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

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

Best of Italy in 17 Days Tour

from $5,095 per person + air

Optional Single Supplement $775

See Tour Dates

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

Dates & Prices

2018

What's Included

  • A small, friendly group of 24–28 people — half the size of most tour groups
  • Full-time services of a professional Rick Steves guide and local experts who will make the fascinating history, art, and culture of Italy come alive for you
  • All tours and admissions — at no extra cost — covering at least 26 group sightseeing events • Lake Como ferry pass • South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology (Ötzi the Iceman) • Venice walking tour • St. Mark's Square and Basilica • Renaissance Florence walking tour • Florence's Accademia Gallery, including Michelangelo's David • Uffizi Gallery • Pisa • Pesto demonstration • Orientation for "vacation" day in Cinque Terre • Hill town • Siena walking tour • Siena Duomo • Siena contrada visit and dinner • Artisan workshop • Assisi walking tour • Basilica of St. Francis • Umbrian wine tasting • Orvieto orientation and San Brizio Chapel • Ancient Rome walking tour • Colosseum • Roman Forum • Pantheon • Vatican Museums • Sistine Chapel • Evening walk through Rome including Trevi Fountain…and more
  • All group transportation from Varenna to Rome
  • 16 nights' accommodations in memorable, centrally located hotels
  • All breakfasts and half your dinners
  • All tips for guides and driver
  • Rick Steves Travel Store credit to use toward guidebooks for your trip
  • Guaranteed tour price, locked in the moment you make your deposit
  • Optional single supplements — this tour has a limited number of private rooms for solo travelers for an additional fee
  • Tour alum discount of $50 for each tour you've taken prior to 2018
  • 50% discount on a consulting appointment with our in-house experts to assist with your pre- or post-tour travel plans
  • Flexibility should you need to transfer, or cancel/interrupt your tour

Fine print: You are responsible for the cost of your drinks and free-time sightseeing. See our Tour Conditions Agreement for important details regarding everything listed above.

Itinerary

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

Day 1: Welcome to Italy

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

Day 2: Cruising Lake Como

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

Day 3: Scenic Drive to the Dolomites

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

Day 4: Hiking the Dolomites

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

Day 5: The Iceman and Venice

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

Day 6: Exploring Venice

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

Day 7: Florence and David

We'll drive straight to Florence this morning, and hit the ground walking with a Renaissance tour of the city's historic center. We'll see and learn about Brunelleschi's magnificent cathedral dome, Ghiberti's Baptistery doors, and other creations that helped define this world-changing era. We'll end our walk at the Accademia Gallery to marvel at works of sculptural genius: Michelangelo's rough-hewn Prisoners and his greatest masterpiece, David. Sleep in Florence (2 nights). Boat: ½ hour. Bus: 4 hours. Walking: moderate.

Day 8: Renaissance Florence

This morning we'll devote our time to the breathtaking Renaissance art of the Uffizi — home to the finest collection of Italian paintings anywhere — including works by Leonardo, Botticelli, Michelangelo and more. The rest of the day is yours to stroll across the delightfully medieval Ponte Vecchio, visit more of the city's art-filled churches and museums, browse the colorful markets, and find a special trattoria for dinner on your own. No bus. Walking: moderate.

Day 9: Pisa and Cinque Terre Villages

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

Day 10: Exploring the Cinque Terre

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

Day 11: Tuscany and Siena

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

Day 12: Savoring Siena

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

Day 13: Assisi and Wine Tasting

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

Day 14: Hill Town Italy

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

Day 15: A Walk Through Caesar's Rome

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

Day 16: The Vatican Museums

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

Day 17: Tour Over After Breakfast

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

Itinerary specifics subject to change.

Physical Demands

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

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

Reviews

Vincent

Fort Collins, CO

Tour: 10/13/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Lisa

Port Angeles, WA

Tour: 10/13/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Mary

Indianola, WA

Tour: 10/13/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Janet

Overland Park, KS

Tour: 10/13/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Sharon

Raleigh, NC

Tour: 10/13/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Paul

Belton, TX

Tour: 10/13/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Claire

Needham, MA

Tour: 10/13/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Barbara

St Joseph, MO

Tour: 10/13/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Great experience! So much history and culture.

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Craig

St Joseph, MO

Tour: 10/13/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Joanna

Redwood City, CA

Tour: 10/13/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Gerald

Indianola, wa

Tour: 10/13/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Elizabeth

Stilwell, KS

Tour: 10/13/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Dean

Dubuque, IA

Tour: 10/06/17

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Tod

Reno, NV

Tour: 10/06/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Alan

Greenbelt, MD

Tour: 10/06/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Lisa

Benicia, CA

Tour: 10/06/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Michelle

Gaithersburg, MD

Tour: 10/06/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Louis

Gaithersburg, MD

Tour: 10/06/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Kellie

Reno, NV

Tour: 10/06/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Evan

New Westminster, BC

Tour: 10/04/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Carol

Langley, BC

Tour: 10/04/17

Overall rating: rating 3 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

John

Falmouth, MA

Tour: 10/04/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Catherine

London, ON

Tour: 10/04/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Myra

Whitby, ON

Tour: 10/04/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Thomas

Cupertino, CA

Tour: 10/04/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Linda

Mission Viejo, CA

Tour: 10/04/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Seeing the David in Florence."

Marilyn

Falmouth, MA

Tour: 10/04/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Garry

Kelowna, BC

Tour: 10/04/17

Overall rating: rating 3 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Scott

Orange, CA

Tour: 10/01/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

James

Tehachapi, CA

Tour: 10/01/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Leslie

Orange, CA

Tour: 10/01/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Jeannette

Seneca, SC

Tour: 10/01/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Rose Mary

Sammamish, WA

Tour: 10/01/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Sally

Tehachapi, CA

Tour: 10/01/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Herb

Duncannon, PA

Tour: 10/01/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Edward

Tampa, FL

Tour: 10/01/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Walking into St Peters Basilica"

Nina

Belmont, CA

Tour: 10/01/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Peter

Birmingham, AL

Tour: 10/01/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Marilyn

Birmingham, AL

Tour: 10/01/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Marilyn

Snohomish, WA

Tour: 10/01/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Bob

Villa Hills, KY

Tour: 10/01/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Lynne

Villa Hills, KY

Tour: 10/01/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Peter

Chico, CA

Tour: 09/29/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Rick

Tollhouse, CA

Tour: 09/29/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Steve

Bellingham, WA

Tour: 09/29/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Definitely the Cinque Terre."

Benita

Fresno, CA

Tour: 09/29/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Dwight

Elkhart, IN

Tour: 09/29/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Genevieve

Tollhouse, CA

Tour: 09/29/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Valerie

Goshen, IN

Tour: 09/29/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Buzz

Santa Clarita, CA

Tour: 09/29/17

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Allison

Chico, CA

Tour: 09/29/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Wesley

Goshen, IN

Tour: 09/29/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Sandi

Hinesburg, VT

Tour: 09/27/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Eleanor

Saint Paul, MN

Tour: 09/27/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Thomas

Corvallis, OR

Tour: 09/27/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Barbara

Saint Paul, MN

Tour: 09/27/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

John

Englewood, FL

Tour: 09/27/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Michael

Bothell, WA

Tour: 09/27/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Rene

Newark, OH

Tour: 09/27/17

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Gilbert

Erie, PA

Tour: 09/27/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Christine

Corvallis, OR

Tour: 09/27/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Bruce

Hillsboro, OR

Tour: 09/27/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Lou

The Villages, FL

Tour: 09/27/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Patricia

Redding, CA

Tour: 09/27/17

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Liked the art, scenery and gondola ride."

Susan

Hermosa Beach, CA

Tour: 09/27/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Colleen

Vancouver, WA

Tour: 09/24/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Sheryl

Battle Ground, WA

Tour: 09/24/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Steven

Tahuya, WA

Tour: 09/24/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Kathleen

Langley, BC

Tour: 09/24/17

Overall rating: rating 2 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Christine

Painesville, OH

Tour: 09/24/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Jane

Spokane, WA

Tour: 09/24/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Richard

Vancouver, WA

Tour: 09/24/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

John

Battle Ground, WA

Tour: 09/24/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Alden

Vancouver, WA

Tour: 09/24/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Corliss

Vancouver, WA

Tour: 09/24/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Eileen

Monroe, WA

Tour: 09/22/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Brian

Clinton Township, MI

Tour: 09/22/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Deborah

San Carlos, CA

Tour: 09/22/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Kristianne

Spokane, WA

Tour: 09/22/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Susanne

Jackson, MI

Tour: 09/22/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Janice

Mill Creek, WA

Tour: 09/22/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Juanita

Lake Forest, IL

Tour: 09/22/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Wendy

Spokane, WA

Tour: 09/22/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Jeff

Monroe, WA

Tour: 09/22/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Glenn

Calgary, AB

Tour: 09/22/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Erle

Spokane, WA

Tour: 09/22/17

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Barbara

Chippewa Falls, WI

Tour: 09/22/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Scott

Alameda, CA

Tour: 09/20/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Michele

North Saanich, BC

Tour: 09/20/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Mary

Lenexa, KS

Tour: 09/20/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Sean

North Saanich, BC

Tour: 09/20/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Suzanne

Naperville, IL

Tour: 09/20/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Michael

Naperville, IL

Tour: 09/20/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

David

Galloway, NJ

Tour: 09/20/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Jim

Redmond, WA

Tour: 09/15/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Margery

Waban, MA

Tour: 09/15/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Diane

Athens, TX

Tour: 09/15/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Suk Yin

Temple City, CA

Tour: 09/15/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Tommy

Temple City, CA

Tour: 09/15/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Douglas

Woodinville, WA

Tour: 09/15/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Gary

Everett, WA

Tour: 09/15/17

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Mary

Rochester, NY

Tour: 09/13/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

David

Oceanside, CA

Tour: 09/13/17

Overall rating: rating 1 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The end of the tour."

