• Lake Como
  • Castelrotto in the Dolomites
  • Venice
  • Birth of Venus in Florence's Uffizi Museum
  • Vernazza in the Cinque Terre
  • Leaning Tower of Pisa
  • The Duomo in Siena
  • Assisi
  • Wine Tasting near Orvieto
  • Colosseum in Rome

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

Best of Italy in 17 Days Tour

from $4,995 + Air

Optional Single Supplement $875

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

2016

    • May 6–May 22 (Fr-Su)
    • $5,095 + Air

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    • May 13–May 29 (Fr-Su)
    • $5,095 + Air

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    • May 15–May 31 (Su-Tu)
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    • May 20–Jun 5 (Fr-Su)
    • $5,095 + Air

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    • May 22–Jun 7 (Su-Tu)
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    • May 27–Jun 12 (Fr-Su)
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    • Jun 12–Jun 28 (Su-Tu)
    • $5,095 + Air

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    • Jul 8–Jul 24 (Fr-Su)
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    • Sep 4–Sep 20 (Su-Tu)
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    • Sep 9–Sep 25 (Fr-Su)
    • $5,295 + Air

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    • Sep 11–Sep 27 (Su-Tu)
    • $5,295 + Air

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    • Sep 14–Sep 30 (We-Fr)
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    • Sep 16–Oct 2 (Fr-Su)
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    • Sep 25–Oct 11 (Su-Tu)
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What's Included

  • A small, friendly group of 24–28 people — half the size of most tour groups
  • Full-time services of a professional Rick Steves guide and local experts who will make the fascinating history, art, and culture of Italy come alive for you
  • All tours and admissions — at no extra cost — covering at least 23 group sightseeing events • Lake Como ferry pass • Verona walking tour • South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology (Ötzi the Iceman) • Venice walking tour • Renaissance Florence walking tour • Uffizi Gallery tour • Florence's Accademia Gallery (Michelangelo's David) • Pisa visit • Pesto demonstration • Orientation for "vacation" day on Italian Riviera • Hill town visit • Siena walking tour and Duomo • Siena contrada visit and dinner • Artisan workshop visit • Assisi walking tour • Umbrian wine tasting • Orvieto orientation and San Brizio Chapel tour • Evening walk through Rome • Ancient Rome walking tour • Colosseum tour • Roman Forum tour • Pantheon • Borghese Gallery tour…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 2016
  • 50% discount on a consulting appointment with our in-house experts to assist with your pre- or post-tour travel plans
  • Flexibility should you need to transfer, or cancel/interrupt your tour
  • Fine print: You are responsible for the cost of your drinks and free-time sightseeing. See our Tour Conditions Agreement for important details regarding everything listed above.

Itinerary

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

Day 1: Welcome to Italy

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: Verona and the Dolomites

We'll drive to Verona this morning for a walking tour of the town's medieval center, including the bustling Piazza Erbe market square and the ornate Scaligeri tombs. You'll then have free time to grab some lunch, see "Juliet's balcony," and marvel at the Roman Arena — today a popular opera venue. Then we'll drive high up into Italy's Dolomite Alps, where the locals speak German first, Italian second. We'll have a hearty Tirolean dinner together at our Alpine hotel. Sleep peacefully in the Alpe di Siusi area (2 nights). Bus: 6 hrs. 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, or join your guide (weather permitting) — and the free-roaming cows — for a peaceful walk through Europe's largest Alpine meadow. Maybe you'll even watch colorful paragliders float on the wind as you relax outside a mountain hut café. 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 hr. Bus: 5 hrs. 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. 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 hr. Bus: 4 hrs. 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 lasagna dinner at a local family restaurant. Sleep in Monterosso (2 nights, may be split between 2 hotels). Train: ¼ hr. Bus: 4 hrs. 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 hr. Bus: 4 hrs. Walking: moderate.

Day 12: Savoring Siena

This morning we'll take a meandering walking tour through this one-of-a-kind hill town. We'll tour the elaborate cathedral and learn how Siena's rich medieval history and rivalry with Florence shaped this city. Then 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 hrs. 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 hr. Walking: moderate.

Day 15: A Walk Through Ancient Rome

Today we'll drive straight to the Eternal City of Rome and spend the afternoon uncovering the heart of the 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, fountain-splashing, la dolce vita stroll through the heart of Rome, soaking up the city's evening ambience at the lively campos and classy piazzas. Sleep in Rome (2 nights). Bus 2 hrs. Walking: strenuous.

Day 16: Rome's Baroque Treasures

We’ll start the morning with a guided tour of the impressive Borghese Gallery, nestled in the peaceful Borghese gardens. Bernini’s most graceful and lifelike sculptures reside here — his athletic David and delicate Apollo and Daphne — as well as masterpieces by Canova, Caravaggio, Titian, and Raphael.The rest of the day is free to see Michelangelo's Moses at St. Peter-in-Chains Church, enjoy the panoramic city view from atop the Victor Emmanuel Monument, or make a modern-day pilgrimage to St. Peter's Basilica and Vatican City. This evening, we'll have our final dinner together, sharing memories and toasting our newly made friends. Salute! No bus. Walking: strenuous. 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 (several blocks possible) and up stairways to reach your hotel; then up several flights of stairs to reach your room.
  2. Be on your feet, walking and standing for up to 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

Kerry

Bainbridge Island, WA

Tour: 10/18/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my first trip to Europe and I didn't quite know what to expect. I had the most amazing time and am so thankful we decided to take this tour. There was a perfect mix of group activities and time to ourselves to explore. Lisa and Alexis were wonderful as were the local guides. The bus was comfortable and Adrian was a great. Every detail was thought out and addressed. A trip of a lifetime. So glad we went with Rick Steves.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Every day was a wow moment. The history, the beauty, the people, the food. It was all breathtaking."

Jackie

Pass Christian, MS

Tour: 10/18/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

One of the best tour experiences I have had. Italy truly was everything and more than I was expecting. We are looking forward to our next trip.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My wow moment had to be that first glimpse of St. Peters. As we were casually walking along and then all of a sudden the dome was in view. "WOW". Gave me chills. Right behind that had to be the night our 5 gondolas were floating on Grand Canal in Venice at sunset while being serenaded. Unforgettable."

Leo

Bellenaves,

Tour: 10/18/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I accompanied my wife on the tour. This is her 7th tour. On all the previous tours, she has gone alone. She wanted me to come because she wanted to have a companion this time. I helped her socially connect with the other members of the tour and when we had free time, I accompanied her. When we were on the structured part of the tour with a local guide, I went on my own to walk around. Lisa was very very accommodating and helpful.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Every small town where the crowds were small was a wow moment and experiencing being on my own seeing how people live."

Bob

Minneapolis, MN

Tour: 10/18/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

For my partner and me as I look back on our experience I would recommend the 17 day Tour of Italy to aselect group of friends. The reason for being "select" is that a tour participant has to be motivated to spend between 6 - 11 hours on their feet. Although it is not overly strenuous there is a cumulative effect over the entire length of the tour when combined with absorbing the amount of information that is imparted regarding the long history, the art, politics and customs of the Italians.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Three separate instances come to mind - our time in the Dolomites for the sheer natural beauty, our viewing of Michelangelo's David and the sights and sounds of Rome - St. Peter's, the Vatican, the Forum and the Coliseum. Disappointed to learn that the Vatican Museum will no longer be part of the "schedule" - I think that will negatively affect future tour participation levels."

Patricia

Scotch Village, NS

Tour: 10/18/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our night cruise on the Grand canel, everyone in their gondolas only wish my husband could have been there

Bill

Pass Christian, MS

Tour: 10/18/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We saw and learned much more than I expected. Lisa our tour guide always gave us a very good explanation of the things or places we would see on the next stop. All along the way on the bus things to see were pointed out as we got to them. Basically every stop was a wow moment

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It has to be the entire town of Venice because I personally love being around the water and boats. Otzi the Iceman was a close second"

Carol

Brush Prairie, WA

Tour: 10/18/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour was the culmination of a long-held dream for my husband and me. We recently celebrated our 30th anniversary and this seemed like the perfect fit for us. The tour met all our criteria for what we wanted to see and experiencee--history, art, food/wine, current issues in Italy and Eurozone. Fabulous experience!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hard to pick one moment but the hike in the Dolomites ranked high on our list. Wine resort in Orvietto was up there too!"

John

Fort Bragg, CA

Tour: 10/18/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour definitely exceeded my expectations. It spent enough time in each area (two nights) to get a good view of the important sights while maintaining a nice balance between guided time and free time to explore on your own. The use of local guides is a nice touch that provides an extra level of detail and enjoyment of the experience. I also liked that the longer routes between tour destinations found time to stop for a few hours at important sights (Assisi, Lucca, Verona, Pisa).

Favorite "WOW" moment

"First entering the cathedrals at St. Peters and St. Marks had to be the favorite wow moment. Although the Dolomites were a spectacular unexpected surprise."

Maryann

Bainbridge Island, WA

Tour: 10/18/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

From start to finish, everything was first rate, from our great guide, Lisa to the sights we saw, the tips we learned, the food, hotels, transportation, support from tour assistant Alexis and excellent driving by Adrian in our comfy bus.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"How can I choose only one? Perhaps seeing Michaelangelo's exquisite David, although the Pieta was also mind-blowing. My favorite place was probably Varenna on Lovely Lake Como."

Laura

Myrtle Beach, SC

Tour: 10/18/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour exceeded my expectations. It was my first RS tour so I was not expecting such a high level of planning, great hotels and excellent guidance by Lisa.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The sunset gondola ride in Venice."

Nancy

Lansing, MI

Tour: 10/18/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Really enjoyed it all - found Venice.Rome and Florence crowded, but that's where the great art is. The Dolomites, Lake Como, and Orvieto were favorites. Lisa added a great deal with her knowledge of Italian education, taxes, health care, etc.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Concert in Venice was very special. Dolomites a close second."

Jean

Edina, MN

Tour: 10/16/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

This was my first Rick Steves tour. Friends who have traveled with RS tours were encouraging, and I'm glad I chose this tour. Our group was unusually small -- we heard the tour was almost cancelled -- which made touring much easier than it would have been with a larger group.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I must list two: the Dolomites and the Ovieta area -- the scenery was simply breathtaking."

Patrick

Abingdon, MD

Tour: 10/16/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

"Success is a journey not a destination." Our Italian Journey was a superlative success! To experience art, history, culture, cuisine of a country in the Rick Steve's way is remarkable and unforgettable. The pairing of our Tour Guide (Donald), Italy 2015 iBook and Italy are unbeatable. Every city and village was unique, beautiful and appreciated far more with Donald imparting seemingly limitless knowledge and humor. Donald opened doors for us in Italy we would have never found on our own.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"On a part time basis, I have been a professional photographer since 1970. Through my lens on this trip I captured nearly 4,000 "wow" moments. "A picture is worth a thousand words." Translated that means I have four million words to describe my favorite "wow" moment, ITALY, a "WOW" moment that lasted 17 days!"

Jane

Tampa, FL

Tour: 10/16/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My husband and I loved this tour First, the size of the tour was excellent plus the 14 tour members had many common interests. We loved the blend of sites and cities this tour offered as well. We enjoyed Florence, Venice and Rome as much as Lucca, Sienna and Verano. We also loved the countryside and seaside experiences. Our tour guide also enhanced the experience by introducing us to the flavors of the region as well as telling us of unique details of the sites.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Our time in Sienna was particularly meaningful. Our local tour guide for the Palio was excellent and we thought eating dinner in a contrade really brought the Palio to life, but the next evening my husband and I had dinner on our own at alla Speranza on the Campo. Our waiter was so proud of his contrade. However, meandering back to our hotel in front of the church of Saint Christopher a cellist was playing and played "Ava Maria". It was magical. Time for us alone we enjoyed too."

Thomas

Tampa, FL

Tour: 10/16/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Thoroughly enjoyed the tour from the beginning to the end. Just the right about of countryside, seaside, and village experiences leading up to Rome. It was especially pleasing that our tour group was only 14 people.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were so many "wow" moments it is hard to name a favorite, but the gondola ride in Venice that Donald arranged for us was spectacular. It included two musicians that played and sang Italian songs while we strolled the canals of Venice before dinner."

Nancy Jo

Johns Island, SC

Tour: 10/16/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our first Rick Steves tour although we have taken over a dozen tours with other companies. We had a wonderful trip and will certainly take another Rick Steves tour in the future. Our tour guide was fabulous. He was knowledgeable about the all aspects of Italy - the towns, the people, the culture. We were very fortunate to have a small (only 14) group and everyone got along very well. Also everyone was in good shape and could keep up with the active group.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It is hard to pick a favorite because there were so many good times, but I think if pressed to pick only one, I would say hiking in the Dolomites and looking at the beautiful alpine meadow and eating outside at the hut looking at the snowy mountains."

Michael

Westminster, CO

Tour: 10/16/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I had always dreamed about traveling to Italy. My dreams became a reality on this trip and I was not disappointed. The experience was fantastic. Our group was small, very compatible and Donald was the perfect guide. I recognize this was a "sampler" of each location and to truly enjoy each venue, at least one or two days would be needed (in Rome and Florence, add ten days). All I can say is the sampler worked as I am already thinking about to which venues I would like to return and explore.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Impossible to isolate one moment. Each stop presented something unique and special, whether it was a church, museum, hike or some culinary experience."

David

Des Moines, IA

Tour: 10/11/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was absolutely as advertised: a fabulous opportunity to get a broad exposure to Italy with expert guidance, wonderful pacing and extraordinary value. The group was terrific, self-selected through the clarity of the no-smoking, no-complaining, pack-lightly, keep-moving expectations we encountered as we signed up. I was very excited to go, but the trip far exceeded my expectations!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were so many! On the very first day we hiked high above Varenna to a view of Lake Como that took our breath away. The places we had never heard of, like Lucca and Orvieto, were quiet highlights. And standing face to face with Italy's iconic sights was amazing. I am still trying to process it all!"

Julie

Sandpoint, ID

Tour: 10/11/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was fantastic and worth every penny. The combination of areas visited, the tour guides who shared their knowledge and passion, and the "ins and outs" that Trina facilitated within me have improved my life in many ways: I loved my experiences of Italy, I immensely enjoyed my fellow travelers,and I have gained better insights into world history. This tour has improved me as a traveler and increased my content area knowledge and my yearning to learn more...about everything!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"So many, let me categorize: EXPERIENCING the Contrada Pride with the walk-through, ending with the dinner and Palio video at the Forest district church. THE GROUNDS of Alta Rocca Wine Resort BEING in the Pantheon,the Colosseum, and the Sistine Chapel VIEWS of the countryside from the bus PEACEFUL FEELINGS in Cinque Terre EATING DRINKING: EVERYTHING,plain and simple"

Margaret

Hayden, ID

Tour: 10/11/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I was pretty prepared to be wowed with the tour, as I know a few people who have been on Rick Steeve tours and have been extremely pleased. I think the most enjoyable aspect for us is that we could just be present and enjoy the day's activities without worry about what was happening tomorrow. So much of our travel experiences have been soured by having to be making the next day's transportation or activities arrangements. The tour was so well organized and every aspect was taken care of.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I think the less crowed areas of Lake Como and Cinque Terra were my favorites. But seeing the David was definitely my WOW moment. The experienced, local guides who prepared us for what we would be seeing made the experience so much more meaningful."

Bruce

Hayden, ID

Tour: 10/11/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

I really struggled with jet lag, even though we arrived a couple of days early. This was a real issue as it lasted for 8-10 days and really made it difficult for me to maintain my energy. The tour itself was outstanding, but you need to have stamina to go three weeks of touring and traveling. I really enjoyed the smaller cities and although there is less to do in these cities I enjoyed their character and uniqueness.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Waking up in Varenna and seeing the beauty of the lake/ mtns. Just like home in north Idaho. Visiting the museum in Balzano and the story of The Iceman. Loved the views at the Dolomites although the weather was bad we saw some great views as we drove out of the mtns. The story of the Paleio and getting to enjoy the dinner at the contrada. Really a special tour and event few get to experience."

Priscilla

Des Moines, IA

Tour: 10/11/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Would like to think all your guides are this good but that's impossible! Was surprised that my husband and I were only two actually packing in one backpack a piece. The mix of city/town/rural and various regions is masterful. Exposure to "real people" like the man carving gondola funicula or the man making stained glass windows or the woman showing pesta making is priceless.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The ethereal experience in the Pisa Baptistry when the staff person sang to create echoes and harmonization."

Brendan

Toronto, ON

Tour: 10/11/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We have been to several tours in Europe with and without Rick Steves and we would rate this the best ever. You need 17+ days to taste the beauty of Italy. The itinerary benefits from Rick's rich experience with mountains, lakes, quaint villages, hill towns, historic and modern cities, churches, museums and a wine resort. The pace was fast but offered timely reprieves. Trina is a top notch tour director. The local guides are peerless. And the group members made the trip forever memorable.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"At least 3: 1) Hotel Villa Steno in Monterosso al Mare. Absolutely lovely hotel high up in the hill overlooking Monterosso surrounded by orange, lemon and fruit trees. Breath-taking views. 2) Altarocca Wine Resort just outside Orvieto. Another lovely hotel in a hilly vineyard. The fragrant smell of flowers and the beautiful scenery was priceless. 3) Ricardo, the local guide for Uffizi Gallery, singing "O Mio Babbino Caro" and pointing to us Ponte Vecchio and the Arno River. WOW!!!"

Karen

Groton, CT

Tour: 10/11/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Trina made the verbal promise that her goal was to make this a trip of a lifetime, and she keeps her promises. I feel like I got a university level course in ancient history- that marched me right through the Middle Ages and into WWII. She left out nothing. The best part was that it came alive for me, seeing where the battles actually took place, walking where Caesar had walked, and being humbled by the glorious efforts in the cathedrals constructed by common people. The 17 days flew by.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"When I stood on a bridge in Venice- and witnessed the boat traffic cruising on a teal colored river. I knew it was real- but felt like a dream."

Russell

Sacramento, CA

Tour: 10/09/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was an outstanding experience and adventure of a lifetime. One day we are in California and the next 17 days we are standing next to things that we have only seen and hear of in books and on TV (The Dolomites, canals and gondolas of Venice, the remains of Otzi in Bolzano, The Leaning Tower of Pisa, The Colosseum....). The tour, our tour guide (Ferdi) and our bus driver (Dino) were outstanding.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My "wow" moment was when we were being guided through the Colosseum in Rome and I imagined the gladiator fights, mock sea battles and executions that took place there over 2,000 years ago. It was so amazing that we were in the Colosseum where so many historical events took place."

Margrete

Hurricane, UT

Tour: 10/09/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Great tour! Hotels were good, guides were fantastic, cities included were amazing, bus and driver were the best. The included meals were fantastic and that's saying a lot in Italy where all the food is amazing. Obviously a lot of thought went into deciding what to include and where to go. Our tour guide, Ferdie, took great care of us, was full of information, and obviously liked his job. The guided tours were all wonderful.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"After seeing one beautiful church after another, then the Forum then the coliseum I didn't think anything could be more amazing, but I was wrong. The Parthenon was far and away my "wow" moment."

Terry

Cedarburg, WI

Tour: 10/09/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I thoroughly enjoyed our 17 day Italy trip. I was impressed by the staggering of locations where we would be in a city and then a more rural setting. Only once did we have consecutive city stays (Venice and Florence). Ferdi was an outstanding tour guide as he gave us great insights in where to eat and shop and was very knowledgeable about the history of Italy and the local customs.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I was extremely impressed by the tour and dinner at the winning district of the Palio in Siena. Having the meal in the church of this district brought the importance and passion that this race evokes in the residents of Siena! The film of the actual race was also a great idea."

Marjorie

Sacramento, CA

Tour: 10/09/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our overall tour experience was Outstanding! That was definitely the best trip we've ever taken. There were so many sights that we got to see and the food was fabulous. We wished the trip lasted for another couple of weeks! We loved the driver (Dino) and our tour guide (Ferdi).

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were so many "wow" moments, it is really difficult to have a favorite. At each place we went, we thought "wow", it can't get any better than this, then we would stop at the next city, and it was more amazing and the tour just kept getting better and better. Seeing the Vatican and the Sistine Chapel was definitely one of the highlights of the trip....as was museums in Florence, Venice, .... Everything was a "WOW"!!!"

Randall

Wahpeton, ND

Tour: 10/07/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Excellent tour, couldn't have been better. Good mix of sights and experiences, cities and towns, group activities and free time. We had the privilege of touring with a great group of people; RS Tours seems to be quite successful in attracting "no grumps". The thought and planning that went into the tour, led by experienced, enthusiastic staff, and supported by capable, professional business associates resulted in a memorable experience. We're looking forward to another soon.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Among many: Finding sparkling prosecco offered at the breakfast buffet at the hotel in Varenna, then enjoying a glass of same on a sunny balcony overlooking Lake Como; an early morning walk along Monterosso's cliff-side harbor, dodging spray from surges that found their way into the harbor to smack against the seawall, then at the far corner finding a local sport fisherman happy to talk fishing in spite of our having maybe a dozen words in our common English/Italian vocabulary."

Denise

Venice, CA

Tour: 10/07/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was the most wonderful experience. Well organized.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favorite "wow" moment was when we came out of the Metro and there was the coliseum right in front of us, so huge and magnificent."

Christine

Eugene, OR

Tour: 10/07/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was not only my first trip to Europe but then also my first tour group and I found it was absolutely wonderful. Without the knowledge and assistance from all of the tour guides I don't know how I would have been exposed to so much of the history and wonder of the places we went. The 17 day, while long is incredible with how it hits all of the major northern Italy cities and gives you such a unique flavor for each and every district we visited.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There was so many. I think it was between Lake Como area and Florence museums with all of the fine works which Cindy made so very very special. She was by far the most outstanding and wonderful tour guide and I feel fortunate we had her. I was absolutely in awe of the statue of David-it literally brought me to tears. With the information Cindy provided the stage was set for the remainder of the tour and the knowledge she provided. It is hard to pick just one wow-there was so many."

Karen

Olathe, KS

Tour: 10/04/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was very well planned and executed, leaving us free to learn and enjoy.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favorite well moment was during our hike above Castlrotto. The scenery was stunning!"

Todd

Kirkland, WA

Tour: 10/04/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my first trip to Italy. The itinerary was exactly what I hoped it would be. A small group that bonded quickly. Everybody embraced the " no grump" policy. Our tour guide was terrific. She was experienced, personable and knowledgeable. The bottom line is that the experience was as advertised. Get ready to do some walking and enjoy the ride.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"That's a hard one. Being a "first timer", I was the little kid in the candy store. I guess Venice was the "wow" moment. The history, architecture and chaos was incredible. The overall beauty of Tuscany was amazing too."

Karen

Durham, NC

Tour: 10/04/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

this tour met every expectation I had set. My tour was well balanced between free time and guided tours. I didn't expect to have a guide - Patricia - that was so well versed in the historical aspects of every town we passed through or visited. Her sense of humor was charming and made the bus trips so much fun! The hotels were great and every aspect of the tour came off as promised - no surprises or disappointments.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Tough to name just one, I guess it might be the gondola ride at night in Venice - or sitting in St. Marks square after, listening to music - under the stars - magical!"

