• Colosseum
  • 'Creation of Adam' (Michelangelo), Sistine Chapel, Vatican Museums, Vatican City, Rome, Italy
    Sistine Chapel
  • Volterra
  • Wine Tasting in Tuscany
  • Rural hillside, Tuscany, Italy
    Tuscan Hillside
  • Lucca
  • Vernazza (Cinque Terre), Italy
    Vernazza in the Cinque Terre
  • Ponte Vecchio, Florence, Italy
    Ponte Vecchio in Florence

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

Heart of Italy in 9 Days Tour

from $2,395 per person + air

Optional Single Supplement $575

See Tour Dates

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

Dates & Prices

2018

2019

What's Included

  • A small, friendly group of 2428 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 15 group sightseeing events • Ancient Rome walking tour • Colosseum • Roman Forum • Pantheon • Evening walk through Rome including Trevi Fountain • Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel • Volterra walking tour • Guarnacci Etruscan Museum • Alabaster workshop • Wine tasting • Lucca walking tour • Orientation for "vacation" day in the Cinque Terre • Renaissance Florence walking tour • Florence's Accademia (Michelangelo's David) • Uffizi Gallery…and more
  • All group transportation from Rome to Florence
  • 8 nights' accommodations in memorable, centrally located hotels
  • All breakfasts and half your dinners
  • All tips for guides and driver
  • A tour kit including a guidebook (or books) and a moneybelt
  • Guaranteed tour price, locked in the moment you make your deposit
  • Optional single supplements — this tour has a limited number of private rooms for solo travelers for an additional fee
  • Tour alum discount of $50 for each tour you've taken prior to 2019
  • 50% discount on a consulting appointment with our in-house experts to assist with your pre- or post-tour travel plans
  • Flexibility should you need to transfer or cancel your tour

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

Itinerary

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

Day 1: Welcome to Italy

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

Day 2: The Vatican Museums

Today we'll focus on Renaissance (Catholic) Rome. At the sprawling Vatican Museums we'll visit what seems like a limitless collection of treasures as you make your way to one of the world's most famous works of art: Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel. You'll have the rest of your day free to continue your modern-day pilgrimage at the greatest church in Christendom, the awe-inspiring St. Peter's Basilica, home to Michelangelo's sublime Pietà. Wander through this immense church and explore more of the Eternal City on your own. No bus. Walking: strenuous.

Day 3: Ancient Rome and the Heart of Tuscany

We'll do some time-traveling this morning, as a local guide takes us on a walking tour through the ancient heart of Rome, telling us vivid tales of the larger-than-life Colosseum and the birthplace of Rome: the Forum. Then we'll leave the city and drive to Tuscany, ending our day in the hill town of Volterra, enjoying a Tuscan feast together at a favorite local restaurant. Sleep in Volterra (2 nights). Bus: 5 hours. Walking: strenuous.

Day 4: All Day in the Hill Town of Volterra

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

Day 5: Lucca and the Italian Riviera

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

Day 6: Exploring the Cinque Terre

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

Day 7: Florence and David

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

Day 8: The Uffizi Gallery

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

Day 9: Tour Over After Breakfast

Breakfast is provided, but there are no group activities today. It's a breeze to reach Florence's airport by taxi or shuttle bus. 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 Heart of Italy in 9 Days tour — among other things — you'll need to happily…

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

Reviews

Julia

Hummelstown, PA

Tour: 07/22/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had a wonderful time exploring Italy with our tour group! Everyone was very friendly, and we enjoyed getting to know many new people as a result of our tour. All of the included sites, hotels, and dinners were fantastic. Ferdi was an excellent guide who made our trip a great experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were so many moments we loved on this tour! Some of our favorite "wow" moments were exploring the Vatican, hiking the trail in the Cinque Terre, and sitting on the rooftop terrace at our hotel in Florence."

Laura

Madison, AL

Tour: 07/22/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We've used the Rick Steve's tour books and watched the shows for years, but this was the first tour we've taken. It was everything we wanted. Lots of the kind of travel we like to do, with most of the planning and logistics taken care of for us. We had an excellent group with a wonderful mixture of folks of all ages from high school aged up to retirees.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Two wow moments were watching the full moon (it was the blood moon so it was huge and orange) rising over the city scape of Florence from our secret rooftop bar, and coming around the corner while hiking the Cinque Terre path on a hot summer morning and finding a little old man who had hauled a basket of oranges from his grove down to the path along with a battery powered juicer and was selling fresh orange juice (best tasting orange juice we've ever had!)."

Dale

Coralville, IA

Tour: 07/15/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I love your tours. We were never rushed from place to place but our time was never wasted. A very good balance between planned activities and free time. The hotels you provided exceeded my expectations. All the hotels were clean, comfortable and had friendly and helpful staff. I was pleasantly surprised that they (hotels) all had air conditioning. Your tour fit your description precisely. By the time we were leaving Italy my wife and I agreed that we must return.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Our time in Rome. The history of the Roman Empire, the Vatican experiences. Rounding a corner and my first visual of the Trevi Fountain. Traveling through the Tuscany countryside in our bus. Every city actually had a wow moment."

Frank

Saint Louis, MO

Tour: 07/15/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Great tour, very full of sites and activities. Liked the arrangement of tour times and time off. Patricia was a great guide and very, very helpful.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"boat at Cinque Terre"

Steve

Pekin, IL

Tour: 07/15/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I was living "Dulce Vida" the whole tour. The tour packed an amazing amount into only 9 days. Patricia was wonderful and the local guides really made the tour exceptional. The heart of Italy was a great tour!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"With all the amazing art, landscape, history and people experiences I feel guilty saying I really liked the wine tasting experience. I give whiskey talks and the sommelier was definitely outstanding. I even took notes. A gem that made the tour so special. The amazing meal at the Levanto's Hotel Primavera was also a "wow" moment. Michelangelo's David was absolutely impressive. I really liked Patricia's interpretation (different from what I'd read). It made David come to life!"

Julie

Clovis, CA

Tour: 07/15/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My 13 year old granddaughter and I took this tour together. We had a wonderful experience. We learned without ever being bored. We got on well with all our tour mates. We felt that we really got to experience authentic Italian food and places. This was July, so was very warm and humid and I wish I would have packed less pants/capris and more sun dresses.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"First walk through Volterra. It was so beautiful and surreal. My granddaughter lived Levanto -Cinque Terre and swimming in the ocean there."

Samuel

Snoqualmie, WA

Tour: 07/15/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This is the best way to travel to foreign countries. It is good value, the guides are excelllent, the tours are unique in somewhat off the beaten track, and the food was very good.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Tuscan countryside in driving to Volterra. Also, the statue of David in Florence (and I am not highly interested in art history)."

Lorina Daves

Pinole, CA

Tour: 07/15/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The Trip was great. It was fabulous to have all of the tickets to the Vatican, Colisseum, etc. arranged in advance for us. I thought the mix of city and country made for a nice balance. Volterra was magical!!! Patricia was thoughtful as well as a good leader. Great group. I want to go again!!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Sistine Chapel, Volterra, Tuscany."

Holly

Powder Springs, GA

Tour: 07/15/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I cannot say enough great things about my Tour Guide, Patricia. She was professional and in touch with each and every need of the entire group. I felt more cared for during this trip than I have ever experienced before. She made the experience wonderful and treated us like family. I would definitely come back to Rick Steve's Tours because of her. She is incredible! Holly Cook

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The birthday celebration in the Italian Riviera. I turned 50 and Patricia made sure that it was a memorable occasion. The hotel made a cake and sang Happy Birthday and then gave me a lemon cello."

Marie

Oceanside, CA

Tour: 07/13/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I really enjoyed the tour. It was my third Rick Steves' tour. It was well organized and packed full of sites and experiences, yet also allowed for down time with other tour members.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were so many "wow" moments but honestly the chef prepared feast in Levanto was very memorable. He had so many wonderful dishes which were incredibly good including a desert he invented himself. He started out with a demonstration on how to prepare pesto. Yummy!"

Michael

Matthews, NC

Tour: 07/13/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This trip was that of a lifetime- wonderful. We fell in love with Italy; its people, its culture, history, food and wines, and beauty. This "heart of Italy" tour was just perfect for us- we loved the balance of guided tours and teachings with the free time with choices of activities to choose from. The size of the group was very nice- 25 folks with whom we shared many adventures and laughs. Our guide was excellent- taught us, guided us, laughed with us, and took great care of us!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were so many- the layers of significant history all over Rome; the beauty and serenity of Tuscany (with music playing on the bus- tears!), the lovely and quaint people and town of Volterra that we fell in love with, the interesting Lucca, and the fascinating city of Florence where the ancient melts into the modern...."

Margaret

Englewood, NJ

Tour: 07/13/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Loved all aspects of the trip. Enjoyed having Sarah as our tour guide and access to talented and knowledgeable local guides. Felt we had many Wow moments [INVALID]getting granita when we were feeling tired and worn mid-day, receiving local treats (cookies/candy) while traveling, the exceptional buffet feast in Cinque Terre and having wine included with our group meals, and the opportunity to hear opera singers perform one evening to name a few,

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Being in hotels where our group dominated."

Rhonda

Snohomish, WA

Tour: 07/13/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Trip of a lifetime! Sarah was fabulous!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"So many! The Pieta in Rome would be one of the highlights!"

Joseph

Poolesville, MD

Tour: 07/13/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It's hard to express the experience is such a small space. We never stopped experiencing incredible moments. From our guide to the local guides they brought our experience alive. I can't wait to go on the next trip.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The tower bar at our last hotel in Florence. The view of the city was incredible at night."

Lloyd

Southlake, TX

Tour: 07/08/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Tommaso Our lead tour guide, and especially the people assembled for this tour made it great! The places and sights were memorable but after you have seen 2ooo irreplacable statues and 2500 priceless paintings, they sort of lose the impact. The historical places and great works of art are amazing but tour member interactions and shared experiences were my highlight. Then at end of the tour time My son and wife spent six days visiting relatives in Sardinia. My Grandaughter joined me in Florence

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The whole tour was "WOW". but if I had to pick one spot it would be St Peters Basilica. We saw a number of cathederals at various cities and towns. They all were majestic but after seeing St Peters the others suddenly seemed plain. They were not plain but the Vatican location was spectacular. St. Peters Square was #2. We were able to visit there 4 or 5 times Including our last evening on the trip after dinner. Great calming spot."

Cala

Mckinney, TX

Tour: 07/08/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Tomasso made our Heart of Italy a wonderful, stress free vacation. No waiting around for decisions to be made, easy fun, loving group. The hotels were well selected and the meals tasty. A great way to see alot of Italy in a relatively short amount of time. We followed up this trip with a week in Sorrento on our own using RS's guide for all of our selections. Definitely would do another tour and refer others!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hiked from Monterossa to Vernazza in the Cinque Terre. A bucket list event for us. We stayed in Levanto which was quieter and nice to return "home" to at the end of the day. Our hotel host there was also the chef and prepared a buffet feast of local delicacies one night. Just a wonderful day."

Lisa

Wilsonville, OR

Tour: 07/08/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was amazing! It was my first experience traveling to Europe , and I'm glad we chose this specific Rick Steves tour as my introduction. With the fantastic Tommaso as our guide, and a great group of fellow travelers, I was able to enjoy the full spectrum of the Rick Steves experience. Thank you for providing such excellent service, opportunities to learn about history and understand another culture. It was an eye opening wonder!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Too many to count. It was all WOW! In Rome, the Vatican and Firenze we were shown a rich, visual history. In Tuscany we enjoyed the charm and postcard beauty. It was all so new to me. The rich colors, the delicious food, and the history was enlightening."

Tom

Mckinney, TX

Tour: 07/08/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was an excellent balance of guided and self-directed activities. Tommaso, our tour guide, handled the logistics perfectly and prepared us for each stop. He was very engaging and answered any and all questions. He helped us set up our "add-on" train trip south to Napoli and offered guidance on how to get around, where to find the stored luggage area, and what to see. His interaction with the various hotel and travel personnel was very nice as he treated them as old friends.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Our local guide's tour of the coliseum (Hillary or Hillaria) was terrific. The age of the architecture was just mind-blowing. That said, Cinque Terre was incredible."

Theresa

Audubon, NJ

Tour: 07/08/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my first experience with a tour company. I enjoyed the diverse experience from walking tours to riding the bus/train and dining somewhere with the guide. The fact that we had the first day and a half with the guide to become familiarized with the area made me more comfortable to go out on my own when I had free time. The time on the bus was very nice as the guide took this time to give information on the area, culture and activities we would experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"We had the best guide for the Uffizi Gallery. He explained a new way to look at art and how it reflected the time period. How the Renaissance progressed and the paintings change both in perspective and lighting. How to recognize the work of an artist that was more fond of sculpting than painting when you looked at the portraits, I am an Italian American and thought I was going to the motherland and would eat my way through the tour, instead I learned so much more about the history and people!"

Julie

Burnaby, BC

Tour: 07/08/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

An excellent and efficient way to visit each city and town on our tour. Thoroughly enjoyed our professional and organized guide, Tommaso. (The people in our group were also terrific.) In addition, the balance between activities and "on our own" time was perfect. I also really valued the local guides at each site. They shared their unique knowledge, perspectives and personal experiences with us.The hotels were also well chosen for both quality and location.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Volterra-Our local guide told us how the Nazis were going to destroy one of the arching stone "gates" to block the Allies.The villagers made a deal with the Nazis to block the gate themselves to save the gate. They worked all night, successfully blocking the gate 2 hours before the deadline. The Allies came in a different gate and freed the town anyway.The most powerful part of the story was when an old townsman told our guide that he had helped block the gate when he was 17 years old."

Rebecca

Springboro, OH

Tour: 07/01/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my first trip to Italy, and I want to go back and explore other areas. Our guide was friendly, helpful, and very knowledgeable. The guides for the sites were top-notch - they shared their knowledge and helped everything come alive.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"When we went to Volterra in the Tuscany region. After the many tourist in Rome in was such a wonderful change of pace [INVALID] a very charming place with gorgeous views, cute stores, interesting history, great restaurants, and wonderful pastry. I didn't not want to leave Volterra."

Cathy

Seattle, WA

Tour: 07/01/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was well organized, and our tour guide Andrea was fabulous. The tour hit the highlights of Italy, and allowed enough time to explore on our own as well. The local guides were also very knowledgeable and friendly.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hiking the Cinque Terre trail, and coming down the hill and approaching the town of Vernazza was amazing. It was just as beautiful as all the pictures we have seen of Vernazza."

Jodi

Villa Rica, GA

Tour: 07/01/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was an amazing tour. Everyone was friendly; after 9 days together you feel like a family. The sites were just what you would want to see, and having local guides gave us an in-depth experience not otherwise had. As described, it is a fast-paced, strenuous tour. I was prepared for that, but was exhausted from that much walking each day (and I am very fit.) It was nice, but would have preferred to skip Lucca and have that time in the Cinque Terre because there's so much to do there.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Sistine Chapel and the charm of Volterra."

Robert

Cincinnati, OH

Tour: 07/01/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

As a 1st timer to Europe, we did back-to-back RS tours (Germany/Austria & Italy),and everything about the tours exceeded our expectations.For Italy, the hotels were charming & right in the city center, the restaurants were cozy & gave you the real taste of Italy, the excursions were exceptional, the transportation was not just a journey but an experience with local snacks or a surprise stopover during the travel, and our tour guide Andrea made it all happen without a hitch-she was truly amazing!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"For us, it was Rome - walking the halls of the Vatican & viewing Sistine Chapel and standing in the arches of the Colosseum. As children, my wife and I grew up hearing and reading about the Vatican or watching movies like Ben Hur, Hercules and Spartacus....and we actually got a chance to be in these historic sites- Amazing!"

