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

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

Heart of Italy in 9 Days Tour

from $2,395 per person + air

Optional Single Supplement $575

See Tour Dates

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

Dates & Prices

2018

    • Mar 4–Mar 12 (Su-Mo)
    • $2,395 + Air

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    • Mar 11–Mar 19 (Su-Mo)
    • $2,395 + Air

    Sale! Save $400 on new bookings!

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    • Mar 18–Mar 26 (Su-Mo)
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    • Apr 1–Apr 9 (Su-Mo)
    • $2,495 + Air

    Opportunity to celebrate Easter in Italy!

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    • Apr 6–Apr 14 (Fr-Sa)
    • $2,495 + Air

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    • Apr 8–Apr 16 (Su-Mo)
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    • Apr 15–Apr 23 (Su-Mo)
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    • Apr 22–Apr 30 (Su-Mo)
    • $2,695 + Air

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    • Apr 27–May 5 (Fr-Sa)
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    • May 6–May 14 (Su-Mo)
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    • May 13–May 21 (Su-Mo)
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    • May 18–May 26 (Fr-Sa)
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    • May 20–May 28 (Su-Mo)
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    • May 27–Jun 4 (Su-Mo)
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    • Jun 3–Jun 11 (Su-Mo)
    • $2,795 + Air

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    • Jun 10–Jun 18 (Su-Mo)
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    • Jun 17–Jun 25 (Su-Mo)
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    • Jun 24–Jul 2 (Su-Mo)
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    • Jul 1–Jul 9 (Su-Mo)
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    • Jul 8–Jul 16 (Su-Mo)
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    • Sep 2–Sep 10 (Su-Mo)
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    • Sep 16–Sep 24 (Su-Mo)
    • $2,795 + Air

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    • Sep 23–Oct 1 (Su-Mo)
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    • Oct 7–Oct 15 (Su-Mo)
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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
  • Rick Steves Travel Store credit to use toward guidebooks for your trip
  • Guaranteed tour price, locked in the moment you make your deposit
  • Optional single supplements — this tour has a limited number of private rooms for solo travelers for an additional fee
  • Tour alum discount of $50 for each tour you've taken prior to 2018
  • 50% discount on a consulting appointment with our in-house experts to assist with your pre- or post-tour travel plans
  • Flexibility should you need to transfer, or cancel/interrupt your tour

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

Itinerary

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

Day 1: Welcome to Italy

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

Day 2: The Vatican Museums

Today we'll focus on Renaissance (Catholic) Rome. At the sprawling Vatican Museums we'll visit what seems like a limitless collection of treasures as we make your way to one of the world's most famous works of art: Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel. You'll have the rest of your day free to continue your modern-day pilgrimage at the greatest church in Christendom, the awe-inspiring St. Peter's Basilica, home to Michelangelo's sublime Pietà. Wander through this immense church, climb the dome if you're feeling energetic, 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

Jamie

Lake Forest Park, WA

Tour: 10/27/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Tom

Seattle, WA

Tour: 10/27/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Peter

Lebanon, IL

Tour: 10/27/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Matthew

Chuo-ku, 13

Tour: 10/27/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Donna

Chicago, IL

Tour: 10/27/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Robert

Kerrville, TX

Tour: 10/27/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Ellen

Boston, MA

Tour: 10/27/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Loved everything about it.

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Mia

Chuo-ku, 13

Tour: 10/27/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Jane

Gresham, OR

Tour: 10/27/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Climbing up the dome steps; Duetto?"

David

Westerville, OH

Tour: 10/22/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Interesting, stimulating, variety, and well organized.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Sculpture of David and Sistine Chapel."

Gerald

Lenexa, KS

Tour: 10/22/17

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Karen

Westerville, OH

Tour: 10/22/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Enjoyed the guides, sites and accommodations.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Seeing Michaelangelo's David took my breath away."

James

Palo Alto, CA

Tour: 10/22/17

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Rex

Westminster, CO

Tour: 10/22/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Diane

Walla Walla, WA

Tour: 10/22/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Cinque Terre"

Glenda

Lenexa, KS

Tour: 10/22/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Yvonne

Chicago, IL

Tour: 10/22/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

David

Clovis, CA

Tour: 10/22/17

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

It was hard to find a toilet any place!