John

Rochester, NY

Tour: 09/13/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Grant

Seattle, WA

Tour: 09/13/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Margaret

The Villages, FL

Tour: 09/13/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Valez

Pocatello, ID

Tour: 09/13/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Richard

Pocatello, ID

Tour: 09/13/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Gretchen

Alliance, OH

Tour: 09/13/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Bill

Houston, TX

Tour: 09/13/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Mercedes

Vancouver, BC

Tour: 09/13/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Clint

Seattle, WA

Tour: 09/10/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Nancy

Wexford, PA

Tour: 09/10/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Donald

New Lenox, IL

Tour: 09/10/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Joyce

Thousand Oaks, CA

Tour: 09/10/17

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Carol

Hilton Head Island, SC

Tour: 09/10/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Sandra

New Lenox, IL

Tour: 09/10/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Bruce

Kingman, AZ

Tour: 09/10/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Saara

Toronto, ON

Tour: 09/10/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Daniel

Johnstown, CO

Tour: 09/10/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Lynnetta

Damascus, MD

Tour: 09/10/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Kimberly

Carlsbad, CA

Tour: 09/08/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Dale

Calgary, AB

Tour: 09/08/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Stephen

Nunica, MI

Tour: 09/08/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Sheila

Berkeley Lake, GA

Tour: 09/08/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Cathleen

Grand Rapids, MI

Tour: 09/08/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

David

Grand Rapids, MI

Tour: 09/08/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Allen

Castro Valley, CA

Tour: 09/08/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had an excellent experience. Molly was very helpful.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Seeing the immense ruins in Rome."

David

Grand Rapids, MI

Tour: 09/08/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Vivian

Longmont, CO

Tour: 09/08/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

James

Manhattan, KS

Tour: 09/08/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Carolyn

Manhattan, KS

Tour: 09/08/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Darlene

Calgary, AB

Tour: 09/08/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Stephen

Castro Valley, CA

Tour: 09/08/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Edward

Berkeley Lake, GA

Tour: 09/08/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Cindy

Grand Rapids, MI

Tour: 09/08/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Pamela

Kilsyth, VIC

Tour: 09/06/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

A wonderful experience. Diverse and interesting itinerary. Well balanced group and free time activities. Meals excellent. Organisation excellent. Hotels had suitable locations,service and were varied. Very friendly group. The highlight of the tour for me was Anna our guide. She made Italy come alive with her enthusiasm. She is an EXCEPTIONAL guide. Just loved it all (except the crowds) FANTASTIC.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The view from our hotel window out over Lake Como at Varenna. What a start for our tour. I loved Varenna and around Lake Como . Hotel Cipressi was very impressive. Also having the opera singer in our Gondola for our romantic trip along the canals of Venice was another wow moment. A dream come true."

Dennis

Lakewood, WA

Tour: 09/06/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Judy

Eden Prairie, MN

Tour: 09/06/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Richard

Eden Prairie, MN

Tour: 09/06/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My overall experience was beyond my expectations. Our tour guide was a natural. Our bus driver was a real pro. The tour group of 24 was the perfect size with a good mix of ages, backgrounds & experiences that seemed to be compatible from the first day we met. The sites visited in Northern Italy were all so beautiful and unique showing a broad range of landscapes and history. It was a fantastic experience!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Can't say I had a favorite "WOW" moment. Each location we visited had its own "WOW" moment. But I will say the most "Emotional" moment was our visit to the Florence American Cemetery & Memorial. Well worth the time."

Don

Pekin, IL

Tour: 09/06/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Janice

Orangevale, CA

Tour: 09/06/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Ian

Kilsyth, VIC

Tour: 09/06/17

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Great tour made even better thanks to our wonderful tour guide Anna. Knowledgeable, bubbly fun, lots of drive, she made our tour the success it was. Steve, give her a salary increase before another operator picks her up! Adrian, our wonderful driver, made us feel absolutely safe on some pretty dodgy roads. Some hotels, in particular Florence and Orvieto (the vineyard....overpriced and unfriendly) disappointing. Montorosso fantastic. Provided meals average. Overall, we will certainly recommend

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Walking in the Dolomites....what an experience!"

Mary

Bellevue, WA

Tour: 09/06/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My daughter and I toured the Best of Italy 17 day trip. We packed so much into those days and still made time to just live local. Anna and Adrian, we adore these two.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Limiting my diet to only 3 gelato tastings. The US War Memorial gardens and the overwhelming emotion it brought."

Linda

Pekin, IL

Tour: 09/06/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Michelle

Lake Forest Park, WA

Tour: 09/06/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Grazie, Rick Steves! We had an amazing, fantastic, unforgettable tour of Italy! Never would have been able to see and do as much in 17 days on our own. There were loads of "must see" sights with some surprises along the way. The tour was a perfect mix of structured and unstructured time. Our fellow travelers were great, helped make things go smoothly, and it was fun getting to know them. We were in excellent hands with our guide, Anna, and driver, Adrian, so we could just relax and enjoy Italy.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It's a Rick Steves tour cliché, but there were "wow" moments everyday. The stunning view of Lake Como from our hotel window in Varenna was the first "wow" and set the tone for the rest of our tour. The next three "wows" that pop into my head are: the inside of St. Mark's Basilica in Venice illuminated with light, seeing St. Mark's plaza flood and being inside the colosseum in Rome."

Pamela

Springfield, MO

Tour: 09/03/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I had a fantastic time on this tour! There was so much to see and experience, our guides Elena and Martin were outstanding, the extras were awesome. Having never been to Italy before, I can't imagine any other way to get such a full view of the country and learn so much about the people, the culture, the land.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There are too many to list, but one of the most memorable was walking into the Cathedral San Marco in Venice and seeing all the gold mosaic. I was overwhelmed."

Anne

Stevens Point, WI

Tour: 09/03/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This trip was outstanding- the best European trip we have ever taken. We will definitely sign up for another Rick Steves tour. We really appreciate the Rick Steves philosophy and try to practice it. We were fortunate and had a great group, fantastic weather, wonderful guides, and an outstanding itinerary. We especially appreciated the large amount of free time to catch up or explore new sights. The organized activities were excellent and there was a perfect balance between organized and free.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The whole trip was a "Wow"."

Lynn

London, ON

Tour: 09/03/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I absolutely enjoyed this trip, and it exceeded my expectations. Each and every place we stayed or stopped at was fascinating and enjoyable. It is clear that the Rick Steves company has honed the tour into a fine art, and no visit is extraneous and there is no wasted time. Our guide Elena was wonderful; very smart, funny, entertaining and fun-loving. She was also very professional, and her passion for her work shone through.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"All of the Duomos in the various cities we saw were so beautiful, but for me the Siena Duomo was the most spectacular. Everywhere you looked there was something beautiful and magical to see. I think I wanted to faint! Siena overall was my favourite (and that is saying something because every place we stayed was amazing); I loved seeing "The Allegory of Good and Bad Government" fresco in the Town Hall, as well as walking up the Town Hall tower and seeing the amazing view of the town & country."

Larry

Stevens Point, WI

Tour: 09/03/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Anne and I had a great trip. I am sure you will get a more vebose eval from her but I would concur with anything she wrote.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Probably a brief stop in Lukka."

David

Springfield, MO

Tour: 09/03/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was a great tour group with 90% of participants being on their first Rick Steve's tour. Lot of excitement and energy in the group which was brought out with an excellent tour guide in Elena. The tour really captured the history, culture, and fantastic sites of Italy.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Varenna and Cinque Terre locations were my favorites. Mountains, water, historical sites, hotel, and the relaxation atmosphere was most welcome."

Neil

Everett, WA

Tour: 09/03/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My wife and I have usually toured independently on previous trips to Europe. This time we thought we'd see how a guided tour would work out. I found the combination of organized group time and free time for us to explore or shop on our own worked out really well. It's a great format and it was such a nice change to have the logistics already worked out for us by ETBD of getting to and from locations and arranging for hotels. The size of the group was perfect. Would heartily recommend ETBD.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Venice as a whole was WOW and seeing St. Mark's Cathedral was fantastic. Really enjoyed going out on the roof of the cathedral and looking out upon the square. The Sistine Chapel is a very close second WOW."