Roger

Hiddenite, NC

Tour: 07/01/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My wife and I traveled together. I erroneously filled out her survey instead of under my name. My wife is Jennifer Dixon. So, I won't repeat everything here again except to say excellent tour.

Rob

Cumberland Center, ME

Tour: 07/01/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our past trips to Europe were planned using Rick Steves' guidebooks. This was our first tour, which slowly and gradually won me over. The most significant impact was the interaction with Andrea Wolf and the local guides that brought a wealth of knowledge and focused our attention on areas of museums and other sites that were important and relevant. Andrea also made great use of our time during the bus travel by challenging us to increase our Italian language skills.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My wow moment was the smile from the local municipal employee in Volterra using your Italian language basics which allowed him to direct me to the Piazza dei Priori. It was just enough to confirm he did not speak any English, but allowed me ask directions, thank him and share a smile. My second favorite wow moment was seeing in person at the Uffizi Gallery Botticelli's painting the Birth of Venus."

Steven

Springboro, OH

Tour: 07/01/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Enjoyed the make up of the tour from our leader, Andrea, to all the folks on the tour to the "guided" portions of the tour to the "free time", to the group dinners to the dinner's on our own. Italy is a beautiful and unique country and the tour was a great introduction to it.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"As far as a "Wow" moment - that first stroll up the main street of Volterra was really fantastic - we loved Volterra. Two guided tours stand out - the Colosseum and the Uffizi Gallery. Also our 1st Dinner in Rome on our own (Before the tour began) and the last Group dinner in Florence."

Jennifer

Hiddenite, NC

Tour: 07/01/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

First, our guide, Andrea, was excellent! She was informative, and had a great sense of humor. The tour was thorough, and we learned a lot in the time allotted. The shared group meals were outstanding! The hotel accommodations were also very good. We left Italy worn out but very satisfied. We appreciated the free time allotted by the tour. Free time to explore on our own was very important.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Cinque Terre was beautiful! We loved how the Mediterranean Sea lapped right up to each town. We took the boat ride along the coast and the scenery from that perspective was breath taking. We took a train back through each town and explored each one. Loved all the sidewalk cafes."

Margot

Alexander City, AL

Tour: 06/24/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The "Heart of Italy" tour was an AMAZING experience for our family of 5! We picked the tour because we wanted to see and experience as much of Italy as we could in a short time. From the introduction meeting to the final dinner, Patricia, our tour guide, orchestrated every detail flawlessly, which allowed us to enjoy each day to the fullest. We loved the flexibility that this tour offered with excellent local guides for group activities combined with free time for exploration on our own.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Experiencing the beauty of the Sistine Chapel and understanding the series of frescoes after a great history lesson from our local guide."

Sherry

Florence, SC

Tour: 06/24/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had the adventure of a lifetime on our Rick Steves' Heart of Italy Tour with our guide Patricia Fannon Avolio!!! Patricia is our "new best friend"....she made the entire trip so easy, relaxing, educational and fun! She answered all our questions, was so organized and "on-top" of all the small details to make our trip so enjoyable! We love Patricia! The hotels were fantastic, the food was so delicious, the local tour guides were so informative and friendly. We had a great group!

Denise

Lynnwood, WA

Tour: 06/24/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our RS Tour was fabulous! Every part was well thought out and planned, from the guides to the locations visited, the hotels, meals, and schedule. We so enjoyed all our fellow travelers and feel like we began some lasting friendships. Our RS guide was amazing, which I can further comment on later, but also each of the local guides were equally amazing. They were knowledgeable, personable, with a good sense of humor. We also really enjoyed the mix of structure and free time.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I loved seeing and learning more about history through the churches and art. This was very significant and moving for me. I also really enjoyed the hike in Cinque Terre. The views were amazing! Our favorite city was Voltera. While we enjoyed all the significant sights in Rome, we loved the quiet simplicity of Voltera."

Mary

Yuba City, CA

Tour: 06/24/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Fabulous Loved the local guides also

Kayla

North Huntingdon, PA

Tour: 06/24/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was simply amazing! We saw the great sights of Italy and shared moments together as a group. The tour guides at each city taught us all about Italy's history, which we were able to share with family members once we got home. Our tour guide for the whole trip, Patricia, was absolutely AMAZING! She made it easy for all of us to be interactive and have an amazing time together as a group. This tour was able to show us the best history, art, and food that Italy has to offer!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Seeing the Pieta in Saint Peter's Basilica was the biggest "wow" moment for me. It filled me with emotion and the piece of art took my breath away."

Michelle

North Huntingdon, PA

Tour: 06/24/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We took this family vacation tour to experience Italy. We were blessed to have such a knowledgeable guide,Patricia. My parents are 70y/o and she was always checking on them to make sure they were ok, which was very thoughtful. She gave us a wonderful history lesson on the various towns. The independent guides at the various cities were great- Ilaria was awesome, and funny. The tour itself allowed for flexibility with time on your own to explore. This allowed us to try different things.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Volterra was my favorite place- the fillings hills and absolutely beautiful town was so peaceful. The volume of people was a lot less and made it more relaxing. It was nice to see the big cities also, hear the Pope speak, tour the Vatican, and see the fine shops of Florence, but again- Volterra was my favorite."

Christine

Midlothian, VA

Tour: 06/24/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Experience was amazing. The towns we visited each had so many exciting and unique opportunities for learning and experiencing their history and culture. The members of our group came from many backgrounds but were all open to new experiences and forming new friendships. And our guide was outstanding!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I was overcome with emotion while viewing the Sistine Chapel and the Uffizi having studied Art History in college many years ago. I overcame my initial hesitation about my hiking abilities and made the hike from Monterosso al Mare to Vernazza. It was a personal triumph and the views were breath taking."

Stephanie

Florence, SC

Tour: 06/24/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My tour was better than expected!! Our tour guide was AMAZING!! I made new friends, and experienced so much of the culture, sites, art, history, and leisure that all of our stops offered. I highly recommend Rick Steves tours, and hope to do one again soon!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The views of Cinque Terre from the boat"

Thomas

Whippany, NJ

Tour: 06/24/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The itinerary and schedule are well thought out so that there is a good balance of group and individual time. The bus travel was comfortable and seemed to come at the right moment, when you were ready for some time off your feet.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hiking the terraces in cinque terre."

Pat

Richland, WA

Tour: 06/22/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Rick Steve's Tour itinerary exceeded my expectations. Tour guides were outstanding, knowledgeable and organized. Our Heart of Tuscany Tour spent minimal time standing in lines. Our tickets were all pre-purchased and early start times were actually "start times". The tour included cities like Volterra and Lucca that I would not have visited if I were planning my own trip because I was unaware of their significance and historical context. Truly an exceptional trip.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I visited Rome for the first time. I was in awe of the buildings, ruins, antiquities, and art from 3000 years of history, but the Sistine Chapel is still the most memorable experience for me. Our Vatican Tour Guide Marta presented the artist Michelangelo and significance of the Chapel to the church; it is unforgettable even now in spite of the crowds."

David

Sylvania, OH

Tour: 06/22/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was wonderful.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Of course the museums were awe inspiring. The Pizzi Palace was a good recommendation. The ceilings at the palace are incredible. One of my favorite memories is hiking at Cinque Terre. Cinque Terre was a nice break from the wonderful museums. We loved the views on the trail of the beautiful coastline with the terraced gardens. It was fun to get a good sweat going. Also loved the swims at the beach. I'm glad I packed my goggles to swim."

Melissa

Sacramento, CA

Tour: 06/22/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my first Rick Steves tour and I had high expectations based on other reviews I read I was not disappointed in the least From our guide to the itinerary, restaurants and hotels everything was wonderful. I was worried about there being too much active time and not enough rest/alone time but this tour was the perfect balance of both. The orientations we received from our guide at each new city was excellent, I felt very comfortable navigating on my own. I can't wait for the next tour!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Seeing the Colosseum in person and with Francesca's knowledge and style, I was drawn in to experience and feel very deeply about the experience. I loved the town of Volterra the most."

Debbie

Sylvania, OH

Tour: 06/22/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Friends and family ask us what was our favorite place and thing we did. We reply by saying it was all great! We can't pick one place or thing we did. My husband and I wanted to celebrate our 35th wedding anniversary and "special" birthdays by traveling abroad. We thought about places to go on our own but weren't quite sure where. Being fans of the Rick Steve's shows on PBS, we checked his website and found all of these fabulous tours. We are so thankful we decided on this one!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I would have to say the day we toured the Colosseum and the Forum. Francesca painted the picture for us as to what these sights were like back then. She had us think about what life was like during that time. She went over architectural features of these sights. It was awe-inspiring as to the history and age of these structures."

Ann Marie

Pittsburgh, PA

Tour: 06/22/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our first-ever trip abroad, and needless to say, we were a little nervous; both about the trip itself, and going with a group of people we didn't know. Our trip turned out wonderful. Andrea, our tour guide, was excellent! Her knowledge of the language, areas, and history of Italy enhanced our experience. And our group was perfect too; a terrific mix of people who fit right in with the Rick Steve's philosophy of being flexible, respectful, and fun. We couldn't have been happier!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"This is a difficult question to answer, as each area had its own "wow" moments. The Cinque Terre was definitely a favorite -- we could have spent a few more days there exploring."

Derek

North Versailles, PA

Tour: 06/17/18

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

This tour was great. We saw and experienced so much. My only concern was the length of the history lectures. I have a hard time standing in one place for an extended period of time. Most of the time I could find someplace to sit nearby.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Volterra was great. My favorite part of the tour"

Brenda

Pittsburgh, PA

Tour: 06/17/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour was rated a strenuous on the activity scale and they weren't kidding. I don't think I have ever walked and sweat so much in my life, especially in Rome. I liked that Reid had different local guides for various adventures. My favorite was the one in Lucca. She was fun, entertaining as well as informative.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I had so many "Wow" moments. From seeing ancient ruins up close and personal. To seeing works of art I have read or heard about."

Nancy

Marietta, GA

Tour: 06/10/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The Heart of Italy tour offered us the perfect mix of history and local culture delivered in an expert and engaging way. Our bright and energetic guide, along with the local guides, knew their subjects well and succeeded in keeping Italian history both intensely interesting and fun. We had two teenagers with us and the guides never failed to keep them focused and entertained.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Seeing the beautiful David. Graeme's suggestion of walking backward to the statue really built up our excitement and made the first look ever more exhilarating. What a beautiful moment."

Kim

Des Moines, IA

Tour: 06/10/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was a great experience! I was surprised and thrilled with how much I learned. It was a good balance of structure and free time. I appreciate our guide's attention to detail and the skill and care he used in anticipating needs or potential issues. I also appreciated the information we received throughout the tour about how to navigate cultural manners/expectations.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Like I can pick one? How about three: 1) Standing in the middle of the Cistine Chapel in tears because of the beauty and talent in the paintings. 2) The first time walking through Volterra. I felt like I was in a fairy tale town. 3) We loved Levanto. I did not know anything about it going into the trip but it was one of our favorite spots. We were not ready to leave and my husband and I like to dream about moving there."

Gina

Shaker Heights, OH

Tour: 06/10/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Exceeded our expectations! We were amazed at the connections we made related to the history, politics of the time. An incredible cultural immersion. And stunning beauty, delicious meals and wonderful accomodations.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Etruscan civilization 2,000 years ago in the midst of the beautiful and vibrant hill town of Volterra."

Amy

Coppell, TX

Tour: 06/10/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Surpassed all expectations. It was such an amazing trip and I couldn't have asked for anything better. We covered everything that was on my "bucket list" and more!! The history lessons along the way helped to bring everything to life and really made me realize there is so much more significance to things than we can see on the surface.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hands down; Volterra. I hadn't heard of this town before and even looking up things to do there before we went I wasn't sure what to expect and when we got there, it had some of the best pasta, gelato, and sites to see! Great small town with minimal tourists to make ourselves feel at home in our little Italian countryside town."

Peter

Annandale, VA

Tour: 06/10/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

What an amazing experience! We were able to see so much on this tour, and also learn a lot more than we ever could have had we done this on our own. The mix of planned activities and free time every day was well thought-out and appreciated. It was such a luxury to have all (and I do mean all) the details taken care of for us. From the hotels, to the transportation, to the admissions and local tours, this took the hassle out of travel and enabled us to enjoy the vacation to its fullest.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The whole trip! We learned so much about the politics, society, art, and culture of the area while walking with the tour, and then to suddenly be standing at the exact spot where all the stuff we talked about actually happened--that was amazing!"

Drew

Hudson, WI

Tour: 06/10/18

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

It gave us exactly what we had hoped which was an experience that touched on different regions of Italy and related culture including history, architecture, art, culture, food and people.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Walking in on the floor of the Colosseum in Rome. Spending time in the Sistine Chapel. Walking the trail from Vernazza to Corniglia in the Cinque Terra. Wow!!!"

David

Marietta, GA

Tour: 06/10/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Exceeded my (high) expectations. Our tour guide was outstanding (knowledgeable,courteous, fun, organized, etc), the logistics made things very easy and the lodging/meals were great. Would do again.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Cinque Terra. Our tour guide provided 24-hour train passes which made transit between the towns a breeze."

Pamela

Fort Collins, CO

Tour: 06/10/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was the perfect tour for us as it provided just the right balance of time with our excellent guide, Graeme, and time on our own to choose what to do and at what pace. Our guide was very knowledgeable and a lot of fun to work with. Our group had a great rapport as well.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There are too many to name! If I had to pick one, though, it would be gazing up at the Sistine Chapel ceiling. I've taught the Renaissance to my 5th graders for over 20 years and here I was, finally seeing Michelanglo's fresco ceiling. It was overwhelming and brought tears to my eyes."

Jody

Vadnais Heights, MN

Tour: 06/10/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This travel experience was both knowledgeable, organized, and fun. We were well prepared for the trip through Rick Steves material We had an excellent guide with Graeme, as history is such a passion for him. The tour guides at each site we visited were superb.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I can not describe just me site as they all brought such rich history."

Gregory

Papillion, NE

Tour: 06/10/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I really enjoyed the Heart of Italy tour. This was our first Rick Steve's tour and I am hooked. Can't wait to sign up for another one. The mix of small and big towns, the fascinating historical and cultural information provided by the guide, plus the fun itinerary of group meals and "on your own meals" made it such an enjoyable experience. I loved the country, the itinerary and the guide.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My "wow" moment was after we arrived in Volterra and we began a follow the leader march through those narrow, ancient streets with our roller bags echoing of the sides of the structures. I felt like an out of place time traveler who just suddenly showed up in a historic hilltop Etruscan town. That was a memory I will never forget."

Steven

Fort Collins, CO

Tour: 06/10/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

A great "big brush" stroke of Italy and its sites. Yes, you are moving quickly, but there is still time to see all the major sites in each of the areas. A very good balance between the guided time and the free time we had in each area. Our guide Graeme (Super G) was awesome. Extremely knowledgeable and fun to be with.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"there were so many. I guess my favorite unexpected was Volterra. What a great quintessential Italian city with such a rich history. But we truly loved each city and, quite honestly, could have spent another day or two in each. All lovely, all different in their own way."

