was truly an awe-inspiring sight. The second wow moment in Venice was our first night there, when my girlfriend and I decided to bar hop. We had delicious cicchetti and drinks and got lost while wandering around the city at night looking for more places to stop."

Jane

Omaha, NE

Tour: 05/27/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Truly excellent!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favorite "wow" moment was my walk to our hotel in Monterosso. If I wasn't out of breath by the time I reached the hotel, I certainly was when taking in my first view outside the hotel lobby. Beautiful! I enjoyed the last hours of the first evening on the hotel terrace and those peaceful moments spent with my "tour buddy" and our husbands is something I will never forget."

William

Newburgh, NY

Tour: 05/27/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was a great trip. A mix of touring with a group and time to explore on your own with our guide Sarah filling in wonderful information and stories in between. Loved all the places that we stopped in. Each place was unique and interesting. The bus was comfortable, roomy and the viewing while riding was wonderful.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"One of my wow moments was seeing the Ice Man Otzi and seeing his remains and seeing all the things he had with him. What a piece of human history.Another wow moment was seeing the sculpture of David by Michelangelo. What an astounding sculpture and hard to believe anyone could accomplish this 16 ft high statue out of one piece of marble. Rome was a wow city"

David

Vancouver, BC

Tour: 05/27/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I loved the variety of locations, quality of hotels, and the range of interests including architecture, art, history, food, scenery, language, and wine. The tour guide was exceptional. The special moments were many, including the stained glass demonstration, the pesto lesson, and so much more! The bus was very comfortable and the driver was outstanding! BTW, my name is not David. It is Steve.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"So many to choose from! Maybe Orvieto, I think. Signorelli's frescoes. Made the Sistine Chapel seem ordinary! Florence! Siena! Cinque Terre! All incredible. Roma!! So glad we stayed an extra two days there."

Carly

Pittsburgh, PA

Tour: 05/27/18

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

We experienced a little bit of everything, from the lakeside, to the city, to the mountains, to the vineyards! We were spoiled with the affordable Italian house wines and fine cuisine! I loved the personal touch of the local gondola and stained-glass craftsman. We walked into Mossimo's leather shop, and it was remarkable. He fit my boyfriend and I in a minute and gave us the best discount. I can't believe how much we did in 17 days!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"One unforgettable moment of the tour included seeing the Dolomite's for the first time and hiking the PU trail! It was really romantic riding in a gondola with musicians, like right out of a movie. Bar hopping at night was so much fun in Venice, a way to experience the night life while eating little appetizers. Seeing David was a wow moment. The view from the top of the Dome in Saint Peter's Basilica was the moment I really took in that I was in a different country."

Randy

Stafford, VA

Tour: 05/27/18

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Exceptional, except that I needed another day at Alpe Di Siusi. We did't arrive until 7pm and dinner did not wrap up until 9:30pm. So there was no orientation walk like all of the other locations. Also, the provided dinners throughout the trip were way to heavy, way to late, and provided little opportunity to interact with locals since we were among our group of 24 tourists!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favorite wow moment was in the high alpine meadow at Alpe Di Siusi. The scenery is unmatched and the hiking experience can't be beat. Multiple trails allow hikers to easy, moderate, or difficult trails that bring them closer to nature and bring them into regular contact with locals who are often just out for a day hike with friends and family. It is hard to image people actually living next to that kind of natural beauty. I want to go back for a week!"

Gary

Cincinnati, OH

Tour: 05/27/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was wonderful. Our guide was; well organized, knowledgeable of all our destinations and well versed in Italian history, art, architecture and culture. The daily schedule offered a nice balance of group time and free time. I never felt schedule overload. Staying two nights in every stop and mixing in some beautiful and relaxing spots like cinque terre and the wine resort gave us a chance to recharge. All of our meals were great and I especially enjoyed the meal at Ferruccio's home.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Wow, I'm not sure how to answer this question. I think I said wow at every place we stopped. I guess if I had to pick one I would say the Pantheon. Venice was also marvelous."

Jane

Roseville, CA

Tour: 05/25/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Awesome experience: we loved the combination of city tourist events and artistic/architectural venues with beautiful country views and hiking experiences.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The beauty of Lake Como and color of Cinque Terre."

Michael

Sunnyvale, CA

Tour: 05/25/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my third Rick Steves tour, and the first to focus on a single country. Although I've traveled to Italy a few times before, this tour went into much more depth. The tour exceeded my expectations. I still marvel at the quality of the travel experiences while the time-consuming but necessary aspects of travel are taken care of pretty seamlessly (lodging, transportation, advance tickets, etc). I easily enjoy at least twice as much sightseeing as I can accomplish when traveling on my own.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Gondola ride in Venice. Our guide, Rainer, arranged for my husband and I to get the "Love seat". That was very special for us since we were just recently able to get married legally."

Carol

Granite Bay, CA

Tour: 05/25/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Rainer was an exceptional group leader and guide. The local guides at each stop were also very professional. My sisters and I have done a previous trip with Rick Steves, enjoyed the whole experience, and will probably do another. Carol Altmann

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Thoroughly enjoyed gondola ride in Venice being serenaded by a young man with an"opera singer's voice" Hiking in Dolomites with snow on the ground. Cinque Terre. Great trip. Highly recommended."

Teni

Van Nuys, CA

Tour: 05/25/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was one of the best tours I have ever had, and I am glad that I chose RST tour. It was a little pricy though, compared to other tours.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I enjoyed every single moment of the tour. My most favorite place was Dolomites, and Ice man in Bolzano. Without taking this tour, I wouldn't have the chance to see these places. Thank you!!!"

Benny

Ada, OK

Tour: 05/25/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Statue of David. Dolomites and Lake Como."

Barbara

Vancouver, WA

Tour: 05/25/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Tour was amazing. Rainer is incredibly knowledgeable about so many aspects of the sites and places we visited. Great group of people on the tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"So many wow moments: The Ice Man, the doors on the Baptistry in Florence, the tapestries in the Vatican, the beautiful town of Assisi, riding a bicycle on top of the fortress wall of Lucca, the view from the swimming pool of the Umbrian countryside at Altarocca, the Colossseum, walking through the Roman ruins of the Forum, the hole in the dome of the Pantheon . . . So many incredible experiences."

Nancy

Gold River, CA

Tour: 05/25/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour did an amazing job of immersing us into the Italian culture of each area we visited. And each town had such unique characteristics emphasized by our knowledgeable guide, Rainer. Our group jelled from the start and got along extremely well which also added to our amazing experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were so many "wow" moments that make it difficult to choose my favorite. Given that I would have to choose my first glimpse of Chinque Terra, this beautiful group of towns in the hillside. We also stayed at a beautiful hotel with an amazing view in Monterrosa which added to the "wow" moments."

Sandra

Ada, OK

Tour: 05/25/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We thoroughly enjoyed our Best of Italy in 17 Days Tour. Rarely does an experience exceed my expectations, but in all honesty, this one did. Everything was so well organized, thoughtfully planned (even down to the WC breaks!) with some serendipitous moments thrown in for good measure. The ease of booking, the detailed itinerary, the deliberate planning of various artisans sharing their work, the meals and hotels, the ease of getting in and out of various exhibits was truly remarkable.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The surprise of the singer/accompanist on our gondola ride was really special. Our guide knew we were celebrating our 50th wedding anniversary and had arranged a special treat for us! That was an emotional moment for me. The others included the amazing group dinners (some 5 course ones) and the sheer beauty of the villages, and of course, David. Truly remarkable!"

Gayle

Clinton, WA

Tour: 05/25/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our second Rick Steves tour, and everything about it compared to or was better than the first. What makes your tours special for us are the special adventures between or within the major stops. This tour included several very interesting adventures that I don't think we'd get on any other tours or traveling on our own. When people ask us about our trips when we return, it is often these side trips to lesser known destinations that we talk about first.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"This might sound odd, but the side trip to the US military cemetery near Florence really stood out for me. Rainer surprised us with this, but had given us a great WW2 history lesson on the way that really framed the visit and made the stop extra meaningful. We also got a presentation by the cemetery manager for additional insight. Getting to see something so special, that we didn't even know was there, was amazing."

Lorena

Battle Ground, WA

Tour: 05/25/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was well organized from start to finish. There were no unpleasant surprises or cancellations. Our bus was very comfortable and our driver, Dino, very congenial and skilled. Our tour leader, Rainer, was very professional and highly knowledgeable about Italy. I really enjoyed his talks. The workshops and special sessions we attended such as visit to a maker of gondola equipment, stained glass window artist workshop tour and pesto making session were terrific.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Seeing the Colosseum in Rome. It was much more enormous and complete than I anticipated."

Linda

Mission Viejo, CA

Tour: 05/25/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our 3rd RS tour and it was as fabulous like the prior ones. Rainer, our tour guide, was passionate about Italy - its culture, art, architecture and a big foodie. Dino, our bus driver, was also great. We saw a lot of Italy - cities, villages and resorts, along with churches and museums. Great balance of structured and free time - we like the RS formula. I particularly enjoyed the Venice - gondola oar/steering demonstration and the side trip to Florence's American WWII cemetery.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were many 'wow' moments. The areas that resonated with me - the resort areas of Lake Como and Cinque Terre; Venice's vibe...canals and alleyways, San Marco Square at night, and sunset and sunrise; Michelangelo's 'David'; Rome's energy and the Coliseum. Enjoyed the Sienna group dinner with the neighborhood and their film of their most recent win and trophy room."

Ric

Mission Viejo, CA

Tour: 05/25/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Rainer was a great tour guide... I think success always start with the host. We were all amazed he's been doing them for 16 years. I asked him if he started when he was 8. I would also say it was our best of the 3 Rick Steves tours we took primarily because it was longer and we saw so much more.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Our room in Lake Como (Varenna) was amazing in every way. Top Floor, view of the town and the lake, modern bathroom. Dolomite hike was awesome as well. I'm a professional photographer so I gravitate to landscapes and the weather on our 4 hour hike was very diverse which made for some great diverse picture taking. Rainer's 20 minute Explanation of the end of the world paintings on the ceiling in the Orvieto Cathedral Chapel was the best most interesting dissertation I've ever witnessed."

Janet

Franklin, NE

Tour: 05/25/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour was a wonderful way to see all that Italy has to offer. We experienced a deeper understanding of expected sites such as the Vatican, Venice, the history and art of Rome and Florence, all with excellent local guides. We also were able to experience a more "everyday" Italy by meeting local artisans, being welcomed by neighborhood groups and families as they showed off their towns, villages and livelihoods with pride.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I think one "WOW" moment of this trip was our trek through the Dolomites. I didn't know what to expect, so I was in awe of the majesty of the mountains and the chance to walk the hills of this area. Then we visited the museum that housed Ötzi the Iceman. This 5,000 year old man is shown as an everyday man with his everyday possessions. The wealth of information from this discovery is awesome."

Dean A

Knoxville, TN

Tour: 05/18/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our experience from the tour proved it to be a fantastic combination of features and benefits which most other tour providers/formats can't compare. No stress logistics for transportation, hotels and seeing key sights with preferred access across a very broad swath of the country; plenty of free time to dig deeper or do you own things; many hidden treats from lunch stops or intermittent locations that exposed us to less touristy gems; a great gathering of like-minded tour members eager to share.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Beauty of Lake Como and also Alpe Di Siuise"

Paula

Chicago, IL

Tour: 05/18/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I had never been to Italy before. This trip was fabulous due to the places that we visited, the people in the group, people we met along the way, and our guide Karen. The organized portions of the tour with local guides were also quite good. The love of their country and knowledge of its history enriched the travel experience. There was also plenty of time built in to explore on your own. The tour gave me the confidence to travel independently--which I used for the week after the trip when.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It is hard to rate a single wow moment there were so many. For me it was seeing the David in Florence."

Amy

Tebbetts, MO

Tour: 05/18/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We absolutely loved our experience and can't complain about a single thing. We would definitely book another Rick Steves tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I can't pin down one or two things- I loved everything."

Ed

Chapel Hill, NC

Tour: 05/18/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Terrific from start to finish. We expected a lot, and got all of it. Karin was outstanding - personable and knowledgeable.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The whole shebang. Serial "wow" moments."

Melvin

Spring Valley, CA

Tour: 05/18/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour exceeded every expectation I envisioned for this trip; starting with our tour guide Karin, Adrian our driver, the natural beauty of northern Italy and the history of the various regions. The tour had a well balanced time of guided tour and free time.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"A single WOW moment is difficult to to point out, for each stop had it's own wow moment. Whether it was the lakes with mountain backdrop, the Alps, the various churches with their architecture & sculptures or the tranquility of the winery, they were all wows. If I was forced to pick one WOW, it would probably be the architecture of the period."

Mike

Westlake, OH

Tour: 05/18/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had a great tour. It was actually better that described. Our guide, Karin, was great. She was knowledgeable, practical, personable, and fun. This was my first RS tour and I do now believe that what is said is done, if not more. I look forward to doing more RS tours.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Being a "best of" tour there was more that one wow moment. For me, the wow moments were actually experiencing for myself the countryside, the history, the food, the art, and the architecture. For example, seeing 'David' with your own eyes is unequalled to any picture."

Rian

Salem, OR

Tour: 05/18/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was fantastic. We had so many amazing experiences and got to share them with an amazing group of people. One of the things I enjoyed most was the diversity of cities we traveled to. One day, we were enjoying the beautiful Lake Como, and the next day we're up in the Dolomites. Karin was a great tour guide. She did a good job building relationships with all of the group members, and I was impressed with her knowledge and willingness to find answers to things she didn't know.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favorite "wow" moment was seeing the Duomo in Florence. It's my favorite building in the world, and getting to see it in person was amazing."

Virginia

Fulton, MO

Tour: 05/18/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was incredible. I was happy that we chose this one because it included diverse destinations [INVALID] busy, art-filled cities as well as beautiful, natural scenery. Karin was the perfect guide and the group really bonded. Not sure how you arranged such a compatible, fun group but that definitely added to the enjoyment.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I loved the panorama views of Lake Como from the Vezio Castle Ruins in Varenna. It was well worth the steep hike. Standing on the balcony at St. Mark's Basilica in Venice [INVALID] and having a spritz on the square and touring the Doge's Palace [INVALID] also rank high in my memories."

Linda

Spring Valley, CA

Tour: 05/18/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was everything and more than my expectations. It just kept getting better and better. Really enjoyed the type of experiences, local and firsthand. I liked staying in the city/town centers so we could wander and explore. Enjoyed being able to walk wherever we went. We had a good group that traveled well together.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I can't really identify my favorite WOW moment. It seemed like everytime I turned around there was a Wow moment. I was continually amazed at the the massiveness of the architecture and art, but I also loved the brightly colored (flowers) neifgborhood streets and the doors! I started a 'do again' list, but everything ended up on the list!"

Kristen

Westlake, OH

Tour: 05/18/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I appreciated how well the tour was organized, how smoothly it went. I also liked that we had our own unstructured time. It was a whirlwind of seeing famous sites and art. It is still sinking in about the amazing things we saw. I am glad that the trip had a mix of outdoors and city.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were so many things but I would say seeing Michelangelo's David."

Maureen

Lacey, WA

Tour: 05/11/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was wonderful! Very enjoyable. It was nice to have my husband less stressed about making all the arrangements and handling the logistics.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Too many to choose from."

Susan

Phoenix, AZ

Tour: 05/11/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Lots of energy, support from Elena and Rachel for free time, plenty of things to see and do. By the time we got to Rome, I was worn out and found the crowds exhausting. Excellent local guides. Wish tour had included Milan because there is plenty to see there. Hotels good (Serenissima) to excellent (Castello del Oro, Altirocca Wine Resort) but all staff were gracious, helpful, and patient. Enjoyed the stained glass demo and the gondola making demo. Cinque Terre very crowded.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Siena, Assisi, Orvieto were amazing and totally surprising. Seeing the juxtaposition of modern buildings and Roman ruins in Rome was awesome. Oh, and the availability of really great gelato everywhere!"

