• 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 $4,995 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

2019

    • Apr 12–Apr 28 (Fr–Su)
    • $4,995 + Air

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    • Apr 19–May 5 (Fr–Su)
    • $4,995 + Air

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    • Apr 24–May 10 (We–Fr)
    • $5,195 + Air

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    • Apr 26–May 12 (Fr–Su)
    • $5,195 + Air

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    • Apr 28–May 14 (Su–Tu)
    • $5,195 + Air

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    • May 3–May 19 (Fr–Su)
    • $5,395 + Air

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    • May 5–May 21 (Su–Tu)
    • $5,395 + Air

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    • May 10–May 26 (Fr–Su)
    • $5,395 + Air

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    • May 17–Jun 2 (Fr–Su)
    • $5,395 + Air

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    • Jun 7–Jun 23 (Fr–Su)
    • $4,995 + Air

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    • Aug 30–Sep 15 (Fr–Su)
    • $4,995 + Air

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    • Sep 27–Oct 13 (Fr–Su)
    • $5,195 + Air

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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 (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
  • A tour kit including a guidebook (or books) and a moneybelt
  • 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 2019
  • 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 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. With your smart phone in hand and the Rick Steves Audio Europe™ app, Rick’s voice will guide you through the treasures of the Vatican Museums to the stunning grand finale: 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 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

Vickie

Fallbrook, CA

Tour: 10/12/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my first tour experience and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I was please with the accommodations, food, tour members and guides. Looking forward to another trip!

Daniel

Gardena, CA

Tour: 10/12/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I truly enjoyed the tour, and all the places we stayed. The experiences could not have a value put on them, and I know we all appreciated them. The sights were wonderful, and our guides are great. The food was fantastic.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My "wow" moment was not the usual one for most. I was moved by the quiet of Orvieto. The crowds there were less so our stroll around the town was very nice."

Kim Anne

Flagstaff, AZ

Tour: 10/12/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was the right mix of group and free time. Just what we were looking for in a tour. Rainer Metzger was a great guide..

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Listening to acapella singers in the Pantheon. Amazing and beautiful experience. Also loved the group meals out with exposure to new tastes."

Carlie

Rocklin, CA

Tour: 10/12/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Loved the diversity of this tour. It had a bit of everything. The combination and sequence allowed for some slower paced settings in between the 'bucket list' sites and cities.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Walking a portion of the pilgrim trail, soaking in the Sistine chapel, dinner at the chefs house, accessing the Coloessum the 'gladiator gate' too many to count."

James

Flagstaff, AZ

Tour: 10/12/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I had a very positive experience on the Best of Italy tour. It was exactly as described.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I really loved the art in Florence. I learned more art history in one day than I did in college."

Maddie

Tucson, AZ

Tour: 10/12/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had a fantastic time. The people we travelled with were friendly and easy going. Our guide was consistently well-informed, prepared and professional. The balance between dedicated tour time and free time was just right: we always had time to explore on our own but were skillfully guided through the trickier ins and outs of some very crowded sites. The length of the trip was good, too. We always stayed two nights in any location -- we felt busy but never hectic.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Cinque Terre. We were on a sunset cruise and there were dolphins all around the boat. One friendly soul swam along side and looked up at us as we looked down on him. It's a moment I will never forget because it was just so clear that the dolphin was intentionally communicating with us. Oh yes and the scenery was fantastic too."

Peggy

Gilroy, CA

Tour: 10/10/18

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Nicely put together tour overall. Great overview of Italy and we enjoyed our group very much! Saw more than we could have on our own and loved the ease of transportation and no lines to get into places. Group dinners were a lot of fun. Very good amount of free time to explore on our own. A bid sadly, our group stayed in Bolzano instead of in the Alpe di Siusi. Would have liked more than a half day hike there. Otherwise, about the right amount of time in each location for a sample of Italy.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hotel Villa Cipressi's grounds, views of Lake Como and breakfast, Hotel Villa Steno's rooms, views and breakfast, and hearing the gondoliers from our room at Hotel Ala, seeing Michael Angelo's David, Pieta & Sistine Chapel and St. Peter's Basilica, hiking in the Alpe di Siusi, touring Villa Balbianello, the excellent tour guide at the Uffizi Gallery, the gondola ride with new friends, many of the group dinners..."

Paul

Sandpoint, ID

Tour: 10/10/18

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

This tour fulfilled all of my expectations for a cultural tour of Northern Italy while exceeding those for experiencing the natural beauty of the region. This was truly rewarding for this was my first organized "cultural" tour. One of my goals was to see as much of this area as possible without being rushed. I commend your pace for it accomplished that for me. The free time to roam was greatly appreciated as were the suggestion how to use it. Thus I feel that had a wonderful experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The drive through the Dolmites and the La Terrazza Delle Dolomitit tram experience."

Peggy

Madera, CA

Tour: 10/10/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Tour was everything I expected and more. I really enjoyed not having to deal with transportation and booking hotels. I got to focus on what I came to see - Italy! I liked the mix of busy cities (Venice, Florence, Siena, Rome) and countryside (Lake Como, Dolomites, Cinque Terre, Agriturismo Poggio della Volara). Tour covered all top sites with local tour guides. Good mix of structured and free time.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Being in Siena for the Palio (horse race)! What are the chances that an additional Palio would be held to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the end of WW 1? And that it would be on the day we arrived in Siena? To experience the excitment, the people, the contradas parading with drummers and flag throwers, and watching the Palio with Italians! As one Italian explained to me when I was concerned for the jockey who fell off the horse and appeared to be trampled, "It is all about the horse!""

Dick

Bend, OR

Tour: 10/10/18

Overall rating: rating 3 of 5

I don't think we were prepared for how quickly this tour moves - a bus trip every other day. I think some of the cities are fine with two but to short for Venice, Florence and Rome. Some of the hotels were to "quaint" for us. I would be fine with paying more for upgraded hotels.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The churches were amazing and they were that way at every stop along the way. The Vatican and St. Peters were just to beautiful to describe to our friends."

Vickie

Steamboat Springs, CO

Tour: 10/10/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was fantastic. We had great weather, comfortable accomodations, and the food was wonderful. We really appreciated having our transportation and accomodations taken care of so we could enjoy the sights of Italy. The special touches such as our trip through the Dolomites and the gondola ride in Venice and the surprise Palio race in Siena made our trip more exciting and memorable. We enjoyed our group of travelers and our guide and even the bus driver was fun.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hard to pinpoint just one as there were so many memorable moments. The palio horse race in Siena was a surprise and was really a wow factor,with all the crazy Italian neighborhoods, the costumes, the flag throwing, the race itself and the parade afterwards where the horse was marched into the church. The horse won the race even if it came across the finish line without the jockey. Crazy!"

Janette

Bend, OR

Tour: 10/10/18

Overall rating: rating 3 of 5

Enjoyed seeing all the towns but it was exhausting having to pack bags everyother night. I think three nights in most cities would be more relaxing and with better hotels.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Seeing the Dolomites. So beautiful. We also got to see a Palio race by chance which was very interesting."

Kayanne

Pacific Grove, CA

Tour: 10/10/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The trip of a lifetime!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"As I think of each destination, there is a "wow" moment.....the view from our hotel room at Lake Como.....the vast beauty in the Italian Alps.......a romantic dinner in Venice.........the Saturday market in Bolzano.....dancing at the Touristima farm with new found friends from the tour........duomo dinner on Palio di Siena horse race weekend in Siena.....leaning tower of Pisa...the Colosseum and Trevi Fountain in Rome......the fun & goodwill of the people."

Barbara

Coquitlam, BC

Tour: 10/10/18

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Overall good but maybe too many churches, especially Orivieto AND Assisi. Maybe something more varied at that point. A vinyard?

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Watching sunrise in cinque terre and napping in the sunshine in the Agritourismo. PALLIO IN Siena was nifty."

Jerry

Pacific Grove, CA

Tour: 10/10/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my wife's and my first Rick Steve's Tour experience. We were just blown away by the tour. We were initially concerned that the pace my be too strenuous for us but it starts off slow and builds each day till the end. It also has enough free time built in for recovery if that is what is needed. The Tour Guide was knowledgeable and had great suggestions for our free time. Ferdi was very helpful, we look forward to our next RS Tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were two : Lake Como and the Cirque Terra. Both very beautiful"

Bonnie

Hamilton, ON

Tour: 10/10/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I feel like I really experienced the best of Italy; geography, history, culture, the people. The tour was broad & extensive, but also offered glimpses into everyday Italian life that we might not otherwise have experienced. It was also just the right length, even though we wanted more time in every location! We booked some additional days to tour Sorrento etc, and although we don't regret the addition, we did find we were tired & would have be happy to head home after 17 days.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Some spectacular moments included a gondola ride high into the Dolomites, being in Siena for the running of the Palio, and hiking in Cinque Terre. But I most enjoyed the quieter moments learning about the lives & work of everyday Italians: the gentleman who provided the stained glass demonstration; meeting Marco & Gaya at the Agriturismo in Umbria & learning about making olive oil & running a vineyard, the pesto making demonstration in Cinque Terre."

Shirley

Richland, MI

Tour: 10/07/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The whirlwind quality of the schedule was exhausting,but I know this was designed to be a sampler platter. It was a chance to discover places to love. To savor them, we would need to go back and stay much longer. On the positive side, the tour was brilliantly well organized. The tour made the most of every day, and also gave us sufficient time on our own, which was great. The opportunity to visit the gondola workshop in Venice and the stained glass workshop in Florence was fabulous.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The day in Siena when we got to attend the race trial. We were incredibly lucky to be there when this special-event race was happening. I felt privileged to actually spend the evening in a contrata hall. It was wonderful that we felt almost like part of the community that evening. We got to see the men practicing for the parade, and we had a great dinner there. Finding out that the beautiful contrata church now mostly exists to bless the racehorse - that was my favorite fun fact of the trip!"

Molly

Seaside, OR

Tour: 10/07/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was everything we had hoped for and more. Our tour guide, Patricia, was absolutely fabulous. It was wonderful to have all the details worked out for us. It was great to sit back and enjoy the trip. Our bus driver, Adrian, was a skilled driver.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"We both really enjoyed Venice. The music gondola ride and sitting in St Marks Square having Prosecco and listening to the music."

Amanda

Madisonville, LA

Tour: 10/07/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The overall trip experience was great. It was quite an adventure for me being my first visit to Europe. Not having to worry about scheduling anything was a tremendous stress relief. The people of Italy were welcoming and attentive to any questions. The food was excellent!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The grandeur of the churches was a wow moment in all locations of the tour for me. The food was exceptionally fresh and flavorful. I enjoyed walking in the Italian Alps and the other cities we visited. Being able to cover so much ground really gave one a feeling of being a part of the scene in all locations. The Contrada was fun and showed the culture in action in Sienna. The fish market in Venice was just amazing to see. Every market had beautiful fresh fruit and veggies."

Terri

Austin, TX

Tour: 10/07/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our (my husband and I) first Rick Steve's tour. We had an extraordinary time. Our tour guide Patricia was hospitable and took good care of the group. Patricia is knowledgeable, organized, thoughtful and very funny. Everyone in the group was awesome. It was great to have everything planned out for us such as hotels, tours, tour guides etc... Italy has breathtaking views and we totally enjoyed every moment.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were so many 'wow' moments, however, I would say that my favorite was climbing a mountain in Cinque Terre, Italy. The views were amazing and I was so impressed with the family that owned the resort. The family worked so well together and they were so gracious. There is so much beautiful culture in Italy that it is difficult to have a favorite--I loved them all!"

Gordon

Portland, OR

Tour: 10/07/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My wife and I had a wonderful experience on the tour. My wife is on a plant-based diet, and she really did not want to go off it. We indicated this to Patricia, and she really took incredible care of M'Lou. At every dinner we had as a tour group, there were special dishes that were plant-based--and they were really good! Better than most places in the States. Patricia also helped us purchase train tickets back to Milan (We had round-trip fares to Milan.) She was like a mother hen to us all!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"We were really impressed with Cinque Terre. Just a fascinating place! We were also impressed with everything on the tour. The artwork, history, churches, etc. I myself was very impressed with the way Italians put beauty and art into ordinary things, like the cobblestones in every city we visited -- very labor-intensive, and perfectly done."

Dennis

Westminster, CO

Tour: 10/07/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Hard to condense in 500 characters; but, simply stated...it was grand and met or exceeded all expectations.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Palio and everything surrounding this timeless event. Dolomites were a close second."

Rick

Richland, MI

Tour: 10/07/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was the perfect way to introduce ourselves to the best of Italy. Had we not chosen the tour and instead tried to cover the country ourselves, we believe we would have missed so much and learned much less. Our tour provided us with just the right amount of time in each location to make an informed judgement about which areas we would like to return to.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"For me, there were several 'wow' moments but I believe THE 'wow' moment occurred in the Cinque Terre. My wife and I hiked the trail from Monterosso to Vernazza, had lunch at a cafe along the water, took a train to the village of Manarola, did some sightseeing and took the boat back to Monterosso. Our guide, Patricia, explained , beforehand, just how to do this expedition and we handled it like seasoned worldly travelers, which we are not."

Michael

Commerce Township, MI

Tour: 10/05/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was one of the best trips I have ever taken. I was really impressed with the coordination as well as the accommodations that were provided. It was a class tour from day one.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Sistine chapel and the work of Michelangelo was just incredible. I still can't believe that someone that considered himself a sculptor could paint something of that magnitude over that period of time. Definitely one of the greatest master pieces of art of all time."

Richard

Sugar Land, TX

Tour: 10/05/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Sarah and the other tourists helped make the trip very enjoyable. Sarah was a delight, with great local knowledge and energy. The little extras...dinner in Varenna, gondola extras, stained glass, Sienna dinner, and andresort helped make the trip more memorable.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"American Military Cemetary in Florence was an unexpected, and moving experience. Dinner with Italian family in Varenna was an emotional reminder of my youth. Being raised in an Italian American family, it brought be back 50+ years."

Vickie J

Eau Claire, WI

Tour: 10/05/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This trip went beyond expectations. I could not believe all of the beautiful architecture art work, historical sites, and amazing vistas we saw over our 17 days. I was expecting an Italian experience but got so much more. Our lodging was above what I expected, the food and wine was delicious, the opportunities for discovery on our own were perfect, the included tours included so much more than I dreamed we could see, and our tour guide Sarah S. was the best tour guide I have ever had.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"We have traveled a lot and get asked that question a lot. As I told our group my "wow" was the whole trip. Each stop, tour, meal, hike, church, museum, city, and history we learned created "wow" moments on the whole trip. Also we were so blessed with having Sarah's love of Italy creating so many special moments for us. The other "wow" moment was when our travel companions first met, there was no hesitation about getting to know each other and share this amazing time together."