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Gina

Littleton, CO

Tour: 10/22/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Joan

Walla Walla, WA

Tour: 10/22/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This is my third tour with Rick Steves' Tours and once again I was very satisfied with the tour experience. I was especially impressed with both Ann as our tour director and our local guides. They were all knowledgeable, enthusiastic and experienced. I learned so much from them.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It's hard not to say "wow" in Rome and Florence. The history, art, museums. But I also enjoyed getting to know Volterra and Lucca and of course Cinque Terra was awesome. Maybe it was the variety of cities and countryside that made the tour a wow."

Connie

Orange, CA

Tour: 10/22/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Ruth

Albuquerque, NM

Tour: 10/22/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Sue

Walla Walla, WA

Tour: 10/22/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Gwen

Chillicothe, IL

Tour: 10/20/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was our first tour outside the US and it was very well organized, very informative, and over all just a wonderful experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Visiting the ruins in Rome, the coliseum and roman forum."

Leslie

Silverdale, WA

Tour: 10/20/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was a perfect way to experience Italy for the first time. With transportation and hotels pre-arranged, I was free to delve deeply into the experience of the country, the history, food, and not worry about where I would be sleeping or how I was getting there. The community that developed within the tour members gave another layer of enjoyment to the tour since we had a built-in group to go to dinner with, and spend time with on our free day. I can't imagine a better experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The first night walk around the historical sights in Rome brought the city to life. Full of historical sights and bustling people, beautiful fountians, and a finish with great food. As a beginning to the tour, it set the tone of a rich country with a great culture and from that moment on, I couldn't wait to get out and explore every moment of the trip."

Janice

Lakewood, CO

Tour: 10/20/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was a wonderful trip. Nina was so energetic and positive. She really made this trip outstanding. The local guides were fantastic. It was evident that they all enjoyed what they do. It was enjoyable to hear about some of the local guides grandparents memories of WWII in Italy. They made the museums and towns come alive with their stories.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Volterra ~ what a wonderful town ~ so much history!! It is charming with wonderful people."

Keith

San Jose, CA

Tour: 10/20/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Nina was great as our guide! We enjoyed the scheduled sites that we toured. And we very much liked the mix of scheduled tour time and free time. The free time was very important to us and provides great flexibility to see and do other things and to have some quiet time to ourselves. We also like the "back door" aspect of the tour, a glimpse into things other than just the main tourist sites, a local perspective.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Spending time in Volterra, what a beautiful place and was not crowded, peaceful. Of the popular tour sites, touring the Vatican and the Colosseum were great. It was especially exciting to enter the Colosseum through the Gladiator's entrance to the arena."

Mary Jane

Littleton, CO

Tour: 10/20/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Rick Steves was the best decision I made for my first trip to Italy. From beginning to end, I couldn't have asked for more. The pre-planning/advice was excellent and our tour guide, Nina, was so fun, knowledgeable, and energetic. Our group of 28 really got along well and it was just the right mix of guided tours and personal time to roam on our own. I see now why so many people take more than one Rick Steves tour!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were so many! I really enjoyed the Vatican, St. Peter's Basilica, and the Sistine Chapel with all of Michaelangelo's art. After that, I'd have to say the quaint hill town of Volterra and all its artisans and shops."

David

Chillicothe, IL

Tour: 10/20/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We were with a great group of people and by far Nina (our guide) made this trip incredibly special. She was so fun, so knowledgeable and managed, somehow, to keep us all together. We were also very fortunate with the other area specific guides. Altogether they brought Italy to life. This was my first time with a Rick Steves tour but it won't be our last. Perfect amount of together and on your own time.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It's all wow but my favorite part was the Sistine Chapel."

Dianne

Mukilteo, WA

Tour: 10/15/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Overall experience was beyond my expectations. This tour was so special to me and the arrangements handled by Stephanie were so detailed and complete to give each one of us a most fantastic time.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Tour of the Vatican and St. Peter's Cathederal. I felt like I was sent back in time. The art and history of the area was amazing. Ae"

Fred

Phoenix, AZ

Tour: 10/15/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The trip has a very interesting and entertaining itinerary and our guide, Stephanie, carried it through masterfully. This was our first trip to Italy and we decided that we needed to take a tour since there was so much to see and we didn't even know where to start. This trip was just what the doctor ordered and more. We loved all the destinations and also had a great time getting to know and experience Italy with the other tourists on the trip. Also the dinners were very good and lots of fun.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Waiting for the train would normally not be an experience to write home about. But for us even this was elevated to a sublime experience at Manarola, Cinque Terre. The station had a wide open vista to the glistening Mediterranean and the rugged Cinque Terre shoreline and made a most beautiful picture. Turning a mundane location into a thing of beauty for us typified the power of the Italian experience we had on this trip."