Valerie

Vernon, BC

Tour: 05/11/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was wonderful having so many things organized that we could sit back and take it all in! Italy can be overwhelming just in figuring out the basic customs and things that are somewhat different. Being with our group and a very local tour guide made this easier. I enjoyed the scope of the city and landscapes that we covered, but it would have been better to have more contemplative time...and some extra rest days and downtime. please add two more days. Thanks!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The scenery in the Dolomites was spectacular, as well as at [INVALID]roca Wine Resort. It was great to be right in the midst of the views and of course felt so much more wonderful than looking at any photo. Also in Venice standing at the far end of the square where St. Mark's Square is was breathtaking, even in the afterglow of the rain! Venice needs a minimum of 3 days to soak up the ambience of a city on water fully."

Roger

Vernon, BC

Tour: 05/11/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This 'Best Of Italy' tour gave us a great introduction to the northern half of the country. We now feel we have the knowledge we need to select favorite places to return by ourselves. This tour covered a lot of ground in a short while and got a bit tiring at times for us older travellers. The walking demands seemed less difficult than the warnings led us to expect, the tour gradually ramping up the walks as time passed. But be prepared to stand a lot as tour guides describe things.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were a lot of wow moments, but the Pantheon in Rome was my favorite moment. A awsome peice of engineering surviving intact from ancient times. We came back again on our own time for a second look. First thing in the morning avoided the crowds."

Christopher

Lacey, WA

Tour: 05/11/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Overall I was very pleased with our Rick Steves' tour. I'm usually the one having to make all of the arrangements and organize every detail. It was so relaxing knowing this was all done and I could relax and enjoy the sights and experiences.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"This is hard to answer. Almost every day brought a new "wow moment" If I had to pick it would have to be more general by visiting all of the churches and learning about the history."

Frank

Atlanta, GA

Tour: 05/11/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It exceeded my expectations - the organization, professionalism, quality, and daily iteneraries were almost perfect. I have no words to describe the knowledge, energy, care, and most of all the unpretentious sincere enthusiasm of our tour guide, Elena!!!! Her assisstant, Rachael was also excellent. If the rest of your tour guides are half as good as Elena you have an amazing staff.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hard to pick one."

Herbert

Clayton, CA

Tour: 05/11/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was a terrific tour headed by very capable, caring, enthusiastic guides. The guides in each of our cities were excellent. Our leaders did a great job coordinating all of the activities, museum tours, dinners, etc. Our leaders gave special attention to special event: birthdays and anniversaries. Our leaders were second to none and I an ready to go again!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Perhaps the "WOW" moment was our stay in Orvieto. We stayed at a wine resort for two nights and it gave me a chance to catch my breath before traveling to Rome. There were a number of "WOW" moments as the places we visited were just what we expected but more. I appreciated the side trip when leaving Florence to visit and pay our respects at the American Cemetery. It was not on the itinerary and our guide indicated she had some discretion in going to the site. It was much appreciated."

Edison

Miramichi, NB

Tour: 05/11/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our tour was terrific! It was a perfect mix of tour activities and free time. We really enjoyed the enthusiasm of our tour guides, Elena and Rachel! They were very professional, knowledgeable and fun!! Our fellow tour members were enjoyable to be with. We were able to see all the major sites in each destination. All accommodations had perfect locations and breakfasts included were a big plus. This was our first RS tour - it won't be our last!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It's hard to say we had just one 'Wow' moment...Riding on the bus in Rome and all of a sudden the Coliseum appears, David at the Uffizi gallery, the Campo in Siena, the piazza San Marco in Venice, the canals and alleys in Venice. You get the idea, there is a 'Wow' moment at every destination."

Dan

San Lorenzo, CA

Tour: 05/11/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our trip was wonderful. Elena our leader was incredible. On more than one occasion we would get lost when exploring cities in Italy. As soon as we asked directions she miraculously appeared to help us find our way. Most of hotels used far exceeded our expectations. We used Rick's guidebook on our first trip to Europe many years ago, so we expected clean but humble hotels. From the majestic hotel on Lake Como, to the great suite we had in Kastelrotto, to the wine resort in Oriveto. Great!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"We really enjoyed the special group meals. The meal prepared by the retired chef in his home in Varenna. The pesto lasagna prepared for us in Monteroso. The meal prepared just for us by the community association in Sienna. When we decided to visit Italy, we wanted to Eat our way across the country. Those special meals were really wonderful."

Kathleen

Clayton, CA

Tour: 05/11/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This is the first time my husband and I have taken a Rick Steves tour. The quality of the entire experience is so much more than we expected. The bus was modern and very comfortable. Michele was an amazing driver! We expected to transfer our own luggage and most of the time the distance between the bus and our hotel was very manageable. Our guides were wonderful and attentive to all our needs. They made the trip fun as well as informative.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I was totally mesmerized by the beautiful Tuscan and Umbrian countryside. The vineyards, orchards, wildflowers, grasses and trees were just lovely this time of the year. The hill towns and villages were charming. I looked forward to seeing the Roman and Etruscan ruins."

Mark

Orondo, WA

Tour: 05/11/18

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

We had a great time overall. We did become a little Catholic / Cathedral numb by the time we reached Rome and the Vatican museums. (I'm catholic and half Italian too) We would have liked a little more Roman cultural exposure. Maybe throw in a castle tour to break things up a little. The hotels were are all above expectations. Very comfortable beds, (Italians need to experience a real pillow though! lol) Some more than others! Elena was awesome. Above and beyond with every step.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Venice. Around every corner, Venice. Orvieto was pretty special too. Elena. After seeing other tour guides block stairways, exhibits, doorways with their groups and be very rude. I totally appreciated the fact that Elena would pretalk the attraction out of the main thoroughfare and then direct us to see it. Always made sure we werent blocking foot traffic. This is huge, I wish all the guides in the world would understand the importance of this."

Linda

Avalon, CA

Tour: 05/11/18

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

I had heard so much about Rick Steves tours, finally decided to take one and I'm very glad that I did! The Best of Italy tour offered me some new locations in northern Italy, Varenna/Lake Como and Castlerotto, as well as including a number of my favorites...Cinque Terre, Venice and Assisi. I especially liked that we spent two nights in each location which afforded enough free time to really check things out.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The beauty and uniqueness of northern Italy! Have to also include cooking demo in Monterosso and accompanying pesto dinner...WOW!"

Richard

Sunriver, OR

Tour: 05/06/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We took your advise and started a day early and left a day late. The tour was excellent, very well planned and the Tour Guide was outstanding! All the tour site guides were knowledgeable and very informative. The dinners provided by the tour were excellent and Rainer recommended very good restaurants for us, not an average one in the bunch. Our friends who have done Rick Steves Tours highly recommended this tour and now we can join in that recommendation!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"As I was going to say when I ran out of characters above, was that our bus driver was excellent, a master of narrow city streets, curvy mountain roads and crowded freeways. The size and beauty of the churches was the big "wow" factor along with art museums I have wanted to see on this tour."

Kevin

Nanaimo, BC

Tour: 05/06/18

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

I was very pleasantly surprised by the quality of this tour. Although usually independent travellers, we decided on this tour because my wife had never been to Italy and it seemed a good way to give her a broad sampling for future travel considerations without us having to worry about entrance tickets, transportation and accommodation bookings. We were both very content with Rick Steves' tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I couldn't pick a single wow moment; rather, the quality of the organization, transportation, meals and unique experiences selected provided a general feeling of "ahhh" contentment."

Sara

Lake Oswego, OR

Tour: 05/06/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Loved the unexpected--the dinner with the retired chef in Lake Como, hearing a chamber music concert playing Vivaldi in Venice, the visit to the American cemetery, the dinner at the community center in Siena, the visit with the stained glass artist, the bike ride around Lucca, the stay at the farm, watching the "tourist" take pictures of their loved ones holding up the Leaning Tower of Pisa, getting a cooking lesson on how to make pesto, rain coming through the dome of the Pantheon, Borghesse."

Barbara

Issaquah, WA

Tour: 05/06/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was just what I wanted to be exposed to. The experience of seeing a lot of cities/towns, joining in the tradition and culture, food, learning the ropes, etc. I was impressed with the execution of the logistics surrounding the hotels/dinners/museums/agenda/bus. It was executed flawlessly, and those things that might have not gone just as planned, we moved smoothly through (although I can't think of anything other than the occasional rain shower).

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Being Catholic, I was intrigued by the history of the Romans,church beginnings & the saints, & I enjoyed discussing the church history,doctrine & current state of the affairs with our fellow travelers. My wow moment came when I returned home,& saw the documentary Pope Francis: A Man of His Word. The opening scene is in back and white, & shows a view from the town of Assisi looking down into the valley,where the Basilica St. Mary of the Angels & the Porziuncola Chapel are. I was there!!"

Hernando

Miami, FL

Tour: 05/06/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My overall experience was better than expected. The tour was carefully planned to make sure we experienced the best of Italy in 17 days. Excellent choice of locations, hotels, and even bus stops. Things were run smoothly always keeping in mind the travelers experience was pleasant. I am very happy with the results and have good memories Thank you all for a great experience!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Everyday on the tour I experience a wow moment. The views were incredibly beautiful, each city had their own charm and character. So for me the wow moments came mainly from the land scape and of course the art we were able to see."

Steven

Fernandina Beach, FL

Tour: 05/06/18

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Visiting Italy for 17 days was a blur of Italian culture, sites and history and only a cursory introduction to this friendly country. In general, 2 days per city was just enough time to get a sense of the area. But not enough to really explore. That said, we now have an appreciation for Italy's vast diversity: the snow covered mountains of the Dolomites and the rural farmlands of Umbria versus the bustle of Rome and the staggering crowds of the Vatican City.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There was no single place or event, but rather the immense knowledge of our guide. Rainer knew the Italian history, language, architecture, and many of the cultural nuances. In addition, Rainer has a passion for sharing this knowledge in a congenial yet professional manner. Rick Steves' is fortunate to have a guide of Rainer's caliber."

Frank

Issaquah, WA

Tour: 05/06/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My wife and I were looking for a tour that would provide us with an overview of Italy and expose us to a variety of Italian experiences, and this Best of Italy tour accomplished exactly that! It was a perfect blend of scheduled activities and free time for us to explore and experience Italian culture on our own. Our guide was great. Our bus driver was great. Our group of fellow travelers were cohesive and fun to be with.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Our tour guide arranged an unscheduled visit to the Florence American Cemetery and Memorial on our way from Florence to Cinque Terre. It was a totally unexpected - and very moving - experience getting to visit the graves of some of the brave Americans who fought in Italy during WWII. We also loved the town of Assisi!"

Lucy

Niagara Falls, ON

Tour: 05/06/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had never done a group tour before and we very impressed with all aspects of this tour! The guide, Rainer, the hotels, experiences and foods surpassed our expectations! We would definitely do another Steves tour!

Margie

Sunriver, OR

Tour: 05/04/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

A big tour with lots to see and do. Appreciated the way we were introduced to each city with a walking tour then given tips and encouraged about navigating on our own. Many of Italy's main attractions are extremely crowded and you need to be accepting and able to deal with it because there's so much that shouldn't be missed. As with our previous tours, it was fun doing some things as a group but also appealing to know that there was free time when you could do things without everyone else.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Wow moment was being able to get up close to Botticelli's Birth of Venus at the Uffizi. I think the most enjoyable moment was walking to dinner thru a Venice locals' neighborhood, away from the crowds as the sun was going down."

Marsha

Gig Harbor, WA

Tour: 05/04/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I enjoyed the variety of locales that we visited---lake, mountain, city, resort, hill towns.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Walking into the gallery in Florence and seeing Michelangelo's David took my breath away. It was bigger and more perfect than I had imagined."

Ron

Sunriver, OR

Tour: 05/04/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Wonderful experience...great itinerary made even better by an outstanding tour guide,Stacy Gibboni. The Best of Italy tour had a wide variety of special venues,many special local guides that real added to understanding their city or village. The Hotels ranged from nice to excellent. Group meals were well done and added to the group's interactions. We traveled throughout Italy in a very nice bus driven by a great driver who added to our experiences. A very nice experience!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"This tour is loaded with "wow" moments...almost on a daily basis! Lake Como and it's numerous small villages and towns started our wow's...hiking high in Italian Alps was memorable as was being in the Cinque Terra region. The history,culture and arts throughout the tour were again almost daily wows. Favorite was the Cinque Terra."

Chuck

Snellville, GA

Tour: 05/04/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Stacy was great. Her knowledge and personality made the experience. I came away thinking that I saw all of the important sights at each stop and some additional "back door" experiences.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Each city had it's "wow" moments, but I guess the coliseum in Rome was the biggest. Standing on the floor gave a very unique perspective to what it must have been like."

Joan

Beaverton, OR

Tour: 05/04/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was wonderful. The northern cities of Italy are more beautiful than I ever imagined. Riding the bus between cities we saw beautiful green and hilly country side dotted with small cities and agriculture. I feel the group bonded very well. Glad I took this trip because I could never plan something like that on my own. Stacy was such a good tour guide.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Venice was a wow place. Stacy is from Venice so she gave us the best advice. On the first night there was a concert in a beautiful old church were Vivaldi's Four Seasons was played by excellent musicians. So special. On the next night our group to gondola rides to Stacy's restaurant. Such a great experience."

George

Hayward, CA

Tour: 05/04/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was fantastic. It was much more than I had expected, constantly filling my head full of memorable places.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Sorry... but it's just too difficult to narrow it down to just one. If I had to narrow it down, I would have to say the Sistine Chapel. Not just the incredible art but the massive crowd was also a "wow"."

Juanita

The Dalles, OR

Tour: 05/04/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My sister and I both had a great time touring Italy. We chose the tour for its inclusive itinerary so we could see a lot of places, history and culture all in one trip. Our guide, Stacie, was good at keeping us busy and interested. We appreciated her knowledge of art and the extra things she did that were not specified in the tour description. Stacie also helped us with our travel arrangements to continue to Naples and Pompeii when the tour ended.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My breath was taken away by the big white fountain with the statues of huge horses. So clean, so unexpected. Stacie also took us walking past the intersection with four fountains in Rome, something I really wanted to see. I thoroughly enjoyed the Galileo Museum in Florence. There were several engineers in our group who didn't go there but they became interested when we described what we saw. You should recommend it. A "wow" moment was learning only 80% of the Roman ruins have been excavated."

Darlene

Houston, TX

Tour: 05/04/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My overall experience on my first ever RS tour was fantastic. The tour was paced for maximum sightseeing and plenty of relaxation. There isn't one thing on the tour I would have wanted to skip. In fact, in most of the destinations I wanted more! More time to enjoy the good food and fabulous locations. That is it - we will be taking more tours with Rick Steves'

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Each and everyday of the tour held a WOW moment. Choosing just a few is a bit tough. Varenna, Lake Como is one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. In Florence, seeing "David" absolutely took my breath away, and brought me to tears! Every nook and cranny of Venice was a vignette to behold. I found Venice magical, with layers of history and art. Actually, every time we arrived at a new hotel and opened the window to check the view. Those were literally the WOW moments, every time!"

Paul

Minster, OH

Tour: 04/27/18

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

The best of Italy tour was more than we expected. My goal was to see Ancient Rome a Tuscany. This tour added so much variety with respect to Italy and its surprisingly diverse and interesting culture. I especially enjoyed the Mediterranean stop at Cinque Terre, relaxing and challenging hikes between villages. And the food, so much variety between all the stops. Doing a Rick Steves tour was relaxing and informative, a good mix of guidance and alone time.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Altarocca wine resort was awesome. A great rest stop before the hustle of a Rome? The resort was tucked into the countryside of Italy and just looked the way you would expect Italy to look and feel. The folks there fed us so well and the wine at all of our stops was above expectations."