Dan

Seattle, WA

Tour: 10/05/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Amazing introduction to Italy; it's history, art, food, and people. The information gained from our knowledgable tour guide and the local guides in each city made for an incredibly in-depth and personal connection to each place we visited...something I think would be hard to replicate if you were touring on your own. The tour structure was a perfect blend of group activities and time on our own. Come ready to move and learn.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Each time I stepped into a duomo or basilica it took my breath away...the transition from viewing the incredible exteriors of these architectural wonders to the inside - seeing the craftsmanship of the soaring spaces, the beautiful lighting, the incredible artwork - it never got old. I was surprised by how much I was taken by this aspect of the trip. Of course the nighttime gondola ride in Venice ranked right up there as a "wow" moment."

James

Saint Augustine, FL

Tour: 10/05/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our guide (Sarah) and our fellow travel partners were great! Italy is a wonder but traveling with like-minded people made the trip pure joy.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I enjoyed Siena and Assisi the best."

Debra

Parkville, MO

Tour: 10/03/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my first guided tour and this trip/tour exceeded my expectations. It was enthralling to experience the well-known sites with expert local guides, who brought the history to life in their telling, and without long lines for tickets or entry. Even more delightful to me were the many experiences at lesser-known stops. Elena, our guide, provided background and local knowledge for each of our destinations, helping us to appreciate the uniqueness of each. Our travel group became fast friends.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The cemetery in Castelrotto took my breath away. Lake Como, the Dolomites and Cinque Terre were my favorite sites. I knew very little about any of them and the beauty of each was the highlight of the trip."

Nicole

Rossland, BC

Tour: 10/03/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

As a younger traveller accompanying my mother on this tour I was a bit hesitant at first as it is not something I would have normally chosen for myself. However, after meeting my fellow travellers and experiencing such an amazing guide, hidden "gems", group dinners, learning all of the little things I would have never experienced any other way I would definitely say yes to another Rick Steves Tour. Particularly with a local guide like Elena!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Our first group dinner in Varenna having an authentic experience with a proud Italian chef who was having just as much fun as we were in hosting us. His passion made me feel like we had made the right choice on the tour and we were about to get a real backdoor experience of Italy. Also, arrival to the Cinque Terre and the day spent hiking, boating, training and swimming the beautiful coastline, to once again return to a beautiful authentic Italian food experience."

Karen

Reno, NV

Tour: 10/03/18

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Our tour Rick Steves guid, Elena Zampiron was fantastic! She made the trip. I traveled alone, a first for me. My experience was a good one but I probably could have made it better, or next time go with a good friend. But I did it! But that little fly in my ointment was my doing, nothing to do with the Rick Steves trip!!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"That is hard to say. I have never said "Oh my God" soo many times in my life. I loved the Dolomites: I am a nature girl so all that green and the architecture really touched me!"

Sally

Redmond, WA

Tour: 10/03/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour exceeded my expectations in nearly every way: quality of the guide, education, special experiences, travel arrangements, organization and group dynamics.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I honestly can't narrow it down to just one. Views of Lake Como, mountaintop at Castelrotto, the painterly views over the canals and gondolas in Venice, rooftop views over Florence and Siena, the natural beauty of Tuscany, Umbria and Cinque Terre, the monumental exposed history in Rome, the breathtaking cathedrals and art. Each location was spectacular in it's own way."

Myrna

Shawnee, KS

Tour: 10/03/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I expected that our tour would be great, but "great" doesn't begin to describe our experience. Our tour guide, Elena, helped us learn about the culture, arts, beauty in her unique way that was an experience I will always treasure.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Now, that is a hard question. Our entire tour of Italy was a "wow" moment. We were able to see, experience and learn such amazing sights."

Ruth

Ocala, FL

Tour: 10/03/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Elena our amazing guide could turn on a dime. She knew what was going on in her country and rearranged the tour for us to see the cows coming home festival in the Dolomites. It only happens once a year and we were there with the locals to celebrate the event. Her bouncy bubbly personality was infectious to us all and we bonded as a group quickly so no one was ever late and we felt like a great traveling family. I've only been on 3 RS tours but the guide can make or break it. Elena made it.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It was ever so subtle as Elena mesmerized us with narrative of the Signorelli frescoes in the Chapel of San Brizio. I saw things that I never would have seen if not for her loving description of this awesome work. On top of that to think that Michelangelo stood there where we stood for inspiration before starting work on the Sistine Chapel grounded me when I stood in the Vatican three days later. Thanks Elena"

Mary Jean

Brentwood Bay, BC

Tour: 10/03/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my first time on a tour. I have always travelled independently and had some hesitations about travelling with a group of strangers for 17 days. I needn't have. We started as strangers but left as friends. To organize and see everything we saw in the time we had would have been very difficult. Being on the tour took the stress away and it was great to just sit back and enjoy the ride. A terrific taste of the regional diversity that makes Italy so wonderful.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I had many "wow" moments, but because I had already been to Siena, Florence, Venice and Rome, it was the sights that I had missed and always wanted to see that meant the most. Of these I think being in Cinque Terre and doing the hike between Monterosso and Vernazza along that stunning coastline, was my best moment. Also the beauty of Lake Como and the Dolomites were awe inspiring as well."

Ken

Mill Creek, WA

Tour: 10/03/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Free time and group activities and group dinners were great. Elena was fantastic. Hotels were wonderful. Supplemental tour guides were wonderful. Group was great and we all looked out for each other and had a lot of fun. Rome was a very long day and should be shortened. It was so long that it became counter productive especially for the older people in our tour group.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were so many: Lake Como, Cinque Terra, Castlerocca, Parade of the cows, staying on the winery in Tuscany (Marco and Guiva), and our bus driver, Giacomo, our bus driver, was wonderful. Pesto making and dinner was wonderful."

Susan

Scottsdale, AZ

Tour: 10/03/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I loved the perfect balance of planned activities and "you're on your own" time. It was fantastic to go to the typical Italian cities (Rome, Venice, Florence) but I really loved going to the lesser known places (Castelrotto, Orvieto). They were so pleasantly surprising. The group of people were really nice and so fun. As a single person, they were so welcoming to me. I made friends quickly. I loved that we really didn't have anything to plan for or to coordinate. Elena did it all for us.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were two. The first one was in Varenna where we were the guests of the couple who made an amazing dinner for us. The group was blown away with the experience and it set the trip off on such a good note. The second was going to the contrada dinner in Sienna. These were amazing experiences you would never have had if you had planned the trip on your own. The agritourismo was fantastic too. I would probably never have gone there but for this trip. Amazing!"

Martin

York, PA

Tour: 10/03/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The "Best of Italy in 17 Days Tour" was wonderful. The itinerary was well planned and we got to experience Italy in its realistic splendor. Most of the accommodations were family operated and it was obvious that the Rick Steves company had a personal relationship with the property owners. The main Tour Guide as well as the guides in specific venues were knowledgeable, friendly and professional. We would not hesitate to book another tour with the Rick Steves organization.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"All of the activities would qualify as "wow" moments, but what stands out the most were opportunities to interact with "everyday Italians." We experienced a dinner in a private home and in a social hall of a church basement. We will always remember the wonderful meals and interacting with the folks that prepared the meal. Also, the time spent at the agriturismo was a great opportunity to learn about Italian culture up close."

Robert

Walkersville, MD

Tour: 10/03/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The experience was outstanding from our arrival at our first hotel in Varenna. Each hotel and city provided a unique perspective, that combined, provided memories that we will cherish forever. The tour offered an excellent mix of quiet, scenic spots as well as more lively cities that required a little faster pace. Italy's history, culture, food and wines were described, displayed and cultivated by our superb tour guide through the many regions we visited.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It's difficult to pick one favorite "wow" moment. But if limited to one, I would have to say walking from the train station down to our hotel in Monterosso. Each bend in our walk brought a breathtaking view of the Ligurian sea around the climbing cliffs of the town. The morning after we arrived the sun and crystal-clear sky highlighted the deep blue waters that surrounded the town against the pastel buildings in the villages that make up Cinque Terre. It was beautiful."

Joyce

Pendleton, OR

Tour: 10/03/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This trip was remarkable. I experienced Italian culture and history with a remarkable group of fellow travelers. We were a cohesive group of people who truly enjoyed exploring and spending time together. The pace of the tour was quick enough to keep us constantly engaged and experiencing Itay while allowing enough independent time for independent exploration. Accommodations and day to day activities always went smoothly-something that would have been overwhelming for me to plan by myself.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"This is a very difficult question. Each new place experienced was another wow moment. I think the beauty of the countryside and small villages were my favorites. Lake Como, Castelrotto, and the Tuscan area were relaxing and gorgeous. But I also appreciate all the history that I learned from Venice, Siena and Rome. A crosssection of experiences were ultimately necessary for me to form a more complete impression of Italy."

David

Redmond, WA

Tour: 10/03/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our only previous travel to Europe was a 3 week DIY trip to France using Rick Steve's guidebook. I really enjoyed it and was skeptical of being limited to a bus and rigid schedule. This Tour vastly exceeded my expectations. The itinerary so well represented the great diversity of Italy, each stop was interesting, well planned, and enjoyable. The hotels and their locations were a real plus. Perhaps the best part was our tour guide, I can't imagine there being a better one.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Vatican and Sistine Chapel, perhaps the most surprising. Hard to select a "favorite" since the venues were each so different and memorable in their own right."

Stanley

Shawnee, KS

Tour: 10/03/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This trip was on a "Bucket List" for several years. This trip exceeded my expectations. A lot of stuff to try and recall. Elena, a bubbly and enthusiastic person added a great deal to making the trip memorable.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I cannot just pick out one WOW moment. These are the things I was looking forward to seeing. Cinque Terre Colosseum David Statue Sistine Chapel Otiz 'The Iceman' Just to be there, touch, feel and see things thousands of years old was just amazing."

Ann

North Hatfield, MA

Tour: 09/30/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our tour leader, Stacy was TERRIFIC! She was very personable, knowledgable, down to earth, organized, helpful, friendly and just made the trip more fun. As a single lady traveling with the group, she made me feel very welcome and comfortable. She came up with a few surprises for the group including a visit to a memorial cemetery and a great lunch time musical performance. I still enjoy listening to the CD I bought from that local group! I would do a Rick Steves tour again!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were so many! The early evening gondola ride in Venice, St.Mark's Cathedral and Piazza, seeing Cinque Terre for the first time, riding in the water bus in the Grand Canal of Venice, the Coloseum in Rome, dinner in the Selva Contrada, the Dolomites, seeing David, learning about the Medici family, and just all the beauty all over Italy. I kept waiting to see an ugly part of Italy, but never saw it anywhere!"

David

Mogadore, OH

Tour: 09/30/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The overall experience was fantastic. Our guide was great, hotels were great, the food was fantastic and our tour group was incredible. The group size was was small enough that we were able to get to know everyone on the tour (our tour family!). We already have plans to reconnect with several of the new friends we have made.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Walking into the Coliseum through the Gladiator entrance."

Kerry

Mogadore, OH

Tour: 09/30/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The overall experience was fantastic. I could not have expected more.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"This is tough question because each new city was a wow moment. I would have to say dinner at the Silva Contrade was impressive. The other moment might be getting us all on the same subway train Monday morning during rush hour!"

Brian

Palatine, IL

Tour: 09/30/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was an in depth, thorough tour! We were constantly on the move and experiencing Italy to its fullest! Of the cities/areas we visited, I feel that we left virtually no bucket list site unexplored.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I enjoyed the Lake Como area and Venice immensely. We had so many Wow moments that it is difficult to enumerate them all!"

Lisa

Champaign, IL

Tour: 09/30/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The trip was outstanding. The tours, our guide, the sights, travel between cities, meals, restaurants, group experiences, and most hotels were amazing! The amount of bus time required to get from city to city was just right, and even restful. It provided the downtime to just watch and enjoy the scenery, read ahead about upcoming destinations, experience the "culture" of the Auto Grill, and hear interesting facts as well as stories that enhanced the experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Each new cathedral and vista provided amazing wow moments. Hiking in Cinque Terre and the Dolomites were my favorite vista experiences. My favorite cultural experience was the visit to a neighborhood contrade in Siena, learning about the culture first hand while enjoying a meal with my tour family provided by members of the neighborhood. GREAT fun."

Char

Palatine, IL

Tour: 09/30/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The overall tour experience was excellent! The tour was everything we expected and hoped it would be. We know the high quality that Rick Steves' Tours implies and always delivers!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The entire tour was a "wow" moment. Each stop on the tour was special either because of the scenery, the history, the culture, the people. I can't possibly pick one! I wasn't really looking forward to Venice based on friends' previous experiences and I was pleasantly surprised."

Robert

Plymouth, MN

Tour: 09/30/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had a wonderful tour, with great places to visit, outstanding tour members and an energetic and enthusiastic guide.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Rome. Seeing the colasseum, pantheon, forum and other sights of Rome was amazing!"

Scott

Portland, OR

Tour: 09/30/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Fantastic trip! Stacy was amazing, taking care of everything for us while also sharing all of her first hand knowledge of life and art in Italy. I really enjoyed the smaller size of our group as it made logistics easier and gave us plenty of space on the bus. The itinerary was a beautiful blend of small town calm and hectic city, renaissance/Roman art and real-world Italian hiking with gelato available everywhere. What else could you want?

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Dolomites and an amazing 18 mile hike with drinks and snacks in several alpine Haus. Beautiful!"

Nadine

Coatesville, PA

Tour: 09/28/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our tour guide Staphanie is knowledgeable and entertaining. Our bus driver Stéphane (? if I spelled it right ??) is very nice/kind, patient, and safe driver!!! The only thing we wish is the Hotels were more consistent - some of them were kind of rundown/outdated.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Dolomites, Lake Como, and Italian umbrella pines trees ??????"

Nancy

Pittsford, NY

Tour: 09/28/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Well organized, great variety of topographic locations, and knowledgeable tour guides. We enjoyed the outside experiences and also felt as if we had received an intensive Western art history course. In choosing this tour I felt it was just missing a stop at Lucca. Of course Stephanie added it to our tour to surprise us.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"During our hike in the Alps the rain that started at lunch time turned to snow. Hiking back down I was chilly, wet, and realizing that this was going to be my best memory of the trip. The mountains are surreal in their beauty. The chalet was the perfect hotel with amazing food presentation."

Lonnie

Seattle, WA

Tour: 09/28/18

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

I joined the BofI immediately after the RS Loire Valley to the south of France tour. It was a bit much to dovetail two long tours together with ambitious itineraries. First time to Italy I was enthralled with the variety of distinct regions involved with the BofI tour. All my travel companions were enthusiastic as our tour guide Stephanie, and looking forward to our shared adventure. Lake Como, Florence, and Lucca were my favorite destinations; especially Lucca.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The fact our tour guide Stephanie powered through more than a week of our tour with a compromised knee from a fall in Florence. Very admirable! Wow moments are too numerous to mention; but I had some great food (coccoli fritti), great wine, met some wonderful people, and saw quite a lot of Italian art and culture. Excellent tour!"