Laura

Sioux Falls, SD

Tour: 10/04/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was better than we had imagined! Seeing all of the iconic sights in Italy was so amazing. Our tour guide, Patricia, was phenominal!! She made sure that the activities were adjusted to meet the needs of everyone in the group. Most of us were "old folks," and she watched out for each of us; but she made appropriate accommodations for the "young folk" too.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I cannot identify just ONE wow moment. It was all incredible."

Jerry

Sioux Falls, SD

Tour: 10/04/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

While the sites visited were amazing, and the travel arrangements were superb, the best parts of the trip were the congenial group with whom we toured and the great tour guide that directed us.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favorite tour moment was when I was standing in the center of the Roman Forum."

Stephen

Redmond, WA

Tour: 10/04/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Having never participated in a tour group before, let alone a Rick Steve's tour group, this trip began as an experiment for my fiancée and I. The experiment proved fruitful, memorable, and highly enjoyable. Despite the pronounced age difference between ourselves and most of the group, commonalities formed and strengthened extended familial bonds throughout the shared Italian journey. One of the major selling points for any tour are the social connections; tn this regard, we feel blessed.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"So many wonderful moments. My personal favorite was when I hiked solo high into the Dolomites on a warm October day, kissed azure by the old gods. No one else in our tour family had the legs to join me, but I hauled my Canon 7D to the top of Sciliar mountain and captured amazing panoramic views. Surely "wow" for me, in that moment, but also when I returned to our hotel to share what I experienced with everyone else. In this way, the entire group hiked into the clouds."

Gary

Litchfield Park, AZ

Tour: 10/04/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our first Rick Steves tour and it far exceeded our high expectations. Everything was "as advertised" and then some. Our small group bonded from day one and we were like family throughout the tour, making the experience even more fun. The hotels were all great--full of character and in the best locations.We have been to Europe previously but seeing it the RS way was so much better! We came home exhausted in the best way!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It's hard to narrow it down to one, but for me it was the time our tour guide Patricia rented three private water taxis to take us out of Venice. We did a slow tour down the Grand Canal early in the morning and it was almost a religious experience for all of us. After spending two days in Venice we pretty much knew most of the landmarks we were passing and it really made the entire experience sink in. It was amazing!"

Ellen

Staten Island, NY

Tour: 10/04/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my seventh Rick Steves tour, the best yet! I had totally enjoyed participating in every previous one and the experiences, knowledge and confidence I gained enhanced my enjoyment on this tour. We had a superlative leader (Patricia), an excellent agenda, a good mix of group and free time, and, of course, Italy. My experience was personal, but being a part of, and sharing with our group was integral to my full enjoyment. From day one we were like family.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Evolving into a more confident "temporary local," I have become more independent, adventuresome, exploring on my own, getting "lost." In Rome, on my way to St. Maria Maggiore, I stopped to enjoy a gelato. Two tour buses arrived, off came 100 smiling nuns, greeted by happy locals. I followed as they entered the full basilica, everyone clapping as they processed in. Someone offered me seat and I joined in a beautiful celebration of a newly canonized saint, a once in a lifetime experience."

Bonita

Wauwatosa, WI

Tour: 10/04/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Overall it was a well planned and executed tour. Transportation was excellent, hotels were good, however not accessible with the bus in most instances. This was challenging at best.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Our stay at Agrilturismo Poggio della Volara. Keep this destination on your itinerary. A beautiful setting with outstanding hosts and food."

Loisann

Litchfield Park, AZ

Tour: 10/04/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was everything that was advertised. We loved it from start to finish. The tour guide, Patricia was super organized, took good care of us, always knew what was going on. The people on the tour were great. Good size - 23 people. Even though we had seen some of the bigger cities it was great to see them from smaller hotels, seeing them at night when everyone else goes home. Lots of smaller towns that were oh so charming.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Leaving the Grand Canal in Venice early in the morning. We went the full length of the canal in a small motor boat and saw all the sites without all the crowds. So awesome to see all the locals coming alive for the day."

Robert

Olathe, KS

Tour: 10/04/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We booked this tour because our daughter, who had not been to Italy, was traveling with us, and we wanted her to experience as much of Italy as possible on a short trip. It was everything we hoped it would be. Even though the time was short at each location and the pace was fast, we got an in-depth view of those areas. Also, my wife and I had many new experiences at sites we had previously visited.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The time in the Dolomites was the wow moment for me. The scenery there is breathtaking. I want to go back for a longer stay."

William

New Berlin, WI

Tour: 10/04/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was excellent! You couldn't have provided a better tour guide than Patricia. I didn't go on the tour with any expectations, but if I would have, they would have been surpassed. I learned so much, made new friends, eat new food, and had so much fun. The memories will last a life time.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Agriturismo Poggio della Volara was so awesome. It was the best! They not only treated us like family, they made us a part of their family. The food, rooms, views, relaxation, personal service, and fun they provided will be hard to beat anywhere else in the world. They provided music and dancing in both English and Italian there were so many smiles in the room, I didn't think we could all fit in there, but we did! I miss it, and I wish I was back there."

Michael

Southington, CT

Tour: 10/04/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

FANTASTIC, ENERGETIC TOUR GUIDE. I LEARNED SO MUCH MORE THAN WOULD HAVE HAPPENED ON MY OWN. THE SIZE OF THE GROUP WAS FINE. (I HAD WORRIED THAT IT MIGHT BE TO BIG.) I REALLY LIKED ALTERNATING BETWEEN LARGER CITIES AND RURAL TOWNS. THE BUS WORKED OUT GREAT. I WAS VERY HAPPY THAT THERE WAS PLENTY OF ROOM AS WAS PROMISED. WE COULD JUST RELAX BETWEEN STOPS AND THAT WAS GREAT.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"the Agratourisimo. The owners were very friendly and informative. They really shared a lot about life on the farm."

Katie

San Diego, CA

Tour: 10/04/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour was worth every cent!! Our tour guide, Patricia, was exceptional--just loved her humor! The tour included all the "must see and do" things that one wants to accomplish when touring Italy for the first time , plus there were some delightful "extras" that I don't think other companies' tours would include (i.e.visiting a contrade of Sienna and enjoying one of their wonderful "homemade meals" in their community hall or the agriturisimo experience)

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were so many "WOW" moments, but I think visiting St Peter's basilica made the biggest impression on me . I was not prepared for the immense size of the building and viewing the Pieta was very emotional. My husband absolutely loved the Dolomites experience."

Robert

Edmonds, WA

Tour: 10/02/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Experiencing Italy's geographical, cultural and historical diversity from the Alto-Adige to Roma was a distinct pleasure. The tour was intense, tho' well-timed breaks at the Cinque Terre and Umbria provided necessary rest. Free time allowed one to visit other attractions and to sample and enjoy the local cuisine. Churches contain the treasurers of Italy, which one ought to experience; and one might struggle to find appropriate words to describe the architecture.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"To me it's all about Michelangelo Buonarroti. So, that would narrow it down to these: the David, the Pietà, the Sistine Ceiling and the Last Judgment. It's the David. His room was crowded, but one could still view the sculpture from all angles and experience the work of the young Michelangelo. A person can only wonder how it might have come out had he been allowed to carve a perfect "piece of meat" from the quarries of Carrara."

Jane

Walnut Creek, CA

Tour: 10/02/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was a wonderful trip. I would recommend it for all who love history, good food, wine and people. Many wonderful hiking opportunities! Very well planned with a wide variety of experiences. Felt that I truly got to "know" Italy in three weeks!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Seeing David and the Pieta brought me to tears. Listening to the local opera singers in Lucca (off tour) sing various Arias from Puccini blew me away! Lucca is the home of Puccini and should be on the Tour. The event cost only $20 Euros and was more than worth it. Fabulous experience. There was one in Sienna as well, but not as good. Acoustics were not as good. Also, seeing the Sistine Chapel was a special moment. Loved how Michelangelo painted himself as God!"

Paul

Estes Park, CO

Tour: 10/02/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Had a fine comparible group and an exceptional tour guide, Ann. Generally, I preferred the countryside and smaller towns to the big cities. Venice, Florence and Rome had so much to see, I felt ovewhelmed at times. I was a bit disappointed by Venice which at times smelled like an open sewer. When I heard that we missed a hightide condition by just a few days, I understood why. I know it"s a "must see" in Italy but, frankly, I enjoyed our pre-tour days in Milan much more.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The hike in the Dolomites near Castelrotto was a highlight for me. The air was so clean and fresh and the views spectacular. I just felt like it was jome."

Joanne

Walnut Creek, CA

Tour: 10/02/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

The most important element was our tour guide, Ann. This was my third trip to Italy. The first two I traveled independently. The first by car, second by train. The second main element was our bus driver, Adrian. It was so relaxing by bus and our driver was outstanding. I am a terrible back seat driver and he was so skillful. I felt very safe as he managed hairpin turns with caution and confidence.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Opening the door to our suite at the Hotel Cavallino D'Oro. It was just glorious. The weather in Monterosso and seeing people swimming, jumping off rocks, and hang gliding. Also the Hotel Albergo Pasquale was the best overall for view, location, staff, and the best breakfast. Scrambled eggs arrived minutes after ordering. I had the most succulent peach the two mornings we were there."

Cynthia

Sammamish, WA

Tour: 10/02/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our 17-day trip to Italy was just a perfect trip and gave us a great overview of the country. We hit many favorite tourist spots as well as visited special places that were secluded, beautiful, and less known.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Colosseum in Rome floored me because our guide verbally took us back in time and gave us a real "feel" for the culture in Rome in the 1st and 2nd centuries. I realized just what a violent culture it was at that time, and how miraculously Christ was born in the midst of that time and brought ideas that were so different about how to live. Somehow visiting the Colosseum triggered an "aha" moment for me."

Kris

Estes Park, CO

Tour: 10/02/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Ann was a wonderful tour leader. She knew how to explain the history, culture etc of Italy in a succinct manner. Most of us were pretty old and too many words don't stay in the brain. She did a great job!! And she was a lot of fun. Our driver was an excellent driver and very interesting and personable person. Only complaint is the hotel in Venice..So hard to find it made Venice a chore rather than our first trip when we stayed at anRS recommended hotel near the Rialto bridge.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Loved the cathedral in Siena."

Joseph

Mountain City, TN

Tour: 09/30/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was our first Rick Steves tour and 2nd trip to Europe. We had a fantastic time and hope to do another. The tour guide, Sarah, was great, the other tour participants were great, we made friends and were sad to leave. We really feel that we experience the best of Italy. Thanks for the great time.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were actually several and it's really difficult to pick just one. The view hiking down to Vernazza was amazing. The first view of the Florence duomo was also a wow moment."

Manfred

Vancouver, WA

Tour: 09/30/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

The tour was well organized and everything went as planned and met with our expectations. We would have loved to stay longer in most areas but realize that this was a tour of "The best of Italy" and as such had to move on since there is so much to see and to experience in Italy. We will certainly return and spend more time there in the future.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"That is a hard one since there were so many. For me the Cinque Terra area and the Agriturismo experience in Umbria were the biggest "Wow"moments, especially the hospitality, food, wine and party experience in Umbria. Needless to say also that the Coliseum and St Peter's Cathedral were absolute "Wows". Those were unfortunately negatively influenced by the masses of tourists."

Charles

Sycamore, IL

Tour: 09/30/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was the right balance between seeing a great deal but allowing us free time to explore things on our own. The pace was brisk but that was a necessity to allow the tour to be so experientially productive. The activity level was suitable for us and necessary for burning off the calories from the bread and pasta, which one MUST eat when touring Italy! Our guide was flawless in her professional role and an all around great person to get to know. Clone her!!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The piazza in Assisi."

Belinda

Anaheim, CA

Tour: 09/30/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Very educative,nice experience and our tour guide Sarah is a 10+

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Cinque Terre and Dolomites"

John

Marshall, NC

Tour: 09/30/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Very good mix of small towns/villages and larger cities, outdoor and urban activities. The smaller group size, 18, led to a very good chemistry between the group members. Probably the best camaraderie of all our RS tours(5). Our tour guide was one of the best of our RS tour guides. We really appreciated Sarah organizing happy hours, special dinners and other activities beyond the group ones. Enjoyed the flexibility that the free days give you to explore on your on.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"We really enjoyed the Agriturismo in Umbria. The food, wine and olive oil were superb and the local scenery was pure Italy. The hosts were so warm and friendly and made our stay special. The scenery in the Dolomites and in the Cinque Terra was spectacular. To be able to stay in those locations and wake up to those sights is extra special."

Spence

Tallahassee, FL

Tour: 09/30/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This is one of the best trips I have ever taken.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"When I think back, the family and farm/vineyard where we stayed in Umbria is the first one that comes to mind. They were just so wonderful and welcoming. We learned about their lives and felt like we were a part of it, if only for a couple of days. We were like one big family while there. The party on the last night was truly the best night we had in Italy. There was great food and wine, music, dancing and singing. One big party and the joy of being together in a very special place in Italy."

Elspeth

Vancouver, WA

Tour: 09/30/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I loved, loved this tour, my first of Italy though I've been to Europe many times. It was our first Rick Steve's tour and we're ready to go on more! This tour maximized sights and tours of must-see cities, towns, duomos and museums, while still leaving free time to relax or explore more. It was a truly enjoyable stress-free way to enjoy so many magnificent places.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were so many wow! moments. One was being in the Dolomites for "Bringing home the cows" day in the Alpe di Siusi. Amazing Venice, magnificent Florence, beautiful Cinque Terre and more. We had a memorable experience at Poggio della Volara agriturismo where Marco and Gaiva shared their freshly pressed EVOO, wild boar and other local foods and followed with a lively evening of singing and dancing. The "wow was experiencing so many amazing, different and wonderful moments in 17 days!"

Angela

Oakland, CA

Tour: 09/30/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Awesome. Saw so much of Italy. Rick Steves' name gave us the red carpet treatment everywhere.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"When we got into our room at Monterosso, the Hotel Pasquale. That ocean view out of our bedroom window was unforgettable."

Margaret

Mountain City, TN

Tour: 09/30/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our first Rick Steves Tour but hopefully NOT our last! We chose this tour for the itinerary and all that was included. Aptly named, the Best of Italy in 17 days was absolutely the perfect choice for us! This was a vacation of a lifetime made complete with fond memories, new friends, great food and a wonderful all around Italian experience! The locations, lodging, restaurants, local guides and bus travel were all exceptional. And Sarah, PLEASE be our guide for ALL of our future tours!!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Coliseum? Rome? Duomos? Basilicas? Venice? Cinque Terre? Dolomites? The cows coming home? My "wow" moment could be any of those or more or just Italy in general. However, I will forever hold dear our stay with Marco and Gaiva at the Poggio della Volara agriturismo. What a wonderful evening of great food (Porchetta...YUM!!), good music, fine wine and singing and dancing with my 18 new friends! Now that's my "WOW" moment!"

Kent

Bothell, WA

Tour: 09/27/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was just an absolutely wonderful experience. What we learned, experienced and savored in Italy was amazing. The people we were with were all fun and enjoyable and our guide and bus driver were fabulous.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were too many to really list....one that really gave me a "wow" to the history of Italy were olive trees close to 2000 years old in Bellagio on Lake Como."

Shirley

Calgary, AB

Tour: 09/27/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour was our first time across the Atlantic. We had never done a group tour and had some anxious moments re how this would unfold. We put that all aside by the time we left Verenna. Honest fun loving group to travel with and we were the only non Americans and sharing our "Canadianism" was fun.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Number 1 on the list of WOW was the Coliseum Number 2 the vast multitudes of paintings and sculptures and how they have withstood time. Number 3 The Dolomites and our time at Pension Seelaus."

Roger

Seattle, WA

Tour: 09/27/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Although I don't usually like to move from place to place when I travel, this tour minimized the impact and provided an excellent overview of various Italian destinations. Our guide was informative and managed the group well. The tour group interacted well and supported each other.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Francesca's tour through the Roman forum. But also the visit to Contrada Della Selva in Siena."

John

Austin, TX

Tour: 09/25/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Phenomenal Tour. It has the right balance of organized time and free time. Comfortable coach for only 20 people on our tour. Tour Guide was amazing, full of information, very organized, got us all acquainted with the layout of each new town.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Seeing "David" in the Academia Museum."

Gary

Olympia, WA

Tour: 09/25/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I loved the format [INVALID]walking orientation tours and arrangements to key attractions while leaving plenty of free time. The smaller hotels small family owned restaurants were fabulous. Karin did a great job of making the bus rides educational, not only from an arts and history point of view, but as importantly from a culture viewpoint. The language lessons were fun. The smaller tour group was delightful [INVALID]we never once had to wait for a single latecomer.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were so many -- Probably the condition of the artwork in the Duomos. Magnificent --breath taking. The boat rides on Lake Como and the Cinque Terre were close seconds."

Bob

Puyallup, WA

Tour: 09/25/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

There was so much to see and learn. At times it was overwhelming. The art, the culture, the landscape, and the people of Italy were extraordinary. Our guide Karin made sense of it all for us with numerous historical references and background information. Getting to know the people in our group just made it that much better.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Visiting Tuscany and staying in Orvieto. Seeing the beauty of the Italian countryside."

Suzanne

Olympia, WA

Tour: 09/25/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Superb. Far exceeded my expectations. Exceptionally well run. Professional. Fun. Educational. Informative. Great tour members. Loved the "buddy" system. Tour guide, Karin, was great. Great choice of hotels, restaurants, places to visit and tour. Great timing on bus, hotel, free times. Well thought out! Thanks so much.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The very first night in Varenna when we left the hotel and walked along the water, passing restaurants looking for a place to eat. So beautiful. So Italian, so intimate."

Sharon

Lebanon, PA

Tour: 09/23/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

we felt we received a nice overview of the country including customs, language, culture and history. we also had experiences we didn't anticipate such as attending a pumpkin festval in one of the small towns.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"the dolomites were a special treat. truly beautiful and relaxing. we also enjoyed the auto grilles!"

Charles

Lebanon, PA

Tour: 09/23/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Great, Stephanie was the best. Knowledgeable yet attentive to personal needs all with an even temperment. Busy pace with oportunity to experience Italian life. Would recomend to anyone.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Too bad Cinque Terre was rainy."

Michael

Toledo, OH

Tour: 09/23/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour far exceeded my expectations. The organization of travel and sightseeing events was outstanding. We never had to wait in line to access the sights we were scheduled to visit. In addition to planned activities our guide and driver (Stephanie & Dino)were willing and able to take us to unscripted events ( lunch at street festival in Lana town ) that allowed us to enjoy and experience local culture at its best. Perhaps best of all, all of my fellow travelers were great !!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It's almost impossible to pick one sightseeing moment from so many wonderful ones ( gondola ride in Venice, viewing Rome from the cupola at St. Peter's, etc. ) so I'll pick the unscripted stop at Lana town as my favorite. Totally unplanned, and here we were, eating, drinking and dancing in the street with local townspeople and fellow travelers alike. That was truly a "Europe through the back door" moment."

Tereza

Dallas, TX

Tour: 09/23/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Unforgettable. Exceeded my expectations.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Impossible; so many...."

Suzanne

Durham, NC

Tour: 09/23/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Tour was great . , , , though it included SO MUCH and moved so quickly that it was almost hard to take it all in. The group dynamics were excellent, thanks to our guide, Stephanie, who is extraordinary.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Possibly the gondola ride in the Dolomites . . . the sheer presence of those beautiful and scary mountains. On the other hand, there was the ferry ride on Lake Como . . . the al fresco lunch in Bellagio."

Charles

Bothell, WA

Tour: 09/23/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Best tour ever! Bad weather and crowds could not overshadow the beauty of the country and the ease with which we got where we needed to go.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The landscapes of Lake Como, Cinque Terra, and the Dolomites, the churches and artwork, the canals and islands all were way better than I expected."

John

Durham, NC

Tour: 09/23/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

I enjoyed the tour very much, though I sometimes found the pace and physical demands somewhat exhausting.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I had been to Italy three previous times, but I had never seen the Dolomites."

Linda

Staunton, VA

Tour: 09/20/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Even though this was my fifth trip to Italy I was enthralled with renewed visions and memories. I chose this inclusive trip for my sister who had never been to Italy. I wanted her to experience the variety of beauty in all the different areas of Italy. This trip was the best I could find. I am so happy I chose Rick Steves Italy in 17 Days Tour because it was worth every cent of the cost. All the extra speakers, tour guides, group meals, etc. made this a trip of a lifetime.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Cortona and the argitourisimo Alta Rocca were the highlight of my trip. I especially like very small towns and Tuscany is so beautiful. The views at Alta Rocca of their vinyard and olive grove were magnificent. The comfort and relaxation we enjoyed their filled my heart with pleasure."

Doreen

Gray, ME

Tour: 09/20/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

It was a fabulous packed full tour of Italy that was well organized, very efficient and well orchestrated giving a good introduction to Italy.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were many wow moments so it is difficult to pick a favorite. I would have to pick seeing the Alps, Lake Como, the small hill town villages, Venice, Cinque Terre, and the Roman Coliseum."

Stephen

Gray, ME

Tour: 09/20/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Tour met expectations. Not enough free time at mid day stops. Tour guide was patronizing but interesting. Enjoyed the camaraderie of the group however the group should have not exceeded 20 members and better effort should have been taken to assure all could keep up. We do feel more comfortable now traveling in Europe on our own. We did feel the ending of the tour was a bit impersonal with no farewell email or future contact info for follow up questions. .... really only 500 characters?

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Wandering on our own and discovering on our own. While the classic sites were very impressive, we enjoyed getting lost and finding our way back. Still walking through streets of Venice and the Forum in Rome will always be something we think about."

Alan

Tualatin, OR

Tour: 09/20/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

I enjoyed seeing a tremendous cross section of the Italy and felt we were provided the greatest opportunity to cover a lot of ground in order to gain the greatest exposure. I also enjoyed the local guides and the information they provided.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I enjoyed the City of Sienna and learning about the historic race in the square - for the Virgin Mary"

Margaret

Chico, CA

Tour: 09/20/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

It was a vacation I could not have seen so many wonderful places, experienced the culture,food, etc. without being on a tour. Rick Steves made it easier. Our guide Stacy was so knowledgable, definitly in the area of art. My most favourity places were not the big cities. I loves Lake Como, Cinque Terre and Umbria, Orvieto. Overall I would travel with Rick Steve's again. Small groups our group were wonderful

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Lake Como,Altarocca and coming home"

Judy

Long Beach, CA

Tour: 09/20/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my first and very possibly only trip to Italy. I wanted to see a LOT, and I did! Spending two nights at each location helped us get a feel for each city rather than just a quick tour and back on the bus. The local guides were terrific...proud citizens of the town who had vast knowledge of local history and art coupled with a great sense of humor. Their funny stories made the history come alive. It was an awesome experience and worth every penny.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Seeing the first snow of the season from my balcony in the Dolomites was amazing, and hearing about how the cows had to be chased down from the upper pasture because of it was a special memory."