Soraya

Mahopac, NY

Tour: 10/15/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour exceeded my expectations. Having an excellent tour guide complemented by the local tour guides added value to the experience

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were so many. If I had to pick one, it was stepping off the train in Cinque Terre and seeing Monterosso. The photos on the internet do not do it justice. You have to experience it for yourself. Many people at home have not yet heard of Cinque Terre. Maybe that's a good thing for now. I picked this tour because of Cinque Terre and so thrilled it did not disappoint."

Jane

Easton, MD

Tour: 10/15/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our first trip with a group. It exceeded my expectations. We have taken many trips where we did all the planning. We tend to stay in similar type hotels, so this was just what we expected. The advantages I saw with the group was: 1. Less stress for us finding the hotels, transportation, etc. 2. Getting the local guides and passing the lines for the sites, 3. Having a person (our guide) to handle all the plan B days.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"So many! The vatican, Lucca, impossible to pick one moment."

Kathy

Damascus, OR

Tour: 10/15/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I did 2 tours back to back. I wish i had completed this eval prior to taking the 2nd. I would give more detail. Our 5 weeks in italy were fantastic. Your books and of course tour guides gave me confidence to take this amazing adventure. Weather was great. Guides consistently excellent.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"On the last night 3 of the guys bought leather jackets. It was such a bonding experience and I was happy to observe it. They had them tailored and they modeled them, gave each other advice and in the end were like little boys with their big fancy bags. It was a small shop and felt very personal. The best part was the 3 men had been strangers prior to this trip. Now were like " bros"."

Domingo

Mahopac, NY

Tour: 10/15/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Prior to this vacation, the best vacation I had experienced were on Cruise ships. However this vacation topped them all. The tour guides, each one of them were very insightful, well experienced, resourceful expecially during unexpected issues, and at the same time were entertaining.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The insightful information just before entering the Sistine Chapel at the Vatican, then entering and actually observing what had been previously mentioned"

Michael

Sacramento, CA

Tour: 10/15/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Rick Steves' Heart of Italy tour exceeded all of my expectations. We had never been on a tour before, and we didn't really know what to expect. We don't enjoy planning the details of a trip; Rick Steves let us grab our passport, flight, and they took care of the rest. We made great new friends on the trip and had plenty of time to ourselves. Our tour guide Stephanie was incredible in every way. We look forward to our next Rick Steves tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Our trip was really full of "wow" moments, but the one that really stands out is Michelangelo's David. We saw so many beautiful places, like St. Peter's Basilica, Volterra, Cinque Terra, and so much more. It's hard to pick just one, but the man in marble, David, was my favorite "wow" moment."

Brian

Clayton, CA

Tour: 10/15/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was amazing. A lot of walking and standing, but the tours that were lined up each day were outstanding. The main tour guide, Stephanie, was great and would love to attend another one of her tours. Though you can't everything, nine days was a perfect length of time for the tour. The tour exposed you to various life styles in Italy from the hustle bustle of the city in Rome, to the slower paced life in the hills of Tuscany.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I think my favorite "wow' moment was the town of Volterra. I fell in love with the ancient town with the narrow streets and magnificent views overlooking the Tuscan valleys."

Nancy

Walnut Creek, CA

Tour: 10/15/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Stephanie did a great job! She was very helpful when we were getting train tickets to continue our trip to Venice. She even gave out Kleenex when some of us had colds! Lovely pastries and treats were a nice touch. Our local guides were wonderful at each place. I have traveled independently in England, Ireland, and Scotland. I took a big bus tour years ago in France. This was a perfect mix of a small group with tickets and lines avoided, yet plenty of time to be independent each day.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Each place was unique. I couldn't pick a favorite place, but was very surprised by how lovely it was in Volterra. This was not my first choice tour, so I wasn't excited about that part. How wonderful it was! I'm so glad that I didn't miss it. We easily added Venice on our own at the end of the tour, so I felt we did get the best tour for us! Our tour members were all great people. The group got along well. It was great to travel with these wonderful people."