Janice

Moraga, CA

Tour: 09/28/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The trip was well planned with an easy going start in Lake Como. The meals that were part of the tour were excellent. Our guide Stephanie was very informative and able to answer all our questions. Having the bus and the driver we had certainly made the driving part of the trip pleasurable. Having a good breakfast each morning really helped start the day.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hiking the Dolomites with Stephanie and the great lunch in one of the huts. Getting lost in Venice. The Iceman was an interesting experience. Siena was my favorite city and our dinner in Forest Contrada in Siena was terrific. The pesto demonstration and dinner at Hotel Pasquale."

Diana

Kent, WA

Tour: 09/28/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This trip was a celebration of beginning a new phase of life for me and it couldn't have been a better experience. It was an epic swing through Italy - the country, the sites, and the people. I loved how our guide Stephanie gave us insights into the Italian people and communities as we prepared to visit them. Our tour experiences were varied,with a nice mix of villages,outdoor activities,free time,and planned activities. Thanks for giving us so much contact with local people and artisans.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Very hard to pick out one: visiting Venice has always been my dream, and to actually be in a gondola on a beautiful Venetian evening was almost more than I could believe! I loved hiking the trails of Cinque Terra, having a meal prepared by volunteers in a neighborhood social club in Siena while local families were enjoying a soccer game right beside us, seeing the statue of David glowing at the end of the hall, stepping onto the grounds of the Colosseum in Rome: all unforgettable moments."

Sandy

Folsom, CA

Tour: 09/28/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our 3rd Rick Steve's tour and third trip to Italy. We got to visit a few places we hadn't been to before and revisit a few we didn't get to spend enough time in with Village Italy. We hadn't been back to Rome, Venice or Florence in 15 years.If I had known just how many people they now pack into the Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel I would have skipped seeing it. Not a good experience for the claustrophobic. This is a great overall tour with a mix of cities and small towns.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Loved Varenna, Lake Como villages, the Dolomites (even though it snowed),Cinque Terre and the Agritourisimo for all the reasons I loved Village Italy. Fewer crowds more outdoor hiking opportunities. Enjoyed staying in Sienna for the first time."

Laura

Casa Grande, AZ

Tour: 09/28/18

Overall rating: rating 3 of 5

I enjoyed the tour for the most part. I was disappointed with the amount of time we spent in Venice, Florence & Rome. While we were there for 2 nights, it only amounted to 1 day in each place because we didn't arrive on the first day until late, late in the afternoon. We spent too much time seeing the ice man, and not enough time on the canals in Venice. We felt very rushed in Florence and Rome.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were two moments that were a wow. Arriving at the canal in Venice, boarding the boat and feeling the rhythm of Venice. Shuffling through the Vatican and finally arriving at the Sistine Chapel. Even though the crowds were the worst I have ever experienced, the Chapel was a WOW. I wish there were a way that you could arrange for tours before the rest of the tours and crowds arrived. I would gladly pay much more for the Sistine Chapel if I could view it with half the crowd."

Reginald

Moraga, CA

Tour: 09/28/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

17 days is a long tour so it would be easy to get overtired. Pacing of the tour was very good with time off and some lighter sight seeing events put in the schedule ahead of busier days. Be prepared to walk several miles per day. At the risk of being tired I would like one more day in Rome as part of tour. There were some surprise visits to smaller towns that were not specifically noted as part of the itinerary. I liked that flexibility and feeling of something extra and somewhat less planned.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Siena with its physical layout and beauty and its charm combined with the history of the Palio and the contradas. Made me want to come back and see the other hill towns that we did not visit on this trip."

Maureen

Pleasant Hill, CA

Tour: 09/26/18

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

It was a whirlwind trip! It was go, go, go, but we certainly saw a lot and saw a lot of churches. We had a wonderful group of people and everyone got along very well. Marianna, our tour guide, could not possibly have been any better. She was superb in every way. Our group dinners were always so enjoyable and the agriturismo was great and the owners so personable and the meals incredible. We definitely got our money's worth from this trip = The best of Italy in 17 days.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"What comes to mind first is arriving in Cinque Terre to Monterosso al Mare. We had a great room at the Hotel Pasquale with a balcony with views of the sea and town which was perfect for me as I had time to rehab my knee while enjoying the views. There were a lot of great moments - views in the Dolomites, Vernazza, Orvieto and the group meals were joyous occasions especially the dinner in Firenze= that was truly a dinner to remember!"

David

Tucson, AZ

Tour: 09/26/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our first Rick Steve's tour. It is exactly the kind of tour I wanted. There were some strenuous walks and easy ones. There were wonderful group activities and plenty of individual time with wonderful suggestions of where to go and what to see. The scheduling was outstanding. Every travel day had great breaks where we toured some smaller town like Verona, Bologna, St. Gimignano. Not only did that break up 6 hour drives but it vastly enriched the experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"So many to chose from. I suppose the most intriguing was the tour of Siena including the horse race description and dinner at the rhinoceros club, an experience that could not have been duplicated doing the tour by ourselves. But really every day had special moments."

Nathan

Elkmont, AL

Tour: 09/26/18

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

A good mix between big cities, medium towns, and smaller areas. The tour was about what I expected. I wouldn't take this tour again as I prefer to stay in an area for a little more time so that I can more fully enjoy each town. But, I knew going in that we would be moving around quite a bit. Besides seeing the sights, my goal was familiarity for future visits on my own...or on another tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hiking in the Cinque, Lake Como, and in the Dolomites"

Richard

Buckeye, AZ

Tour: 09/26/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

1st timers with Rick Steve's....will not be the last. Well organized great format, many unexpected perks and visitations. The logistics went like clock work. Loved our tour guide Mariana and our tour buddies (buddy check) plus the driver was excellent.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Agriturismo Poggio della Volara - the farm experience with Marco and Gava terrific hosts, beautiful setting, food and wine was spectacular. Plus nice surprise to have a musician for dancing."

Amy

Pittsford, NY

Tour: 09/26/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I loved every minute of this tour. It delivered everything promised and much more. Our tour guide, Marianna, was outstanding and made every day a pleasure. The whole group of people on the tour got along really well. I thoroughly enjoyed their company. Our bus driver, Massimo, was outstanding. He was a smooth and careful driver and I always felt safe with him.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Visiting The Forest Contrada for dinner in Siena was a really special event. Hiking from Monterossa to Corniglia was totally awesome. Hiking the Dolomites was also mind-blowing."

David

Pittsford, NY

Tour: 09/26/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Excellent. Thought the trip was well laid out and gave us the highlights of the places we went. Accommodations and food were very good to acceptable. My only concern was that the push through the Colosseum, Caeser's Rome and the Pantheon on Day 15 was overwhelming, even for an in-shape, experienced hiker. We were exhausted for the penultimate day(16).

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Sorry, I have three. Michelangelo's David; and Hiking in the Dolomites; and The Siena tour with dinner at the contrada social club"

Paula

Tucson, AZ

Tour: 09/26/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I would highly recommend this tour. I liked the balance of planned activities and time on our own. Because of the description of the tour, people self-selected so that every member of our tour group was willing and able to participate in the planned activities. The order of the tour was well planned to end in Rome where we used crowded public transportation and the sights were crowded. By that time we knew each other and it made it easier to navigate Rome.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Otzi Museum in Bolzano was my favorite. As a retired biology teacher I found all of it fascinating."

Al

Lacey, WA

Tour: 09/26/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My partner and I enjoyed the sites chosen to visit and the sequence, ending in Rome. We had ample time to spend on our own and little time was lost moving between locations. The guide made sure we knew how to get around in each town and how to use the public transportation. The tour included unique activities that one would not find anywhere else, like the country hotel stay and the special dinner in Sienna at a private district gathering site.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I think it was the visits to the hill top cities. We felt we were living in the medieval times."

Richard

Seattle, WA

Tour: 09/26/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was incredible - from the accommodations, transportation, meals and most importantly our guides. Mariana was unbelievable - informative, helpful,caring, humorous, and all in all, delightful. We couldn't't have asked or a better person to guide us through our trip. It was sad to say good bye.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Seeing and experiencing the grandeur of the Dolomites. We had incredible vistas from both below and above - being part of the mountains as we hiked to our hearts delight. Cinque Terre was a close second. Our accommodations in Monterosso were my favorite (Villa Steno). The hike to Vernazza was breathtaking. Peacefully treading in the turquoise waters of the Mediterranean was the perfect way to wash off the dust from that hike."

Abbey

Petaluma, CA

Tour: 09/26/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Fabulous tour! Had experiences that would only be possible on a Rick Steves tour. Trip was well planned, hotels & meals great. Felt very safe with our bus driver Massimo & our tour guide Marianna was exceptional!! I will treasure the memories made on that trip!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Too many to just choose one: loved Lake Como, hiking in the Dolomites & Cinque Terre was amazing. Got chills from the small chapel inside the Basilica in Assisi"

Daniel

Boise, ID

Tour: 09/26/18

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Very Enjoyable

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Enjoyed Cinque Terre and the Dolomites the best"

Margaret

Seattle, WA

Tour: 09/26/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was very well organized. Our guide, Marianna, made sure the daily schedule flowed smoothly and on time. She anticipated individual needs as they arose in the group. Despite the fact that some people had physical challenges (knee injury etc )she assisted them individually with a plan but kept the rest of the group on schedule and moving ahead. The tour literature made clear the expectation for fitness level and I found this estimation to be accurate and appreciated.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I loved the hiking both in the Dolomites and in Cinque Terre. The views were spectacular in these locations in particular. The lodging was especially nice in Cinque Terre- Hotel Villa Steno, in the Dolomites-Holtel Cavallino D'Oro and in Varenna-Hotel Cypressi. All the places we stayed were wonderful but these were above and beyond my expectation. We had the most fun dinner and "dance party" at the agriturismo Poggio della Volara arranged by Marianna and/or the hosts."

John

Reading, MA

Tour: 09/26/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We covered a lot of ground, saw amazing things, learned a lot, and had a great time! Our guide was amazing and the group was great.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hard to pick just one. The Otzi, aka The Iceman, was one of my favorites. The ability, both physical and financial, to build the amazing cathedrals, both in terms of scale and decoration, was mind-boggling. Rome was, of course, amazing."

Catherine

Madras, OR

Tour: 09/23/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The Best of Italy Tour was AWESOME! I can't even begin to express how thankful I am for the professional guidance of Colleen. This was my first trip to Europe and my first tour with other people. We had the best group that gelled from the first day and became friends. Such a compassionate and fun group! I would have never believed I would get to see so much of Italy on one trip and learn so much about the culture, history, art and how to navigate the cities.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"One "WOW" moment would be hard to pick. For me, the whole trip was one big "WOW" after another. I will say that I didn't expect to be wowed in Rome, but the Colosseum and Roman Forum were amazing. Also, learning how the frescoes are painted makes me appreciate the art even more."

Thomas

Fishers, IN

Tour: 09/23/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I was concerned about the number of people on the trip, but was pleasantly surprised at how well everyone got along. The trip was very well organized. Our leader was enthusiastic. What a wonderful trip!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I was probably most impressed with Venice. After seeing the recent flooding, I am so very thankful our weather was perfect."

Gregory

Palo Alto, CA

Tour: 09/23/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Had a wonderful time. Great hotels, great schedule, great tour guide, great driver, great food, great wine. need I go on? Having the guides made all the difference - everything was put in perspective, it was easy to negotiate the various locations, I never felt confused as to what was happening.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Taking the boat in to Venice."

Arthur

Merrimack, NH

Tour: 09/23/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Just a great time. Everything was Outstanding , guides, food, hotels, and the group of people on the tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Everything was "WOW""

Lynn

La Verne, CA

Tour: 09/23/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Beyond our expectations! Everyday was a great big dollop of exploration & WOW'S with food & wine = superlative. A super fun group of new friend's, Colleen as our guide, and Dino behind the wheel what a delightful combo. We are extremely active early 60 year olds and the pace was perfect for us, you could choose to not do as much in down time but we filled it with Colleens guidance and can't say enough good things about a Rick Steve's tour. Loved our hotel's and their location's!!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Day we hiked Cinque Terre! We kept indulging in the view, "we're here". Honestly there were WOW moments multiple times each day. You expect big things from seeing David, Coliseum, canal's in Venice, but it's the experiences you are not so familiar with like walking into Sienna and realizing this city, the people, the culture, the welcome! Colleen had timed PERFECTLY our tour of Saint Mark's Basilica, out on the upper balcony, over looking the square as the bronze statues rang the bell, WOW!"

Karen

Paia, HI

Tour: 09/23/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I have travelled to many foreign countries with various groups, and although they were all good in their own respects, this trip with Coleen exceeded all expectations. It was well organized and well communicated daily. There was no guessing and every detail was spelled out. Coleen is masterful and n sharing her love for Italy and her amazing in depth knowledge of the history, culture and geography of every site we visited. Likewise, her knowledge of art and architecture was well communicated

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There was no single "wow' for me. EVERY day and EVERY location deserved a "wow.""

Jerry

San Diego, CA

Tour: 09/23/18

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

This is an ACTIVE tour just as the tour description indicates. We followed the advice on clothes and packing, wondering to ourselves "really?" for 17 nights (8-9 hotels) - but it was necessary to fully enjoy the constant moving (4-8 bus ride every other day) from hotel to hotel - and by taking all the recommendations, it truly made the whole trip more enjoyable. Colleen was GREAT and with her several years of personal experience, she made the trip enjoyable for us!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Kompach and Dolemites area - the views from the Italian alps after taking the gondala rides."

Dennis

Cincinnati, OH

Tour: 09/23/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

After each segment we hated to pack up because it was so beautiful, interesting, and fun, but each new stop brought another place we hated to leave. The tour is perfectly arranged from Lake Como and ending in Rome. We loved the amount of guided time and allowed free time. Every stop was packed with beauty and history. The planned meals were great and our spontaneous group dinners arranged by Colleen, were so much fun. The food on the trip is spectacular.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"We really did not have any one "wow" moment, but had a continuous amount of wow moments. There are just too many to have a favorite. Sienna's history and beauty was the surprise town for us, but every day provided us with another wow."

Kaye

Fishers, IN

Tour: 09/23/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I had high hopes for an unforgettable vacation in Italy, and our Rick Steves tour delivered! Our stay in each city/region was just enough to give a taste of each one we visited. Our guide was phenomenal! The places we visited were well-picked and planned with "slower" places alternated with "faster" paced cities. I loved the amount of time we were given to explore on our own. Loved all the walking.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I don't think I can pick just one. Seeing places that I had heard about my whole life, whether for the natural beauty of it or for the rich history, was incredible."