Wu-Yang

Phoenix, AZ

Tour: 09/20/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

You delivered all that you promise and more. I highly recommend and would go on another Rick Steve tour.

Joette

Lakewood, WA

Tour: 09/20/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

I had a wonderful time on this tour. Starting the tour in Varenna was a great idea. It offered an opportunity to get used to the time change and rest before moving on. I also liked the restful stop in Umbria before going to Rome. The Rick Steve's guide and apprentice were very knowledgeble and helpful. The group, for the most part, had good attitudes and got along together well.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Several wow moments. The Beauty of Lake Como area & the the tour guide at the Uffizi gallery. I enjoyed the art so much more because of his explanation of the works."

Virginia

Albuquerque, NM

Tour: 09/20/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Enjoyed having 2 nights in each town free time on our own. Wanted more time in Florence. 26 was a little large for one tour guide. (we did have an assistant, but that isn't standard as I understand). We arrived in Rome on the first Sunday of the month which meant we couldn't enter sites as a group, so we did both the Vatican and Old Rome in one day - 10 hours and over 10 miles. I was so tired that I couldn't appreciate the afternoon. Need to revise schedule to not arrive on 1st Sunday.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The US National Cemetary outside Florence. Very moving presentation and site. A reminder of our involvement in Europe in WW II."

Brad

Camp Hill, PA

Tour: 09/20/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The starting location on Lake Como could not have been better. All of the locations we visited were well chosen. The logistics of the tour including tickets for sight seeing, subways, trains were precise. Thanks for keeping the size of the tour group small. That is the main reason that I have been on 3 of Rick's tours!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Cinque Terra, Dolomites and Alto Roca were my favorites. The Colosseum in Rome was a highlight. Wish we could have seen the inside of the Colosseum in Verona. (I was told that it would have been redundant - So then why did we have to see 14 redundant churches if we could not see one much more interesting Colosseum?)"

Julianne

Tijeras, NM

Tour: 09/20/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Our group of 26 plus 2 guides were all great fun and good sports, even in the freak snow event in the Dolomiti! This was a great sampler of Rick's guidebook from the Italian Lakes south to Rome. I was disappointed by the crowds, particularly in Venice (4 mega cruiseships in port) and the Cinque Terre (once an undiscovered spot). I saw many, many people wandering with Rick Steve's guidebooks. Should I return, I would look for undiscovered spots (not in his guidebook) and try early to mid-April.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"In Florence, discovering Fort Belvedere above the Pitti Palace with unfettered 360 views. (I think not crowded because not in the Rick Steves guidebook!) Great costume and jewel exhibits in the Pitti. Villa Carlotta on Lake Como was a gorgeous mansion and gardens. Hotel Eremo Gaudio's funicular to former monastery's chapel & fab views of the lake. Being up close to key paintings in the Uffizi and to David in Firenza. Gazing, seated, in the Sistine. Orvieto- a great, normal hilltown."

Jeanne

Columbus, OH

Tour: 09/18/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The trip was well planned with restful places in-between busy cities. The guides were outstanding. Our two guides, Kayla and Sara, were wonderful, and so were the guides in the different cities we visited. I enjoyed the balance of group time and time to explore on our own. I can't say enough positive things about this trip.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Every day held "wow" moments. Perhaps eating in a chef's home while we were in Varenna is a moment to highlight."

Frank

Carlsbad, CA

Tour: 09/18/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Great experience ... Italy! Sarah w Kayla and Liugi, our driver. Good mix of guided time and free time, Taught us how to come back on our own. Nice fellow travellers. Everyone was on time and helped each other out. Quite a lot of talent amongst the tour group .. really enriched the travel experience. Great to get into busy sites/museums, etc + excellent local guides. We got to experience and hear/see things much better than if we just used a guide book or audio tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Lake Como view from the Eremo Gaudi hotel ... and then from the Villa Cipressi, David by Michelangelo, Coliseum, Pantheon, Sistine Chapel"

Paula

Seattle, WA

Tour: 09/18/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Overall, it was a wonderful tour experience. Both Sarah and Kayla kept track of us, provided good background information prior to a specific city or area tour. Sometimes we got additional information after a tour. Sarah's quick, off-the-cuff, wit, humor, and comments were quite comical along the way. Great group of people in our tour group. There were no clicks and it seemed everyone made attempts to get to know each other.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Seeing the ruins of ancient Rome, especially the Coliseum. It never registered from TV programs that modern Rome was next to the old Rome."

Narrendra

St Joseph, MO

Tour: 09/18/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

well organized tour

Favorite "WOW" moment

"hiking in dolomite and cinque terre meals were great"

Catherine

San Mateo, CA

Tour: 09/18/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our first time in Italy. Our first time on a Rick Steves' tour. We couldn't have made a better choice to celebrate our 30th Wedding Anniversary. The combination of cities and countryside, guided tours and free time was the perfect blend for us. We were able to see Italy's major highlights, yet still have time to hike in the Cinque Terre and Dolomite regions.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Everyday was a "wow" for us! Whether it was in the countryside, small towns, or the cities, we were amazed at Italy's beauty. The richness of history, the stories it held within the stone walls, its art, food and people."

George

Seattle, WA

Tour: 09/18/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The overall experience fulfilled all my expectations.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Too many wows to pick only one favorite."

Steve

Seattle, WA

Tour: 09/18/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I can't imagine having a better time. Having never been anywhere in Europe I chose to do a tour, so I didn't have to figure out any of the logistics. Everything about the tour exceeded my expectations.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"This of course is difficult as pretty much everything was "wow." Two things stood out though. Our local guides at the Uffizi and Ancient Rome were especially incredible. They really made these attractions come alive for me. I probably would have gone on overload in ten minutes in the Uffizi had I gone in there by myself, but our guide's knowledge of the history and back stories of these amazing works of art made it a memorable experience."

Leslie

Gladstone, MB

Tour: 09/18/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

the tour was fabulous. I thought Sarah and Kayla were very knowledgeable. Rome was quite an experience with the metro strike and lots of extra walking but well handled by Sarah and Kayla.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The wow moment was Cinque Terre. Our time there was refreshing and the scenery out of this world. I loved the towns, boat rides, and trains. I was disappointed the shorter trails were not open, but that is nature. The colours and quaint streets were fun to follow and the meals were terrific."

Mike

Flagstaff, AZ

Tour: 09/18/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Very well orgainzed. Excellent guides, Sara and Kayla. Amazing bus driver considering some of the narrow roads and insane drivers. What sealed the trip for us is that we bonded with three other similar couples that we shared the experience with. At the end of the day in Rome, most of us hit the wall, especially when we went to a fountain that was under construction and closed....unless open, make it optional to your guests.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Dolomites, Cinque Terre, and Altarocca Wine resort...can not pick a favorite among the three."

Barb

Flagstaff, AZ

Tour: 09/18/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I can honestly say that the tour exceeded our expectations. I was a little leery about my husband and the tour group format as well as the types of hotels but was not an issue.We tell anyone who will listen about our fantastic experience from our outstanding tour guide Sarah and assistant Kayla, the food, the local tour guides, the special added touches to the wonderful people in our group just to mention a few.We loved it so much we are already talking about which Rick Steves tour to do next!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The wow moments were numerous from the breathtaking views, unbelievable cathedrals, picturesque towns and even just the fantastic camaraderie of our group. I will say the 2 places we both agree we would have loved to stay longer were the Dolomites and Cinque Terre."

Robert

Columbus, OH

Tour: 09/18/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was an outstanding tour. Sarah and Kayla provided excellent leadership and our driver was always on time and very professional. The tour was well organized and exceeded my expectations. The dinner at the home of a well renowned chef was an extra that was an incredible experience. Our group of travelers got along exceptionally well and made the trip all the more enjoyable. I definitely would take another Rick Steve's tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I had many, but especially enjoyed Sienna and Assisi. The local guides were outstanding."

Cristina

Torrance, CA

Tour: 09/18/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

very well planned. I enjoyed having quite spots after busy cities. Kept well inforned as to daily activities and expectations. Given many options for free time. Sarah and Kayla were outstanding.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Dolomites and Cinque Terre hike."

Alan

Shoreline, WA

Tour: 09/16/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Fabulous- in all respects. Is that less than 500 words?

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Party in the Italian countryside at the farm."

Ronald

Rio Vista, CA

Tour: 09/16/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

As advertised, got to see the best of Italy. We saw the major tourist attractions but additionally got to experience the road less traveled with days in the Dolomites and Umbria as well as unique excursions to the home of Ferruccio, pasta demo. in Cinque Terre, dinner at the Selva social club, and wild boar dinner at the Agriturismo in Umbria. All this together with excellent tour guides along the way. A great vacation.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It's like asking which of your children do you love best. The whole tour was a "wow" monent. Some highlights were the Last Supper in Milan, the Dolomites, David, Venice, Pietia, and the Sistine Chapel."

John

Alameda, CA

Tour: 09/16/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I came away from this tour with a much greater appreciation for Italy, not just the ancient aspects of Italy that we have all studied before in school, but that modern Italy that lives within that previous history. I am somewhat surprised that I found so much about the tour suprising and illuminating.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The David by Michelangelo. I have been looking at that statue for my entire life in one way or another, but I was still struck in a way that surpised me when I walked into the Accademia and saw it down at the end of the corridor. But that was just one example of things that were so much more imppressive in the moment that I saw it than I expected."

Jacqueline

Rio Vista, CA

Tour: 09/16/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was a great trip - the other tour members were friendly - it was a very cohesive group. Our tour leader was fantastic. I enjoyed the nights/days we were interacting more closely with the people where we were staying. The Dolomites, Cinque Terre and Umbria were fantastic simply due to where we were and our hosts. Especially enjoyable was Agriturismo Poggio della Volara.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Upon entering the Pantheon, I immediately felt safe and serene and relaxed. It was as though the stresses of the world were removed."

Bolandis

Alameda, CA

Tour: 09/16/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My overall experience with Best of Italy 17 Tour 2015 was not only outstanding but will be a memorable one forever!!! We had an exceptional tour guide(Rainer) and an excellent driver(Adrian) who ensured we all got to every destination sites safely. Adrian kept his bus VERY clean throughout the entire trip. Rainer and Adrian both displayed a well groomed and professional appearance from day one to the end. A big KUDOS from the group to both these guys!!!!!!!!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I have four WOW moments: the Dolomites( spectacular views/hiking) Cinque Terre(hiking/swimming), our excellent/knowledgeable lead tour guide (Rainer) who kept us all entertained every day sharing his vast knowledge of history of all the sites we visited and our driver Adrian who ensured our #1 safety to every sites and was always well dressed, groomed, friendly and professional on the job."

Joan

Woodstock Valley, CT

Tour: 09/16/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our tour guide Raner and bus driver Adrian were so great, got us to where should be on time, made it fun, were knowledgeable and made sure we didn't get lost. The hotels were all wonderful especially the agritourisn in Tuscany! The bus was comfortable and the local guides were all great. I think the little touches like visiting the stain glass in Siena and the gondola maker in Venice added a nice touch and the fact that Riener knew great places to eat made the trip special.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Dolomites for sure followed by Tuscany. Loved the hotel in the cow pasture! The hill towns of Orvieto and Lucus were my favorite. The agritourisn farm outside of Orvieto was so nice, all that I thought of when I pictured Tuscany. Lovely hosts and great wine!I loved the art and the churches but liked the outdoors of Italy the best! Also, this trip was our 50th anniversary trip and we got to ride in the plush seats in the gondola. Loved Varenna and would love to spend more time there"

Dan

Olympia, WA

Tour: 09/16/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

What a fascinating way to experience the cultures and people of Italy. Perfect for the first-time traveler because it was painless (especially with this guide and driver). We saw several cooking demonstrations and sampled the diverse foods, history, and unique characteristics in the multitudes of regions in northern Italy. The group I traveled with was exceptionally fun and we may have several long-term relationships develop from this trip. We will use this as a springboard to other trips.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were actually several wow moments on this tour - all were surprises in that there was no indication that they were included as part of the tour. I especially enjoyed the "once in a lifetime" visit we made to the workshop of a maker of the forcolas (oarlocks)for the gondolas of Venice. Franco is one of only four remaining creators of these unique, beautiful and useful wooden "sculptures" and he took us through the entire process from a block of wood to the finished and polished pieces."

Shelley

Portland, OR

Tour: 09/16/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

The overall experience was really enjoyable. The group was very positive, no complainers, and ready to try almost anything. The destinations were wonderful and strategically well planned.(Exploring in Rome is great after you have your "chops up",perhaps daunting without a little dolce vita experience).

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were actually quite a few, if I had to choose just one it would be my very early hike in Cinque Terre with a few tour friends. It was gorgeous, magical and using Rick's "go early or go late" plan we went early and saw almost no one for the first two hours or so."

Kathy

Rio Vista, CA

Tour: 09/16/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Really couldn't ask for more. Rainer was about the most perfect guide. He was extremely knowledgeable, calm, positive, helpful, resourceful and has a wonderful personality and sense of humor. We saw everything we hoped to see and much more. I especially liked the local dinner where we went to the home of a retired restaurant owner/chef to experience buckwheat pasta. Unbelievably delicious! I truly enjoyed the visit to the gondola oarlock creator/woodworker in Venezia.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hard to say...maybe the off-the-itinerary bike ride and picnic in Lucca. Of course Michelangelo's David was unforgettable as was our stay in the agriturismo in Umbria."

Julia

Beaverton, OR

Tour: 09/16/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

-extremely well organized

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The oculus of the Pantheon is open to rain, snow , stars, i did not get it from my readings."

Sharon

Regina, SK

Tour: 09/16/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Very well organized tour and great value. Starting in Varenna and then the Dolomites allowed us to ease into the soon quickening pace of the rest of the tour. Rainer was a superb guide. Very knowledgeable, pleasant and confident with a good sense of humour. We always felt safe and organized. Our bus driver Adrian was great. Superior driving skills and a good sense of humour and always on time. A snappy dresser too!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Have to give a wow moment to the astounding beauty of our first stop in Varenna. What a great introduction to this beautiful country. And the coliseum in Rome... Wow ... It will certainly limit the amount of times I will be able to use the word "awesome" in the future."

Robert

Jasper, GA

Tour: 09/16/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Well planned, well paced, and great balance between active days, low key days. Even though this was a very active itinerary, we never felt pushed beyond our comfort level.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"SO many to choose from, but we both really loved the wine/appetizers on the hill in Umbria."

Kurt

El Dorado Hills, CA

Tour: 09/16/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

The tour itinerary was very good, allowing us to see sites we probably wouldn't have gone to on our own. The front of the line allowance at popular sites was priceless. Utilize the whisper systems throughout the tour, rather than just a t select places. The tour guide and bus driver were excellent and the bus restroom was appreciated.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Emerging from the Rome subway and being faced with the Colosseum and hiking the Cinque Terre were both awesome."

Patricia

Panama City Beach, FL

Tour: 09/13/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Patricia was a fantastic guide. She went over and above to make sure everyone was having a good time, that there were no problems. She made the trip FUN!! And Stephano, our driver did a great job. I couldn't believe how well he drove that big bus in the mountains, and in the crowded cities with narrow streets. The architecture, the people, the artwork, the scenery, the food, the wine, I could go on and on. It was a wonderful experience that I will never forget!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Seeing the Pieta was very moving for me. It brought tears to my eyes."

Lynn

Lake Orion, MI

Tour: 09/13/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The trip was busy, busy, busy! I knew from the itinerary that we'd be seeing a lot, but there were so many extras thrown in, my head was spinning. I wouldn't eliminate anything we saw.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It's a toss up between the Coliseum and the St. Peter's Square. They are both so iconic in their own ways, it was a thrill to be there."

Martin

Loveland, CO

Tour: 09/13/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Our tour group was great and we got along wonderfully. I have to admit that I was a little apprehensive initially as our group had only 5 men and twenty one women but we all had a great time. The trip was wonderful and we enjoyed learning about the culture and the history. I think that this being our first time being on a tour it was a great experience and we thoroughly enjoyed it. Especially meeting new people and making new friends.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"This is difficult as this was our first time in Italy, so truly think that everyday had a wow moment! I enjoyed the tours of the Stained Glass shop and the pesto making class, as much as I enjoyed the Vatican and Venice! To me the whole trip was a wow moment!"

Walter

San Diego, CA

Tour: 09/13/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I was VERY pleased with the tour. Over and over again I felt the tour provided more than I expected up front. I will never go on another vacation without checking if Rick Steves provides a tour package for that vacation. One BIG reason the tour was so much fun and informative was our guide Patricia and our bus driver Stefano. They were priceless !

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The gondola ride in Venice with a spectacular singer on our gondola belting out Volare' ! Wow!"

Eunhwa

San Diego, CA

Tour: 09/13/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I loved every part of the tour starting from the booking, tour route, transportation, hotels, meals, and especially our tour guide Patricia. She made the trip so much more than just a trip. She kept us well informed and organized in such a delightful way. I love her sense of humor and all of the historical facts she gave us for each of the places we visited.

Gary

Peoria, AZ

Tour: 09/13/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

50/50 time allocation of structured vs. free time about right. I realize that in Italy has a lot of history and that the art is in churches, but got a bit "churched-out." I suggest you do more regarding current culture. >for example, really enjoyed special events like Otzi the iceman (Bolzano) the Sienna Paoli dinner, the Umbria agriturismo, Cinque Terre "pesto" dinner, tours of stain glass maker, gondola forcola/ferro maker, gondola ride etc.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"No one moment stood out....there were many enjoyable moments."

Carolyn

Loveland, CO

Tour: 09/13/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Everything was planned and scheduled very well, along with a couple of surprise treats. We had a great group of people and I was pleased with the size of our group being 26 people. I absolutely loved Patricia, she did an AMAZING job with keeping us informed of the days schedule and has a great way of teaching about the history and the area and sites we went to. The hotels were very nice, the best being AltaRocca Wine resort/spa. The inclusive breakfasts were awesome. Patricia

Favorite "WOW" moment

"our "room" at AltaRocca was beyond beautiful, with a balcony and views of the Umbrian countryside and vineyard!"

Linda

Taneytown, MD

Tour: 09/13/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Exceeded expectations. The hotels were lovely and well-placed so we could easily explore our environs. The size of the group was perfect and we were all so very compatible. The tour guide could not have been better. She became one of our group. Her knowledge of her country and its history was amazing. Her enthusiasm was wonderful. The "extras" she provided for us were delightful. We honestly felt we could not have had a better experience. Would definitely travel on another Rick Steves tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Discovering that we really could navigate "on our own" in a foreign country! Thanks, Patricia, for helping to give us that confidence! "Wow" moments were numerous. Hiking in the Dolomites topped the list."

Jean

Taneytown, MD

Tour: 09/13/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was beyond my expectations. The city's are a must, but give me the country. Hiking the Dolomites was breathtaking. Hiking the villages in Cinque Terre was fabulous. We had the best group possible. Lots of warm and fun personalities. Our tour guide Patricia, is the reason it was all so fabulous. She went out of her way to accommodate us all and did the best job at it. I don't believe there is a better guide in your organization. She is so knowledgeable and funny ,wanted to brin

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hiking the Dolomotes."

Diane

Sarasota, FL

Tour: 09/13/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

I found the aspects of the tour that were within the control of Rick Steves to be outstanding. Our tour guide was exceptional and made the experience better than it would have been without her. It was wonderful to know that Rick Steves was handling the logistics and ticketing throughout, especially when last-minute surprises like rail strikes or bad weather or unusually long lines required the tour guide to improvise and adapt. We were also fortunate to have a very congenial group on our tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"As I sat in the Sistine Chapel, looking up at the ceiling and seeing the "special message" from Michelangelo (which I would never have known about without the local guide provided by Rick Steves), I experienced an overwhelming sense of awe and appreciation for being able to have that experience."

Richard

Sarasota, FL

Tour: 09/13/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

It was a good experience, where any problems are outside of your control and your staff did a remarkable job.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"the statue of David"

Kathy

Lake Stevens, WA

Tour: 09/13/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

2nd Rick Steves tour. Loved Patricia our guide. She was outstanding. Everyone in our group got along. Appreciated this tour as an overall sampling of Italy. It was very fast paced. Make sure you are in great shape for all those steps, hills, cobblestones, etc. At times seemed like we tried to fit too much into our days. Over half our group was sick at one point during the tour. It seemed like more folks got sick the closer we got to the end. I think it was from exhaustion.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There are 2 - The night gondola ride our group took with our own private accordion player and singer. Went out to the Grand Canal. Simply magical. Didn't want the night to end. Second was walking around the corner and seeing David at the other end of the room. Stunning."

Liz

Seattle, WA

Tour: 09/13/15

Overall rating: rating 3 of 5

I think it was a good introduction to Italy and I am now far more comfortable deciding on my own where to travel. I think Rick's book on Italy was very factual and very helpful.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My wow moment was Orvieto and the view of the valley from my hotel room. Absolutely beautiful."

Susan

San Diego, CA

Tour: 09/13/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I loved the tour. This was my 1st trip to Italy and a wonderful introduction to a beautiful Country.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"there were really too many to list, but if pressed, the Tour of the Uffizi with local guide Riccardo (name?) was exceptional"

Susan

Peoria, AZ

Tour: 09/13/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The 17 days in Italy was more fun, adventure and learning experience than can be put into words! The tour brought together the history, social times, religious influence and the scandals surrounding Italy's development as we explored the country. Our tour guide, Patricia, made the trip extra special by taking the scenic route from place to place and pointing out interesting facts as we drove through the countryside. In addition, we had the best travel companions!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My"WOW" moments were meeting wonderful people. Danio, our flight attendant. The bar/coffee house owner in Verana. The Germans, Austrians Italians, we met while hiking the Dolomites . The porketta restaurant owners in Ovieto. Yum yum yum ..learning to make pesto in Cinque Terre and wine tasting in Ovieto. The police officers and army people who were guarding the public places."

Laura

Panama City Beach, FL

Tour: 09/13/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour was so much more than I expected it to be. The people in my tour group were wonderful. Our tour guide, Patricia, was awesome. She was a fountain of knowledge and with her sparkling personality she kept everyone upbeat. She worked continously and tirelessly to help people have the best experience possible on this tour. We did and saw things I would have never thought to look for or get into were I not on this tour with her. Our bus driver, Stephano, had major skills with that bus!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"So hard to choose only one as there were so many "wow" moments. Just realizing every morning that I was in Italy was "wow!" I guess I would have to say visiting the Baptistery in Pisa and catching the guide demonstrate the acoustics of the dome by "singing" single notes from the position a priest would have had at the baptismal font. A building used as a musical instrument..incredible!"

Dean

Prior Lake, MN

Tour: 09/13/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Great itinerary.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I was amazed at the engineering of Venice."

Twyla

Kingwood, TX

Tour: 09/11/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

September is a very crowded month to visit Italy. You had to battle steaming hot temperatures and very large sometimes aggressive crowds. The itenary had you move every 2 days - so you could never reach a "comfortable stage" in each place we visited. So every other day you had to pack and move on to the next place. That can make you weary pretty fast. On the good side you did see a lot of country and a good representation of what Italy is all about.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Varena and Lake Como, plus the Cinque Terre. (but not the train that runs amoung the villages - it was a terrifying stampede mentality to get on and off the trains at each village - hoping that the Germans would not throw you out of the train so they could have your seat. Terrifying."