Michael

Edmonds, WA

Tour: 04/27/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Great tour. I especially enjoyed staying at each hotel for two nights and also have a lot of free time to do whatever I wanted to do. It gave me a chance to see a lot of Italy (this was my first trip to Italy) and now I know what places I'd go back to and what places I would not go back to. I was surprised of how many people in Italy smoke, especially young people. I guess their country has not heard about how bad this is for their health!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It is a toss up between Lake Como, Cinque Terre, Dolomites and the wine resort. I'd go back to all of these places and then stay at each one for a week so that I could really enjoy it."

Shelley

Portland, OR

Tour: 04/27/18

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Overall the trip was great. The opportunity to see the cities and towns of Italy was terrific. Our tour guide was very good and our bus driver was terrific. The hosted dinners were also very good. I was very disappointed that we were not given a heads up to purchase tickets to get into Il Duomo. We were lucky in that everyone in the group got along very, very well.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Dolomites. I did not expect those mountains or that wonderful alpine meadow."

Teresa

Longview, WA

Tour: 04/27/18

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

I enjoyed this tour and the varied locations we visited. This tour is listed as strenuous and they mean it! I can walk all day long, but the hills, some quite steep, and the ancient stone steps of varying height got to me by the third week. The pace of this tour is fast as it covers so very much. I used it as an overview to decide where I wished to return to spend more time at a more relaxed pace. Our guide was great and very knowledgeable. We had an amazing bus driver and a brand new bus!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Seeing the David statue in Florence. Actually all of Florence (with the exception of our hotel room which did not have properly operating plumbing)."

Michael

Clackamas, OR

Tour: 04/27/18

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

overall a great tour, if I could criticize any points, it would be some of the hotels and some of the group dinners which were below standard in my opinion.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"A couple of great moments would be the view in Monteroso and the start of the tour in Lake Como."

Bonnie

Meridian, ID

Tour: 04/27/18

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Enjoyed it....well organized, logistics arranged conveniently, liked the informal nature. Loved the 'workshops'....maker of oarlocks, pesto, stained glass, sciacciterra,... Would have preferred a smaller group...28 just too many. In Varenna while visiting the bar next to the hotel, we ran out all the locals...just too small a space for a large group.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Sistene Chapel ceiling.....but extreme crowding detracted from the experience. I know the Church regulates tours but they have enough money, they could make the tours a bit less crowded. Coliseum, Pantheon, Etruscan Museum, Otzi, Saw the Last Supper before the tour started....now that is a WOW moment!"

Molly

Pequot Lakes, MN

Tour: 04/27/18

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The art made for lots of wow moments! From "David" to the Sistine Chapel we saw a lot of incredible pieces!"

Jeffrey

Fort Collins, CO

Tour: 04/27/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had the best people in our group and an amazing, and a very knowledgeable tour guide. Everyone looked after each other and the amount of fun we had, and the overall group experience was way beyond my expectations. It was a great overview of northern and central Italy which we will base future trips upon. My favorite destinations include Lake Como, Bolzano, Cinque Terre and the Altarocca Wine Resort. Rick Steves tours are very well planned and allow for a nice amount of free time.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Taking the boat from Monterosso to Riomaggiore and viewing the villages and beauty of the Cinque Terre coast! Truly amazing!!!"

Shyh-Tsae

Cupertino, CA

Tour: 04/20/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had a wonderful time on the tour. The tour covered a lot of ground and we felt we had seen and learned quite a bit about Italy.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I love the homemade lemon jam from Hotel Villa Steno in Monterosso. When we complimented how tasty it was, the owner's family shared the recipe with us. I have a prolific lemon tree in my back yard, as soon as I returned home, I made the lemon jam based on the recipe and it was delicious! I will always remember the Best of Italy tour and the friendly Cinque Terre Inn keeper who shared the recipe every time when I eat the homemade lemon jam."

Paul

Kirkland, WA

Tour: 04/20/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I enjoyed the tour immensely. Great people and two great guides. Overall, it met my high expectations. Rainer kept us on schedule and moving efficiently. Even though we were switching cities and hotels every two days, it did not seem rushed. This is a great sampler tour for anybody considering spending more time in Italy. I liked the meal in the community hall in Siena. That was a very nice and unusual touch. The visit to the American WW2 graveyard outside of Florence was nice.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Seeing the Duomo in Florence. I've seen it before, but somehow it is so much more impressive. Another WOW was the trip to the Dolomites and seeing those wonderful snow capped peaks. I want to return when I can actually hike through the meadows."

John

Fort Collins, CO

Tour: 04/20/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I thoroughly enjoyed the tour. As with previous tours, the tour was well run, the agenda was both interesting and sufficiently diverse to maintain ones interest. Our guide knew his stuff, was both personable and efficient, and the other tour participants were an interesting group of people to be with for 17 days.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The evening we spent at Chef Federucco's house was special. It was so nice to be invited into his home and have him prepare an excellent meal for the entire group. It not only gave us insight into Italian hospitality but was special because of the pride he took in the food and the enjoyment he seemed to get from sharing that with us."

Timothy

Cupertino, CA

Tour: 04/20/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was 17 days, but it felt like 25 because it was so packed full of great experiences and sights. The tour had a great pace starting peacefully in Lake Como, moving on to some large cities, then once again a bit of peace at an Italian countryside winery, and finally finishing up in amazing Rome. I can't think of how our tour guide could be any better, and the entire experience was wonderful.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The "wow" moment for me was dinner at Feruccio's home at Lake Como. Feruccio is a retired, and very accomplished, Italian chef. As a member of the Rick Steve's tour we were invited to Feruccio's home and he, his wife, his son, and the son's fiance served us a fantastic meal with homemade drinks as well. In addition, with some translation from Feruccio's son, we were treated to some stories of Italy - past and present - including Feruccio describing how they survived during WWII on dried fish."

Lionel

Chatswood, NSW

Tour: 04/20/18

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

A lot of very good interesting information.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The vineyards Altarocca wine resort, great location, good food, relaxing moments at the right time."

Patricia

Minneapolis, MN

Tour: 04/20/18

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Fine, but not as great as I had remembered from previous RS Best of Italy in 2004. Disappointed in Cinque Terra (unexpected crows), the winery/spa (preferred the farm), Dolomites (snow covered meadows and closed towns). Still found delight in Lake Como, Venice, Rome, Pisa and, my personal favorite, Sienna. New highlights: Luca, the American cemetery, almond crusted sea bass in Venice. I think that I might enjoy RS Smalltown Italy. Or, ten days in Varenna!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Unscheduled visit to American cemetery for WWII dead was very moving. Seeing Michelangelo's statue of David as introduced by Rainer was a magical moment."

Donna

Lynnwood, WA

Tour: 04/20/18

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Loved the amazing cathedrals and museums, cappuccino and gelato, gorgeous scenery, being blessed with near perfect weather and the very efficient way we were taken around. Great Uffuzi guide and talk by the Siena stain glass artisan. Memorable dinners (melt-in-your mouth pesto lasagna) and glad we took Rainier's suggestion to try sardines and anchovies!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"A "24 hour wow moment" in Rome: With our guide Rainier, seeing the Colosseum, Forum and Pantheon in the afternoon; pizza and gelato for dinner; an evening stroll including Trevi fountain; early the next morning touring the Vatican museums, Sistine Chapel and St. Peter's Basilica."

Lynn

Watkinsville, GA

Tour: 04/20/18

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

I liked the fact we had scheduled activities and then we had time on our own. I was not totally prepared for the packing experience for 17 days. Our tour guides, Rainer and Hailee, were awesome and the tour guides were informative and entertaining.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The American cemetery was quite moving and a surprise stop. The Ice Man was my WOW moment."

Gary

Greenwich, NY

Tour: 04/13/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The guides were very knowledgeable about the different areas we visited. The sites visited in the different cities were excellent. The fact that tickets were purchased for the group and allowed us to enter the different sites without waiting in lines for hours was great. I liked the fact that there were times in each city where we had a guided tour and then time for us to explore on our own. This was well balanced. Loved the tour and would do another.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"This is difficult to define. There were so many. I think the visit and stay at the stay in Umbria. Each city visited had its own wow moment. I think Florence, and the visit to the museums was another wow moment. The group dinners were also exceptional."

Chris

Temple Terrace, FL

Tour: 04/13/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our 7th RS tour and by far was one of the best. We experienced different regions of Italy from Lake Como to the Dolomites from Venice to Rome. It was one of the top two tours we have had with RS. We are already investigating our next tour. For us, it is the only way to travel.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Without a doubt, the second dinner at the agri-tourisma outside Orvieto was THE wow moment on the tour. Eating, drinking, dancing-and I am the world's worst dancer...could not have been a better experience. The hosts went out of their way to open their home to us and provide us with a great "Italian family experience"."

Christina

Petoskey, MI

Tour: 04/13/18

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Educational, informative, well planned, wonderful scenery, unbelievable historical sites and art. The mix of large city and smaller towns was good. The tour pace was fine and there was time for more activity as one needed or wanted. I enjoyed learning more about the political and economic situation in the country as well as regional differences in food and wine. The group we travelled with was really nice and fun loving. I had a great time and really enjoyed the tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Wow! I cannot pick just one. I loved so many moments. Highlights included fantastic group meals (a couple with fun with entrainment and dancing), " David " in Florence, riding bikes on the town wall in Lucca, the time spent at the agriturisimo, the gondola "armada" with music in Venice, a concert in Venice, the apple struedel up at the ski place in the Dolomites, the Pantheon, the homemade limoncello at La Pentolaccia in Rome, the Forest Contrada in Siena...The Pantheon!"

Sharon

Houston, TX

Tour: 04/13/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour exceeded my expectations. Donald was an excellent guide. The highlights were the "cultural experiences": pesto making demonstration, stained glass workshop visit, dinner at the contrada, the stay at the agriturismo.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Difficult to say because there were many, but the stay at the agriturismo and the experiences we had there were a definite highlight and wow moments."

Gary

Richmond, CA

Tour: 04/13/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was a wonderful Italy sampler providing a very diverse view.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Walking into the Coliseum - so large and ancient."

Edmund

Bedford, NY

Tour: 04/13/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Someone in our group said it was like getting an education and being on vacation at the same time and I agree. Donald was very well informed about history and art as well as contemporary Italian culture and communicated well. He and Marianna were very good at helping the group get to know each other and fascilitated a real spirit of commeraderie. Our local guides were all excellent. The dinners were very good and the special tours added a lot of value. Overall a wonderful experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"To see in the art, especially in Florence, how the arts both facilitated and reflected the renaissance of the human spirit and how Italy really launched us into the modern world. One of favoite sayng is Dante's injuction to the Italian people and really to all inheritors of western civilization. Dante says: "Considerate la vostre semenza fatti non foste viver come bruti ma per seguir virtute e canonscenza." I told Donald that the tour made that saying come alive for me and it did."

Barbara

Cypress, TX

Tour: 04/13/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Outstanding trip that far exceeded our expectations! Our days were well organized with a balance of guided tours and free time. The local guides were a delight, sharing the history of their cities with excitement and passion. The visits to the artisanal workshops in Venice and Sienna were very personal and informative. Our group dinners in each city gave us memorable experiences reflecting the cuisine of each area. And our guides, Donald and apprentice Marianna, were perfetto!!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"This tour had so many wonderful experiences that it's hard to find just one WOW! Our dinner at the Agriturisimo in Umbria was one of my favorites. Beautiful setting in the country, fabulous dinner by our hostess, and dancing and singing together with all our dear tour family!"

Susan

Easton, CT

Tour: 04/13/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our first tour of any kind. We had a wonderful time. Donald and Marianna were excellent tour guides. They were so knowledgeable, helpful and enthusiastic. They were able to answer any questions we had regarding history, art, architecture, dining etc. Donald's experience and recognizing the need for downtime or a more restful schedule when called for was very much appreciated.

Karen

El Sobrante, CA

Tour: 04/13/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour brought us to many of Italy's most stunning sites, and we arrived in comfort and well-prepared to get the most out of each location. I'm still feeling awestruck by all I experienced. While I might never return (despite the coins I tossed into the Trevi Fountain), I will always feel satisfied that this tour made the most of our time by providing us with the best sites, tastes, and time in many of the premier destinations in Italy.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Just one favorite "wow" moment? My long list would include the beautiful views and sounds of the Ligurian Sea from our room in Monterrosso. Did I rest or relax? Ha! I slept well, was grateful to have my clothes laundered, and hiked all over the Cinque Terre during my 1 day vacation from the tour!"

Ronald

River Forest, IL

Tour: 04/13/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour I think was wonderful !! I was initially hesitant about the number of places that we would be going however I think it was planned so well with more relaxing days scheduled at Cingue Terre and at the Agriturismo before and after more intense days that we were able to enjoy every day.I was glad we were able to spend time in some of the smaller towns and villages as we actually enjoyed those stops more than the bigger cities.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were soooo many to choose from but since you asked for one I would pick taking the hike from Manarola to Corniglia via Volastra.After a brief rest in Volastra we started to hike to Corniglia and just a short distance from Volastra we turned a corner in the trail and the entire Cinque Terre appeared to open up in front of us.WOW !! what a scenic and memorable view.The entire Cinque Terre appeared to be at our feet, we were above where the birds were flying and the ocean seemed endless."

Mark

Easton, CT

Tour: 04/13/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Great group, wonderful tour guides, nice mix between tour time and personal time, itinerary perfect.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The group... What a great group to share this with"

Debora

Greenwich, NY

Tour: 04/13/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was wonderful! It was so well planned in every detail, yet allowed flexibility for unexpected situations. The balance of free time, organised outings, and quiet reprieves from the crowds made the tour enjoyable for all of us!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"After the crowds of the cities, our stay at the agriturismo brought such a restful peace to the tour. The landscape of vineyards, olive and citrus trees and hearing the cuckoo bird sing morning and evening was THE highlight of the tour for me. Our stay in Cinque Terra was amazing as well. We spent time in the garden patio high above Monterosso, watching the daily life of the village overlooking the sea."

Paul

Houston, TX

Tour: 04/13/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was a great experience and I will recommend this tour to anyone interested in seeing Italy. It exceeded my expectations.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were so many, but right at the beginning Varenna and Lake Como were so beautiful I didn't think it could get any better. But then we got to Cinque Terre and I don't which was more beautiful!"

Bj

Bryan, TX

Tour: 04/13/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was a great tour, covering a variety of sites and experiences in Italy, with a fun group of travelers.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Seeing the 5,300-year-old Otiz the iceman, along with his clothing and weapons was amazing. The museum was excellent, documenting the discovery of Otiz, and analyzing all of his stone age belongings. It was a fascinating one-of-a-kind experience!"

Ilona

Louisville, KY

Tour: 04/13/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I enjoyed all aspects of the trip and the wonderful people on the trip as well as very knowledgeable tour guides

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Varonna, Lake Como and Bolsano"

John

Houston, TX

Tour: 04/06/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We saw pretty much everything north of Roma in 17 days. I have never seen so much and done so much on a vacation before. Your descriptions of the activity levels were accurate, and despite my efforts to come prepared, I did need to take a few hours off a couple of times. That was handled with a minimum of disruption, whether it was me or someone else.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Roman ruins were my interest going in, and I wasn't disappointed. Verona, which was a midday stop, and Roma were my "wow!" places. The colosseums were spectacular. Entering The Colosseum in Rome via the gladiator gate was incredible."

Jerald

Andover, MN

Tour: 04/06/18

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

I had a really great time, good tour guide and good group. Enjoyed learning the arts, sculptures, and history.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Lake Como, Dolomites (although we didn't get to stay there), Cinque Terre, and Rome."

Hillary

Tucson, AZ

Tour: 04/06/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I've been to Italy a few times, but I always wanted to do the RS 17 Day Italy tour. I brought my sister along because I knew that she would love it! We were not disappointed! It was an incredible experience form start to finish!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favorite "wow" moment came as I was strolling through the hills of Umbria. The rolling green farmland spread out before me and I felt like there couldn't possibly me a more serenely beautiful place for me to be! It was a beautiful, timeless experience."

