• 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

2019

2020

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. With your smart phone in hand and the Rick Steves Audio Europe™ app, Rick’s voice will guide you through the treasures of the Vatican Museums to the stunning grand finale: Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel. You'll have the rest of your day free to continue your modern-day pilgrimage at the greatest church in Christendom, 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

Stephanie

Sarasota, FL

Tour: 04/26/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I found it a wonderful mix of planned visits to attractions / museums and the free time to do as we wanted. The trip was well planned and executed. Sarah was delightful!!! The local "experts" who guided us through the various museums and destinations were so well qualified and prepared, they gave us such wonderful "behind the scenes" and a look back in some cases thousands of years.

Scott

Lafayette Hill, PA

Tour: 04/26/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Tour was managed very well. The sites were well chosen and interesting. I learned a great deal about Ancient Rome and Renaissance Italy. I really enjoyed the group dinners and local guided tours.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The view of Tuscany from the top of Volterra. Hiking the trails in cinque terre."

Elaine

Lafayette Hill, PA

Tour: 04/26/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We loved everything about the tour! Our tour guide, Sarah, and all of the local guides were outstanding. We enjoyed all of the group tours and the guides gave us great advice and assistance for using public transit and touring on our own as well as where to eat and shop. We had marvelous welcome happy hour at all stops on the trip. Group dinners were so much fun and enjoyed wonderful food and wine!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The views from the walks and the sea in Cinque Terre. Also, thoroughly enjoyed Volterra."

Mark

Schaumburg, IL

Tour: 04/26/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Great experience overall. Trip provided an appreciation for the historical development of society and role that Italy played. Overnight accommodations were good with great locations.

Deborah

Portland, ME

Tour: 04/24/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour was more then I ever expected. It was so well organized. I loved all the tour guides, they were so informative. Visiting these locations would not have been the same, without their guidance.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I love, love, loved Volterra, It was an amazing find. My husband and I got up early one morning, and walking through the streets with local bread delivery and street sweepers, I can really explain it but the simplicity was beautiful. We over looked walls the views were breathtaking. I highly recommend anyone visiting Italy to make this stop!"

Ali

Shelby, NC

Tour: 04/24/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My wife and I thought everything was on the money. We had great guides, no wasted time, plenty of free time, great support and a good, congenial group of travelers. We were extremely happy with everything.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Several, but mine was seeing the Sistine Chapel."

Art

Mercer Island, WA

Tour: 04/24/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

OVERALL EXCELLENT TRIP. We normally travel to places on our own however a travel agent friend said try a Rick Steve's Tour they do and they love it. It turned out to be a great suggestion, our group was comprised of 28 wonderful people from all over the US and only 2 had been on a Rick Steves Tour before so the rest of us were first timers. Our guide Donald was SUPER always greeting us with a smile and explained everything in detail that we needed to know and to do.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Everyday was great sightseeing and information however I was amazed how well the tour was organized WOW!"

Peggy

Shelby, NC

Tour: 04/24/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The variety of locations was wonderful. Our guide, Donald, went above and beyond to make each segment meaningful at every turn. We were also impressed with the knowledgeable city guides who greatly enhanced our experiences. Ground transportation was excellent. We were pleased with each hotel and with the huge breakfast offerings each day. We thoroughly enjoyed the four group dinners. Most of all, the comradeship that grew within our group added greatly to our overall enjoyment .

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The spectacular, breathtaking Tuscan landscape!"

Lincoln

Somersworth, NH

Tour: 04/24/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I had high expectations and they were met! Experience energized and empowered us for future travel!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"So many wow moments...other than the obvious ...masterpieces and buildings...Voltaire was a favorite."

Thomas

Chattanooga, TN

Tour: 04/17/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Sarah Shortreed brought such a positive energy every single day, with excellent organization. We had little to do but soak in the Italy experience. The Italy guides were also exceptional. They mixed a wealth of knowledge of their areas of expertise with humor that allowed us to learn so much more than reading a guide book. I really appreciated the trip organization schedule which allowed us to explore on our own, giving freedom to explore We look forward to more Rick Steve trips soon!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Alabaster carvers in Voltarra! After the demonstration of how they carved, I, being an amateur lathe wood turner myself, returned later in the day and spent some time with the Master Carver. Despite the language difficulty, I was able to give him an ink pen I brought which I had turned, and in turn, he gave me two beautiful pieces of white and pink Alabaster to take home to turn on my own lathe."

Priscilla

Elk Grove, CA

Tour: 04/17/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

As a first-time Rick Steve's tour-taker, I feel that I started with the best! The tour was beyond any expectations I could have had. Our tour guide, Sarah, was awesome! Friendly, helpful, knowledgeable, organized, and yes, FUN! There was so much history, art, scenery, and food to experience, there was never a dull moment. With a group of strangers, there's always a possibility of clashes. That did not occur. Everyone was friendly and had a good attitude. No complainers. GREAT TOUR!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I think my biggest "wow" moment was the realization that America is truly a young country. In school, ancient history was never a favorite subject, and I probably felt what I learned was in someone's imagination. Then, there I was in Italy, actually walking on streets that were thousands of years old! Seeing the ancient buildings, STILL IN USE! I felt my world at home was very small, indeed. It was a very humbling experience, to say the least."

Fred

Montrose, CO

Tour: 04/17/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was everything I imagined. Well organized, fantastic vistas, comfortable hotels, great food.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hiking the Cinque Terra. I just about hyperventilated many times trying to inhale all the scents from the orange and lemon blossoms. Trying to take in the view made walking interesting because I didn't want to look down at the trail, but rather see the breathtaking views! Made me appreciate what a beautiful world we all get to live in."

Daniel

Panama City Beach, FL

Tour: 04/17/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour provided an excellent balance of guided activities and independent time to explore, with each approach providing memories that will last a lifetime. I also thought the package was a good value, with many meals and attractions included, in addition to lodging and transportation between destinations. I probably could have saved a little money booking things myself, but I shudder to think how much time would have been wasted standing in lines and wandering around lost!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"As an engineer, it was interesting learning about the methods used to construct the dome of the Pantheon in Rome, with each layer getting progressively thinner, with the highest sections near the occulus using pumice rock for aggregate. It became a "WOW" moment when I realized this was done 1900 years ago!"

Linda

Snohomish, WA

Tour: 04/17/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Fantastic! The pre-trip preparation tips and well-planned itinerary made this a most excellent experience! Teaching us to use the train and bus systems right out of the gate was wise. I actually managed to not get lost during free time :) My expectations for a "taste of Italy" were far exceeded.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I' must pick two. On Good Friday evening in Volterra we had just left our charming restaurant after a wonderful meal and met the followers of a procession in the piazza. A walking cadence on a drum, a canopy over the priest, a wagon bearing a wooden cross, a wagon bearing an ornately carved statue of Jesus, followed by villagers with candles and lights. And as we joined the procession, we became part of the village. Tears. And In Firenze, David. Tears."

Judy

Snohomish, WA

Tour: 04/17/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It has been my dream to visit Italy and this tour more than exceeded my dreams! I couldn't have asked for a more adventurous and fulfilling first-time trip to Italy. We couldn't pick the people who were going to be in our group but I have made a new set of friends. Our tour guide Susan made the trip even more special; and talk about fun! That seems to be Susan's middle name. The art, the food, the people and the places in Italy are amazing! To misquote Dr. Suess: Oh the places I saw!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Mid-trip I was doing laundry in Levanto; I sat outside waiting for the dryer. It was fun to people watch. I look up the street and an older couple came down the sidewalk; the woman was helping the man to walk. They stopped to rest in the middle of the street and before they started up again they stood cheek to cheek then smiled sweetly at each other and moved on. It was such a tender moment. It could have been my parents in Nome, Alaska but it was a beautiful older couple in Levanto, Italy."

William

Hicksville, NY

Tour: 04/17/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I expected this to be a great trip, but it was beyond all expectations! Not only the places we seen, but everyone in Rick's staff and the people we were traveling with. I compare it to Dorthy landing in OZ! Thanks all for a true trip of a lifetime.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Rome! What a great place."

Juanita

Napa, CA

Tour: 04/17/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

First time in Italy and I loved every minute of it! Sarah was a terrific guide very informative and fun! The transportation was just as nice as i expected if not better. Sarah helped us navigate through the different modes of transportation and was always available if we needed help. Loved the time we had as a group and the time we had to explore on our own, perfect! Sarah always pointed out places that we may want to explore on our own and she was always right. Italy is an amazing place!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were so many it is difficult to pick one. I believe visiting the Coliseum would be my wow moment. The history and the size was just amazing!!"

Diane

Chattanooga, TN

Tour: 04/17/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Favorite "WOW" moment

"David in Florence"

Michele

Petaluma, CA

Tour: 04/14/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had a great time. It was well run tour. David our guide was incredible! He made the tour !

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The coliseum in Rome."

Karen

Heath, TX

Tour: 04/14/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We loved everything about this amazing experience. Our guide David was totally awesome!

Diana

Arlington, WA

Tour: 04/14/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I had a wonderful time. Not only was Italy a great place to visit, but the tour was laid out very well. We had nice accommodations, plenty of free time mixed in with great group time and David was a fabulous guide. Also all of the local guides were great.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I had a lot of wow moments - but the first time we came around the corner of our narrow street into the piazza in front of the Duomo would be the most memorable. Such an imposing yet beautiful structure. However, there were many others, close behind. We saw so much beautiful art and amazing history it is hard to put one above the other."

Sandra

Yuba City, CA

Tour: 04/14/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was an amazing trip with a "out of this world" tour guide and a wonderful group of people. The amount of time in each city was good and the guides in each city were excellent. I would encourage anyone to take this trip to beautiful Italy.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"This was my fourth trip to Italy and the surprise for me was Volterra. I loved the history and the size of the town. Those views from Volterra to the surrounding country side was amazing. Florence was also an amazing experience. What a beautiful city with so much history and art. Both David and the local guide did a great job in guiding us through this great city."

Shelley

Montpelier, OH

Tour: 04/14/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our tour was very well organized with the best restaurants and hotels possible.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Clinique Terre was our favorite . The beautiful , colorful buildings built into the cliff sides ."

Joseph

Petaluma, CA

Tour: 04/14/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Fantastic journey through history, art, culture and architecture. Should have done this years ago.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The visit to the WWII memorial south of Florence."

Gerald

Los Osos, CA

Tour: 04/14/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was great from start to finish. This os our 3rd tour and the best yet! Our tour guide was David and we all just loved him. His knowledge of his home country was amazing. Its history, its various regions and the provinces- he just was so informative in every area. All that and he was funny and caring to all of us. I can't imagine a better tour guide in all of the roster of Rick's guides.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I never think of "wow" experiences. It ALL is a wonderful experience. The most affecting was being able to walk on the floor of the coliseum."

Katherine

Los Osos, CA

Tour: 04/14/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our Heart of Italy Tour was fabulous! The tour exceeded my expectations in every way. By visiting both large cities and small towns, we were able to see many sides of Italy. The itinerary of the tour is amazing! To see the art and architecture of Italy was a dream come true. Through our wonderful guide David, and the exceptional local guides that led us in stops along the way, I learned about the history of Italy, shaping my understanding of Italy today. It was truly a trip of a lifetime!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The first wow is our guide David who is so engaging, intelligent, caring, and has a warm and spirited sense of humor (and what a musician!). Another wow was getting caught up in a thunder storm while walking to our first group dinner. The group got drenched, and what a wonderful way to get to know one another! Another wow was walking on to the floor of the Colosseum through the doors of the gladiators. I will never forget looking up to where the spectators would sit... it was "jaw-dropping"."

Richard

Calgary, AB

Tour: 04/14/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We were entertained, taught, well fed & tired from many miles of walking but very happy with the whole 9 days. Our first evening together, the skies of Rome opened up and it poured!!! Thunder and lightening added to the excitement. We persevered and David held fast with keeping us entertained while walked & stuck close to walls trying to skirt out of the rain as much as we could. By the time we got to our restaurant, we were wet but warm friendships and great memories were already developing.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Our day tour through Rome. The day after our wet night walk, the sun shone bright. Rome's air was fresh and we made our way to Pantheon & Trevi Fountain. We visited a cathedral, we would have otherwise missed, if it weren't for our amazing day tour guide, Francesca. Italy is fascinating and with the direction from all our wonderful guides all of our senses were fulfilled. They offered so much history & told the stories so well, it made me feel like I was actually a citizen of Italy."

Kathleen

Saint Paul, MN

Tour: 04/14/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Wonderful trip throughout-not having to stand in most of the museum lines was great. Everything went according to the schedule with lots of time to do your own thing. David was a great host and very considerate of the group needs.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Cinque terrra-maybe a little more time there. Had a beach picnic."

Gayle

Glen Carbon, IL

Tour: 04/14/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our first RS tour and it exceeded our expectations. We had been to Italy before, but this time we experienced Italy through the eyes of an Italian. Our tour guide, David, was terrific. We learned so much about Italy's history and people thru David's stories and the excellent local guides. The four group dinners provided us a wide variety of local cuisine, allowing us to experience many more dishes than dining on our own. Must mention the fantastic group of fellow travelers!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Our first "wow" moment was experiencing Rome traffic via our taxi drive from FCO to the hotel. Visiting Volterra after the crowded, busy city of Rome was wonderful. Cinque Terre is so charming it must be mentioned. In Florence, watching our Florentine steak be cut, weighed and brought to our table was a fun dinner on our own. Introducing grandson Mike to Italy was a "wow" moment for us all. Can't forget our last night's entertainment provided by David; so enjoyed it!!"

Elizabeth

Westminster, MA

Tour: 04/12/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were so many "wow" moments however seeing the statue of David rates as #1!"

Kathleen

Tucson, AZ

Tour: 04/12/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Donald did a great job. He encouraged group members to mix and for the most part they did. Individual tour leaders were also very good.