Linda

Redding, CA

Tour: 09/11/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Fabulous with the exception of the pace.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Of course, there we many! But in this moment I'll call out seeing the chandelier that gave Galileo his theory of the pendulum. Another one was seeing the Roman door of the Inquisition where he then was forced to recant his theory that the earth was round rather than flat."

Michael

Redding, CA

Tour: 09/11/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Overall, the tour was very good. Would've probably been outstanding had I been in better shape and thus found it easier to enjoy and appreciate all that we were exposed to. Ferdi was excellent, as were the various local tour guides. Bus and bus driver, and itinerary were also excellent. Would've liked more time at each location to savor it, but am appreciative of the trade offs between overall tour duration and the desire to show the big essentials along w some lesser-known "flavoring".

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Seeing the Forum in Rome, where I began to appreciate the deep history of Rome - wherever they dig, not matter how deep they dig, there's more!"

Sally

Seattle, WA

Tour: 09/11/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

This was the most active tour I've been , well organized , great tour group members, friendly and no grumps .

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There are 2 places that I love to go back again if I have the chance - Dolomite even though it rained the day we were there , love nature and the other place is Cinque Terre - Monterroso and Vernazza ."

Polly

San Diego, CA

Tour: 09/11/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Looking back at our photos I had almost forgot how many places we had gone to in such a short time. Our 3rd tour and it definitely maximized every minute we had to visit Northern Italy. Our guide, Ferdi was funny, helpful, and made the trip very smooth. The local guides were all fantastic and brought the specific area to life for us. We were pleased with all of the hotels and the dinners rated from good to excellent.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I think my favorite "wow" place was in the Dolomites. Being able to hike such beautiful trails in the high alpines with the sound of cow bells in the background was magical. My second "wow" place was Sienna where our guide brought us into the world of contrada's where we felt just as passionate about their horse races."

John

Fredericksburg, VA

Tour: 09/11/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour exceeded our expectations: a) very knowledgeable guides; b) above average hotels; good variety and quality of included dinners; c) outstanding selection of tour stops; d) comfortable bus and competent, personable, and safe driver.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"We really can't choose one. Here are six outstanding Wow moments: a) dinner at the Pension Seelaus hotel in the Dolomites; b) outdoor evening concerts (battling chamber orchestras) in St. Mark's Sq, Venice; c) Academia and Uffizi Galleries, Firenze; d) all demonstrations; e) scenery at the Altarocca wine resort, Orvieto; f)all tour stops in Rome; g) Assisi tour."

Sandra

Centralia, WA

Tour: 09/11/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my 2nd trip to Italy. I loved the combination of freedom and organization this tour provided. Without having to worry about logistics, we were able to enjoy the organized times with the group and delight in the freedom to explore and experience Italy on our own as well. There were a few hiccups, but nothing that detracted from the overall experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"After the rush of preparation and international travel, and the challenge of finding our way to meet the group, the peaceful, unhurried time in Varenna on beautiful Lake Como was a balm for a frazzled mind. After walking through the town with our guide, we chose a simple lake side restaurant and enjoyed a very Italian meal -slow, relaxed, delicious, outdoors, overlooking Lake Como watching the boats, unwinding and becoming fully aware of where we were."

Gary

Placentia, CA

Tour: 09/11/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I have been to Europe on 5 previous occasions and have traveled by train and by car. This was my first tour and I must say, my best vacation ever. We did so much on this tour in 17 days. It would be nearly impossible to see as much on your own. Our tour guide, Ferdi, was outstanding and everyone on the tour was great.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Waking up every day to a new experience was my "wow" moment. Venice was amazing. The tour has such variety. We had beautiful lake and mountain vistas, picturesque coastlines, countrysides that were just what you imagined they would be, and cities that had so much to offer."

Martha

Moorhead, MN

Tour: 09/11/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was a delightful trip. We got a good taste of Italy. We really enjoyed our guide, Ferdi, and we felt so privileged to have access to the fabulous local guides, especially Ricardo at the Ufizzi. We loved the group meals, the special local tours and having time to explore things on our own and go at our own pace.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I don't know if I could pick one. I adored Varenna on Lake Como. I adored the spa/winery, Altarocca. The Ufizzi tour with Ricardo was extraordinary. I also loved the tour of Ancient Rome."

Carolyn

Fredericksburg, VA

Tour: 09/11/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour exceeded our expectations: a) very knowledgeable guides; b) above average hotels; good variety and quality of included dinners; c) outstanding selection of tour stops; d) comfortable bus and competent, personable, and safe driver.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"We really can't choose one. Here are seven outstanding Wow moments: a) dinner at the Pension Seelaus hotel in the Dolomites; b) outdoor evening concerts (battling chamber orchestras) in St. Mark's Sq, Venice; c) Academia and Uffizi Galleries, Firenze; d) all demonstrations; e) scenery at the agriturismo near Orvieto; f) all tour stops in Rome; g) Assisi tour h) our group really bonded"

James

Salem, OR

Tour: 09/09/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Very enjoyable tour from start to finish. You packed a lot of sights and experiences into 17 days. But there was just enough down-time so that we didn't get overwhelmed. Sarah was an excellent guide. She made the tour a comfortable and positive experience. We enjoyed ourselves and we learned a lot. Sarah's knowledge and preparation, along with her good management skills and gentle style were just the right combination

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I really liked Siena. The tour of the "Forest" contrade's church and museum and discussion of past palios was interesting, and then the dinner hosted by the church members was my favorite meal of the trip."

Kathleen

Seattle, WA

Tour: 09/09/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

This was my 6th tour with Rick Steves and, while more physically rigorous than the previous tours, met and even surpassed my expectations. I would certainly recommend this tour to anyone going to Italy for the first time.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Dolomites! The first time I saw those peaks, I was blown away."

Laurianne

Calgary, AB

Tour: 09/09/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Tour was well organized with a good mix of scheduled and free time. Sarah was great at keeping everyone involved. Thoroughly enjoyed the local guides. Tips on what to do in free time was helpful. The little extras that Sarah added were nice.

Terrill

Seattle, WA

Tour: 09/09/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Excellent overall. If I had it to do over again, though, I would have opted for a more "off season" date due to the surprisingly too hot (for a Seattlite) weather and constant huge crowds, which made the already challenging pace of the itinerary more difficult. The tour sites and "delivery" by guides, hotels, etc. were outstanding though.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were too many to recount - the "sound check" in the Pisa baptistry stands out though, and, perhaps oddly, I was impressed by the beauty and tranquility of the Tuscan and Umbrian villages/countryside."

John

Grass Valley, CA

Tour: 09/09/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The itinerary was great; the guides were fabulous, the food was terrific and a good time was had by just about everyone.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were too many "wow" moments to pick out just one. There were scenery wows at Lake Como, the Dolomites and Cinque Terre. There were artistic wows in Venice, Florence and Rome. There were architectural wows just about everywhere. Made some great friends and enjoyed sharing walks, meals, and chats with many of my fellow travelers. Throughout the trip Sarah made sure we were informed and ready to have a great time together."

Linda

Salem, OR

Tour: 09/09/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I was very happy with the whole experience. It was my first time in Europe, and I was feeling a little anxious, but our tour guide Sarah was so good I soon felt very relaxed and enjoyed every part of the tour. I think this is a great way to experience Italy, you see so much that I am sure you would normally never see on your own.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were so many I can't name them all. The ones that really were most "wow" ones were Siena, their churches, the dinner given by the neighborhood that won Il Palio, (Forest), and the stain glass maker tour. And Monterosso " WOW" Cinque Terre. And the Dolomites, so much beauty and views."

Sue

West Chester, PA

Tour: 09/09/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Where to begin? This tour exceeded our expectations. Having never traveled in Europe, we hoped that this tour would take care of the details so that we could enjoy our first experience of Italy but also teach us how to get around on our own should we find a city we wanted to return to. Both hopes were realized as our guide, Sarah, after purchasing the group ticket for us, explained how to read the schedules, buy the tickets and all the nuances about travel for when we were on our own.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hard to choose just one. The first bite of pizza so different than pizza in the USA as was all of the food that was not only delicious but beautifully presented with pride and a smile. The art! But for us, perhaps it was the beauty of Cinque Terra and the meadow walk in the Dolomites."

William

Mt Vernon, OH

Tour: 09/09/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our first but not last Rick Steves' tour. It was much superior to the tour we had taken the year before. The size of the group was excellent and the people were great. We had such a good time it was hard to leave the group at the end of our tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"For me, every day was a wow moment. I loved hiking in the Dolomites & Cinque Terre. Cinque Terre is by far my favorite place in Italy."

Kimberly

Novato, CA

Tour: 09/09/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my first trip to Italy and as expected a busy agenda. The group was great; everyone very nice, and the tour guide (Sarah) was outstanding. All of the hotels were very comfortable except for the European 'hard as a rock beds', and were in good centralized location. The schedule and tours were well managed and organized, bus very comfortable, and lots and lots of walking. Overall the tour experience was excellent.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"All of it was 'wow' to me since I've never been to Europe before. Cinque Terra was stunning and of course the art and churches almost overwhelming."

Carol

Santa Monica, CA

Tour: 09/09/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

An excellent overview of Italy, especially for a first-time visitor. This tour included the big-name attractions (Rome, Venice, Florence) but also gems that an independent traveler might not know about, such as Orvieto and the Altarocca winery, and Castelrotto in the Dolomites. Through the knowledgeable and resourceful tour guide, we had access to special demonstrations of stained-glass cutting, gondola-oarlock carving, wine-tasting, and pesto-making.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The view of Lake Como from our hotel room window in Monterosso."

John

Santa Monica, CA

Tour: 09/09/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Very enjoyable. Of course it's a tour, so there's never enough time in any one place to see everything one might want to. Still, the frequent provision of free, do-your-own-thing time, kept one from feeling rushed from sight to sight.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Duomo in Orvieto. Never would have gone there if it hadn't been selected for the tour. Most beautiful church I've ever seen. If I may add another: the Ötzi museum."

Jill

Castle Pines, CO

Tour: 09/09/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Wow! I was so pleased. I originally did not want to go with a tour as I wanted to try to do it by ourselves both to save money and to have more control of our time. Was I ever wrong!!! This tour was amazing and a great value for all we did. Every moment was a pleasure. We covered so much of Italy in that 17 days. The people chosen as guides, drivers and hotel staff were a pleasure to be with as well as highly professional. Thanks for a super experience. We will be back!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Definitely, Cinque Terre. What a beautiful spot! Everything about it was great....the hotel (Villa Steno) with its stunning views and delicious breakfasts, the town, the delicious pesto dinner, the hiking between towns and the train ride back. I loved the fact that most of the tourists left in the late afternoon the whole town seemed to relax and it felt like we actually lived there. The weather was warm but not hot. How do the tours manage to order such great weather?!"

Marsha

Mt Vernon, OH

Tour: 09/09/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour exceeded our expectations. We saw and experienced far more than anticipated. I honestly can't think of one negative experience on this tour. It was all good. Loved Sarah's phrase, "It's Italy," which I took to mean you can't have a bad experience in Italy -- it's all in your perspective. So, when things didn't go exactly to plan, we often heard our tour mates say, "It's Italy," or "It's all good!"

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There wasn't just one. There were too many to mention. But here are a few: the views at Cinque Terre, rounding the corner and coming face to face with the gigantic, breathtaking Duomo in Florence, experiencing the canals of Venice, the nighttime gondola ride in Venice complete with a musician and beautiful girl singing opera, actually experiencing the flooding of St Mark's Square in Venice, the breathtaking beauty of the Dolomites,the vastness and the workmanship of the Colosseum, and the David."

Nathan

Sacramento, CA

Tour: 09/06/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our overall experience was everything we anticipated and hoped for. We arrived early to see Milan and stayed a few days in Rome after the tour. The big cities warrant additional time to fully appreciate all they have to offer. Because they are generally at the beginning or end of a tour itinerary, it is easy to book additional time. Venice is such a unique and wonderful city, it would have been nice to spend an additional day but it was scheduled in the middle of the tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Too many to count. Opening the shutters in our room onto Lake Como was breathtaking in every way. Venice was exquisite. Sienna, ahh, Sienna. The Cinque Terra wow moment was wonderful but, sadly, diminished during the day with the influx of tourists coming from cruise ships. These crowds clogged trains and streets to the point of gridlock which blotted out the charm of these five villages."

Robert

Jefferson, IA

Tour: 09/06/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Walking through the narrow streets of Siena and emerging into the Piazza del Campo - breathtaking!"

Debra

Ramona, CA

Tour: 09/06/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

After 37 years I was finally able to return to my favorite country in Europe with my beautiful 32 year old daughter Suzanne and share an amazing time with 28 other new friends. The 17 day tour brought back wonderful memories of the fabulous time I had long ago and reminded me of why the world has been having a love affair with Italy since the moment the first grape was stomped.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Wow, that's impossible to choose a "wow" moment. Varenna, Lake Como, Dolomites, Venice, Florence, Pisa, Cinque Terre, Siena, Assisi, Orvieto and Rome all offered something of beauty, inspiration,joy,comfort, relaxation . . . all delightful."

Glenn

Tampa, FL

Tour: 09/06/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Such a wonderful tour getting the best of big city Italy and rural Italy. I thoroughly enjoyed every bit of it, and no other company can provide that truly local experience like Rick Steves.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hiking in the Dolomites and getting to that hut with the world's best Apple Strudel. Also, Venice by night is spectacular! Varenna was such a great little town to relax in. Altarocca was a dream resort, and wish I could be back there now! Assisi was the quintessential hill town!! Could have stayed there for more days."

Sharon

Oceanside, CA

Tour: 09/06/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Incredible trip! Very organized and efficient. Trina and Anna were outstanding tour guides. I appreciated the on time tours and the fact that our tour members were on time for events. This trip far exceeded my expectations! This was my first Rick Steves tour and I certainly look forward to my next tour. I did feel that sometimes the walking tours were a little long with not much time to explore each site, although this is a slight criticism. In general everything was handled expertly.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Lake Como was a special place and definitely a WOW. I appreciated the extras we were able to have on the Rick Steves tour. The woodworker and glass blower artisans and the gondola ride at night in Venice. It would have been great to have one more day in Venice. Thanks to Trina and the one more gelato stop. Great tour and I would highly recommend them all."

Patricia

Baldwin Park, CA

Tour: 09/06/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Couldn't have been happier with the overall tour & our outstanding guides. We were concerned about whether we would be able to keep up but it was not a problem. Guess those daily 3 1/2 mile walks we took each day before the trip got us ready. The balance or organized tours/meals & on our own time was just perfect. The small group size made it easy for all of us to get to know one another & we made many new friends. Didn't want to come home & can't wait to book our next trip.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The gondola ride Trina arranged for us in Venice. Having an accordion player & vocalist for all of us just put it over the top. This made it an extra special romantic evening. The gondoliers made sure we all were close so that all could enjoy this special musical treat."

Stephen

Emerald Hills, CA

Tour: 09/06/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Crowds in Cinque Terra and the Vatican were overwhelming and significantly compromised the experience in those 2 areas for the sightseeing aspects in each. The tour plan, execution, guides, locations, hotels,meals, tour bus, weather were great! Might consider going a little later to avoid the crowds in the 2 locales. Planning and email guides, etc. were excellent. T.Y. Steve

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Other than spending 17 days with my girlfriend, it was the Italian Alps and Venice. Cinque Terra would have been right up there, except for the crowds. T.Y. Steve"

Floyd

Woodland, CA

Tour: 09/06/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The 17-day Italy tour was fantastic! Trina, the consummate veteran, kept as on schedule, made Italy come alive, and fostered warm fellowships among our tour group. Also, Trina was kind and supportive in mentoring Anna, our enthusiastic and talented apprentice guide. Together, they were a great team. This was my wife, Ruth, and my 14th Rick Steve's tour. It is good to see that the quality of guides, such as Trina, are carrying on Rick Steve's unique travel philosophy. Hats off!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"You never know when something like this might happen. My wife, Ruth, and I were in Riomaggiore, our last stop in Cinque Terre for the day. We were on a walled cliff enjoying the late afternoon descent of the sun into the Ligurian Sea. Suddenly, a three-year old child hoisted himself to the top of the wall to see what everyone was looking at. His momentum was carrying him over the edge when when I snatched him before his father could react. The drop was 40 feet. Scared us to death!"

Elaine

Emerald Hills, CA

Tour: 09/06/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was a great tour from start to finish. Most of the people on the tour were friendly, and even the ones who weren't were not that bad. It was very organized. I liked every hotel we stayed at, and there was not a bad meal the entire trip. The bus was comfortable, and I like that the tour bus was not very crowded.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The tour in Florence where the last heir of the Medici fortune left everything in her will to the public. I was especially touched by the fact that she wanted to make these treasures available to "foreigners" to see. As a foreigner to Italy,I was very impressed by that. I also loved Otzi the iceman."

William

B, CA

Tour: 09/06/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Loved every part of this tour- had a great group of traveling partners, the best tour guides in Trina and Anna, great places to see- DID NOT WANT IT TO END would have loved to continue with this group see other great places. The balance of tours and free time was great. We had exceptional weather which made sitting outside most enjoyable in the evenings- whether dinning with parts of the group or just having a glass of wine(which was also great).

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Three "WOW" moments- The scenery in The Dolomites, the gondola ride in Venice where we had 4 gondolas going together as a group with our tour guide Trina setting up a accordion player and a singer going along with us could not have been better, and the luxury winery resort near Orvieto."

Cheryl

Camano Island, WA

Tour: 09/06/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our experince in Italy was the most amazing vacation we've every had.It was the perfect mix of history,culture and relaxation. Allowing us to see as much as we wanted or to just sit back,relax & soak in the culture. We loved the friendliness of the small venue accomodations- all so well located to the center of the city, We could walk everywhere! The food & wine was wonderful.Our Guides, Trina & Anna were absolutley fasincating to listen to,extremely knowledgable and willing to share it all!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Cinque Terra!!! We loved the seaside tropical setting.... the laid back small village atmosphere makes us want to go back again and again. Our room opened up to an incredible sea view and the crashing surf! The family style Hotel clenched the deal!"

Kristen

Sherwood, OR

Tour: 09/04/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The Best in Italy 17 day tour was amazing! We could have kept going! Our tour guide, Robin, was so knowledgeable, helpful on days we were on our own, and so fun! The days were full of Italian experiences, some we never expected. The accommodations were great and located in the centers of the cities we were visiting. Our whole group bonded from the beginning. We met great people from all over the USA. It was a fabulous vacation!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hiking in the Dolomites was my favorite place. We hiked in the biggest alpine meadow with the rugged alps in view at all times. It was a beautiful , serene hike as you wander on clearly marked trails among cows free ranging all with bells on. Spectacular! We hiked from several huts and enjoyed Tirolean cuisine and met people from all over the world."

Michael

Newberg, OR

Tour: 09/04/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We expected the best and weren't disappointed. Each stop on the tour exceeded our expectations. The pacing was excellent and our group bonded instantly.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It is difficult to pick just one. But if I had to do so, it would be the gondola ride our group took that was arranged by our guide, Robin. She even arranged to have music and singing for our group and we were lucky enough to be in that gondola!"

Leigh

Newberg, OR

Tour: 09/04/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had a terrific experience - the tour was well run - no glitches. Of course, their were locations we'd like to have spent more time at - Assisi is one but we wouldn't wanted to have missed the other spots. Down time cities were well placed. Hotels were centrally located. Really well done.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I'd never been to Italy so each new location was a WOW for me. My favorites were Lake Cuomo, Venice and Cinque Terra. I loved the extras that were woven into the tour - stained glass, bike riding, etc - so much fun."

Paul

Lansing, IL

Tour: 09/04/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was my first time in Italy. Robin, Molly & Edzio our bus driver made it the Greatest trip I have taken in my life. The historical facts that Robin & Molly told us will stick with me for ever.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The entire 17 days in Italy .. When people ask me. how was your trip. I reply . book the 17 days best of Italy trip with Rick Steves , then you tell me."

Karen

Lansing, IL

Tour: 09/04/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our best of Italy trip was awesome. We loved seeing so much of Italy in 17 days. Every place we went I didn't want to leave. The sites were beautiful. Our hotels were awesome. The food and drinks were amazing. Our tour guides and bus driver were the best. I am recommending it to all of our family and friends. We loved the 25 people on our trip. 6 of us were family. We all connected right away and took lots of group pictures and posted a lot of great pictures on facebook. Loved it!!!!!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Seeing the coliseum and St.Peters Square. The beautiful sites. So much of our tour was WOW for us. It is so beautiful in Italy."

Lynda

Iowa City, IA

Tour: 09/04/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Overll the tour was fantastic. The locations were all amazing and it is hard to choose just one as a favorite. Keep offering these awesome tours.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Dolomites and Otzi the Ice Man."

Bonnie

Wappingers Falls, NY

Tour: 09/04/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had hoped this would be a trip of a lifetime and it was all that and more. There is no way we could have seen and experienced all that we did if we were on our own. The mix of tour time and free time was just right. Our guides, Robin and Molly, were fantastic as was our driver, Ezio. What made it even more special were the wonderful people in our group that we shared this adventure with. I can't say enough good things about this tour. It was the perfect way to usher in my 60th birthday!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were too many WOW moments to count. I chose this tour because of the Dolomites, Assisi and Siena and they were as wonderful as I hoped. My top WOW moment was my first view of the breathtaking beauty of the Dolomites, our lovely hotel there and the Alpine hiking. My surprises were the stunning views of Lake Como from our room in Varenna, how I fell so in love with magical Venice, our relaxing and luxurious time at the fabulous Altarocca Wine Resort."

Susie

Gig Harbor, WA

Tour: 09/04/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I have never heard anything but praise for Rick Steves tours, and the Italy in 17 Days Tour gets nothing but praise from me as well. I keep telling my friends that there wasn't a single hiccup during the entire trip. Even the weather was (almost) perfect. It was a personal dream come true to see Italy's "best." Our guides, Robin and Molly made it all seamless. And the tour group bonded almost instantly. Who would have guessed that such friendships could begin and continue so effortlessly?!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I have been asked this question over and over since I've been home and truthfully, every time I respond to it I come up with a different answer. One thing I couldn't get over was the "ancientness" of Italy. I lost count very quick of the times I said, "Wow!" Wow was there at almost every turn."

Laurie

Renton, WA

Tour: 09/04/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

We loved our trip and our group, but I'm sorry to say that Rome was so hot and crowded that it ruined our enjoyment of what we saw and it ended the tour on a negative note for us. The Vatican Museum was only worth enduring in order to see the Sistine Chapel. Overall, the care that was taken to plan this itinerary was evident and we appreciated that. One suggestion: I think it would have been nice for the group to have dinner together on the first night, even if it means charging a little more.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Seeing Michelangelo's David in person...very powerful and moving for me. I was also thrilled to be in the Dolomites. Those views!!! Something about the place made me really happy just to be there. I can't leave out the stunning Lake Como in the sunshine. Last but not least, we had an amazing group of people and we felt so fortunate for that. Our group felt like a big, happy family!"