Richard

Des Moines, IA

Tour: 06/10/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Agenda was well organized & communicated. Appreciate having free time planned for each location. Hotels & busses were very nice. Staff was very kind & helpful as well.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Volterra: how a walled city on a hill, with such profound history, could be so vibrant and technologically advanced."

Corrie

Papillion, NE

Tour: 06/10/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had an amazing time. We had a wonderful group of people in our tour. I get easily bored with history and Graeme made it very interesting. He displayed the right combination of facts and opinion. Everything was so well organized. Every tour guide, bus driver and hotel staff member was top notch. We couldn't have asked for more!!!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I absolutely loved being able to get an inside scoop from locals about the country that they are so passionate about."

Mark

San Antonio, TX

Tour: 06/08/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I've been using Rick Steves guidebooks for 14 years now, but had never taken a tour until this one. I've watched a lot of his videos, and so I knew what to expect, and had high expectations. Not only did the tour surpass my expectations, but by a long shot! This was one of the best vacations I've ever taken. All of the tour members were friendly and positive. Reid is absolutely fantastic; very knowledgeable and passionate about history, art, travel, and connecting with locals. Awesome!!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Francesca's charismatic storytelling in the Colosseum. She got us to think as 1stC Romans, not as modern day people. She brought that world to life in a way I've never heard before, and really brought us into that world, helping us understand what the Colosseum was all about, and what those people were like. It was a fresh, totally different approach to tour-guiding I've ever seen, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Brava!!"

Sharon

Glenelg, MD

Tour: 06/08/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our tour guide Reid was amazing. He was so knowledgeable about all the locations on our trip as well as hints for us to make our trip go smoother. The trip was very organized and it helped us make the most out of our time. The people in the group were all very nice and easy to get along with.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Watching my son enjoy the Colosseum for the first time and also seeing the beauty of Cinque Terre."

Gina

Akron, OH

Tour: 06/08/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our trip started out shaky because an hour into our flight there was a problem and we had to turn around, we ended up landing in Rome 6 hours later than expected and were late to our tour meeting and introduction! But honestly we started out right after the meeting for a City walk and then dinner. It was so exciting and fun that we forgot about jet lag and just became immersed it the tour, our group and how much fun we were having. Our experience was excellent from day one.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Our first outing in Rome we went to the Pantheon, Trevi Fountain and the Spanish steps, followed by dinner at a restaurant located on the spot where Caesar had been assassinated. The dinner was in a wine cellar and was excellent. Our dinner was followed by a lovely walk back to our hotel. Wow!"

Michael

Fort Myers, FL

Tour: 06/08/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My wife Liz and I had a wonderful time on this tour. Reid Coen was our main guide and he was excellent. He is a very organized and informative individual who made our trip special, along with other local guides which we had for the Vatican and other places we visited. Their passion to travel is apparent and makes the history and facts of the area come alive.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"This was our first time in Italy and we were "wowed" by the entire tour. The history, art, and beauty of the country was all we had hoped for in our trip."

Rose Marie

Waldorf, MD

Tour: 06/08/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Walking through Lucca, coming around a corner and seeing the cathedral of San Michele as Gabrielle was playing Puccini through the VOX. It was quite impressive."

John

Happy Valley, OR

Tour: 06/03/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was Fantastic. The right balance of tour activities and free time. I had never been on a tour like this before and all of my expectations were exceeded. My next visit to Europe will be as a part of a Rick Steves Tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I loved the smaller towns visited like Volterra and Cinque Terre. The views from the rooftop of our hotel in Monterosso was amazing."

Rod

Garibaldi Highlands, BC

Tour: 06/03/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Great hotels,great food,great site guides and our tour guide Patricia was amazing. We were very impressed with our first Rick Steeves experience and would definately travel with them again.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I think it was arriving in Volterra. My wife and I both loved the town and just felt very at home there,like we had been there before. Walking the trails in Cinque Terra was also a highlight for us...the villages and the views were incredible!"

Julie

Amherst, MA

Tour: 06/03/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our tour guide Patricia Avilio was outstanding. Kind, organized knowledgeable and able to deal gracefully with a change in plan. We had had local guides at almost every stop who added depth of information. The hotels were interesting and comfortable. The provided meals were amazing. My dietary restrictions were graciously managed. The group was friendly and interesting. My daughter, who just graduated from college, and I both thoroughly enjoyed ourselves! We would do a Rick Steve's tour again!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Volterra was a surprise. Beautiful and interesting and not crowded."

Christofer

Daly City, CA

Tour: 06/03/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This is the first time that we joined a tour for vacation. It was highly recommended by our friend who joined you tour last year. We love the tour and especially our tour leader; Patricia. She took care and make sure that we are all aware with the today's and the next day schedule. More importantly, she also tried to help anyone who needed additional info to extend their vacation. The dinners were great, and the choices of local tour guides are excellent.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The wow moment of our tour was Voterra and the location of the hotels which were all very close to everything we wanted to explore."

Greg

Papillion, NE

Tour: 06/03/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My two children and I had a great time and enjoyed the entire tour. Patricia and Francesco were knowledgeable, personable, approachable, and made us feel like w were all one big family. There were no problems with transportation, hotels, guides, or food. We were given time on our own to choose things we wanted to do and were given suggestions as to what we might do with our free time if we weren't sure what we wanted to do. The places we visited in each town were interesting and significant.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Seeing Vernazza come into view from the trail above the sea along the cliffs of the Cinque Terre."

Garrett

Sacramento, CA

Tour: 06/03/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I had a fantastic time with a great group of people. Patricia and Francesco were great. I know it may have been to an extent pure chance, but the inter-generational dynamic of our group really added to the wonderful experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The hill town of Volterra itself was a highlight of the trip. There were a number of wow moments. One was the first view one gets of Vernazza as they hike the trail from Monterosso. Another was viewing the David as it is truly breathtaking and amazing."

Patricia

Bogart, GA

Tour: 06/03/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had a great time! I never thought a tour would be as well organized as I wanted but this one was. Hotels and dinners were great. Local tour guides were perfect. Patricia was -in a word - FABULOUS! The tour was exactly as advertised.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There are probably too many to count, but the hill town of Volterra and the view from the Cinque Terre were definitely in the top."

Brenda

Garibaldi Highlands, BC

Tour: 06/03/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Great hotels, great food, great site guides and our tour guide Patricia was amazing. We were very impressed with our first Rick Steves' experience and would definitely travel with them again.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The town of Voltera. My husband and I both loved the town and just felt very at home there, like we had been there before. Hiking the trails in Cinque Terra was also a highlight for us...the village and the views were incredible."

John

Newcastle, WA

Tour: 05/30/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our first trip to Italy. We enjoyed Italy, the group, the guide, the balance between group and individual time.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Cinque Terre, and the multi course meals."

Michele

Salem, MA

Tour: 05/30/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

this was my first ever organized tour and it exceeded every expectation. It was well planned and paced with a balance of free time built in. The hotels were very nice and accommodating. The dinners were outstanding. The tour group participants were fun and congenial. Most of all I think the tour success was due to the guide-Graeme Sutherland. Graeme was the full package-organized, witty, knowledgable and very attentive to all the tour members. A true history expert.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I came to this tour to experience the cinque terra. Despite the rain it was a great 10 hrs of exploration. I love to photograph and got some of my best shots here. Plus the people, the food all excellent."

Bonnie

Moore, OK

Tour: 05/30/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was beyond better than I expected! I loved the combination of group and solo time.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Every day seriously every day we had a "wow" moment."

John Franklin

Moore, OK

Tour: 05/30/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Graeme was outstanding! Such a good "teacher" of the history we were seeing. Everything was smooth and error free and very comfortable. The accommodations were comfortable and the staffs of each hotel very friendly and helpful. Overall it was a great experience!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Below a church excavation had revealed a Roman street complete with a bath, some remaining tile work on the floor of the bath, and other places that were used. The "wow" was the fact that I was walking along the same path as the Romans had. That blew my. Ind to think of that."

Jamie

Tallahassee, FL

Tour: 05/30/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This trip exceeded our expectations! Let's start with our guide-Graeme, he was terrific! He's a compassionate,caring individual. We (my wife, our 16 year old son and I) had some great intellectual talks with Graeme and others in the group. While, the sights and food (oh the food and the wine!) were the main reasons we choose this tour, the conversations and personal connections we made are what made this trip memorable. We can't wait to get back to Tuscany-so beautiful

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Our son turned 16 on this trip, our guide, Graeme arranged a cake and candles for him after our group dinner in Cinque Terre - it was a wonderful gesture. And watching the group sing happy birthday brought tears to my eyes. In a world where people through your life so quickly and with so little connection, it was wonderful to feel like we had a big crazy fun family moment."

Karen

Minneapolis, MN

Tour: 05/30/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I loved this tour! Rome, Volterra, Lucca, the Cinque Terre, and Florence were all wonderful. The food was spectacular, and the tour members were fun, welcoming, and interesting! I loved everything.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The views from the castle in Vernazza were beautiful."

John

Newport, WA

Tour: 05/27/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our 4th Rick Steves tour...each has been great, and this tour was no exception. Our guide, Molly, was extremely knowledgeable and savvy in the Italian culture. I enjoyed the choice of hotels and restaurants for the group meals, and the our free time was well spent. It's hard to believe that in just nine days, a diverse group of people can bond so well and make friendships that last for years. This will not be our last Rick Steves tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Our farewell meal...our "Last Supper"....the food was unbelievable!"

Cathy

Newport, WA

Tour: 05/27/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I enjoyed this tour in a different way than the other three Rick Steves tours (all Italian) we have joined. This tour touched on areas we've visited earlier, but I really enjoyed the time spent in Volterra and the amazing visit to Florence. Our guide, Molly, was the perfect guide as her background is in art history, and she was a constant source of interesting information...and such a really kind, funny, capable person as well! And we couldn't have chosen a nicer group of tour mates!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I think that would have to be two "wows"...seeing Michelangelo's David and Brunelleschi's dome. As I stood beneath the dome, the bells began to ring and it was just magical."

Christopher

Midlothian, VA

Tour: 05/27/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Loved the tour, had a great time!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Each day provided a new "wow" moment for me. The roof top view of Florence from our hotel was the most unexpected experience for me."

Mary

North Attleboro, MA

Tour: 05/27/18

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

My head is still spinning with wonderful memories of the tour. We especially loved our time in Rome, Volterra and the Cinque Terre. However, we weren't too thrilled with Florence, it was much too rushed and crowded and somewhat difficult to navigate. I know that you couldn't help it, but it really was too much to schedule the Uffizi Gallery and the other tour of the city in the same day.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Everything about the Cinque Terre was a "wow" moment - the sites and views, the hike through the path to Vernazza, the dinner with the group. It was by far the best time for us. We really felt like we were on vacation in Monterosso al Mare."

Patricia

Rye Brook, NY

Tour: 05/27/18

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Heart of Italy hit the ground running (arrive early). Crowds at the must-see Roman sights were overwhelming in the heat, making Volterra the perfect antidote. Our guide made great recommendations. I would encourage more solo traveler participation. We had more sub-groups compared to the RS veteran couple composition of my first tour. Mixing cities with countryside, 2 night stays, and a small group (maybe shrink it to 20-24) make for a well-designed introductory tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Scale of the Roman ruins, Tuscan countryside, local guides (especially in Volterra and Lucca), well orchestrated thunderstorm during our talk on the Etruscan afterlife, boat ride from Monterosso to Porto Venere, the anchovy mixed-plate appetizer, and the first glimpse of the Duomo in Florence. Gelato opportunities everywhere."

Kathleen

Rossville, KS

Tour: 05/27/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our first trip to Europe. We were a little apprehensive about it. We definitely chose the right way to go. The tour was well organized, and it was nice to not have to worry about transportation and getting tickets to places. It is also a great way to make sure you don't miss the best places to see. The itinerary allows for a good balance between group activities and free time. It was the trip of a lifetime. Only a week after we returned home, we were already scoping out our next tour!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My biggest "wow" moment was when we first stepped into St. Peter's Basilica. I was blown away by how huge and beautiful it was!"

Louann

Kersey, PA

Tour: 05/27/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Both my husband & I were impressed with our tour guides and hotel accomadations. If we do another tour, I will go with your company.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were too many to pick just one."

Scott

Orrs Island, ME

Tour: 05/27/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had a wonderful time with Molly (our guide) in Italy!! The hotels were all in really great locations relative to walking to the sites we were guided to, and ALL of our local guides were interesting, enthusiastic, knowledgeable and in love with their villages, tonws, museums, etc. The food was my favorite part of Italy, with the Italians a close second, and the mix of dinners on our own and the group dinners was just about right.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Walking into the Piazza San Michele from and adjacent alley in Lucca to face the Chiesa di San Michele in Foro, brought tears to my eyes. It was both completely unexpected and breathtakingly beautiful. I was immediately immersed in that sense Medievil sense of wonder at the massive beauty of the Chiesa and the sorrounding piazza!"

Glen

Shoreline, WA

Tour: 05/27/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Learned about other cultures and civilizations. Amazed at the thought that everywhere I looked, everything was older than the U.S. Kind of puts you into place. I think traveling to other lands will make me think more globally.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Maybe the Colosseum in Rome. Imagining how it was so many years ago."

Lisa

Katy, TX

Tour: 05/27/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My daughters and I had a great first trip to Italy. The tour was perfect for us! We enjoyed not having to plan out every detail of a trip and, with the tour, we had a good balance of planned activities and free time. We loved our tour group and our guide, Molly, did a great job.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were many "wow" moments for me, but two stand out. Walking into St. Peter's Basilica was breathtaking - the enormity, the art, the history, the religion just overwhelmed my emotions. The second moment was in Florence - we had checked into the hotel and were taking a short walk to the outdoor market when we turned a corner and caught our first glimpse of the Duomo - all I could think to say was "Welcome to Florence!" I also truly loved the views from the hiking trail of Cinque Terra!"

Walter

San Jose, CA

Tour: 05/25/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour had a very nice mix of attractions, both in the cities of Rome and Florence as well as smaller villages and the country side. All companions were very nice and the guides were all very good. It all went by too fast.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Too many wow moments to choose. It was the Michelangelo's statue of David in the Academia. I know it was impressive but it still surprised me when I first saw it."

Laura

Dallas, TX

Tour: 05/25/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our guide Deborah made sure every detail was taken care of for our trip. She was VERY knowledgeable and professional, and made everyone on the trip feel comfortable and excited about all of the different experiences. The itinerary was packed with memorable sites yet our family felt like we had some time to explore and learn on our own. Most of the trip events were planned in the morning when the crowds were smaller and the weather was cooler and then we had afternoons to go out on our own.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There are too many memories to pick from! I enjoyed the Vatican tour and event dinner venues. My husband really liked Volterra and our 21-year old son loved the Cinque Terre hike."

Jacqueline

Mckinney, TX

Tour: 05/25/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Italy was AMAZING! The overall trip was made so great because of our wonderful guide, Deborah Heyburn! She was always one step ahead of our group as far as preparation. She was thoughtful, friendly and kind. An example, in Monterosso, she offered free boat ride tickets across the harbor to those wanting to go.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My "WOW" moment was in St. Peter's Basilica. It was very moving to actually be there, even emotional. It's hard to pick just one favorite. There were so many along the way."