Favorite "WOW" moment

""Wow" was my reaction when I saw St. Ignacious (sp) Church. I have been to Rome before but had never seen this church. What a great addition to the tour."

Emilia

Highland Village, TX

Tour: 04/12/19

Overall rating: rating 3 of 5

I discovered places I would never have found on my own and a very interesting cultural experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Volterra - the absolute splendor and beauty of Tuscany"

William

Durham, NC

Tour: 04/12/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My posiitve comments would be too long to write. Really, really great trip and great itineary. One (and probably only) disappointment for the tour was visit to the Vatican Museums. Not the fault of Rick Steves and team, but the experience in Vatican Museums was very uncomfortable and unpleasant because there were just too many people.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Cinque Terra was fabulous."

Nickie

Signal Mountain, TN

Tour: 04/12/19

Overall rating: rating 3 of 5

Loved Italy! This was my second Rick Steves Tour. (First one was Barcelona and Madrid.) I liked Italy more (more beautiful, more history, great food!)--but I preferred the slow pace of the 2 city trip. It's a dilemma for me. I loved all 4 cities---but wished we had less travel on the bus and more time in each city. I ruralize that you do offer trips like that.)

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Voltaire---because I had no expectations. Loved it. Same with Lucca. Loved the tour guide. Also loved guided tour of art museum in Florence. All then local guides were excellent."

Edward

Renton, WA

Tour: 04/07/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

From beginning to end Rick Steves tours provided a abundance of material to prepare us. There was never a time during the tour that I felt I was unprepared or neglected. The mix of locations on the "Heart of Italy" tour, from big cities Rome and Florence to small towns Volterra and the Cinque Terre, was a pleasant contrast.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My greatest "wow" moment came when seeing the Pantheon come into view on the first day of the tour. The history, architecture, and immense size smacks you in the face when you see it in person. Being from Washington state, this was my first time leaving the country and experiencing history greater than 500 years old."

Cynthia

Port Angeles, WA

Tour: 04/07/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Extremely fascinating from start to finish. The hotels with character, the intense history lessons from tour guides at each site, the delicious food in the most wonderful venues. The whole trip was filled with extras!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The stop at the Florence American Cemetery and Memorial. This was an emotional stop, I was completely overcome. This is a beautiful sacred stop. What an honor i felt paying respects to the men who gave the ultimate sacrifice. The grounds are beautiful It made me want to find history on the other 13 USA cemeteries outside of the U.S. There were many moments of awe during the trip but this unexpected stop was special to me."

Laura

Elmwood Park, IL

Tour: 04/07/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Kudos to our guide Patricia. Never saw such a hardworking, passionate host. Patricia worked throughout our tour to handle every detail while providing ongoing information on each stop. Each local guide was also amazing: hilarious, insightful, wise, thorough. The guides were a feast for my brain. I loved each hotel, most of the meals were fabulous. I felt taken care of and challenged. It was a perfect blend of together time and separate time. A remarkably well planned trip.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Volterra was stunning and Annie our guide was unforgettable. Her passion and knowledge were infectious. Her stories were powerful. Our hotel was great. The countryside and Etruscan museum took my breath away."

Paul

Brevard, NC

Tour: 04/07/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Simply great! Our group was very cohesive and I certainly enjoyed getting to know all of them. In terms of organization[INVALID]spectacular! The places we went, restaurants that had been chosen for our group meals, the hotels, transportation, well, I cannot say enough good things. And our guide Patricia is simply the best. She always had time for each of us, set a very pleasant pace as we toured and is the veritable "wealth of knowledge". The other guides were also tops, too.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I had dreamed of seeing the Coliseum since a youth and wow, there it was. What a memory!"

Terrill

Renton, WA

Tour: 04/07/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Patricia was an amazing guide!! The experience was remarkable and I appreciated the balance of guided adventure and free time. I will recommend this tour to friends

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were so many, but too experiences included the history and architecture of Roman ruins, cathedrals and the Duomo in Florence. My favorite "wow" city was Volterra. I could see myself retiring there!"

Arthur

Spring Lake Heights, NJ

Tour: 04/07/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I had toured Italy years ago on my own and got a taste of the country amazed by the architecture, statues and paintings in Rome, Florence, Naples and Venice. While I was delighted at the time, in retrospect I did not gain a full appreciation of what I had experienced. This tour with the professional guides Laria, Annie,Cindy and their respective expertise on the histories of the cities and its treasures filled that void.The meals on the tour provided an appreciated gustatory experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"While the unscheduled visit to the American cemetery in Florence was an interlude to our busy schedule, it was a reflective moment for me and other members of our tour. We learned much about the ancient Roman brutal world and were confronted with the same in recent history. To me the dead in the cemetery had given their lives so that we tourists were able to visit Italy today and ponder its treasures."

Lana

Windham, NH

Tour: 04/05/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I was a single traveler and was worried about how I would get along with a group of "unknown" couples, but Sarah (the guide) and everyone was so kind, I was very thankful to be in the group. We would see each other around the various towns, which to me was comforting to see familiar faces, and a lot of times we would end up eating together or doing an activity together. I also was worried that there would be not enough free time, but I found the balance to be perfect.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hiking the Cinque Terra was amazing, as well as exploring Manorola. I LOVED Volterra, it was so quaint, quiet, beautiful, and not touristy, and it had a wonderfully rich history. I loved being able to open the shuttered windows at the hotel and look out over the quiet town and just soak it in. I didn't really know what to expect in Volterra, so I was wonderfully surprised and it ended up being my favorite town we stayed in."

Robin

Snohomish, WA

Tour: 04/05/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

This was our first group tour experience and it was what we were hoping for and would do it again! I liked that the group was small (25) and that so much of the planning was taken care of. The group was friendly and easy to interact with and our guide was helpful. I liked that you had some free time each day and thought the hotels were great!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"This one is hard because I felt like each city was different and had things I liked - I was surprised at how much I enjoyed Rome and I really liked seeing the Coliseum/Forum. Volterra was probably my favorite city on the trip - I loved our walking tour with Annie, the alabaster workshop and wine tasting with Francesco! We did a pesto making class on our own in Cinque Terre that was a highlight and our group dinner was fantastic!"

Veronica

Bridgman, MI

Tour: 04/05/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour was listed as strenous and I think that was true although I did enjoy all the walking. It seems that every place we visited was different. We started in Rome with the Vatican and the Coliseum and then to Volterra which was a beautiful smaller town, from there to Lucca and then on to the Cinque Terra with its beautiful seaside villages. We ended in Florence visiting Michaelangelo's David and more great architecture and museums. In some of my free time I visited more churches

Favorite "WOW" moment

"If I had to choose, I would have to say that I was most impressed by the Coliseum. It was such an awesome experience to be standing in that structure. It is one of those things that you can't explain, you have to experience it. And of course - gelato."

Karin

Fort Wayne, IN

Tour: 04/05/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our overall experience was fantastic! We felt like we were given plenty of detailed information up front to help prepare us for the type of trip this would be and how much stamina we would need for each day. I thought there was a good balance between scheduled activities and free time, too.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Seeing the Tuscany and Cinque Terre areas! The views are simply indescribable!"

Judith

Buchanan, MI

Tour: 04/05/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

There was just so much to see and learn about each city we visited. Having such informed and passionate guides made for a great experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I think the Coliseum and the Vatican Museums were my "wow" moments."

Keith

Snohomish, WA

Tour: 04/05/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

This was a trip of a lifetime...everything I imagined and more!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I just loved the history, Wine and food but was my wow was the land, green and country while riding from place to place."

Deborah

Youngsville, LA

Tour: 04/05/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I liked the idea of organized tours but still had free time. I also liked the buddy system and the fact that there was a time to leave/meet and guide would stick to it.I know things happen but I hate having to be on time only to wait for people who are always late. Liked the idea of headsets so tour guide could talk while walking and didn't have to gather us all around are "yell" to be heard. I wear hearing aids so that was a real concern for me. I got along pretty well.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Loved the food on the evening meals we had together"

Genevieve

Seattle, WA

Tour: 04/05/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Having never booked a group tour experience, I didn't know what to expect. I speculated that for the majority of this Mother-Daughter trip I would be grumpy about co-mingling and making small talk with the same strangers for 10 days and feel personal exploration would be limited by a tight schedule. What resulted was a truly perfect 9-day introduction to Italy and a memorable journey my mother and I will bond over for years to come.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"While impossible to choose a favorite moment, I think I was surprised by how riveting it was to see Michaelangleo's David. For the 7 days prior, we had absorbed so much knowledge and art history regarding Michaelangelo that when it came time to see what I considered prior as the most cliche, over-hyped piece of art in history, I was actually captivated. The museum was not too crowded which made the experience that much more personal."

Mary Anne

San Jose, CA

Tour: 03/29/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was such a fantastic vacation. I felt like I got so much support from Stephanie, the hotel staffs and the group. I really enjoyed the group times and having time to wander on my own. It was a great balance.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Stephanie's artist friend, Catalina, invited us to her studio after hours to show us her technique and her work. My husband even got to create a painting that evening that she allowed us to take home. It was such an amazing experience that could not have happened without Stephanie's/Rick Steves' connection."

Camille

Saint Paul, MN

Tour: 03/29/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was our 30th wedding anniversary celebratory trip. My spouse had never been to Europe and was a skittish traveler, but this trip not only put his mind at ease, it was so spectacular it made him a convert! And as someone who has been to Europe a couple of times in the past, I had a lot to compare this trip to. It exceeded my expectations, and surpassed both other tour companies and independent travel I have experienced.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Only one??? Being immersed in the culture and scenery of every stop was amazing. We were not only spectators, we were PART of whatever activity we engaged in."

John

Clifton, VA

Tour: 03/29/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was a combination of the perfect tour agenda, tour guide and tour participants as possible. Of course, our tour activities and places visited went way to fast. All the travel details were expertly handled and any changes in plans were openly discussed and agreement upon.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Colosseum and Roman Forum were spectacular. I only wish that we would have spent a bit more time touring the Colosseum. Being a vet, I was also very touched and humbled when we stopped at the American WWII Cemetery outside of Florence. It wasn't listed on our schedule BUT it needs to be included on all future Roman/Florence tours. Walking in Rome at night and eating gelato on the the Spanish Steps. Also the fascinating history of the Roman Theatre in Volterra was very interesting."

Mike

San Jose, CA

Tour: 03/29/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was well organized and thoroughly planned out making the process very smooth and stress free. From the initial preparations through the last day, all the necessary information was clearly communicated. The local guides were wonderful and the ability to explore on our won after receiving the overview and being introduced to special locations was very fun and contributed to the overall sense of vacation.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Being able to try my hand at "flash painting" with the artist Caterina Balletti in Florence was an experience I will never forget. She was a wonderful and very generous person to share her time and materials for me to make a painting following her example."

Lydia

Chino, CA

Tour: 03/29/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was a great experience! Our guide Stephanie was knowledgeable, helpful and really made the trip fun. I also enjoyed the local guides as well.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My "wow" moment was at the Colosseum, that is something you have to see to believe. Hearing all the historical information from our local guide Hilaria was amazing."

Janet

Lakeway, TX

Tour: 03/29/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The trip was amazing. I've never been on any kind of organized tour before and wasn't sure what to expect. Well organized, interesting and fun with plenty of free time too. Hotel picks were perfect. Our guide was knowledgeable and extremely helpful and seemed to be enjoying the trip too. She threw in a few surprises along the way that only added to the experience. Keeping the group small meant we had a chance to get to know each other and make some wonderful new friends.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Tuscan countryside in the spring. Gorgeous!"

Jo

Edmonds, WA

Tour: 03/29/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our tour guide Stephanie was outstanding. She really focused on bringing the group together as a family in a very short time. She always seemed to have that mid morning second breakfast snack that we needed in our excursions. We really enjoyed our group. Our local guides were all knowledgeable and extremely engaging. Travel arrangements were smooth and well coordinated.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My wow was Eliria our local guide in Rome. She was so funny and engaging. Her Italian accent was something I could listen to all day."

Miriam

Edmonds, WA

Tour: 03/29/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was outstanding - well organized and facilitated. The tour allowed us to experience the essence of Italy through historical and cultural explorations with folks who had an opportunity to bond and share these unique experiences.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The stop at the American Cemetary in Florence. The Colisseum. Getting to know the other tour members."

Richard

Chino, CA

Tour: 03/29/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I thought the tour was excellent. For a first timer to Italy, this tour covers four completely different areas of Italy emphasizing ancient history and how it reflects and shapes todays architecture, politics and cultural views upon the world, the joy of solitude and peace in a hilltop village, how seatown villages just within sight of each other can be totally unique and enthralling from one another, and meditating moments gazing on some of the greatest art collections in the world creates awe

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favorite wow moment was being able to get an up close view of all the unbelievable artwork Florence has to offer"

Karol

Centralia, WA

Tour: 03/17/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Everything was wonderful! Scenery, history, art, architecture and especially cruising the side streets and meeting some of the amazing "older" folks we met in the coffee bars. Age has its own special beauty.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Volterra"

Cindy

Norman, OK

Tour: 03/17/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My husband and I have traveled to many places on our own. This trip we decided to expand and meet new friends as well as have the history and expertise that Rick Steves is known for. Our Heart of Italy tour met these expectations and so much more. Sarah and Tina were amazing Guides and the group really was perfect as far as personalities and ages. We had such a variety of personalities, but we all enjoyed each other. The planned activities were amazing and always included a little extra.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Of course each day was filled with WOW moments in Italy. I think the one that stayed with me the most was touring the Colosseum and Forum with Francesca. She really brought the "Lasagna of Rome" to life and made us feel the stories that developed over time. It wasn't just "rocks". It was life for now and for many past events. The wonder and the horror of the Romans was brought to us that day."