Roberta

Everett, WA

Tour: 09/03/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I liked that everywhere we went we had something unique and memorable. We went to a beautiful lake, impressive mountains, big and small cities, farm, walked on the walls around a city (Lucca), learned about the city horse race (Sienna). I liked having the small "behind the scenes" tours in Venice (the oarlock) and Sienna (the stained glass maker). I loved having the guided tours but also the time to explore on our own.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"One single moment is difficult to choose but I would have to say Venice. It was such a unique city with its canals and pedestrian only streets. I loved seeing the boats bring in supplies and carry out garbage and laundry. St Mark's square was very impressive. I loved that we stayed close to the square so could go there at night when it was less crowded."

Lori

Walnut Creek, CA

Tour: 09/03/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was perfect ! I have been to Italy 3 times before, but this tour really covered the best of Italy. It was a whirlwind for sure - you really need to train for the tour - I highly recommend being in shape and make sure your knees can handle all of the stairs. Lose some weight and get in shape people - I ate anything I wanted and had gelato every day and came home 5 pounds lighter :) Our guides were so wonderful - Elena and Martin - the best ! The bus driver was also excellent !

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I loved the Italian Alps - it was breathtaking - so beautiful and not crowded. The dairy cows with the bells around their necks were so melodic. I also loved Lake Como - the natural beauty combined with the beautiful villages - I can't wait to return."

Robert

Toledo, OH

Tour: 09/03/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The 17 day Tour of Italy was great. It had about every type of different Italian areas included in the trip. From lakes, to mountains, to seas, to vineyards and the big cities! We had a emotional side trip to the American WW2 Cemetery near Florence. It was very meaningful to me as a Vietnam Veteran who had a father in the Army during WW2.It was difficult to leave each of the special areas that we visited because of the great people and the wonderful scenery. Our bus driver was fantastic too.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"One was the beautiful mountains in the Dolomites and the other would have to be Rome with the fantastic ruins and the Vatican with the Sistine Chapel."

Martha

San Jose, CA

Tour: 09/03/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I have looked at other tours from other companies. None were as complete as this one. The sites were personal and amazing. The chefs dinners were a special touch. The tour guides and even bus driver took personal and special care of us. I look forward to taking more Rich Steves tours in the future.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I have to give two: Castelrotto was a complete surprise. I did not amazed by the spectacular scenery, amazing food. We kept wanting to sing songs from The Sound of Music.....completely unexpected. The trip to the American National WWII cemetery on 9-11 was another unexpected event. I was touched by the visit. I was equally touched by the thoughtfulness of the Rick Steves crew to remember the specialness of this day and take us there. Praying for our fallen soldiers was so special."

Patrick

Charlotte, NC

Tour: 09/03/17

Overall rating: rating 3 of 5

This was a good tour from the standpoint of value and coverage of the best cities and sites in the Northern half of Italy.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The interior of St. Peter's Basilica was the most amazing creation of human hands I have ever witnessed in my lifetime!"

Kevin

Boulder, CO

Tour: 09/01/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We were with a great group of like-minded fellow travelers. We ran into each other often during our free-time, which resulted in even better experiences since we were able to share and help one another out. I loved the balance of free-/guided-time. Our guide (Sarah) was outstanding. I'd always select her as my guide if I had the chance. She was funny, selfless, helpful, full of energy, and always ready to listen to your concerns. Great trip! Loved it.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Taking the lift in the Dolomites for our Panorama walk. And then hiking 9 miles that day in peace and beauty. I couldn't quit smiling. Falling in step with the ringing of cowbells. Also having lunch at Nessun Dorma in Manarola after the vineyard hike. 8 of us enjoyed amazing pesto with the best view in the world. I had to pinch myself often. The best was when my wife smiled and thanked me for picking this tour. She was skeptical beforehand; that made my day!"

Jill

Port Angeles, WA

Tour: 09/01/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Wide variety of well-selected events, with time to roam on our own in between. Sarah S really helped the group to coalesce. Everyone seemed to enjoy each other

Favorite "WOW" moment

"View from the Dolomites Sienna"

Raymond

St Albert, AB

Tour: 09/01/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I am still in awe of the beautiful sites and valleys we saw, the history we learned, the accomplishments of past civilizations, the interesting stories told by local guides, the craftsman demonstrations, the happy and friendly tour guide (Sarah), the trip organization overall (thanks Rick Steves team), the beauty of the countryside (worth repeating), AND the great company of our 27 travel companions -- we've made life-long connections on this trip and will do more!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"From Compatch, above Castelrotto, we took a gondola further up the mountain to hike the "Witches' Bench" trail. We happily climbed further though green pastures, listening to cowbells around us, then suddenly came to the edge of a cliff. The view of the immense, clean, quiet valley below was stunningly beautiful - dark green forested hills, sea-green pastures, and small clusters of houses was amazing. Heaven looks like this. We must go back."

Carol

Ashland, OR

Tour: 09/01/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

When my husband and I decided on Italy as our vacation choice for 2017, the task of stringing together cities and tourist highlights on our own was daunting. It was at that point we considered joining a tour group. What I especially appreciated about the BOI tour was the variation: city, countryside, city, small town, etc. I also appreciated the central location of B & B's to points of interests within a city which allowed us walk to the local attractions and restaurants.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"As much as I enjoyed the historical aspects of each city and the history of the Duomos and towers, being in the Dolomites and being "face to face" with the magnificence of the surrounding mountains, was awe-inspiring. The weather cooperated and so my husband and I were able to do the Panoramic Walk as well at the Witches Hat...not bad for a couple of 70 + year olds!"

Francis

Ashland, OR

Tour: 09/01/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This being my first RS tour, it exceeded my expectations. I enjoyed the comfort of not having to think about my itinerary and all the day's necessities to make the experience wonderful. Transportation? Lodging? Most meals? Tours? Entry fees? Someone handled it. One of the best trips I've had in 50 years of traveling. It was wonderful having someone to guide us through the country's culture and customs, and being tied in with the RS books which I've relied on in the past.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Had to be the Dolomites, seeing and hiking near the fresh snow fall, and experiencing each Italian town. Although you could say that the little towns and villages looked the same (stone buildings, churches inside and out, cobblestone streets, etc), each had a distinct personality that made visiting them unique. I'm a nature person and the natural world spoke to me throughout the tour. Even Rome and Florence had such opportunities. When it was over, sitting back, reflecting, & thinking "Wow!""

Peter

Port Angeles, WA

Tour: 09/01/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Thought the itinerary for the Best of Italy in 17 Days tour was well-conceived and planned out. The towns and cities we visited were so rich in history and culture. The Rick Steves' company provided an amazingly diverse yet comprehensive experience of northern Italy within a relatively limited time for all that there is to see in such a wonderful country. I can't imagine not using you again for my future European travels.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favorite "wow" moment was standing in the Piazza St. Marco in Venice for the very first time and taking in all the incredible sights, sensations and people."

Margaret

Chicago, IL

Tour: 09/01/17

Overall rating: rating 3 of 5

After an outstanding "best of Spain" tour last September, this was a disappointment. We covered too many places for the time allowed, and thus only scratched the surface of each. Our cheerful and totally pleasant guide wasn't very interested in history, unlike our guide last year in Spain (and some years ago on a trip in France), and since that it a particular interest of mine, that was a disappointment as well.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Ostia Antico - a totally optional visit I took instead of the jammed-packed Vatican and St. Peter's - was the best stop on the tour, with the Dolomites being second best."

Michael

Ashland, OR

Tour: 09/01/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was as described, the best of Italy. There were many places we would have liked to have stayed longer, but that wasn't the tour we signed up for. Oh well, I guess we'll just have to go back.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were two. It was hard to not be awed by the views in the Dolomites; and as a former urban planner who loves urban spaces, I found the main piazza in Sienna delightful."

Susan

La Canada, CA

Tour: 09/01/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

What a great experience. It started with a reception of the tour group and Sarah our leader was so energetic and full of the love of touring and life. Every step of the way her excitement gave the group more energy. Sarah's vast knowledge of Italy and history helped color the areas we visited even more. We looked forward to each new experience with excitement and wonder.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"We had several WOW moments: Lake Como, The Dolomites, David, Oliveto, the Coliseum. Those were at the top of the list!"

Jean

Centennial, CO

Tour: 09/01/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was amazing. My mantra was " an adventure every day" be it sitting on the auto strata waiting for a serious accident to clear and watching the locals getting out of cars and chatting, walking the Dolimites, seeking out an Italian doctor with only a little English, watching the people if Siena greet each other, kiss babies and chat as they did their morning errands, enjoying a meal in the Borghese Gardens while families entertained their little ones by running races betwon courses.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Several...absorbing the culture amonst the locals, moonlight gondola ride on the Grand Canal with a full moon overhead,and the walk in the Dolimites. Stunningly beautiful!"

William

Bettendorf, IA

Tour: 08/25/17

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Being or 2nd tour we knew what to expect. Another cram packed tour with plenty of time on our own. Destinations were great with a few surprises along the way. We had a great time!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I believe the Dolomites were more breathtaking than I thought. Peaceful walks in the Alpi De Siusi were the greatest!"

Kathleen

Lexington, KY

Tour: 08/25/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I especially enjoy the small group size and everyone in this particular group related well. I also liked the two night stays [INVALID] I have been on tours where we moved everynight and this is very tiring. The sites selected were representative of the many aspects of Italy. Our tour guide made everything interesting and fun - I marvel at how he was able to talk about the history, art, etc without any notes [INVALID] but then your tour guides are always so prepared. The local guides were also exceptional.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Seeing the "David" in Florence and walking along the streets of ancient Rome."