Kristine

Darby, MT

Tour: 04/06/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our Tour guide Stephanie and bus driver, Dino made the trip very enjoyable. We had a few special questions and requests and they made an extra effort to make sure our interests were accommodated.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I thoroughly enjoyed the small St Francis of Assisi church. Along with 2 others, our tour guide and hotel were able to arrange for us to take a taxi to see the LDS-Mormon Temple being built outside of Rome. The Colosseum was spectacular! A"

Carol

Coalville, UT

Tour: 04/06/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Stephanie the tour guide was great. She knew what she was doing and made the trip enjoyable. She got us our room numbers while we were still on the bus and checking in to our rooms always took about 10 seconds. Check out was just as fast. She got us into our churches and other sites in record time and was always available with suggestions on our time away from the group.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"We stayed at a little resort in the Cinque Terre that had a balcony and the whole place was fabulous. I sat on my balcony looking out over the town and the ocean and the sky all afternoon. I went into town and bought some of the cutest clothes for a very reasonable price from a woman who didn't speak a bit of English but we understood each other perfectly. What a magical time in Italy."

Michael

Sacramento, CA

Tour: 04/06/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We enjoyed every moment of this tour. This was our first tour of Europe and it will always be memorable to us. Stephanie was a fabulous guide. The group dynamic was awesome.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Too many to single out. Assisi, Sienna and the wine country stand out."

Karen

San Diego, CA

Tour: 04/06/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was a perfect balance of structure and freedom. Our guide was amazing! She was organized, caring, and always available.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were so many fabulous moments, but the biggest "wow" moment was seeing the David in Florence."

Hal

Coalville, UT

Tour: 04/06/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We were extremely happy with the tour. We will be singing your praises with our friends!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"1. The views from the high points in San Gimignano. 2. St. Marks Basilica"

Thor

Burien, WA

Tour: 04/06/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

From Aperol spritzer to lemon gelato, Varenne (Como lake) to the Dolomites, from Florence, Venice, and cinque terra, to Sienna, and the vineyards of Umbria, country folks were so welcoming and approachable. Each day, a delight! The crash of the "upper boot" African plate to the European plate forming the alps is so stunning. Each narrow street, path, canal, are an improvised jazz of discovery around the corner. Classic, new, colorful, and stark... all at once. Gardens, wild flowers, expresso!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Our back door, "Sienna Jazz University" ( in the Medici fortress) discovery led to an invite to the student's workshop Jazz club in "The Tube" located a few steps behind, and under the sienna tower. Great students, warm welcomes from all, super "swing" tunes."

Paul

Belton, TX

Tour: 10/13/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The Rick Steves Tour of Northern Italy was well organized and orchestrated flawlessly. We found the hotel arrangements, transportation plans, guides, meals, tours, and overall professionalism to be excellent.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My most favorite wow moment was in the Italian alps where the scenery was stupendous and the hikes were just the right mix of difficulty and beauty."

Claire

Needham, MA

Tour: 10/13/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Loved this tour! I found it fast paced but knew it was necessary to cover so many places deserving of inclusion in the Best of Italy. Great mix of lake, mountain, seaside, village and city. Lots of good food, vino and duomos! Sarah was an outstanding guide - so knowledgeable, organized and entertaining. Our excellent bus driver, Adrian, was also quite charming. We had a very congenial tour group and enjoyed all the local guides and artisans. I wish I were still there!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"it's nearly impossible to pick a favorite when there a wow every day. The view of Lake Como from our hotel in Varenna, the German Dolomites, our immersion into the tradition and madness of Il Palio in Siena, experiencing Michelangelo's David and Sistine Chapel all deserve a wow but the Colosseum probably takes top spot for me."

Joanna

Redwood City, CA

Tour: 10/13/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour ended up being so much more than what I was expecting. I was hesitant when we booked the tour, but now that its over, I'm so extremely happy that we decided to experience Italy on a Rick Steves' Tour. The tour enhanced every aspect of my experience in Italy and I was able to see parts of Italy that I never would have if I had planned the trip on my own. Our tour guide, Sarah, was tremendous and was able to provide amazing guidance in each city we visited.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I had so many "wow" moments on this tour. One of my favorites was when we were driving up to our hotel in The Dolomites, and we were arriving as the sun was setting. We saw the orange sun reflected off The Dolomites and it was one of the prettiest sites I've ever seen. Another favorite "wow" moment was seeing Rome by night. Our guide took us on a night walking tour on our first night in Rome, and to see Rome's many monuments by moonlight was breathtaking."

Lisa

Port Angeles, WA

Tour: 10/13/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was absolutely amazing. Very fast paced but well worth it. We got to see everything that was important to us. Would love to take this tour again.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I don't just have one "wow" moment, there are just too many to say that I have a favorite."

Craig

St Joseph, MO

Tour: 10/13/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This being our third Rick Steves tour, we new what to expect. From day one at Lake Como the group bonded. Our fearless leader, Sarah, tried to teach us Italian, and always had one more thing, the group could do. Most of the time, the whole group stuck together. Most, of our accommodations, were fabulous. Our bus driver Adrian, can thread that bus through anything.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Could never have one "wow" moment. Lake Como was beautiful. Hiking in Dolomites, opening your window at night, and listening to the cow bells all night. Having a glass of wine, with my wife, on the porch of the Wine Resort, and over the next hour, the most of the group showed up, and had a glass of wine with us. Climbing the Duomo in Florence, watching the sunset over Florence from Piazzale Michelangelo. Hiking in the Cinque Terre and taking the train between towns with new friends."

Janet

Overland Park, KS

Tour: 10/13/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This Rick Steves Tour was as wonderful as the other two that I have taken. . .love the experience!!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Favorite "wow" moment. . . Loved Cinque Terre region. . . train + hiking experience was spot on to enjoy the 5 villages!"

Mary

Indianola, WA

Tour: 10/13/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our tour experience & our guide Sarah was fabulous! We chose a Rick Steve's tour to celebrate our 35th anniversary because we wanted to have someone else do the planning so we could get our "nose out of the guide book" & enjoy every moment without the worry of what is next. Everything went without a hitch and it was the best choice we could ever have made. I am not a history or art major buff but I learned so much - all of our guides were top notch.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I loved having dinner at the apartment of the retired chef's home in Varenna, the fish stew & sweet cook in Cinque Terra and dinner by the chef's in the Selva District of Sienna (actually all the dinners like that!) Plus the winery Altarocca was a special treat!! I liked all the unplanned options Sarah offered - gondola ride and all the optional dinners. We signed up for all."

Vincent

Fort Collins, CO

Tour: 10/13/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

In one word ... Sarah. She is absolutely the best, most knowledgeable, most caring, most sensitive tour guide I have ever encountered. My wife and I struggled [in a very positive way] on whether to sign up for the Best of Italy in 17 Day Tour or the Village Italy in 14 Day Tour. We are pleased that we signed up for the Best of Italy in 17 Day Tour first. We plan on taking the Village Italy in 14 Day Tour in the future [only if Sarah is leading the tour]! This tour exceeded my expectations!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"For me it is all about the people. Sarah was fantastic. Our group was wonderful. One of the real "wow" moments for me was dinner with Chef Ferruccio and family. Another real sobering and "wow" moment was visiting the American Cemetery and learning about all the brave men & women who made the extreme sacrifice for Italy's freedom. Dinner at Pasquale [Felicity & Angelo] restaurant in Cinque Terre ... all the local guides and artists."

Sharon

Raleigh, NC

Tour: 10/13/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour was one I had been wanting to do for quite some time. Expectations were high, and I wasn't disappointed. From the moment we arrived in Varenna,and met our tour guide Sarah and our travel mates, I knew we were in for something special. The itinerary was well paced and just plain amazing. Adding to that, was the incredible weather.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were so many, it is difficult to choose, but the Dolomites were incredible. Our hotel and the service was outstanding. The chef there out did himself! Then of course there was the hiking we got to do?"

Elizabeth

Stilwell, KS

Tour: 10/13/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my 3rd Rick Steve's tour so the bar was set high. It met all my expectations, and then some. There was a good balance of scheduled and free time, travel from place to place was smooth, hotels were comfortable and the planned meals were delicious. Our guide, Sarah, was terrific-knowledgeable, energetic, organized and efficient. I especially appreciated the special events such as dinner in the home of a retired chef who cooked for us and a quick stop in a local bar.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hard to chose a single moment. Seeing the work of Michaelangelo was spectacular. The beauty of the Lake District was breathtaking."

Gerald

Indianola, wa

Tour: 10/13/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The overall format for the tour suited us perfectly. We couldn't have had better support and guidance - Sarah and Adrian were spectacular. The tour provided an appropriate mix of planned activities and free time and The local guides were, a delight! The optional group activities provided an unexpected and wonderful mix of local flair. Choosing the hotels to be central to each stop - makes great sense and really increased our time to explore.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Almost too many to mention, but it's a toss-up for me between our optional dinner in Varenna hosted by Giovanni and his grandparents, or simply walking to Trevi fountain at night in Rome. Or maybe it's the tour of Shipwright's shop who makes the Oars and Oar-Locks (Forcola) for Gondolas in Venice. Or maybe the tour of the stained glass artisan in Sienna, or Michelangelo's David or the Dolomites at sunset. I guess I'll have to give this some more thought!"

Barbara

St Joseph, MO

Tour: 10/13/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Great experience! So much history and culture.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Very difficult to come up with just one "wow" but hiking alpi di siuisi(Dolomites) area . and hiking chinque terre were some of my favorites. Loved the hill town views of San Gimignano, Orvieto, Assisi. Loved the history and just learning about Italian culture."

Michelle

Gaithersburg, MD

Tour: 10/06/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Overall the tour was an outstanding experience for myself and my husband! The very efficient planning and thought that went into the provided experiences was overwhelming. We would have been quite challenged to plan, coordinate and "do" all the activities that were provided by the tour. Not having to worry about transportation, tickets, and many of the meals allowed us to concentrate more on the experience of being in Italy and enjoying the culture without the hassles of touring ourselves.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"That's so hard as there were so many "wow" moments, but a highlight was our dinner in the Selva Contrada in Siena. It felt like we were personal guests being allowed a glimpse into the heart of Siena and its unique culture. IT makes me want to go to the Palio someday!"

Lisa

Benicia, CA

Tour: 10/06/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This trip not only met, but exceeded our expectations. The balance between planned and free time was perfect, the group was great, and our tour guide, Donald, was exceptional. All of our local tours were amazing, including the local guides and the fact that we didn't have to wait in any lines to visit the sites everyone wants to see in the major venues we visited. The hotels, though sometimes basic, were always very well-located. And we always ate well!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"We especially loved visiting the Gondola workshop in Venice, being fed by the "Forrest" Contrata in Siena, and being treated to a personal winetasting at the Wine Resort outside of Orvieto (probably our favorite city on the tour)."

Tod

Reno, NV

Tour: 10/06/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Amazing! This was the most relaxing, worry-free, seamless vacation I have ever been on! All the details were meticulously planned out for us so that all we had to do was be at our meeting place on time, and then enjoy the activities and provided dinners in each town. This tour was a perfect balance of scheduled activities and free time for us to explore on our own. Wee feel Varenna was a great place to start and Rome, much busier and more hectic, was the right place to end the tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"So many actually. I will pick two - 1) The provided dinners were impressive, particularly the family-style atmosphere dinners in Florence, Sienna (contadre), Cinque Terra and Rome. Such great food, energy and experiences! 2) The Altarocca Wine Resort stay and our ability to have free time for a spa treatment. Such a nice and unexpected pleasure."

Kellie

Reno, NV

Tour: 10/06/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The Best of Italy Tour shattered our expectations! This was our very first trip abroad and our first guided tour and we did not know what to expect. I had a perma-grin the entire trip. The blend of guided time and free time was a great balance. Our guide made sure we were aware of the transportation system in each location and gave us a great orientation to restaurants, points of interest and local tips. We were able to confidently navigate each city and enjoy the local culture.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were so many "wow" moments. We loved the Dolomites and the sheer size of the mountains and the beauty of the countryside. We loved the food at the hosted dinners and the cultural experiences and workshops. The multiple hikes in the Lakes Region, the Dolomites, the Cinque Terre were so valuable and added so much to our experience. We enjoyed walking past hillside homes, wineries, chapels, castles, ancient churches and seeing the geography of the land and water from above."

Dean

Dubuque, IA

Tour: 10/06/17

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

The sights, meals, guides, bus driver and other travelers all made for a wonderful trip. Thanks to all.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favorite "wow" moment was seeing Otzi. Even though I knew he was about 5,300 years old, he didn't look a day over 4,000. Yeah, 5,300 is clearly the new 4,000. My least favorite "wow" moment was seeing how many mosquitoes live in Varenna, Venice and Orvieto. I just wasn't prepared to ward off mosquito bites in Italy in October."

Alan

Greenbelt, MD

Tour: 10/06/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our tour started with a cancelled flight and then a medical emergency. We stayed behind in Varenna while the tour moved on to the Alpe de Suisi and Bolzano. This was unfortunate as some relatives whom I had never met had planned to meet us there. We were able to rejoin the tour in Venice and finally meet the other members of our group. While I deeply regret not being able to meet my cousins, the experience of being in Venice, Firenze, Siena, Assisi, Orvieto, and Rome was tremendous.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"While each of the cathedrals we visited were exquisite, going to the Vatican and visiting the Vatican museum was the high point."

Louis

Gaithersburg, MD

Tour: 10/06/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

First time with Rick Steves'; first time with a tour group (previous travel, we planned); wonderful, compatible group of adventurous, fun-loving travel companions. Every day a new adventure. Every stop/location included superb, knowledgable local guides who expressed pride daily in their cities, in how they interacted with us, what they shared about the places we visited. It was wonderful visiting beautiful Italy after a US Army career serving in remote, difficult locations! Thank you!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Visiting the Uffizi Gallery in Florence with a superb local guide who like an art historian discussed the historical context for the art we had been viewing! AND Assisi SO BEAUTIFUL!"

Linda

Mission Viejo, CA

Tour: 10/04/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I loved the tour. I particularly enjoyed the ability to get into the museums of Florence and the Vatican quickly. I loved the local tour guides. I enjoyed having free time to explore on my own in addition to structured time. The trip to the stain glass studio was very special as was seeing how the fulcrum and paddles for gondolas were made.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Seeing the David in Florence."

Thomas

Cupertino, CA

Tour: 10/04/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Overall, it was a great trip with our guide Rozanne. This was our first extensive visit to Northern Italy and we enjoyed each and every stop along the way. It was great having the tour handle all of the hotels, bus transportation and tickets to museums. Rozanne was really great and it was only after the tour when we took a day-trip to Pompeii with another company that we realized how really outstanding our Rick Steves experience was in comparison (the other tour was terrible).

Favorite "WOW" moment

"For me, the visit to the Cinque Terra was my wow moment. Specifically, we took the hike out of Monterossa south to Vernazza and seeing Vernazza from the trail above was amazing! Like stepping into a postcard."

Garry

Kelowna, BC

Tour: 10/04/17

Overall rating: rating 3 of 5

this is our 3rd RS tour, enjoyable, great sites, attention to overall tour details was good. Unlike previous tours, our guide did not make the overall experience worth more than a good rating. If you could get Rico or Colin to do this tour, my rating would be outstanding.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"our bus driver Mario was fantastic, he was the best driver i have had the pleasure to travel with ever. he handled the bus absolutely the BEST.. as a retired cop i don't sleep in vehicles but with Mario , I slept several times! Oh,in regards for the tour, it was seeing the Vatican and the Colosseum.. if we had Francisca as our overall tour guide i think i would still be in Italy."

Carol

Langley, BC

Tour: 10/04/17

Overall rating: rating 3 of 5

Our tour guide was on her last tour and she was tired. Her knowledge of Italy and art history was excellent. Unfortunately I had an accident mid tour which made it a struggle to keep up the hectic pace. The local guides were excellent. Especially Francesca in Rome.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Colosseum in Rome with Francesca. She made us hear the crowds and I fell in love with Rome that day."