Katherine

Scottsdale, AZ

Tour: 03/17/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was a fabulous tour from start to finish! Our tour guides ( Sarah & Tina ) were extremely knowledgable, organized&professional. Tour members were friendly & considerate & fun to get to know. Our hotels were very comfortable & our room with en-suite in the hotel in Volterra was palatial ! This tour was a good mix of big cities ( Rome, Florence) and small towns ( Lucca, Volterra & Cinque Terra).Group meals were excellent & hearty& trying new things was fun!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were many Wow moments-it's hard to nail down just one... but the talks from Francesca in Rome in the Pantheon & the Forum were fantastic! Her knowledge & passion for Rome's history was exhilarating & left me wanting to know more. The drive into Tuscany & reaching Volterra was beautiful, especially with Sarah playing Italian music over the speakers in the bus.Another highlight would have to be the views at Rio Maggiore & the sunset at Vernazza!Fabulous!"

Lisa

Scarsdale, NY

Tour: 03/17/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was the first time my husband and I took a tour. We did not know what to expect but it was a wonderful experience. We knew we wanted to see different cities in Italy but we did not want to drive ourselves. It was nice having a comfortable bus to move around with. Our group was relatively small. Everyone was friendly and were willing to share what they did in their "free" time. Our group was exceptional and really cared about each other.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My wow moment was visiting the Pantheon in Rome, looking up at that dome and trying to comprehend how that was built without modern technology and how it is still standing after 1900 years. Amazing. I visited Rome 2x in my youth and I thought I knew Rome. Visiting again was like visiting an old friend you thought you knew but still had secrets you had yet to discover."

Robert

Centralia, WA

Tour: 03/17/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Sarah and Tina did an outstanding job with all the arrangements, and by providing exceptional guidance for everyone in our tour group.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Touring the Colosseum in Rome was of great interest, but I was very impressed by all of the tours in Rome, Voltera, and Florence."

James

Clearwater, FL

Tour: 03/10/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

I have been to these cities & towns on other RS trips, but I went back to fill in the gaps of things not seen. Accomplished most of these goals; the list of things to see is inexhaustible. Unfortunately Florence failed me. I twisted a knee in hotel upon arrival, so I'll have to get back there! The dinners were magnificent, the free day in Cinque Terre was invaluable for photo ops, and, who doesn't love medieval Lucca's Magic? There's no place on earth like Rome??.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Forum view from The Tabularium was breathtaking. I ventured there solo. Deserves super strong recommendation for those who have free time to visit via the Campidoglio museum. The view from the little "vineyard walk" over Manarola-- thank you, Nina-- was an awe-inspiring WOW. I highly recommend this over the longer ( and more arduous ) inter-village hike, which I did 13 years ago."

Lisa

Toronto, ON

Tour: 03/10/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The perfect cultural experience for our teenager's first trip to Europe. We travelled as a family and all felt fulfilled on every level as artists, explorers, foodies and curious students of world history. The leadership was energising and charming, the schedule was manageable. And all of the local tour guides were fantastic.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"too many to count: being severed freshly squeezed lemon/orange juice by a local on our Cinque terra hike wine tasting in Voleterra dancing with our group in Cinque Terra Climbing the tower in Voleterra Seeing where Juilus Ceasar was laid to rest and Mark Anthony spoke the words, "Friend's Roman's Countrymen, lend me your ears!""

David

Temple Terrace, FL

Tour: 03/10/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Upon returning from vacation, countless people have asked me, "How was the tour?" My response, "There are not enough superlatives to describe how this was The Greatest Vacation Ever." Where do I begin? This tour hit a "10" on so many levels-It was stress-free, well organized and FUN. We have never done an organized tour and I was a little skeptical, but the Rick Steves Heart of Italy was beyond our greatest expectations. Our only question, "Where do we go for our next Rick Steves Tour?"

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were so many WOW moments,but here are some of my favorites. The first night, Nina & Marijan's ease and precision during our evening stroll though the streets of Rome,capped off with an incredible dinner. The Cinque Terra, Chef Carlo's amazing buffet and pesto demonstration it was an amazing night of fun. Exploring the Cinque Terra and hiking from Vernazza to Monterossa. Wine tasting in Volterra with Francesco. Awe inspiring art & history lessons everyday. Biking,Beer and Pizza in Lucca."

Denise

Temple Terrace, FL

Tour: 03/10/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour exceeded my expectations in every single category. I was giddy when I returned to the US,describing the tour to friends and family. There are not enough superlatives to describe how this was The Greatest Vacation Ever!!! This tour hit a "10" on so many levels: It was stress-free, well organized and FUN. I had never done an organized tour, and I was a little skeptical. But the Rick Steves Heart of Italy was beyond my greatest expectations.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I have too many "wow" moments to list. The tour was that good. Obviously, the David, the Uffizi, St. Peter's Basilica and the Sistine Chapel were Wow moments. But we were able to hike from Vernazza to Monterosso, and the scenery was spectacular. In the Cinque Terra, we adored Chef Carlo's amazing buffet and pesto demonstration. I also loved the city walks with Nina & Marijan and the local guides."

Anne L

Madison, MS

Tour: 03/10/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

The tour was well organized and the tour guides were knowledgeable. The hotels were good with greexcept the one in The Chinque Terre. it was not clean and I didn't like carrying my bags upstairs. I would gladly pay a little more to have the luggage delivered to the room. would have been a huge improvement to have a guide in the Vatican, St Peter's and the Sistine Chapel.

Kelli H

Starkville, MS

Tour: 03/10/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hiking into Vernazza from Monterosso. The views made all those steps worth it!"

Julie

Tacoma, WA

Tour: 10/21/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Amazing!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"While in Volterra, the Netflix series "Medici: Masters of Florence" was filming its third season. Seeing the cast members walking thru the medieval town in costume was truly surreal. Then seeing those same actors and actresses reaching into their costumes for glasses, cell phones and cigarettes was mind blowing!"

Sandra

Apex, NC

Tour: 10/21/18

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

We saw sights on this trip we could not have seen on our own. Primarily because our Rick Steve's tour guides knew how to bypass the lengthy lines at places like The Coliseum and Vatican in Rome, just to mention a few. They also took us to restaurants that were not just tourist places but instead the local favorites!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Seeing the Cinque Terre region! So absolutely colorful and beautiful!"

Bob

Milford, CT

Tour: 10/21/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I have been to parts of Europe before but never Italy. I thought the best way to go was with a tour. Boy, was I right. Only way to go. Everything was perfect all the boxes were checked. Food, Lodging, Tours,and the Wine . Everything was perfect. All the guides were excellent. Of course Dimitri was just greart

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Visiting Cinque Terre the mountains , the villages,the people, the houses. And of course Rome. Everything about it was fabulous. Tomy experience the whole tour was a "WOW" moment."

Jeffrey

Atlanta, GA

Tour: 10/21/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Dimitri did a wonderful job bonding the group so that everyone was comfortable around each other. It made the trip so enjoyable that everyone was friendly and caring toward each other.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The city of Volterra!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

Joseph

Baltimore, MD

Tour: 10/21/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our experienced guides brought the historical context of ancient and modern Rome into view and provided us with both a fun and enlightening trip through the culture of Italy. Dimitri brought our group from all over the USA ranging in age from 25 to 80 together as a band of curious travelers to enjoy a shared experience of the history, art, food and culture of this wonderful country.

Kathy

De Pere, WI

Tour: 10/21/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My sixth Rick Steves' tour did not disappoint. 22 of 26 tour members were RS virgins and they were amazed that I had been on so many tours. By the end of the trip I think everyone had ideas about a 2nd tour. My first trip to Italy was amazing. Great food, beautiful sights, enthusiastic and knowledgeable tour guides, and fun travel companions were all a great part of the experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My husband and I took a pre-breakfast walk to the ancient gate in Volterra to see the sunrise and the misty Tuscan countryside. It's a beautiful city with a beautiful vista and wonderful people. Of all the places we visited, we think this is where we'll definitely return. And David. He's definitely "wow.""

Mary

Wilmington, DE

Tour: 10/21/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had an amazing tour, wonderful tour guide, and support and goodwill all along the way. We met wonderful fellow travelers, and in only 9 days, forged an incredible sense of community and connections with one another. Loved the balance between free and structured time, and the great "sub" guides that took us to the Vatican (Ilaria), colosseum (Ilaria), Volterra (Annie), and the Uffizi gallery (? name).

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Too many to single down to just one...I particularly loved the coastline in Monterosso, the winding streets of Volterra and the view of Florence from the Basillica San Miniato."

Laura

Olympia, WA

Tour: 10/19/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I really enjoyed the tour. It was a great balance of together and solo time. Karin was an excellent guide and always available for questions and suggestions. She is very good at what she does. In particular I liked it what she shared stories and when we all got to listen to answers to open ended questions.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were too many. Every day was great. Really. Some highlights were the wine tasting, group meals, and every tour guide was outstanding."

Keith

North Liberty, IN

Tour: 10/19/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We loved our tour. Just the right mix of structured time and free time. Fun to explore on our own. Everything went smoothly and there were no bad experiences or surprises. We were not too rushed like on some tours that seem to think you must be in constant motion to enjoy yourself. They don't try and overload the schedule so you don't have time to enjoy the moment of seeing history in front of you. I would highly recommend Rick Steve's tours and will be going on another soon.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I know most people will say some place or thing they saw but for me it was the whole nature of the tour. From the very start to the final goodbye Karin did things a little different. She helped us become a cohesive group much like friends or family. Anyone can take you around to see sites but it takes a special person to make you feel like you have been friends for a long time. Everyone was comfortable around each other. Our other guides were also delightful using knowledge and humor."

Christopher

Manvel, TX

Tour: 10/19/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Really loved the tour. Saw everything we wanted to see stress free. It was great having all hotels, transportation and high point tours planned for you and not have to worry about it. Perfect balance of group and individual time.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Loved Cinque Terre and staying in Montorosso. Got to watch the sunset that evening on the beach and sunrise from the balcony of the hotel."

Pamela

Gig Harbor, WA

Tour: 10/19/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

From beginning to end, this trip exceeded my expectations.I wanted to experience the heart of Italy for the first time without having to do tons of research and I got my wish! The hotels were great and located right in the thick of things. They also included breakfast! Our tour guides were excellent -- knowledgeable and delightful; the choice of sites on the money, the restaurants were also great! And the ample free time we got was perfect! An awesome value for the money!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Our three days in Rome were magnificent! St. Peter's Basilica and the Sistine Chapel, the Pantheon, Trevi Fountain, the Forum and Colosseum -- and the chaotic backdrop of the city were amazing. Yet, the other locations were almost as impressive in their own distinct ways -- so unique! I can see why Rick says his favorite country to visit is Italy! I will be back!"

Debra

Wexford, PA

Tour: 10/19/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The entire experience was wonderful! We chose this tour because of the itinerary, and were not disappointed in any way! Everything planned was excellent and the free time was well balanced and sufficient. Our tour guide, Karin, was outstanding. Local tour guides were excellent as well. Hotels were good; meals included were great; transportation was easy; suggestions for free time were always available. And our group was fabulous!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Probably time in Cinque Terre. Perfecto!"

Emilia

Mishawaka, IN

Tour: 10/19/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This trip was so much more than I expected. It was the experience of a lifetime.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"So many but I loved the stories about Volterra. Very emotional!"

Margaret

Hannibal, MO

Tour: 10/19/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My 4th RS Tour. I'll keep coming back. Love this model - a perfect mix of stress-free organized experiences with a top-notch tour coordinator/guide, local guides who add their passion for their culture and history, just the right amount of free time, centrally located hotels, delicious local cuisine, and a small tour group starting out as strangers and soon becoming friends. Karin, thank you for a five-star tour experience. Ilaria, your knowledge and humor made my 3rd trip to Rome the best.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Just the right mix of big (Rome, Florence) and small (Volterra, Cinque Terre, Lucca) make this entire tour a "wow." The beauty of Volterra is unforgettable. Cinque Terre, more crowded now, does not disappoint. Manarola, wow, a view from the terraced vineyards is my new screensaver. I experienced my "wow" in the antiquities, the art, the food, and the natural beauty of the places we saw. Loved my sister's "wow" reaction upon first seeing the Colosseum and the David."

Robyn

Crofton, MD

Tour: 10/19/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

PERFECTION. This was a lifelong dream trip come true. First, Karen is like a sparkling glass of prosecco - bubbly, fun and a treat to be with. Her knowledge of all things Italy was quite amazing. And the tiny details of navigation and customs were incredibly helpful. The stuff we could not buy was perfect - the weather and the other travelers in the group. I would 100% join another Rick Steves tour and reccommed it to others.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Seeing the original art, painting and sculpture with my own two eyes was just breathtaking and at times brought tears to those eyes."

Janice

Eagan, MN

Tour: 10/14/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The Heart of Italy tour was amazing. The Rick Steve's tour method of organizing time ensured we got a good overview of the city, that we had excellent local guides for indepth information, good food and fellowship and the specific group and guide we were with was awesome. It was educational, fun, and enlightening. Just the right mix of time together and time to explore on our own.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Art in the Vatican Museum and Art Museum in Florence."

Marilyn

Milford On, ON

Tour: 10/14/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We were a family party of six Canadians, and we enjoyed every minute of our "taste of Italy" trip. All of the guides, including our intrepid leader,Martin, exceeded our expectations with regard to the level of organization, entertainment,and historical knowledge. It was a jam-packed itinerary, but we managed to keep up!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Too many to pick one - standing in the middle of the Pantheon, the Colosseum, listening to a very heroic war story in Volterra, fantastic multi-course Italian dinner on our second night, the skill of our bus driver negotiating narrow hair-pin turns......"