Doyle Ray

Gig Harbor, WA

Tour: 09/04/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Robin, Molly & Ezio (Drvr), "Hit it out of the Park!" x 10! The Tour - Note this was our "Trip of a Life-Time" our "40th Anniversary" in planning and budgeting for 2+ yrs. 1. "Value for Co$t" - exceeded all 'earthy' & maybe even celestial bounds! 2. Program, Schedule & Surprises were an amazing dance of information & activities that fulfilled our wildest imaginary dreams! 3. Comforts; Interests; Cultural & Local touches - customs & artisans, hotels! 4. Efficiency - crowds, strikes, weather!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"1. Venice at night - Our 'flotilla of serenaded gondolas' pulling out into the calm & quiet, romantically lit Grand Canal - gathering together for the most wonderful Italian Tenor and Musician (in our middle gondola) performing 2 full pieces while Venice engulfed our hearts!! I'll never forget - "Making out in the back-seat of the Gondola; with my Bride of 40+ years" - Thank you Robin !!!!!! 2. Vatican, Walking into the Sistine Chapel - And seeing my Cradle-Catholic Bride, tear-up!!!"

Vicki

Iowa City, IA

Tour: 09/04/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

The Best of Italy tour was a great way to see the highlights. As usual, I wasn't able to spend as much time at each location as I would have liked but that's part of what draws me back to locations that I have visited in the past.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Too many to count but Cinque Terre was more beautiful than I had imagined."

Elizabeth

Santa Rosa, CA

Tour: 09/02/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was an amazing experience and the trip of a lifetime for me. I had never travelled much and never abroad. I am half Italian and gave myself this "gift" for my 70th birthday. Unfortunately I developed some health issues before leaving and wasn't even sure I could go. I am so glad I did. It was definitely "the best of times; the worst of times" but I wouldn't trade it for a million dollars. I did it. With a "little help from my friends" - I did it.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I was "wowed" every moment. People ask me what my favorite place was. It was the place I was in at the time. I breathed in and immersed myself in each moment and it was awesome. I thought I died and gone to heaven and viola - the next place came into view."

Sandy

Locust Grove, GA

Tour: 09/02/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I took American Express tour in 1973.So excited about this tour knowing being in group & meeting new people is so good. Husband wasn't so excited about not having free time. Went to Lake Como a day early for jet lag rest. With the bus, train, wandering around to find our way he's glad to join group. Guide Stacey-fabulous! Local guides great but a little long winded. Walking was more than I expected. We managed fine. Free time was great too. Didn't want to leave. Love to do another one.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"So many! I had been to some of the places we visited in tour in college. Art is one of my first loves so all the art wowed me. I love the coast so Cinque Terre was amazing. Tuscany was the first reason we wanted to go and I was totally wowed by it. I can see why the author of "Under the Tuscan Sun" stayed."

Kurt

San Carlos, CA

Tour: 09/02/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

The tour had a good division of organized guided group events and private time to explore on our own. All of our guide were knowledgeable and interesting. I was very pleased with the scheduling of locations which gave us a very diverse look at Italy with minimal time spent on transportation from one location to another. Having prepaid admission and appointment to the larger venues so we didn't wait in line was very nice. We had a great group of fellow travelers which really made the tour fun.

Favorite "WOW" moment

""David""

Warren

Locust Grove, GA

Tour: 09/02/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

What a wonderful way to tour Italy. We could not ask for a better experience. The right combination of planned and personal time that allowed each traveler to enjoy the trip in a more effective way. We saw all the "required" sights that one must see but also enjoyed those private and unique experiences that made the trip so very special. Our 40th anniversary and a trip of a lifetime. We will take more.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Really too many to name. The hectic chaos that was the Milan train station to the wonderful beauty and serenity of Lake Como and Varenna certainly stands out. Unbelievalble vistas in the Dolomites, enchanting Venice, Unforgetable Tuskany, my favorite the Cinque Terre, the wine and unforgettable food, art and architecture, and our last stop before Rome...the wine resort and spa. Most important....we made new and lasting friendships."

Kathleen

Westerville, OH

Tour: 09/02/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our first trip to Europe and first tour anywhere. It met all of our expectations...a fun group of travel partners, stunning vistas of picturesque Italy, and the right balance of tour experiences with free time to explore on our own. Thank you for organizing such fabulous tours and also helping us gain key travel skills. We're recommending Rick Steve's tours, books, and podcasts to everyone.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I was "wowed" every time we saw another remarkable view...colorful Varenna from the Lake Como boat, sunset overlooking Florence, panoramic vistas high up in the Dolomite mountains, romantic canals in Venice, vineyards at the Altarocca resort, alleyways in the Cinque Terre, outdoor cafes in the Tuscany hilltowns, priceless art everywhere...the list just keeps going."

Mark

Burnsville, MN

Tour: 09/02/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This trip was fantastic for my wife and me. We were able to revisit some places we had seen 16 years ago, and we experienced some great new places. The tour was so well organized with art / museums / "churches," and the stays at Cinque Terra, Lake Como, the Dolomites, and Orvieto were wonderful for the scenery and a chance to relax and enjoy the company of our new friends. Tour guide Stacy and assistant Lauren did a great job guiding our group and developing it into a supportive "family."

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I actually said the word "WOW" several times on our tour. The Renaissance masterpieces that I viewed, the great scenery (especially the patchwork of farm fields that mesmerized me as I rested at the pool at the wine resort), and the fantastic work that had been done to put this "once-in-a-lifetime trip" together all were rated as "wow" moments for me."

Frances

San Carlos, CA

Tour: 09/02/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I am a bit of jaded traveller since I do so much business travel - and I had a reluctant husband. Still, the tour exceeded both of our expectations in every stop! The guides in Venice, Sienna, and Rome were stellar! They brought alive what we were seeing and without their commentary, I don't believe the tour would have been nearly so rich. Stacey was our overall guide and she kept 25 different personalities happily moving. And we loved Adrian, our bus driver - he made our lives easier!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hard to pick: Vatican/Sistine Chapel, Sienna tour, Cinque Terra, Altarucca Spa are all right up there."

Dianne

Burnsville, MN

Tour: 09/02/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

What an incredible trip! Traveling with a group is the way to go. My husband and I met so many wonderful people from all over the U.S., and we certainly hope to continue as many of the friendships as possible. It was wonderful to not stand in lines like my husband and I did when traveling on our own in 1998. The tour guides were friendly and informative. The tour provided us with the right amount of togetherness versus "alone time."

Favorite "WOW" moment

"We have been to Italy before and have seen many of the sights that we just had to see again, so my answer may have been different if we hadn't done so. There are just so many wows: David, Florence & Siena Duomos, El Campo, Sistine Chapel, etc. However, one I hadn't seen before that I couldn't get enough of was looking out at the vineyards and hill towns when we were at the agriturismo in the hill country. I stopped to gaze out whenever we walked the long path to and from the reception area."

Tracey

Wilsonville, OR

Tour: 09/02/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My husband, Dave, and I had the vacation of our lifetimes! We lived that we didn't have to make any big decisions with regard to what we were doing each day, It was so nice to be given ideas of what to see or do in out free times then making a choice from those ideas given by our tour guide. We loved our entire group and guide, Stacy, and her assistant, Laure, as well as our bus driver, Adrien. The fantastic combination of individuals was the icing on the cake of a most memorable trip

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favorite moment was the reality of arriving in Venice, something I had dreamed of my entire life. We came into Venice on the day of the Storic Regatta. Because of timing of closing the waterways, we came in on a private taxi and what a way to arrive. I think I had goosebumps the entire trip. We loved the city of Venice and were truly awed by St. Mark's Basillica. Our itinerary had to be adjusted due to the regatta and it allowed us to have some extra time in Venice which we really appreciated"

Nancy

University Place, WA

Tour: 09/02/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my 2nd Rick Steves tour & I thoroughly enjoyed it all!!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Sistine Chapel was a life changing spiritual moment for me"

Brad

University Place, WA

Tour: 09/02/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

I enjoyed the tour. I wish there was one more day in each major city. The other people on the tour were great.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The chapel in Assisi."

Kathy

Washington, DC

Tour: 08/30/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

I have lived in Hawaii and traveled to many destinations but never with a group tour or to Europe. I was a little skeptical at first but this group bonded quickly and we had such fun. Saying goodbye to all was hard. It was a wonderful time! Loved Italy, loved our group and loved our guide!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Arrival in Varenna. I loved this picturesque, quaint and charming town on Lake Como. It was everything I pictured Italy to be; cobblestone lanes leading down to the water with outdoor cafes scattered among brightly colored buildings. A perfect start to the tour!"

Terry

Oklahoma City, OK

Tour: 08/30/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

A wonderful overview trip of the best of Italy. Really exposed us to the wide variety of history, art, politics, culture, and food that make up this wonderful country. From big cities to small villages we were able to sample them all. The tour helped me create focus areas where I would like to return. Every facet of the trip was incredibly well organized. Transportation was a breeze. My wife and I did not consider ourselves tour people. Now, we can't wait for our next Rick Steve's trip!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The group dinners prepared by Foregio and family in Varenna, and Contrada della Selva in Siena, were not only fabulous meals, but sharing evening meals with real Italian families and neighbors was far beyond "Wow!" We would not have experienced this, except for Rainer, and being on a Rick Steves tour."

Thomas

Washington, DC

Tour: 08/30/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was well planned, with a nice mix of hard touring, hiking, and some leisure time in beautiful settings like Lake Como, the Cinque Terre, and Umbrian wine country. The group we went with was very congenial, active, and constantly ready for new adventures. Our guide Rainer was fantastic. The glimpses into local cooking provided were great as well with dinner at a local chef's house and our pesto making demonstration.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hiking up to a church on the side of a mountain to look down on the full expanse of Lake Como. Also, the visit to the military cemetery outside Florence was very moving."

Stephanie

Bellevue, WA

Tour: 08/30/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our Best of Italy tour was "amazing". It was beyond any expectations that we had, and we consider it to be a "trip of a lifetime." Our fellow travelers were incredibly fun and good folks. It felt like traveling 17 days with our best friends. The places that we visited and the wonderful Italian people who received us made us feel like we were a part of their family, welcoming us into their homes. We loved the quaint villages and truly felt the experience of the Italian culture.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It is difficult to narrow down to 1 favorite wow moment. The actual tour was "wow" ; however, every time we arrived at our hotel--we all reacted with "wow!" The hotels were beautiful and the customer service was outstanding. Honestly, we felt like dignitaries."

Yvette

Carlsbad, CA

Tour: 08/30/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Rick Steves' 17 day Italy tour was an incredible combination of interesting information, breath-taking views and wonderful new friends. It was the perfect sampling of Italy, from the Italian Alps to the shores of Lake Como. My husband and I loved the melding of guided tours and time to explore on our own. So well organized, high quality the entire trip.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My wow moment was high in the Dolomites at the Alpe de Susi, when I could see the beautiful green mountains and the tiny villages below."

Daniel

Carlsbad, CA

Tour: 08/30/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I've been a big fan of Rick Steves for many years, watching the shows and following him on Facebook and his Blog. His perspective and approach to travel has always resonated with me, and when I had the opportunity to join one of the tours, I jumped at the chance. I was not disappointed, the trip was everything I had hoped for and more. We were immersed in Italian culture and history and it was great! We had great tour mates and the whole process from booking to completion was easy and enjoyable

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Tough to answer this one. Each place we visited I thought "wow, this is my favorite" and then we would go to the next stop and I would say "wow, this is my favorite" all over again. If I have to pick one, it would be our Guide Rainer narrating Luca Signorelli's frescos in the Cathedral of Orvieto. Rainer's passion for this piece of history and describing Luca's influences that shaped the painting really personalized the experience more than any other, and that is saying something."

Connie

Bothell, WA

Tour: 08/30/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had a wonderful trip. We saw so many different sizes and types of villages- towns - cities in Italy, and we experienced many different types of experiences - bikes, boats, trains, hikes, gondolas, churches, museums, restaurants, local eating experiences, etc. Our guide was really supportive, informative, fun and organized, and his clear communication skills were calming and helpful for everyone on our trip. This is a terrific tour!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I don't know - all of it! Biking in Lucca, climbing inside the dome of the Duomo in Florence, night gondola ride with musicians in Venice, hiking in the Dolomites, swimming in Monterosso, staying in wine resort and dinner out on the terrace in Orvieto."

Mark

Bothell, WA

Tour: 08/30/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was another great tour with Rick Steve's, our 3rd. I loved our time in Italy and felt the this tour provided a good sample of all the things that Italy has to offer.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I had "wow" moments in everyplace we stopped on our tour. Probably the art work we saw along the way (sculptures, frescos, etc.) provided the most most "wow" moments. Also overtime I entered a Duomo I said "wow"!!"

Clint

Dallas, TX

Tour: 08/30/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was another great Rick Steves' Tour. All of our prior guides have been great, but Guide Rainer was a perfect 10. You go on a guided tour to learn more and see more than you would on your own. Rainer exceeded all goals. The trip plan was well designed; we saw fascinating places. The hotels were really, really nice. The group meals were "Roman feasts." The bus was spacious and comfortable. Our tour members became "fast friends" from day one! We enjoyed the Best of Italy.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Wow..Tough question. Walking across a mountain meadow high above Kastelruth in the Dolomites was breathtaking, but then so was seeing the Colosseum for the first time. Seeing Michelangelo's David was also a "wow" moment. On reflection, each stop had a "wow" moment."

John

Bellevue, WA

Tour: 08/30/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Rick Steves - Stephanie (my wife) responded earlier and I agree with the comments that she made. thank you for asking, John

Jann

Oklahoma City, OK

Tour: 08/30/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It couldn't have been better! Loved all villages, cities, activities and especially appreciated the cultural experiences (like dinner at Chef Ferruchio's house) that would be difficult to have traveling on your own. The tour organization and details appeared flawless. And sharing the experience with 22 new friends made it even more memorable.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Every place we visited was wonderful, but my favorite 'wow' moment was realizing how much I was enjoying being on the tour. It was our first tour and I was apprehensive about traveling with a group, on a bus, the schedule, etc. To my surprise, every potential 'con' turned out to be a positive. Fellow tour members were congenial and fun, bus travel was relaxing and educational (thanks to Rainer), the pace and mix of planned activities and free time was just right. Hope to do it again soon!"

Helen

Surry, BC

Tour: 08/28/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

This was our first Rick Steves tour and we really enjoyed ourselves

Favorite "WOW" moment

"One couple had a wedding in Monterosso and invited us all. The vista was stunning and definitely was a wow moment for us."

Mario

Katy, TX

Tour: 08/28/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

We love the tour experience. Perfect itinerary and weather, great group and guide. We had a great time and we are already planning our 2016 trips to Europe.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Many wow moments every day from beginning to end. From Varenna to Rome. Lake Como, Hiking the Dolomites and Cinque Terre, Florence, Venice, Rome.. Tuscany's and Umbria's wine countries..many...many..."

Patricia

Arlington, TX

Tour: 08/28/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my third Rick Steves tour and, like the others, was a wonderful experience. The itinerary was perfect, just the right mix of cities and small towns. Our group was the best - felt like family after the first day. I love Rick Steves' tours for the great itineraries, the informative guides, the mix between group and free time and the camaraderie of the group.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Lots of "wow" moments but probably the Dolomites. So peaceful and magnificent. We were all invited to the wedding of two of our tour members on a terrace in Monterosso overlooking the Ligurian Sea and that was an unexpected "wow" moment."

Bob

Loveland, CO

Tour: 08/28/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

very positive.....outstanding group of people, it would not have been possible to hand pick a more compatible group. Have been on previous RS tours....people are always great, but this particular group was outstanding. The group plus the tour guide (Stephanie) made the tour great.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"No favorite....they were all great moments"

Betty

Loveland, CO

Tour: 08/28/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Awesome Guide in providing dialog on the bus as well on site. Took time to become acquainted with all participants. Very sharing and caring.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The art in Florence as well as the Rome Colosseum and the art at the Vatican. The guides were so knowledgeable and gave an entirely new prospect when viewing the art works."

Bobby

Tulsa, OK

Tour: 08/28/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

very nice. the pace a little too much. could have leftoff some sights. felt like a tourist trap at times.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"lake como and the Dolomites"

Joanne

Des Moines, IA

Tour: 08/28/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The Best of Italy in 17 Days is a tour packed full of great sight seeing and learning opportunities. It requires a pace of travel that is challenging for 17 days with 2 nights only the length of stay at any one locations. I found myself being tired and ready for a slower pace at points well planned along the way. I figured Cinque Terre would be our "vacation" from our vacation but not so with Cinque Terre's crowed villages on the Saturday and Sunday we were there.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It is hard to pick a WOW moment when there were many of those. I had been to Venice, Florence and Rome with Rick Steves 9 years ago so I will say that of the new-to-me locations, Siena and Umbria were really special... Siena for its interesting and unique contrade history and Umbria for its beauty and the great agriturismo we enjoyed... only really relaxing spot on the trip."

Barbara

Boise, ID

Tour: 08/28/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was a wonderful tour. There was a fabulous group of people on our tour. Everyone was so friendly and eager to get to know each other and do things together. All the local guides were so knowledgeable and interesting. This was our second tour and don't think it will be our last.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The very beautiful and relaxing 2 days at Altarocca Wine Resort. We couldn't have asked for anything more, view, friendly people, great food, large shower and bright lights in the bath, and so soft towels. Heaven!"

Jan

Gunnison, UT

Tour: 08/28/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Loved it! We saw things, learned things, ate thing, and tried things we had never experienced before.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The realization of what Rome was in its day. Here lived some incredible genius caliber artists, architects, politicians and scientists whose names are lost to history."

Dave

Gig Harbor, WA

Tour: 07/10/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour visited all the places in Italy we wanted to visit, plus many more that we did not know existed. It was well organized and highly informative thanks to our tour guide Sarah. This was by far our best vacation ever! We were so sad to say goodbye to all our new friends we met during this trip.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Every city we visited had a "wow" moment, but a random, unannounced stop at the Florence American Cemetery was not only a "wow," but an amazing experience. None of us knew there were thousands of WWII soldiers buried in Italy. We all had the honor of placing a flag on a soldiers grave. That was emotional "wow" moment."

Robert

Urbana, IL

Tour: 07/10/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was a once in a lifetime opportunity to tour Italy with my mother. I could not have asked for a more organized, thoughtful, and educational experience. The guides were excellent and as were the choices of hotels and restaurants. Excellent!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were many. The views from the hotels in Varenna and Altarocca. Turning the corner to see the Duomo and Michelangelo's David in Florence. Tasting the pesto lasagna in Cinque Terre. Entering the Coliseum."

Carol

Apex, NC

Tour: 07/10/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Wow! What an amazing trip! Sarah was a fantastic guide and Deno was a terrific bus driver and companion. We saw so much and did so much! It was the right mix of "go, go, go," and "sit back and enjoy the scenery." There were many options for free time and Sarah was able to point us in the right directions for our interests. We made new friends, ate new foods, traveled new ways to new places, and loved every minute.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Dolomites were magnificent."

Kelli

Allentown, PA

Tour: 07/10/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was everything we expected and more. We were ready to be on the move, and also liked the balance of being on the tour versus being on our own.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"On our free day in Cinque Terre, we did the hike between four of the villages, stopping at each one for something to eat, and ending with a swim in Manarola. The views were breathtaking, the food delicious and the swim perfect on that hot July day. Easy 20 minute train ride back to our hotel in Monterosso."

Nancy

Wayne, PA

Tour: 07/10/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our tour guide Sarah was very helpful in guiding us in how things worked in Italy from the pull string in the shower, to tipping practices and how to use the public transportation. She taught us basic words and phrases in Italian and the history of Italy from the Romans, to WW II and the present day. We had great regional cuisine that on our own we wouldn't have known about or tried. We had a wonderful time traveling with a small congenial group of people from a crossed the U.S and Canada.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My wow moment was when after a sleepless night on the plane, a train ride to Milan, a subway ride to the Duomo in Milan, followed by a train ride to Varenna and a short walk to the beautiful Lake Como and our hotel that I realized I was in Italy. The trip of a lifetime was about to begin."

Eric

Medford, NJ

Tour: 07/10/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Enjoyed all we did and saw on our tour. This was our first Rick Steves tour and will look to do more.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The beauty of the Pantheon was something I did not expect. I thought it was a Roman historical site that had its materials used for other buildings like the Colosseum and Forum. It was not, the grandeur was as magnificent as when it was constructed."

Santana

Edmond, OK

Tour: 07/10/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my 30th birthday present to myself and it was the best money I've ever spent. It was so nice to have a stress-free, semi-planned out trip. I'm a teacher, so one of the last things I want to do in the summer is make a lot of choices. This was a perfect getaway, not to mention I went solo.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favorite "wow" moment (s) were the gelato, Cinque Terre and the wine resort we stayed at in Umbria. The views and vineyards were to die for at both locations. The Leaning Tower was also one, with a gondola ride in Venice, the Toman Colosseum and the Dolomites."

Kim

Ann Arbor, MI

Tour: 07/10/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Overall, the tour was well planned and smooth. We were very dissapointed in the hotel change that forced us down from the comfortable Italian Alps and into the hostel like hotel in Bolzano which was challenged to provide even a working fan. Nobody slept, and we missed out on an important part of the tour. I did enjoy the sights, but felt it was far too Church-Heavy. If I had known how much time would be spent touring churches and talking about churches, I would have considered a new plan.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Many of the places we visited were just amazing, including Venice, the Alps, Monterosso, the Alta Rocca resort, etc. As for sights, I was most impressed with Utzi-just fascinating. We could have spent far less time at the Tower of Pisa"

Jeff

Allentown, PA

Tour: 07/10/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our first experience with a tour. We feel our Guide Sarah taught us so much about the culture, customs, art, and history as we went along, it enriched everything we saw, heard, and tasted. Our entry into new towns was well-organized and provided great grounding for our own exploration later. The hotels were comfortable and well-situated for the touring we did, and a couple of the higher-end lodgings were a real treat (Victoria at Lake Como and Altarocca Resort in Umbria).

Favorite "WOW" moment

"We hiked Cinque Terre, made it to 4 out of the 5 towns, sampled food in each of them, and swam at the end to celebrate. We are hikers, and this one rates up there with Grand Canyon in Arizona as an all-time favorite. There were many small wow moments, including most dinners (especially the visit to Selvan contrade in Siena), the Alpe Adige walk. I'm thinking back now, there are so many, at least one a day!"

David

Wayne, PA

Tour: 07/10/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had an excellent time on the tour and have many fond memories of the trip. This was the first time we have taken a guided tour so it took a little getting used to but after the first few days we had figured out the program.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Venice was an awesome city to visit. Very different from other places we had been. We really appreciated having a hotel very centrally located to many of the sites made it easy to explore on our own."