Steve

Spokane, WA

Tour: 09/23/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

First of all, Italy was fantastic! Our leader, Colleen, did a wonderful job organizing us into a close group and we became a fun loving team of travelers and friends! Colleen shared her passion for Italy with a combination of religious, cultural, geographic and artistic history! Our driver was very talented and charming and added a lot to our experience. I really enjoyed the pace of the tour, some busy times, but a lot of time for ourselves. The local tour guides were excellent!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hiking between the villages of Cinque Terre was the most memorable, but viewing David was a close second!"

Roberta

Ipswich, MA

Tour: 09/23/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Both the guide and the group itself were outstanding. Everyone bonded immediately. The group was up for any experience Colleen offered so we were able to explore off the itinerary.The tour highlighted the most important art and cultural icons and experiences along the way, and the free time gave us a chance to explore on our own, whether art, food or shopping. Definitely an active tour - and people should take this to heart if considering the tour. Stairs, hills, lots of walking. Pack light!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Dolomites - I had no idea how vast and spectacular they would be. In fact, I had no idea how mountainous Italy was. Although we hiked with our guide, I would have like another day for hiking another trail or area."

Beverly

Danville, CA

Tour: 09/21/18

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

The locations/cities were excellent choices. I would have spent more time in Rome,Venice, and Florence since they were larger cities; less time or skipped Sienna. I appreciated the bus driver, Adrien. He was a very safe driver and very skilled at maneuvering the curves and driving up the mountains. I enjoyed having breakfast every day and starting the daily tours at a decent hour. The travel pace was fast, but we were able to see more and that's what we signed up for.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were several "wow" moments: stunning beauty of the Dolomites, Varenna and Alta Rocca. It was so great to spend time in such beautiful surroundings, relax, and appreciate each other's company. It was when were were in these locations that we got to know the group members better and made great friends. I was impressed that everyone got along with each other. The "buddy system" was a great idea."

Glenda

Laredo, TX

Tour: 09/21/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Overall a great tour... hence 5 stars. Criticisms - 1. eating at 7p.m. is way too late, and doesn't allow any "down" time at night. This was true for many of us. 2. Put Rome 1st and go in reverse,...you are exhausted by the time you get to Rome, and it definitely was not the highlight one expected, 3. Yes...we could have skipped the Vatican/Sistine Chapel. Too crowded and too much time in line. 4. The tour guide in Rome tried....but was not good. Difficult to listen to.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Lake Como and the Dolomites were fabulous. Siena was my favourite town."

Eric

Pacifica, CA

Tour: 09/21/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The 17 day tour had a wonderful mix of hectic days in busy cities with lots of historical in religious sites as well as a few relaxing days in serene towns full of majestic views of lakes and trails. The tour bus we traveled in was new and spacious complete with charging stations in every row in reclining seats for all.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The wow moment of the tour was our time in Florence. The Duomo, the art, and the history surrounding the city was truly eye opening. Seeing the david in person was awe inspiring."

Carl

Calgary, AB

Tour: 09/21/18

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

I really enjoyed the tour and was so happy to visit the historic areas of Italy that I had only seen in a book or in various media like TV and the internet. The food and culture and all things "Italy" were exactly how I imagined them to be.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favourite experience would be the Coliseum and areas around it (Archeological Dig). To imagine the historical events and people that were in these areas is amazing to me."

Robin

Burbank, CA

Tour: 09/21/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I loved this tour, especially the time we spent in the smaller towns. This is where we were able to experience the true flavor of Italy and Italian life.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Sistine Chapel was my "WOW" moment."

Nancy

Franklin, NC

Tour: 09/21/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was a trip of a lifetime. I enjoyed the balance of touring and free time.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Too many: seeing "David" for the first time; Lake Como; the Dolomites .. ."

Toni

New Franklin, OH

Tour: 09/21/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Itinerary very well thought out. I would have liked one more day in Florence, would give up a day in CT or wine resort for that. Nice balance between urban/cultural and rural/vistas. Hotels well located.Deborah was fantastic! Very personable as well as professional. Adriano was a terrific driver. Included food was good, I did not mind set menus (ate some stuff I never have before).Happy to travel with a co. that attracts great tour mates and that has similar political/social philosophy as mine.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"David. Ufizzi. Bargello. Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari artwork. Walking in the Dolomites. Orvieto was my favorite city. The balance of hand holding and freetime. Great guides."

Linda

Chino Hills, CA

Tour: 09/21/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was exactly as described in the tour literature (sightseeing events and walking distances, etc.). Our tour guide was excellent and had an amazing knowledge of art, history and cultural insights and was a great story teller. It was a whirlwind tour with no wasted time (but free time as indicated in the tour brochure). Our fellow bus mates were a pleasant and interesting group of folk.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favorite "wow" moment was the first glimpse of Venice along the Grand Canal on the vaporetto boat ride into the heart of the city."

Marvin

Alamo, CA

Tour: 09/21/18

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Great trip, ,wonderful guide & bus driver , good spacing . Will do another Rick Steves tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Siena"

John

Franklin, NC

Tour: 09/21/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Overall excellent trip! Thanks! Highly recommended! Only difficulty was getting to Varenna from Milan. At the Milan Central train station was a mess, no one to help you with directions, and extremely large area where we had to walk with all of our luggage for great distances, and wasted a lot ot time. When we finally found a train to jump on it was so crowdI had to stand on the train the one hour train trip from Milan to Varenna. Not comfortable in the 90 degree heat and an over-crowded train.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Lake District, the Susie di Alpe stay in the Dolomites, and the Cinque Terre were our favorite areas......"

Don

Vancouver, BC

Tour: 09/19/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour experience exceeded my expectations . Our guide Rozanne was outstanding. I thought the tour pacing was excellent. The group dinners were excellent. I would not hesitate to take another tour with Rick Steves

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I thought the local guides were wonderful."

Kathy

Alamo, CA

Tour: 09/19/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had the most fantastic trip! Rozanne Stringer was the most wonderful tour guide! She has the most knowledge and great people skills! She made us all feel very comfortable, even if you didn't know anything about art history. The places we stayed were fantastic; the local tour guides were excellent. I would recommend them to anyone. The only negative was all the crowds, which of course wasn't your fault. Rozanne was such a sweet person! Love her to death!!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"For me, it was a tie between hiking in the Dolomites and riding the gondola in the canals in Venice!"

John

Kingwood, TX

Tour: 09/19/18

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Very well organized and we hit the highlights with an appropriate amount of time alloted to each location. Additionally our group really gelled making the trip really a joy, but I give Rozanne cudos for this.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Venice at night after the cruise ship passengers left town."

Douglas

Warren, VT

Tour: 09/19/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We never took a guided tour before. We were concerned about having time to ourselves, being, on a bus with 26 other travelers for 17 days, and being over-scripted. All our fears were unfounded. The pace of the tour was just right, our guide was great, our fellow travelers actually made it a more rewading time, and there was a totsl lack of stress.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"A little chapel in Assisi where I imagined St Francis prayed"

Barbie

Sunnyvale, CA

Tour: 09/19/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour was fantastic, everything I had hoped for and a bit more. The hotels and transportation were topnotch. Really liked the villa in Lake Como and the dinner in Siena provided by Contrada della Selva Societa. The Tirolean Alpe di Siusi was a really cool little town. The dinner and pasta making demo in Monterosso at Albergo Pasquale was a delight!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I would have to say the Agriturismo with Marco and is wife was one of my favorites. The wine, olive oil and all that passion Marco puts into it! The food on this tour was very memorable and great choices for the group dinners!"

Carol

Kingwood, TX

Tour: 09/19/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We were somewhat hesitant to take a tour because my husband likes to get out and meet the people but we feel like this tour gave us a lot of interaction with the people of Italy. It was so nice to have everything taken care of for you. The bus was so comfortable and our driver Mickela did an awesome job. He was so smooth and careful so we felt very safe. Rozanne was amazing how she took care of everyone to make sure our needs were being met. The crowds in the big cities were crazy.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It's hard to pick out a wow moment. Loved the hills and mountains in Castlerotto and the hotel was so cute. We prefer small towns so this area was great. The hiking up in the Dolomites was gorgeous. The area in Umbria was also gorgeous. It was amazing to see Michaelanglo's David."

Donna

Denver, CO

Tour: 09/19/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour exceeded any expectation. Rozanne was a wonderful guide, knowledgable, kind, and passionate about Italy!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"So many wow moments! Opening the shutters at Villa Cipressi first day of tour to a wonderful view! The Dolomites and the town of Castelrotto! And, Cinque Terre!! Visited 3 of the 5 villages, each amazing, but Monterosso was wonderful!"

Lynda

Prince George, BC

Tour: 09/19/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The Best of Italy tour was in a word, amazing. The many locations we visited really showcased the incredible diversity among the many regions in Italy. The daily itinerary was very well managed and gave a great balance of activities throughout the 17 days. Our tour group was a wonderful mix of people and felt like a "family" as we experienced the culture, history and architectural wonders of Italian villages and cities. The tour guides were so knowledgeable and charismatic!!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"So hard to pick just one!! I think it would be walking out of the metro station in Rome and after arriving back at street level seeing the enormity of the Coliseum "right in front of us". I felt like I was bridging time between two different worlds....really amazing!"

Kevin

Kelowna, BC

Tour: 09/19/18

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

I quite enjoyed the trip, there some destinations where the immense crowds took away from the experience at times. Additionally, I would have liked to stay longer a few locations and shorter stays at others.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I really enjoyed the Dolomites region and Castelrotto, from the sights of the area, the accommodations, the food etc. I would put the area as a must to revisit on another excursion in the future."

Daniel

Oceanside, CA

Tour: 09/19/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our tour guide, Rozanne, was outstanding. Very well organized, on time, and a wonderful personality. Our bus was great, including our driver, Michale who was not only an expert driver but a very nice person and very helpful. The accommodations were all very acceptable and relatively convenient to reach considering large, ancient cities. The group meals were also acceptable with several being quite good. Breakfast was limited but most likely the preferred choice for Italy.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Lake Como and CinqueTerre were both wonderful experiences. Lovely views, quaint cities and generally good food."

Ken

Valdosta, GA

Tour: 09/19/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We really enjoyed this tour....from the nice leisurely start in Varenna/Lake Como to the hectic/frantic conclusion in Rome.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Lots of "Wow" moments: our first look at Lake Como and the mountains from our hotel room window, the Dolomites, looking down at the flooded St. Mark's Square from the top of St. Mark's Cathedral, seeing David again in Florence, the Uffizi, the Cantrata horse race selection on the Campo in Siena, our after dinner "dance party" at the Agriturismo Poggio della Volara, the Vatican Museum, the Sistine Chapel, St. Peter's Basilica, and Pieta. This could almost be called the "Tour of 'Wows'"!"

Richard

Loveland, CO

Tour: 09/19/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The Best of Italy Tour exceeded my expectations. The guide, Rozanne, was helpful, well organized and informative. Our tour-mates were fun to be with. The balance of organized activities and free time was perfect. The accommodations were locally owned, well-sited, clean and comfortable. The cities we went to and sites we visited were the must-see cities and sites. The trains, boats and busses we used were clean, comfortable and on time. The food and wine were wonderful.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were many. The Effizi Gallery in Florence. The canals of Venice from a gondola at night. The Duomo di Sienna. The view of the Mediterranean Sea from the rooftop bar at our hotel in Cinque Terre."

Barbara

Valdosta, GA

Tour: 09/19/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Loved the tour! It was a great experience of larger cities and smaller towns and a farm. We saw unbelievable art, met some terrific people, had great experiences, and ate our way through Italy.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were several, each unique to where we were - Lake Como, Venice, Siena and the selection for the Paola races, the wild bore dinner and the "dance party" the following night at the Agri-farm, Assisi, and St. Peter's Basilica (and museum and Sistine Chapel)."

Patricia

Hillsboro, OR

Tour: 09/16/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Tour was great . Loved all of the cities we visited and really appreciated the professional guides utilized in museums and walking tours . They were all very good.

Daniel

Ashburn, VA

Tour: 09/16/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our first trip to Italy, we chose the 17 day tour to experience the rich diversity of Italy's different regions. This tour did not disappoint! Rome, Florence, and Venice were spectacular ... yet, we found the hidden gems of Varenna, Dolomites, Cinque Terre, and Orvieto were equally fascinating and beautiful -- providing opportunities to explore on our own and rejuvenate during the trip. The whole experience -- including our excellent guide Sarah -- created lasting friendships and memories.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"So many to choose from ... friendly, beautiful lake region of Varenna, amazing vistas of the Dolomites, swimming in the Mediterranean Sea at Cinque Terre, and relaxing among the hillside vineyards near Orvieto. Add to that list -- experiencing the rich culture, cuisine, architecture, and history of Rome, Florence, and Venice! And we enjoyed treating ourselves to a gelato a day!"

Michael

Canal Winchester, OH

Tour: 09/16/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We are long time Ricknics. Traveling extensively UK, France and Germany always using Ricks Tour Guide Books. This was our first ever accompanied tour of any kind. Our tour experience was fantastic. Our tour guide Sarah was absolutely incredible. We can't say enough about her leadership and untiring work to make our adventure all it could be. We had a blast.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I was expecting to be underwhelmed at Pisa. I think Pisa should be on every Italy itinerary. Beautiful, beautiful place."

Emily

Seattle, WA

Tour: 09/16/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The visit to Umbria was beyond my wildest expectation."

Paul

Sioux Falls, SD

Tour: 09/16/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

What a great overview of Italy! You do cover a lot of territory. There were places that I wish there was more time but that just makes me want to go back.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"From a nature standpoint, the Dolomites scenery was magnificent. Lots of hiking possibilities and wonderful overlooks throughout. From an art standpoint, there is a side chapel in the Orvieto Duomo that was over 500 years old. The colors just jumped off the walls and ceilings. And I had to get within a foot of the wall to make sure it really was a flat surface. From 10 feet away it looked 3 dimensional."

Robert

Hillsboro, OR

Tour: 09/16/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We have traveled independently and with tours. Italy appeared so daunting in that it had so much to see that we decided to take your tour. We have been OPB contributors, have the Steve's DVDs, and did some research. We selected the Best of Italy tour. I was impressed from day one and remained impressed. We joked that we had a new favorite city/area every 2 days. The group was great, Sarah was great, the accommodations were largely great, meals were great, local guides were great.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favorite "wow" moment was on day one, eating breakfast on the balcony overlooking Lake Como, sipping my first cappuccino and taking in the scene. I became excited and so ready for the tour and Italy. This was, for me, a wonderful place to start the tour."