Karen

Rochester, MN

Tour: 10/14/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My overall tour experience was the opportunity to see different versions of Italy in a 9 day period. I loved the instant camaraderie with our travel group from the get go. I believe Martin did I an amazing job of taking 28 strangers and melding us into a family/ friend unit. I appreciated both the busyness of the experience and the much needed time to " regroup, relax, plan your own time" at each location. I was hugely impressed with the local guides who shared knowledge and passion for the city

Daniel

Minneapolis, MN

Tour: 10/14/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Great tour. Great group to travel with. Great tour guide in Martin. I loved everything about tour. We were in big cities, small towns and villages. Food was outstanding. Nothing I would change.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Roman Forum. I forgot how BIG and grand are the ruins left from the Roman civilization. It is amazing when you consider that some of them were constructed 2000 plus years ago. Cinque Terre was absolutely beautiful. We skipped the hike and took local ferry to all five villages. The day was warm and sunny with no wind. Perfect for boat ride."

Jeffrey

Seattle, WA

Tour: 10/14/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Especially appreciated Martin as tour guide...wonderfully helpful, considerate, and funny. It would have been a good tour without him, but he made it exceptional.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"A couple: the Vatican Museum & Sistine Chapel,night time tour of Roman streets,the guided tour of Voltera, the wine tasting in Voltera, hiking from Lavento to Montarossa, shopping in Florence."

Carol

Savage, MN

Tour: 10/14/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour met all of my expectations. I was part of a group of 5 and appreciated the fact that we didn't need to take on the task of figuring out lodging and transportation. All of the tour guides were top notch and there was no time wasted waiting in lines. There was no way that we could have done and seen so much if we had planned the trip ourselves. I was also was surprised by how much I enjoyed being part of a bigger group. It was a great, fun group of people.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Definitely Ancient Rome. I had been to Rome in the past and honestly was not looking forward to this part of the trip. Our tour guide showed us mock ups of what it would have looked like and brought it to life for me."

Diane

Rochester, MN

Tour: 10/14/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our group of 28 was so much fun! It was a good mix of caring, kind, friendly people from across the USA and Canada. If anyone complained about anything, I did not hear it.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It is difficult to pick one famorite 'wow' moment as I had so many of them! I loved every city that we visited. I find myself telling about the Coliseum in Rome most often, so perhaps that comes close to a favorite."

Patricia

Yakima, WA

Tour: 10/12/18

Overall rating: rating 3 of 5

It was fine.It is difficult to enjoy the moment when in a group.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Several of the unexpected things. An alabaster shop. The cemetery for World war Two Americans. Seeing "David ""

Tim

Paducah, KY

Tour: 10/12/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our tour was great fun for my wife and I. It will be something we always remember. In hindsight, the tour seems to get better the longer we have been home.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Uffizi Gallery in Florence. My favorite "wow' moment is Michelangelo's painting that follows the viewer as the viewer crosses the room. After touring the museum, and listening to the guide's lecture, I am reading Walter Isaacson's biography of Leonardo."

Monica

Kimberton, PA

Tour: 10/12/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had a wonderful tour guide (Jesse) that kept us on a great pace and was very informative and entertaining at the same time. I enjoyed the aspect of available free time but I throughly enjoyed the group dinners at the chosen places. It was nice getting to know others in the group and traveling with them was very easy.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I really enjoyed Cinque Terre - so many people had said they loved that area so I had high expectations and they did not disappoint. It was at a good time on the tour that we needed a little down time away from museums so that was good and the weather couldn't haven't been nicer."

Marian

Rancho Cucamonga, CA

Tour: 10/12/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The "Heart of Italy" tour is well-organized with a great mixture of the must-sees and hidden gems. Our tour guide,Jesse,is very knowledgeable, personable and scholarly. I particularly appreciated his respect and command of ancient history and the Renaissance--so important when exploring Italy.I highly recommend this tour. Embrace the Rick Steve's philosophy of being a traveler, not a tourist, and you'll find the world is larger and smaller than you realized.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"When visiting the magnificent Uffizi Gallery in Florence, I was stunned by the great art. However, what really impressed me the most was learning that the Uffizi uses a climate-controlled technique that totally protects art behind glass so that people can now go right up the the painting--no ropes, no alarms. Then, next to Botticelli's masterful 'Spring' is a relief of the painting that the blind can feel. I literally thought 'Wow",art is truly accessible, for the people, not elitist."

Bruce

Groton, MA

Tour: 10/12/18

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

The 2018 Heart of Italy 9-day Tour was our first Rick Steves' Tour. We traveled to Europe on our own many times before, and decided to try a tour this year. We thoroughly enjoyed the tour, meeting new friends, and partaking in the "Rick Steves' Experience." It was very good value for the price. We would definitely recommend the Heart of Italy Tour to others.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Although there were many memorable moments from the tour, two "WoW" moments stand out for me: in Florence, the spectacular rooftop views from atop the Hotel Torre Guelfa tower at night and at sunrise; and the unscheduled visit to the American Military Cemetery outside Florence was very special and emotionally moving from a Retired Army Veteran's perspective."

Noel

Dedham, MA

Tour: 10/12/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Exceeded my expectations. Jesse's enthusiasm and passion to ensure that each traveller and the group as a whole experience Italy's people, culture and history was truly a life altering 9 days. Jesse wanted us to return home as a better person and he has succeeded.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The bus ride's breathtaking ascent to Volterra."

Margaret

Paducah, KY

Tour: 10/12/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The history, food, wine, and people in Italy were incredible. I enjoyed every minute!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The views of Cinque Terre as we hiked from town to town."

Jolene

Groton, MA

Tour: 10/12/18

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

We have been traveling through the "Back Door" with you for at least 16 years, we've made 12 trips to Europe, and this was our first tour. We enjoy planning, traveling at our own pace, and making friends with locals so I was very concerned about this group experience with 26 Americans. Long story short ~ busy year with family issues, put name on wait list, 2 spaces opened up, and we made a quick decision. This tour was packed with wonderful adventures and amazing surprises. Well Done! A- or B+

Favorite "WOW" moment

"~Views of Florence from the Torre Guelfa ~A surprise visit with dear Matteo and Carla at the Hotel Villa Steno in Monterroso al Mare. We spent three nights with them in Aug/Sept 2017 and they greeted us like long lost family. We sipped prosecco on the terrace and visited. They are the BEST! ~Little Italian girl in the Uffizi Gallery sitting on the floor with her hand-held audio guide and looking intently at paintings. ~American Cemetery/Florence. BZ was the 17th Commanding Gen of the 91st Div."

Cherish

Fredonia, NY

Tour: 10/12/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

What can I say, having this be my very 1st Rick Steve's tour, I really didn't know what to expect but I was hoping for the best. Honestly, my expectations were far exceeded! It was truly a wonderful & exciting trip. Around every corner new sites to see, our guide Jesse was gracious & informative. I couldn't have asked for more. The local guides were amazing & full of knowledge as well, I think of all the History I would have lost without them. Our tour group was super too! The best trip ever!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Italy has always been #1 on my list of places to see and to narrow a "wow" moment to one favorite is impossible!! Everything was a wow moment for me and at times I was even moved to tears. I loved it all, I can't express in words, or even pictures how amazing it was and I am already talking about going back so, thank you for that!!"

Denise

Hanover Park, IL

Tour: 10/12/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had an amazing time! We LOVED Italy! The tour was awesome!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Just seeing the beaches in Cinque Terra at night.. and knowing that tomorrow we could go to visit if we wanted to."

Edwin

Ocala, FL

Tour: 10/07/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I had previously been to Rome and Florence. For those cities, I was impressed by the depth of new perspective that I gleaned. Volterra was special - especially being in the city 24/7 instead of just coming in for the day. Cinque Terre was new, interesting and great to see, but I do not feel the need to go back. The tour group was friendly and the "handling" of everything and everyone good. The special site-specific guides were fantastic. It was a great and memorable trip!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I enjoyed being in Volterra 24/7 - experiencing it in the evening and watching it wake up in the morning. That is was being turned into a movie set of Florence was a bonus (especially since we went on to see Florence as it is now)."

Jane

Ocala, FL

Tour: 10/07/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This far exceeded my expectations! Our group was great, as was Rozanne, our guide. The hotels were nice, the local guides very knowledgeable, group dinners excellent. I think we got more than textbook facts, we learned about the culture and how it's shaped by history, the environment, and human interaction. We also ran into 3 different film crews in 3 cities, adding to the local flavor and our stories to tell.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Very hard to say, there were many "wow" moments. I loved Florence, especially seeing David and the Uffizi. As a city, it was easily walkable, the Hotel Torre Guelfo was my favorite, and the atmosphere was energizing. I've seen pictures of all the art my whole life, but seeing it in person was an emotional connection to our past. Volterra was magical, and walking the Roman Forum along with the Colosseum brought history alive."

David

Mamers, NC

Tour: 10/07/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had a wonderful time on our tour of Italy. All the activities were well organized and interesting. This won't be our last tour with Rick Steves.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The majesty of St. Peters Basilica and the beauty of the Cinque Terre."

Nancy

Coppell, TX

Tour: 10/07/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was absolutely incredible. I feel actually passionate about the knowledge I gained on this tour - and I actually have degrees in History and Fine Arts. I want to tell everyone I know what I learned!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Actually the overall experience in Volterra was a wow for me since I wasn't familiar with the city and it's place in history - ranging from the Etruscans to the end of World War II."

Bill

Bainbridge Island, WA

Tour: 10/03/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our guide was very knowledgeable. The walking tours were informative and of the right length. The group dinners were always special. Despite visiting five locations in nine days, things didn't seem rushed. The tour exceeded my expectations.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Walking thru the narrow streets of Rome and finding a piece of history around each blind corner."

Anne

Findlay, OH

Tour: 10/03/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was an amazing tour. It was packed with history and site seeing. We saw so many wonderful places in a short period of time. It was nice to have "free time" to choose what we wanted to do in each city. I really enjoyed getting to know the others in our tour group. It was the absolute best way to get the most out of 9 days in Italy.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My WOW moment was going to the ancient Roman buildings and knowing I was standing in the same place that the citizens of the Roman Empire stood. In the US, "old" means 200 or so years. In Italy, it means thousands."

Eileen

St Paul, MN

Tour: 10/03/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was an amazing tour with lots and lots to see. We did a lot of walking, pushing ourselves, but it was worth it.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Flash Art experience with Molly's friend Catarina. Being in the Colliseum. Seeing the movie set for The Medicis. Finding the Fish Wall in Cinque Terre. The beauty of Tuscany. Seeing the David statute and other art pieces in Florence."

Joseph

Sebastopol, CA

Tour: 10/03/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Extremely weel l planned, vetted, and led.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Probably not one single moment - but many moments. The David, Rome, Vatican, Volterra, hiking the Cinque Terra, the hits just kept coming!"

Daniel

Honolulu, HI

Tour: 10/03/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I tell people that this was not a simple vacation-pleasure tour. It was rigorous intellectually and perhaps physically at times. I liked how on most days we had a good 4 hours of intense guided touring, followed by a significant amount of free time. Because my wife and I had some physical issues, we found we could rest up for the next day. Looking back, the whole thing seemed like a whirlwind dream. Images of Italy have, in fact, invaded my dreams at night, thanks to Rick Steves!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I was totally floored by entering the storied Pantheon, tracing the same steps of untold thousands of people who walked through that relic of old Rome. In fact, I had long yearned to see the ancient Roman sites-- and was not disappointed. However, I will say that the stroll through the Vatican-- especially St. Peter's Basilica, was what blew me away. It's amazing the sheer scale they were thinking of when they built that place; so dazzling with its fine art and antiquities."

Patricia

Sebastopol, CA

Tour: 10/03/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour was so well thought out as far as showing a mix of different geographical and historical cities of Italy. The hotels were wonderful and very centrally located. All of the guides were fantastic and very professional and knowledgeable. The pace of the tour was perfect with most days having plenty of free time . Everything was so well planned that it took all the stress out of traveling.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Walking into the Sistine Chapel and hiking between the towns in the Cinque Terra"

Steve

Durham, NC

Tour: 10/03/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Well organized tour with nice mix of planned events and free time. We are looking forward to another tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The ceilings were spectacular at many venues including the Vatican Museum, St. Peter's Basilica, the Pantheon and the Uffizi Gallery in addition to the Sistine Chapel."

Patricia

Warrenton, OR

Tour: 10/03/18

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

The tour was fast-paced and included so much more than we would have been able to do on our own. This was my first tour experience, though I've traveled extensively, and it was well worth every dollar spent. The education the tour guides provided was incredible and so helpful in understanding place, people and culture. I loved Italy and now know where I want to spend more time. Lovely, lovely...thank you!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I loved the architecture most. Seeing the buildings and structures and pairing these sights with the stories helped me visualize the very ancient past and made everything so very real. I also enjoyed the 'behind the scenes' activities - pesto-making lesson, alabaster carving, etc."

Cary

Austin, TX

Tour: 10/03/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Molly was a fantastic tour leader. Everything about the tour exceeded my expectations. The schedule was ideal for us, the transportation was fine, the hotels were excellent, the restaurants were great. I really enjoyed the local tour guides, as well. I have spoken with other friends and relatives that have visited these parts of Italy and I feel that I got a much more informed visit than they did.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hard to say what the highlight was, but probably the visit to the Cinque Terra area was my favorite since I love to take day hikes. DIdn't hurt that the weather was absolutely perfect."

Cynthia

Austin, TX

Tour: 10/03/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Love having a crash course in Italian history, art and culture and getting to experience the big city sites as well as the small town charm of Volterra and Cinque Terre. The one thing I was a bit disappointed was that I thought that some lunches were included not just half of the dinners, but it turned out fine. The food was amazing and they made substitutes for us since we are vegetarian. Also, I thought the tour was for active people who could walk 6-8 miles a day, but many slowed us down.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hiking in Cinque Terre had many "wow" moments!"