Mary

Rantoul, IL

Tour: 07/10/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was an adventure of a lifetime for a 72-yr old first-time traveler. I prepared with long walks and climbing stairs, so was able to fully participate except for missing the scheduled tour of a glass workshop one morning. The 100 degree weather was punishing, and I would only do this again in a cooler season. However, this was the only time my son was available to accompany me. I'll never forget this wonderful experience and my fine traveling companions.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My evening gondola ride in the moonlight remains a vivid memory for me. Thinking this was a touristy thing that could be skipped, I was surprised by the romance of the moonlight, the quiet except for the water moved by the oar, the convergence of our 3 gondolas at one point for a seranade and being greeted by a couple dining within feet of us outside a building."

Susan

Gig Harbor, WA

Tour: 07/10/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We went on the Best of Italy tour to celebrate our 25th Wedding Anniversary. We've never done an organized tour before and we weren't sure if it would be for us or not. We decided to give it a try, and are we ever glad we did! The Best of Italy tour is simply amazing! I could not have organized a detailed and thorough trip such as this on my own. We had so many experiences that regular tourists don't get on their own. I am recommending Rick Steve's tours to everyone I know!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There are so many wow moments to choose from. All the places we visited were on my "bucket list". It was amazing just being in each place! I would have to say the group dinner in Siena and learning about the Il Palio was an amazing night that regular tourists don't experience. The wine resort in Orvieto came at just the right time to provide some R & R. The resort was stunning! Our favorite of all the hotels, so luxurious! The stop at the Florence/American Cemetery was an emotional surprise."

Joy

Cupertino, CA

Tour: 06/28/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Really enjoyed the two days at each stop and the free time we had. Vrginia is very knowledgeable about her country and conveys her love of history, Italy and art very well.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Castelrotto area and the mountains we trekked over!"

Stephen

Cupertino, CA

Tour: 06/28/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

A great tour that met the expectations outlined in the various documents that I read beforehand. Good combination of art, history, culture, food and amazing scenery. Good combination of small town and large city visits. I loved the free time that was available, enabling the tour to to be personalised. Virginia was an excellent tour guide who made the group feel relaxed, together and kept us on time. Visiting the small towns with their history, culture, vibrancy and views was a key plus for me.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were 2 WOW moments - Cinque Terre for its amazing scenery and spectacular views. Great swimming spot and most relaxing after the heat and hustle and bustle of Florence. The hike from Vernazza to Monterosso was an unforgettable experience. The first day at Varenna overlooking the lake was majestic. The free time to explore the small lakeside towns was an excellent way to start the adventure."

Robin

Beaverton, OR

Tour: 06/28/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

I had a fantastic time! I thought the tour had the perfect balance of structured activity and free time for you to explore on your own!. I definitely would do a Rick Steve's tour again.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I had so many. I loved Varenna, Cinque Terre and the Dolomites."

Dallas

Beaverton, OR

Tour: 06/28/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Very good. Excellent balance between planned and free activities.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Too many to single out!"

Lori

San Juan Capistrano, CA

Tour: 06/28/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour was amazing from start to finish! Much of our time was jam-packed with sightseeing and visiting museums and historic sites but we also had a good amount of free time to venture out on our own or to just rest. Our tour group was made up of many different types and ages of people, including 3 teenagers. All of the group members were pleasant, interesting and fun to be around. We learned so much about Italian culture and history from our guides.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"So many "wows" on this trip. If I have to pick a few they would start with the lakefront hotel on Lake Como in charming Varenna. The sunset gondola ride in Venice..complete with fabulous musicians! The hike in the Alpi di Suisi in the Dolomites...alpine views that amaze! Hiking the trail in Cinque Terre..glorious vistas! Dinner at the contrada in Siena....we learned first hand about the exciting Palio races. The wine resort outside of Orvieto...perfect place to relax and rejuvenate before Rome."

Marilyn

Western Springs, IL

Tour: 06/28/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

I loved the tour and plans. The 95degree+ weather made some of our hotel stays and tours very challenging. I don't think the tour plans should have changed at all,. This was a situation that should be reviewed to see if there might be some opportunities to improve the experience under this type of weather. Perhaps they are not . I was thrilled with the places that we saw, the pacing of touring , bus time, meals together and free time met my needs.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Any of the views from the small cities on top of the hills. I loved visiting the smaller cities."

Edna

Lewisburg, TN

Tour: 06/28/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was well organized, well-paced, inclusive of a variety of experiences that will be memorable for a lifetime! Virginia's sweet manner but knowledge of Italian culture and history was such a bonus. The local guides were also excellent in helping us personalize what could have been boring historical information.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"One was definitely the comfort of the bus travel. Was so confident we were in good hands. Outside of that...it would have to be the 360-degree view atop the Alpine meadow at the Dolomites. In addition, our lodging in such a quaint hotel there was such a treat."

Patricia

Schooleys Mountain, NJ

Tour: 06/28/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was a great cultural experience for myself, my husband and our fifteen year old son. I loved all the places we toured. Loved the pace and the variation in hotels. Loved having some relaxing days- Cinque Terre (relaxed at the beach) and Altarocco Wine Resort (spent the day in the pool) Loved all the information and education, truly a learning vacation. We also loved Dario our bus driver.

George

Lewisburg, TN

Tour: 06/28/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Th= village where the Dolamites were. Was it cost"

Daniel

Western Springs, IL

Tour: 06/28/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I was very impressed with all the sites we visited and the real sense of history and pride in the locations we stayed at and toured.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I have to say that I had two WOW moments. The first was the alpine walk in the Dolomites "WOW". The second was seeing David for the first time when we were in Florence."

Susan

Mountlake Terrace, WA

Tour: 06/28/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The guides make the trip. we had good guides. Less heat and humidity would have made the trip more perfect. One option I would consider providing in the future is the option for a cooking class. Wine tasting are fine, except I don't drink and neither does my niece. We would have loved to have taken a pizza making class or a pasta cooking class. Perhaps that is something to consider for the day at the wine resort.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Actually that whole trip was a "wow" moment. I has a basic idea of the places we were going and the things we would see. The other "wow" moment was how much time we had to explore each city on our own. I really enjoyed that aspect of the tour."

Kelly

Indianpolis, IN

Tour: 06/26/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I went looking to have an easy introduction to Italy and ended up with the trip of a lifetime! I am seriously wondering how any future trips can ever come close to measuring up to this trip. While initially concerned as a solo traveler, it turned out to be a non-issue. Our guide Alfio and the other travelers were incredibly friendly and inclusive - made some lifetime friends - as well as ate, drank, saw and experienced so much of Italy - a true italian experience "la dolce vita!"

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Rome. While was a tough way to end the tour, it helped coming off Orvieto and the Alterossa Winery and Spa experience (two thumbs up). The forum, colosseum, sisteen chapel and the vatican city were all so amazing and made even better with the private tours and local guides. That said, Lake Como and Varenna made for an amazing start to the tour - loved the free day to ferry from town to town!"

Kaitlin

Redding, CA

Tour: 06/26/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

It was a great tour.. a lot to see. We had a lot of great meals. It was a fun time with the tour group. You are definitely touring, not vacationing. I would go back for a vacation, not a tour. Three weeks was too long for me.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favorite time was hearing David and his friend play their guitars and sing at the winery,(Orvieto) Everyone had a great time singing and dancing."

Mark

Saint Augustine, FL

Tour: 06/26/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Fantastic

Favorite "WOW" moment

"After a brutal 2 day trip to get to Italy the view from our room overlooking lake Como made it all worthwhile. Viewing michaelangelo's David"

Pauline

Edmonds, WA

Tour: 06/26/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

I can only say the trip was fantastic with plenty of history, art, sightseeing, nice rooms w/ air conditioning, delicious group meals, and a great Italian tour guy, Alfio, knowledgeable and multi talented. I will always remember Alfio's last words, to go with the flow, strive for your passions, to always learn, and expand your horizons.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Have visited most of the popular areas of Venice, Pisa, Florence, Assisi, Siena, & Rome. But was awed by the beauty of Lake Como, the Dolomites, Cinque Terre & Umbria. Enjoyed the long hikes, scenic beauty , and sitting down to share lunch or colazione with our family of 17 days. But was awed by the cathedral frescos and centuries old paintings with detail and a story. The tour guides of each area from Venice, Siena, Assisi to the Vatican and colosseum were knowledgeable and fun."

Michele

Redwood City, CA

Tour: 06/26/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We were looking for the trip of a lifetime and we got and MORE!!!! Alfio was an amazing guide and leader!!! He was extremely professional , knowledgeable and passionate for what he does. We learned so much from him. Yet, he was able to relax and have fun with us. He made it such a personal and "family like" environment. Words can not express the fabulous experience we had!!!!!!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"This is such a difficult one because it was all WOW!!!! I think I really enjoyed the smaller destinations. I loved the dolomites, Bolzano, Varenna, Umbria, Sienna and of course, Cinqua Terra. I loved seeing the locals shopping at the outdoor markets and sitting on benches enjoying a gelato. I seem to enjoy the not so popular tourist destinations!!!! I like seeing locals!"

Pamela

Bath, ME

Tour: 06/26/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour is called "The Best of Italy" for a good reason. The tour was absolutely fabulous. From the first sight of Lake Como to visiting the Pantheon in Rome, each day was a new thrill.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Again, seeing Lake Como with really seemed like a vision and, of course, seeing Michelangelo's David at the Academy in Florence."

Monika

Saint Augustine, FL

Tour: 06/26/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was a dream vacation and the trip of a lifetime for me. I was awed by the history, architecture and artwork we saw. Loved the allotted free time we had to venture out and explore on our own. It is amazing how much we saw and learned. I'm ready for more!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were so many "wow" moments it's hard to pick just one. However, my first "wow" was arriving in Varenna and looking out across Lake Como from our hotel room. The view was impressive!"

Darlene

Petaluma, CA

Tour: 06/26/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We cannot say enough about how much we enjoyed our Best of Italy Tour. With the exception of the heat wave that decided to tag along, everything about the trip was magical. The cities we visited were amazing and the attractions we saw were breathtaking. The hotels we stayed in ranged from nice and accommodating to over the top luxurious! The best part of the trip was all the friendships that were made.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"One of our memorable wow moments was when we arrived at our accommodations for Orvieto. The Altrarocca Wine Resort was beyond our expectations. The winery was beautiful, the wine tasting was fun, the group dinner was fantastic and the infinity pool was the best! While we opted for the Orvieto tour, there was a spa that I hear was wonderful. It was a nice break from all the site seeing. If we were to return to Italy, we would absolutely stay there for a longer period of time."

Natalie

Palo Alto, CA

Tour: 06/14/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had a wonderful time. Our group leaders as well as the group itself were exceptional! We felt like a big family touring Italy together, watching out for one another as well as sharing ideas and experiences I am a single mom traveling with my two teenagers, 16 and 17 years old and I was concerned about being with so many couples and me being the only single mother. My concerns left as soon as Mikaela and Jack were embraced by everyone in the group! It was truly an amazing experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"David"

Kim

Chanute, KS

Tour: 06/14/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We saw and experienced world-class paintings, sculpture, buildings and more that we had only heard about or read about before. We did this with a group of other travelers who were just as excited as we were to be there, many of whom added to our understanding because of their previous experiences in travel or their own professions. Our guides were amazing in their depth of knowledge of the areas we were visiting, as well as the historical background of the places, the sights, and the people.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It's so hard to pick just one, but I think being in the Coliseum with a local guide who could explain exactly what we were looking at and how that compared to what ancient Romans would have seen was priceless for us."

James

Maple Valley, WA

Tour: 06/14/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

The tour was wonderful. Our guides kept us informed on Italian history, art, and culture. Our only disappointment was not being able to tour the Vatican Museum. We were told by email only one month before the tour that the Vatican would be closed on the scheduled Monday because of a religious holiday. The company should have told customers prior to registering about this holiday as it happens every year. We had already booked air and had other travel commitments.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Art and architecture in Florence."

April

Prospect, KY

Tour: 06/14/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We loved every minute of our time on this tour! Karin and Stacy were amazing and fun! Our group bonded extremely well. We felt like family by day 2. Karin provided us what felt like special moments everywhere we went, but especially had an awesome time in Orvieto and Venice! Karin and Stacy were always available for anything. Bus driver did a great job, too! They had great history/culture talks on the bus to help us get to know the country and the people. Just AWESOME!!!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Every place we went had great "WOW" moments. Our top 5 - 1) We found the place where Mussolini was killed while we were hiking from Lenno to Menaggio in the town of Tremezzo on Via XXIV Maggio. Lake Como, in general, was a favorite of ours! 2) Sienna - visiting the Forest church & meal, stained glass demo 3) Monterosso - everything, food demo, sites, ocean 4) Orvieto - music and massage 5) Venice - gondola ride and just walking around"

Jeffrey

San Diego, CA

Tour: 06/14/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The overall experience was fantastic. Karin and Stacey were very knowledgeable. Each day we felt well prepared, understood our schedule, and moved freely with the group or on our own depending upon what lay ahead. The bus we traveled on was brand new and would have accomdiated a group of 50. In other words, the group of 23 had plenty of room to stretch out. Hotel rooms were nice to great. Karin and Stacey awesome.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"5 actually: 1) After hiking along a trail in the Dolomites, looking down on an Austian/Itallian town thousands of feet below 2) Cinque Terre for lunch, with two other couples from the trip, watching waves crash over the protective wall while we ate an excellent Itallian meal. 3)) "The David" - the description by the guide made Michaelangelo's work come alive. 4) Florence bridge of gold at night singing American songs with the youth of Florence. 5) View from the Coplola of St. Peter's"

Daniel

Madison, WI

Tour: 06/14/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The pace of the tour was challenging but doable. Spending two nights for each stop provides just enough relaxation to move forward to the next point of interest. I learned many things about Italian life, the Italians and the art that has been created by Italians over the centuries. The tour guides, we had two, were excellent, (Karin & Stacey). Both are knowledgeable, well organized, and fluent. They are fun people I would travel with either again without hesitation.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The stop at the Wine/Spa/Resort just before traveling to Rome provided a view of the countryside that I never tired of seeing."

Stacey

Jefferson, GA

Tour: 06/14/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was exactly what I wanted - to see the country and learn about the culture and history of Italy. Our guide Karin was a lot of fun and made the times on the bus enjoyable. I gained a greater appreciation of art and its place in history. Loved our small tour group. Everyone was so nice and friendly and it was easier to get to know everyone which made traveling together fun.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were several "wow" moments but the beauty of St. Mark's Basilica in Venice is going to be my first choice. It is filled front to back, top to bottom with mosaics. You will not believe how talented they were to create the varying shades of color and create the expressions by piecing together very small pieces of color! A close second is seeing Florence from the hilltop at sunset. Gorgeous. Really, Florence is just one huge museum in itself!"

Debra

Madison, WI

Tour: 06/14/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had a fabulous experience/time. Our traveling companions became family. Quite literally. We had an age range of 16 years old to the 70's & we all seemed to mesh rather well.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I have a hard time picking out one "wow" tour area. I absolutely fell in love with Cinque Terre however, I fell in love with something from each place we visited."

Jeffrey

Madison, WI

Tour: 06/14/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was a wonderful panorama of the art, culture, history, and beauty that Italy has to offer. I would have a hard time picking a favorite from the places we went - each was so unique and special. The surprise visit to Certaldo was a treat, as was the live band and dancing at the Altarocca Wine Resort. We had a nice group of people to travel with and get to know a bit. The pacing of the tour was good: a mixture of intense activity days with less intense activity days.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Seeing Michelangelo's David up close brought tears to my eyes. A close second were the Bernini sculptures in the Borghese Gallery."

Colleen

Thunder Bay, ON

Tour: 06/14/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Excellent. The tour guides were amazing.They were knowledgable and helpful and guided us through the whole experience, they took very good care of us. They went out of their way to make the tour interesting and enjoyable and to make the history of the area come alive!!Wonderful country, wonderful people.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Several. Walking in the museum in Florence and seeing the statue of David was amazing as well as seeing the Coliseum. The night in Venice when we went for the gondola ride was so enjoyable and memorable. I also enjoyed the evening at the Altarocco wine resort. The bar-b-qued meal we had there was so delicious as well as the impromptu entertainment by the band... very enjoyable evening."

Christy

Davis, CA

Tour: 06/14/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

What an amazing adventure. I loved our time in Italy. We were able to experience so much of the country. What a vibrant culture, filled with history, memorable art, delicious food and wine, and friendly people. Our tour was well-planned, and we had excellent guides.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"We visited fabulous historical sites and artwork in so many cities. However, we loved Cinque Terre -- what a wonderful respite. The villages along the coast were gorgeous, as was the ocean. The hosts of our hotels were particularly gracious. We loved the pesto-making demonstration, and the pasta dinner was delicious. We enjoyed taking the trains and hiking between the villages. We would love to return to Cinque Terre."

Monica

Lafayette, CA

Tour: 06/14/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was our first trip to Europe together. The tour guides, itinerary, and tour members exceeded all of our expectations. We plan to take future tours.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Walking along the trails in Cinque Terre together with other tour members and looking forward to telling the tour guides and other members about our adventures."

George

Calgary, AB

Tour: 06/12/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Hotels were better than expected... saw lots of cathedrals, art and culture. Our guide (Sarah) was outstanding.. helpful and well informed.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The statue of DAVID and Cinque Terra.. wonderful"

Davis

Greensboro, NC

Tour: 06/12/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Varenna has to be the ideal place to start as comprehensive tour of Italy as is possible in the time provided. I was continually amazed by the knowledge of Sarah (our tour guide) and the specialized guides with respect to church and political history. The tour absolutely needed all of the features and places that were included. That being said, the rest of my comments may seem negative, but they are not intended to be. I seem to run out of space; let me know how I can respond in detail.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were so many...., but: From a fun point of view it was the dusk gondola cruise in Venice. From a historic point of view it was the church and outstanding frescos at Orvieto. It was especially great because Orvieto was not shoulder to shoulder with people with the rush of other places. The quality of the frescos was absolutely over the top."

Marilyn

Laramie, WY

Tour: 06/12/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Hi There Fellow Travelers. This is Marilyn from Laramie. Having returned from a 17 day tour of Italy less than a week ago I have to tell you it was the best experience ever! Our tour guide, Sarah, was wonderful with all her information, organizational skills and willingness to be a surrogate mother to 26 adults. She truly made the trip fantastic. All the stress factors that come with traveling were removed. (planning lodging, transportation, admission into museums and galleries)

Favorite "WOW" moment

"One of many "wows" was our serenaded gondola ride at sunset down the canals in Venice. It was a continuous 45 minute WOW. The singer had an amazing voice, the guitarist was wonderful. Together with the surroundings the experience was over the top!"

Regina

Wheaton, IL

Tour: 06/12/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was a great experience in every way! Sarah, our guide was phenomenal!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were many from the view from our hotel in Varenna, the unbelievable Dolmites, Lake Como, breathtaking Venice, the town of Siena and the duomo of St. Francis."

Tom

Pleasant Hill, CA

Tour: 06/12/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This evaluation is being done jointly with Frances Marcus. We were very happy with every aspect of the tour. Sarah the tour guide was terrific. Hotels were all good and in fact better than we anticipated. We loved all the locations we went to and some unexpected side trips like to the World War II cemetery for US troop deaths was really memorable. We encourage you to keep that in your routine tours. We thought the balance of organized versus "free" time was good. Group dinners were fabulous.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"We couldn't agree on one moment so will list several. The extremely convenient hotels in Venice and Florence led to lots of fun exploration. Seeing the exterior of the Florence Cathedral in the late afternoon light. Everything about Varenna and Lake Como; hiking between villages in Cinque Terra; and the two nights at the wine resort to rest up before Rome. THe dinner (and video) at the Selva clubhouse in Siena was just terrific. We have such great memories from it!"

Marilyn

Durango, CO

Tour: 06/12/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

An absolutely action-packed tour. Each detail was evident, from planning the start at a beautiful Lake Como, and ending in Rome. Our guide, Sarah, was always calm, and poised, and oh so very knowledgeable.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Experiencing the smaller towns and villages, The surprise stops (at the World War II Memorial)every American should see this, and diversion in Varona from dismantling the bomb"

Angelina

Calgary, AB

Tour: 06/12/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

A great introduction to Italy.We discovered the diversity in geography and cultural aspects of Italy. The tour gave us the opportunity to see the "highlights" of art, architecture, history and the ways Italians relax and play!appreciated the blend of urban and rural! We felt comfortable after our first day in a location to explore on our own. Our guide was "the best" in helping us with this....tell you later. Our couch was full size which surprised us but was nice for extra seating space.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"several...wow moments..- Staying right on Lake Como in Verenna. Enjoying the views and meadows of the Dolomites. Accommodation was fabulous! The basin/lagoon in Venice and all the water traffic..no cruise ships in! Uffizi Museum in Florence..excellent and passionate local guide. Staying on the ocean at Cinque Terre The Duomo in Siena. Staying at the Altarocca Wine Resort.. the setting, rest and the peacefulness."

Carolina

Beaumont, CA

Tour: 06/12/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

excellent we had a wonderful vacation Sara our tour guide was , professional everything was perfect the rooms , the transportation, the Italian lessons the tours, behind our expectations, excellent bus driver, food accommodations fist class. I'm recommending this tour to my son and my daughter and their family, our friends we are so please with all your services. thank you so much Sara please don't change anything even the snacks were very special , you are the best.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My granddaughter Karina 17th birthday you really did a terrific job, she will remember this day for the rest of her life. the memories you created are so unique , your special gift , she is showing to all her friends, thank you Sara you are a asset to this company we love you. Sara special attention to every detail , she made every one feel we were the most important person every day in all occasions."

Donald

Telford, PA

Tour: 06/12/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I think every day was a "Wow"."

Karen

Boise, ID

Tour: 05/29/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I can't imagine having a better time than we did! The R.S. tour guide was awesome as well as our bus driver and all the local guides, and we totally bonded with our "tour family." Love, love, LOVE Italy and its people!! We got great advice prior to the trip from the website so arrived well prepared and ready to go. The locations were fantastic, and the combo of tour time and free time were terrific. I am totally sold on Rick Steves tours, and am dreaming of the next one!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Too hard to isolate one moment! First "wow" was daily waking up to the serenity and beauty of Varenna upon pre-tour arrival; it was almost too much to take in. I wandered around in a smiling daze, hardly believing such a place was real. LOVED the alps, and the free time strenuous hike with challenging weather made the mountain summit hiking experience an incredibly satisfying big WOW! Loved it all; each place was so amazingly unique that comparing them & selecting one "wow" is too hard."

David

Akron, OH

Tour: 05/29/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I enjoyed the variety of experiences presented in the Best of Italy tour. Lakes, mountains, canals, hills, rocky seacoast, medieval towns, Roman ruins, and Renaissance churches - every day was a revelation. What impressed me the most may be the precision of the scheduling of so many events and sites; we moved from place to place in a very efficient way and gained access to the places very smoothly and easily. I loved the itinerary and schedule. Very well done!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The tour was full of wow moments (the view from the window of our room at Hotel Pasquale in Monterossa, the gondola ride in Venice with a singer and accordion player, the city and garden walks in Bellagio, the visit to and dinner at the Forest Contrata (parish) in Siena, the breathtaking views from the wine resort at Altarocca, Art!Art!Art!) but I really was awed by the Sistine Chapel ceiling and the inside-the-dome, outside-the-dome experience at St. Peter's Basilica. Truly an inspiring tour!"