Maura

Alexandria, VA

Tour: 05/25/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Very well organized, designed for minimum hassle and maximum enjoyment. Our tour guide went above and beyond, taking on some unexpected challenges with professionalism and aplomb. We couldn't have had a better person to lead the way. Traveling alone I am just another tourist, but with Rick Steves, I felt like a VIP.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Sistine Chapel was breathtaking. I appreciated the information we got beforehand and the time to enjoy it without feeling rushed."

Mary

Arden Hills, MN

Tour: 05/25/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I appreciated that the tour group was a manageable size.This meant more time to experience the sights and less time organizing the group. I also liked that there was ample free time to explore on your own. Deborah gave great suggestions for things to do/places to eat in our free time. Great communication on a daily basis when there were changes/potential for issues. A personable, friendly group of people who were flexible, liked making every experience count and practiced the "no grumps" policy.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Walking into the Academia Gallery in Florence and seeing Michelangelo's "David"."

Lenore

Lisle, IL

Tour: 05/25/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was a first ever guided tour. We were wary of being with a group, but were pleasantly surprised how much we enjoyed it. It took the stress out of planning, the group was fun, friendly, and inclusive, and we had plenty of on our own time at each stop. Our tour guide Deborah was outstanding! She gave us background on history, current events, and was a great resource for what to do on our own. We would definitely do another Rick Steve's Tour!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The boat ride in Cinque Terra from Monterosso to Manarola was a fun surprise because depending on the weather, the boats run or not. Beautiful way to see the villages clinging to the cliffs!"

Richard

Mckinney, TX

Tour: 05/25/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This the first vacation trip to Europe and Italy for my wife and I. We had watched several of Rick Steves' television documentaries about Italy on our local PBS station (KERA) in Dallas, but our actual tour was so much more of an education. All the details of our tour worked out perfectly, thanks to our guide, Deborah. Had we have traveled on our own, I don't see how we could have managed to see all that we saw during nine days.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I think that the Vatican tour in Rome was the highlight for me, with the beauty of Tuscany a very close second. Deborah and the local guides made things come alive."

Mary

Mt Pleasant, SC

Tour: 05/20/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our Heart of Italy tour with Ferdi was outstanding! As one of Rick Steves original guides, Ferdi was a true professional in every way and made our experience so enjoyable. Each place we visited was a gem, and the local guides were excellent. We particularly enjoyed having plenty of free time after a morning tour to explore on our own.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The stunning views of the Cinque Terre."

Mylene

Chicago, IL

Tour: 05/20/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our tour is great. It's so much fun , enjoyment & experience. I enjoyed the beautiful places & sceneries we visited . We have lots of time to enjoy the place & its sorroundings. Everything is in timely manner & punctuality was observed. Everything was great. Our tour group we're all nice & our tour guide Ferdi Menghi super nice & lovable.??

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Seeing the sceneries & places of Italy. The sumptuous food we ate in each place we visited. Going to Voltera, Lucca & Cinque Terre is enjoying. Most of all visiting Vatican City / St Peters Basilica is my dream come true. The museums, pantheons & trevi fountains are nice places to see. Visiting churches in Italy is great so huge & beautiful. What an experience !!!!"

Lynn

Mt Pleasant, SC

Tour: 05/20/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our first Rick Steves tour, but I expect we will be repeat customers.We got to see lots of interesting sites and sights, with preferred access to most venues. The tour director was outstanding and the individual guides were excellent as well. We are an active couple and were prepared for the strenuous nature of the tour, but even we were pooped after several days, which included lots of sightseeing, walking and hiking in our free time. The group dinners were excellent as well.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Some of the sights in the Cinque Terre. We also enjoyed seeing Rome and the Florence museum."

John

Winter Park, FL

Tour: 05/20/18

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

This was my first visit to Italy and my third Rick Steves tour. Rome and Florence were packed with crowds which was expected. As usual, the RS local guides were great and led us through the Vatican and Uffizi ahead of the crowds. Cinque Terre was also full of tourists but the scenic trails were stunning and villages picturesque. My favorite tour stop was small Volterra and my time in Montepulciano on my own. As with my other RS tours, the people on the tour were fun and engaging.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Enjoying my fellow travelers, never a grump on RS tour."

Robyn

Anderson, SC

Tour: 05/20/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Loved every minute of our tour. Our excellent tour guide, Ferdi, was instrumental in making this such an enjoyable time.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Too many to choose just one. I think that Volterra and the Tuscany landscape was one of the most WOW moments."

Michael

Dunedin, FL

Tour: 05/20/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Very informative; good pace; great food and lots of wine!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Seeing the inside of St. Peter's basilica in Rome."

Wendy

Winter Park, FL

Tour: 05/20/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I enjoyed every part of our tour including hot and crowded Rome . Ferdi was a wonderful leader - so helpful and knowledgeable about what to see and do in each town. He also gave us great insight into what makes the Italian people "tick". I enjoyed the mix of places we stayed - big cities like Rome and Florence to small villages like Volterra.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Cinque Terre is an unbelievable area....whether seeing the villages from the hiking trails or the ferry - it took my breath away."

Connie

Cumming, GA

Tour: 05/20/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour exceeded my expectations! Our guide Ferdi truly made this a memorable experience. His restaurant recommendations were fabulous; very knowledgeable of all the places we went and fun too!

John

Anderson, SC

Tour: 05/20/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our tour guide was outstanding. The local guides were also very good and knowledgable abour each area we visited. The trip was a good balance of structured time and free time. Ferdi was very informative with s suggestions for free time and dining experiences. Will definitely choose Rick Steve's tours, especially if Ferdi is the guide.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It is hard to pick one moment because of the amount of incredible sites. I was most impressed with the architecture and building methods of the ancient times."

Grant

Cumming, GA

Tour: 05/20/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Ferdi was Fantastic!! He made the entire experience great (especially the dining). Tour length was just right and we especially enjoyed the "free time" to explore on our own. The local guides Ferdi utilized added much flavor to the experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"St. Peter's Basilica. Also, the history of the Medici family and the small town flavor of Volterra, Lucca and Cinque Terre."

Peter

Live Oak, CA

Tour: 05/18/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Fabulous trip. Would certainly go on another Steves trip. Liked Volterra and Monterosso the best. Too many people in Rome and Florence although I'm glad I did go there. Probably won't go back to either one. After the tour we went to Torino. It is a large city also but not nearly as crowded

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The shear size and beauty of the Vatican will never be forgotten"

Stephen

Wichita Falls, TX

Tour: 05/18/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our first Rick Steve's tour, and the choice for us was superb. From start to finish, we were treated like we mattered and shown the most wonderful vacation my wife and I have ever taken. As I have shared with our friends and family here at home, this was the Honeymoon that we all dream about as young adults in love for the first time.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"As rich and history filled as Rome and Florence were, I thoroughly enjoyed our stay in the Cinque Terre. The quaint communities and the sculpted countryside coupled with swimming in the refreshing Mediterranean after a day filled with hiking did it for me."

Judy

Coraopolis, PA

Tour: 05/18/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I loved the chance to see the historical sites in Rome but also to visit the country towns in Tuscany. Each town had it's own unique character.i appreciated having local guides who helped me understand the time period, the significance of the monuments, statues, fountains and art works and how these towns came to be. We had a great tour guide , Molly, who kept us on schedule, was personable and informative.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I had too many wow moments. I was in awe of the Vatican, Colosseum and Pantheon. Hiking through the small seaside towns in Cinque Terre was beautiful. Seeing David in Florence. These were on my bucket list and I got to do them."

David

Fair Oaks, CA

Tour: 05/18/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We knew it would be a busy itinerary and were prepared for same. I much prefer this type of tour to cruise ship tours (which I have avowed to never do again). The knowledge imparted by our guide Molly was welcome and left me thinking we might do this again ... and maybe study up a little more before the next adventure.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Lobster pasta lunch in Manarola (Cinque Terre) at Trattoria dal Billy - what a view, great food. Highly recommended in Rick's tour book and deservedly so."

Meschelle

Live Oak, CA

Tour: 05/18/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our guide, Molly, was amazing! She provided all the necessary information a traveler needs to navigate through a different country, in new cities and how to best enjoy the culture there. Italy was a wonderful country to visit and I look forward to a return trip.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The colosseum and forum were quite unbelievable from an historical perspective, while hiking the Cinque Terre was a unique accomplishment surrounded by beauty."

James

Coraopolis, PA

Tour: 05/18/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The combination of scheduled activities and free time work out great. In addition, enjoyed Volterra and Montarossa.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"In Rome, it was St. Peter,s Basilica"

Eric

Goshen, IN

Tour: 05/13/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We thoroughly enjoyed everything. There were no surprises as the pre-tour orientation is very complete.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hard to say. The renaissance art in Florence reminded me so much of my college fine arts classes. Tremendous."

Susan

Newport, WA

Tour: 05/13/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Loved Volterra, charming, quaint, super clean and manageable in terms of less people living there and quickly understood how to navigate the town on our own ."

David

Eden Prairie, MN

Tour: 05/13/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had a wonderful time on our tour. It met all my expectations and then some. It was a good mix of free time and scheduled time - well planned. I saw nearly all the things I wanted to see, and was introduced to things that I wasn't aware of but enjoyed a lot. It was nearly stress free. The tour was well thought out. I know I am happiest when I learn something and I learned a lot. .Our guide was very professional and I enjoyed our group of travelers.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Having a nice Italian lunch with an Aperol Spritz overlooking the town of Manarola in the Cinque Terre with my wife, a new couple we had become friends with, and our guide. It was lovely."

Dennis

Belle River, ON

Tour: 05/13/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Well paced. Great hotels in great locations. Good combination of guided tours versus free time. The evening meals provided were excellent with a nice variety between locations

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Cinque Terre."

Candy

Hendersonville, NC

Tour: 05/13/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Deborah and all of the local tour guides were outstanding! The mix of time and meals with the group and independent time was perfect.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The quality of the group dinners."

Cheryl

Newburgh, IN

Tour: 05/13/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was fantastic. Very well organized. Deborah was absolutely fantastic. You have a jewel in her.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"They were all fantastic. But I really love the Mediterranean Sea when we had a free day to enjoy their. The Vatican was great everything was wonderful. Can't say enough good and will recommend this to everyone I know."

Sheila

Belle River, ON

Tour: 05/13/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was a fantastic trip with an awesome guide - Deborah and we had an awesome group of 28. Deborah did some extras for us which was a nice surprise and very much appreciated.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Cinque Terre was beautiful and I had never seen anything like those 5 towns built on hillsides. Another day there would have been perfect."

Carolyn

Jenkintown, PA

Tour: 05/13/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This trip was even better than we hoped it would be. Our EXCELLENT TOUR GUIDE, Deborah, was knowledgeable, interesting, organized, generous, fun, and very, very nice, and at least five other very knowledgeable tour guides joined us at major sites. The tour dinners were DELICIOUS and Deborah recommended good places to eat on the nights when dinners were not included. The use of the "BUDDY SYSTEM" helped us to feel very safe and it to meet the great people who joined us on this tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were many "wow" moments on this tour. The Mediterranean and views from the Cinque Terre were probably my favorite, but turning a corner in a museum and catching a first glimpse of Michelangelo's "David" or Botticelli's "Primavera" were also "wow" moments, along with the beautiful views of the Tuscan countryside."

Susan

Saint Charles, MO

Tour: 05/13/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had a great trip and we loved everything about our tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Our wow moment was probably Cinque Terre."

Karen

Louisville, KY

Tour: 05/13/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had an awesome time! I loved the buddy check system, it was great in getting to know people and caring for each other. I loved getting involved with the local hotels and eateries.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I was wowed by Deborah's kindness and caring. I especially liked the impromptu reception at Florence. I felt so elegant and special/"

Wilma

Silverdale, WA

Tour: 05/13/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The overall experience was awesome and exceeded our expectations. In the span of 9 days that we were together we treated each other like family. There was so much fun and laughter every time we were together. Deborah was very caring person. She made sure that we were all okay when we parted ways going on our own adventures while visiting other places in Italy. She was a pleasure to be our tour guide. The tour was very educational, it has a lot of historical insights.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It was a well guided tour and the Rick Steve's Italy's tour guide book was a very good reference in regarding to places to visit and good places to eat. We were able to explore the beauty and grandeur of the country side of Cinque Terre sailing and able to hike from Cornelia to Vernacia. What an experience to see the Mediterranean sea on top which is very rewarding climb o n a very steep and rugged hills."

Nancy

Broomfield, CO

Tour: 05/11/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our first adventure with a Rick Steve's tour and it exceeded our expectations. We enjoyed the expert management of travel logistics, hotel arrangements, guide selections and event tickets. This tour is very carefully laid out to capture the best of the places we visited in Italy along with free time to explore on our own. Our guides and tour manager were incredible. They taught us the history/culture, took care of questions/concerns and helped us to understand life in Italy today.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The WOW moment that stands out for me was stumbling upon the Bardini Gardens in Florence through a little gate in the Boboli Gardens. Our ticket to the Boboli Gardens gave us access. It was a magical, quiet garden with amazing panoramic views of Florence. We sat at the outside cafe at the belvedere overlooking Florence, drank cafe lattes and had the best caprese salad of the trip. It was a perfect ending to our trip."

Isabella

Salt Lake City, UT

Tour: 05/11/18

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Wish I could have spent more time in Cinque Terra and Volterra, but loved seeing so many different places and things.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Being in Volterra and seeing the worlds oldest arch that maybe suggests the romans stole the arches and didn't invent them after all! turned history upside down"

Jeffry

Saint Petersburg, FL

Tour: 05/11/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our second tour and our first with Rick Steves. No comparison between the RS tour and our previous one. Yours was first class all the way with comfortable accommodations, good meals, expert guidance from Ferdi and free time to explore on our own.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hard to say. There were mind-blowing things at every spot. We liked everyone on the tour, especially Ferdi. We'd go on another tour with him any day."

Marcia

Moscow, ID

Tour: 05/11/18

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

We had a great group. I felt like I could be long time friends with any of them. I also liked having 2 days in each location. My favorite place was Volterra-The beauty and history was impressive. That was also my favorite hotel room. I was also very grateful to have a room all to myself even though I had planned on sharing. The ability to have down time away from the group was more important to me than I had anticipated.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Pitti Palace apartment-I used my free time in Florence to go there because when I was in Florence last year, my son had intended to take me but the apartments were not open for viewing. I also really enjoyed the walking trail between Monterosso and Vernazza on the coast. The biggest wow moment food-wise was the breakfast extravaganza each morning at our hotel in Monterossa. The quality and selection was outstanding! I ate way too much both mornings and even the scrambled eggs were good!"

Marjorie

Mankato, MN

Tour: 05/11/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Ferdi was a great tour host; informative and sensitive to everyone's needs. I enjoyed the location of each hotel, and their proximity to sites.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favorite "WOW" moment was the lushness of the Italian countryside. I did not expect it to be so green. The bus drivers were another "WOW", as they traversed the narrow roadways and performed hairpin turns. The architecture and age of the buildings in the various cities was unbelievable. I continue to have difficulty "wrapping my head" around my seeing 11th and 12th century buildings and ruins. Best of all, and holding my imagination yet, are the Michelangelo, "Prisoners"."

Mindy

Lutz, FL

Tour: 05/06/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Totally memorable whirlwind trip that exceeded our expectations! The bonus is that we met some great people on the tour from all over the USA that made the tour more fun. The balance between guided tours & free time was just right!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Vatican Museum, Sistine Chapel, and seeing the David were definitely WOW! moments for us. Also the view from tower roof top deck at Torre Guelfa hotel in Florence was spectacular, as was the high cliff terrace at the hotel in Cinque Terra where we had a delightful welcome drink with an amazing vista view of the Mediterranean Sea."