Nili

New York, NY

Tour: 10/03/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I was very pleased with the Tour. This is my third Rick Steves tour. I was very pleased with the first 2, so when my daughter asked me to recommend a tour, I suggested this one. It did not disappoint. I had been to Rome, Florence and Lucca before but enjoyed seeing Voltaire and Cinque Terre for the first time. As with my prior SR tours, this was very well organized and guides, hotels and sites were terrific.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favorite Wow moment was watching my daughter encounter the David."

Martha

Bellevue, WA

Tour: 09/30/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I went on this exact tour last year with my husband, and this year with a friend. The experience was just as wonderful as last year! Our tour guide, Ferdi, was awesome! Although I loved staying in Levanto last year, I really liked staying in Monterosso - it really gives you the feel of the Cinque Terre. The food was wonderful, I loved the "local" restaurants we went to. In addition, the hotels were lovely and quaint and right in the heart of the city which was great.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were too many to count! I think one was the beautiful views from the Cinque Terre towns. As you hike up on the trail, the views are breathtaking - just like the pictures!"

Lawrence

Rochester, NY

Tour: 09/30/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Great overall experience, have to admit I was apprehensive never doing a tour before. It was everything I expected and more, the tour guide was great! Very knowledgeable and kept the group together, moving between different towns and experiences, seemlessly effortlessly. Everything from the food to the local guides were top notch. I would definitely consider taking another rick steves tour. My biggest surprise was to see how the members of the group bonded, it was just a fabulous tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were many moments to consider but I think our penultimate dinner together proved to be a tour memory that will last. The dinner was the best of Italy, it was what I came to experience. Thanks to Ferdi, nice recommendation."

Tara

Healdsburg, CA

Tour: 09/30/18

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Fantastic! Loved our tour guide Ferdi. The tour group, the folks in the group were all interesting an amazing which made it all the better. Itinerary was perfect, we did so much in nine days, I'll remember for the rest of my life. Thank you so much!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It's probably walking under the arch and Volterra and realizing it's 800 BC era. I love learning about all the history, and I thought Volterra was a back road, a road less traveled anyway, an a fantastic place to visit."

Don

Austin, TX

Tour: 09/30/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Nothing was left to chance. Could not have been better Ferdi is a real professional that you should be proud of. The accommodations were perfect, the food was delicious and the tours were spectacular. There was no whining, nobody got upset, no anger displayed.., it could be the best time I have had on a vacation. I miss it.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Oh my, there were so many, but I think the Churches were breath taking, and not necessarily the Vatican, but those in the smaller towns."

Cathy

Austin, TX

Tour: 09/30/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Everything was as advertised and promised. Ferdi was so professional, competent, and funny! He took care of business. The guides in the different cities were truly exceptional-knowledgeable, professional, relational and entertaining. One could not have ordered a better group of travelers....would go with these folks anywhere. Not a whiner or complainer in the bunch; and everyone was punctual. They were easy-going and interested!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I think my WOW moment was as I sat and viewed "David"...could hardly wrap my mind around this....almost tears."

Kathleen

Rochester, NY

Tour: 09/30/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We liked our accommodations, our tour guide (we loved Ferdi) and Italy! (especially the food) The specific guides that were in each city were outstanding, entertaining and full of interesting information and insight! Our fellow group of travelers also made the trip enjoyable, because they were flexible, fun and engaging. We all had FUN! It didn't hurt that the weather was perfect either. We had confidence that our trip was being handled and that let us relax and enjoy! Thank you!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Every single meal. Well, maybe not the breakfasts, but other meals were dreamy. Truly a culinary delight! Restaurant recommendations never disappointed. Planned meals were so delicious & enjoyable. My favorite site was the Forum and Coliseum. Loved the Mediterranean Sea, so blue, clear and inviting. The favorite area was the Cinque Terre which I definitely wished I had more time to explore. That was my only disappointment. I hiked the trail and that did not leave much time to explore the towns."

Stephen

Vancouver, WA

Tour: 09/30/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was as seamless and enjoyable as our previous trip to Scotland in April of 2017. The tour guides do a lot of "behind the scenes" coordinating so that we travelers are not bogged down in operational details. This allows more time to just enjoy where we are, the people, the scenery and the culture. Well done!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I particularly enjoyed Volterra and Monterosso alMare and Vernazza. These were all "wow" moments for me."

Jeffrey

North Kingstown, RI

Tour: 09/30/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had an excellent time! This was our first Rick Steves tour and we are hooked. Already making plans for the Paris tour for 2019! The tour was well organized and planned well with the right amount of structured and free time. We really enjoyed being part of a group of amazing people who love travelling.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Although so much of the trip had amazing moments, I would have to say the unique beauty of Cinque Terre was the highlight. The breathtaking views and charming atomsphere really blew me away!"

Julie Ann

Lynnwood, WA

Tour: 09/30/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Ferdi Menghi made the whole experience great. Ferdi kept us in the loop the whole trip. He explained things well, watched out for our safety, was available to us at all times.I feel I learned so much and I could never have seen everything I did and learned what I did if I tried to do this on my own. It was nice to arrive on my own and then everything was taken care of. Then just had to get myself home.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Everything really, I would have to say the places I saw and the food and hotels were fabulous."

Julianne

Sylvania, OH

Tour: 09/28/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my first trip to Europe. I planned this trip as my trip of a lifetime. And it truly was spectacular. It' was everything I expected it to be and more

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were so many it's hard to pick just one. The Colosseum was amazing. I wasn't thrilled about going to see it but our guide made it come to life. I didn't expect to have that sort of reaction."

Gary

Saint Louis, MO

Tour: 09/28/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Tremendous tour experience. The size of the group and the expectations helped the group to mesh. Local guides were awesome. Loved the diversity of the the towns. Dinners were awesome!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I loved the night walk of Rome. Rome was less crowded and incredible beautiful. It felt like a different place from the crowded day. Our guide did a great job in leading us thru the beautiful sites! Also our Hotel in Florence had a tall tower, It was special having a cocktail at sunset!!"

Sabrina

Malden, MA

Tour: 09/28/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my second Rick Steves tour, and it won't be my last. The tour exceeded my expectations and left me eager to travel more throughout Europe. I love the balance and contrast of locations included in this tour. Everything is so thoughtfully paced and planned. As someone who ordinarily enjoys traveling solo, I've found the balance of group and free time to be just right, and have repeatedly been impressed by the kindness and camaraderie of travelers these tours attract.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Honestly, there are too many to list. Some standout "wow" moments are: the evening walk in Rome - particularly through St. Peter's square, appreciating the breathtaking views in Volterra (before and after the rain), boat rides admiring the colorful tumbles of buildings in the Cinque Terre, swimming in the Mediterranean ocean, viewing masterpieces (up close) at the Uffizi, the Ponte Vecchio at dawn, and the absolutely delicious food and gelato, gelato, gelato..."

Tracy

Duvall, WA

Tour: 09/28/18

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

We had a great time. Some welcome unexpected surprises like a stop at the US Military cemetery in Italy added to our experience. We had a ton of fun with the other tour members and hopefully some lasting friendships.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The coliseum in Rome a definite favorite but Cinque Terra definitely was the highlight."

William

South Lyon, MI

Tour: 09/28/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I liked it because we spent 2 days in each stop vs one night like a lot of tours do then always having to pack. We liked staying in just the center of Italy it would be too much to try to see it all in one trip.

Matthew

Cohasset, MA

Tour: 09/28/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was great! Our Guide was terrific, the folks in our group were all friendly, easy going and fun-loving. It was a nice mix of places to see. For our first trip to Italy, this was a great intro / sampling of what a wonderful place Italy is to visit.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were so many cool things to see its hard to pick one. So my 'Wow" moment may be a little different. I was initially reluctant to go on a group tour. After watching several of the Rick Steves programs on PBS, It looked like this could be my style of travel. Still, I went with very tempered expectations. A few days into the trip, sometime while we were in Volterra, I realized that "wow" I am glad we did this tour!"

Martin

Wheaton, IL

Tour: 09/23/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our experience was fantastic. From the pre-tour planning all the way through the trip, everything was well-planned and [INVALID]d without a hitch. We thought the balance between organized activities and free time was just right giving us plenty of time to explore on our own but also great information from the tour guides.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Standing next to the wall in Volterra and taking in the beautiful Tuscan landscape. It really was wonderful and felt like it came right out of a movie scene."

Lisa

York, PA

Tour: 09/23/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was our first time in Europe, we had high expectations, and they were definitely met. Our tour was very well organized, the dinners together were delightful! Our fellow tour mates were excellent travelling companions. Our tour guide Molly was very helpful, very knowledgeable, and joined in the fun!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I loved the Forum. Just seeing the ruins, and having our guide be so enthusiastic in telling the stories, made it so real. Also the fact that all of that was buried for years. Seeing "David" was also a Wow moment for me. I have seen it in pictures many times, but seeing it in real life, seeing his expression, was definitely memorable!"

Gary

Burnsville, MN

Tour: 09/23/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

First timer with Rick Steves. Had positive recommendations from friends, and glad We tried your company. Our lead guide Molly was fantastic, and thoroughly enjoyed ALL of the local guides you used. They were all very knowledgeable, and almost as important, they were passionate about their local areas The transportation was also first class, and was so glad I didn't have to drive? I was able to relax and enjoy the views. The group of people on our tour were also very fun, friendly & on time.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"So many great places on this tour, I can't pick just one. Perhaps the two most pleasant surprisies were the Vatican museums and the Pantheon. Absolutely NO disappointments on each of the tour sites."

Eric

Spokane Valley, WA

Tour: 09/23/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

As I mentioned to Molly, our first tour exceeded our high expectations! Something that struck me when we returned home was that the trip, thanks to your great organization, was completely stress free. Even in the crowded streets of Rome and Florence, when we had the headphones on listening to Molly, it was an informative and amazingly calm experience. It was so nice for us to not have to worry about trip logistics, transportation, tickets, and hotels. We enjoyed every stop very much!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"So many sites and masterpieces were outstanding in Rome and Florence, but we loved Volterra, Lucca, and the Cinque Terre as well. Seeing David and other masterpieces were "wow" moments. We did Stefano's boat tour in the Cinque Terre and really enjoyed it. We could easily spend more time there."

Dawn

Lakewood, CO

Tour: 09/23/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour exceeded my expectations. It was amazing to see all the wonderful places, but it was an added bonus learning so many things from our guide and the local guides. It felt like a mini college course! We have never done a group tour on a vacation and it was more fun than we thought it would be. Everyone was so nice in our group. I also liked how the tour was set up so that we were very busy for part of the day and then also had lots of free time to do our own thing.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Touring the Vatican, seeing David in Florence and the beauty of the Cinque Terre. Plus, eating amazing Gelato!"

Christopher

Dunlap, IL

Tour: 09/23/18

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Favorite "WOW" moment

"St. Peter's Basilica provided the first wow moment. Grandiose scale and atmosphere inside were something that cannot be conveyed in photographs."

Jessica

Dunlap, IL

Tour: 09/23/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I loved the whole tour. It was my first trip to Europe and being part of a tour really took away the stress of navigating crowds, lines, and the major tourist attractions. Our tour guide Molly was fantastic, and the local guides were also great, they shared their enthusiasm with us and really helped me to appreciate the history of the places we visited. The Heart of Italy tour was a great mix of cities, both large and small, and full of wonderful sightseeing, museums, hiking, and food.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It is hard to pick one favorite since I loved the whole tour and there were so many memorable experiences. I would say that seeing the Vatican and Sistine Chapel was a "wow" moment as well as seeing the David in Florence."

Barbara

Liberty Lake, WA

Tour: 09/23/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I can't imagine being able to plan and coordinate all the trip details on my own. Having everything taken care of was such a stress reducer. There was a perfect amount of group tour time and time on our own to explore our areas of interest. I would book another Rick Steves' tour in a heartbeat. We had so much fun with the two other couples we went with and met some really great people in our tour. Our tour guide, Molly, was amazing. She was extremely knowledgable and very organized.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"That is an impossible question to answer. I have goose bumps thinking about the story we heard from our guide, Annie, in Volterra about the citizens blocking the gate to the city during the war. The evening we got to Cinque Terra we had a happy hour at the hotel's upper terrace.I thought I was dreaming, it was so beautiful. The next day we spent time on the beach looking for sea glass,one of my favorite activities, and took a swim in the crystal clear water."

Linda

Bellingham, WA

Tour: 09/21/18

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

As was stated it was a fast paced tour. It needed to be to include all the activities. Colleen was excellent. I didn't like eating dinner at eight but that's the way it's done in Europe.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Finally seeing David and the Chinque Terre. One more free day in Chinque Terre would have been nice."

Henry

Ames, IA

Tour: 09/21/18

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Our 2nd Rick Steves tour and based on our experience certainly not our last. As expected, the quality and quantity of the tour were right on target for us. The tour guide, local guides and other tour members all enhanced the overall experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Natural beauty, history and experience overwhelmed our senses as we gazed across the Tuscan countryside from within the massive stone walls of the hilltop town of Volterra."

Elizabeth

Spartanburg, SC

Tour: 09/21/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The overall experience was wonderful! I appreciated the organization, efficiency, and outstanding experiences on this tour. In each place, we experienced the landmarks and sites that were famous combined with getting time to explore and immerse ourselves in the local culture. Our tour guide was experienced and personable. Able to give us valuable guidance and tips. The local guides were also outstanding, providing us with insight and willing to answer any and all questions.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"So many, so hard to choose! I would have to say walking in the Colosseum and in the Forum in Rome. Places I have studied about, seen in pictures and movies. Incredible!"