Marilyn

Falmouth, MA

Tour: 10/04/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My husband and I flew to Milan and successfully managed the train to Varenna where we met Rozanne and our tour group. It didn't take long to realize mutual interests among us. We got to know and enjoy all the others as the tour unfolded. Every day was busy (some physically challenging) all were well organized, always fascinating with opportunities to learn more about a region I wanted to experience. I could not ask more of any tour!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It is hard to have a favorite "wow" with so many to choose from. For me, though, it was connecting emotionally with Donatello's figure of St. John the Baptist in the Basilica di Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari in Venice. The statue doesn't compare with Michelangelo's David, also a "wow" moment, but it was the combination of realizing that I was in Venice, at peace in an incredible church built in the late 1300's and seeing the work of an artist I had admired in a textbook many years ago."

Myra

Whitby, ON

Tour: 10/04/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Thorougly enjoyed every minute of the tour. Our tour leader, Rozanne, went beyond what I would have expected. Not only was she informative, engaging and friendly but she managed to bring all of the travelers together...we may have started as strangers but we ended as friends! The pace of the tour allowed for much appreciated down time to explore on your own and offered a good mix of scheduled time and personal time. Well organized and loads of fun!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were several over the course of 17 days, however, my favourite moments were our group dinners. They went well beyond my expectations for quality and the hosts were more than generous with the wind. The dinner experiences were all different and offered a real 'taste' of the local culture. It was a great way to form strong bonds with the other tour participants. Memories were definitely made! The Alta Rocca Wine Resort definitely stands out!"

Evan

New Westminster, BC

Tour: 10/04/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Tour was a very enjoyable experience from start to finish. Rozanne was fantastic as were the local guides. The entire group was fun to be with.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Monterosa was the my favorite wow moment - nothing in particular, just everything about it. Of course the Lemon Spritz that Rozanne suggested may have helped, that and that many of us gathered on the patio."

Catherine

London, ON

Tour: 10/04/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Just outstanding. I couldn't have loved Italy anymore than I did. I liked the size of our tour group and felt it is a perfect dynamic for single people traveling.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I loved Varenna, Italy. It was our first stop and we arrived one day early so we had 3 days there. It was so spectacular. I had heard of Lake District but had no idea of its' beauty. It was a small village so also allowed us time to get our feet wet with traveling etc. Met a few people on the tour and spent time with them too. I really liked the hotel and the surrounding gardens and property were lovely. I well remember our first view of Lake Como!"

John

Falmouth, MA

Tour: 10/04/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Outstanding! Wonderful! Brilliant! In 17 days we visited 13 cities or towns, touched on 3,000 years of western civilization, walked for hours, ate too much, enjoyed many regional wines, saw some of the world's greatest buildings, paintings and sculptures , and had the great pleasure of traveling with two dozen wonderful people from across the US and Canada. Many times, in places like Bolzano, Venice, and Siena, I wanted to hit the "Pause" button so that we could spend more time there.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"TNTC (Too Numerous To Count)! -Dining under the stars and moon overlooking Lake Como in Varenna. -The incredible beauty of Alpe di Siusi in the Dolomites -Walking Piazza San Marco in Venice at night listening to the orchestras. -Seeing Michaelangelo's David -The wonderful dinner put on by the members of the Selva contrada in Siena -Exploring the 5 villages of the Cinque Terre -Every day brought new masterpieces of art or beautiful scenery"

Scott

Orange, CA

Tour: 10/01/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We saw and did almost everything I had dreamed of plus many things I would never have known to look for. The smallish group size was appreciated more than I initially expected. During the tour it was quite easy to get to know everyone at least a little and somehow EVERYONE was worth knowing at least a little. This was evident as we moved with relative ease compared with larger groups that lumbered along with their matching hats or shirts and leaders waiving scarves on a stick.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Their were many "wow" moments. A fun one would be discovering that the noisy conveyances were actually named for wasps (Vespa) and bees (Ape). Another was that knowing that the Medici family was powerful was one thing but seeing their six-ball logo spread around almost everywhere in northern Italy really brought it home."

Marilyn

Snohomish, WA

Tour: 10/01/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was a very comprehensive tour of Italy. Since I've been to Italy before, I liked that the tour included places I hadn't been to before. I liked that we stayed at least 2 nights in each place and that free time was incorporated. Our guide, Lisa, was phenomenal! She had a great deal of knowledge, was incredibly flexible and always upbeat and cheerful. We called her Mama Lisa because she took such great care of us and bonded us a group. We were a great group! This is a high energy tour!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"We were in Orvieto and some of us expressed interest in an underground tour. Lisa told us several options, then said she had an archaeologist friend who was working on Etruscan ruins beneath St. Andrew's church. She called him and arranged for him to give us a tour. It was incredible and so interesting that several of us started doing more research into the Etruscans. I mean, isn't this why most of us do these tours? Yes, to see the "sights", but more to dig into and explore the culture."

Edward

Tampa, FL

Tour: 10/01/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Walking into St Peters Basilica"

Marilyn

Birmingham, AL

Tour: 10/01/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We loved every minute of the tour! We liked the two days in each place; we liked the mixture of historical, cultural, arts, museums, etc. with the scenic mountains, vineyards, lakes. We enjoyed Lisa's lively conversations on the bus and well as her expert knowledge of the areas we visited. We enjoyed the local guides who added color specific knowledge of their particular regions. We enjoyed the food, the people, the countryside, and the cities. It was our first tour and didn't disappoint.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Too hard to answer. There was a "wow" at almost every turn. Two completely different experiences: the absolutely amazing beauty of man's creations from art to sculpture to building and the amazing beauty of God's creations from lakes to mountains to flowers and trees. Seeing ruins of churches under existing churches and realizing that we were touching structures or walking on roads that dated back to pre-Roman times was certainly eye-opening. Wow! was an oft-used word on this tour."

Peter

Birmingham, AL

Tour: 10/01/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I thought the tour was exceptionally well designed. Not including air fare provides pre- and post- tour options; hotel selections were optimal in terms of value; two nights per city with intermediate stops maximized the overall economic value; selection of local guides was exceptionally rewarding; travel companions and tour lead guide were well matched.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Pantheon. Each successive city outdid the previous one. I expected to see beauty because I have been looking at photographs of Italy and the unequaled art store my whole life, but witnessing the beauty was overwhelming. We Americans are fortunate to be living in a beautiful country, which also happens to be very large. Italy is much smaller; its beauty is different, but overwhelming nonetheless. My jaw kept dropping. When I walked into the Pantheon and looked up, it hit the floor."

Jeannette

Seneca, SC

Tour: 10/01/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The overall tour experience was wonderful because of a great group of people and our excellent tour guide, Lisa. If you give bonuses to guides she deserves one. The pace was fast and I would not have eliminated anything we saw and experienced. I may have added one more day in order to include another vacation from our vacation, but that is the only minor change.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It is hard to choose one wow moment. I did like visiting the smaller towns along with the large cities. That helped to give more of a sense of the country as a whole."

Sally

Tehachapi, CA

Tour: 10/01/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our trip was wonderful. Our guide did everything possible to provide as many wonderful experiences for us as she could. This was a REALLY active tour, I believe partly because our guide wanted us to get as much as we possibly could for our time and money. Loved the opportunities to meet local people at hotels and restaurants. Our driver, Stephano, was amazing and a nice addition to our group.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I Would have to say the Dolomite hike and drive, and the cable car (?) ride to the top of the mountain with its amazing 360 degree views. It was spectacular. (This takes into account that we had been to Italy before on a RST and had seen the major sites previously). Also really enjoyed the museum in Bolzano with Otzi, the Iceman. So fascinating. And the dinner in Siena at the rhinoceros Contrade. I thought it would just be at a neighborhood restaurant. Also Florence Amer. Cemetery."

Bob

Villa Hills, KY

Tour: 10/01/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Since 500 words will not do it justice, I'll stick just with this... I'm not a "tour" kind of person, generally, but there's no way I could have done all this on my own, not in 20 or 30 days, let alone 17, and have the memories and new friends I know have.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"So hard to pick... just the changes from place to place (Como to Alps to Venice puts you through some real changes quickly) would stand out, but probably being "under the Tuscan sun" (ok, Umbrian, but don't be picky) at the agriturismo stands out. What a great place from which to base a next trip to Italy!"

Rose Mary

Sammamish, WA

Tour: 10/01/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I thought our tour guide Lisa did a great job of keeping us informed and educating us and giving suggestions for our daily plans. I really enjoyed the tour

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I loved the Altura wine resort. The countryside was so beautiful that it was a treat to just sit by the pool drinking wine, enjoying the view and chatting with friends."

Lynne

Villa Hills, KY

Tour: 10/01/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was a collection of beautiful scenes, fascinating places and people, good company, new experiences, and good food. I learned so much, in settings that gave the information context and made facts meaningful, and it was fun! There were delightful guides and hosts in hotels and restaurants that made our group feel welcome and shared their culture. Lisa helped us navigate ways of doing things that were new to us, so we were able to comfortably explore on our own. Well done!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Which child is a mother's favorite? I can't choose one."

Herb

Duncannon, PA

Tour: 10/01/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It exceeded my expectations. Italy has so much to offer it is mind-blowing. Our tour went from one beautiful and fascinating city or region to another.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The beauty of the alpine meadow our group hiked through in the Dolomites was awe inspiring."

James

Tehachapi, CA

Tour: 10/01/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Rich assortment of like minded people gathered together under the mentor-ship of one helluva smart and educated tour guide. A life changing experience that I like to identify as EDUTAINMENT. Something that rewards a life of questioning and exposes one to life long learning. I believe travel makes life longer and richer and Rick Steves has the answer.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I am always overwhelmed by what my predecessors achieved with less than is available to us today. Two things jump into mind as I answer this. First there is the tour of the Ufizzi museum where the masters are united in display. I realize that what this world needs more of is art because so many people are enriched and uplifted by great art. What better place to see the need and realization of this than a great museum crowded with so many people caught up in the narcotic of life!"

Leslie

Orange, CA

Tour: 10/01/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had not taken a tour of any sort before, and though we liked the idea of transportation, tickets and lodging being taken care of for us, were a little hesitant about the group experience. We needn't have been - we had a wonderful time. Having a guide added so much to what we were seeing and experiencing, and having other travelers with which to talk over our day's experiences was great. Though we covered a lot of ground, this was one of the most relaxing vacations I've had in a long time.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Coming out of sung Vespers at San Miniato al Monte and looking out over Florence just after the sun went down was beautiful. Listening to a docent demonstrate the perfect acoustics of the Baptistery in Pisa (something our guide told us about) was also beautiful in a different way. The view of the countryside the terrace of our room in Umbria--I can't choose just one!"

Nina

Belmont, CA

Tour: 10/01/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I had a fabulous time on our Best of Italy in 17 Days Tour! We had a wonderful group and the most amazing Guide---Lisa! We loved the flow of the trip---staying in one place for 2 nights, being active everyday, and staying in the center of places.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favorite "wow" moment is difficult to say, because there were so many "wow" moments! One moment that stands out was when we were in Orvieto, Lisa was able to contact the local archaeologist to meet us and give us a private tour of the Roman and Truscan ruins below the church. That was "wow"! Another "wow" moment was the dinner in Sienna at one of the contrades---so special!!!"

Steve

Bellingham, WA

Tour: 09/29/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

There is a lot to see in short time and I think overall it was a well planned agenda. Sights and activities were well thought out and balanced. Time is always critical on these tours so sometimes you feel a bit rushed. Only suggestion I have is that maybe you delete Pisa and Otzi, get an extra hour of sleep and some market time in the stay over cities.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Definitely the Cinque Terre."

Rick

Tollhouse, CA

Tour: 09/29/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our second Rick Steve's tour and it was every bit as good as our initial trip. Colleen was informative, personable and dedicated to giving all her tour members their best tour experience. The specialty guides at the various sites were very informed and open to questions. Unfortunately we did not get into St. Peter's Basilica as planned because Pope Francis was busy canonizing saints. I don't blame the company for this, but I wonder if another site could have substituted.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favorite wow moment was the arrival at our hotel room at Eremo Gaudio in Varenna. Two funiculars and an elevator up to the most incredible view of Lake Como. It reminded me of our favorite wow moment on our previous tour with an incredible view from our hotel at Mt. San Michel. Great Choice of hotels!"

Allison

Chico, CA

Tour: 09/29/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We loved our Rick Steves' Best of Italy Tour. I had high expectations and the trip exceeded them! Loved the sites, the accommodations, all the other travel companions, the bus, our bus driver, Massimo, and our wonderfully knowledgeable guide, Colleen.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I had a lot of "wow" moments. If I have to pick one favorite: Probably walking into our hotel room in Monterosso, Cinque Terre and seeing the incredibly beautiful view of the beach and the Ligurian Sea."

Benita

Fresno, CA

Tour: 09/29/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our third trip to Europe but our first Rick Steves tour. We started with a four day stay in Amsterdam and a day in Milan before joining the rest of the tour group. We planned our travel with our friends Rick and Jenny. We all had a great time even though Jenny came down with an upper respiratory infection. It was a wonderful experience and we can hardly wait to go back to Europe again.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"That's a really difficult question. There were so many wow moments. The hill towns of Lake Como were spectacular and I loved the funicular at our hotel. Cinque Terre was breath-taking. The Dolomites were beautiful. Venice is gorgeous; Florence was another world entirely. Sienna with its neighborhoods and crazy horse race were so much fun. We so enjoyed our special dinner by the neighborhood women in Sienna. All the lovely places we visited were fabulous. Rome is well--it's ROME!! WOW"

Wesley

Goshen, IN

Tour: 09/29/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I loved it. Our guide, Colleen, was awesome. You could tell it was more than just a job for her it was her passion. I have been on tours before with another company which did not include tips and were always charging extra for side tours during the day. I fell in love with the Rick Steves method of having tips included and not feeling like I was always being asked for more. I'm hooked on Rick Steves tour company.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The stop at Cinque Terre. It was beautiful and not filled with "trinket" tourism shops."

Dwight

Elkhart, IN

Tour: 09/29/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I enjoyed all the places we visited and Italians are very hospitable. Folks in our tour group were similar in age to us and were amicable. Colleen posted a next day schedule daily and then talked us through our itinerary while we traveled on our bus (in a word she is organized and obviously experienced). Colleen was interesting and interested. She set a very positive tone for our tour. Massimo and our bus were also first rate.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"All the places we visited were beautiful but probably the wine resort and the nearby village, Orvieto were my favorites. Colleen explained the Final Judgement art in The Cathedral of Orvieto - it was oh my for me! Stepping back and relaxing at this point in the tour before Rome was well planned. And I think all the couples in our subgroup (5 couples) purchased wine for USA delivery so that by itself is a statement."

Valerie

Goshen, IN

Tour: 09/29/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We traveled with 8 of our close friends and had an awesome time with them and also making new friends with the others in the group. Colleen was EXCELLENT! She made the trip very interesting for us and was a great guide! She was very knowledgeable for all the places we visited, and a joy to be with! Rick Steves is lucky to have her!

Genevieve

Tollhouse, CA

Tour: 09/29/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was an active, engaging tour! I think you need to re-evaluate the level of activity you give it. We also took the Paris Heat of France Tour which is rated the same level of activity, but this tour kept us moving! Average walking was 5 miles a day. The variety of experiences has left me still trying to digest it all, a week later. We stayed on plan, yet had a few unplanned and wonderful stops. Colleen did her best (and succeeded) to match our group's willingness to adventure out with opport

Favorite "WOW" moment

"In the Basilica of San Marco when the lights came on. To see it in natural light, then slowly lit was amazing. When we would first arrive in a area, I was continuously wowed by the geography and antiquity of it all."