Charles

Omaha, NE

Tour: 10/15/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Well organized. Perfect balance of group activities and free time. Most of the hotels were fine. We had a great group of people. Our Rick Steves guide was great.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Tough question. In total awe of the ruins in Rome but loved Voltera. Voltera was beautiful , not crowded, lots of history, wonderful food. My favorite place."

Martha

Bellevue, WA

Tour: 10/13/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was outstanding! I couldn't have asked for anything better. I took my husband on this tour with me. He hasn't been out the country much, so I was hoping he would have a good time so he would want to go again. He had a wonderful time !!! It was so nice to arrive and then not have to think about anything after that. The knowledge of the guide (Graeme) as well as the local guides was amazing. I could really feel the passion from Graeme on the history of Italy and everything we visited.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I think I had two moments - One was visiting St. Peter's Basilica and Sistine Chapel and seeing "David" in Florence."

Tom

Dallas, TX

Tour: 10/13/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Most fun trip we've ever taken. Our tour guide was over the top. He handled last minute curve balls, I.e. unforeseen schedule changes, with ease and never seemed to get frustrated with anyone. Great attitude, sense of humor, etc. He was extremely knowledgeable about the areas we toured. We loved his recommendation of leather goods shop in Florence. This was a perfect trip to us!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Scenery/hike in Cinqueterre was beautiful. Would love to have been able to spend more time in Lucca. (One reccendation might be to spend night here. We loved the city.) We loved rooftop view and having wine on the roof of our hotel in Florence- also loved the town of Volterra. There were so many favorites; it is hard to say we only had one favorite."

Jean

Amesbury, MA

Tour: 10/13/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

amazing,better than i ever dreamed,Graham could not have done more or given more to all of us during our trip to Italy.These memories will last a lifetime and knowledge Graham gave us, we have already shared with family and friends.we will definitely do another Rick Steves tour in future, thinking of Greece with great anticipation.we will never travel to Europe again without Steve and his guides, can't say enough about Graham brilliant mind filled with morals and deep integrity miss him already

Favorite "WOW" moment

"everything was awe-inspiring every day filled with child like wonder, best trip of my life can't thank you enough loved the Vatican and Cinque Terra. will go back some day, my eyes have been opened to this awesome world we live in, thank you all, Steve and Graham and company."

Dan

Mandan, ND

Tour: 10/13/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Not having the experience of traveling with a guided tour before we did not have any predetermined expectations. With an open mind we set forth on an unforgettable journey. This trip has to be one of the most enjoyable experiences that I have had. Our trip guide(Graeme)was outstanding! With his knowledge of history and all the stories of things we were to see, it could not have been more memorable. The local guides were equally entertaining and knowledgeable.Overall,couldn't have been better.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Too many to name. One of the most memorable had to be when Graeme had us, as a group, back into the hall containing the statue of David and turn around at the base of David to give us a truly "wow" moment.:)"

Zelda

Gainesville, FL

Tour: 10/13/17

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Good Tour guide; Good group of travelers on this tour. No waiting in long lines for entry to museums, etc. An overall great experience. This was my third trip to Italy and it was definitely the best!

Favorite "WOW" moment

""David"- Michelangelo"

Linda

Reno, NV

Tour: 10/13/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This is my first Rick Steve's tour. I was not sure it would be worth the additional cost but my significant other did not want the angst of planning a trip on our own. Now I'm a believer. I will never again travel out of the states without the benefit of a Rick Steve's tour. Everything is taken care of for you. Our guide was incredible, our group delightful, the hotels awesome and the pace just right!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Oh my goodness, there are so many, the Sistine Chapel, looking over the countryside at Volterra, seeing the David, Venice at night from out tower rooftop. I loved it all."

Susan

Gainesville, FL

Tour: 10/13/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Outstanding. Graeme, our tour guide, was fantastic. Knowledgeable, organized, energetic. A great history teacher who put everything in perspective for us. I saw everything I wanted to see (except the Pieta, but that's the Pope's fault).

Favorite "WOW" moment

"David. Which Graeme handled beautifully. Also Volterra - arriving there and walking to the hotel was almost surreal; such a picturesque setting."

Dixie

Polk City, IA

Tour: 10/13/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our first Rick Steves' tour and I was impressed from the moment our guide gave an overview of the tour during orientation. Each day was so well planned and totally immersed us in the city or region we were visiting. I loved the local hotels, amazing food, great background history information, the discovery of unusual places and our fellow travelers. We owe a big thank you to our expert guide for making this trip so wonderful.