Glenda

Hull, IA

Tour: 09/16/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was a perfect balance of city and country side, indoors and outdoors, time to relax, visit with group members. Sarah was a marvelous guide; knowledgeable,expertly preparing us for each stop,genuinely caring and helpful and with a great sense of humor! Some of Sarah's extras were huge, like additional stops in unanticipated places: Verona, American Cemetery, dinner in Varenna. Some of the extras were small, delightful surprises, various indigenous nibbles that Sarah provided.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Pipe organ in 3 completely different settings: huge St. Peter's, because a German tour group was there for the Mass, sounds of practice in Orvieto's Duomo and listening to Renaissance music play from the pipes driven by water flow at Villa d'Este. Also fascinating: meeting the stained glass, forcole, pottery artisans in their shops."

Lynne

Seattle, WA

Tour: 09/16/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Excellent. It gave a taste of Italy with idea for future Italy travel. Learning local customs, expectations, and how to negotiate public transportation gave more confidence for setting out on one's own. - Providing train and metro tickets for exploring on one's own during the time off also contributed towards a learning experience. Our group was very compatible making the trip even more enjoyable.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were many, the most memorable are hiking in the Dolomites and visiting the "ice man.""

Marc

Edmonds, WA

Tour: 09/16/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Went with an open mind and was not disappointed. The only thing and I mean the only thing I didn't like was getting up so early to begin each days activities.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Visiting the Roman Forum and Colosseum."

Gary

Palm Harbor, FL

Tour: 09/14/18

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

We covered a lot of territory which was great. I know that you disclose the amount of walking involved. Nevertheless, some in our group were not prepared for the amount of walking. Also the definitions of "moderate" and "strenuous" may need to be adjusted for the expected age group of the tour participants. For example, the Alpine hike was more than moderate for most.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"When experiencing a "sensory overload" (meant in a positive way), it is difficult to narrow down a favorite moment or wow moment."

Charles

Hudson, WI

Tour: 09/14/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The pace and sights were just perfect for me.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The whole trip was a wow moment but the biggest surprise was how much I enjoyed the Dolomites."

Barb

Hudson, WI

Tour: 09/14/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This trip exceeded my expectations in every way. It was my first guided tour after several European trips using Rick Steve's books as guides since 1991. It was such a treat to be taken right to all the best places and to learn about them from Elena and also the city guides. Thank you Rick Steves!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Lake Como and the Dolomites took my breath away. I felt like I was in a fairy tale. Riding down from the Dolomites I told my husband that if our flight home was the next day the trip already would have been worth it."

Greer

Eden Prairie, MN

Tour: 09/14/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Great guide, great sights and great food and wine!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Finally being in Florence after so many years of hearing about it."

Suzanne

Muskego, WI

Tour: 09/14/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We got an amazing guide, Elena, a native of Venice. Transportation was provided. We were lucky to get Stefano as a driver. We enjoyed the ride instead of worrying if we were on the right road. Hotels were arranged. Often, they were nicer than we would have chosen. Great Tours Great skip the line moments Great personal contact with the local people We found ourselves more organized than we ever thought we could ever be. We traveled with fun people.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"When we opened the curtains in our Villa Cipressi in Varenna I could not believe the beauty. Our view was Lake Como, the Alps, and the lovely patio below our window. It was magnificent I have never experienced such a beautiful view from a hotel room. It was a spectacular beginning to an amazing journey through Italy."

Douglas

West Hills, CA

Tour: 09/14/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our second RS tour. This tour exceeded our expectations in so many ways.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Each day's wonderful experience was exceeded by the following day's more wonderful experience."

Renee

Westerville, OH

Tour: 09/14/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The overall tour experience was outstanding led by our knowledgeable and fun tour guide Elena and experienced with our very sociable and extremely punctual tour mates. With our past RS tour experience, our expectation of another well-organized, trouble and hassle free 17 days was met.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My scenery preference is always geared towards mountains and peaceful lakes. The views of Lake Como, the Dolomites and the surrounding area of the Altarocco Wine Resort in Orvieto were so impressive and beautiful."

Tina

Littleton, CO

Tour: 09/14/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I can honestly say this was the best vacation that I have ever taken. It's going to be hard to top our trip to Italy. Every city and region we visited was so different from the other cities and regions. We loved the landscapes, the art, the architecture, and the feel of each city. We loved the mix of planned activities and free time. We definitely felt like we were invested in all the activities of our trip. We also had great travelling companions.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were so many.... The Cinque Terre and sitting on our balcony overlooking the Mediterranean. Seeing Michelangelo's David. Our romantic gondola ride.Our surprise stop in Spello. The Vatican and Colosseum. Just looking at things ruins from 400BC was completely awesome."

Mike

Prince George, BC

Tour: 09/14/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The RS Best of Italy tour was fantastic. I was a single and everyone made me feel welcome. Our tour guide, Elena was the best and kept us informed and was very personable and fun. Every day I looked forward to a new experience in Italy and each different region had its own charm . Being a photographer, I was like a kid in a candy store and the visually rich places we visited were hard to take enough shots ! The food , I think I sampled so many different Pastas and Gelato and enjoyed them all !

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The architecture of the many Churches ,Basilicas,and cities and,towns was so varied from Gothic ,medieval and renaissance, and the history involved was awesome to see and touch and learn more about. My best "Wow" moment was hiking in the Dolomites, and enjoying the immense and majestic views and scenic landscapes, however each new location gave me a new "WOW" moment to remember."

Paul

Port Ludlow, WA

Tour: 09/14/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We (Paul amd Kathy) are doing our evaluation together rather than separately just because we traveled together as a couple and combining our remarks seems to make the most sense from our end of things. Our trip to Italy was absolutely amazing! It was everything we dreamed of and more. Our experiences have renewed and inspired us and have also lit a fire to plan for another trip to Europe in the spring of 2019.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were many "wow" moments for us because this was our first trip to Italy as well as to Europe. We loved all the places we visited, but our absolute favorites were the small towns as well as time spent at Lake Como, the Dolomites, Venice, the Cinque Terra, and the hill country. The art and architecture in Florence and Rome were amazing and we are so grateful to have experienced them as well. But when we return to Italy in the future, we will focus on spending time away from large cities."

Susanne

Mechanicsburg, PA

Tour: 09/12/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had an excellent tour guide, Ferdi, who was incredibly knowledgeable and had a wonderful sense of humor. We loved the destinations as well as the stops on the way to each place. The hotels were ideally located and comfortable. Our tour group bonded quickly and we enjoyed many memorable moments together. Massimo, our bus driver, did an outstanding job transporting us to each location. Although it was an active tour, we enjoyed the times provided for relaxation.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were so many WOW moments that it's difficult to narrow it to one. The picturesque village of Varenna, the first stop on our tour, was so beautiful and overlooked Lake Como. Since Austria is one of my favorite countries, I especially enjoyed the Dolomites, with the rolling green hills and chalets. Who could forget the nighttime gondola ride through Venice, being serenaded with Italian music. The view from our hotel window in Cinque Terre was like a postcard. All of the food was a WOW!"

Cindy

Vandalia, OH

Tour: 09/12/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My husband and I are in our mid-sixties, and this was our first Rick Steves tour. We loved everything about it from our knowledgeable guide, Ferdi, to the places we visited to the wonderful group we travelled with. The balance between planned activities and free time allocated was perfect. The planned activities were informative, unique, and allowed for a stress-free trip. Yes, there was a lot of walking, but nothing we could not handle. We look forward to our next Rick Steves tour!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Although I especially enjoyed the beauty of Lake Como, the quaintness of the Cinque Terre, and the unique experience of the agriturismo, my "wow" moment would have to be the Dolomites. The itinerary describes the Dolomites as dramatic, and that is spot on. I love the outdoors, and the beauty of this area was truly overwhelming. There is something for everyone here, from a simple stroll through the meadow to a more challenging hike. One thing is for certain, it will be etched in your memory."

Jean

Beaconsfield, QC

Tour: 09/12/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Fantastic tour thet gave us a great exposure to great towns and spectacular landscapes. The tour guide Ferdi was an unbelievable person with tons of knowledge throughout the tour. Espespially liked the town days in each major city and the downtown location of the hotels.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Dolomites had spectacular views and landscapes."

Paul

Fairview, NC

Tour: 09/12/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

a very good tour, About what I expected as far as tours, walking, etc. Our guide did a very good job taking care of 24 folks

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Venice canal ride. Relaxing on the hotel deck in Cinque Terre."

Gordon

Beaconsfield, QC

Tour: 09/12/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was fantastic because to three main things: 1 the tour guide Fredi; 2 the combination of 2 nights in major cities and the downtown location of hotels; 3 the tour members

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Dolomites plus the ice man"

Kenneth

Calgary, AB

Tour: 09/12/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was well planned and paced. Having the less hectic Cinque Terre and the Agriturismo between Venice, Florence and Rome allowed for the group to regain energy and prepare for these hectic cities.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The views from the hotel garden in Varena and from the Hotel Villa Steno terrace out over Monterossa"

Lisa

Tres Pinos, CA

Tour: 09/12/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour exceeded all my expectations. Our tour family was outstanding. We had one member whose health wasn't good but others were able to express their humanity by watching out for her, helping with her bags and making sure her experience was all that it could be. It was a fine group of gracious people. The tour has a fast pace in order to see the best of Italy. Our time was used very efficiently and I can not imagine being able to see or do more!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I loved it all! I would have liked more time in Rome and less at the agriturismo. I loved that we had scheduled free time in each location."

Lori

Charlestown, RI

Tour: 09/12/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had a wonderful tour with a great group of people and an excellent tour guide. I enjoyed seeing all the different parts of Italy including Lake Como, the Dolomites, Tuscany, small towns and villages, Cinque Terre and the bigger cities, too. This was a very active trip but I feel it needed to be to see all the wonderful sites we visited. Even with our time off, we were compelled to continue to explore. We walked about 140 miles during this trip but it was well worth it.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Always difficult to choose just one. I loved Venice, Siena and the Cinque Terre very much but I also really liked Lake Como and the Dolomites. Every experience seems to contain a wow moment especially if you have never been their before. I guess it's one continuous WOW!"

William

Mechanicsburg, PA

Tour: 09/12/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

What a phenomenal tour experience. Ferdi's use of a "buddy system" was an excellent ice breaker & I noticed people looked out for each other all thru the tour. I should mention the bus driver Masimo (sic) was a hit w/the group, too.The sites visited & Ferdi's info on each & his suggestions on places to eat were A++. His knowledge & his Italian was impressive.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were so many, but Cinque Terra. The Ma & Pa run Hotel was wonderful. The owners did everything, the staff & food & service & location on the Med were great. Wish I would have taken more advantage of the location instead of visiting the nearby towns. Ferdi mentioned this place could be our vacation on the tour. He was right."

Donald

Charlestown, RI

Tour: 09/12/18

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Our sixth RS Tour and another great experience. A really nice group of people with an outstanding guide. Though some of the travel routes between sites were not as picturesque as on other trips all of the stops were very nice.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were great sites throughout the tour but even after being in the alps on the G.A.S. and Eastern France Tours I still found the stay in the Alpe Di Siusi to be spectacular."

Marianne

Dayton, OH

Tour: 09/12/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

There is NO way we could have seen/done as much in 17 days on our own as we did on this tour! Having our tickets purchased ahead of time, having appointments at crowded places, having an experienced guide who is multilingual, etc, all made the trip smooth and expedient. That said, for me, the trip was a lot to take in. I might do better with longer stays in fewer places, but that is just me, not a fault of the tour!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"At the top of my list are seeing Cinque Terre, staying at the agriturismo, and hiking in the Dolomites! I might not have stayed at an agriturismo if it hadn't been for the tour, and that would have been a loss!"

Thomas

Centerville, OH

Tour: 09/12/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Exhausting in the most positive way because we got to see and experience so much with none of the usual travel stresses of planning, buying tickets, transportation, etc. It is the only way to do Italy, especially if it's your first time.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The hiking in the Dolomites after taking the cable car up the mountain was spectacular. Then while relaxing on the fantastic tour bus as it leaves the beautifull Lake Como area, the tour guide plays Andrea Bocelli's "Por ti Volare". Truly a memorable moment considering what we were seeing outside the bus windows. Of course the Agriturismo was so peaceful and such a beautiful vineyard. And finally seeing St. Peter's Basilica. Sorry, I couldn't do just one "wow" moment."

Linda

Fairview, NC

Tour: 09/12/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Overall, this was an amazing, wonderful, memorable experience. I was celebrating my VERY recent retirement and a birthday. I can't think of a better way to celebrate these events. This was our second tour with you. We hope there will be a third.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I can't name one -- I have to name four. 1- Gondola ride 2-In Venice, husband & I decided to go to Murano -- pure, ignorant serendipity. Our hotel provided a private boat ride. Since it was very hot in Venice on that day, a cool boat ride was great! It was good to get away from the crowds in Venice. 3- Learning about the Palio & being there to see at least part of the celebration. 4- The meal at Monterossa with the seafood that was cooked in the big urn."

Michael

Vandalia, OH

Tour: 09/12/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Loved the tour! So many great places to visit and the BEST tour guide ever. So many wonderful things to list: food, wine, sites, bus & driver, most of the hotels, the great planning, the transportation to and from the airport. Your company does a phenomenal job of putting the entire trip together. I really cannot imagine a better touring situation. We added Amsterdam to the trip and it was wonderful too...I would add that to the trip!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I loved the Dolomites, Cinque Terre and the agriturismo. Loved being out in the country side....all three were beautiful in their own way. I must also say that the Colosseum and the Statue of David were structural "wow" moments for me."

Maria

Portland, OR

Tour: 09/09/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I had some reservations about traveling solo in a group, but those fears were erased almost immediately. The itinerary was great, especially the flexibility within it.One of the things that attracted me to this tour was the 2 night stay in each location. Stephanie was a great tour leader. We occasionally did not make it easy for her, but she always rose to the occasion. I'd go on another tour with her anytime..... The group as a whole was very compatible and considerate!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were so many....sunset over Lake Como....Views in the Dolomites.... The Uffizi (best guide ever, Carla) ... Maybe my favorite was the Cinque Terre....It looked just like my dreams. Have to go back! Visual overload there in such short a time."

Susan

Oakland, CA

Tour: 09/09/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I loved every moment of this tour!! The planning makes it so enjoyable! Starting at the lake, then the Alps, then Venice..what a wonderful way to ease into the crowded and amazing cities and towns in Italy! Our tour guide really made this trip as perfect as it was...she was wonderful and our group bonded so well with her.. We had a terrific bus driver and great accommodations.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Because this was my first trip to Europe, every day held "wow" moments!! I got to see the same places my mom visited in 1937, so that was very special. I got to see where my sister went to college for a year in Florence..and the place where she attended the Palio Races in Siena 50 years ago! And, I finally got to see the Sistine Chapel and St. Peter's. I would have loved more time in the Vatican and St. Peter's, but loved and cherished every minute we had there."