Peter

Chico, CA

Tour: 09/29/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our Best of Italy Tour overwhelmed us! Each day the food, culture, history, people, sites presented unexpected discoveries. We felt that this tour balanced flavor of the city and country side. For example, we went from the solitude of the Dolimites to touristry bustle Venice and Florence, from the beautiful countryside of the Altorocca Wine Resort to the majesty Rome. We had time to get lost and explore balanced with days of directed visits to historical sites with local guides.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Tis difficult to pick one moment that was unforgettable. We loved hiking in Cinque Terre and Lake Como, but loved climbing the Dome in Florence and looking out over the Arno. Everyday we had a moment where we had a "Spritz" and enjoyed the culture that surrounded us. That nondescript moment repeatedly shows up in our pictures of our tour. Aperativo at 5 pm!"

Buzz

Santa Clarita, CA

Tour: 09/29/17

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

High marks for the excellent job of both the tour guide and local guides in putting Italian history & culture in perspective, linking the various events that occurred across the country and over several centuries. We found the tour to be strenuous but not daunting (tho we spend months building up our stamina before going). Bus was excellent, accommodations varied from cramped to good. All in all a ery good experience and one we're happy to have participated in.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"So many to choose from. The Dolemites were probably the single most impressive view we saw"

Gilbert

Erie, PA

Tour: 09/27/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Molly is an excellent guide, the sites we saw and places we visited were wonderful.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The town of Orveitro with the church paintings and tunnels."

Lou

The Villages, FL

Tour: 09/27/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour was our first RS and it lived up to everything we had heard from earlier participants....actually it exceeded our expectations!!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I really enjoyed the "smaller" Italy....Varenna, the Dolomites and the villages of Cinque Terre !!! We had so many "WOW" moments...which day? :) ALL the unique demonstrations were fantastic."

John

Englewood, FL

Tour: 09/27/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Great tour guide - Top marks for Molly. Great schedule - on the go with adequate independent time that included excellent suggestions. Great tour group - fun and top notch companions. Great local guides - set context and taught a lot of interesting and thought provoking information. Great group meals. Great accommodations. Great driver and bus. I'd say it was a great tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The story about the repurposing of the Roman buildings during the Dark Ages. Even thought I was a voter for "skip Rome," that was an amazing "wow". There were other "wow"s, but this was the least expected."

Christine

Corvallis, OR

Tour: 09/27/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was our first rick tour and it was amazing. Every detail was taken care of and I couldn't be happier with the tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It would be hard to pick one "wow" moment. But I think it was the extra things I didn't know about, the oarlock tour, the stain glass tour, the flash paint and especially the Palio dinner in the contrada."

Barbara

Saint Paul, MN

Tour: 09/27/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This is my third Rick Steves' tour and it was excellent as were the first 2. I would recommend these tours to anyone who really wants to learn and experience another country and its peoples.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I traveled with my daughter. Experiencing Italy with her made everything a wow moment. Can't emphasize enough choosing the travel companion that compliments your expectations and stamina."

Michael

Bothell, WA

Tour: 09/27/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Tour guide, local guides, food and hotel arrangements were all excellent. Tour provided highlights of the areas we wanted to see.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"All venues were really special. However, the emotional visit to the Florence American Cemetery will be one I will never forget. Yes, all the sights, people and places we visited were very special but this particular visit will probably outlive the memories of the others."

Eleanor

Saint Paul, MN

Tour: 09/27/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This is the 5th tour I have been on and as always it was wonderful! The organization, the free time, the local guides - all fantastic!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Visiting Assisi early in the day, exploring the streets and soaking in the peace of the city and St. Francis's spirit."

Patricia

Redding, CA

Tour: 09/27/17

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Enjoyed the trip and liked the smaller villages and towns the best. The scenery was beautiful. I found Venice, Florence and Rome to be quite crowded and less enjoyable. Being on our on was a bit intimidating. Would have preferred more optional group activities.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Liked the art, scenery and gondola ride."

Thomas

Corvallis, OR

Tour: 09/27/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour had exceptional variety with good surprises/treats. Molly was a highlight. Her art history background was exceptionally helpful and filled in admirably in the absence of local guides. The tour offered a large variety of experiences which only be described as once in a "lifetime". The transportation was great and the bus driver (Dino) was delightful. The people in the group also made this trip exceptional. We made 28 new friends (with Dino and Molly). Good balance of free time v schd

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The gondola ride with the accordion player and singer was a wow moment for me. The extras side trips/events all provide a wow in there own way which would be overlooked if traveling on ones own. Even though some of these are labeled optional, I highly recommend them all since they offer a rare opportunity or new perspective."

Sandi

Hinesburg, VT

Tour: 09/27/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour exceed my expectations. I was surprised and delighted by the unannounced but informative side trips to artisans and other cities during the trip. The local guides and our tour guide were exceptional and took "sight-seeing" to a new level. In a few short days we developed a new family of friends in our tour mates that led to a relaxed and enjoyable tour experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"This is a difficult question - there were so many! But tops had to be our tour guide - Richard/Ricardo's tour of Uffizi Gallery in Florence. In a morning Richard brought the artists, paintings and gallery alive, as well as relating it to today's art world. It was an amazing tour and one I will always remember. Our tour guide, Molly's, guide of the cathedral in Orvieto was a tie runner up!"

Bruce

Hillsboro, OR

Tour: 09/27/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

A fantastic trip; the time went way too fast. A few too many stops. The events were great: Otzi, gondola ride, oar lock making, Flash Art, stained glass making [!], pesto making, & others. Also, we & a few tour members went to an excellent concert [at Chiesa San Vidal, Venice].

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It was interesting how Germanic the NE of Italy [in the Dolomites] really is. This was a great location to include in a Best of Italy Tour. We'd been back and forth across Austria and Germany several times, but hadn't dipped down into northern Italy before. And we caught the Transition of the Cows festival! Orvieto; very pleasant and interesting little city. Would like to spend more time there."

Rene

Newark, OH

Tour: 09/27/17

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Molly was very helpful and kind. Our group was a swell group of folks, like family right way. Molly said we were a handful and we all took that as a complement. The right amount of free time and guided time.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The night view from our special room at Cinque Terre and the love seat on our gondola ride"

Susan

Hermosa Beach, CA

Tour: 09/27/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I didn't consider myself a "tour person" as my professional career has been working with destinations, tour operators and suppliers in a marketing and sales capacity. I consider myself more of an independent traveler who prefers making my plans, going at my own pace and not travelling with less experienced individuals. However, I have changed my opinion. Since I have a 500 character limit, I don't have enough room to explain!!!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"-Biking in lovely Lucca, what a great town and we really needed the exercise versus all the stair climbing! -The group meals (we had a lovely group!). I really enjoyed the dinner in Siena at the church and learning about the Contradas. -The cow festival in the Dolomites was a great way to "hang local" -Hiking by myself above Manarola (man oh man, the views did not disappoint) -The Florence Mercato market - WOW said this foodie! -The Doge, St. Marks Square made me gasp!"

Steven

Tahuya, WA

Tour: 09/24/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Amazing. Well beyond my expectations. Took all the worries out of travel and struck the right balance between structure and free time. Also blessed that Anna was our tour guide. I can not imagine there is a better tour guide in your program. Thanks

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The entire trip was a "wow" moment -from scenery, smells, sites, information/education and sounds. We also were fortunate to have great weather and great guide."

Kathleen

Langley, BC

Tour: 09/24/17

Overall rating: rating 2 of 5

If the Rick Steeve's Best of Italy in 17 Days had adequately described art and religious history as its main emphasis, I would probably not have signed on. The overview seemed to address these as an afterthought rather than the prime focus.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Seeing the citizens of Venice cope with the water environment as they carried on with their everyday life."

Jane

Spokane, WA

Tour: 09/24/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Before I left on the tour, a friend sent me a quote by Hippo: If you do not travel, It is like reading one page of a book. Anna's expert guidance and the beauty and history of Italy certainly filled the pages of my book. This tour was all that I hoped it would be.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were too many "wow" moments to narrow this down to just one so here goes:seeing the sun glisten off of the waters of beautiful Lake Como,hiking in the gorgeous Dolomites and breathing in the air after our summer of smoke, loving Venice all over again, hiking to Miniato in Florence, drinking wine on our rooftop terrace in Cinque Terre, seeing the celebrations of college graduates in Siena and having local artisans share their unique skills. Finally, sharing the knowledge of our own guide"

Colleen

Vancouver, WA

Tour: 09/24/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We were fortunate to have a group of people who got along with and looked out for each other and were on time. It made for a very enjoyable experience during such a long and busy tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The best gustatory moment: the olive oil and merlot at the Agriturismo. The best art moment: David at the Accademia in Florence The best architectural moment: realizing that the people in Rome live everyday amongst buildings spanning the ages (pagan, christian, romanesque, renaissance, baroque, etc) and truly beautiful public spaces with wonderful fountains making it an amazing city."

Richard

Vancouver, WA

Tour: 09/24/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Very busy with good balance between planned activities and free time for personal exploration. Well planned tour with exposure to the wide range of Italian life from small lake side villages (Varenna), seaside villages, (Cinque Terre), country farm (agritourismo) to the grandeur and diversity of major cities, Venice, Florence, and Rome. So much was packed into those 17 days that it was almost overwhelming. But it was wonderful. And I haven't even mentioned the food, wine, and coffee.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Too many to identify just one. I will mention the underground caves beneath Monterosso and Assisi. Since these sites were not bombed during the war, they remain essentially unchanged for hundreds of years. Stunning!"

John

Battle Ground, WA

Tour: 09/24/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The trip was outstanding and have many great memories. But what stands out the most are the great group of people we were privileged to share this experience with. It made everything more enjoyable, impactful and even more fun. What's even more valuable is that we've established some new friendships that will last a lifetime.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Too-too many but have say a tie between these two never to forget moments: 1. The scenic drive up into the Dolomites and to our Tirolean hotel. 2. Seeing the work of Michelangelo inside the Sistine Chapel"

Alden

Vancouver, WA

Tour: 09/24/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Tour was fantastic, starting in beautiful northern Italy and ending in Rome. We hit all of the sites planned by the tour and a few more - all were amazing & fun. Anna did a great job educating us how survive in Italy, she kept everything running smoothly, and she went above and beyond to assist those on the tour with food issues or health issues, etc. Really cannot say enough about Anna, her organization and her knowledge of Italy and Italian history.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Art: Seeing the statue of David Food: so many good dinners! But dinner at the wine farm probably the best! Scenery: Dolomites Wine: Marko's Merlot Travel: Roberto backing up bus between two buses with only inches to spare using only mirrors, did it in one try!"

Christine

Painesville, OH

Tour: 09/24/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my first Rick Steves tour and first time touring Italy. I felt our entire tour was extremely organized. Our group of 25 were considerate of each other and made sure to arrive timely when departing for the next city or leaving for a tour or activity. 17 days in Italy sounds like a long time but it flew by! This trip included not only museums and historic sites, but also time to enjoy the beauty of Italy. We had plenty of personal time to venture out on our own.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were so many "wow" moments - the cities around the Lake Como region, the hiking in the Dolomites, visiting the villages in Cinque Terre - so many breathtaking sites. I guess the Colosseum made the biggest impression on me. You could just hear the roar of the crowds from so many years ago!"

Corliss

Vancouver, WA

Tour: 09/24/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Great tour guide and great group of people. Our guide Anna just happened to be an expert in art history with a passion for her home town of Siena and the art of Italy I had waited so long to see in person. All the famous architecture, sculptures, and paintings were amazingly approachable. With Anna and our local guides providing the narrative and guidance, we were really comfortable in sharing the culture of Italy.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"So many to choose from. Most of us really enjoyed the hike in the Dolomites for the beauty and serenity. Wandering through the towns of Siena and Lucca on our own and discovering market and coffee bar goodies was also unforgettable. As recommended, dawn at San Marco square in Venice was magical. The Sistine Chapel ceiling was NOT too high up to enjoy, but it did help to bring a small pair of binoculars!"

Sheryl

Battle Ground, WA

Tour: 09/24/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

First of all, the group was a good fit. We had several people from our Vancouver area that we plan to stay in touch with. The amount of time spent on the bus was just right. Expecting the travel time, it was nice to break it up with stops along the way. On the bus, gave us time to journal, catch a nap, although I didn't want to miss any views of the countryside along the way. All the cities we visited and the sights we experienced were amazing.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Had to be the Dolomites. Far more than I ever imagined. It was cold but sunny. We hiked, we sang songs from Sound of Music with the cow bells in the background. Amazing countryside, hills, and the magnificent mountain peaks. And the food where we had lunch was incredible. It puts our Timberline Lodge cuisine to shame."

Deborah

San Carlos, CA

Tour: 09/22/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I don't think I could have chosen a more perfect tour for an introduction to Italy. We didn't just tour Italy; we experienced it. This was due, in large part, to our tour guide Sarah and all of the local guides as well. We were also part of a group of individuals who functioned well together. The overall pacing of the tour was a big plus, too. Hectic tours of big cities were interspersed with more relaxed days. I am still overwhelmed by all we saw and did.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My "wow" moment was in Siena. The dinner in the social hall prepared by women of the selva contrada brought me back to the Italian family dinners of my childhood. I realized this was not a typical tour experience. The food was delicious, and we ate while watching a video of the contrada's recent Palio victories. The passion, the tradition, and the craziness of this unique race are so Italian! What an evening!"

Eileen

Monroe, WA

Tour: 09/22/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I was very hesitant about taking a group trip, as I am usually an independent traveler. I was so pleasantly surprised at how much fun group travel was because of the flawless planning, fabulous itinerary, free time, cultural and historical experiences and cohesion of our fellow travelers. The group leader Sarah and Adrian the bus driver were super stars

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Apart from the obvious magnificent art and history, I was once again reminded that foreign travel is the key to learning about other cultures and communities. Every day was a life lesson in embracing the commonalities we all share, rather than our differences. Truly the reason to embark on a trip. The quest for the perfect gelato did provide for multiple wow moments..so far candied chestnut and saffron with pine nuts were the winners."

Brian

Clinton Township, MI

Tour: 09/22/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The Best of Italy in 17 Days tour far exceeded my expectations! This was our first Rick Steves tour, but not the last, I think. Even though the on-line and written descriptions of the trip (and the Italy guide) were very complete, there were many locations and experiences that surprised and amazed (visit to the American Cemetery, dinner at the Selva Contrade in Siena, Classical music and Opera in Venice, and more). Our guide, Sarah, was knowledgeable, personable, fun, and a joy to travel with.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were so many 'wow' moments, but the town of San Gimignano was my favorite. It was not on the published itinerary, so I was not quite prepared for an amazingly preserved Medieval town with fantastic architecture and gorgeous views of the surrounding valley."

Wendy

Spokane, WA

Tour: 09/22/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Loved the itinerary, the tour guide, and my fellow travelers! I had been to Italy before but this tour showed me more of the "true" Italy - beyond the usual tourist attractions. The local guides and the local "real" activities that were built into the itinerary showed me a side of Italy that I never saw on a previous trip when I was just racing from tourist attraction to tourist attraction. Well done!!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I loved the experiences that felt like we were doing or seeing something that was not available to ordinary tourists. The dinner at the home of the ex-chef in Varenna, the dinner cooked by the ladies in one of the con trades in Siena where we learned about the Palio, the stained glass demonstration by the artist also in Siena. None of these would be on a normal tour. But each gave us a unique peek into real life in Italy. We loved it!"

Susanne

Jackson, MI

Tour: 09/22/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our first RS Tour and my husband and myself found the 17 days to be even more than we expected. This tour was very well organized and full of unexpected surprises such as a family dinner in a retired chef's home in Ravenna and a musical accompaniment on the gondola experience in Venice.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Each day had a new "WOW" experience but an unexpected "WOW" moment was experiencing the beauty of the Dolomites as we hiked for a full day among the contented cows in the rolling pastures of the pure, cool mountain air."