Darlene

San Diego, CA

Tour: 05/06/18

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

It was a trip through Italy so of course the food and the wine figured prominently. Our tour guide, Jamie, an admitted foodie seemed to know several great restaurants in every town that we visited. My husband and I are interested in history so there was a lot of it in this trip to satisfy us. I enjoyed the local guides in every town and found them to be professional and interesting.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Thinking back on the whole trip experience, I was most awed by the Vatican Museum."

Donna

Cornelius, NC

Tour: 05/06/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

There are so many things I enjoyed it will be challenging to keep under 500 characters but I will try. Begin with the organizational detail, website and customer service. Carry it through to the actual itinary which allowed for group experiences balanced with time away from the group to explore for oneself. Our on-location guides in Rome, Volterra and Florence were incredible, along with Jaimie Gould made for a very memorable vacation.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Actually had a few "wow" moments, unfortunately neither really part of the "tour" but rather outside. The first was Mass at St. Peter's Basicilica and seeing and hearing Pope Francis and the second was taking a private tour on the Mediterranean in Cinque Terre. Other "wow" moments, in Volterra and Florence."

Richard

Shelton, WA

Tour: 05/06/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This experience was true to it's original description in the preliminary materials sent to us prior to the tour. This was our first organized tour and I would say that it exceeded expectations. Our tour leader and guides were extremely knowledgeable and enthusiastic, and made sure that we got maximum benefit from every stop on our itinerary. We would not hesitate to tour again, and are looking forward to planning our next adventure. We were pleased that the tour provided us some private time to

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I keep thinking about walking down that avenue in Rome and getting my first glimpse of the Coliseum. It took my breath away. I had the same feeling with my first glimpse of the Duomo. Am I really here? Almost sensory overload!"

Barbara

Brentwood, CA

Tour: 05/06/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Taste of Italy Tour was exactly as described. Great hotels, clean and convenient and very charming. Tour guides know the history and the culture very well and really enhance your tour experience because of their extreme familiarity the areas you visit. Excellent recommendations for activities and restaurants for your free time. Group size is excellent (not to large, not too small). Good mix of free time and scheduled tour activities. Great experience overall !!!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"For us , spending time in the Tuscany hill country was the highlight. Charming villages , friendly people, more relaxing and a chance to really experience the culture."

Jana

Topeka, KS

Tour: 05/06/18

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Overall, it was a very well organized and scheduled tour. Our guide always told us ahead of time what would be happening the next day. The meals were great, we had some built-in free time to explore on our own which we enjoyed. I didn't like standing in one place while we listened to our guides, wish we could have sat down for the longer explanations. But with the crowds, I realize, not possible always. We did get to sit some places.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Volterra! Wonderful small village, beautiful setting. Loved the tuscany countryside. Enjoyed the history museum there and small square. Nice hotel and breakfast buffet. Great wine-tasting experience! Ancient Rome was awesome!"

Harry

Birmingham, AL

Tour: 05/06/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Spectacular. From a fellow traveler this was an absolutely wonderful tour. So much of the joy of this trip was centered around our guide, Jamie. We did not anticipate a tour guide with such a remarkable gift of narrative and a joy of travel. While there were so many bucket list items to see in Italy I now understand why Tuscany is so treasured by so many. Volterra and Lucca were truly amazing and I didn't expect that. Thanks to Rick Steve's for an amazing intro to Italy.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"We really expected Rome to be amazing and it was. We expected the charm of Cinque Terre to be evident and it was. But, the beauty and charm of the Tuscan landscape and the pleasure of walking the small towns of Volterra and Lucca cannot be overstated. We were captivated and we will be coming back for a deeper dive into this old world region."

Nancy

Ballston Spa, NY

Tour: 05/06/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Great mix of organized and free time. Great accommodations, bus was roomy and comfortable, group dinners we're fantastic! Our fellow tour group travelers were all friendly, not a grump in the bunch.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I absolutely loved Volterra! It was out of a fairytale beautiful. I've never been to a place like that!"

Jeff

Pismo Beach, CA

Tour: 05/06/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Really enjoyed the active pace, the wide variety of experiences, the local guides and free time to explore.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Every group meal we had with Jamie was a wonderful feast and lesson in local food and wine. Of course, the art and architecture wow experiences are numerous and too spectacular to choose just one."

Mary

Pismo Beach, CA

Tour: 05/06/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Excellent tour, well paced activities, wonderful meals. Jamie was an outstanding guide.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Climbing to the top of the tower at our hotel in Florence, Torre Guelfa at night and looking down at all of the beautiful twinkling lights and magnificent architecture of Florence."

Joann

Picayune, MS

Tour: 05/02/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had a fabulous time! Our tour far exceeded our expectations. We loved the mix of time with the tour group and time on our own. All of our hotels were comfortable, clean, and each had its own unique charm. We loved all of them. The group meals were unbelievable and one of the highlights of the tour. I don't believe we could have made such great choices in hotels and meals had we chosen to travel on our own. Our tour was a good mix of citiy and country. Our guides were very helpful and fun.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were so many. I guess I would have to say when we got to enter the Roman Colosseum through the same entrance as at the gladiators did."

Charles

Calgary, AB

Tour: 05/02/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Both Bonnie and I enjoyed. There were a couple of "oh no" moments. We should have brought an umbrella with us instead of relying on our rain jackets. Voltera for me was a highlight, as was the Coloseum.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I think that when we came into the piazza in front of the Signoria was it. The history of the city and the amazing Sculptures in the piazza caught me off guard. There were a lot of close seconds to that."

Joan

Longview, WA

Tour: 05/02/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Everything about this trip was run very efficiently - loved it very much. Due to our age(78 for both of us) we werent sure if we could keep up, & opted to cut some events short which worked out just fine. Loved Nina, our tour leader - her vast knowledge never ceased to amaze me - such a fine lady. When I mentioned to her that Bob, my husband, was having trouble with his digestive system since he drank prune juice every morning - guess what!! There were stewed prunes on the breakfast menus

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I believe it was the wonderful dinners in Levanto & also Florence."

David

Keller, TX

Tour: 05/02/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Nina was amazing, her overall knowledge about Italy in general was impressive. She connects very well with the locals and has built strong relationships with the restaurant and hotel personnel through her career - to the point they not only want to impress the Rick Steve's tour group, but they also don't want to disappoint Nina. She set the bar for future tour guides.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Entering the Coliseum through the gladiator's entrance. Sistene Chapel, David, Uffizi Gallery. Too many to count."

Jean

Seattle, WA

Tour: 05/02/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my first experience with a Rick Steves Tour. I have traveled using Rick Steves books and DVDs extensively for years. This tour was fantastic. I will definitely be booking more adventures with the company.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"We had the opportunity to enter the Coliseum from a seldom allowed, side door. Our guide explained this was the hall the Gladiators used to enter. It was very cool. We walked through and onto the stage looking out over the rest of the arena. We were allowed 20 minutes there. I have visited the Coliseum several time before on previous trips to Rome. This was a special experience."

Bertrand

Groton, CT

Tour: 04/27/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Better than expected. Mr. Tordi, beside his charisma, integrated what we were experiencing (geography, landscapes, museum, architecture, gastronomy, etc...)in a large context that made the tour very relevant in today's World.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Volterra: its "human scale" - not overwhelmed by people - and the remarkable guided tour by Mrs. Annie Adair who made me appreciated Volterra's extraordinary history from Antiquity to modern times in particular, the WW II actions of the Italian Resistance and the people of Volterra."

David

Elk Grove, CA

Tour: 04/27/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our first Rick Steve's tour, we had received good feedback from friends who had recommended we give it a try. The itinerary was spot-on for a first-time trip to Italy, and the overall experience exceeded our highest expectations. We can't say enough good things about David - he simply made a great trip one of the most memorable ever. His knowledge, style and attention to the needs of the group, not to mention his musical skills, make him an all-star tour guide!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Tough to pick just one, so the top three were: - The Coliseum tour as the first group in the morning entering through the 'Gladiator Gate' - The Vatican tour and visiting St. Peter's Basilica, simply overwhelming - Seeing Michelangelo's David in person"

Mary

Atwater, OH

Tour: 04/27/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Having never traveled out of the country, I wanted someone to "hold my hand," and the Rick Steves' organization did just that. From the initial arrangements until the end of the tour, it was completely stress-free. I would recommend this particular tour to first-timers to Italy for sure.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I was in awe most of the trip. But, I can single out two profound experiences. The first was the description of the Sistine Chapel by our guide, Marta. She explained that Michaelangelo felt that it was his mission to interpret the relationship between God and Man. The second overpowering moment was the visit to the WWII U.S. memorial. We were told to single out a grave and give our respects and appreciation because we might be the only person who would ever do that."

Michael

Round Rock, TX

Tour: 04/27/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour guide, David, was a exceptional in every way.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"When David and the hotel staff played music and sang. The whole group was up and dancing."

Stephen

Highland Village, TX

Tour: 04/27/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Great experience. The tour was very efficient and well planned. The logistics were perfect so as not to waste any vacation time. All of that with the ability to slow down and relax as well when we wanted to. Our guide was amazing, David, just amazing. Very knowledgeable and friendly. Italy was clearly his country and he made sure that we not only saw the sights but also understood the culture and people. We constantly felt that we being given the insider information.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"So many, but it was personal. Our guide set up a dinner catered by Carlo at the Hotel Primavera. Food was amazing, the guide played guitar including very traditional songs and Carlo and his wife participated in every bit of it. They explained the food in detail and demonstrated the making of Pesto. We very much felt like we were eating with our group and a local family as opposed to a tourist location. Also stop at war memorial cemetery was amazing."

Dean

Bettendorf, IA

Tour: 04/27/18

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

David was very knowledgeable and personable guide. The mix of group and private time was ideal. The insights from the local guides was invaluable. Frankly, the required guide in Florence was a waste of money for you and the participants. She added no value. Appreciated the walk in Rome the first evening to learn the subway. Cincque teere was nice, but during rainy days it got repetitive. Vatican Museums felt like a human mass, walking slowly through, which detracted from the experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"David's historical context of the Italian history and interaction of the chirch with the economic and political powers that were. The WW2 site and background was also new to us."

Dianne

Modesto, CA

Tour: 04/27/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My husband & I had an amazing time! The tour far exceeded our expectations. All of the Roman sites, climbing the Basilica bell tower, the gladiator's entrance into the Colosseum were all spectacular and the local guides brought the history to life and placed us in that moment of time. David, our guide, was the best! He was knowledgeable, entertaining and made sure we all enjoyed ourselves, and group dinners were fantastic family-run trattorias to feasts for the noble in Levanto and Florence!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Visiting Italy in all its beauty was one big wow for me! Its architectural designs of columns and domes and mosaics, the history of the Renaissance and magnificent artwork, the landscape of Tuscany & Cinque Terre, even when raining, were all breathtaking but I just fell in love with the little medieval town of Volterra and its charming lifestyle. I'm ready to go back!"

Miriam

Elk Grove, CA

Tour: 04/27/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour exceeded my expectations. All the logistics were well thought out and well coordinated. None all my tour time was wasted because all events were well planned.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favorite place to visit was Volterra. I loved the history walk and then exploring the town on my own. It was the most unexpected surprise of the tour."

Rosemary

Groton, CT

Tour: 04/27/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had a fabulous time on our Heart of Italy tour. We had done the Greece tour a few years ago and felt that it was so wonderful that it would be hard to top. This tour was certainly its equal. When we were asked which tour we liked better, we honestly said it was impossible to choose. Our guide , David, was outstanding. He was fun, knowledgeable, accessible and certainly went the extra mile for all of us.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were so many "wow" moments. The visit to Volterra offered one wow moment after another. Our early entrance into the Coloseum through the gladiators entrance was also really special. I was hoping for many wow moments in the Cinque Terre but unfortunately Mother Nature gave us a day of rain."

Philip

Lutherville, MD

Tour: 04/22/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The Heart of Italy tour was exactly what I had hoped. The 12 couples made for a fun, intimate and manageable group. The scheduling with about half organized and half "on your own" was great because members or our group had diverse interests and we were all able to do more of what we wanted.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Entering the coliseum through the gladiator's tunnel was spectacular, even emotional."

Randy

Huntington, WV

Tour: 04/22/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our first trip to Europe was phenomenal! Many of us in our small group became fast friends. We expected a smaller, more intimate tour to our liking after watching rick on TV, and going to hear him lecture in Columbus, Ohio. Our expectations were surpassed many fold. The group dinners were lively, delicious and looked forward to after the first meal. The wine tasting was one of the most fun tastings we've enjoyed. We loved Volterra and Vickie can't wait to get back go the Museums in Florence.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"WOW #1 - At the Accademia Gallery in Florence, turning that corner and seeing all 17 feet of Michaelangelo's David! I'm not much of an art buff, but that stature was mesmerizing. Any was you walked around him, David had a different demeanor. incredible. WOW #2. With Vickie being a long time DeMedici buff, just getting a truly delicious sandwich and soda from a Volterra deli, and having a relaxing lunch in the park next to the castle turned prison was an unforgettable experience."

Elizabeth

Pleasanton, CA

Tour: 04/22/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My Husband and I had the most amazing time in the Heart of Italy Tour. Our guide Karin was wonderful, smart, funny, kind, and she genuinely wanted all of us to have an amazing time (Thank you Karin). We enjoyed all the planned activities, local guides, Hotels, free exploring time, and the delicious group dinners. We learned a lot about each place we visited from Karin and the local guides which made the experience even better.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"For myself it was the colosseum and the roman forum. Our local tour guide was amazing and en-captured the feeling of what life would be like back then in Rome. For my Husband it was the Vatican city and learning all of the history behind it."

John

Epping, NH

Tour: 04/22/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

As with our previous tour to Sicily in 2016, this tour was everything we could have hoped for. Great guide(s), great local experts, great food, good hotels, great buses. Lots of activity (I lost 5 pounds!) - you weren't kidding that this is one of your most strenuous tours!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"So hard to pick just one. "Winning the lottery" and getting to walk out on the Colosseum floor with Francesca was one. The wall around Lucca. The Duomo Museum in Florence was absolutely amazing, too."

Janah

Carnation, WA

Tour: 04/22/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I learned more than I ever imagined. The adventures on this trip had just the right balance of history and culture. I feel like I really got to know the places we visited even if we were only there a couple of days. Great trip!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I think our local guide at the Colloseum did a great job of making us understand how important, yet brutal, the Coloseum was in its time. She gave me goosebumps a couple of times!"

David

Webster, NY

Tour: 04/22/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We really enjoyed the tour. It was a great balance between free time and planned events. The tour guides were very knowledgeable and the approach used helped to transport us back in time. The meals provided were top notch! We had the added benefit of a fun and social group. We all got along well and this clearly added to the experience!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The history of the roman forum: swamp - height of the empire - fall of the empire - cow pasture - to what it is today!"

Danae

Webster, NY

Tour: 04/22/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This trip was a great balance of historical tours, culture, great food and free time. We got along so well with our group and had a lot of fun with them. We also enjoyed our free time and walked a lot to take in extra sights. Karin was amazing and was very helpful. The local tour guides were so knowledgeable and really helped us understand the history of each region.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Walking out onto the floor of the Colosseum. The sheer size of it is hard to describe. Also true with the statue of David."