Patsy

Everett, WA

Tour: 09/21/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The Heart of Italy tour was a wonderful introduction to this historic country! The balance of large, busy cities and small, quaint towns was appreciated. We expected to really enjoy the smaller villages and were not disappointed! Our guide, Colleen, did a great job of sharing her love and knowledge of Italy with the group. This tour was very active, which allowed us to enjoy Italy's wonderful pasta, gelato, & wine guilt free!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"As stunning as the Colosseum, Forum and The David all were to see in person, our wow moment was found in a quieter setting. Sharing sunset cocktails and snacks on the terrace of Torre Aurora in Monterosso, enjoying the gorgeous view across the Ligurian Sea was a moment that will always be remembered! Thank you for that opportunity to visit and enjoy Cinque Terre, an amazing area in Italy!"

Ronald

Bellingham, WA

Tour: 09/21/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had a great time. Everything worked like clockwork as promised.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"After the hustle and bustle of Rome, we really enjoyed Volterra and its speed as well as Cinque Terre, once the crowds shined out. Of course Rome and Florence is magical with its history and art, but too many people. We are glad we had the pass the line reservations from your company."

Peter

Bellingham, WA

Tour: 09/21/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Just what I wanted - great overview of central Italy

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The hill towns and Cinque Terre"

Nina

Park Ridge, IL

Tour: 09/21/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I loved the organization of the tour in that we never really had to wait in a line, or figure out our transportation or hotel. All the hotels were basic, but clean, central, and friendly. We had great meals at our group meals and any suggestions for restaurants turned out great as well. This was our first tour and it won't be our last. I would love it if there had been three days in each place, because two just isn't really quite enough! It truly is 8 days though, not 9.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"For me, the ancient parts of Rome were fascinating and I loved seeing David in person! My favorite cities were Volterra and Florence. I love the medieval narrow roads and alleyways and the history of these places. It was pretty much all WOW!"

Deborah

Valparaiso, IN

Tour: 09/16/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I really enjoyed every aspect of the trip! The hotels were quaint but clean, which I wanted. The food everywhere was outstanding. Francesco was a delight. I loved the guided tours, as I'm sure I would have missed a lot if we had just gone on our own. The history was interesting, though sometimes a little long, but I enjoyed learning and not just seeing. There was a perfect balance of guided tour and free time.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Sistine Chapel was amazing! I also loved the views we got when in Tuscany, both in Volterra and Cinque Terre. Absolutely breathtaking! And then there's the food!!!"

Ernie

Santa Barbara, CA

Tour: 09/16/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I would rate the overall experience a 10 - we have always gone on vacations as a couple or with a few friends, we are the guides and we sure have missed a lot of things. Your guides are excellent in explaining the local area - the added expert guides for art museums etc... are all top notch.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I have to say that the Vatican was the wow moment for me - the amount of history and artwork to take in is unbelievable - and to understand that you are only seeing a fraction of the collection"

Georgia

Tyler, TX

Tour: 09/16/18

Overall rating: rating 3 of 5

Disappointing. At times disorganized, poor communication, often we were told the tour was over, you can remove your headset, only to miss important announcements because they were made after we removed headsets. While we were prepared to haul luggage the street condition, distance to hotel and grade were ridiculous - two members were unable to make it and other tea membership to give them physical assistance. Our new and sturdy luggage split a wheel on that haul. vehcle should havebeen used.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Sunset in Volterro"

Dwain

Tyler, TX

Tour: 09/16/18

Overall rating: rating 2 of 5

Onset was confused. Guide spoke excellent Italian, some English that were understandable. Assistant was apparently new to Italy. Great group tourists. The experience started with me and my wife being called a racist, based on our difference to your ( quote "Mr. Steves desire to address difference in political policies". ) We are from The south ( Texas ) and that apparently made us a target. All others of the group were from east and west coast and northern states. Once we isolated ourselve

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Volterra"

Ellen

Bedford, MA

Tour: 09/16/18

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Our tour was wonderful! Even the weather cooperated! The destination cities and towns in the Heart of Italy tour speak for themselves! The tour provides a wonderful "sampler" of busy cities (Rome/Florence), and quiet towns (Volterra, Lucca, Cinque Terra) .... a wonderful itinerary for an introduction to Italy! The local guides at (almost) every city/town ensure the success of this tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Three favorite "wow" moments. Scaling the Tuscan hills enroute to Volterra provided most gorgeous views ... certainly a Wow moment. Gathering at the hill top terrace of the Monterosso hotel in Cinque Terra for appetizers and refreshments as the sun descended into the sea made for a moment to remember. Paulo's tour of the Uffizi Gallery in Florence will always be a highlight."

Carol

Cannon Beach, OR

Tour: 09/16/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was amazing from beginning to end. Great choice of hotels, dinners together and cappucino every day. Couldn't have asked for a better group of people..from all over the country. As many have said before, just the right amount of free time to "get our feet wet" as it was our first Rick Steves tour and first trip to Europe. Would highly recommend touring with RS.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Lots of those...but Florence was outstanding. Couldn't get enough, from the architecture, to the Uffizi, to the rooftop cocktails at sunset at our hotel. Outstanding. Volterra also...bought shoes there...love them and this little village. Francesco's home town. And Lucca...home of my family... LOVE Oh yes...then there were the Aperol spritzers on the rooftop terrace of our hotel in Montorosso with that view!! WOWWOWWOW"

Vicki

Fort Wayne, IN

Tour: 09/16/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

What a great mix of experiencing both God's and man's creations! We loved the scenery in Volterra and the Cinque Terre, and were awed by the "human" creations of art and architecture in Rome, Luca, and Florence. The wonderful meals and skilled local guides made it even more enjoyable. It would have been nice to go to Venice, but that would probably not be practical in 9 days.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Our favorite places were Volterra and the Cinque Terre. Beautiful scenery, quaint towns. Not too "touristy", but still had lots to see and do."

Catherine

Salem, OR

Tour: 09/14/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Tour structured perfectly w/time off every other day. Metro tickets and other "extras," including tips, included.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Seeing the Colosseum "emerge" step by step as we walked up from the Metro."

Jackie

Irmo, SC

Tour: 09/14/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our first group tour and first RS tour; we weren't sure what to expect. We normally only travel alone or with our immediate family. Our group was wonderful. We all got along and made friends on the tour. We feel that the tour had a great balance of group touring and free time on our own.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"That's very difficult to choose since all the areas were so different. The history in Rome was amazing; seeing the Coliseum and the Sistine Chapel. Cinque Terre was probably our favorite. It was nice to relax after the touring and the views were breathtaking. Someone in our group commented that they finally felt like they were on vacation after we arrived in Cinque Terre! Volterra was absolutely beautiful as well. I think we experienced more culture of the area there than any other place."

Sandra

Dubuque, IA

Tour: 09/14/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our Heart of Italy in 9 Days Tour was fabulous. I expected it to be good, but it was so much more than I expected it to be. Our guides were superb, not only bringing history to life, but making me want to only learn more. My reading list has expanded and I am so excited about it. I enjoyed the variety of places we visited, from huge city to quaint village. We also enjoyed sharing time with our tour group; they were all such a interesting and fun bunch of people.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I can't possibly narrow it to one "wow" moment; there were so many. I loved our night walk in Rome, walking into the Sistine Chapel, our tour of the Colosseum, opening the shutters in our room in Volterra and looking out over the valley (brought me to tears), eating gelato at Alberto's Gelateria in Corniglia, our view from the tower in the Torre Guelfa in Florence. There were more "wow" moments than I can count, reflected by the hundreds of lovely photos taken on the trip."

Bart

Janesville, WI

Tour: 09/14/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was wonderful. Well beyond our expectations. We got to know so many people in our tour group from all over the US. Will likely stay in contact with several of them. Was amazing to not have to fret about details and the trip ran like a well oiled machine. Quite frankly, we are "hooked" on Rick Steve's Adventures. Already deliberating on next years trip. Treated with respect in Italy and never felt unsafe.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Unfair question. This is like asking a child to just pick out one piece of candy from a candy store. Here are a few valued moments. Walking through the coliseum and imagining what life was like 2000 yrs ago. Looking up at the Sistine Chapel ceiling and picturing Michelangelo working on a scaffold in fresco. Then there was the amazing expressos with crema on top. Maybe it was the gelato choices, myriad of panini choices, amazing independent dinner meals."

Mary

Fond Du Lac, WI

Tour: 09/14/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

All of our guides including Colleen were outstanding! I so appreciated their depth of knowledge and this trip was a great learning experience for me.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Wow moments were ongoing as I was awe inspired seeing in person some of the most stunning achievements in art and architecture in human history!"

Steven

Dubuque, IA

Tour: 09/14/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The agenda was well-put together, though we walked A LOT! The local guides were an essential supplement to Colleen's ongoing escort and narrative, especially in the museums. The selection of sites was good for someone like ourselves who were visiting Italy for the first time. The balance between planned activities and time on our own was good. We had the opportunity to interact with the other tour group members and as a result, developed some great relationships.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The narrative by our guide in the Uffizi Museum in Florence made that event exceptionally good."

Jeffrey

Marietta, GA

Tour: 09/09/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had a very enjoyable tour. A very good group of fellow travelers, and an excellent guide, Dmitri.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The beautiful scenery in the Cinque Terre."

Erik

Spokane Valley, WA

Tour: 09/09/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was the first time my wife and I've been on a tour and was it a great experience! We loved the tour's format of giving us free time each day to explore Italy on our own. We had such a fun group and we got a chance to spend time with everyone in the group at our group breakfasts and dinners. We had so much fun together, we started our own social media group to share our experiences in Italy and beyond. Our tour guide, Dimitri, was perfect for the group. He knew how to have a great time!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"For me, there was a "WOW" moment every day. From the Sistine chapel, to the history of Tuscany, to the natural beauty of coasts and beaches of Cinque Terre, and finally to the art and architecture of Florence. Just unbelievable."

Jo

Hammond, LA

Tour: 09/09/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our first Rick Steves tour and it won't be our last! Our tour was everything we hoped it would be and more! We loved the smaller group size. We felt we had a great balance between guided time and free time. I always felt safe while on the tour and in the hotels. Our guide, Dimitri, did an excellent job not only educating us about where we were, but in the culture of Italy, the food, the customs, the things to be cautions about, and the things to take a chance on.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Too many to really narrow it down, but we loved Lucca and our local guide, Anna. She was very funny and very informative! On a more personal note, attending Mass at both the Vatican and the Duomo in Florence were wow! moments for me."

Valerie

Marietta, GA

Tour: 09/09/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

A fabulous tour from start to finish! The perfect mix of planned activities and free time. Our tour group was stellar-a great mix of folks that got along great-really enhanced the whole experience. Our guide, Dimitri, was fantastic-friendly, knowledgeable, and always available! We were pleasantly surprised at the quality of the hotels-all centrally located for flexibility when on our own time. Florence was too crowded for our taste but we did enjoy seeing the Duomo and the Uffizi.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I loved the "holiday within the holiday" when we were on our own in the Cinque Terre. The towns were so lovely and the hikes between so scenic. We loved the hotel there and had a picnic after our day of hiking on the hillside behind our hotel."

Barbara

Pleasanton, CA

Tour: 09/09/18

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Wine tasting in Volterra and Cinque Terre"

Sandra

Milwaukie, OR

Tour: 09/09/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Wonderful.....Informative.....Convenient Hotels.....great communication with guide!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Colissium!! I thought I was prepared for this wonderful opportunity but it far outshadowed my expectations! All of the museums and cathedrals were fantastic, but my 2nd WOW was the Cinque Terre area! AND I loved the gelato!"

Christopher

Hammond, LA

Tour: 09/09/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I must say I was a bit apprehensive when I read the tour details when we booked it. The "emursive, off the beaten path" part had me concerned. I was wrong. Dimetri was so informative and gave us such great ideas for our on our own time, I felt like it was my first time in Italy. I got to experience "real" Italy.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There really are too many to narrow it down to one, but....how Dimetri introduced us to the Dumo in Florence was fantastic. I even told my wife, once I realized where were, to "prepare to have your mind blown" . Coming around the corner into the piazza and there it was - blew my mind. And I've been there before."

Janet

Baton Rouge, LA

Tour: 09/09/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My tour exceeded any and all expectations that I had. I've travelled to Europe twice before and "did it on my own". Boy did I miss a lot on my own! The unique tidbits of information we received from our fabulous guide, Dimitri, was worth every penny we spent on the tour. The stress that was eliminated from not having to worry about when & how I was going to get to place to place made my trip so much more relaxed.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The totally unexpected wow moment for me was The Florence American Cemetery and Memorial in Florence. When I saw the American flag flying in Italy, it took my breath away. I was blown away by my emotions. I didn't know this cemetery existed and I actually made my very first "selfie video" and posted it on Facebook (and as of this writing, it has over 600 views)."

Kelly

San Diego, CA

Tour: 09/09/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My husband and I recently returned from the the Heart of Italy tour. We had a wonderful time. It was everything we expected it to be. Our tour leader was fantastic and we had a great tour group. We had a lot of fun with all the members of the group and met some great people. The tour is very active, you do a lot of walking. These tours give you to opportunity to see so much and it is all arranged for you. You also have time to experience Italy on your own during your free time.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I had two favorite "wow" moments during this tour. First was seeing the Sistine Chapel. I am not a religious person at all but seeing this magnificent work of art in person was incredible (seeing David at the Academia Gallery was a close second as far as works of art). My other "wow" moment was arriving in Volterra and viewing the Tuscan countryside. Absolutely stunning."

Stuart

San Diego, CA

Tour: 09/09/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was great. It introduced us to a wide selection of places and Italian culture. The tour group got along well with each other and we always ended up doing dinners or lunches and other activities with each other. Loved trying to be Italian having multiple Spirtz's, people watching while sipping an overpriced drink on every piazza we could! I'll never be able to eat a pizza in San Diego again!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Besides the incredible renaissance art, it would be Volterra and the Cinque Terre. The wonderful hill town was a joy to explore the back streets and soak up the incredible views of the countryside. The wine tasting event capped it all off and we remembered that night with a bottle of wine we bought and enjoyed on our last night in Italy. The Cinque Terre was wonderful. The challenging hike with the incredible views, the evening boat ride, and the Amphora dinner at the Belvedere. WOW!"