Patrick

Wauwatosa, WI

Tour: 09/09/18

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Good group,

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Uffizi guidewas excellent"

Mary

Shoreline, WA

Tour: 09/09/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was definitely a "taste" of Italy. We visited some places I definitely would like to come back to. Everything was really as represented by the tour company. No surprises. I enjoyed the level of physical activity as well as the free time. We saved a lot of time and stress by being on the tour and skipping lines. Our group was lively and we had a lot of laughs, sometimes to Stephanie's consternation when we were in a museum or church with guards looking on!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I'd say visiting the Cinque Terre was a highlight. We had a fabulous hotel looking right onto the water. We swam several times and also went on a hike between two villages one day. The pesto making demonstration was interesting and the fish served that night was fabulous! At the end of the pedestrian tunnel near our hotel, two musicians performed and the music which was amplified by the tunnel wafted right into our room. Very nice! I enjoyed the friendliness of the Italians also."

Larry

Edmonds, WA

Tour: 09/09/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The pace was just right for us. We loved the efficient use of time and our guides knew where we were going, had group reservations, made perfect connections with local guides. No hanging around waiting on line, for guides to show up, etc. Our tour leader (Stephanie) was fantastic. She never lost her cool, and kept everything on track. A+++ for her.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"So many wow moments...so hard to pick the big one. Seeing the David, the evening gondola ride (with music!), the amazing breakfasts, just sitting at a table in the square in Sienna watching the scene, the coffee, even the highway Auto Grills."

Robert

Marthasville, MO

Tour: 09/09/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Was a great experience and took in all we could.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Several: Sistene Chapel, DAVID, but having dinner at the District in Siena was awesome"

Margaret

Irvine, CA

Tour: 09/09/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was a wonderful trip and a excellent learning experience. Stephanie was a fabulous tour guide.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I love Assisi and learning about the history of that region and people."

John

Hammonds Plains, NS

Tour: 09/09/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our second RS tour. My expectations were that it would be good. Was I ever wrong. It was great! I still cannot figure out how we saw and did so much yet felt so relaxed and rested. Arriving a da Our guide, Stephanie, was outstanding! She was always there to answer our questions and suggest great free-time activities. This while ensuring that all things went smoothly, arranging unique group activities and giving us the tools to confidently continue on our own after the tour. Gracie mille

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Every day had a Wow! moment. It was the hills above Varenna, the cow bells in Alpe do Siusi, the Baptistry in Pisa(look over your shoulder). It was swimming in the Med after hiking at Cinque Terre(have the seafood pizza-it stares back!) It was the piazza and the people (the town square is fun again). It is history and art coming alive and and being enjoyed with gelato. It was Rome. Brava Stephanie!"

Janice

Edmonds, WA

Tour: 09/09/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour was more than I could have imagined. From the sumptuous hotel breakfasts that got us fueled for each days adventures, to the city and countryside explorations, I was gratified with each days offerings.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Each stop had it's own charm and memorable characteristics so it's hard to say. I did especially like the Dolomites with gorgeous sweeping meadows, cows with bells amid Alpine freshness."

Kathy

Hammonds Plains, NS

Tour: 09/09/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our tour was exceptional!! We had absolutely no negatives. This was our first trip to Italy and it was everything and more than we expected!! We couldn't have asked for a better tour guide, bus driver and travel companions! Our group connected and we were happy to call them our travel friends/family for 3 weeks. We would definitely travel with the same group again in the future!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"We had so many WOW moments, hard to pick one moment as a highlight!! Every city/town/village we visited had WOW moments. Even the bus drives from place to place, the Italian landscape was amazing."

Mike

Kirkland, WA

Tour: 09/07/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

two guides and driver were outstanding. Mariana was especially good. great history, insights and concern for her guests was evident every day.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"David"

Beverly

Austin, TX

Tour: 09/07/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I appreciated having "city days" alternated with "country days" -- ie, Varenna, Cinqua Terra, Umbria in between Venice, Florence, Sienna. The guides were mostly great and Marianna and Andrew were superb. I've never eaten better food..ever! I loved our group/driver Adrian. I felt educated by guides; esp. loved the special talks -- oar making, stained glass, pesto. Well paced; liked the free time, the opera, the hikes.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"In Cinque Terra, there was a nearly full moon. It felt safe to be out alone at night splashing about in the sea. Near the short tunnel back to my room, a girl played flute (beautifully) and her friend played keyboard. I danced for an hour or so while they played. People came and went, some danced with me, others didn't. Music, night, moon, ocean, dance...what could be better!"

David

Kennewick, WA

Tour: 09/07/18

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Tour experience was great as a "scouting" experience for northern Italy and the Hill Country, which was my goal! Tour scope was broad from mountain hiking in the Dolomites, to using the subway and walking in Rome, to touring in the Vatican. We were on the water in ferry boats on Lake Como and gondolas in Venice. The architecture and museums also presented a wide range of subjects, particularly the museum for the "Iceman". WE HAD A BALANCE OF HIGHLY STRUCTURED TIME AS WELL AS FREE TIME TO EXPLOR

Favorite "WOW" moment

"fAVORITE "WOW" MOMENT WAS HISTORICAL IN THAT IT OCCURRED SLOWLY OVER TIME, i was happy to finally realize that there was a significant period period during which not only the population significantly declined in Rome from 1.2 million to about 20,000, but the culture declined as well. The population and the culture eventually rose again after hundreds of years to produce the likes of Michael Angelo and Leonardo da Vinci."

Susan

Springfield, OR

Tour: 09/07/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Excellent tour leader, assistant and bus driver...Marianna, Andrew and Adrian. Clean new bus. Highlights include the Dolomites, Lake Como and the unexpected stops in San Gimignano and Bologna, the church dinner in Sienna. Tour guides were all very good, but the free time to explore independently was appreciated!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Dolomites....perfect weather, comfortable accommodations and excellent food."

Steven

Renton, WA

Tour: 09/07/18

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

All was as expected. Marianna and Andrew were excellent. I can see why Europeans are in so much better shape than Americans due to their lifestyle and amount of exercise they get walking from place to place without any notion of distance and difficulty. We were very pleased with our rooms overall as they were better than expected so that was very good.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The "extras" were very nice including the gondola post demo, the Siena Church experience and gelato demo. New foods and culinary experiences were nice. The churches were incredible and my wow experiences."

Steve

Kenmore, WA

Tour: 09/07/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

There are not enough superlatives to adequately describe this tour. From the very beginning when we met Marianna and Andrew at the Hotel Royal Victoria, to the final dinner in Rome, it was a pleasure. We met and became friends with twenty eight other individuals and it became like a big family on vacation. The tour was extremely well organized and seemed to proceed without a hitch.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"By far, the favorite "Wow" moments were the individual audiences with artisans in Venice and Florence. I can think of no way in which I could have had those experiences without a Rick Steves' tour."

Jorge

Miami, FL

Tour: 09/07/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

As usual ,this being my 9th tour(10th with Southern Italy that I'm presently on)it has been a wonderful experience . Lucky eneough to have Andrew as a backup guide was a pleasant surprise as well .

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hiking the Italian Alps !"

David

Kiel, WI

Tour: 09/07/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Great group of tourists that were like family. Physically challenging tours.Fantastic guides that tried to make our experience individualized and as good as possible. Many wow moments and few negatives. Bus driver great & made us feel safe. Felt like I got value for my vacation dollars.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Walking through vineyard of Altarocca."

Janet

Kenmore, WA

Tour: 09/07/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We thoroughly enjoyed the tour. Our guide was fantastic, as was the assistant guide and bus driver. We got to be close with all the other participants, and we felt like a family. I particularly liked having time to do whatever we wanted in each city as well as scheduled activities. It was a good balance. The talks by the artisan stained glass maker, the oar and fulcrum maker for gondoliers in Venice, and the gelato treat were so fun and interesting! The meals and hotels were very good.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I think the first wow moment was seeing Lake Como from the beautiful terrace at the Royal Hotel Victoria! That was truly stunning, and really set a high bar to begin the tour! The gondola ride at night in Venice was also a wow moment, and one I'll never forget."

Susan

Charlotte, NC

Tour: 09/07/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour was jam packed with activities interspersed with just the right amount of free time to explore or rest as you choose.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Can't limit my favorite "wow" moment to just one: Orvieto, Lake Cuomo and Cinque Terre."

Peggie

Wilson, NC

Tour: 09/07/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our tour guide, assistant and bus driver were the best. They worked very well as a team and individually. Considering some of the narrow roads we traveled (and the one with the road construction up to the vineyard), our driver was outstanding. He got applause on several occasions. I know you can't control who signs up for a tour, but this group was the best I have ever known. Multiple people are planning to visit each other over the next months. The scenery in Italy was nice, too.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I would say my favorite town was Siena. After we learned about the horse race and then saw a video at dinner, I really appreciated the sense of community in this town. Two wow moments were actually photo opportunities - a rainbow over the town hall in Siena and the moon rising over the Pantheon. Andrew was considering using the rainbow picture on the website."

Mary

Chilton, WI

Tour: 09/07/18

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Overall great value and experience. A few speed bumps detailed below that could be improved on to make it outstanding rating.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Agriturismo. The winery and olive grove experience was amazing and magical. Awesome scenery and accommodations. Very impressed with the skill level of our bus driver to navigate the challenging roads."

Donna

Renton, WA

Tour: 09/07/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my first trip to Italy and the tour included the cities and sites I most wanted to see. The tour did not disappoint and I had a wonderful time. We got to experience activities we never would have done on our own such as the gondola workshop in Venice and stain glass workshop in Siena. Our guide Marianna and assistant Andrew did a wonderful job of organizing the trip with no issues and offered great suggestions of what to do in our free time.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Our stay at the agriturismo in Umbria. The Alartrocca Wine Resort was spectacular. We had a wonderful wine tasting followed by a delicious dinner. The rooms all had incredible views and it was a great place to rest and relax."

Jill

Kirkland, WA

Tour: 09/07/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Way above my expectations. I was along for the ride - my husband wanted to go to Italy, and so I went with him with no expectations. LOVED it, made 29 new friends (including our bus driver, Adrian, who was a great addition to our tour). Love the people, so much to see, beautiful country, wonderful food. Coming back.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Every city we went to was another. From Lake Como all the way to Rome, we could easily redo this tour and find just as many wow moments."

Robert

Mission Viejo, CA

Tour: 09/07/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

An forgettable tour with: hiking beautiful Dolomite Alpine meadows; exploring scenic Lake Como & its grand villas; island "hopping" during a Venice architecture tour; climbing/seeing the view from Florence's Duomo dome; seeing the David statue; hiking between enchanting Cinque Terra villages; visiting the hill towns & Palio horse racing site in Siena; relaxing at an Umbria wine resort; & finally, the grandeur of the Vatican. Appreciated the Rick Steve leadership balanced by free time to explore.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Many "WOW" moments given the breadth of landscape, art, architecture, history, cuisine, and the people that formed this Best of Italy tour. The tour provide a wonderful composite of a country and its people."

Joan

Fuquay Varina, NC

Tour: 09/05/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Wonderful and cohesive group of adults who acted like 5th graders when necessary! We were a terrific team. Travels as a single adult can be awkward when social dining is on the schedule. I NEVER felt that wa with this group.. Warm and welcoming group! And NO grumpy folks!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Nope.....there were several every day! Pure delight!"

Ronald

Eagle, CO

Tour: 09/05/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Great experience-thanks to our great tour guides, bus drivers, accommodations, food choices, places that we visited, and our tour companions, they were also fantastic!! Highly recommend this trip to see, learn, and love Italy!!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Just about everything!!"

Dianne

Sagle, ID

Tour: 09/05/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

So well planned and organized. Molly was awesome as we're all the vendors we used for hotels, meals etc. A real highlight was our time in Umbria at Marco's vineyard/olive farm. Will probably do another tour with you guys. Also Dino our driver was great.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hiking at Cinque Terre."

Eldon

Mount Pleasant, SC

Tour: 09/05/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour exceeded all of my expectations throughout each of the 17 days in Italy. Our tour guide Molly was a delight! She was very well organized, helpful in all aspects, very knowledgable in the local and national history of Italy, a great guide through each city, museum, and church visited during our tour. She gave us great insight as a group and enough self confidence to explore on our own. We also had a wonderful bus driver Dino who was spectacular.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I had several so it is difficult to narrow it down to just one, but I think the visit to Assisi and the Basilica of St. Francis was very special. I especially loved all the small cities and our stay at the Agriturismo farm was outstanding. Each day was very special in its own way as were each and every city we visited during the tour."

Matt

San Gabriel, CA

Tour: 09/05/18

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Just a really great experience and wonderful time meeting and engaging with so many other couples.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were many WOW moments; Lake Como, the Dolomite's, and the Turismo Vineyards visits were all especially wonderful."

Gale

Gilroy, CA

Tour: 09/05/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The Best of Italy Tour definitely hit all the highlights of Italy. I loved the variety of basking in the Dolomites & visiting the family vineyard to the museums, art, sculptures, and duomos in Venice, Florence, & Rome. WOW!! We had a great group of travelers (friendly & helpful to each other) & wonderful, knowledgeable local tour guides. We took advantage of a recommendation by Rick Steves & hired a driver (with assistance by Molly) & went to Civita di Bagnoregio. That was an AMAZING bonus!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I enjoyed the family vineyard, Cinque Terre, the Dolomites & the local foods of each region."

Paul

Gilroy, CA

Tour: 09/05/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

What a nice way to see Italy. I could never pack so many different quality experiences into a 17 day trip on my own. Italy has such a wonderful dynamic range of experiences to offer, and we hit them all, homeruns every time.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The dancing from the farmer's wife at the Agro Turismo vineyard where we stayed combined with the fabulous Italian tenor singing at our own private party there, capped off with spirited dancing from our own group was the unexpectedly incredible high point of our journey. Kudos to the farmer and his wife for entertaining and showmanship totally off the charts."

Deborah

Bailey's Habor, WI

Tour: 09/05/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our first trip to Europe so we wanted to do it right. I've been dreaming of Italy for years so I wanted to see it all and this tour did not disappoint. I loved the big cities and the small towns, the art, the beautiful scenery, the informative local guides and of course the fabulous food and wine. I appreciated the balance of tour activities and free time to explore on our own. Our tour leader, Molly, was incredible. Thank you for a memorable vacation.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"So many but when I walked in the room and saw David I was overwhelmed with emotion...that was truly amazing. I was wowed by the beauty of the Cinque Terre, the romance of the sunset gondola ride and the magnificent alps."

Carol

Arlington, WA

Tour: 09/05/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Everything was perfect, including the weather!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Seeing the beauty of Alpe di Siusi."