Laurence

Prior Lake, MN

Tour: 04/22/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The handoff from regional to local guides was seamless and very well appreciated. We had no problems with lodging or with meals. Your recommendations as to pickpockets was right on and helped me avert a loss.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Cinco Terra with the small villages was my favorite moment as well as learning about politics and culture in Italy."

Trevor

Redmond, WA

Tour: 04/20/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Enjoyed the excellent balance between organized/ scheduled activity and unplanned self directed time. The hotels and restaurants were well chosen and provided great service and amenities. We were also pleased that Jamie stayed with us for the 9 days, while enlisting local expertise at various locations. Great formula! We weren't art aficionados, so it was a thrill to be captivated by the works of art as elucidated by Jamie, Antonella & Carla. We have new eyes .... Bravissimo.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Colosseum. Thank you for getting us there ahead of the crowds!"

Jeffrey

Omaha, NE

Tour: 04/20/18

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

The Tour was great. We hit a warmer than normal week for April in Italy. Some would have loved that; however, we would have enjoyed it a bit cooler.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Viewing the Sistine Chapel was the best moment; however, Volterra was our favorite location. We really loved the ancient village charm."

Ronald

Palm Desert, CA

Tour: 04/20/18

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

The tour was very well organized, and very well run. No complaints.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"No real WOW moment, but instead growing clarity about phases of European history that I haven't paid that much attention to."

Samuel

Lakewood Village, TX

Tour: 04/20/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We have never traveled in a tour group but watched your shows on PBS. We decided to try it and wow were we glad! The tour group was just like us...spirited and ready for an adventure and experience! Jamie was great, having lived in Italy 14 years although originally from UK, so he had experience yet insight to share. Very interesting. I told him last day I felt I had spent time with a friend who loved his decision and wanted to share. Every part of the trip felt that way, thanks.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"We had some time in Cinque Terre town of Levento and it was a local holiday. We just sat at a café on the local square and watched families and children having fun. Lots of big stuff but that was especially cool."

Carol

Palm Desert, CA

Tour: 04/20/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The Heart of Italy Tour covers the highlights every tourist should see. This is a great trip for the first time traveler to Italy. The only improvement I could see would be to spend more time in each of the locations. Fellow travelers and terrific tour guides made the whole trip worthwhile.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Florence is always a "WOW" experience. When you see the Cathedral, Baptistery, and Tower - well that's a WOW! While on tour you visit the Uffizi Gallery, and Academia, both are WOW experiences. The gelato is also gets a WOW!"

Dany

Brevard, NC

Tour: 04/15/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

So well planned from the time we booked the tour and our final day in italy. This is our second rick steve's Tour, and that is why, we are flexible and can go with necessary changes, but big disappointments no, not on a rick steve's Tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The incredible viiews in the hill towns and along the coast."

Donna

Nashville, TN

Tour: 04/15/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our tour of Italy was fabulous! Lisa, our guide, was knowledgeable and offered many helpful suggestions. Her knowledge of the country and the language helped make the tour interesting, as well as educational. We appreciated the balance of structured events (especially the groups dinners) and free time. Lisa offered great suggestions for how to enjoy our unstructured time. Lisa's understanding of the Italian culture and her personal experiences helped bring it all to life.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The entire tour was full of "wow" moments! The countryside views Tuscany on the ride from Rome to Volterre are still with me now. Hiking the rigorous trails of the Cinque Terre was memorable as well; the views of the cities and the water while walking beside olive groves and vineyards were beautiful. Finally, seeing "David" in Florence was yet another "wow" moment for me."

Tina

Grain Valley, MO

Tour: 04/15/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Lisa Anderson was a great tour guide. She made us all feel welcome and was very knowledgeable about everything and every place we went on the tour. All of the people on the tour with us were extremely nice and made the trip so much more fun. I would definitely go on another Rick Steve's tour!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I originally thought it was going to be the Sistine Chapel but it ended up being the map room at the Vatican Museum. I'm a huge history fan and I was just amazed by their ability to draw those maps so long ago. There were so many wow moments!. Italy is a beautiful country! I'd love to return some day."

Robert

Brevard, NC

Tour: 04/15/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Lisa was an incredible guide that showed us the Italy I was hoping to find.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There are so many that it is hard to name a single one. Cinco terre is a "WOW" in so many ways. The views, people crowds,tunnels, the natural beauty are the source of great novels."

Brian

Lynden, WA

Tour: 04/15/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our first R.S.'s Tour and it exceeded our expectations! It was so well-organized; our lead tour guide, Lisa Anderson was experienced, knowledgeable and fun. Our site guides were prepared and very informative. We also enjoyed being part of a small group whose bond grew tighter each day. We definitely benefited so much more than had we visited Italy on our own. Combination of group activity and independent activity was perfect.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Difficult to pick a favorite, as there were so many: the Vatican Museum, the Sistine Chapel, the Coliseum, the Forum, the wonderful food; Volterra and the wine tasting; the hike from Monterosso to Vernazza at the Cinque Terre; Florence. I loved our dinners together especially the dinner in Levanto and of course our final feast in Florence! I enjoyed all our knowledgeable guides, and how we bonded as a group. It was difficult to say good-bye after our final breakfast in Florence."

Robert

Salmon, ID

Tour: 04/15/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I had already read quite a few of the previous Rick Steves tour comments, posted on the website. This was my first (and probably only) trip abroad, with my son, and I didn't want to learn everything the hard way and ruin our one opportunity. The tour itself lived up to my expectations. Lisa, our very thoughtful and experienced tour guide, did everything in her power to make our time together interesting and rewarding. We could not have had a better tour guide.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"That would have to be Volterra. It's very genuine charm was augmented by the fact that it was not swamped with tourists, and it was easy to relax and savor all of it, as a part of the place, and not an exception."

Leah

Arlington, VA

Tour: 04/15/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Excellent tour! Incredible first experience in Italy. I wouldn't have been able to create the same Italy experience if I planned the trip on my own. Wonderful balance of planned and free time. The only change I would make to the trip is either spending less time in Lucca or skipping Lucca all together to spend additional time in the Cinque Terre. Loved the "extras" on the tour- wine tasting, pesto demonstration, gelato, alabaster carving, etc.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My husband and I loved the day in the Cinque Terre! Totally worth exploring the towns by boat as the views from the water were amazing. Too many amazing things on this trip- exploring the Colosseum through the Gladiator entrance, seeing Michelangelo's David in Florence (would have never guessed how large David is), The Vatican and the Sistine Chapel, the Duomo in Florence, the gorgeous views of Volterra."

Karen

Lees Summit, MO

Tour: 04/15/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my first tour of any kind and my first trip to Italy. I thought it was a truly wonderful experience. Lisa and my fellow tour members added so much to the experience. I saw and experienced things that I could not have done on my own.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were so many wow moments it hard to pick just one. Seeing David as we entered the room at the Academia and how is was all presented was breathtaking, I almost teared up. It was perfect to end the tour that day at David, so we could all take as much time as we wanted to sit and study him or walk around and admire the rest of the art."

David

Nashville, TN

Tour: 04/15/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Wonderful balance between organized/scheduled activities and free time to explore on our own.

Loretta

Little Rock, AR

Tour: 04/15/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

When asked during our first get together with the tour group what I looked forward to most I replied the food, the wine and the history. My expectations were met and exceeded. I enjoyed the group, the food, the wine, the history, the sights, the local guides and Lisa Anderson! It was a fabulous trip!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"After a great description by a local guide, viewing the Sistene Capel for the first time. It brought tears to my eyes."

Patricia

Maitland, FL

Tour: 04/13/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I totally enjoyed everything about the tour. The guests on our tour were so wonderful. We all got along beautifully. Loved our tour guides. They made it so much fun and set a very relaxed and informative atmosphere. We learned how to ride the train and even some Italian. I liked the Rick Steves philosophy in teaching us how to be great travelers and how to blend in with the locals. Sarah and Jesse were outstanding guides and worked together as an awesome team.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It was a very personal moment when I realized the Grandfather I never knew, probably walked down the same streets of Rome and they probably hadn't changed much since then. I loved having an Aperativo on the Piazza in several locations. I also loved trying different foods and wines prepared by the Mom and Pop restaurants that were chosen for us by our guides. Fabulous!! I also loved having an experienced tour guide that lived in the town we were visiting, and having them teach us about the sights"

Lena

Burlington, OK

Tour: 04/13/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our tour experience was everything we wanted and more!! Sarah and Jesse were both so professional during the tour. They made the trip so interesting. Their experience and knowledge about each destination made the trip even more exciting. While traveling on the bus Sarah and Jesse offered information about each place and told us what to expect when we arrived at our new destination. I hope to tour again with Rick Steves and will recommend that others travel with your company. Thank you!!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Volterra was my favorite "wow" moment!! Loved the town and the scenery surrounding it. This was my 3rd trip to Italy and it was nice to spend some time in a smaller populated area and to relax away from the hustle of the larger metropolitan areas. Enjoyed the wine tasting and also our meal we had together. The accommodations were very comfortable and Mateo,the young man at the desk during the evening was so pleasant and helpful."

Christine

Newburyport, MA

Tour: 04/13/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It exceeded my expectations! Sarah and Jesse were engaging, caring, so funny and knowledgeable. Always there to answer questions and checking in to make sure everyone was on the same page.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"When I first saw the pantheon. I don't use this expression often, but it blew my mind! Also the colosseum and forum were so profound and moving. The idea of Rome as a ruin upon ruin, in the deep past and so in the present resonated in a visceral Experience that will always stay with me."

Mary Beth

Grapevine, TX

Tour: 04/13/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

From the moment we arrived, the tour met or exceeded all my expectations. Having experienced, knowledgeable tour guides enhanced our first visit to Italy, no question. It gave us a deeper understanding of the historical sites, while providing easier access to them. We could never have put together such a comprehensive and fun experience without Rick Steves and his team.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Being able to walk out onto the platform into the center of the Coliseum. Our tour was granted a limited access opportunity to do this!"

Dale

Maitland, FL

Tour: 04/13/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Great organization of the tour! Sarah, our tour guide, and Jesse, our apprentice tour guide, were enormously helpful and made the entire trip fun from the start. Even our "down time" on the bus was an opportunity for Sarah and Jesse to talk to us about the Italian people, their lives, food, mannerisms, etc. We were learning new things all the time, which was both worthwhile and fun. Our local guides were uniformly excellent. We had the time of our lives - my first time out of the country.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I was not expecting to think about WWII history, but Sarah made a point of visiting the American War Memorial near Florence, and our guide in Volterra told us about the German occupation there. Fascinating! Truthfully, there were many "wow" moments, and I could name another dozen which were just as "wow"."

Diana

Seattle, WA

Tour: 04/13/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

What an amazing tour! We really did see the "heart of Italy"! I highly recommend this tour for an introduction to Italy or for people like us who had been here before, but didn't want to drive this time.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Everything felt like a wow moment. But I have two special ones: 1. Francesca's tour of the Forum and Colosseum. She is an amazing guide who brought us to tears with her invitation to learn about the beginnings of western civilization. Awe inspiring! 2. David. I had no idea the size and beauty of this sculpture!! I will never forget it."

Keith

Grapevine, TX

Tour: 04/13/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This is my first Rick Steves tour and I am thoroughly impressed with everything about it. I thought it was well organized with the perfect balance of free time vs. group time.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favorite moment was having a drink on the rooftop of our hotel in Florence at sunset. Overlooking the skyline of that city that changed the course of history was something to remember."

Nancy

Omaha, NE

Tour: 04/08/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Outstanding experience with lots of sightseeing, walking and Sarah was a wonderful tour guide. The local tour guides were so informative too! I always love trying all the local foods and snacks. I really like riding in a not-so-full bus and staying in hotels in the historic areas. Fellow tour members were a joy to meet and spend time with also. I love the Rick Steves travel philosophy - to be a traveler, not a tourist. I will be planning another RS tour next year!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Loved seeing the Pope and going to mass in St. Peter's square even tho I'm not Catholic. My favorite location we visited was Volterra - not so crowded but full of local charm. I could spend another week in Florence also! AND I LOVED THE FOOD!!!"

Patricia

Issaquah, WA

Tour: 04/08/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had such a great time on the Heart of Italy tour! The variety of locations was perfect, without too much travel time between them. The mix of guided time and time to explore on our own was perfect. While I can't say enough about our expert guide, Sarah, all of our local guides were exceptional. Steves provided us with all of the information we needed to make the most of our trip. We can't wait to book our next Rick Steves tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favorite moment was stepping into the Sistine Chapel, tilting my head back and looking up at Michelangelo's masterpiece. I have read about the ceiling and seen pictures my entire life, but was still awe-struck by the scope and beauty of the work."

David

Chapel Hill, NC

Tour: 04/08/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour exceeded our expectations for our first visit to Italy. The mix of guided and unguided time was just right and the overall organization and logistics of the trip were excellent and just as advertised. We enjoyed meeting all our fellow travelers and sharing experiences with them.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"While the famous sights in Rome and Florence were wonderful, the hill town of Volterra was the most fascinating and enjoyable stop for me. It was such a beautiful blend of history, culture, and modern day Italy. The local guide, Annie, brought the story of the town to life!"

Andrew

Andover, MA

Tour: 04/08/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I had very high expectations for our first Rick Steves tour and was not disappointed. The tour logistics were flawless allowing us to enjoy our time in Italy worry-free. I loved everything about the tour - nice balance of group and free time, engaging guides, wonderful food and a fantastic tour group. Looking forward to another Rick Steves tour soon!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"1. Seafood feast with Carlo in Levanto 2. Franco's dessert cart in Florence 3. Borghese Gallery ( not part of the Heart of Italy tour but the guided English tour was the most entertaining 2 hours I've ever spent in a museum ) 4. Unscheduled stop at the Florence American cemetery"

Nancy

Bennet, NE

Tour: 04/08/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The Rick Steves "Heart of Italy" tour was outstanding. Our guide Sara was always enriching our knowledge of the places we visited. The food was awesome, hotels were all very unique which added to the experience. The one unexpected surprise for me was how I enjoyed getting to know the other tour members. We were a group of like minded souls who loved to learn and experience new things. This was my first Rick Steves tour but will not be my last.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Seeing the David"

David

Seattle, WA

Tour: 04/08/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour provided us with a wonderful balance of experiencing the magnificence Rome, the picturesque Mediterranean coast, the historic and lush hills of Tuscany, and ending up in the spectacular city of Florence (where we met up with our son, who was studying abroad for a semester). Each tour stop provided a rich combination of history, art, culture, cuisine, and genuinely warm people who assured that our experience with them was memorable. I cannot pick a favorite.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"All of it, just wow! Books couldn't convey the skill, magnificence and sheer scale of we experienced. We were able to bypass long lines, but the seven local professional guides at the different venues were each superb by captivating us with their story telling,knowledge and humor (especially Antonella at the Vatican, Paolo in Ancient Rome, Annie in Volterra, Anna in Lucca). Not to be outdone, Paolo's fun & lovable wine tasting guide and Carlo at Primavera served a seafood feast fit for kings."