Walter

Rochester, NY

Tour: 09/07/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was a fantastic tour! Extremely well organized and great itinerary. I appreciated the efficiency at which we moved in and out of museums, hotels and restaurants. This tour definitely maximized the fun time and was rich with the right amount of stories and educational tidbits. The hotels and restaurants were excellent and our guide helped build relationships within our group.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It is hard to pick just one. I will always remember how exciting it was to see the Mediterranean beach in Monterosso. My day spent hiking to and on the beach in Levanto was the wow moment for me!"

William

Olympia, WA

Tour: 09/07/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was great.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It was all good. Nothing particular stood out over anything else."

Harrold

Carterville, IL

Tour: 09/07/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had a wonderful experience on this tour, our guide Heidi was exceptional and very thoughtful. The tour had a perfect amount of "guided" time along with time on our own. The evening dinners together with the group were extremely fun and entertaining, it allowed us to make new friends and have great conversation over very good food and wine. The local guides were very knowledgeable and seemed passionate about relaying to us the history and culture of the specific site we were visiting.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Arriving at just a single "wow" moment on this tour is very difficult since we had so many. I think our most favorable moments were during our visit to Lucca and Cinque Terre. The scenery and views along the coast are breathtaking and the quaintness of the smaller towns made our experience most memorable."

Gina

Carterville, IL

Tour: 09/07/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was the perfect tour for us. We had never traveled overseas and felt we needed a safety net a tour would provide us. However, we wanted a small group tour that was active (my husband and I are avid walkers and want to be on the go during our vacations), but not so scheduled so that we would have plenty of free time to do some exploring on our own. Our tour was the best of all worlds for us.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Our first stop was Rome and the history, architecture, and art were an absolute WOW! Pictures of Italy can never due it justice. And . . . every stop we made in Italy held more WOWs. It is an extraordinary place with more WOWs than we could ever have anticipated."

F. Walter

Mount Joy, PA

Tour: 09/07/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

As fans of Rick's TV programs, Italy was to be our next trip and we decided on a RS venture. Unfortunately, my wife, Kathy, had a stroke and passed in September, 2017. Hesitantly, I decided to make this my first solo trip. From Heidi's warm and personable welcome to the last glimpse of the Florence rooftops from the tower of our hotel, it was a stunningly beautiful, perfectly balanced, seamlessly executed, and perfectly partnered experience, and not my last RS tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The views from the hike between Monterosso and Vernazza, and the serenely civil experience of wandering through the Villa Borghese."

Richard

San Jose, CA

Tour: 09/07/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

excellent mix of history, culture, and modern ways of life. Would have liked the hotel in Rome to be in the Pantheon neighborhood instead of Vatican. Could have skipped Luca in favor of another day in Monterossa.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Combination of Ancient Rome and the museums in Florence. Cinque Terra was also incredible"

Kimberly

San Jose, CA

Tour: 09/07/18

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Excellent tour guide Heidi along with excellent tour guides in Rome, Volterra and Florence.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The entire Volterra visit. Thoroughly enjoyed our tour guide- Annie, I believe, and what a special night when Annie's husband lead us through an incredible evening of wine tasting."

Michael

Glendale, CA

Tour: 09/07/18

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

The overall experience is just what we wanted. We liked our travel companions and the tour guides as well. It was a very educational trip which is what we signed up for because we were seeing some historical sites for the first time. it was really nicely done.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favorite moment was the tour of the Colosseum and the Forum. But also loved Cinque Terra."

Jacquelyn

Olympia, WA

Tour: 09/07/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our tour was wonderful and all expectations met. I loved the mix of group time plus plenty of time on our own to explore. Heidi, our tour guide, was excellent and so knowledgeable about Italy and the language that she really helped enhance the experience. I appreciated the arrangements made to see the museums at times that missed the big crowds and enjoyed going to the head of the line - no long queues to stand in! Excellent local guides were always provided at these sites.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were so MANY it is hard to pick one! I love art & history so standing in front of THE DAVID was truly a highlight for me. Another was visiting the Guarnacci Etruscan Museum in Volterra and seeing the Ombra della sera statue,or "Evening Shadow", which I've read so much about in studying Etruscan culture & art. I love food too, so I enjoyed our group meals, especially, the one in Monterosso featuring the local seafood cuisine - excellent!"

Tina

Greensburg, PA

Tour: 09/02/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My husband and I both thought Italy (and especially Rome) too daunting to take on by ourselves. Our guide, Elena, made Italy, in all its quiet village tranquility and clamoring city bustle, approachable, navigable, and, ultimately, enchanting and captivating. Whether we moved through the streets with our group or as just the two of us, my husband and I felt comfortable and welcome and engaged with everything around us. We feel confident enough to take on more of Italy by ourselves!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"We visited the Pinacoteca in Volterra on Elena's recommendation to view Rosso Fiorentino's Deposition from the Cross. I have no strong religious convictions or affiliations; but, in the face of this work of staggering magnitude and beauty, I found myself dumbstruck, in tears and speechless. I spent more time observing--absorbing--this masterpiece than I did any other single piece of art during our trip."

Carla

Colorado Springs, CO

Tour: 09/02/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

How many times did my husband and I look at each other and say how glad we were that we booked this tour? Too many to count. Tour guide Elena was wonderful - funny, knowledgeable, provided good cultural information, and helped me with my halting Italian. The site specific guides were all outstanding. As far as we can tell, Rick Steves finds the very best guides city for each included tour. We loved the history, the art, the architecture, the food, the gelato. Amazing.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Too many to list. Highlights - the amazing buildings from ancient times. How did they do it? We texted our engineer daughter/husband that they "had" to come to Rome to see Pantheon to appreciate the engineering that went into it. Texted the same thing when we saw Brunelleschi's dome. And then there's David...."

Bonita

Safety Harbor, FL

Tour: 09/02/18

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Great, wonderful, and exciting. Wonderful experience first time to Italy. Would like to see more of Italy.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I have to say the Colosseum and Roman Forum was my highlight of the tour along with many other wonderful sights such as the Cinque Terre area, David, Sistine Chapel"

Douglas

Philadelphia, PA

Tour: 09/02/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I wouldn't change a thing. The best part for me was I felt like my guide truly cared that I was having the best experience possible. Not only was my guide invested in my adventure, my fellow tour mates expressed their appreciation and care. As a solo traveler that is a bit more important. My lead guide and all of the local guides were clearly filled with incredible knowledge that they wanted to share. Their enthusiasm and excitement was contagious. I feel lucky to have had the experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Only 1?! I had 100 WOW moments. Getting lost in Rome trying to find the Capoitoline museums and not caring because I had a 360° view of beautiful layers of history in the heart of Rome. Emerging from the train station and the view of the sea in Monterosso. The exhilaration of exploring 4 out of 5 villages by hiking through the alternative trails of the Cinque Terre. Then taking a boat to the last village. It's official, I'm part mountain goat. No need to contact Ancestry.com."

Cynthia

Phoenix, AZ

Tour: 09/02/18

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Very pleased with the itinerary, all our guides (Elena and all the local guides at our various stops). Great group of fellow travelers. Nice to have part of each day on our own. Travel arrangements went smoothly and were well-explained more than once. Accommodations were comfortable and unique; the staff friendly and helpful. Nice to have a laundry 'opportunity' mid-way through the trip. Our group dinners were fun with lots of food, wine, and camaraderie.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The spectacular art that is the Uffizi Museum: the highly decorated walls, ceilings, and floors, and the exquisite masterpieces. It is too much to process in just one visit."

Michael

Greensburg, PA

Tour: 09/02/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I can't say enough about Rick Steves tours. Why anybody would choose another tour operator is beyond me. My wife & I tried a Globus tour years ago and it was all upselling and quick looks at the sites. Never again!! With Rick you get in-depth historical & cultural experiences, and you're never being upsold. You really get to know the countries and the people. Italy was every bit as beautiful as advertised and the food was amazing!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Cathedral of Florence. Seeing pics of it doesn't do it justice. When you walk through the streets and the plaza opens up, it is unbelievable! The other "wow" moment for me was pretty much every minute that we spent in Volterra (including the drive up to it). What an amazing place! I would go back there in a heartbeat."

Soncire

Brownsburg, IN

Tour: 09/02/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

What an incredible experience! We visited multiple areas, never in any hotel more than 2 consecutive nights, and had approx. 22 people in our group....but nothing ever seemed so well organized or run so well. It was a perfect blend of planned group events along with allotted personal free time to do as you please.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"We just could not decide between Rome (with all of it's mind boggling history) and the Cinqueterre (with it's breathtaking views)"

Darren

South Haven, MN

Tour: 09/02/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Standing on the spot where Julius Caesar was cremated."

Cathy

South Haven, MN

Tour: 09/02/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We absolutely loved Elena, she not only provided amazing history and education but she has this amazing personality that was able to make our group feel like family. Starting out at our first welcome meeting she was getting us to all open up and really get to know and care for each other. That made our trip so enjoyable.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I absolutely lover Voltara and our walking tour there at night. The beauty of being up on that mountain top looking down to the valley and learning about the history of Voltara was my favorite "wow" moment. Of course there were many other wow moments too."

Janet

Cartersville, GA

Tour: 08/29/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We loved the Heart of Italy tour. We'd been to Europe twice and had always planned our own trips - tickets, transportation, hotels, etc. What a wonderful experience to have the details worked out ahead of time! We had more time to relax and enjoy our time in Italy. The tour group was a fun mix of people - friendly, curious, fun-loving. Our guide, Rainer Metzger, was knowledgeable, organized, out-going, and helpful. He even arranged to have birthday celebrations for 2 group members at dinner!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Volterra - a beautiful, quiet, old city on a Tuscan hilltop. After the busyness and noise of Rome, Volterra gave us a chance to slow down, enjoy a wine-tasting and a city walk with Annie, our local guide. My husband, an art major, was, of course, overjoyed with the Uffizi, Accademia, and Vatican Museums. He had tears in his eyes when he turned the corner and saw Michelangelo's David. The first views of a Florence sunset from the hotel rooftop and the Cinque Terre from the ferry."

Dennis

Jacksonville, FL

Tour: 08/29/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I would rate this trip an 11 out of 10. Rainer was superb, giving us valuable information and advise along the way. The guided tour is the way to go. We didn't have to figure out where to go or what to see, and Rainer seemed to know everyone! All of the accommodations were clean and passed our "would you pay to stay here" test, with flying colors. It was a fast paced tour, and we were worn when it was over. But I'd do it all again. Thank you Rainer and Rick Steves.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Seeing St Paul's Basilica. I expected a wow moment, but got a WOW moment. But really, everything we saw was amazing, just some more than others."

Darrick

Morris, IL

Tour: 08/29/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We were invited to a wedding near Venice and wanted to see as much of Italy in the 2 weeks before the wedding as we could. The Heart of Italy tour covered so much that was on our checklist, taking us from Rome to Tuscany to the Cinque Terre to Florence. The hotels chosen for the tour were centrally located and had character. All of our museum visits had local guides, who did a fantastic job explaining things that I would not have known had I walked through the museums just by myself.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hmm, it's hard to chose just one. When we were in Florence, we stayed at a hotel (Torre Guelfa) in a 720-year-old building. It had a tower with a rooftop patio, where we could order drinks and snacks. One night, my wife and I made our way up the tower. The view of Florence at night was amazing. (Also in the running: sunset from the Etruscan arch in Volterra.)"

Anna

Omaha, NE

Tour: 08/29/18

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

The tour was a great first-time look at Italy. The time flew by all too quickly! The choice of stops was great -- I would have liked a night in Lucca instead of just a few hours there, but understand the time constraints. We definitely saw the major attractions in the places we stopped.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Rome. I couldn't believe these ancient attractions were in the middle of a busy city with shops and office buildings surrounding colliseums and fountains that have stood where they are today for centuries!!"

Brenda

Flagstaff, AZ

Tour: 08/29/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our experience far exceeded our expectations! Everything about the tour was well organized and high quality. We were not considering doing another trip for another 5-10 years but are seriously considering another one in 2 years.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Both my husband and I were astounded at the quality of everything provided; the historical information, hotels, food, programs, tours, guest tour guides, our own tour guide,Rainer, and the organization of the tour. We have recommended your tour company to everyone we have talked to about the tours."

Jerri

Jacksonville, FL

Tour: 08/29/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our first (and probably only) time in Europe. My expectations were huge! I was not disappointed. Best vacation ever!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"So many! The first night's Walk through Rome. Rounding the corner of what looked like every other street in Rome, and BAM! That's the Pantheon! Also David was much more impressive that I was prepared for. Scariest moment: the bus ride to the Cinque Terra! Gulp! Serious drop-offs!"

Eric

Gilbert, AZ

Tour: 08/26/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My first Rick Steves' tour was a wonderful experience. We had interesting, helpful, and interesting tour guides throughout (led by Stephanie). We were treated to some great meals, "perks", and opportunities. While I would have preferred a little more "down" time I received exactly what I signed up for. The hotels were all comfortable. Also enjoyed meeting our fellow tourists. I would definitely do another Steves' tour again and certainly would (and have) recommended the tours to others.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Seeing the historic sites and beauty of the various regions."

Ledonna

Charlestown, IN

Tour: 08/26/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our tour experience was exceptional. I give the Rick Steve's family a big thank you for making this trip very memorable. Stephanie our tour director treated everyone more like family members as she shephered us through the cities and small towns of Italy. She kept everyone informed about our day to day activities, she was excited to share her knowledge and love of Italy with us, she was courteous, patient and attentive to everyones needs.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Favorite "wow" moment was visiting Michelangelo's David statue in Florence. Stephanie did an outstanding job of preparing us this breathtaking experience."