Sally

Ocala, FL

Tour: 09/02/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Trip had good blend & balance of formal tours, provided meals (every breakfast and selected lunches & dinners), along with free time, lectures, coach rides, etc. This break-up of activities made time fly, wasn't boring, you didn't feel over-fed, and was nicely balanced. The tours & presenter/guides were excellent. Better info on history than we ever got in school. Talks on bus while traveling was: effective use of time, good info prior to arrival, everyone was quiet so we could hear.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Trekking across "the meadow" was the biggest WOW experience for me. It was amazing to be in such an expansive and unique bit of terrain. My husband and I travel 6 months each summer in our travel trailer. Been in all states but Hawaii. The views at the Dolomite location revile any we've experienced. Keep it on this itinerary!"

Christopher

Ocala, FL

Tour: 09/02/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had taken a very good Viking (Danube) river cruise 4 days prior to the RS Italy tour. I was impressed with the tours by Viking but the RS tours, guides,etc. were just THE BEST! I felt part & parcel of the RS experience, not just a tourist learning new info from guides. Viking was 4.2 on scale of 5. The Rick Steves tour was 5.2 out of 5!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Loved the Dolomite Meadow day: hiking around the meadow, then going to opposite side to ride funicular. The background info by Deborah and local guides re: local politics, history, cultures, etc. was the BEST part for me. It made the trip "come alive". My fraternal grandparents immigrated from Italy/Sicily, so history of both made things fall into place: e.g. Mussolini, Italian republic history, etc. These topics were the "heart" of what I relished though I never expected to hear it. Keep it in!"

Laurie

Tucson, AZ

Tour: 09/02/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was fantastic! It had the perfect blend of scheduled time and on-your-own time to explore. I really appreciated staying in each town for two nights, so we had time to experience each place. The itinerary did not disappoint. I ended the tour feeling that I had seen everything that I had wanted to see. And I loved the small size of our group. It made it easy to get to know people.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I had so many 'wow' moments that I can't pick a favorite. Each place was so unique and fabulous, and each had a 'wow' moment. One totally unexpected night was when we learned about the Forest district in Siena, touring their chapel and community center and enjoying a fantastic dinner. It was a very special evening."

Sheri

Bothell, Washington

Tour: 09/02/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour far surpassed our expectations. Most hotels were well-appointed, decorated with local flair, with personable staff, delicious full breakfasts, and convenient locations. The tour bus was plush (WiFi?!), and the driver Giacomo so friendly. We did not anticipate that the travel stops would be such a highlight, especially Verona and San Gimignano. The group dinners were gourmet affairs with free-flowing wine and camaraderie. Local experiences were unanticipated and so enriching.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"How to choose: The amazing view of Lake Como from our hotel in Varenna; the magnificent vistas of Alpe de Siusi; a delicious dinner in the Vesta campanero center in Siena; drinking beer with new friends after hiking Cinque de Terre; our guide's sotto-voice, awed, vivid description of the Orvieta cathedral frescoes. My top pick, though, was during our guide-arranged gondola ride in Venice, when the groups' boats floated close together on the Grand Canal at sunset, and the accordionist and solo"

Virgil

New Windsor, NY

Tour: 09/02/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We arrived in Milan one day before our tour was to begin. It was eye opening, but not our first time in Europe. I loved our time there. The next day we were on our way to Varenna. It was the beginning of our adventure that would take us to Rome. Along the way we were immersed in history and excellent food. Our tour guide and assistant were responsible for this.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favorite wow moments were many. From our arrival in Milan, Varenna[Lake Como],Bolzano, the Dolomites. It was the beginning of "WOW" moments through out the tour. How can an American of Italian decent, not revel in the art an history of the cities and towns we visited. Our tour was filled with many wow moments."

Ronald

Tucson, AZ

Tour: 09/02/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I highlight to friends and neighbors that the tour style is great. I appreciated the web site highlighting this and saying this tour may not be for everyone. I felt that our group must have read this and came with great attitudes and the spirit of travelers.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It is hard to compare one area to the next as they varied and each had a wow for me. It was a great sampling that left me wanting more."

Anne

Fort Myers, FL

Tour: 09/02/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was everything we'd hoped for and more! The tour was managed extremely well by Deborah who truly had a love for travel and leading tours. She thought of everything and gave us little extras along the way. SO much history and insight into the Italian culture. We had even more stops along the way to each city that only enhanced our trip. The bus was modern and new and the our driver Giacomo was always there waiting for us. We would definitely travel on a Rick Steve's tour again!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I had several favorites but one of my Wows was emerging from the Metro in Rome and seeing the Colosseum in front of me. I was awed at sight! And the Forum! Walking where the Romans walked 2000 years ago and all my stories from Latin school came to life! We live in Boston where buildings are considered old and date back to the 1600's but we toured where the Etruscans lived 400-700 BC. What an experience! I cant wait to travel again with Rick Steves' Tours. You thought of everything!"

Janice

New Windsor, NY

Tour: 09/02/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Very pleased with overall tour experience. We visited a variety of Italian cities and landmarks which provided a great introduction to Italy and left us wanting to go back and see more.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I would say two standouts, the Cinque Terre Villages and the Altarocca Wine Resort with its surrounding countryside of vineyards in Umbria and the Tiber River Valley."

Bonnie

Centennial, CO

Tour: 08/31/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

As a first time Rick Steves tour experience, I was very impressed with the program. It was active with free time in just the right places. So many interesting bonus type activities. I cannot say enough about our fabulous tour guide Sarah. She was a delight, knowledgeable, entertaining and full of energy. We all came away from the tour sad that it was coming to an end, but aware we had experienced something very unique and special.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Learning about the many regions within the country and the pride the people of each region have."

Victoria

Yale, OK

Tour: 08/31/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I walked my feet off (in a good way)! This tour met -and exceeded- every expectation. My fellow travelers were a diverse and lively lot, and made the shared experiences even more enjoyable. We had a good mix of group activities and free time, which made it nice: we could concentrate on areas we wanted to explore.. or just relax in the hotel and take a nap. I never hike, let alone on top of the mountain (at Ortesi), but am so glad I went along on that one; I would have missed out on so much.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I have to say mine was Cinque Terre and Monterosso. To be honest, I had low expectations and was absolutely blown away by the area's beauty, its people and the Mediterranean. I had brought my swim suit, so after a day of riding the boat from village to village, I went swimming. I don't know what I expected (especially after having grown up swimming at Hood Canal, Puget Sound and the ocean), but the SALTY WATER totally surprised me! I can see why the area has become so popular. Memories!"

Pamela

Puyallup, WA

Tour: 08/31/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our first Rick Steves tour. Our tour was outstanding and top rate all the way. I love love love our tour guide Sarah. She and our tour bus driver Michele made this trip total magic! We had the right amount of free time, tours, excellent food, and the hotels were perfectly located. I don't have one complaint but only praises and have been encouraging all our friends and family to take a Rick Steves tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I have been asked this a hundred times since our tour. EVERYTHING was a wow moment for me. Every place we went and everything we experienced was wow for me. I would do this whole tour again in a heartbeat. What a wonderful experience!! Our hike in the Dolomites, David, Venice Gondola ride, wood carver for the gondolas, Assisi,.... it was ALL wow!"

Roger

Lake Oswego, OR

Tour: 08/31/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

With one exception (Rome) which was my misfortune and no one else's fault, this was an exceptional tour which more than met my expectations.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"1. Sienna, especially the dinner at the Verde Contrata, followed by 2. Varenna, for charm and scenery 3. Florence, because it is the birthplace of the Renaissance 4. Hill Towns (San Gigignano and Orvietto) I was less entranced by Venice and Cinque Terra but would say they are important parts of the tour"

Ray

Centennial, CO

Tour: 08/31/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

After we returned from our trip, I had a chance to reflect upon what made this special. I felt that the tour included at least one special, unique experience each day. The personal care and energy of our 17 day trip was very much appreciated! Thank you, Sarah! I believe that no amount of personal planning on my part could match the opportunities provided by our tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It is far to difficult to narrow it down to one moment but here are a few: an incredible hike in the Dolomites, visiting a craftsman in Venice who was one of the few remaining making unique oars, oar locks and figures for gondolas and another craftsman in Sienna who make stained glass windows for ancient cathedrals as well as ones for Villanova University. Both men were delightful in sharing how they apply the steps in their work! And thanks for the very special surprise birthday celebration!"

Lori

Enumclaw, WA

Tour: 08/31/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour outdid all my expectations. The balance of activities and free time was perfect. It was very busy, but that was well communicated. I thought the tour was a great value based on everything it included.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I thought the Dolomites were amazing. The hiking and sites were breathtaking and well worth your time."

Mary Ellen

Cincinnati, OH

Tour: 08/31/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour covers a lot of ground and hits the major highlights of Italy. Our guide Sarah was amazing - knowledgeable, helpful and caring.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Too many to pick just one!"

Geanette

Clearfield, UT

Tour: 08/31/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Sarah is an amazing tour guide she handled every situation with grace and composiure .. we had a few issues on the tour because of the heat and some people did not train for all the walking before joining the tour..

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Venice gondola ride was amazing.. would not have been as good without the music. kind of hard to single out one, beautiful loved all the small cities better than the big ones... dinners with the family's was also a wow moment. Sena loved the history of the horse race."

Kathy

Centennial, CO

Tour: 08/31/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We saw so much in the three weeks! Rick Steves' tours always have very special places to visit. The oar maker in Venice was so interesting as well as the stained glass maker in Siena. To many to mention all. The trip was physically challenging, but I loved it! I enjoyed all the people on the trip and our guide, Sarah was great!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Learning about Saint Francis of Assisi. Seeing the Colosseum, Forum and Pantheon. Visiting Otzi, AMAZING!"

John

Carlisle, PA

Tour: 08/31/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Tour covered a lot of Italy, but was very fast paced. A lot of people in our group were burned out after 17 days in Italy. Maybe fewer stops with more days at fewer places.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Definatley the Alps."

Penelope

Asheville, NC

Tour: 08/24/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our first tour of any kind. We were pleased with having time to explore on our own which is one reason we chose Rick Steves Tour. I think some areas could use 3 nights. Too much to do in a 2 night stay. Example--Lake Como--Hiking, boats to other towns and the castle. We chose the free day for visiting the other towns and didn't get to hike or get to the castle. You are rushed with a 2 night stay.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Dolomites especially after the snowstorm the night before. We enjoyed our day with Patricia hiking in the meadow. She knew the ins and outs and it made the day most enjoyable. Would have liked another day. with an extra day could have used the cable car up the mountain."

Julie

Bellingham, WA

Tour: 08/24/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had great time with just the right amount of group time and our own time to explore. The guide was fun and knowledgeable. She gave us suggestions for post tour excursions and helped us with those plans. We also enjoyed our tour companions and wonderful driver.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Staying at a wine spa resort with a great view of the countryside, private wine tasting and lovely dinner. But there were many other happy surprises throughout the trip."

David

Fresno, CA

Tour: 08/24/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our tour of Italy was amazing. It was a great combination of beautiful scenery, architectural treasures, and 2,000+ years of history. Our guide Patricia was outstanding. Her in depth knowledge of the historic facts about each site we visited and insights into the way of life of the current Italians greatly enhanced the experience. Our driver Adrian expertly navigated our tour bus on narrow mountain roads and freeways. The pace was fast and we were always pleasantly tired by the end of the day.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"After checking into our room at the Hotel Pasquale at Cinque Terra after a long day on the road and sightseeing in Pisa we were pleased to find a well appointed room with a balcony overlooking the Mediterranean and the town square. That evening local marching bands paraded through the streets providing a festive environment. The family running the hotel gave us a pesto making demonstration and excellent pesto lasagna. The breakfast included excellent eggs and espresso drinks made to order."

Virginia

Sanibel, FL

Tour: 08/24/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Though my husband and I are well-worn, we are not well traveled. That said, we were eager (and a bit anxious) about plunging into the Rick Steve's 17 Day Best of Italy trip (with two extra days added to accommodate travel). Our dream trip-of-a-lifetime was even better than we had imagined; in fact, after 19 days, we would have preferred more travel to returning home! Immersing ourselves in the spectacular landscape, history, artwork, food and culture of Italy, we were wonderfully overwhelmed.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Too many to name and even a few frequent breathtaking moments! Stepping along a cobblestone path where Leonardo had surely walked. Village church bells waking me in the morning. Hearing a tenor warm up in the courtyard of the hotel in Rome. David. Newly restored frescoes at Pisa. Vistas in Tuscany and Umbria. Hiking in the Dolomite alpine meadows, Walking between Cinque Terra villages. Roman ruins. Duomos. Paintings. Sculptures. Ceilings."

Janice

Independence, OR

Tour: 08/24/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

So well organized. Every day was a new and fascinating experience. The tour guide, Patricia, was so knowledgeable, funny, and engaging with everyone. I couldn't wait to wake up and see what was waiting every day. I will surely be looking for my next Rick Steves adventure.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"So many, but if I have to pick one it would be the Dolomites. So pristine and beautiful."

John

Boise, ID

Tour: 08/24/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had never been on a group tour before, so we weren't sure what to expect, so this tour far exceeded our expectations. The pace of the tour is about right, and we got plenty of down time, and time to explore things (or just relax) on our own. The bus was very comfortable, and Adrian (the driver) was fabulous. I spent some time with him asking about driving laws, property ownership, and highways in Italy. The best part was Patricia, our guide--more on that later.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Climbing Brunelleschi's dome at the Duomo in Florence. There is some debate among experts as to how the dome was constructed, but I climbed it with another engineer on the tour and we were able to figure out how Brunelleschi did it."

Mark

Bellingham, WA

Tour: 08/24/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Learned a lot, walked a lot, saw a lot for the time we had, and didn't waste time waiting in lines for tickets, etc. In other words, typical RS tour, right?

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Alpi Di Suisse and Orvieto, the least 'Italian' of the bunch."

Magdolona

Herndon, VA

Tour: 08/24/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my second trip with Rick Steves Tour and my first time in Italy.I had chosen the Best of Italy, 17 Day Tour. Every detail was in place. I was very comfortable traveling alone and being able to get to my first destination, thanks to detailed information I received. The itinerary was absolutely amazing. I particularly liked the beautiful scenic outdoor mixed with the famous cities and history. The amount of time we had in each location was very adequate.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I think it would have to The Dolomites. It just took my breath away."

William

Asheville, NC

Tour: 08/24/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I very much liked the time available to do things on our own. I did not particularly like having to use the local guides in the large cities even though it is required (more later). I liked the group size of 27 and the large bus which allowed us to spread out. The group was very congenial and no problems. The tour guide was wonderful (more later).