Monika

Tucson, AZ

Tour: 05/29/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our third Rick Steves tour, and we thoroughly enjoyed it! We LOVED the size of the group: 19.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It was one "wow" moment after another!"

Antoinette

San Diego, CA

Tour: 05/29/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my first RS tour, and it exceeded my expectations. I appreciate every logistical detail and the way the tour was structured to take advantage of travel time and cities large and small. The hotels were all wonderful, and the service there was great. The bus was perfect and the driver was wonderful. In addition to the beautiful sights, the highlight of the trip was our guide Donald. His knowledge of ALL things large and small[INVALID]made the trip unforgettable and a true education.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The final group dinner in Rome. Beautiful setting, great food and service--and the Italian man singing and playing traditional Italian music on the acoustic guitar--It was an A+++ experience that we never could have created for ourselves."

Patrick

Omaha, NE

Tour: 05/29/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The pastoral and rural was excellent. The mix of guided and free time was excellent. Donald was fantastic.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Cinque Terre was great but there was no single wow moment. The wow was the entire experience."

Adrian

Halifax, NS

Tour: 05/29/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour guide was great, very helpful and had a great level of passion and enthusiasm for his work. Everyone on the tour was fun loving and great to travel with. This was our 3rd Rick Steves tour and we are talking about the next one.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were too many."

Karianna

Boise, ID

Tour: 05/29/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

There was literally nothing about the tour I didn't like. We had an EXCELLENT guide, and an excellent group. There was just enough group time to get you oriented to the city, and just enough free time for you to explore on your own based on the information you got from the guide. It was absolutely the best experience of my life and I can't wait to go on another Rick Steves tour!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"How can I pick just one? Venice was definitely one of the greatest experiences of my life - I will never forget riding the gondola through the canals. I loved going to the Alps - a group of us summited a mountain! I fell in love with the family feel of Siena and the history of the Palio. I was awestruck by the history of the Coliseum and the ancient Roman Forum. And of course, the food. I would have to say the whole tour was a "WOW" moment!"

Nancy

Halifax, NS

Tour: 05/29/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

It was highly enjoyable. We made some great new friends and enjoyed Italian art, history, culture and FOOD!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I love art history and touring historic cites. Quite frankly however, I was getting a little tired of yet another Duomo. The greatest break, which we all needed, was the Umbrian Wine Resort and Spa. After traipsing through all of those hot cites, we had the greatest time just playing in/by the pool. It was so much fun! I know that you can find a pool anywhere, but not with that scenery and food. It was the perfect break before Rome. Thank you!"

Jennifer

Beaver Dam, WI

Tour: 05/29/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I cannot say enough good things about the group I was with! As the only "single" in the group I was at first worried that I might be a "third wheel" but that was far from the case! We had so much fun together and did so many great activities! I loved how there were city orientations, no lines for major events (because you bought the tickets ahead for us) opportunities to save money by doing impromptu group events (such as splitting the cost of a gondola between all of us) Awesome tour!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Too many to list but LOVED the concept of a few "vacation from a vacation" days in the middle in Monterosso - loved hiking the alps, loved the FOOD. Really though I found myself saying "wow" at how knowledgable our guide was - Donald knew EVERYTHING down to the most minute details. I always felt well equipped to be able to do whatever I needed to do when I was out on my own!"

Laura

Epping, NH

Tour: 05/24/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Initially skeptical of joining a tour, I was very impressed with the organization/efficiency of the itinerary, the amount of time saved by skipping ticket sales lines, and the overall "flow" of the trip. I was pleased to forge new relationships with a fantastic group of like-minded traveling companions. Best of all, I had memorable experiences that would otherwise have been missed - such as dining in the personal home of a highly decorated Italian chef. The Best of Italy truly was just that.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were so many wonderful moments that are now etched into my memory: the amazing sights and sounds of Venice with its beautiful canals and numerous store windows adorned with decorative masks and Murano glass balloons; the private stained glass-making demonstration by Gianni in Sienna; and most breathtaking of all, Michelangelo's stunningly gorgeous Sistine Chapel ceiling, which can only be truly appreciated in person!"

Ronald

Cincinnati, OH

Tour: 05/24/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Great experience. Expertly organized; very efficient way to travel[INVALID]with planning, travel, accommodations all planned perfectly[INVALID]really maximized the experience. Our guide, Rainer, was the best we ever had. And, our bus driver, Adrian, made getting everywhere so easy. Great travel companions. Great diversity of experiences from intense urban to bucolic rural and antiquity and medieval to contemporary. Every day was unique.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Each day, each city created a new "wow" moment. All different--a bustling metropolis, then a sleepy village, then an elegant town, then a working town, sea-level settlements, then a mountainous resort."

Kelly

Inver Grove Heights, MN

Tour: 05/24/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I enjoyed the trip very much. Tour guide Rainer and bus driver Adrian were both excellent. It was a great group of 19 travelers, very fun to be with everyone. All the cities and towns were great, so many things to do and see. Great food, wine, hotels, arranged tours. Everything was made very convenient and easy for us so we could get the most out of the trip. My only wish was that we had added on extra days in Rome at the end of the trip!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I loved all the hiking in Cadenabbia, in the Dolomites, and the Cinque Terre. Also loved seeing all the great churches and all the art, especially Michelangelos work--just amazing. All the cities, towns, and short journeys in between offered so many beautiful sights and great things to do. Perfect mix of planned activities and free time."

Russ

Alameda, CA

Tour: 05/24/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The trip was fantasitic and every city was so different that the 17 days simply flew by. Our guide, Rainer was excellent. He had grat knowledge of the different areas and keep to the schedule.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were many wow moments. The two that stand out in my mind were the beauty of the Dolimites and the incredible ruins and sculpures in Rome."

Genevieve

Louisville, KY

Tour: 05/24/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Overall, the tour was absolutely incredible. When I first found out we were going to Italy through a tour, I was a little skeptical. Generally when I travel I seek the non-touristy, truly authentic flavor of the place I'm in, and I wasn't sure a tour would allow for that. However, the RS tour experience epitomizes this style of travel, and both our tour guide and the many resources and experiences we had made the trip truly memorable and filled with hidden gems and local flavor.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There are SO many, but I probably have a two-way tie between (1) reaching the top of the Schlern peak in the Dolomites and taking in the breathtaking view and (2) sitting on some steps listening to music from the various bands in Piazza San Marco in Venice as the square came to life at night, lit up by the twinkling lights and the sounds of clinking glasses and happy voices. Both times a phrase came to mind that our guide Rainer taught us: "Che suggestivo...""

Jolene

Louisville, KY

Tour: 05/24/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour, by far, exceeded my best expectations!! The combination of cities visitied (both large and small), the scheduled activities, the expertise, professionalism, and helpfulness of our tour guide (Rainer), the pace at which we moved from place to place, our fellow tour members, etc. all worked together to create an incredibly fun and memborable experience for our family. We could not have asked for a more amazing tour of Italy!! THANK YOU!!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I have thought about this question numerous times since our return home. The bottom line is that there were too many "WOW" moments to single out any particular one as a favorite. Truly, from the views of Lake Como out of our hotel window in Varenna to our first sights of Venice as we made our way to our hotel via the waterways to a scenic bike ride around the perimeter wall of Lucca to a glorious day spent in the Michelangelo Piazza in Florence, these were all WOW moments of many WOW moments."

Robert

Louisville, KY

Tour: 05/24/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Great mix of people. Great weather. Great country! Great time!

Kathleen

Vancouver, WA

Tour: 05/22/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Wonderful balance of rural, small town, and city experiences. The Venice vaporetto boat ride into the city gave a beautiful overview of the city. Rick, you've opened Europe, particularly Cinque to USA residents. . Uunfortunately, it is now overrun to the point it's actual work to get around there. Actually detracted from the rest of the tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Varenna was beautful, Dolomites were once-in-a-lifetime experience, Iceman museum was informative without being too technical. Siena was a wonderful surprise. Art and museums, well-preserved town, stained glass artist studio. To have access to such a skilled artist is wonderful. Uffizi! Thanks for usggestions for pre-and-post sightseeing. Milan Last Supper tour was enjoyable and the orghese Gallery was stupendous!!!"

Janie

Port St Lucie, FL

Tour: 05/22/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was excellent. Our guide Karen was outstanding. The thought that was put into the scheduling, hotels, tours, etc. was evident. There was a great mix of group and private time, city and county, museums and nature. The hotel [INVALID]ions were right on. Being centrally located meant immersing ourselves in whatever location we were at and having more time to see the sights and experience the culture.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It was all a wow but I will give special mention to the beauty of Varenna, Michaelangelo's David and the fresh, delicious Italian food."

Daniel

Westlake, OH

Tour: 05/22/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Overall experience was great. Tour guide Karin was simply fabulous. Her insight and knowledge was tremendous. They manner in which she handled normal and abnormal situations was truly remarkable. The small group - 16 people - all got along very well. The handling of group dynamics a) time with the group, and b) time alone, was perfect.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Very hard question to answer. Every two days, we were at a new location, seemingly better than the day before. I f I had to choose one special moment, I guess it was the evening (3) gondolas ride, with music and singing. Second place maybe would be dinner at "Bobo's". Everything else tied for a close third. This is just not a fair question. The churches were beautiful, the museums were unbelievable, the history that was imparted was mind boggling, the landscapes were beyond description."

John

Pascagoula, MS

Tour: 05/22/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I was very impressed with Italy; food,people scenery,art, history, etc. Karen was a great guide. Her knowledge of all the areas visited and Italy in general was amazing. She also has a great delivery and personality. The local guides were extremely knowledgeable and they were all personable and informative. Our driver, Guido, was very professional and a safe and talented driver. He was also very accommodating and helpful for us personally when difficulties arose.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The "Tres Tenors" opera performance in the Episcopal church in Rome."

Shirley

Pascagoula, MS

Tour: 05/22/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

IT WAS WONDERFUL FROM START TO FINISH. KAREN WAS SO HELPFUL IN SO MANY WAYS, SHE IS VERY INFORMATIVE AND KNOWLEDGEABLE. SHE WAS VERY EASY TO UNDERSTAND, AND HAD CONTROL OF HER CREW AT ALL TIMES. SHE GAVE US MANY CHOICES, AND ALLOWED US THE FREE TIME THAT WE ALL NEEDED AT TIMES. THE PLACES WE VISITED WERE GREAT AND ALL DIFFERENT IT WAS A GREAT EXPERIENCE AND ONE THAT I WOULDN'T TAKE ANY AMOUNT OF MONEY FOR..THANKS FOR MAKING THIS TOUR POSSIBLE....

Favorite "WOW" moment

"SEEING THE SISTINE CHAPEL AND MICHELANGELO AND RAPHAEL'S WORK, WAS TRULY MORE THAN I EVER IMAGINED."

Elizabeth

Westlake, OH

Tour: 05/22/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was an incredible amount of information to take in....visually and mentally. Our guide put everything into perspective. I learned a lot and enjoyed every minute. Every two days we experienced an entirely different adventure, I am very glad that this was how we experienced Italy.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Walking back to our hotel from the Parthenon we easily found our way down narrow streets and friendly people. Then.....when we least expected anything so magnificant, the street opened to a plaza filled with a symphony orchestra and a wonderful lady singing from Carmen. The sound echoed from the building walls. Incredible!"

Carole

Kailua-kona, HI

Tour: 05/17/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My overall tour experience was beyond my expectations. There are rare moments in life when everything comes together in beautiful harmony to create a song of memories that will last a lifetime. This trip was such an experience for me -- truly magical! Sarah, our guide, Dario, our bus driver, and my fellow travelers truly became close companions on this journey of discovery, not only throughout bella Italy, but within the topography of our hearts and souls.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The trip was overflowing with "Wow" moments, but if I had to choose one, it would be seeing the Dolomites for the first time. Leaving Verona, we followed the Adige River towards the Alps. As our bus neared the Seel Aus Hotel, pristine alpine forest surrendered to alpine meadows. Then I saw them -- jagged, upthrusting monolithic sentinels standing guard over their meadow. You feel them at a visceral level, and you are arrested in pure wonder and awe. My soul expanded in that moment."

Johnnie

Austin, TX

Tour: 05/17/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The overall tour was great! Both our tour guide Sarah and our bus driver Dario were fantastic. They made us all feel like we were part of a family. Every part of the tour was thoughtfully prepared and flawlessly executed. Even though we were prepared for things to potentially go awry, everything ran wonderfully.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Each of the local tour guides brought with them the personality, flair, and customs of the local area. Each one was better than the last. It was evident that there are high standard and expectations from Rick Steves tour guides and they never failed to deliver on those expectations."

Susan

Grand Rapids, MI

Tour: 05/17/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Wonderful! The tour itself was so well organized and gave us a great variety of small villages , beautiful countrysides and cities packed with history and art.. Our guide,Sarah, was an effective leader ...Always on schedule and preparing us well on the bus for what we would be seeing on our next stop. Our group members soon became good friends. There was the right amount of togetherness and freedom of being on our own.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The beauty of the Dolemites, Lake Como and the peaceful countryside around the agriturismo."

Tony

Redwood City, CA

Tour: 05/17/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Great itinerary (selection of cities) Good to great waling tours/museum tours *FANTASTIC* guide (Sarah) so-so hotels (beds are too hard, poor showers) fairly "quiet" group (other tour members) factors beyond anyone's control: I started the trip with a cold, so the first week or so I wasn't enjoying it as much as I would have otherwise. The weather in the Dolomites and Venice was terrible: clouds, rain, hail, even snow, so these two locations were disappointing to me.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Tour of the Uffizi museum. The guide, Cindy Nesti, really made it come alive. I've never really enjoyed art that much and I was not really looking forward to this event, but from the start of the tour Cindy really made the subject come alive, and made me want to learn more. she started by taking us into a room and showing us three Madonna and child paintings, which looked similar to me, and then explained how the three show the progression of art through the renaissance."

Margaret

Decatur, GA

Tour: 05/17/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My first time abroad. It was all a "wow". I appreciated the balance of fast pace, then rest, "must see" tourist places and out of the way places with personal encounters. Italy itself is breath-taking. You showed it off beautifully. In the bigger places things began to blur and I felt rushed and not quite able to get my feet on the ground. Maybe it was because it was my first time. Maybe it is the nature of that kind of trip.. I wouldn't have traded one minute for anything.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favorite "wow" was at Poggio della Valara the Agritorismo. we were warmly welcomed. The group had solidified. The food was fabulous. The peace sublime. The view over the mountains and valleys like it came from an award winning photo. The moon came up the sun went down. A singer accompanying himself on keyboard sang the songs from the 50's though the 70's. We ALL danced, the neighbor who came for dinner, his grand-daughter, our host and hostess. For just awhile we were children."

Carl

Gainesville, FL

Tour: 05/17/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My expectations were exceeded in every aspect of this tour. The only regret is that it came to an end.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Falling snow while enjoying an indoor pool in the Dolomites."

Matthew

Los Alamos, NM

Tour: 05/17/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Riding bikes on the walls of Lucca... Absolutely life changing."

Elizabeth

Salt Lake City, UT

Tour: 05/17/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Well organized from start to finish. I appreciated the attitude of getting involved in the culture and exploring. There was a sufficient variety of sites/places given the time frame. I reflect back on the trip as being very positive - it was a fine time. Perhaps liked minded people tend to do these trips? Our group was comprised of friendly, well behaved, helpful and very nice people - a big element in the trip's success. - thank you for your efforts; no major suggestions.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Not a relevant question for me - I like the variety and the whole package. Even rainy days were fine and we experienced the country to the city and back..... Special little side trips or lectures (e.g. window glass makers, etc.) enriched the experience."

Ralph

Happy Valley, OR

Tour: 05/17/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

WONDERFUL in every way! Lucca was too brief to be meaningful (unnecessary stop?) Sistine Chapel a cattle drive; glad to see it but not fun. Generally a well planned itinerary with no rest for the wicked: ANDIAMO! The visits to the "Forcole Shop" and "Stained Glass Shop" were very nice. The banquet in Siena with the costumes from the horseraces was a real treat and Poggio Della Volara was a dream. The best part of the whole trip was to see how much my wife enjoyed it!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The whole Poggio Della Volara experience! The banquet in Siena was a very special evening, the setting, the ambiance, the food, the ladies, and the history all together. I very much enjoyed the carpenter shop in Venice where the oars and forcole were made. A little more time to to browse and buy there would have been nice. Prior to the trip stepping out of the metro station in Milan to face the Duomo and watching the setting sun from its roof were spectacular."

Nancy

Happy Valley, OR

Tour: 05/17/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

AMAZING MEMORIES!!!! My trip to Italy was my first trip abroad, and it was even much more than I dreamed it would be. My husband planned the entire trip, and we are both so delighted that he chose a Rick Steves tour. We saw so much more than we ever could have on our own. It seems totally unexpected surprises were in store every place we went! Thanks Sarah and super local guides:)

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were so many it is difficult to chose only one. Perhaps it was arriving at the Agriturismo Poggio della Volara or being able to attend the Memorial Day service at the American Cemetery south of Florence."

Barbara

Houston, TX

Tour: 05/15/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Just as you would expect for a Rick Steves experience - Wonderful!!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Lots of amazing moments, but we have seen most of Italy before so - the day in the Dolomites was unexpectedly good for us."

Yolanda

Houston, TX

Tour: 05/15/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We very much enjoyed the trip. The pace was quick. (This is the shortest trip for us, we usually do the 21-day tours.) But I can't think of anything that felt missing. The pair of guides worked well together. Always looking out to herd all of us so we could see - do - experience everything. I am so glad and marvel at the driving skills of the bus driver Roberto. He could move that huge bus around like it was just another small car in traffic.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Seeing all the art and architecture was a great experience. The Galileo museum was a wonderful surprise. My husband and I spent the full afternoon viewing all the instrumentation. The demonstrations of the gondola oar forcola making and the stained glass construction were wonderful and ed The sculpture that is the piece I loved at first sight was the Pieta in Orvieto. For me, it correctly captured a moment in time. With the people who were present and the emotions you see on their faces."

Robyn

North Vancouver, BC

Tour: 05/10/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was fantastic but I would have liked it to be a few days longer so we could have had a couple more vacation from our vacation days.It was pretty non stop and it would have been nice just to relax a bit more.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Cinque Terre!!!!"

Ginger

Chambersburg, PA

Tour: 05/10/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I thought everything from the itinerary to our tour guide was well organized. I loved my first Rick Steves tour (and first time in Europe).

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I loved our time at the agriturismo. Even though the weather wasn't great with the rain, our host still made our time there special, providing music and dance with dinner and a special tour of the local olive oil producer. They are very special people and I'm looking forward to going back someday."

Dickson

San Francisco, CA

Tour: 05/10/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Everything was exceptionally well planned. The logistics would have been difficult for individual travelers but even more for a large group. The unfortunate part of this trip were other tourists especially in Rome, making it hard to enjoy places like the Coliseum or the Vatican. No much alternatives to that problem-more likely an Italian kind of issue-not a very organized or efficient country.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Wine country (Agritourismo). Not expecting such a well kept/equipped inn with exceptional food and music/dancing at dinner in such a remote place."

Tammy

Hoffman Estates, IL

Tour: 05/10/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We would have never seen or done as much as we did without the Rick Steves' tour.

Jeanne

Spring Lake, MI

Tour: 05/10/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

A trip of a life time. Outside of the sequence of destinations, it was beyond expectations.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Too many to pick one. Dolomites, Cinque Terre, Baptista echoing in Pisa"

Joseph

Atlanta, GA

Tour: 05/10/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was a trip of a lifetime [INVALID] one I hope to repeat many times over. The overall tour is well balanced moving between gorgeous natural beauty of Lake Como and the Dolomites to the frenetic congestion of Venice and Florence. The group meshed well and Donald's talks were always educational and informative [INVALID] particularly for those interested in soaking up the material. I thought the food overall was superb but perhaps too many traditional meals and not enough healthy fare [INVALID] not enough gree

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Seeing the statute of David by Michaelanglo in the Academia in Florence was a revelation. Seeing the towns of the Cinque terra cascade down to the sea -- all different but each more beautiful than the next reminded me that when God and man work in harmony good things do happen."

Yi Jeng

San Francisco, CA

Tour: 05/10/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour makes me believe in traveling with a tour group.We had amazing meals together(have to mention about the generous salad bar we got before the 1st course for dinner,authentic pesto making lesson by an Italian mom at hotel Pasquale,music and feasta(yummy crispy roasted pork) at farm Poggio della Volara,and the farewell dinner in ancient Roman theater), comfortable bus-rides,many of good lodgings,knowledgeable tour guides,free time to get lost,and wonderful traveling companions.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I had many wow moments during the entire tour.Watching Michere drove through each narrow street smoothly,staying at least 400 years old part of the hotel Cipressi,amazing waitress at Pension Seelaus,attending to the workshop to know the craftsmanship of gondolas and the beautiful stain glass in Italian style.The most of all is staying at the very sophisticated farm run by a very sweet couple and their dogs in Umbria.I was pleased to stay there,enjoyed home-cook meals and shared their happiness."

Skip

Edmonds, WA

Tour: 05/08/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

This tour delivered what it said. Some of the most iconic sites and cities of Italy in a whirlwind 17 days. Venice, the Statue of David and the Uffizi museum, Hill cities, Tuscany and Rome. We saw a LOT of sites. The pace was rapid. In hindsight a city every 2 nights is a fast pace for trying to do any excursions on your own. The organized tours in cities and museums did offer insight I wouldn't have seen on my own. Just be prepared to have a couple of days to rest after the tour is over!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It's a toss up between the city of Venice and climbing the Duomo in Florence. Venice is an unreal experience. Hard to believe that whole city was a thriving center of the civilized world in the Mediterranean long ago. But the buildings are there to show that history. But trying to get to the top of the Duomo with only 90 minutes before meeting for dinner was a fun evening and one I'll remember for a long time! Coming out on top near sunset was rather amazing. And we made it to dinner!"

Tim

Bellevue, WA

Tour: 05/08/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Outstanding tour!! Great destinations and side trips along the way. I would not change the itinerary at all. Thank you Rick Steves team for providing this wonderful vacation!!!!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Loved lake Como, dolomite hiking, city walks (esp evenings). So many great memories!"

Mary

Boise, ID

Tour: 05/08/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was a wonderful tour in every aspect. Definitely very busy but that was great since we got to see so much. I appreciated,the smaller stops in between the major destinations. The local and cultural visits were some of my favorites. I really enjoyed the gondola, stain glass and pesto demonstrations. These are things I' m sure would be difficult to arrange on your own. The local hotels were a fun part of the experience., I left feeling Italy is a beautiful country .

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were many "wow" moments. Each location was so different from each other. Venice was one of my favorites with its great beauty and not to forget the gondola ride. My biggest surprise was probably Siena with our visit to the contrada or local neighborhood for dinner. I was amazed that they remained so close knit and continued the same traditions that have been done since the Middle Ages. Rome was also awe inspiring with its ancient ruins."