Maria

Miami Beach, FL

Tour: 08/25/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Fantastic trip; well organized and designed; well paced; best advice on what to do in the free time

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Discovering Venice, which is like a fantasy coming out of the Middle Ages with touches of modernity."

Michele

Irvine, CA

Tour: 08/25/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My overall tour experience was excellent. We had only 21 tour members total and we couldn't have asked for a better group. It was fast paced, but that was expected.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favorite "wow" moment was when we got off the train in Monterosso, we walked from the "new town" to the "old town" and seeing that beautiful beach and the crystal blue sea was just gorgeous. I was ready for my vacation from my vacation."

Janice

Pittsburgh, PA

Tour: 08/25/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I loved all the places we visited. Our guide was very knowledgeable about the history and culture of Italy. I enjoyed the amount of group and free time.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I think it was going to the Dolomites. The area was just beautiful."

Michele

Newnan, GA

Tour: 08/25/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I didn't think the Best of South Italy we did in '15 could be topped but I was wrong. All were memorable for the right reasons: the sights; the food; the history; my traveling companions; exceptional guide, Rainer; and driver Dino. What a delightful 17 days. I didn't want it to end.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It's a toss up between the visit to the American Cemetery outside Florence and being ontop at Passport Pordoi. Both were very moving experiences, one reverent and the other majestic."

John

Newnan, GA

Tour: 08/25/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The best way I can describe this tour experience is to state there can be no monetary value placed on this experience. This experience was way beyond assigning a dollar amount. The geographical and cultural diversity was incredible. The teaching and learning lessons were fantastic. The food was phenomenally good. Rainer was very knowledgeable on the history of the area, the culture, and real importantly, the food. His food recommendations were right on target.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favorite moment was Cinque Terre but it is unfair to pick only one "wow". There were so many."

Diane

Rock Island, IL

Tour: 08/25/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had a great experience seeing all we had learned about in school about Italy and learned and enjoyed so much more. Rainer was an excellent teacher/guide.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Altarocca Wine Resort was amazing!"

Ken

Sammamish, WA

Tour: 07/07/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was fantastic! Great food, great wine, rich in history, beautiful country, great group of tour members and excellent sampling of cities and sites visited during the 17 day trip.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Two wow moments comes to mind. The first was seeing the coliseum in Rome in person after years of seeing it in movies and documentaries. The size, history and energy of that place just blew me away. The second one is more a personal wow moment of seeing our teenage kids fully taking in foreign culture and enjoying themselves with other people on our tour."

Marilyn

Palatine, IL

Tour: 07/07/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Well-organized, great tour guide, nice variety of experiences, fun group, nice bus And driver. We loved the best of Italy, And every stop was fascinating. We thoroughly enjoyed the entire trip!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Seeing the view from the Hotel Pasquale tied with the vineyard hotel"

Candice

Whittier, CA

Tour: 07/07/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The best part about this tour was the freedom to do as I please and the freedom from worrying about coordinating what is next. My second favorite part is all the special teachers (gondola wood carver, basilica teachers, stain-glass window teachers, etc.).

Favorite "WOW" moment

"After about 24 hours of flights, lay-overs, and a train ride to Varenna, two tears fell when I saw Lake Como. I think it was hit with surreal beauty when I entered into the piazza of San Marco. That is when I felt like I was in Italy. The first thought I had regarding the RS Tour, was the last two nights in Rome when we all got gelato together near the Trevi Fountain and last supper in Rome when we taxied to our hotel. That was a nice treat during a energy sucking (the heat) time."

Lynn

Novato, CA

Tour: 07/07/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our first tour experience and we couldn't have been more pleased. We originally started to plan a trip on our own, but quickly became overwhelmed with the process. This tour included almost all the places we wanted to visit (we also wanted to see the Amalfi coast), but it was easy to extend our trip and do that on our own. There is NO WAY we would have had close to the experience we had on this tour if we planned it ourselves. The planning is superb! Highly recommend!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I had "wow" moments daily - seriously!! Loved hiking at the Dolomites and Cinque Terre, strolling around Venice (and taking a gondola ride), the stain glass demo was very cool and found info shared about the Palio in Siena fascinating. Loved all the group dinners, was in awe over all the beautiful art and duomos. DAVID! The Sistine Chapel, the FOOD, wine, refreshing aperol spritz! Lake Como - so much beauty everywhere. Dreamed of this trip for a long time, and it was a dream come true!"

Daryl

Upper Kingsclear, NB

Tour: 07/07/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Excellent time. The 'speed' of the tour was timed in such a way as to maximize the things we got to see and do.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Tough question as there was a "wow" moment at all the stops but I loved the water taxi ride in Venice and the view from the hotel in Umbria where we stayed....breathtaking."

Rebecca

Davis, CA

Tour: 07/07/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Since I had been on two previous Italy tours (Southern Italy and Village Italy) I knew there would be some overlap in cities visited. What was really nice, is that the hotels were different and so were the demonstrations/activities. I very much enjoyed my third visit to Italy!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hiking in the Alpi de Suisi was fantastic! What was especially exciting was ending the hike in pouring rain, hail, thunder and lightning!!We finally found the ski lift where we had a beer to celebrate before heading down in the lift with more rain, thunder, and lightning!"

John

Friendswood, TX

Tour: 07/07/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This is a very well organized to her mobility. There was a very good balance between experiencing all of the sites that we wanted to see while not being rushed. Our tour guide Virginia was outstanding, and it's hard for me to imagine how she could have done any better. She was entertaining and is very knowledgeable. She is very skilled at anticipating what we were to expect at each site.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I was moved at our visit of the Sistine chapel. We were very well-prepped before the visit as far as what to look for in the chapel, and I will never forget that visit. My only disappointment was that no one could explain to me what happened to chapels 1 through 15..."

Victoria

Sammamish, WA

Tour: 07/07/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

For me and my family, this tour had a perfect pace, which was to stay two nights in each hotel and be on the bus every other day, with organized tour activities part of the time and free time. We found that it gave us time to linger and enjoy some nice areas, and see the most important sights too. The guides (Virginia and the local guides) were very well informed and it was educational as well as entertaining.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were several favorites, such as exploring the beautiful Lake Como area, hiking in the Cinque Terre, seeing the David in Florence, and having a tour of the coliseum. I guess if I had to pick a favorite it would be the Alpi di Suisi area where we stayed in Castelrotto and took an amazing gondola ride up into the mountains to hike. I've never seen terrain quite like in the Dolomites, even though I live near the "Issaquah Alps"."

Niurka

Arcadia, CA

Tour: 06/18/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Exceded my expectations. Excellent combination of guided tours and free time. Best tour guide and driver ever. Local tour guides knowledgeable and funny. Good hotels (except Florence). Well organized and good variety of visits and opportunities to talk to local guides and experts. Good advise and information provided in preparation for the trip.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"In Venice, coming out of the alleys to the San Marcos square and then to the piazza next to it. No words, just feelings."

Marypat

Aurora, CO

Tour: 06/18/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I absolutely loved every minute of this Tour of Italy !!It was my first Rick Steve's Tour. I grew up watching him on tv as a young person and always dreamed of taking a tour in Europe. My best friend and I decided to start with Italy. We loved our tour guide, Sarah, who was from the UK. She truly made out trip amazing !! She was organized, knowledgable, outgoing and full of personality ! She was a key to the success of the trip because she made a personal connection to our group.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I had so many WOW moments. But I really enjoyed the gondola ride in Venice, hiking the Dolomites, and incredible artwork and sculptures of Florence and Rome ! Also the side trips to Pisa and Assasi. I also enjoyed the special events in the stained glass artist demonstration, restaurant owner pesto making, and the professional tour guides that helped in the museums."

Carmen

Colorado Springs, CO

Tour: 06/18/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I had a great time on the tour. I loved the itinerary and all the chosen destinations. The balance of organized tours with individual time was perfect. Plus, our knowledgeable, entertaining guide gave great information while being complemented by all the excellent local city guides.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I didn't know anything about the Dolomites, so the stunning drive up was only topped by the great views on our hikes. Sehr gut!"

Jane

Allen Park, MI

Tour: 06/11/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I enjoyed the nearly non-stop activities from the first day to the last. The unexpected side trips and sites were a joy and a surprise. Being in the heart of each place made me feel like I was truly a part of the community and not quite as much of a tourist.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were too many to name a favorite - but loved riding the ferries on Lake Como and along the Cinque Terre, Sienna's Compo, climbing to the top of the Duomo in Florence, home-made dinners, the many hiking opportunities, and gelato!!!"

Anita

Vancouver, WA

Tour: 06/11/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our second outstanding experience with the Rick Steves travel company. For me these tours are the perfect mix of viewing sites with our outstanding RS tour guides or local experts, and free time. The pace of the tour is brisk as you move every 2 nights, but you also finish with the sense that you have seen and experienced a significant amount of the country. Once again, the artisan tours and group meals in various settings were every bit as much a highlight of the tour as the sites.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Driving up to the Dolomites, was a "wow moment" even for this "N.W. Girl" who has spent a lot of time in the Cascades, Rockies, and Yosemite. The vertical rock jetting up from the high meadow is hard to describe adequately, but I can guarantee it will not disappoint any mountain lover."