Janice

Mill Creek, WA

Tour: 09/22/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was an INCREDIBLE EXPERIENCE! This was my first trip to Italy and I enjoyed it all. The country is beautiful and we were able to see almost all of the cities and regions I had dreamed of visiting. This tour gives you the opportunity to enjoy the beauty of the natural world as well as incredible history and art. This also was my first tour experience. We had a fantastic guide and a wonderful group of people we traveled with. I couldn't have wished for more.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It's hard to choose one because every day brought so many so I'll choose my first. I was standing outside on the terrace below our hotel room looking down at the gorgeous view of Lake Como where we could see the lovely little town of Varenna. I was so excited to be there in that moment and realize this was a dream come true. And it was only the beginning!"

Juanita

Lake Forest, IL

Tour: 09/22/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was exactly as presented. I didn't expect to learn so much each day. Only thought about seeing it all. The pace was so well balanced. Covered more ground than I ever expected. I am happy I did it. It was all so well planned. Would never be able to see all we did any other way.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It was full of unexpected surprises. Took an optional trip to Verona and was wowed by how charming it was. Dolomites were a wow because I didn't know what to expect. Other places were famous cities we all hear about. Lake Como was a favorite. Lots of Wows for me"

Jeff

Monroe, WA

Tour: 09/22/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Exceeded our expectations at every turn. Accommodations were very comfortable, better than expected, always in a great location. Our guide Sarah was superb. Impressed by the efficiency of the tour. Size of group accommodated group entrances, appointed times with minimal waiting, expedited transportation with a dedicated bus and driver. We maximized our sightseeing and vacation time compared to "going it alone". Italy was wonderful!!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"David at the Academia. The Borghese gallery was a close second. (Appreciated the itinerary advice to pre-book). Dolomites were a pleasant surprise. We were not sure what to expect but agree it belongs in the "Best of Italy"."

Glenn

Calgary, AB

Tour: 09/22/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour lead by Sarah and bus driver Adrian was an amazing experience. Sarah was well organized and thoroughly knowledgeable about every destination. Her teaching background was evident in her ability to keep all of us on schedule and communicate the daily plan clearly. As I shared with her on our last evening together, she made the tour and elevated it to a "life experience".

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I can safely say, that each venue provided at least one "wow" moment and it's impossible for me to pick just one as a favorite. So, I will share my "first" wow moment, as the moment my wife and I entered our room at Hotel Eremo Gaudio at our first destination in Varenna, and stepped out onto the balcony. The vista overlooking the beautiful Lake Como, Belagio and town of Verenna below was postcard perfect. It was additionally impressive that our room was aptly named "Belagio"!"

Kristianne

Spokane, WA

Tour: 09/22/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour totally exceeded my expectations, starting with our tour guide Sarah. We could not have been in better hands. She definitely made the trip for us. The tour was well described in terms of pace and content. At times it seemed a bit hectic and rushed but that is what you need to do to get the total experience. The tour group itself was very cohesive which was helpful. Everyone mixed around quite easily during the tours and meals.Definitely made some friends we will stay in touch with

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My WOW moments were the little extras that let us get to know the local people better - Dinner at a former chefs house in Varenna, oarlock craftsman in Venice, stained glass maker and dinner at a local district house in Siena and the pesto making dinner in Cinque Terre. Our bus driver Adrian was another highlight of our trip. He engaged well with the group and was very additive to the atmosphere."

Erle

Spokane, WA

Tour: 09/22/17

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Overall, I was impressed that it was very organized, entertaining and filled with nice tour guides and guests to travel with.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"After arriving in Milan and acclimatizing, going to Varenna/Lake Como was a great intro into the tour. It was a nice ice-breaker with other folks and set the tone for the rest of the visits. The Dolomites was also a second WOW moment since Caren and I like to hike. I wish I had time to have booked a para-glide session. The views and hotel was excellent."

Barbara

Chippewa Falls, WI

Tour: 09/22/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Wonderful time - our tour guide Sarah and our bus driver Adrian were so good at what they do. Could not have asked for any better. I thought the pace, accommodations, meals and local guides were perfect.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I had a lot of "wow" moments. The Dolomites were so wonderful and unexpected as I really didn't know much about that part of Italy."

Michele

North Saanich, BC

Tour: 09/20/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our first RS tour and our experience was outstanding. Knowledgeable, engaging guides Friendly fellow tour members - none of whom was grumpy! Nicely paced itinerary Clean, well located accommodations Seamless access to highlights/attractions (museums, etc.) Small tour group (so nice to not be a pack of 40+) Great food and entertaining hosts. And all of this in Italy - it was perfect!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were so many "pinch me" moments. Aside from the scenery and extraordinary vistas one can find almost everywhere in Italy, "experiencing" the scale of structures from ancient Rome through to the Renaissance were the most impactful moments for me. It is breathtaking to stand in the Colosseum, to gaze at the vast inlaid mosaic in the Siena Duomo, to consider the height of the oculus of the Pantheon. Humans are amazing."

Scott

Alameda, CA

Tour: 09/20/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our second Rick Steves tour (and it won't be the last). Our group members were amazing. Stacy, our tour wrangler, was amazing and often went beyond the call of duty to make sure we had an excellent experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"We had amazing memories including our stay in Dolomites and Venice. Our visit to the Uffizi and the Colosseum were beyond expectations. My favorite would be our stay in the agritourismo outside of Orvieto. The hosts were amazing. We had a great party. Tears were shed by all when we left Pogo della Volara."

Suzanne

Naperville, IL

Tour: 09/20/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Exceeded my expectations! Tour leader, local guides, the extra sights included as rest stops on the bus travel days, group meals, pacing of busier portions of the itinerary and then the relaxing segments of the trip, the group dynamics as well as the individuals in the group, warmth of the hotel staff - it couldn't have been better! Appreciated being outside of the summer season - both in terms of weather and somewhat fewer number of tourists in Italy.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Not easy to answer - there were many! The experience in the local church/community center in the Selva contrade in Siena was special. To be included in such a local, intimate gathering that is not something open to the public was unexpected and really fun. Also found the Dolomites and the Alp di Suisi along with the location of our accommodations there to be a WOW moment! And the stay on the agrotourismo - like staying in someone's home, fabulous!"

Sean

North Saanich, BC

Tour: 09/20/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My first time to Italy and my first organized tour group experience as well. From my perspective, it would be very hard to top! Not only was my Italy experience more than I hoped for, the tour itself was well-organized, well-led and much more fun than I anticipated!!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Alpe di Siusi (Seiser Alm) was full of outstanding hiking and vistas to be savored. A very unexpected German flavor in our taste of Italy! As much as I loved the natural beauty and peace the mountains provided, nothing can match the overwhelming awe provided by the Colosseum and Forum of ancient Rome. Our guide there (Francesca) sculpted a beautiful story that brought us all back in time to visualize the gigantic structures as they were in all their glory. I'll never forget that walk!"

Mary

Lenexa, KS

Tour: 09/20/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our tour guide, Stacy, was fabulous. She was very knowledgable and made the tour so fun. I loved the mix of country and city stops and I think two nights in each location was just right.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were so many. Lake Como was beautiful, the Dolomites were awesome, Cinque Terre was great and I loved the family vineyard and olive farm that we stayed at. That was a blast! Oh, and I am so glad that we stopped at the American WW II cemetery outside of Florence. That should be a must for every tour. Stacy, our wonderful tour guide even received an award from the director of the cemetery which made the experience extra special."

Michael

Naperville, IL

Tour: 09/20/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our first organized tour experience and I have to say that it was outstanding. The tour was extremely well organized, efficient and a huge value for the money. Our tour guide Stacy Gibboni was outstanding.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Having the experience of being in the Selva Contrada in Siena and being immersed in the local neighborhood culture of the contrada was my "WOW" moment. I never imagined that I would be dining with local people, who took us into their private contrada social club and created a meal for us to enjoy in their private social club."

David

Galloway, NJ

Tour: 09/20/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

A superb tour with a great guide and local guides able to bring special expertise in selected areas. Accommodations were as described. I really felt that I had a RS experience, getting to know the local culture and to see places (e.g., our agriturismo site) that few other visitors would ever encounter. The tour was very well paced, providing brief periods to relax and refresh.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"This is a difficult one. There were so many moments of beauty and opportunities to meet locals (e.g., dinner at Il Caminetto in Varenna). The Cinque Terre and Florence stand out, but for sheer wow, I would have to say my first morning at the agriturismo site, watching (and photographing) the fog move slowly up the hillside and over the vinyards and olive groves. After a day of touring we all danced following a locally prepared meal. Also, visit to the contrade in Siena"

Gary

Everett, WA

Tour: 09/15/17

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The way that the entire tour group got along and enjoyed each others company. No specific "wow" but every stop we made."

Jim

Redmond, WA

Tour: 09/15/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was a wonderful tour, resulting in memories we will cherish forever

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I was most moved by seeing Saint Francis of Assisi's original Chapel encapsulated within the vast basilica built over it"

Douglas

Woodinville, WA

Tour: 09/15/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

No question, you advertise this as a tour. It was not a vacation. Several other members of our group have done several other Rick Steves tours, and they all agreed this was the most strenuous of them all. It will take a while to unpack all of the memories, from snow in the Dolomites, to Tower of Pisa, the many stairs at our Florence hotel and our tour of the Cinque Terra shoreline and the towns via train back to Monterosso. Lots to remember.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The dome in St. Marks in Venice. Our up close meting with the craftsman that makes the forkula for gondolas. The Siena square. But, my best memories are the alpine meadows in the Dolomites. It was surreal."

Margery

Waban, MA

Tour: 09/15/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

excellent advice before the trip (reflects many years of thoughtful planning) :PACK LIGHTLY !! the trip was pretty hectic schedule-wise, but we would not have seen / sampled all the places / sights of Italy we noticed that "slow" days were nicely interspersed between "busy" days; everyone appreciated the freq and tips on all the bathrooms!! our only "complaint" was we met so many Rick Steve's travelers with the guides, etc. Lots of note swapping and stories

Favorite "WOW" moment

"no one "wow" moment the trip was truly an excellent sampling of all parts of italy"

Suk Yin

Temple City, CA

Tour: 09/15/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was a wonderfully planned tour. It exceeded my expectations. The people were wonderful and we made some wonderful friends. The agenda was packed but it gave us the flexibility to explore. It was a dream trip. There was never one moment of boredom. I can't believe we covered so much territory and history in 17 days. I have been recommending this trip to all my friends.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Seeing all the historical landmarks and appreciate all the beauty and importance behind each landmark."

Tommy

Temple City, CA

Tour: 09/15/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The itinerary is great and covers everything from high impact hiking at the Dolomites to relaxing at Altarocca Wine Resort in Orvieto, from regional cultural experiences in Venice and Florence to art history lessons in Florence and Vatican, and from natural beauty of the Alps and the coast to man-make wonders of Pantheon and Coliseum! The amount of group and individual activities is nicely planned and spaced. While food and wine are superb, the gelato is lovely. Best of all, we have Rozanne!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There are so many "wow" moments, it is hard to narrow them down. But these are my top 5 "wow" moments: 1. natural beauty of the Dolomites, 2. rolling hills of Tuscany, 3. "David" in Florence, "Patheon" and "Vatican" in Rome, and 5. cliff communities of Cinque Terre."

Diane

Athens, TX

Tour: 09/15/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was fabulous. There was a good balance of tour time with the group and solo time to explore on our own. Our guide, Rozanne, was excellent.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The entire trip was a "wow" moment."

Mercedes

Vancouver, BC

Tour: 09/13/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Everything was good, as described, no complaints, only kudos.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"So many. Probably opportunities to meet local people, such as when we had cooking demonstrations or vineyard owners who presented their life-styles, decisions and products. Felt connected to the country we were in then, not just to a past."

Richard

Pocatello, ID

Tour: 09/13/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Had a great time. Guided tours very well done with knowledgeable guides. Had adequate free time to explore on our own. Great food, comfortable bus.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Time in Florence and climbing to the top of Brunelleschi's dome."

Mary

Rochester, NY

Tour: 09/13/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had a great time with a friendly group and a super-knowledgable and fun tour guide! We enjoyed the vast amount of knowledge that she and the local guides provided and were very happy with the choice of venues to visit and experience. We also loved our time alone and were happy to have plenty of time to just connect with each other away from the group.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hard to choose, but it was a great surprise when 2 musicians hopped in our gondola in Venice, to the surprise of my husband and myself, as well as the other couple from our group who were also celebrating their tenth anniversary!"

Gretchen

Alliance, OH

Tour: 09/13/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Great tour, great people on our tour! So amazing to see places I have read and heard about. I have a whole new perspective on Italy.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"That is a hard question as the whole trip was WOW. I think Siena was so much fun, I loved the stories about the horse races. Then to eat at one of the clubs was great fun, not something we could do on our own. Of course seeing famous paintings and statues in person, is definitely a Wow moment. But Rome, all the layers of civilization over thousands of years, Wow!"

Bill

Houston, TX

Tour: 09/13/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Great tour guide. Sarah shared knowledge of the country, history, architecture, and art with us. Everything was seamless. Great local guides that spoke English, but knew the city and tour item. The driver was safe and knew the routes even off the beaten path. The other tour members interacted well without drama. Of course the cities and countryside were wonderful. The churches were grand, the views were spectacular. Food and wine were wonderful. My 2nd RS Tour and I was not disappointed.

Margaret

The Villages, FL

Tour: 09/13/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Awesome. Nice hotels as usual.... wine resort nice break.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Going to the US cemetery outside of Florence. Very moving--should be on every tour. And, of course, David."

John

Rochester, NY

Tour: 09/13/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our first tour, we usually travel on our own. Being a part of a group still has it drawbacks but the pluses of having Sara as a tour guide, the wonderful local guides, quality hotels and not having to navigate driving from location to location made it extremely worthwhile. The information that Sara and the local guides shared was incredible and really made the trip. The history, explanation concerning the artwork as well as the architecture would have missed.

David

Oceanside, CA

Tour: 09/13/17

Overall rating: rating 1 of 5

Worst trip I've ever been on by far and I've visited every content of the world. This was a tour of the overcrowded tourist traps from hell. Being herded through old churches like animals is not fun. And at the end of the tour I felt like I had not even seen Italy. The only good thing was Sarah our crackerjack guide.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The end of the tour."

Grant

Seattle, WA

Tour: 09/13/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My 17 day tour of Italy was fabulous. By adding one day at the front and two days at the back, I had a wonderful three week vacation in a country with the most spectacular scenery and history that I could ever imagine. I took about 1000 pictures so I will have memories for a lifetime to share with my kids and grandkids. Sarah,our tour guide, has personal relationships with hotel, restaurant and local tour guides all over Italy and arranged wonderful meals and special events for us. Wonderful!!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The most impressive thing for me was the architecture and history of Italy. Also, the churches, cathedrals, canals in Venice and Rome with its Colosseum and spectacular architecture was the most memorable to me. It's amazing to me what people were able to do and construct over 800 years ago!"

Valez

Pocatello, ID

Tour: 09/13/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Very good places to stay and overall great food. Excellent guides and a good blend of organized time and free time. I really enjoyed the contact with local Italians.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It was my first time to Italy, and there were many "wow" moments."

Donald

New Lenox, IL

Tour: 09/10/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I enjoyed all of the planned locations and the additional stops on the bus travel days. Lucca and Assisi were my favorites. The stops made the bus rides seem easy and enjoyable. Dinner in Varenna at retired Chef Ferruccio's home was an unexpected pleasure. It reminded me of dinner at grandma's house. The farmhouse stay was a unique and very fun experience. The only negative for me were the crowds in Rome, although, the history and sites were amazing. Great trip, nice people, lot of fun!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Dolomites were my favorite wow moment. Snow-capped mountain tops, ski-lifts, hiking past a herd of bell-ringing cows, watching the paragliders @ 7,000 feet...nature at it's finest!"