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Lake Como, Dolomites, and Cinque Terre were all great, but especially hiking in the Alpe di Siusi. I would go back to those, but could care less about returning to Venice, Florence, Siena, and Rome, but was glad that we did them. It is all about the outdoors for me."

Evelyn

Edmond, OK

Tour: 07/06/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was fabulous. All the tour guides were so informative and helpful. Hotels, breakfasts and dinners were the best. All activities were well organized. We had just the right amount of free time and our tour group was a blast. It might have been all the wine, ha.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"For me every new place was a wow moment. The Dolomites amazing. Lake Como was surrene. Roma blew my mind. Cinque Terra was so cozy and friendly. Florence was fun."

Chris

Edmond, OK

Tour: 07/06/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Wow where to begin, our guides truly made our trip. Karin, and Marianna were both more than we could have hoped for, they were amazing and went well above what was expected to make this a wonderful experience. Our local guides added so much to the places we went we felt like we truly knew what each community was about both historically and socially. Our bus driver Dino acted like a member of our tour family and was so helpful and friendly we were sad we had to say goodbye in Rome.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"This is impossible to answer every new city, every new experience Karin and Marianna took us to was a wow moment. Karin leading us on a hike in th Dolomites was truly a once in a lifetime experience, arriving in Venice was truly magical. The dinner as a group in Siena was amazing as well."

James

Vacaville, CA

Tour: 07/06/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Outstanding! My wife and I saw many of the highlights of Italy, the cradle of western civilization. We did this under the watchful eyes of our great guide, Karin. She was always looking to add a little spice to the tour. We were joined by 26 other tourists who quickly became our friends. We moved from location to location in a comfortable, air-conditioned bus. The group dinners were a great time to bond with our fellow travelers and guides. Loved the stained-glass and forcola factory tours.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"This is difficult to answer as I remember several. After the Pantheon tour, we went to dinner with four of our fellow travelers. Just a sidewalk cafe that our guide, Karin, suggested. It was a break from the heat and we just enjoyed each others company."

Kathleen

Woodbridge, VA

Tour: 07/06/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Best of Italy for me was meeting the best guides, the best travel companions, and going to the best places. I have done solo travel exploring on my own. While I do like traveling with the flexibility of my own scheduling, the Rick Steves tour offered the best of both worlds. Karin was an excellent guide. Marianna was on the ball and very helpful, especially while in Florence.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Coming out of the metro in Rome and seeing the Colisseum. I was not expecting it to be standing right in front of me."

Wade

Kelowna, BC

Tour: 07/06/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The best of Italy tour exceeded my expectations and we would not have had one of my best vacations ever without the rick steve's team of Dino, Mariana and Karin!!Everything was perfectly taken care of from reservations, transportation, dinners, tours and so many special moments that only happened because of the relationships the team had in Italy. Thank you all for such an amazing time and adventure! Worth every penny!! Bravo!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I had 3 wow moments on the best of Italy tour. 1. The hiking in Ortesei for the day was absolutely breathtaking and so incredible hiking on top of the world. Would have loved one more day. 2. Hiking between villages in the Cinque Terre and lounging on the beach recovering and the seafood feast for dinner was so incredible.oh just one more day! 3. Coming onto the floor of the Colosseum through the gladiator tunnel thanks to our teams connections was breathtaking and so amazing for us."

Diane

Vacaville, CA

Tour: 07/06/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour was a perfect balance of structured tours and free time to explore on our own. I particularly liked the enthusiasm and knowledge of our guide as well as her light heartedness. The sights chosen to visit were perfect, however towards the end I had seen enough basilicas!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were several "wow" moments, but my favorite was the Dolomite hike. We chose to hike back to town (11.2 miles) and the scenery was amazing! Of course David, the impromptu luncheon in Orvieto (with one of your other tour guides who sang for us while we food and wine tasted), the Colosseum, the Alaroco wine spa, and the pub crawl in Venice with Alessandro (on our own time- he's hilarious by the way!) were all a very close 2nd."

Michael

Torrance, CA

Tour: 07/06/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Had a great time. Was better than what I had expected. Enjoyed the history education on the bus. Probably learned some of that in the past but it has long since been forgotten. Motivated me to do some additional research when I returned home. Had a great group of people on the tour. Liked the group demographic. I liked the activity level. Pretty active tour. Variety of things to do on days on our own.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I liked the variety of all the places we visited and the history associated with each. They were all "wows"."

Eileen

Ithaca, NY

Tour: 07/06/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Karen and Marianna are both wonderful as tour leaders. Dino is an excellent driver. The group applauded him several times when he navigated some difficult turns. I enjoyed meeting and spending time with all of the tour members. The tour was a nice balance of cities and rural areas. Varenna and Orvieto were very restful, and helped prepare for busy museum days. I could have spent more time in each of the cities, but that would have made this tour very long.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Seeing Michelangelo's David. I have seen copies of it, but the actual work was stunning. I walked around it several times to see it at different angles. I compared it to Bernini's David at the Borghese Museum in Rome. The last was not part of the tour, but Karen arranged for people who were staying in Rome to go after our tour."

Pam

Spokane, WA

Tour: 06/29/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had a wonderful tour with a fantastic guide. Elena Set up so many great experiences for us. I would highly recommend this tour to anyone????

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Seeing the ancient ruins in Rome. I still can't believe we were there seeing artifacts, buildings, churches that were so old, some dating before Christ"

Elizabeth

Olympia, WA

Tour: 06/29/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I have never been on a tour before. I have to say that this tour exceeded all of my expectations. Everything was perfectly timed, thoughtfully organized and clearly researched. Elena our tour guide was full of knowledge and was so kind. Adrian our bus driver was nothing but professional and went above and beyond for all of us tour members. He was always smiling and made us feel at home. Already looking forward to my next tour and I feel like I also now how the confidence to travel solo!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Getting off of the train at Monterosso in the Cinque Terre was breath taking. Seeing Tuscany and Umbria from the vineyards of altarocca wine resort was something dreams are made of. Sienna was magical learning about the Paleo and having a special dinner in the Forest district cooked by locals. I can't name just one moment: there were so many awe-inspiring experiences and so many firsts for me!"

Dennis

Spokane, WA

Tour: 06/29/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We covered a large area, saw many wonderful, beautiful places and things. Our accommodations were good, we enjoyed excellent foods, our tour host (guide), Elena was full of energy, knowledgeable and a perfect host!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hard to pick, all were wonderful. I guess the Sistine Chapel, with Michaelangelo's paintings we're a big Wow!"

Tawnya

Nanaimo, BC

Tour: 06/29/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Being a long time fan of Rick Steves I had high expectations of the tour and was not disappointed. The locations we visited served as a great "sampler" of Italy destinations. Our tour guide, Elena, was a wonderful lady with a great spirit and was always ready to help us with any needs in any way that she could. The hotels that we stayed at far exceeded what I expected. Our tour bus driver, Adrian, was a skilled driver who made us all feel comfortable and safe during our travels.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were so many "wow" moments it is hard to choose a favorite but if I had to I would say the view from the top of the tower at the Castle Di Vezio in Varenna. The hike up to the castle, although challenging, was peaceful, full of amazing views and the air was filled with the scent of olive trees and blooming jasmine flowers. I arrived at the top just as the castle opened so I was the only one there for the first half hour. I am a castle fan so this was definitely a "wow" for me."

Kathryn

Fairfax, VA

Tour: 06/29/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The whole trip was fantastic. I wish I could have stayed longer everywhere we went.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I don't know if I have a favorite but the American Cemetery in Florence was pretty wow."

Frances

Westfield, IN

Tour: 06/20/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Outstanding! Difficult at times but well worth the effort. So glad we did it.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The gondola ride in Venice."

Michael

Montgomery Village, MD

Tour: 06/20/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

One amazing moment to the next.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Palio in Siena. We weren't tourists anymore, we were part of the celebration."

Thomas

Chesapeake, VA

Tour: 06/20/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had an outstanding experience. The itinerary was perfect, our guide was knowledgeable and valued our time, and the trip provided the perfect balance between structured group activities and some time to ourselves. The hotels were all in great locations and comfortable.

Julie

Chehalis, WA

Tour: 06/20/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was great not having to worry about reserving hotels and transportation throughout the tour. It made it really relaxing and worry free. I believe being on a Rick Steves tour we were able to experience things we otherwise would not have been able to, such as the wonderful group dinners.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I can't limit it to just one! I really loved the countryside and smaller towns over the cities. Hiking in the Dolomites was amazing! I also really enjoyed the dinner at the retired chef's house in Verona."

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."

Kathleen

Albany, OR

Tour: 06/20/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I did not realize how valuable our tour guide, Sarah, would be and how informative and entertaining our local guides would be before taking a guided tour. I gained so much more out of the sights and scenes with someone to help us appreciate all there was to take in. Although the price seemed a bit steep at first, I now appreciate that this is a truly value added experience. Much more than a bus ride, hotels, and half the meals.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Touring Venice via Gondola."

Ryan

Richmond, VA

Tour: 06/20/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I never imagined the incredible variety and beauty I would see in Italy: alpine mountains, pasture, plains, Tuscan hills, Lake Como, cliffs and seaside--not to mention all kinds of cities and villages and the treasures and art within them. The meals were extraordinarily delightful and bountiful. The pace was full but measured, usually with sufficient free time. And our guide was fantastic!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I can't pick one. Several stand out: Verona was just a temporary stop, but what a surprisingly impressive medieval city. St. Mark's square in Venice was nothing short of breathtaking. San Gimignano was the loveliest medieval town -- especially the view of the rolling countryside from the highest tower. And the Pantheon in Rome was a stunning revelation of ancient Rome's glory and beauty."

Sarah

Milwaukie, OR

Tour: 06/20/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Not just a vacation- the Rick Steves group provided an education and insight into the Italian culture and heritage. Appreciated all the special touches throughout the trip: dinner in Varenna with retired chef and his family, the gondola forcula and stain glass demos, pesto lesson, wine tasting, and attending palio trial race & celebratory dinner with adopted contrada – Truly an amazing trip of a lifetime!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I can honestly say I experienced a 'wow' moment in each of our destinations. However, the most impactful was on the first night at Villa Cipressi in Lake Como- the magnificent views perfumed with the scent of jasmine... I had finally made it to Italy!"

Lenore

Holland, MI

Tour: 06/08/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was the trip of a lifetime for me since I had never been overseas before. Our tour group was very compatible but still independent - a lovely mix! Everyone went out of their way to accomodate me (I'm 84) by offering to carry something or let me be first in line. I was glad that I could keep up well with the group. Bruce (fellow traveler) even gave me a coin to throw into the Trevi Fountain! Everywhere I went it reminded me of pictures in my Italian cookbook. I loved it!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Two times I was so moved that I cried: first, when I saw the statue of David and second, when I saw the Sistine Chapel."

John

Lilburn, GA

Tour: 06/08/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Active but rewarding.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The view of Rome from the top of the Victor Emmanuel Monument - even on a cloudy day it was memorable to take in the entire city that I have heard and learned so much about."

Pete

Lindale, TX

Tour: 06/08/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our 3rd Rick Steves tour and we had very high expectations. We were not disappointed. Turns out there are still 'back doors' and they have found one in Varenna. The tour provided a combination of urban and rural settings, high art and local culture, alpine and coastal scenery, and picturesque hill towns. There were unexpected surprises along the way like stops in Verona and Lucca. And most rewarding, was the chance to meet and interact with people and share a bit of their daily lives.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I will offer my most poignant moment instead, an unexpected stop at the American cemetery outside Florence. The site is immaculately maintained. The manager of the site described the on-going process of identifying remains, and told us the story of one American who is buried there. This display of compassion by someone whose relatives may have fought on the 'other side' is a moving reminder of our shared history, tragedy, and humanity--one that is especially appropriate in these times."

Linda

Crestview Hills, KY

Tour: 06/08/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my first Rick Steves tour and I was very impressed with the experience. We hit so many spots in an incredibly efficient manner and our guide included quite a few 'bonus' stops. The hotels were indeed centrally located and I was pleased with the accommodations overall, even as a solo traveler. While I paid for the single supplement, I feared my rooms may be more cramped than others, but I don't believe that was the case.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I think my first "wow" moment was my favorite. After being awake 30+ hours and traveling for 14+ hours over 2 flights & 2 trains, setting foot in Varenna and seeing Lake Como for the first time was truly breathtaking. I felt instantly rejuvenated. This was the perfect starting point for the tour because it was gorgeous, peaceful and easy to navigate. That is particularly important since I arrived a day early and had to figure things out on my own before the tour began."

Morris

Lilburn, GA

Tour: 06/08/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I think the overall impression of this tour that will always remain with me is that there was just too much of everything to absorb -- history, art, architecture, landscape, food, and culture. A country where so many important events have occurred and so many influential people have lived simply cannot be grasped in a single visit. Having said that, Molly and our local guides certainly gave us a very memorable introduction to Italy.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It is impossible to pick out a single moment, but there are several that stand out: the lovely view of Lake Como from the window of our room in Varenna, the view of the dramatic Ligurian Sea coastline from our balcony in Monterosso al Mare, visiting St. Mark's Basilica and the Doge's Palace in Venice, seeing Michelangelo's David and Botticelli's Birth of Venus in Florence, and walking through the ruins of ancient Rome and viewing the city from the top of the Victor Emmanuel Monument."

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,"

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."

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"

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."

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"

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."

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."

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!"

Ketha

Brea, CA

Tour: 05/27/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Fascinating to see historical locations and art. Loved learning about the history of Italy. Favorite art was the Sistine Chapel, David, The Pieta. Countryside itself was beautiful. Relished Lake Como, the Dolomites, the rolling hills, ocean. Refreshes the soul.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Intellectually - Sistine Chapel. Pure joy - Dolomites and the alpine meadow. By the time we arrived at Altarocca, I was very tired. That location and view was amazing and just what I needed to get refreshed before Rome."

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."

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."

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."

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"

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

Weather

Italy / Milan


Italy / Venice


Italy / Florence


Italy / Rome

Hotels & Flights

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, as well as in your online customer account. About one month prior to the tour departure, in your customer account you'll find the directions to your first tour hotel and a complete list of hotels where we'll be staying while on tour.

Flights

Our tours don't include airfare, so your flight arrangements are completely up to you.

Most tour members arrange to fly into Milan's Malpensa airport and out of Rome ("multicity" on flight-booking websites). Milan is about a one-hour train ride from Varenna, where the tour begins. Booking round-trip to one city will require a connecting flight, train trip, or additional overnight stay in Italy.

Please note if you're considering using Milan's Linate airport, it will be closed from July 27 through October 27, 2019. 

We suggest arriving a day or two before your tour begins to allow ample time to get over jet lag and be well-rested for the first few days of your tour. For more information about transportation options for getting to and from your tour, see your Rick Steves Italy guidebook.