Leslie

Kewaunee, WI

Tour: 06/11/17

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

This tour was active, with lots to experience around every corner. There was plenty of history giving, walking, climbing, and eating. I liked both Rainer and Debra as our guides. They each had qualities that made the tour wonderful. Rainer is a foodie and made available meals at places he has enjoyed over his years of being a guide. The most memorable being the buckwheat pasta with a retired chef in the backyard of his family home in Lake Como. Debra was so helpful getting me around the cities.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Coming into the museum and seeing the statue of David, and swimming in the Mediterranean sea."

Katherine

Kansas City, MO

Tour: 06/11/17

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

We knew what we signed up for and the tour met our expectaions. We fully enjoyed our tour group. We had a tour guide and an assistant. They were both very knowledgeable supportive and kind. Our goal was to see as much of Italy as possible and decide which parts of Italy we might want to return to on our own. This tour met that goal.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The best moments we're hearing the history behind the sights that we were going to see. Seeing those sites. And enjoying them in person."

Linda

Redwood City, CA

Tour: 06/11/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Not sure where to begin! Rainer is a fantastic tour guide who made this trip truly meaningful beyond just the fun of seeing new and exciting places. I had no idea we would learn so much about the history and culture. Food, sites, bus, hotels, fellow tour members could not have been better. I have never been on a tour before and was leery about what to expect. This trip far exceeded my expectations. Can't wait to take another tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"This is so hard to say. I would say rather a "wow" moment it was more like a "wow" 17 days! The overall beauty of the Italian countryside, small towns and villages really stands out for me. I also had no idea I would eat so much fantastic food. But also, seeing how Italians really live, like the retired chef who shared his home and food with us and the Selva contrada in Siena were truly memorable."

Julia

Lakewood, CO

Tour: 06/11/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I thoroughly enjoyed the tour. I have been to Venice, Florence, Rome, Sienna, and Assisi before, but on my own. The tour brought new life and depth to everything I had seen and experienced before. I was thrilled to share this experience with our young-adult children. They had a built in friend group - there were three families including us, each with an older son and younger daughter, ages 17-23 - they had a blast. Our entire group was great! No stinkers!! ;-)

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Dolomites. I absolutely loved that area and would like to go back."

Jessica

Seattle, WA

Tour: 06/11/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour overall was fantastic. I did this trip with my parents and it was the perfect way to explore Italy with them. The [INVALID]ion of cities and towns was great. There was a good balance between structured and unstructured time. I had been to most of the locations before, but the background and context provided by our guides gave new depth and perspective to each place. The main challenge was choosing what to do with our free time. I could have easily spent more time everywhere we visited.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Too many to choose from... The switchbacks and mountains of the Dolomites, getting lost in Venice, the local artisans, the passion of the people of each Siena neighborhood for the Palio, the coffee, the regional foods and dishes, the varied countryside, the Mediterranean, the art, the history, the small churches and the massive cathedrals... and the way it all blends together in Italy today."

Christine

Colorado Springs, CO

Tour: 06/11/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Rainer and Deborah were amazing, setting a wonderful tone for the 17 day trip. Rainer's knowledge and enthusiasm were infectious giving us a great experience. Our group, made up of a variety of families, created a wonderful dynamic enhancing this exceptional tour. It was apparent, based on the hotels, tours, and food, that much effort goes into the planning of your trips.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Having a group dinner in one of Siena's 17 neighborhood meeting halls. Not only did we have excellent food and wine but we learned about the excitement and passion surrounding the famous Palio horse race. A fun evening for all."

Chris

Mill Creek, WA

Tour: 06/09/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was a very memorable and enjoyable trip. We had the perfect mix of structure and flexibility that we expected. It was great having the logistical details of our travels covered along with an excellent guide to help get us acclimated to the culture. We enjoyed our travel partners and the opportunity to see highlights of Italy in a relatively short timeframe. We were pleased overall with our accommodations and meals and the overall flow of our trip.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The stay in Orvieto at the winery estate was fabulous. It provided a great getaway from the busier cities and the wonderful view and the food and hospitality of the family was great."

Raymond

Farmville, VA

Tour: 06/09/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was a wonderful trip, far exceeding our expectations. The range of experiences and activities (cruising Lake Como, hiking in the Dolomites, art and historic atmosphere in Venice, Florence & Rome, Otzi the Ice Man, the Cinque Terre, Pisa, Assisi, visiting a Contrada in Siena for dinner, demonstration of forcula making in Venice) was extraordinary. By day three in the Dolomites we were playing with house money.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Far too many but my favorite was the Sistine Chapel."

Larry

Nashville, TN

Tour: 06/09/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I do not have one negative item about the tour. Trina educated us on the history of Italy and how it integrated with our tour stops from BC through WWII. She kept apprised of what was happening next and reviewed with us individually our plans for free time and gave us suggestions based on our interests. The hotel rooms were adequate and were always very convenient to what we were doing and wanted to do. We like that they were family owned hotels and not part of chains.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Seeing St. Mark's Square in Venice. Pictures are not adequate. Also the stop at the Florence US Cemetery. This was a surprise stop on our tour."

Charles

Gainesville, FL

Tour: 06/09/17

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

exceptionally well prepared for each stop. personal attention when needed ( often before it was anticipated). Trina was wonderful. incredible knowledge of italian art history. I was "churched out" but rome was still amazing.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"luca's wall and the cemetery for wwII soldiers >"

John

Albany, NY

Tour: 06/09/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Great range of experiences- city, town, shore, mountain and countryside. The itinerary was well planned with enough time to allow me to know whether I wanted to stay longer or come back to all the different areas we visited. And I have to say there was not one city or town or stop on the tour that I wouldn't gladly go back to. The Tyrol area was the biggest surprise for me. It was stunningly beautiful. But I also loved Lake Como, Cinque Terra, Siena, Florence, Orvieto,Venice & Rome

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Full Moon over Lake Como The quiet sounds of alpine meadows. Siena Duomo"

Eve

Simcoe, ON

Tour: 05/26/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was way beyond our expectations. It was so well organized. Everything seemed to flow smoothly. The food was great and the tour guides in each city were outstanding. We had a lot of free time and this gave us a chance to explore on our own. The group was fantastic and it made the tour a lot more fun. The trip was well paced and even though we were on a schedule I didn't find it stressful. Overall, fantastic.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were a lot of wow moments - our gondola ride in Venice - the Cinque Terre but my favorite wow moment was when I saw the statue of "David" It was so magnificent. Such a marvel to behold."

Kathy

Maumelle, AR

Tour: 05/26/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour really was the "Best of Italy"! I saw the most beautiful lake I have ever seen (Lake Como) and I have seen quite a few! The most beautiful mountains (Alpe de Suisse) and the most overwhelming cathedrals were awe inspiring!. Our most excellent tour guide discussed history, events, and details of each stop on our agenda... and then we had lots of time to explore the culture and see it all first-hand!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Walking into the Santa Maria of the Angels and seeing St. Francis's original chapel engulged into the cathedral.... rounding that last curve up the Alps and glimpsing the incredible view... listening to the detailed explanations on the true history of the Colisseum in its day! I believe that someone on the tour said "Wow!" every time we entered a new venue!!"

Lu Ann

Bloomington, MN

Tour: 05/26/17

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

The tour gave me a beautiful over view of Italy. From the Dolomites, Lake Como, the medieval cities to Roman ruins, it brought alive many peoples with incredible history. It was wonderful meeting tour members from all over the United States. Everyone was thoughtful and considerate of each other.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Walking through the Roman Forum and imaging what the Roman Empire was about, was an amazing experience. I also love the grandeur of the Dolomites. Your tour guides were amazing."

Kathryn

Gig Harbor, WA

Tour: 05/26/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was a perfect balance of scheduled activities and free time. I also like the pacing and the fact that we never drove longer than 2.5 hours before stopping and seeing another part of Italy. The stops themselves were well planned and interesting.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I have more than one "wow" moment. I personally loved riding the electric-assist bike in the Dolomites with another tour member. It was a fun way to "hike" and see more of the area. Out tour guide also did and excellent job of explaining the last judgement frescoes by Signorelli in the Duomo in Orvieto and how they influenced Michelangelo. The final wow moment was given by our tour guide Franchesca in Rome with her narrative of the Colosseum, the surrounding ruins and the Pantheon."

Steven

Covington, WA

Tour: 05/26/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Best of Italy....it certainly seemed that way. Nice mix of urban and rural, small towns and big. I've been in more churches recently than the Pope and even went to his (St Patrick's). I appreciated the mix of the "must see" items of an Italian trip, like David, gondolas, Leaning Tower, Coliseum, Vatican, etc, with the lesser known but wonderful places like Lake Como, Dolomites, Lucca, Siena, Orvieto, etc. it's rigorous but thoroughly enjoyable. Good food, good people, good memories.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Opening the French doors on to the balcony of our hotel room and seeing Lake Como directly in front of us was a "wow" moment to start the tour and walking through St. Patrick's Cathedral was a "wow" moment to end the tour. But there were so many, many other moments in between. David - wow. Sistine Chapel -wow. The twisty, medieval streets of Siena and Orvieto - wow! The only downside would be the throngs of people at some locations - wow!"