Algis

Bennet, NE

Tour: 04/08/18

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Nancy and I are seasoned go-on-your-own travelers and have been to Europe several times. This was our first tour and we're glad we chose Rick Steves. We liked the combination of scheduled activities and your-on-your-own time. Having said that, we really enjoyed our tour. Our guide was great and the local guides hired to tour such sights as the Coliseum were awesome. Many had advanced degrees or had been with Rick Steves for years.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Driving into Volterra and listening to Andrea Bocelli, courtesy of our guide. A little touch but it made the experience so memorable. Also listening to Dean Martin sing "Volare" on the drive into Levanto. It was the extra small touches provided by our guide that made the tour so memorable along with the people."

Steve

Nashville, TN

Tour: 04/08/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The last time I was in Italy was in 1966 as a teen on a summer visit. That was just a visit seeing sites. Your Tour was much more! The guides were absolutely amazing with the history they included in all the site visits and the wine and food was wonderful. I would recommend this to anyone that wanted more than just a site seeing adventure. All was well done with attention to detail and including the history was a big plus!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I cannot sort it down to one WOW moment! All the tour was a WOW moment! My wife did not want to come home."

Thomas

North Attleboro, MA

Tour: 04/06/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our second Rick Steve's Tour and we felt the experience was just as excellent (and similar) to the first. The quality of the schedule, guides, hotels and other tour members are was super.

Omayra

Boca Raton, FL

Tour: 04/06/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was my first time to Europe and I thoroughly enjoyed the tour. The time spent in each city was perfect. The tour guides used in each tour was appreciated as they were engaging and knowledgeable.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I completely fell in love with Voltera. The city was so quaint, the hotel was nice but the view from the hotel was amazing."

Don

Olympia, WA

Tour: 04/06/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The cities and sites within that we visited gave us a good understanding and 'taste' of Italian culture and history and left us yearning for more! Our overall tour experience was greatly enhanced by the humor, guidance and knowledge of our tour guide as well as the expertise of the local tour guides.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The was no singular "wow" moment. Each place we visited had its own particular charm and character. Among many superlative places we particularly enjoyed our time in Firenze."

Lisa

Hyattsville, MD

Tour: 04/06/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our tour of central Italy was fantastic. I learned a lot, met interesting people and experienced an amazing part of the world that was new to me. Each day was full of new experiences and sights. Our tour guide was smart, funny, on the ball and seemlessly ensured we saw all the sites and got on to the next part of the trip intact and on time. It rained about half the time of our trip. This could have brought our spirits down but it didn't. Our tour guide set the mood and we gleefully followed.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Touring Volterra in the cold rain, fog and wind. Sometimes doing things in an adverse environment makes it more meaningful and definately more memorable. Standing at one of the ports while our tour guide Annie told us an inspiring story about the Volterra citizens saving the port from being bombed by German and then American solders in WWII by working all night to build a blockade on the road. Hearing the story in the cold/fog/wind/rain brought it to life just a bit more."

Terry

Hyattsville, MD

Tour: 04/06/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I have a great deal of experience travelling solo and with friends in Europe and have used the Rick Steves' guides to plan several recent trips. However, the logistics of planning to see the sights and to negotiate travel between various parts of Italy seemed to be more a second job than I wanted to take on, so my wife and I decided to do a tour for the first time. No regrets! The itinerary, the lodging, our traveling companions, and most importantly our guide, were fabulous.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Walking through the map gallery at the Vatican Museum. I love maps and I had no idea that this even existed. Beautiful. (But what were all those other people doing there? Oh well) The big wow was how much i enjoyed the people, the landscape, the culture, the cuisine, and the ambiance of Italy!"

Mark

Fort Worth, TX

Tour: 04/06/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I really enjoyed the tour. Our guide Patricia was very helpful and was always willing to go above and beyound to help us out. Really enjoyed the tours at the different cities and the passion the guides had when talking about their town, museum etc. This was a very hard physical trip and your explanation as a strenous trip is a good expalantion in your brochure.

Rich

Rainier, WA

Tour: 04/06/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Never having been on a guided tour before we did not know what to expect. Having every last detail thought of and taken care of made for a heavenly experience. A perfect mixture of tour time and alone time. Totally dispelled our fear of what to do and how to get there on our alone time because of such great tips and education from our Tour Guide.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Our favorite wow moment was when the two of us (Rich & Cathy) danced to Volare being sung by a street band somewhere down in the town that we could not see at the top the hotel tower (can't remember the name) in Florence at night, with a central 360° view of all of Florence."

Bernadette

Midland, TX

Tour: 04/06/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Fabulous all the way around. I can't wait to return and see whatever I missed!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Vatican- I could have stayed there & never left. The is so much to see and take in. I was blessed to be able to go to Mass and receive Holy Communion while there."

Carolyn

Locust Grove, VA

Tour: 04/06/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We were very impressed with the knowledge of our tour guide and the local guides. The added benefit of not having to stand in the long lines made the trip very enjoyable. There was also plenty of time for us to go out and explore on our own. Our guide, Patricia, provided us lots of confidence and was always available for questions, helpful hints and directions. She even took her own time to take some of us that had colds to the pharmacy and helped explain what we needed.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were so many "wow" moments, it is hard to think which was my favorite. I did especially like Lucca. It was a very fascinating city. I especially liked the stories told by the local guide. He was funny and kept us very interested in the history of the city."

Raymond

Barrington, RI

Tour: 04/06/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

One of my life's great experiences.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Too many for one. The Collossum and the forum. Capitoline hill and museum. Lunch canal side, al fresco at a Murano restaurant. Michaelangelos Pieta at the Vatican. The Tuscan hills in the mist and fog. One we set up on our own that I recommend including in the tour, The Borghese, especially for the sculptures. The art in Florence, and the history. There are your wows!"

Roderick

Clayton, CA

Tour: 04/06/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our entire tour experience was made better each day by the outstanding Rick Steve's tour guides. They are very passionate and so well prepared with knowledge on each step of the tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"We loved everything about Florence"

Ming

Bellevue, WA

Tour: 04/06/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Excellent!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Too many to list."

Sherrie

Fort Worth, TX

Tour: 04/06/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Every need was taken care of and our days were carefully planned. When there was a strike at one of the museums, Patricia made sure we got there at a different time to not ruin our experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I have a hard time narrowing down to one "wow" moment. This trip is so overwhelming with information and beauty."

Jeffrey

Holt, MI

Tour: 04/01/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I had a great time on the trip. We had a terrific guide, and the local guides were outstanding too. I thought the accommodations and the meals were better than several other tours I've been on.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I especially enjoyed our time in Volterra. What I thought might be the least interesting location turned out to be my favorite experience. I also had to say WOW when our group skipped right by the line of thousands of people waiting to get into the Colosseum, AND that we got to go in the gladiator entrance and have access to the stage. Very special indeed."

Douglas

Kirkland, WA

Tour: 04/01/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Rome was very busy on Easter Weekend. Still got around to see different sights. Missed St.Peter's Basilica and the Pantheon. Something for another trip. The rest of the trip was wonderful. Volterra, Lucca, Cinque Terre and Florence all super. Too many things to do but savored what we did. Many students in Rome, Lucca, Cinque Terre and Florence. Spring break.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Being in the Collosseum. Walking around and trying to imagine what was going on all those years age."

Mary

Alexandria, VA

Tour: 04/01/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our first Rick Steves tour. I thought it had the right balance between scheduled activities and free time with suggestions. I thought the tour guide Nina was excellent and I really appreciate that we didn't spend a whole lot of time on a bus (like with other tours.) The local guides ranged from good to fantastic. The joint meals were really good. The hotels we stayed in ranged from good (in Rome) to fantastic (in Florence). I would definitely recommend.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The view from the top of our hotel in Florence. WOW! Worth the climb. But there were many more: walking through Rome, St. Peter's Basilica, the Sistine Chapel, the Uffizi, etc."

Valerie

Kirkland, WA

Tour: 04/01/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Overall, just great! We had to miss two events because it was Easter ... Pantheon and St. Peters Basilica, tho' some were able to get in at 6:30 same day. The Pope cancelled our tickets and Pantheon was closed. Nina kept us going and informed and spoke and kept the bus trip so interesting we never thought to sleep. This was our first trip and we could have researched locations, maps and extras we wanted to see much better than we did for times when we were on our own.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Volterra's amphitheater on a misty afternoon down below us ..."

Melanie

Mequon, WI

Tour: 04/01/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This is our forth tour and as always the tour was excellent. We choice to do tours with our family to keep structure and we enjoy groups. Nina was excellent and overall the tour was good!

Laura

Kenmore, WA

Tour: 04/01/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Fantastic Guide, fantastic group of people, and amazing sights!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Walking into the Collesseum through the gladiator entrance! So amazing to be right there and envision what took place there 2,000 years ago. And we did not have to waiting in the 2 hour line! Great experience with a great tour guide!"

David

Lagrange, GA

Tour: 03/18/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our heart of Italy tour was fantastic. It was a good balance of structured time with guided experiences and free time for exploration independently.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hard to pin down any one moment as a favorite. I will say that one of the things that really stood out to me is that I felt like we were still able to have a back door travel experience on this tour despite being a group of 28 travelers."

Sandy

Lake Worth, FL

Tour: 03/18/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

tour guides were top notch.knowledgeable and personable. restaurants were outstanding. hotels left something to be desired. Hotel Museum was excellent as well as hotel in Volterra. hotel in the Cinque Terra, was sketchy. the showers were very indicative of local small Italian cities, but were extremely small no shelves to put shampoo, conditioner. We were on the tour which was scheduled to go to the Vatican on Mar 19. Due to a holiday we had to reschedule. That was inconvenient.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Vatican, The David and the Ufuzzi Gallery in Florence."

Jerry

Wescosville, PA

Tour: 03/18/18

Overall rating: rating 2 of 5

We were asked to go along with two other friends. I would not do another group tour simply because I don't want to be tied up with 28 people, most who never traveled, that I don't know for 9 days. In saying that, the tour is fine for your target group.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I was very fortunate to have traveled overseas on a quarterly basis in my business career so somethings were more interesting than others but no WOW moments."

Laura

Albany, NY

Tour: 03/18/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had an amazing time in our tour in Italy. It was , what we thought would be a a once in a lifetime trip. Now, we are eager to book our next tour!.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Without a doubt, seeing St.Peters Basilica for the first time was awe inspiring."

Sheila

Pasadena, CA

Tour: 03/18/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

500 words seem vastly inadequate to encapsulate this marvelous experience of the Coure d'Italia tour. The well informed ( & I dare say truly passionate) tour guides, the bright company of a small group, the education that went with the wonder of my first experience in one of the seats of western democratic thought; all a genuine marvel. The pace suited me as well, with free time available to continue (or not) on my own as I chose. I can and will highly recommend the experience. Brilliant!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Tilting my head all the way back to peer through the oculus at The Pantheon was pretty dazzling. That moment has been processed hundreds of times since. It was, for me, a glimpse into the human want to reach the loftier aspects of life rather than hold attachment to the earthly and venal. It has always been a part of our souls to want to do so, I think...the oculus suggested that these ancient peoples were 'kin' in that regard. Difficult to choose one thing."

Larry

Tehachapi, CA

Tour: 03/18/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Great guide as usual. As you can see from the number of tours we have taken that we approve of your tours. Much of this one was a repeat of things seen on previous tours, but each guide has a slightly different view and knowledge base so we learned things missed before. Moreover, the same can be said for the different local guides. We enjoyed the tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It is hard to have a "wow" moment when you have been there before. The closest we came was the local guide at Lucca. Elena was beyond description, stamping her foot to reinforce a point, making members of the group actors to dramatize her history lessons, all done with an infectuous sense of humor. I smile even now thinking of her performance."

Richard

Beaverton, OR

Tour: 03/18/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The Heart of Italy tour blew my expectations out the window. I could not have imagined trying something like this on my own. All the arrangements, the short lines, guides, camaraderie, meals, wine... this was a good value with a lot of punch for what I got. Definitely an active tour, we went morning until night most days. Yet there was enough free time to pursue further interests or rest a bit too.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"To pick just one wow moment, I'd have to go with the Roman Forum. I felt like I was I was in ancient Rome among the temples and palaces. It gave me a close connection to this world. On second thought I might also go with hiking in the Cinque Terre!"

Jessica

Lubbock, TX

Tour: 03/11/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We LOVED our tour - it was exactly what we were looking for and the perfect time for what we could be away from work. We thought it also had the perfect amount of time for you to spend with the group and away from the group and highlighted most everything we wanted to see.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I personally enjoy the free day in cinque terre and hiking between small hill towns. My other favorite moments were the family dinners and trying the local cuisine."

Gary

Bethlehem, PA

Tour: 03/11/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I have long looked forward to experiencing a tour of Italy. Also having seen many Rick Steves Tour programs on PBS, it was at the top of our list as we began to consider tour options. The "Heart of Italy Tour" was much of what we were looking forward to, an opportunity to experience Italy within the time frame that worked best for us. I was more than impressed with the entire experience...informative, relaxing, inspiring and all we were hoping it would be.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Although very hard to pick one "wow" moment, I must say that my experience of St. Peter's Basilica was tops. Before we met with the entire group, my wife and I were able to worship in the Basilica on Sunday morning. Later that day and on Monday with the group we had the opportunity to tour the entire cathedral including Vatican Museums and Dome view. It was breathtaking."

Steven

Stillwater, MN

Tour: 03/11/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Great tour. Stephanie was a great guide!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The history of the area and the food."

Michelle

Prescott, AZ

Tour: 03/11/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

fantastic insight on locations, locals, customs and people from your well informed and personal guides in each city. Ample time after tours to go back and check out what we may have missed in each location while on the tours. Our group was small allowing for bonding amongst the team, which was great. when you travel alone you don't have instant friends like that to communicate with, and all the folks in our tour all seemed to be like minded. I loved the ability to Walk the towns we were in.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Cinque Terre just walking the coast line there, seeing the sights, eating the food. An amazing place. we went in low tourist time and were able to get around quite easily with no crowds. it was great. Also after wandering St Peters we were surprised - no totally awed - with a Papal sermon! yes we got to actually see and hear the POPE! Chance of a life time...."

Pamela

Brinnon, WA

Tour: 03/11/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

What a wonderful tour early in March! We had a small cohesive group which we nicknamed the "lucky group". So many little extras happened to our group and the usual crowds in Italy we almost non-existent. The weather was a little drippy but any downpours came when we were in a museum or on the bus.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There are too many special places in Italy to choose just one. This was my second time visiting most places but I learned and appreciated it so much more on this trip. My past experience was during a heat wave in the summer so having a guide and cool days was such a pleasure. Thank you!"

Mark

Prescott, AZ

Tour: 03/11/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

A no fuss, no muss trip. It was nice to have hotels and tours booked. The tour group was small, only 17 people. We had a combination of planned events plus free time. A good mix of both. Italy was in a cold spell this week, I felt we could have booked a couple weeks later for better weather. But the lower number of tourists was nice.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Saint Peters Basilica was amazing. Every square inch was magnificent paintings, sculptures or stonework. Truly inspiring."

Linda

Bethlehem, PA

Tour: 03/11/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The guides were knowledgeable and personable (I learned SO much I've annoyed many friends by sharing), the mix of guided tours with time to explore our interests on our own was great, the hotels were amazing and the food was outstanding. (I had several dietary restrictions and the food I was served was delicious - I was truly spoiled. I told a friend I ran out of superlatives to describe the trip.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The views from some of the towns in CinqueTerra, after walking up some of the smaller streets to the clock tower."