James

South Salem, NY

Tour: 05/08/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our 3rd Rick Steves' tour and lived up to the promise of the 1st two in all regards. Our guide, Reiner, and our bus driver, Adrian, were both terrific. Hotels were very good to excellent, always in great locations. The only thing I can think of to make the tour better would be to spend longer in Venice and Rome, and to officially include Milan.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were many, many, "wow moments" for me. Two that have particularly stuck with me were the view of Venice from the Accademia Bridge, and the view of the first room (beyond the ticketing area) of the Borghese Gallery in Rome."

Carol

Kirkland, WA

Tour: 05/08/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Rainer, was a fabulous guide. The sites we saw were outstanding and unforgettable. It was wonderful to have tickets purchased and reservations made. We waited little to get into museums etc. I loved the quaint things we did. Stain glass maker, wood craftsman, community dinner in Siena. HOWEVER, I was VERY disappointed in the fact we only had a guided tour for about half of the days.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Rome of course and the Vatican was very spectacular, but I enjoyed the smaller towns more overall. The quiet moments with the locals. Siena was my favorite along with Cinque Terra and Lake Como."

Catherine

Verona, PA

Tour: 05/08/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour experience exceeded my expectations. The accommodations, the guided tours/walks, the group meals, the bus and the friendliness of the members of our tour group were all outstanding. Our tour guide was very amiable patient and knowledgeable and the local guides added so much because of the passion and pride they held for their heritage.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were "wow" moments at every stop and it is impossible to select just one. There were "wow" moments for all the senses - sights (art, architecture, landscapes), sounds (orchestras, church bells, la bella lingua), smells (lemon groves, flower gardens, food aromas), and tastes (pasta, gelato, wine). The geniality and engaging nature of the Italian people was also a big "wow.""

Carol

Hillsboro, OR

Tour: 05/08/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Guide, Rainer, the absolute best! Eloquent, organized, knowledgeable, respectful. Driver, Adrian, was personable, helpful and professional. Would have liked more personal time for relaxing and laundry. Would have enjoyed more than two nights in any location(s). Loved the unique experiences, ie the stained glass maker, the dinner in Siene, the formula maker in Venice. Recommend RST looking into using Milan Private Tours which we did on our own prior to joining the tour in Varenna.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The neighborhood dinner in Siene and the film on the horse races. Totally unquie and totally fabulous dinner."

Marijane

South Salem, NY

Tour: 05/08/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour was a perfect mix of history, art, scenery, and activity. I came away with a love of the Italian culture and a better appreciation of what they contributed to civilization, both ancient and during the Renaissance. I ate well and walked it all off!!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Being at eye level with the top of the columns of the Roman Forum by looking out the windows of the underground walkway connecting the Capitoline Museum buildings. We had walked through the Forum, looked down on it from the Palantine Hill, but I felt I was part of it from this vantage point. We would have missed it if the local guide hadn't pointed it out."

Brian

Gypsum, CO

Tour: 05/01/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was fantastic! I believe this really is the Best Of Italy. we saw so much and there were so many wow moments. I will admit that you have to push yourself a little to get in all the things the tours has to offer. the small side trips we did were a great addition to the tour, lunch in the Tuscan country side, stained glass shop, and wood shop. The Best Trip I've ever taken.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Alteroco Wine resort. It was so nice to have small quiet stops along the trip to break up the big cities and crowds. this working winery was a peaceful break before Rome. The owners and employees are so wonderful. We opted out of the tour the full day we had there and we stayed behind to catch up on some R&R."

John Edward

Arvada, CO

Tour: 05/01/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was just wonderful. It was everything that I had expected and even more. From the moment that we flew into Milan (we arrived one day early so that we could adjust to Italian time and recover from our flights. We also were fortunate enough to see Leonardo's "Last Supper") until we left Rome to continue on our own for three extra days, we thoroughly enjoyed the tour. The 17 day itinerary was well thought out and we truly did see the "Best of Italy". All of our stops and hotels were great

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were several "Wow" moments. The beauty of the Lake Como area, the Dolomites, Tuscany, Umbria, Cinque Terre and Rome all took my breath away. The "back door" experiences that we had were the biggest surprise- I don't know whether they were planned by Rick Steves or added on by our guide, Stephanie, but we enjoyed seeing places that I'm sure other tours missed. Monteriggioni; the wine agriturismo and the tour & dinner of the Contrada in Siena were wonderful."

Michelle

Port Townsend, WA

Tour: 05/01/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our first Rick Steves tour. Did not know what to expect but we were sure that we would enjoy touring Italy. This tour proved to be outstanding in every way! If you are rating my experience on the "star" system, 5 being best, I would give this tour a six. Excellent!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The entire trip was a "wow" moment! I last visited Italy in the early 70's. This "best of Italy" tour was everything that I had hoped it would be."

Beverly

Glenpool, OK

Tour: 05/01/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I feel that we had a great group. I was surprised at the age of the group (a little older than expected), but at least we did not have all night partiers on the trip. Stephanie was awesome!!! Very attentive, helpful, fun, engaged and willing to be flexible when possible.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"One of my "Wow" moments was rounding the corner in the Accademia in Florence and seeing David for the first time."

Linda

Las Vegas, NV

Tour: 05/01/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I had a wonderful time in Italy. I'm so happy that I did the 17 day tour. Each day we saw many incredible sites and beautiful countryside. We had great weather & our fellow travelers were very nice. Everyone was on time for events. I loved all the walking & the packing light. I'm a convert now, I'll never over pack again. Our tour guides and local guides were excellent and made the trip fun and interesting. I'm ready to do another one!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"View: We stopped at a family run wine winery/olive farm where we were served a delicious organic lunch. The view of the vineyards and the hill town of San Gimignano in the distance was spectacular. It was a beautiful sunny day and the landscape was magical. I wish I could have stayed longer in that region and visited the town. Every day there were special and unforgettable moments!"

Steve

Las Vegas, NV

Tour: 05/01/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Having reviewed over 2,000 images I captured during our tour, I am able to confirm that we had a wonderful time. We would do it again in a heartbeat.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Standing alone at the low colonnade wall of Piazzale Michelangelo at 5:30am on our first morning in Florence. The city lights reflecting on the Arno. The magnificent Duomo a spectacular sight on the skyline. The beautiful low clouds embracing the city. The entire scene bathed in the wonderful emerging light of the coming sunrise. It was definitely a WOW."

Kathryn

Calgary, AB

Tour: 05/01/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Fantastic! Both Stephanie and Yorick were excellent, the itinerary was busy but to our liking, the accommodation was brilliantly located, the "surprise" local highlights gave us insights that independent travel have missed. . Our bus driver Dino was a delight and the bus extremely comfortable to travel in. The local guides were excellent and clearly enjoyed showing us around their cities and towns.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"So many, but if I have to choose it was seeing the inside of the Pantheon for the first time. Hard to believe it is 2000 years old and looking as it did when it was first built!"

Barb

Brush Prairie, WA

Tour: 05/01/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My overall experience on the 17 day Italy tour was wonderful! I saw and learned so very much and Stephanie, our tour guide was fantastic: so knowledgeable, calm, interesting, organized, and just plain wonderful! She seemed to know the answer to any question that was asked of her and if she didn't, she would find out the answer. Yorick was also on our trip as an apprentice guide and he added so much to our trip also. What a great pair!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Almost too many to count! Our favorites were the Dolomites, Cinque Terre, Michelangelo's "David" and the wine resort in the hills of Umbria. We loved seeing Venice, Florence, Siena and Rome, but we realized we both prefer the small out of the way places. We are so grateful that we did see so much of Italy. It is such a beautiful, lush country and the people were very nice and friendly."

Judy

Arvada, CO

Tour: 05/01/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We absolutely loved the tour!!! We especially liked the Back Door experiences like the Contrada dinner and immersion experience into the Palio, the stained glass demo, the gondola wood-carver's demo, the wine-tasting farm tour and all the little things our guide, Stephanie, exposed us to, enriching our experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Every day was a "WOW" moment. I was in awe of the beauty, the cathedrals, the art, the food, the climbs to the tops of cathedrals and down into wells, the wine, history and the people. When people ask me which was my favorite place, I can't even answer. I loved everything!"

Byron

Worthington, OH

Tour: 05/01/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Very good, enjoyable tour. Saw an amazing number of Italian attractions. Appreciated the free time but the local guides were special. They added very much to the total experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Pantheon in Rome and the exterior of many of the duomos. The one in Orvieto is a good example."

Pam

Gypsum, CO

Tour: 05/01/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Where do I start, "wow" The layout of the agenda was awesome. The time spent in each location was perfect with the exception of a few places. The transportation was awesome the bus was comfortable with an excellent driver.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"there were so many, but if I had to pick one I would have to say Altarocca wine resort. the second would be hiking the Cinque Terre Villages."

Daniel

Mcdonough, GA

Tour: 04/24/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My wife and I had a great time on the tour through Italy. It was a great mixture of popular historic sites, italian quisine, and the opportunity to mingle with the local Itlalian people. Everything was organized very as expected. (This was our 4th Rick Steves tour.) We had the opportunity to get to know our tour mates and had sufficient time to explore on our own.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"For me, it was staying at an Italian farm with wine vineyards and olive groves. The couple who ran the villa was so accomodating and the facilities and food was great."

James

Rockford, MI

Tour: 04/24/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Much more fun, interesting and educational than I was even expecting and I was expecting it!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"So many....hard to pick just one. Venice was so interesting. The hill towns of Cheque Terre....breathtaking."

Glenn

Los Gatos, CA

Tour: 04/24/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Great tour experience, very well run and organized.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Venice and Robins thorough knowledge of each area. I loved her stories of each area."

Nancy

Los Gatos, CA

Tour: 04/24/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour itinerary was perfect, with busy days usually tempered with a slower second day. We loved all the stops, interesting and sometimes unexpected historical/architectural sites everywhere we went. This was our first tour of any kind, so we weren't sure we would like it. We Loved it! Wore us out, but we really gained an appreciation of the art and culture of the country.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Definitely Venice - I was truly overwhelmed by the history, food, setting, art/architecture - everything. The wonderfully romantic gondola ride with the music was the "cherry on the cake" - until my husband brought us down to earth with, "hey- this is just like Las Vegas"! Could have stayed a week just in Venice."

Michael

Houston, TX

Tour: 04/24/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Exceptionally guided and organized. Our guide Robyn was a wealth of knowledge with incredible history and art presentations during the tour. The local guides were exceptional as well.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were a number of them and primarily focused on the history and unique character of each geopgraphical location"

Judey K

Albany, CA

Tour: 04/24/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our trip exceeded our expecations in every way! The sites were awesome, the people amazing, the accommodations clean & comfortable, the transportation easy & comfy, the food delectable, and the other tour members fun. For first-time RS travelers, we really appreciated being able to concentrate on soaking up the atmosphere and experiencing the culture as much as possible rather than dealing with the logistics of travel. I tried speaking Italian & got a warm response for the effort. Amazing!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"2 wow moments The 1st was in Siena when we were able to visit the Selva contrada. We learned about the importance & role of the contradas in the past. I heard how the contradas nurture each generation & provide a deep sense of belonging & community. It was humbling. The 2nd was staying at the Agriturismo with Marco & Gaiva. They worked hard to ensure that we enjoyed ourselves. The setting was idyllic, beautiful & I even danced. My hubby now wants to take ballroom dance lessons!"

Lori

San Bruno, CA

Tour: 04/24/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour was a perfect blend of everything that I wanted to experience: history, art, architecture, food, culture, busy cities, and quaint towns. I was not disappointed! The itinerary was a perfect mix of organized time for all of the sites and locations that I wanted to experience while still giving us enough personal time to explore on our own.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I can't pick one favorite-they are all so different: Strolling through the ruins of Ancient Rome; the majesty of Michelangelo's David; the beauty of Venice at night; the gardens and lake views in Varenna/Lake Como; the quaint stairs that always lead you to something beautiful; the views of the villages in the Cinque Terre; the awe inspiring churches; and the food!"

Georgann

Houston, TX

Tour: 04/24/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

What a wonderful way to get a feel for Italy with a grand sweeping tour! I loved being able to show up and have most everything taken care of but at the same time having opportunities to be immersed in the culture on our own. Cannot say enough about how well done the tours are conducted. Will definitely do another Rick Steve's tour!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"'That is way too difficult to say. Each place had its own highlights."

Alan

Gainesville, FL

Tour: 04/24/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was fantastic! My wife and I have gone to Europe eight other times on our own using the Rick Steves' guide books and this year decided to go on a tour and we are so happy we went on the 17 Day Italy tour. Saw so many great places with our guide and the local guides. The Bed and Breakfast's, Hotels and the Agriturismo we stayed at were super. Just can't say enough about the tour!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"So many to chose from it is hard to pick a favorite. Marco and his wife at The Agriturismo Poggio della Volara in the Orvieto area were fantastic hosts and the area was beautiful. The Lake Como area was great as you could take a boat ride to many towns."

Simone

Mcdonough, GA

Tour: 04/24/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our 4th RS tour and yet again, the experience was outstanding. Our guide, Robin, was great. She really kept us organized and on-time. Her on-board history overviews were appropriate so that our next stop became more meaningful. Our fellow travelers were great - no grumps at all - a lot of fun to be around! There's no way we could have seen or done what we did on our own. Having the logistics handled alone was priceless. Bypassing long ticket lines iced the cake. Two thumbs up!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"With a 17 day tour of Italy, it's hard to pin down one. I glad we were able to see the Iceman in Bolzano, ride on a gondola in Venice, climb the Duomo in Florence, ride bikes in Lucca, a short stay at an agriturismo.... the list can go on. It was an overall "wow" trip."

Terry

Lake Tapps, WA

Tour: 04/24/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour exceeded our expectations. Loved Italy and our tour group.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Terry: Hiking the Cinque Terre and getting the first glimpse of the next town. Mary: The appetizers served in the olive grove at the agrotourismo. Amazing views and food."

Greg

Springfield, VA

Tour: 04/24/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Super! Looked forward to this Rick Steves tour for a long time and it delivered! We're looking forward to the next one!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Many, but two stand out. The first was the Cinque Terre. Even with less than idyllic weather, these pearls nestled along the coast were beautiful and inviting. The second was experiencing local wines and delicious antipasta at our agriturismo in Umbria in an olive grove high up on a hillside looking down on vineyards and green hillsides as far as the eye could see. Now, THAT'S the Italian experience!"

Thomas

Newcastle, WA

Tour: 04/19/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We were first timers (first time on any type of organized tour) and really enjoyed the experience. Just the reduced stress of getting around between cities/hotels was valuable. We were with a small group (just 14) which may have further enhanced our enjoyment but we really got along with the rest of the group of travelers and our guide, Ferdie. The hotel facilities generally exceeded our expectations with their great locations. Would have liked a little more space in a couple. s

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Stay in Dolomites was great. Hotel and the setting. Enjoyed lack of crowds."

Jennifer

Westford, MA

Tour: 04/19/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had a wonderful experience touring a variety of beautiful spots in northern Italy. Our tour director, Ferdi, was very knowledgeable, pleasant, and helpful

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were so many Wow moments. But we especially loved the hotel and setting in the Dolomites and at the Altarocca Wine Resort in Orvieto"

Colleen

Newcastle, WA

Tour: 04/19/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I couldn't have been more pleased with our tour. This was the first time my husband and I have traveled with a tour. When we initially looking at Italian tours I thought it was pricey, after going on the tour I feel it was worth every penny and more.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The entire tour was a 'wow' for me. But if I have to choose, it would be cappuccino in the mornings or gelato in the afternoons."

Sue

Valencia, CA

Tour: 04/17/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Another great tour! Love the way these tours simplify the planning, maximize the experiences, and allow me to enjoy my vacation. Donald is a master at guiding and Stacy is a pleasure. Even Adrian's skills with the bus made everything go that much smoother. Some of the hotels are showing their age, but are so well located that I just count it as part of the experience. Moving every two nights can be wearing but it does allow for a lot of territory to be covered.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"No single wow moment, just a constant string of great experiences (people, places, food, art, scenery)."

Carol

San Antonio, TX

Tour: 04/17/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was a memorable tour that covered an amazing number of important Italian sites. I thought it was a good balance between busy, touristy cities and smaller, walkable towns. When I look back, it is hard to be believe that we experienced so much. I found that it was very strenuous with so many hills and steps, but that is just me. And that is Italy.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There could not be just one, but many. The many churches were so beautiful. The gondola adventure that was arranged for us was lovely as was the meal at Stacy's restaurant. The view of the Umbrian countryside from our private veranda was awesome. We wanted more days there. The visits to the stained glass workshop and the workshop of the oarlock builder were very interesting."

Elizabeth

West St Paul, MN

Tour: 04/17/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour turned out to be one of my favorite travel experiences ever. I loved everything about it including all the places we stayed or visited from the first day in the Lake Como region to the last in Rome. I truly believe that I experienced the best Italy has to offer.

Favorite "WOW" moment

""Wow" this is hard question. For me it was seeing and liking Venice. I did not think that would be a highlight of my trip."

Mary

St Louis, MO

Tour: 04/17/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Although we have used Rick Steves books for fifteen years of independent travel, this was the first time we booked a tour. We weren't disappointed. We enjoyed sitting back and letting someone else do the navigating and booking the venues and hotels. Our guide, Donald, was awesome. We learned and experienced so much more than we would have by ourselves. Our tour group was fun and everyone got along and we made many new friends. Great experience!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were many "wow" moments. Lake Como and the beautiful gardens in springtime at the Villa Carlotta. Hiking in the Dolomites and the gorgeous scenery. A gondola ride in Venice. The countryside hill towns of Tuscany and our fabulous wine resort in Umbria with the views of the vineyards and distant hills. Florence and the David and Rome with it's ancient city and the Vatican. So many beautiful art masterpieces and the Italians and their passionate love of life."

Barbara

Carmichael, CA

Tour: 04/17/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my first trip to Europe. Since I am 1/2 Italian I have always wanted to go to Italy. We decided after years of watching your shows and having all the dvd's that we would take your tour. We could never have done such a complete tour of northern Italy on our own. Our group was a happy, fun mixture of people most of whom had travelled with you before. We all got along so well, no one was late, no one complained, our bus was comfy and Adrian was an excellent driver and lots of fun.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Just one...not possible! First sight of Lake Como from our walk thru Varenna so peaceful and beautiful. The Dolomites were incredible...hiking along the trails through the meadow and meeting the group for lunch. It was breathtaking. The hill town of Assisi, the Basilica, the history, the church beneath the church and the lovely town and quiet alleys where we found a wonderful restaurant for lunch."

Robert

Carmichael, CA

Tour: 04/17/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My overall tour experience was far greater than I could have ever imagined!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Lake Como and the Dolimite Mountains were the greatest wow factor for me but as an engineer the way Italyians blast through earthen obstructios rather than just cuttting a huge "V" knotch like we do shows they have a far superior way of blasting through mountains."

Alice

Boise, ID

Tour: 04/17/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My husband and I have been traveling together internationally since the 80's and LOVE it. We always rent a car and when in Europe we always travel with Rick's books. Generally we are spontaneous and make very few advance arrangements... Italy had long been on our list and we knew there was a lot we wanted to see and that it was going to involve a lot of driving. We had never taken a guided tour but decided to consider it. We are glad we did. The Best of Italy in 17 Days Tour was grand!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Michelangelo's David and the Cinque Terre"

Patricia

St Paul, MN

Tour: 04/17/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Donald and Stacy brought so much to the trip. Their knowledge of the history and culture brought so much history to light. They were fun, respectful, and kept things going smoothly. They were both warm, charming, and added so much enjoyment to our trip experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"i have tried to think of a favorite, but I can't. The diversity of this trip is spectacular. The beauty of the Lake Como area, the Dolomites, the hill towns, Florence, Rome, all of it was a wow moment for me. What great memories I have. We haven't been back a week and have already requested spots for the South of Italy tour in the fall."

Wesley

Bellevue, WA

Tour: 04/10/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

The Best of Italy itinerary covers so many places from the north of Italy down to Rome that it provides just a taste of each. For some places (Lake Como, the Dolomites), a taste is sufficient, and for others (Venice, Florence, Rome), we wished for another day, but I guess we just need to go back. Our group got along so well, it contributed a lot to the trip. Our guide Stephanie, driver Dino, walks, hotels, sights, meals, local guides, were all great. Looking forward to our next visit.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It is impossible to pick just one. Four "wows." The first was on our orientation walk in Venice, where we walked along narrow lanes, through an archway, and caught our first glimpse of St. Mark's Square with the Duomo, Campanile, and the surrounding buildings. The second was in Florence, when we stepped into the Medici Chapels. The third was seeing the Sistine Chapel. But there were many others."

Betsy

Flower Mound, TX

Tour: 04/10/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Fantastic! Have never been out of the U.S. before and this trip was the best one I have taken in my life. It was professional, teaching, guided me through a country I have always wanted to see in person in a way that maximized every single day and tied things together in a way that taught me about the culture, history, art, and the commonality of man's struggle to understand and make the most of their experience here on earth. I have an increased love for my fellow man.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The tying together of all the art history I studied in high school and college ( I was an art major) with the life experiences I have had since then. Also integrating this with the religious experiences and perspective I have had in life. Seeing what devotion people had and comparing it with what I know of the pull of greed and power vs. devotion. For one "wow" moment, for me it was actually seeing the Sistine Chapel in person, finally. It is almost impossible to just have one!"

Jack

Anacortes, WA

Tour: 04/10/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Outstanding. Exceeded all expectations. From our arrival in the picturesque and beautiful Varenna to the last day in magnificent Rome, our tour was full of beauty, history, breathtaking art masterpieces, ancient pathways and wonder. Our guide, Stephanie, was outstanding and brought our group together as a congenial family with a spirit of camaraderie.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"When we thought something couldn't get more beautiful, we turned a corner, and there was another "wow". Churches, cathedrals, art masterpieces, ancient cities, ruins, castles, gondolas, towers, the Alps -- how could we pick one?"

Larry

Louisville, KY

Tour: 04/10/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Stephanie lead an outstanding tour, bringing new insight to the familiar sights and introducing us to many new things. We enjoyed the group and made many new friends, sharing our tour highlights and comparing free time activities. I ended up enjoying sights I wasn't sure at first that I would, and discovered many new ones. Dino, our driver, was the best.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The contrada visit in Sienna."

Weather

Italy / Milan


Italy / Venice


Italy / Florence


Italy / Rome

Planning Tips

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.

Transportation

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

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

There is more than one way to get to and from your tour. Most tour members will arrange to fly into Milan and out of Rome ("multi-city" 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: Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel (reserve ahead to skip the line); St. Peter's Basilica; Spanish Steps; Capuchin Crypt; National Museum of Rome; Ancient Appian Way (great for biking) and catacombs.

This tour does not include a visit to the Vatican Museums and St. Peter’s Basilica. However it is often a highlight for any traveler and one we highly recommend. Avoid the lines by booking tickets several weeks in advance. For more details, visit our Vatican Museums & St. Peter’s information page.

Packing

There are 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.