Yannet

Dublin, CA

Tour: 05/26/17

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

it was good, we were not so crazy about the hotel rooms. But Italy as a country was wonderful.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Lake como"

Patricia

Covington, WA

Tour: 05/26/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Heaven. Our driver, Adrian said that the views would just keep getting better and I was in awe at each stop. He was so right. Each time that I thought the stops couldn't get better, I was overwhelmed by more beauty. I may not be considered a great hiker at my age, but I gave it my best effort. Sometimes it's good to be pushed to new levels. This trip to Italy was so much more fun than working. Everyone needs to experience The Best of Italy.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"So many, from the views of Lake Como, the Dolomites, the Cinque Terra, the Vatican, the Altarocca Wine Resort, I could go on all day! Our trip was packed with quality, culture and great food and wine and new friends!! However can you top that? Thank you Rick and your staff of hundreds. I'm so thankful for your efforts and this experience of a lifetime."

Sally

Flagstaff, AZ

Tour: 05/19/17

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

I loved the range of experiences - from Outzi the Ice Man to Rome.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were so many----probably learning first-hand about the Sienna Palio races/culture. We REALLY got engaged with our tour/dinner at the Forest contrada and watching the video of their win in 2015. Totally unexpected and crazy!"

Lisa

Woodinville, WA

Tour: 05/19/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour exceeded all my expectations. It was a wonderful experience. It was a great mix of cities, small towns and countryside. The scenery was beautiful. It was very informative also. All the tour guides made the art and history come alive. I appreciated all the activities arranged by the tour and the amount of free time to see other sights or to relax.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It is impossible to pick one "wow" moment. I think each stop had it's own "wow" moment. I loved the towns on Lake Como and the mountains surrounding the lake. The hike in the alps was the most beautiful hike I had ever been on. The canals and bridges in Venice were so picturesque. The towns in the Cinque Terre were so colorful. The list could go on and on. I wanted to take a picture every time I turned around to help me remember the trip forever."

Jayne

Colorado Springs, CO

Tour: 05/19/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This trip was fantastic! Cinque Terre has been on my bucket list for a long time, & I finally made it & I wasn't disappointed! It was fabulous! We loved the Lake Como area too! Our tour guide, Colleen couldn't have been better! A couple of us had health issues, & she went out of her way to help without making a big deal of it.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Cinque Terre was amazing! The food EVERYWHERE was amazing! Floating down the gondola in Venice under the night skies while being serenaded was AMAZING! Lake Como, WOW! It was gorgeous there! The Dolomites, Huge Surprise! Gorgeous! And our bus driver took us around curves I'd never want to try & we always felt safe with him! There are too many wow moments for 500 characters!"

Robert

Davis, CA

Tour: 05/19/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Wonderful trip. Outstanding tour guide. Friendly, engaged group. Well-balanced tour that hit all the high points while alternating types of experiences in a well-paced manner. A lot of good thinking went into the development of this tour. Made the most of mid-point stops between the main cities. We always learn important history that we never new before, and get a real appreciation of a new culture and how people live that differs (and usually improves) on our own U.S. experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"More than one: Venice canals; Italian alps hike; Sienna Contrada dinner; Cinqua Terra hike; art in Florence; amazing churches everywhere; pesto, wine-making and stained glass demonstrations; Roman ruins; Vatican. View from our room at Altarocca Wine Resort was a big "wow"."

Layne

Idaho Falls, ID

Tour: 05/19/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The most fun since being a newlywed(Different activities)but equally memorable. My expectations were greatly exceeded. I have traveled to Europe using suggestions from the Rick Steve's books but the tour is a different experience. Maybe it was because our tour guide(Colleen)was so good. A great deal of research and thought goes into the itinerary, hotels, meals, guides, activities, etc. I highly recommend this tour for an active person willing to tolerate an occasional inconvenience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were too many to count. If forced to narrow them down, top wow moments for me would be: 1) Varenna and Lake Como. Such a charming village. I also loved the villas and their gardens; 2)Hiking the Dolomites; 3) Venice at night away from the crowds; 4) Uffizi Gallary and Michelangelo's David; 5) Cinque Terre towns and hikes; 6) Sienna. The cathedral blew me away. City has a terrific atmosphere. 7) Bronze statue of the "Boxer" in National Museum of Rome."

Peggy

Spokane, WA

Tour: 05/19/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour was an amazing experience. The itinerary was great. Our guide (Colleen) has extensive knowledge of art history as well as Italy and I learned a lot on this tour. I really enjoyed how Colleen immersed us in Italian culture and took us to restaurants where we were treated very well and felt very welcome.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I can't think of one "wow" moment as there were so many fantastic experiences."

Stephen

Spokane, WA

Tour: 05/19/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was a wonderful trip. The itinerary was a good blend of historical cities with countryside settings. Colleen did a masterful job of guiding us through the many sites and venues included on this tour. She added several extra excursions in areas we passed through that she knew we would enjoy. She provided an excellent historical/artistic narrative on each site and city we visited. As a special bonus, we met 26 very interesting travel partners that added to our travel experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were many but the one that stands out for me was the agriturismo which was a timely change of pace. It provided a chance to relax in a picturesque rural venue; and, the host, accommodations, setting and activity options were first class."

Bob

Olympia, WA

Tour: 05/19/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Overall every aspect was outstanding -- the itinerary, transportation, accommodations, the meals and the guides.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Seeing the incredible art and architecture dating from the middle ages or earlier."

Emily

Toronto, ON

Tour: 05/14/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was an absolutely amazing trip, I couldn't have asked for better! The progression was well thought out, with bustling cities interspersed with scenic country locations. I loved every place we stayed and enjoyed the balance between group activities and free time. Sarah was organized, knowledgeable and easy-going. Both she and our bus driver Stefano were friendly and engaging and really helped make this tour special.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Having never been to Europe, I was fascinated by all the culture and history that greeted me.The Italian lifestyle was refreshing, and the fresh food was delicious. The visual landscapes in each location, from the picturesque countryside to the old city buildings, were also amazing. Some highlights include: hiking in the Alps and up the cliffside in the Cinque Terre, the Uffizi gallery (our guide Ricardo was fantastic), learning about the contrade and Palio in Siena, and the Sistine Chapel."

Sharon

Bardwell, TX

Tour: 05/14/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I enjoyed every minute of our Best of Italy tour! It truly was a trip of a lifetime. It really was exactly as RS had advertised. Charming hotels, stunning scenery, scrumptious food, and amazing experiences. My compliments to Sara, our guide, for arranging great meal experiences for us, and to Stefano, our fantastic driver. I could not have asked for a better group of travel mates. I really hated to see it end and return home!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Every day had its own WOW moments! I actually felt that I was living out my dreams, and I was afraid I might wake up. Floating throu the canals of Venice at dusk in our gondola, after all the crowds were gone, was so magical. The beauty and serenity of Ravenna and Lake Como took my breath away. Eating an amazing meal in an Italian chef's home, the beauty of the Tuscan and Umbrian vineyards--it's impossible to choose!"

Anne

Weaverville, NC

Tour: 05/14/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Strengths: -pacing (busy/slow; urban/rural) -local guides -supporting local businesses/crafts We are not "tour" travelers, and have traveled extensively on our own, so were apprehensive about the experience. I can honestly say that being with a competently led group helped maximize our experience, especially in the tourist meccas of Florence, Venice, and Rome. Least favorite part was navigating political differences among tour members, esp. the extreme, loudly voiced views of some from Texas

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hiking on our own in the Dolomites (we wanted some good exercise),and learning more about the life of St. Francis and our hike up to Rocco Maggiore in Assisi."

Linda

Englewood, CO

Tour: 05/14/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Amazing

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Orieveto on the hill top"

Amy

Tybee Island, GA

Tour: 05/14/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The description of the tour was accurate and the itinerary was carried out as described with some thrown in bonus tour and dinner opportunities determined by the guide. Our guide Sarah was fantastic and has incredible wrangling abilities to get the attention of 26 travelers. She was a great "tour mom" and very personable while keeping the group on schedule and informed. Stephano our driver was also great and I appreciate his safe driving and friendly interactions with us during the tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"At the Cinque Terre we rented a small boat and spent the afternoon cruising past all five towns. It was great to see the coastline in a intimate setting instead of fussing with trains or ferries or hiking. Loved it so much we wished we had an extra day here to just relax on the beach. Monterosa is a great place to wind down and we loved the pesto demonstration, the view from our hotel, and everything about this stop."

Jeffrey

Tybee Island, GA

Tour: 05/14/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Sarah was well organized, eager to answer questions and willing to go above and beyond to provide assistance. The destinations were explained well prior to our arrival. The hotels were in central and safe locations which made daytime and night excursions safe and convenient. The bus travel was very comfortable and rest and bathroom breaks were regular.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"We took a private boat tour with Andrea, a local tour guide, along the cinque terra. The sea was a beautiful shade of blue, the mountains were crisp, and each village we passed revealed beautiful and unique architecture. We simply saw some of the most beautiful sites while we relaxed on a nice boat ride."