Sandra

New Lenox, IL

Tour: 09/10/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our first group tour and first trip to Italy. It was an awesome adventure!! Very impressed with RS & Co attention to detail and especially, guide, Rainer's knowledge and professionalism. I was a little apprehensive about the group experience, but the fellow tour members were great! We melded together with our common goal to have a great time. The length of the tour was a little challenging but realize without the extra days, we wouldn't have experienced some of our favorite areas.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I felt a "wow" moment almost daily so it is difficult to choose! In general, I loved the variety; from the lakes and mountains in the north, winding down to the coasts, on to the vineyards and olive groves, and finally, Rome! Not to mention the distinctive food by location and, of course, the wine! Memories to share with family and friends and to last a lifetime!!"

Joyce

Thousand Oaks, CA

Tour: 09/10/17

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

We have always wanted to do a Rick Steve's tour and the "Best of Italy", did not disappoint us. The tour was very active and we saw many interesting places in a very rapid time. I enjoyed how Rainer our guide was given flexibility in the schedule to add additional tour experiences for the group. Having been on other group tours, I found that this group was not as inclusive as other groups I have travelled with, with other organizations.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"With the Best of Italy tour my "wow" moment was the experience with the Selva contrada in Siena. The opportunity to have a unique cultural and regional experience was priceless. There were several moments like this on the tour, but this was the most memorable."

Carol

Hilton Head Island, SC

Tour: 09/10/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had a wonderful mix of cities, culture, interaction with local families and the opportunity to learn about a fascinating country. The tour group was enthusiastic about every new adventure and we all became friends. I loved the opportunity to make new friends from all over the United States and Canada. My favorite places were the countryside villages, from Lake Como through the gorgeous landscapes of Umbria.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Dolomites were my favorite by far. I have a German heritage so the architecture of the area made me feel like I was "home"! The scenery was breathtaking. This was a part of Italy I did not know existed and I am so grateful to have been there. The Cinque Terra villages were beautiful. The hike was a challenge but the views from the top were well worth the effort! My first sip of Lemoncello will never be forgotten!"

Nancy

Wexford, PA

Tour: 09/10/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was well organized with a good balance of tour time and free time. We had great guides who were knowledgeable, informative and funny. We were glad we picked the Best of Italy to see Italy for the first time. We covered so much ground and experienced different Italian cultures.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The "farm" stay in Umbria was magical. The hosts were warm and inviting and the scenery was fantastic."

Lynnetta

Damascus, MD

Tour: 09/10/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Great balance of getting us into museums with fantastic guides, and having free time to explore on our own. Even time on the bus was balanced with bathroom stops every 2 hours. Overall, a wonderful experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Seeing Venice the floating city, how amazing. The Dolomites were beautiful and hiking there was an incredible experience. St. Assisi and Siena's duomo's were beautiful. The farm experience and the Tuscan view were gorgeous."

Daniel

Johnstown, CO

Tour: 09/10/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my/our first tour in any European country. It exceeded my expectations because I found myself excited to be learning about the history, art, and architecture, which I never found interesting before. At the same time, the 17 day Italy tour had a good balance of "out door" time (which has always held my interest) in the Dolomites, Cinqua Terra, and Agritourismo visits.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Dolomites were my "wow" experience. We hiked for hours, the scenery was magnificent (we live in Colorado and love the Rockies) but the Bavarian influence / life style of Northern Italy, and having lunch at one of the Huttes, was the best. Other wow times, included meeting and sharing tables with people from Germany, Hungary, and USA while out exploring. These were people/couples Not in our tour group."

Saara

Toronto, ON

Tour: 09/10/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The overall experience was a "grand Northern Italy tour "! Rainer was a delightful guide and had a wonderful combination of knowledge of architecture, art and culture!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hard to pick just one. Probably the wine tasting in Umbria, atop Marco and Guayva's olive grove at sunset!"

Bruce

Kingman, AZ

Tour: 09/10/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I was very pleased overall. There were several unexpected experiences that made the tour even better. The wide range of climate from north to south was difficult to plan for when packing clothing. Might want to include this as a pre-planning tip.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The coliseum and Roman Forum. It was incredible to realize I was walking where Roman emperors and gladiators had walked."

Clint

Seattle, WA

Tour: 09/10/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was such a varied and well rounded experience with group time, open free time, hiking, biking, tour bus, train, and boat travel. A wonderful balance of cathedrals, medieval towns, lakes and fabulous mountains.The food was superb. Stops made by the bus en route to our next hotel were super rewarding. e.g. Bolzano to see Otzi, the ice man, and Lucca where we rode bikes around the ramparts. The camaraderie and memories make this a lifetime best.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Our hike in the Dolomites through the largest alpine meadow in Europe is the stuff of dreams. We could hear the cow bells from our hotel and there was fresh snow for our sunny hike."

Kimberly

Carlsbad, CA

Tour: 09/08/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Very well run. Efficient and well organized. Our guide and bus driver were very good. The group all got along (and even bonded)--I was sad to say goodbye to everyone.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The alps. I had no idea! Otzi the Iceman was also a surprise plus"

Dale

Calgary, AB

Tour: 09/08/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The Tour exceeded my expectations. Our guide, Molly, did an exceptional job of preparing us for the tour stops - giving us pertinent background information and history. The walking tours we did as a group were well constructed - very informative and interesting. The group of people we travelled with were amazing companions - we had SO much fun together! Our bus driver, Roberto, did an exceptional job and was much appreciated.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favorite "wow" moments were the group suppers we enjoyed. The food and drink characterized the regions we were in at the time. The food was absolutely amazing and the group really bonded during these meals."

Stephen

Nunica, MI

Tour: 09/08/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This is the way to see Italy. We planned our first trip to Italy in 2010 and it was a lot of work (even split between four couples)to make all the arrangements and coordinate the schedule. It was nice this time to leave the planning (and driving) to Molly and Roberto. The schedule had the right amount of free time to rest or continue to explore. The tour really did hit the best of Italy. Even though we had been to some of the cities before we were amazed at how much we missed the first time!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It's hard to pick, between Cinque Terra, Alpe Suisse, the food, the wine, Venice, Orvieto, the gelato, Lake Como etc. I'm not sure I could pick just one. The whole experience was "Wow"."

Edward

Berkeley Lake, GA

Tour: 09/08/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I enjoyed everything about the trip. The food and suggestions were excellent. All the various cities and stops on the way were fun. The knowledge of our guide was helpful and her suggestions always turned out well. We had fun with the whole group and overall it was a marvelous experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"That is a hard question as I seemed to have wall moments every day. The art, the history, and the culture created wow moments at every turn."

Stephen

Castro Valley, CA

Tour: 09/08/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I really enjoyed the Best of Italy tour. The itinerary was excellent and our guide, Molly was outstanding. We rarely stood in lines and yet we got to see the main attractions in each city. We were given sufficient time to explore on our own. And Molly pointed out the best Gelato shops in each city.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"When our guide pointed out where Marc Anthony delivered his famous speech in the Forum- I had memorized that speech in high school and still remembered it!"

Carolyn

Manhattan, KS

Tour: 09/08/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Every day there was something new and exciting! Our guide, Molly, was so nice and knowledgeable about everything. Knowing the history about each place we saw made it so much more enjoyable. This tour was the right mix of city and rural and I always felt very comfortable venturing out on my own after our walking tours. The hotels and group dinners far exceeded my expectations. I hope this is only the beginning of my travels with Rick Steves Tours.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were so many WOW moments! Of course, seeing all the main attractions were WOW moments, but there were also small ones as well. In the Dolomites, we woke up and opened the window in our hotel room and could hear cowbells! Just riding on the bus, while others were napping, I would keep my eyes open for castles. They were everywhere!!"

James

Manhattan, KS

Tour: 09/08/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was a great trip. It was so nice not to worry about transportation or accommodation. I have to keep reminding myself that it was just a "taste" of Italy, because it seemed like there is so much more to see. Maybe we just got lucky, but we enjoyed all our traveling companions and thought our guide, Molly, and our bus driver Roberto, were tops. There were some nice surprises along the way and we enjoyed all our group meals.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hiking on a "closed" trail in the Cinque Terre from Vernazza to Monterosso. It was really accidental but was a spectacular view from many points along the trail."

David

Grand Rapids, MI

Tour: 09/08/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The sites, the guide, the group, the food and wine, the total experience was AWESOME!!!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"After the tour ended, got up close to Pope Francis. It was a sacred experience."

Cathleen

Grand Rapids, MI

Tour: 09/08/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This is the only way to see Italy! We were able to hit all the major highlights, but still have time to do our own thing.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I can't possibly pick out one thing. I enjoyed every bit of it."

Sheila

Berkeley Lake, GA

Tour: 09/08/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Wonderful! The food and wine were exceptional. We enjoyed the recommendations for each region. The guides made the cities come alive with their humor and knowledge. With their hints we were empowered to find hidden gems. We really learned more that we expected to about art and Italian history. We would have been overwhelmed by the vast art collections without our guides, and not appreciated in full what we were looking at. The smaller cities were as amazing as the big ones.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The regions were all different and special in their own way. The Chapel of the Madonna di San Brizio at Orvieto was especially rewarding. Our guide, Molly was superb in her explanations. It was also nice to view a chapel, such as this, in a small group."

Cindy

Grand Rapids, MI

Tour: 09/08/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Each day was a new adventure. The tour was well run, organized, gave us a lot of knowledge about the regions we were traveling to and was fun! I can't say enough about how great Molly, our guide, was, as well as Roberto, our driver. I was pleased with most of the hotels, and the group meals were outstanding. It was also a nice surprise when we visited some sights that weren't noted on the itinerary.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were many including the gondola ride in Venice, being in St. Peter's Square, eating street food of fried sardines out of a paper cone in Riomajjorie, and visiting many of the towns where my Dad had been in during World War II."

Allen

Castro Valley, CA

Tour: 09/08/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had an excellent experience. Molly was very helpful.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Seeing the immense ruins in Rome."

David

Grand Rapids, MI

Tour: 09/08/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I have to say it was the most fun tour I have ever been on. The mix of education and down right fun was so enjoyable. Our guide Molly keep us on our toes night and day even making us comfortable during our downtime while we maneuvered our way thru strange cities on our own.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Too many WOW moments to pick a favorite. However stepping off the train in Varenna and realizing your really in Italy was pretty close to the top."

Darlene

Calgary, AB

Tour: 09/08/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I was pleased with the tour from start to finish. The tour is well organized and thought out. Our excellent tour guide, Molly, provided us with insightful information, kept us organized and moving in the right direction, all with great patience and humour. The local guides were excellent. We saw and experienced many things that we would not have done, had we been on our own.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favorite "wow" moment was the inside of St.Peter's Basilica. From the entrance, making our way to Michelangelo's Pieta, up to the main altar and viewing all the side altars, was truly magnificent from start to finish."

Vivian

Longmont, CO

Tour: 09/08/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My overall experience was better than I expected. The tour was well organized and even on bad weather days, Molly was ready with alternative activities to keep us going. As a solo participant, I was pleased to be a welcomed part of a group consisting of mostly couples. Molly mixed us up with "buddies" which allowed me to feel part of the group and interact/meet new friends. Will definitely recommend Rick Steve's tours to single individuals like me who might be hesitant to travel alone.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were lots of "wow" moments. Hard to choose one. Overall, I was amazed with how beautiful and fantastic Italy and its people are! Being a second generation Italian, I felt proud to know more and experience the lives of everyday people and my ancestors. Can't get this information and experience from books!"

Don

Pekin, IL

Tour: 09/06/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Lunga Vita Italiana!! My wife and I travel alot and I must say this tour was one of the best. It all starts with the tour guide and Anna was the best. What a sweet heart. The other key ingredient to a delightful tour are the size of the tour group and this group was the ideal size (22 people) and everyone got along so well. Again, that is the reflection of Anna. Our first Rick Steves's tour and we will definitely do another one before considering any other tour group.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were many. Rome, Lake Como, Venice, Florence, Sienna, and, of course, Cinque Terra. WOW!! We also decided to add the Amalfi Coast after the completion of the tour and we would definitely come back to Amalfi."

Linda

Pekin, IL

Tour: 09/06/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I enjoyed learning about Italy and seeing so much of the country. This tour had a good mix of guided time and free time. This lack of free time has been a criticism I have had with the other 2 tours in which I particated ( with another company). There was a variety of large urban experiences and small countryside settings. Our tour group got along well, and Anna was an excellent guide.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There was not one wow time but an overall love of the historical elements in every place we visited."

Janice

Orangevale, CA

Tour: 09/06/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my first experience with Rick Steeves' Tours and I was very satisfied. We saw a lot of Italy in 17 days! I liked the organization of tour as it ran very smoothly and if there was a hiccup, our guide knew exactly how to handle it and get back on track. Our driver was excellent and kept us on time, in some cases, we were early, but made the trip even more enjoyable.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I can't say there was any one special "wow" moment... there were many for me. Many of the chapels were amazing! And of course the Cistene Chapel was awesome. Sadly it was very, very crowded and noisy which took away the "awe" of it all. And then there was David. He was spectacular!"

Dennis

Lakewood, WA

Tour: 09/06/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

"You can't put your foot in the same river twice",the saying goes. This was our second Best of Italy and our 9th RS tour. One of the best! Some upgrades on quality of hotels and food from 12yrs. ago. Our guide(Anna) was a jewel. Right at the top of the list. Her management skills, timing,guidance in confusing metropolas encounters was as good as it gets. Loved reliving some of our old haunts in Dolomites,Venice,Cinque Terreand Tuscany. This may be our last tripe New roads to travel.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Contrada della Selva in Siena and the local food cooked and served by volunteers. Dinning in the basement club surrounded by all the history of the Palio. How scrumptious the food and wine. How proud the people were who created it."

Judy

Eden Prairie, MN

Tour: 09/06/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our first tour. I really didn't know what to expect even after we did all the preparations and watched the videos. It did take me a day to get into the groove, which is pretty normal for me. It was so well organized which made me feel relaxed and comfortable. Anna , our tour guide was amazing. I especially appreciated the Itinerary she posted every afternoon to prepare us for the next day. Our motor coach driver, Adrian did a great job, was fun and very personable.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Every city we visited had a "Wow" moment. It's impossible for me to name one."

Weather

Italy / Milan


Italy / Venice


Italy / Florence


Italy / Rome

Pre-Tour Planning

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 recommended books and movies.

Tour Hotels

In case you wish to book pre- or post-tour hotel accommodations, the contact information for the tour's first and last hotels is included in your tour confirmation email. About one month prior to the tour departure, we'll email you directions on how to get from the airport to your first tour hotel, as well as the complete list of hotels where we'll be staying while on tour.

Transportation

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 Milan and out of Rome ("multicity" on flight-booking websites). Booking round-trip to one city will require a connecting flight, train trip, or additional overnight stay in Italy. Both Milan and Rome are major transportation hubs, making additional travel before or after your tour quite easy.

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

Read Rick's train travel and rail pass tips to decide if your travel plans merit a rail pass.

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 Italy before your tour begins, visiting Milan is a logical choice, as we don't spend any time there during the tour. Use the 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 suggestions for sightseeing in Milan: Leonardo da Vinci's Last Supper (reserve from home; details in the Rick Steves Italy guidebook) and Europe's third-largest cathedral, the Duomo. Milan is about an hour by train from Varenna, our tour's departure point, making it an easy pre-tour day trip.

The tour includes a Lake Como ferry pass on Day 2, allowing you to explore the many pleasant towns, such as Menaggio and Bellagio. But if you want more time to explore or hike, you may also want to cruise the lake before the tour begins.

Spending extra time after the tour in Rome? Here are a few suggestions for sightseeing that we do not do as a group: Borghese Gallery (reservations required), Spanish Steps, Capuchin Crypt, National Museum of Rome, Ancient Appian Way (great for biking), and catacombs.

Packing

We'll have some great opportunities for hikes in the Dolomites and 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.

Special packing note: We use an audioguide system for many of our sightseeing and museum tours. If you wear a hearing aid, we strongly recommend bringing headphones that go over your ears to allow you to fully enjoy these tours.