Steven

Lake Oswego, OR

Tour: 08/26/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our tour was a wonderful exploration of the BESt of Italy. And it truly was. We covered the essentials in Rome and Florence, and discovered wonderful Tuscany. Our Guide, Stephanie Bergmen was great. She was knowledgeable, organized, caring and provided a great experience. The many local guides added an essential enriching component to the overall experience. Hotels were great, located in the right places, and the two night at each location worked out great. I recommend this tour to all.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hard to say. Probably ancient Rome."

Terrie

Wheat Ridge, CO

Tour: 08/26/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had a wonderful group of people and saw and did a lot. It was very enjoyable.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hiking in Cinque Terra. The view from the hotel in Florence. Seeing the statue of David. Being on the gladiator level of the Colosseum in Rome."

Ann

Lake Oswego, OR

Tour: 08/26/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

When I try to describe this tour of Italy to others, it's always a matter of 'Just where should I start?". Every facet of the tour was stellar. It was the perfect balance of larger, gritty cities and smaller, quaint villages, all brimming with head-banging history, as well as exceptional culture and beauty. The accommodations were wonderful. And our tour mates were also great, as is typical of those who choose to travel with Rick Steves.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Although I am a retired physician, having spent my college and graduate school years as a fine arts and art history major, it was thrilling to finally stand before the great masters--Michelangelo, Botticelli, Caravaggio, Bernini, Raphael, Titian--what dreams are made of. I thought my knees would give out before Bernini's sculptures.I could not hold back the tears, they were SO magnificent. So for me, that was my WOW moment, though there were certainly others that could compete for that honor."

Marlies

Gilbert, AZ

Tour: 08/26/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was really great overall. The places, the people, the food were all 5 out of 5. My brother is a RS veteran and has been raving about the tours for years so I had no doubt this trip was going to be good but I had no idea it was going to be out of this world! I loved the quirky hotels, little Tuscan towns, group dinners, food recommendations, site recommendations on our off days, quick and dirty tours of major sites and the off time to decide how we want to spend our vacation.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Tuscany, both the small towns and Florence. I appreciate the tour's ability to take us to towns off the beaten path to see how real Italians live as well as the local guides' abilities to make the towns' histories come alive. I will be coming back to Tuscany again and again and again..."

Cheryl

White Rock, BC

Tour: 08/26/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The description of this tour tells the whole story; the locations were perfect, the description indicated the different levels of walking they were correct. We were on the go everyday, all day; walking, learning about the history, the sites we saw were truly beautiful. When the day was done, we were happy and exhausted, but ready to the next day's adventure. The decisions made for this tour from the hotels, transportation, meals, sites, guides, was the best way to experience Italy.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were so many "wow" moments, the one that stands out the most for me was the Colosseum! The way our guide tells the stories of the gladiators and what took place there, you could almost feel it come to life."

Donna

White Rock, BC

Tour: 08/26/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour exceeded any expection I had. From: Our wonderful, friendly, knowledgeable, lovely tour guide, Stephanie. Can't say enough great things about her. The dinners were wonderful and lots of choices for those who had dietary concerns. The tour bus experience was exceptional as well as the drivers we had. Easy access to all the spectacular places we visited. And many little extras along the way.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Walking into the colosseum exactly where the gladiators did. Unbelievable."

Thomas

Saint Paul, MN

Tour: 08/26/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Cheryl deslauriers made statement on our behalf and I would like to elaborate in the following questions.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Learning the history of the beloved Italy at the time of Christ and beyond. Michelangelo was the upmost wow moment."

Beverly

White Rock, BC

Tour: 08/26/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my first tour and I was very impressed. Our guide Stephanie was fun and went out of her way to take us places on her own time or sit down with some of us who were trying to plan side trips during our free time. There were 26 people in our group which I think was a good number. We all got along well and were interested in learning about each other. After a few days together it was travelling with friends. the local guides and bus drivers were amazing.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I had never been to Europe before and every place we went was special for me but I think my WOW moment was visiting the Vatican and climbing St. Peter's basilica ."

Cheryl

St Paul, MN

Tour: 08/26/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

When you stated that this trip would be strenuous, you were spot on . This tour did not disappoint in all my expectations. In being organized,on time,accommodations pleasant, bus transportation pleasant,advanced tickets leading to no wait times,wine tasting with an expert, exceptional dinners and your choices of what we needed to see gave us a lifetime of memories. Most importantly is our guide, Stephanie. I will forever will remember her with love and respect. She is Italy!

Rebecca

San Antonio, TX

Tour: 08/19/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

A trip of a lifetime. I felt it was a great overview of Italy. It was nice to enjoy the trip and not have to worry about figuring out how to get from city to city. I felt the hotels were extra accommodating given we were with a Rick Steves tour. Cristina our guide went above and beyond to give us extra information, bought us candies to have on the bus and made sure everyone was comfortable at all times. She clearly explained when we needed to be where, always willing to give recommendations.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Very hard to pick one - walking into the Colosseum was something I will never forget, the local tour guide was awesome as was the Vatican tour guide. I am no sot sure if it is a regular stop our guide took us to the Florence American Cemetery and Memorial can't put into words. Cinque Terre from Ferry. Hotel rooftop view in Florence seeing the Sunset - Hotel Torre Guelfa. The dinner at the hotel in Levanto was great especially the Limoncello! Wine tasting in Volterra too!"

Beverly

Hickory, NC

Tour: 08/19/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our first Rick Steves tour. I have wanted to go to Italy for years and we were celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary. We chose the tour as my husband had seen him on TV. We wanted to experience Italy through the eyes of an Italian. The tour was extremely well managed, organized and we saw all the top sites of Rome, Volterra, Lucca, and Florence. We had great downtime for our own exploring as well, especially on the Cinque Terre. We celebrated our anniversary in Volterra.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"So many, but I really enjoyed my first view of the Coliseum against the bright blue sky. I loved the Tuscany Valley and the quaintness of Volterra and Cinque Terre was breathtaking!"

Suzanne

Medford, OR

Tour: 08/19/18

Overall rating: rating 2 of 5

I expected to love it. But, after years of watching Rick Steve's shows and agreeing with his travel philosophy, for a large part of the tour I felt as though I was either led around by the nose or left on my own to flounder. Much of the tour was masterfully done, with smooth transports, wonderful guides, and enjoyable companions. So, the tour had high highs and some lows. Overall, I learned a lot. But, somehow the tour missed a mark for a connection with Italy or a desire to repeat the experienc

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Francesca's marvelous tour of the Colosseum in Rome. Her method of teaching, setting the scene to bring her pupils back in time to Rome's powerful heights were impactful, and chilling. Brilliant."

Suzanne

Freedom, PA

Tour: 08/05/18

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

This was my second Rick Steves tour and it did not disappoint. I love the mix of group time and free time. Our guide, Patricia, was outstanding. Her knowledge and humor were exceptional! When my daughter had a health issue Patricia was right there to help her out. Thank you so much.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My wow moments were seeing the tour through my daughters eyes! We loved the hill town of Volterra. Our bike ride around Lucca was so much fun! We had a wonderful day in the Cinque Terre seeing four of the five villages. Phew! And the food, amazing! Thank you Patricia for picking great restaurants!"

Nicole

Decatur, GA

Tour: 08/05/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Loved it! Our guide Patricia did a great job - enthusiastic, informative and witty. Local guides were also outstanding, especially Francesca, who brought Ancient Rome to life at the Coliseum. Our guide at the Uffizi enhanced the viewing experience with knowledge and humor. As with other Rick Steves tours I've taken, it was a good balance of time with the group and time exploring on my own. Enjoyed the history of Rome, the art of Florence, and the small picturesque towns in between.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The first breath-taking ocean views on the Cinque Terre hike. The mysterious funerary urns at the Etruscan museum in Volterra, carved with scenes resembling Greek myths. Entering the Coliseum and looking up at what would have been the crowd-filled stands in the arena. The gorgeous view of Florence from the rooftop bar at the hotel. Handsome David at the Accademia museum. Incredible pasta everywhere, especially gnocchi with clams in Rome and culurgiones with shrimp in Florence."

Noah

North Vancouver, BC

Tour: 08/05/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was a very well paced and interesting experience with a good mix of group activities and individual family time.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Walking in the colosseum and not only seeing but trying to imagine it back in its prime covered in marble."

Molly

Onalaska, WI

Tour: 08/05/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was excellent and Patricia was a wonderful guide.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Our guide at the colosseum was excellent, better than most private guides. I also appreciated the small moments like when Patricia bought gelato for everyone on our walking tour."

Tanya

North Vancouver, BC

Tour: 08/05/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was our first time to Italy and our first experience with a Rick Steves' Tour. I have to say that the whole experience exceeded every expectation. The trip was fantastic and memories were made that will last a lifetime! Our tour guide Patricia was incredible.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The whole trip was "wow" for me. Most amazingly was how much we saw and did in nine days and all without any problem or delay. Everything was so well planned for us. We never had to stress or worry about connections or line-ups or accommodations. It made for a very enjoyable and relaxing trip."

Joshua

North Vancouver, BC

Tour: 08/05/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The whole tour experience was amazing. I felt I learned so much in such a small amount of time. It was all very organized and easy to follow/understand.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favorite wow moment was going into the special entrance of the Colosseum. Not only was the Colosseum greater than I imagined we got to do a once in a life time thing. Would highly recommend."

Nolan

North Vancouver, BC

Tour: 08/05/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Outstanding tour guides and an excellent schedule for a very enjoyable Italy experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Colosseum tour in Rome, with Volterra as a close second."

Thomas

Lake Como, NJ

Tour: 08/05/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was a wonderful experience! All of the hotels were terrific, the individual subject matter experts were well informed and did a great job of communicating their knowledge to us and the group meals were delicious.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My individual wow moment came during the tour of The Coliseum and The Forum. Our guide was obviously an expert on Roman history, and she presented her information with a passion that was infectious. She painted a beautiful vivid picture of life in ancient Rome."

Pamela

New York, NY

Tour: 08/05/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

A very comprehensive, exciting tour of The Heart of Italy. Visited some places I've always wanted to go and had the opportunity with this trip. This tour is beautifully curated with a mix of the city and countryside. The Tuscany town of Volterra was totally amazing.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Actually, all of Florence "wowed" me. What a beautiful city. I guess the main "wow" moment was seeing the famous Botticelli paintings in front of me. The guide for the Uffizi Gallery was wonderful."

Christine

Friendswood, TX

Tour: 08/05/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Wonderful tour hitting all the highlights. Our guide was absolutely fantastic and I cannot say enough about the quality of the local guides in each city we visited.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The coliseum tour with the local guide was just amazing. So refreshing to have someone speak unscripted and with such passion about the history of the coliseum and to bring thoughts of the evolution of rom thru present day into consideration."

Deborah

Mckinney, TX

Tour: 07/22/18

Overall rating: rating 3 of 5

Overall the tour was very good. The hotels were ok for European style hotels. The itinerary cities were perfect for our interests. The local tour guides in Lucca, Volterra and Florence (Uffizzi Gallery) were awesome. The social events were good with the exception of welcome dinner in Rome which was below par for Italian food. Commiunication was good and the bus was comfortable..

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Our wow moments included Volterra, Cinque Terre and the best hotel on our tour in Florence. We also enjoyed the Tuscan in Volterra and the Ligurian feast in Levanto. The wine tasting was also good. We loved when Ferdi played Andrea Bocelli music as we drove away from Volterra through the hills in Tuscany. Also, the other people on the tour were awesome."

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!)."

Jayne

Pekin, IL

Tour: 07/15/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I loved everything about the tour! It was perfect, action packed got to see all of the famous sites and local tour guides were fantastic!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I had been anticipating seeing Michaelangelos "David". I wasn't disappointed and actually surprised at how large it was!"

Richard

Lackawanna, NY

Tour: 07/15/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The Tour Guide was amazing to start off with. Hotels were air conditioned and clean. You weren't confined to the group all day. It was small and aloud you to go off after a certain time and explore. Well worth it.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Again, the tour guide made the trip enjoyable. The Collosseum was the big WOW factor."

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!"

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"

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)."

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."

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."

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."

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."

Pamela

Wenatchee, WA

Tour: 07/15/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Learned so much about each City we visited.

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."

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."

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...."

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!"

Alice

Isle Of Palms, SC

Tour: 07/08/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Overall this was an outstanding tour! And we had an awesome group ! The trip was rated with some physical requirements which meant that those that signed up were all interested and able to be very active. There was a great balance between organized tours and free time and excellent guidance on options for our free time. I REALLY appreciated that the group was not larger than 24.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Volterra was such an awesome treat! A bit off the beaten path, not crowded, amazing history, wine, alabaster, food etc. Also WOW moments with ALL the local guides. Knowledgeable, personable, clearly loving their town and job. So much great information. This gave the tour so much value."

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."

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."

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!"

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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!"

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."

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.

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."

Carolyn

Oak Harbor, WA

Tour: 07/01/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our family of four, two adults and our two grown daughters ages 18 and 23, enjoyed every moment of our Heart of Italy Tour. This was our first Rick Steves trip and the first time traveling to Europe as a family. The model of the trip provides the perfect balance of structure, the context needed to ensure each portion of the trip was experienced fully and a group of wonderful individuals to share in the experience with.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I could not pick one moment as a "wow" because there were so many. Andrea artfully allowed us to enter each experience from just the right perspective to realize the enormity of what we were seeing and experiencing. The sites in Rome were breathtaking, but we found the real treasures of our experience at the other places we had an opportunity to visit on this amazing Tour."

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.