Susan

Westminster, CO

Tour: 05/14/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my first trip out of the country. It was very interesting and it covered so much in 17 days. I would not hesitate to take another trip with this tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"You know, I cannot say what was my favorite wow moment, but since this was my first trip to Europe, I would have to say Varenna and the Lake Como. Then each place after that was a "wow" moment."

Annette

Southlake, TX

Tour: 05/14/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour exceeded my expectations. I liked the rhythm of the activities and downtimes. The tour provided experiences that would not have been available to us on our own. This was not my first trip to Italy, but my first tour. After such a great experience I plan to book another Rick Steves Tour in the future.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Besides the beauty that is Italy, my wow moment was the fact that I really enjoyed being with a tour group. Having been to most of the locations on previous trips, the experiences were different and I enjoyed the towns from a different perspective."

Philip

Mesa, AZ

Tour: 05/14/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour was very well structured and managed. I liked the itinerary, the hotels, and the choice of activities. We had good options at many places and special opportunities. The hotels ranged from good to excellent; the guides were generally very good to excellent (our Sienna guide was so-so). We enjoyed our fellow travelers, and felt we had good opportunities to get to know them.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were many wow moments of different types -- from discovering the Trajan Column to seeing the beauty of the Umbrian countryside, but perhaps the single moment was a special concert in Venice -- a last moment opportunity, but made easy by our guide."

James

Weaverville, NC

Tour: 05/14/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Wonderful experience. My wife and I wanted to go on a "greatest hits" trip to Italy. Although we're not tour people, we signed up for the Best of Italy because the itinerary coincided with ours about 95%. The tour provided a refreshing combination of alternating urban and rural experiences: Dolomites then Venice, the Cinque Terra, then Florence and so on. The insertion of Alterocca after the hill towns and before Rome was inspired.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Dolomites - we were looking forward to a day of exercise and hiked up to the snow line, met a nice young couple from Berlin, and soaked up the high meadow country. View of the Umbrian countryside from our balcony at Alterocca."

Kathy

Toronto, ON

Tour: 05/14/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This trip exceeded my expectations; The trip was perfect. Italy was beautiful and very safe. Not having to change hotels every night was great. It would have been great to spend three nights in each location but I realize that isn't possible. Great balance between country and city. the weather was great except for Rome which was 30 C. Great group of people I went with my 18 year old daughter. In 2014 I almost lost her. This was a great way to celebrate her life.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I had many wow moments lake como the alps the iceman sitting on a pew to the side of the church at St Mark's with only a few other people and praying Cinque Terre touching the small church in Assisi and feeling the peace radiate out"

Lyn

Fort Worth, TX

Tour: 05/14/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was not only my first Rick Steves tour but also my first trip to Europe. I was exceedingly happy with my tour experience. The Rick Steves plan of two days/nights in every location is the way to go. (I could have used 3 nights in many places!) I have heard of other tour companies that move the group to a new location every day. I also like the fact that the tour group was small - only 28 people. Our tour bus was great - new, clean, roomy & comfortable. Couldn't have been better!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"So MANY "wow" moments for me. Every place we went was special in its own way. Every day I kept thinking it can't get any better than this & it would. But I guess if I had to narrow it down I would say either Lake Como or Cinque Terre. The scenery in both those places was just breathtaking."

Jon

Fort Worth, TX

Tour: 05/14/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our first Rick Steves tour, and our first trip to Europe. It won't be our last. Each day was very well planned. We walked a lot, but not too much. Great group of people that got along very well. Our tour guide, Sarah was funny, kind, smart, took care of business. She was a peach! Bus was new and very "roomy." Accommodations were two and three star hotels. Our only complaint on the entire trip were a less than average breakfasts at the hotel in Florence. That's it. Great tour!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were so many "wow" moments. Varenna on Lake Como, The United States Military Cemetery outside Florence, the Uffitzi Gallery tour, but I guess my favorite of all was Monteroso di Mare in the Cinque Terre. We ate dinner at the Pasquale hotel while the lady of the "house" made Pesto. Then the next day touring all five towns by boat, foot (up about 1000 steps to Corniglia) , and rail was really special."

Ellen

Boulder, CO

Tour: 05/14/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It starts with our amazing guide, Sarah. She was a treasure with just the right amount of "bossy pants", grace and humor. The cities we visited were breathtaking. Our bus driver, Stefano, was a master at driving us everywhere safely. The bus was so comfortable. What more could I ask for!!!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I loved Lake Cuomo, St Peter's Basillica."

Pat

Nine Mile Falls, WA

Tour: 05/12/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We loved the itinerary and especially the balance between the hustle and bustle of the cities and the more quiet relaxed parts such as the Alpe de Siusi and the Agriturismo. The size of the group was ideal but the best thing about a Rick Steves tour is the guide. It's like you have a personal friend giving you a private tour. The other thing that I loved was the opportunity to see special things such as the oar lock carving demo, the stained glass demo, the pesto demo, etc.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"For me the greatest wow moment was when it all came together for me at the Roman Forum. To see these ancient ruins and to know just how long people have been living there in a sophisticated society was magnificent. Of course I knew it already but to see it made it real, not just something from books and movies. We also went to Ostia Antica which further cemented the wow factor."

Sue

Sisters, OR

Tour: 05/12/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was a wonderful tour, as was our previous tour to Turkey. Every aspect was taken care of. Anna was perfect, Dino (our driver) was too. Loved hiking in the Alps, seeing the highlights of each city. I cannot explain in 500 characters how memorable this trip was.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"David. Had to be David."

Nancy

Santa Ana, CA

Tour: 05/12/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My overall tour experience was that the tour even more comprehensive than I had imagined. I had an idea of what it would be like to go to many different places over the course of 17 days, but I don't think I was fully prepared for the reality of what that really meant. It was overwhelming at times, but for the most part, it was a good type of overwhelmed-ness.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Although we experienced the rich history of Italy in each of the stops on the tour, St. Peter's held the most "magic" for me. Just to envision the people who had been there over the centuries and the ceremonies and events that have taken place there, made the visit very emotional, including seeing the Pieta from just a few feet away. The moment took my breath away! 2nd in line would have been the music, drinks, and nightlife on St. Mark's Square. What a very fun and unique experience that was!!"

Molly

Gresham, OR

Tour: 05/12/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We loved this tour! We got to see the important sights in Venice, Florence and Rome. We really enjoyed the smaller towns and countryside. It was such a great balance. Be ready: This IS a very active tour!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"When we arrived in Varenna for the start of the tour, it was gray and cloudy. On Day 2, the clouds lifted and we could see those beautiful mountains, surrounding Lake Como and the villages. We knew that our tour was off to a great beginning!"

Robert

Raleigh, NC

Tour: 05/12/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I liked the smaller places like Lake Como, Cinque Terre and Lucca. Anna is very knowledgeable of the arts, culture, history and Catholicism.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Lake Como and Monterosso"

Elaine

San Diego, CA

Tour: 05/12/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had a lot of ground to cover in just 17 days, but Anna kept us organized and ready for adventure. I would have liked to spend more time in each place, but this was definitely a teaser trip. We now know which places we could come back to. So glad to have gotten to see so many places and to soak up some of the local culture with local guides, local demonstrations, and good suggestions from Anna about what foods we really should try in each region.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My "Wow, I'm really in beautiful Italy moment" was when we were taking the boat from Varenna across Lake Como to Bellagio. The sun was shining, I was on the gorgeous lake looking at the snow-capped pre-Alps, anticipating visiting Bellagio, and looking back at our "home" and the castle on the hill in Varenna! Magic. I felt so incredibly lucky."

Regina

Raleigh, NC

Tour: 05/12/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The best vacation I have ever taken. So well organized, hotel locations perfect, loved the stops at the little towns like Bolzano, Lucca, Assisi, etc. Actually would have loved to have spent the night there. Loved getting to know wait staff at the hotels, cafes and stores we frequented. Got to know some things about how typical Italians live every day. That was the most fun - connecting with the people.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The beauty of Italy - Lake Como, Cinque Terre and Tuscany/Umbria regions all tied for first place - Double, triple WOW. So overwhelmingly beautiful, I cried. God truly kissed these places."

Lydia

Orlando, FL

Tour: 05/12/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our second RS tour and it did not disappoint. Our tour guide Anna was awesome. She always had a smile on her face and kept us energized. Local guides were excellent also. We liked the variety of places we visited. Going from a fast paced big city to a quaint town gave us a chance to recover and regroup. There was a lot of walking but we were able to sit and relax and get back into it. This tour really showed us that we prefer the small towns versus the three large cities.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Favorite wow moment was Lake Como. Beyond beautiful. No, I think it was our stay in the Dolomite Mountains. No, make that Cinque Terre and the Lemon Festival. No, make that our stay on the farm and all of us singing along to guitar player James Taylor. No, I can't forget about singing and dancing in St. Marks Square to all the songs from Sound of Music and slow dancing with my husband Steve to Al di La. As you can see there were many wow moments. Wonderful trip, new friends, memories galore!"