Leslie

Beaverton, OR

Tour: 03/04/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our second Rick Steves tour so our expectations were already set very high. This tour met and exceeded those expectations! Our first tour were the big three: Venice, Florence and Rome. This tour exposed us to the small town side of Italy - the hill towns, the coastal towns and still tossed in a dash of the big cities - who could ask for more? The group was small, only 21 of us, and all were excellent travel companions - a tribute to the personality types attracted to a RS Tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"How can I pick just one? Enetering the Colosseum via the Gladiator's gate with few other people in the arena. Walking the quiet back streets in Volterra. Standing cliffside and looking down at the little harbor in Vernazza. Gazing up at the David statue in Florence. The 360 degree view from the tower at our hotel in Florence. Pick one? HA! How can I?"

Joanne

Beaverton, OR

Tour: 03/04/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was such a wonderful experience that will be a very happy memory. We had such a great guide and group of people to share the trip. It was a very compatible group of tour mates and I'm convinced your tours attract only the best! I love to read my travel journal and look at our photos because it is so hard to believe all we saw and experienced on the tour. And all in only 9 days! Lisa is a terrific guide and one of the reasons we has so much fun. Love her!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Walking onto the Colosseum through the gladiator's entrance was a great "wow" moment. The early morning and rain did not dampen our spirits. In fact, it contributed to the moment because the arena was almost completely empty. Not many people get to experience that!"

Lynda

Arlington, TX

Tour: 03/04/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This is my 4th RS Tour and it may be my favorite so far. Always wanted to know more about the Etruscans and I loved Volterra. I also always wanted to see Lucca and get a feel for the Cinque Terre and this tour did that too. Rome was great to see again and I love Florence and was so happy to be able to remain there 8 more days at the end of the tour. It was just a terrific experience overall.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Everything was wonderful but my passion is the art we are able to see, and David and the amazing pieces in the Uffizi just stop me in my tracks everytime. The Botticellis, the Leonardos, the Michelangelos etc etc. just incredible. St Peter's in Rome was amazingly special too."

Lisa

Arlington, VA

Tour: 03/04/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My Heart of Italy Tour was most enjoyable. Why? Let's start with the guide, Lisa. What a marvel. She is incredibly knowledgeable about Italy as she has been living in the country for more than two decades and just as important, she knows how to share that knowledge with the group. The specialist guides also were fantastic and presented in enjoyable, memorable ways.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Two wow moments: Seeing the Coliseum in Rome from the gladiator's viewpoint at the ground level for a special tour made put us right there in the middle of what would have been the action. Seeing the Duomo, Bell Tower and Baptistry in Florence for the first time--I couldn't take my eyes off the beauty of those buildings--also a wow moment."

Jill

The Villages, FL

Tour: 03/04/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my first Rick Steves tour. I enjoyed how organized it was and the places that were visited. Lisa was an excellent tour guide.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"All of it was wow."

Richard

Puyallup, WA

Tour: 03/04/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I was interested in learning more about the history and art of Italy, and this tour met my expectations. This tour provided an active learning experience from the Etruscans through the Renaissance (and beyond). Lisa (guide) and the local guides were all great in bringing alive the history of Italy. Seeing the art of the Masters was incredible, and having guides to describe the detail and background made it even better. This tour fully met my expectations.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I actually caught myself saying "WOW" as we walked in through the Gladiator's Arch and Entrance to the Colosseum Arena. It was an incredible experience to stand on the Arena floor and look up to where the Emperor, Vestal Virgins, and crowd would have been seated above you. Also, viewing the magnificent artwork was "WOW" time: Michelangelo- the David, the Pita, Sistine Chapel; Bellini; da Vinci; Titian; Donatello; Raphael; Brunelleschi..."

Cynthia

Palm Coast, FL

Tour: 03/04/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

"Our" Lisa is such a confident, warm and knowledgeable guide. She kept things fun, interesting and didn't let anything get her flustered, including the pouring rain! The group was just the right size, keeping it intimate and moving smoothly. The shared meals were great! I really enjoyed the local fare(and wine!) This was my second visit to Italy and I learned so much more being part of a tour. I would definitely take another!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The forum. I was so fascinated by the sites of ancient Rome! Looked like a movie set, but...it's real! AMAZING!!!"

Mark

New Palestine, IN

Tour: 03/04/18

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

My wife and I have been to Italy several times traveling just the two of us but we enjoy the Rick Steves tours so much we decided to travel 'with Rick' for this experience. We were NOT disappointed. As always the tour was well planned and our tour guide (Lisa) and local guides were amazing. The hotels were clean and charismatic and located in great areas. This tour was completely filled with great things to experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"We enjoy the unique experiences that Rick and his team organize for the group. Having a private alabaster carving demonstration or a private wine tasting in Volterra make these tours so great. Enjoying the team dinners with Pesto making lessons or the lunch in the AutoGrill or hot chocolate and Gelato stops along the way! The private guides that teach us so much with their passion for their country and treasures. All amazing experiences. Visiting Volterra was the highlight for me."

Thanh-truc

Renton, WA

Tour: 03/04/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our first tour experience and it certainly didn't disappoint. All the guides were very informative and interesting. My favorite local guide was Ilaria from Rome. She alighted in me an appreciation and small understanding of art and architecture which I didn't possess before. And definitely I don't think we would've enjoyed our experience as much as we did without our guide, Lisa. She was approachable, knowledgeable, adaptive, caring and wonderful. Overall, we were happy with the tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hm...a wow moment? I think the most unusual and wow thing was the fact that all the art and history was displayed in such an accessible way. It wasn't behind a piece of glass standing from 10 feet away, it was in front of you and all around you. You were able to experience some of the things that someone living hundreds of years ago experienced - that was pretty cool."

Ellen

Boston, MA

Tour: 10/27/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Loved everything about it.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"While I have been to Rome's Pantheon before, on this walking tour, Alfio talked about it in such a way that made me realize that what I was looking at was even more remarkable than originally presumed. I think that is what a great guide does they bring the experience to a different level. Halloween Dinner/Dance Party at the Hotel Primavera -Lively Chef and Staff, Great Food, Amazing tour group, add great music into the mix, include one fun guide-output equals super fun dance party."

Donna

Chicago, IL

Tour: 10/27/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was fabulous and exceeded our expectations! We had never been on a group tour before, but there will definitely be more Rick Steves tours in our future! It was just the right balance of structured time and free time. We loved the group tours and dinners but it was also nice to be able to explore on our own and go out to dinner just the two of us. The tour was completely stress free!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I'm not sure "wow" is the right word, but we very much enjoyed the walking tour in Volterra."

Tom

Seattle, WA

Tour: 10/27/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

A great trip, well designed, well led. Weather was perfect except for one day (who could ask for more).

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I loved Volterra. We arrived to a beautiful sunset. The old stone streets are charming. We enjoyed everything there."

Robert

Kerrville, TX

Tour: 10/27/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our first Rick Steve's Tour and without doubt will not be our last. We were extremely impressed with Rick's entire operation, his travel philosophy, itinerary, accommodations, guides ( all exceptional ), and focus on group cohesion throughout tour. By the end of the tour our guide extraordinaire "Alfio" had transformed 28 strangers into one big happy Italian family touring The Heart of Italy. It was truly hard to see everyone go their separate ways by tour end. Unforgettable.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The first evening of the tour we did a walking tour of Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain and The Pantheon, all beautiful in their own right. The Pantheon though was for me just incredible. The engineering, architecture, art, and sourcing of materials. Before there were computers, and software to facilitate the design, heavy petroleum operated equipment to erect the granite columns and huge brass doors, just blew my mind. They were able to accomplish so much with nothing but brains and brawn."

Peter

Lebanon, IL

Tour: 10/27/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My first organized tour. It was everything I hoped for and more. Alfio was outstanding. He was my friend, not my guide! The pace was just right. The hotels were great for us. The local guides were knowledgeable and more importantly, passionate about their areas. I really liked the two-night stay in each city. Our dinners together were also just right. I would be hard pressed to find any serious complaint. I guess I have to say we were very lucky with the weather as well. Fantastic!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Carlo's "feast" in Levanto was my wow moment. What a great time. He and his staff made that a truly memorable night. I felt like an honored guest at a family dinner. Once again, Alfio was the perfect host/interpreter! We will never forget that evening."

Matthew

Chuo-ku, 13

Tour: 10/27/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had a fantastic time on this tour, which really exceeded our expectations across the board.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I think maybe the Pantheon, during our night walk around Rome -- incredible impact (supplemented by interesting explanation of the construction and subsequent history of the structure)."

Jane

Gresham, OR

Tour: 10/27/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I had a fabulous trip! Alfio was the best Guide I have had on now 3 Tours. He knows so much about history and is passionate about about life! He was extraordinary and nice and caring. Our group bonded quickly and everyone in our group watched out for everyone else; i think Alfio was A large part of why this happened....

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Climbing up the dome steps; Duetto?"

Mia

Chuo-ku, 13

Tour: 10/27/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I had some apprehensions about what a tour would be like - this was my first tour (and first Rick Steves' tour). But I absolutely loved it!!! This was in large part due to a great leader, Alfio, who with brio, a sense of humor, and a wealth of knowledge about Italy's history, led the way for our induction into a crash course of Italy and its historic sights, wonderful food, and amazing culture. Great people on the tour also made it a memorable experience. Truly awesome, through and through!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There are so many. Seeing the rolling, verdant hills of Tuscany enshrouded in a late night mist was breathtaking; marveling at the awe-inspiring symmetry and celestial beauty of the 2,000 year old Pantheon; eating a delicious tomato-based pasta in a family-owned restaurant in atmospheric, small town Volterra which felt like a town suspended above the clouds."

Jamie

Lake Forest Park, WA

Tour: 10/27/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our tour guide Alfio was so informative, fun, patient and helpful! He made everyone in the group feel so welcome and we ended up having a wonderful time together. Alfio made the trip unforgettable. In fact, all of the local tour guides on the trip were exceptional in their specific knowledge about the history and culture of the areas we were touring. It inspired me to do further research on my return home, and start thinking of my next Rick Steve's Tour!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Our first evening out on the tour we visited Trevi Fountain, the Spanish Steps, and my favorite...the Pantheon! That structure blew me away, and although we saw so many beautiful, amazing famous structures and art on the tour, the Pantheon still sticks in my mind as the most powerful impression."

Diane

Walla Walla, WA

Tour: 10/22/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I thought the tour was very well organized and was advertised very honestly. Our tour director, Ann Long was excellent. She was helpful when needed and very willing to just let us learn on our own. The guides at each tour were the best I have ever experienced- knowledgeable, easy to understand, great senses of humor and patient.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Cinque Terre"

Gina

Littleton, CO

Tour: 10/22/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our tour was very well thought out, organized, efficient, and informative. There is no way I could have enjoyed everything we did and saw on my own. Being able to listen to our well-educated guides provided a great education/backdrop as well as a personal/human touch to the experience. Sometimes I felt like I was transported in time and given a inside look at life in each place we visited.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My "wow," moment was feeling like I belonged in Italy. I felt like I was home and how familiar and connected each place and experience felt to me."

James

Palo Alto, CA

Tour: 10/22/17

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Wine tasting experience. Art history insights by Cynthia."

David

Westerville, OH

Tour: 10/22/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Interesting, stimulating, variety, and well organized.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Sculpture of David and Sistine Chapel."

Connie

Orange, CA

Tour: 10/22/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I enjoyed the tour very, very much. My husband and I had just completed another 9-day tour (of Israel) before we flew to Rome to start the Heart of Italy tour, and I was a little hesitant about doing tours back to back. Though we did get a little bit weary of bus-riding by the time we were done with Italy, both my husband and I were completely pleased with almost every single aspect of the Italy tour. From our guide, to our food, to our pace, to our destinations, it was wonderful.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"- The ceiling in the gallery of the map room in the Vatican Museum. - Entering the Coliseum via the gladiators' entrance - The city walls of the town of Lucca - The dinner we enjoyed with the group in Rome - The view of the Ponte Vecchio and other bridges down river in Florence"

Gerald

Lenexa, KS

Tour: 10/22/17

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Trip was 9 days us & 9 days R Steves. R Steves part much less stress, more learning, no lines, no hassles, but you lose some of the adventure. Liked free time. Missed some of interaction with locals

Favorite "WOW" moment

"1. Walking over bridge into Venice. 2. Buying tripe sandwich with locals in Florence & enjoying it overlooking river. 3. Seeing Cinque Terre 4. Assisi 5. Chivita 6. Learning to ride trains, tram, buses 7. Learning to use ATMs 8. The view from our hotel window in Montepulciano 9. Trying to talk with 2 older ladies in Orvieto (giving up & just hugging & kissing)"

Yvonne

Chicago, IL

Tour: 10/22/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I was a solo traveler and never felt alone, everyone in the group was so friendly and truly no grumps in my group. It was so well organized, hotels were so conveniently located to get around the towns. I am ready to book my next trip - this is the only way to travel . Thanks for a great time.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Volterra the hotel , the town was so cute and amazing ."

Glenda

Lenexa, KS

Tour: 10/22/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had traveled in Italy for 8 days prior to our joining this tour. Yes, we enjoyed more spontaneity on our own and could detour when we thought of other opportunities, but what was missing was the in-depth look at some of the sites. For example, we walked through the Roman Forum by ourselves, but we didn't really understand the role of the Vestal Virgins; we walked around the Colosseum but didn't know an in-depth analysis of the gladiators. So, the tour enriched our comfort and knowledge.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I treasured seeing the number of women drawn on the Sistine Chapel ceiling, knowing of the current extent of unemployment in Italy, seeing the number of Italians who smoke cigarettes, watching the line slowly snake toward entrance to the Vatican as we just walked in, truly internalizing that my husband and I had made it abroad."

Ruth

Albuquerque, NM

Tour: 10/22/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Fantastic!! For years I've wanted to travel to Italy and didn't know how to make it happen. One of my friends said "just put the date on your calendar and hi." I was traveling alone to Europe for the first time so there were a lot of unknowns. The many details handled by the tour company [INVALID] including the small book for speaking the language [INVALID] were so helpful and enabled me to experience different micro-cultures within Italy. I could never have known where to begin coordinating this myself.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Climbing the many steps to the Duomo and seeing the incredible cityscape of Florence (many thanks for the e-mail tip to make reservation ahead of time). Later that day, experiencing a magnificent sunset and taking in a different perspective of the Duomo. Numerous WOW moments....very hard to narrow it down."

Sue

Walla Walla, WA

Tour: 10/22/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I thought it was a great tour and appreciated the group tour time as well as the free time to learn about each place with visited.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Our RS tour group was invited specially to come into the coliseum in Rome through the same gate the gladiators entered. It gave me a great perspective for what they must have felt and seen as they entered the arena. I also loved riding the boat and coming into the docks of each town in the Cinque Terra. The views from the ocean were awesome and the sunset was incredible!"

Rex

Westminster, CO

Tour: 10/22/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Very well organized, and very fun. A good mix of tour time and free time.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Tuscany and Volterra. I couldn't sat why."

David

Clovis, CA

Tour: 10/22/17

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

It was hard to find a toilet any place!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"FOR MY HUSPAND IT WAS HIKING THE HILLS IN ITALY"

Weather

Italy / Florence

Florence Weather


Italy / Rome

Rome Weather

Hotels & Flights

Tour Hotels

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

Flights

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

Most tour members arrange to fly into Rome and out of Florence ("multicity" on flight-booking websites). Booking round-trip to one city will require a connecting flight, train trip, or additional overnight stay in Italy.

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