Barbara Jean

Soquel, CA

Tour: 05/12/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was fantastic. Anna's knowledge of the history and art of Italy was amazing. Her enthusiasm and energy was very contagious and I appreciated all the personal touches she brought to our experience. An example of this was inviting us into her home for appetizers and drinks. All of the local guides were wonderful. I appreciated the balance between guided tours and free time. The private bus for traveling to new towns was great and DIno, our personal driver, was charming and funny.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The art. It was everywhere.... in museums, cathedrals, piazzas. Of course seeing David and the Sistine chapel were right at the top I was also amazed at Rome at night. On the way to the airport in the dark and seeing all the public sculptures lit up took my breath away!"

Tom

Nine Mile Falls, WA

Tour: 05/12/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Absolutely wonderful tour. Our guide,Anna was a constant delight. She was a font of knowledge. All logistics were flawless. Local guides were excellent. Our bus driver Dino was great. He could thread a needle with that bus.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were several wow moments on the tour. Anna's enthusiasm for Siena and the Palio was infectious. Anna's narrative on St. Cathrin was both informative and very funny. Come to think of it, the whole trip was a wow moment and we would like to adopt Anna."

Dan

Soquel, CA

Tour: 05/12/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Rarely, in my experience, does the actual activity exceed the hype if you will. I can honestly say this was not the case with this tour. I was impressed with the planning, the accommodations, the variety of activities and the manner in which travelers could see, feel and understand Italian culture. None of this could have been achieved without the knowledge and expertise of our guide, Anna.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Witnessing the art that resides in the country and having it enhanced by Anna and all the local guides."

Jennifer

Santa Barbara, CA

Tour: 05/12/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Fabulous. Eye-opening. An overall sense of gratitude and appreciation for the experience my husband and I enjoyed. Are all tours this amazing? I have never been to Italy before. I cannot imagine having a better itinerary, a better guide (Anna), a better combination of experiences and culture than what we had. It is difficult to come up with any negatives at all.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Varenna seemed magical to me. What a place to begin this amazing journey with its charm and beautiful setting! So many competing favorites . . . so I must add another. Florence. Many "wow"moments there. The cathedrals we visited were especially memorable. The history of Christianity came alive. It is amazing to think about the faith-filled peoples of Italy's past and to realize many of these amazing churches are no longer attended by believers. Inspirational yet sad and perplexing. I am inspired"

James

Santa Barbara, CA

Tour: 05/12/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I had an absolutely wonderful time. The itinerary enabled me to deepen my understanding and appreciation of the history, culture, and geography of Italy--in all of its rich and beautiful diversity. The trip provided me with an Italy "sampler" of places, cuisine, artworks, and experiences I will continue to savor in retrospect and employ as a resource for return trips. I'm glad we spent two nights in each main destination, and I'm pleased we stopped to visit other interesting sites along the way.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Since I had been to Venice, Florence, Pisa, and Rome before, I was especially impressed with the smaller places (the Lake Como towns, the Dolomites, Verona, Cinque Terre, Lucca, Siena, the Agriturismo, and Orvieto) because of their quieter and more peaceful beauty and charm. On my favorite day, Jennifer and I saw all five Cinque Terre towns--and also Portovenere and La Spezia--by means of a combination of trail, train, and boat. It was a magical and adventurous day!"

Steven

Orlando, FL

Tour: 05/12/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Far exceeded my expectations; having been on a RS tour before, my expectations were high. Anna and Dino were phenomenal. Anna's enthusiasm and love for Italy were contagious. The local tour guides were amazing- Elizabetta, Ciara, Maria Laura and Francesca

Favorite "WOW" moment

"several come to mind - our stay at the Agroturismo and our hosts Marco and Gavia - the local artisans, Franco (Venice), Johnny (stained glass, Sienna), Felicita Pesto!!) - Francesca's presentation / performance re: Rome - The hospitality at Hotel Pasquale"

Roderick

Vancouver, BC

Tour: 05/12/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We've been home for two weeks now, and I can't stop telling every person I see how great the Rick Steeves Tour was. From our fabulous guide Anna, to the "surprises", the itinerary, the hotels, meals and transportation, everything was so well planned. The educational value of the tour was most important, as reading about a site or art or a setting is interesting, but being there with an expert and knowledgeable guide such as Anna makes sense of the whole history and answers a lot of the "whys?

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Anna asked this question of us at our farewell dinner and I had so many wow moments, I couldn't pin one down, and I'm not a public speaker so my apologies to Anna, because she really did "wow" us two weeks earlier than the farewell, but there were a lot of wows in between. In Venice she wowed us on our evening gondola ride with a very special surprise, that I won't give away, but that was really special. Thank-you Anna!!"

Sherry

Anchorage, AK

Tour: 05/07/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I loved everything about the tour! The scenery, the large cities and the small villages, the food, our tour guide and bus driver, the weather, our fellow tour members, the itinerary and the people we met all added together made the tour a wonderful experience and a cherished travel memory.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Why do I have to choose just one? There were all the bell towers in each of the little tightly packed together villages perched in mountain valleys. And then there was the "David", and the Sistine Chapel, so much more spectacular in real life than in pictures. And then there was the homemade pasta and the gelato..."

Joanne

Kahului, HI

Tour: 05/07/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Amazing trip, great people in our group...Got to see so much that I would never have been able to do without the tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Seeing "David". There were many wow's"

Mark

Seattle, WA

Tour: 05/07/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our tour guide Molley was very informative. She really knew her history of the region. I would highly recommend a Rick Steves tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Loved the Dolomites! What an incredibly beautiful area. Had a day to spend hiking this unbelievable region on our own."

Nancy

Delta, BC

Tour: 05/07/17

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Tour exceeded expectations, Molly was an exceptional guide and everything ran smoothly throughout. Good pace and mix of activities, guided tours, free time. Our group chemistry jived exceptionally well. Very efficient way to see a lot in a short period of time. Enjoyed that we did not have to move hotels every day. Molly and Adrian made the trip very special for all of us. Well done!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The time at the Agritourismo in Tuscany - fabulous property, wonderful hosts, lovely accommodation, great food. Views to die for. Enjoyed the day trip to Orvieto with Molly. The second evening dinner felt more like a family wedding reception than a dinner with a tour group. Everyone celebrating and dancing, lots of laughs, great food, wine, etc. We felt very lucky to be able to share that experience with such great people."

Phil

Grayson, GA

Tour: 05/07/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

A tremendous experience and group of people to travel with - Molly made it informative and fun while building community across the group. It was a an excellent mixed of time on our own and togetherness. From the little extras like a bottle of champagne for our 30th wedding anniversary to a surprise stop at a war memorial, we were blessed by her leadership and insight.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Contrade in Siena was the highlight for me - the sociological impact and the depth of community commitment was inspiring. So many beautiful places!"

Michael

Brookings, OR

Tour: 05/07/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We decided to book a group tour out of pure convenience not knowing what to expect. It was the right decision. Italy was fabulous. Local guides made the history come alive. Molly was a wealth of knowledge. There was a lot of work behind the scenes to make sure all the details were in place to give us the best experience. I don't think we could have asked for more compatible travel companions. It was a fun group. We had a great time and can't stop talking about it.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It's hard to pin down a favorite moment. The tour was artfully crafted to give us a blend of "must see" cities, peaceful villages and country sides, and side tours between destinations. We were especially impressed with the extras like the oar making tour, the stain glass demonstration, the delicious dinner hosted by the Contrada in Siena, the pesto class in Cinque Terra, and our hosts at the agriturisimo in Umbria. We would not have experienced this level of travel on our own."

Judith

Northport, NY

Tour: 05/07/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

A strenuous and a terrific tour. A group of 27 who easily got along very well. Terrific stops and local tours, great food and wine!!! Wonderful guidance from Molly, our tour guide.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Vatican and the amazing spirit and works of art it contains. The majesty of the Dolomites, Chinque Terre, and the vineyard, and the simple beauty of little Orvieta."

Weather

Italy / Milan


Italy / Venice


Italy / Florence


Italy / Rome

Pre-Tour Planning

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

Trip Resources

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

Tour Hotels

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

Transportation

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

There is more than one way to get to and from your tour. Most tour members will arrange to fly into Milan and out of Rome ("multicity" on flight-booking websites). Booking round-trip to one city will require a connecting flight, train trip, or additional overnight stay in Italy. Both Milan and Rome are major transportation hubs, making additional travel before or after your tour quite easy.

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

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

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

Sightseeing on Your Own

If you arrive in Italy before your tour begins, visiting Milan is a logical choice, as we don't spend any time there during the tour. Use the Rick Steves Italy guidebook to get oriented. Ride the public transportation, try out a few words of Italian, and get over your jet lag with lots of fresh air and exercise.

Here are suggestions for sightseeing in Milan: Leonardo da Vinci's Last Supper (reserve from home; details in the Rick Steves Italy guidebook) and Europe's third-largest cathedral, the Duomo. Milan is about an hour by train from Varenna, our tour's departure point, making it an easy pre-tour day trip.

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

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

Packing

We'll have some great opportunities for hikes in the Dolomites and the Cinque Terre. While hiking boots are not necessary, we recommend you bring a pair of comfortable walking shoes with soles offering good traction.

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

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