Mary

Bradenton, FL

Tour: 10/13/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my first Rick Steves tour and the experience could not have been better! Our guide was awesome. Everything went so well. It was an experience of a lifetime.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Toss up between driving through the beautiful Tuscan countryside listening to Andrea Boccelli on the bus speaker (I was not the only one with tears in my eyes); or seeing the David in Florence (especially the way Graeme had us enter the gallery backward and back up to the statue in order to see it in all its glory up close)."

Dolores

Bethel, CT

Tour: 10/13/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I have traveled and lived abroad before...this was our first group tour with Rick Steves and it exceeded my expectations! Fantastic way to experience a place never visited before.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I had many 'wow' moments... some that encompassed small discoveries, and others that were larger than life. Hiking the cliff-side trails from Levanto to Monterroso was an amazing experience - the views from the cliffs, the quirkiness of the trail itself which often wound through welcoming private properties fed my soul and my senses. The almost indescribable experience of coming face to face with so many great works of art - The sculpture of Mary Magdalene as Penitent moved me deeply."

Arthur

Amesbury, MA

Tour: 10/13/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I was apprehensive about going on a tour rather than on our own. Because we have never been on a tour vacation. Watching PBS, we started to see your tour episodes. Also we went to the Colonia Theater in Boston MA, to hear Rick Steeve talk about his tours. Well, we were totally blown away with our Italy tour trip. It was way beyond our expectations, was outstanding! Our tour guide, Graeme, was terrific, very knowledgeable, excellent communication skills. We would highly recommend this tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"it is difficult to select a favorite " wow" moment during this tour. However, my vote is the Vatican City and St. Peter's church."

Mary

Savannah, GA

Tour: 10/13/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I always dreamed of visiting Italy. I didn't know that my dreams were inadequate in comparison to what I experienced. The history, art, culture, food, architecture, landscape all surpassed my expectations. I made the trip with my adult daughter who is a fabulous photographer, so we have wonderful photos and memories to treasure!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Viewing the David statue in Florence"

Janice

Winter Springs, FL

Tour: 10/08/17

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

The itinerary was very perfect, pace from location to location was very good, meals were very good, and hotels were perfect. The amount of free time was also important and scheduled well. I and others struggled with what felt like long lectures while standing by our main guide, Jaime. He is knowledgeable and passionate, but standing for 20 or 25 minutes while he gave a lengthy discourse on a piece of history or figure, took away time from our site time and too much uncomfortable standing.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were so many! Rome has an amazing energy but you can also find a quiet residential street and the food is just great everywhere. I was truly "wowed" by the Tuscany countryside - I had high expectations and it was exceeded. Mu favorite guide was Elena, in Lucca; she kept things concise, fun, and engaging."

Bob

Cottonwood, AZ

Tour: 10/08/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Fast paste tour, which is exactly what we were looking for. We spent two extra days in Rome prior to our tour, and did a walking food tour and a day trip on our own. This was our second Rick Steve's tour. Part of the reason to booked again with Rick Steve's, was to see if his tours were consistent, and they are. The small group & free time are real pluses. Thanks to Rick and the entire organization !!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were many, but mine was seeing "David" in Florence."

Debra

Danville, CA

Tour: 10/08/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This is my third Rick Steves tour and I wasn't disappointed. Jamie was great, all the individual tour experts were so knowledgeable and the group we traveled with were so friendly and easy to get along with. The hotels were lively and the bus was super comfortable.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favorite WOW moment was when I hiked to the cemetery above the harbor in Vernazza. The view was so beautiful."

Lydia

Redwood City, CA

Tour: 10/08/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was a wonderful tour and our guide was just fabulous and we couldn't have asked for a better guide.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The private wine tasting that Jammie put together for the group."

Sandra

Cottonwood, AZ

Tour: 10/08/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our second Rick Steve's Tour. I enjoy the balance of structured time and free time, the excellent guides, and the comradery of the group. The hotels have all been excellent. Yes, we have carried bags up three flights of stairs, slept in rooms with no air conditioning and listened to the street sounds outside our bedroom window. It just added to the experience and we enjoyed every moment.loved it.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were several 'wow' moments on the tour. The Vatican museums, wonderful even with the crowds, the charming and beautiful town of Volterra with all its history. The walled town of Lucca and our sweet and funny guide. She had a personality plus! Our boat ride at the Cinque Terrence villages, seeing them perched on the side of the cliffs. Finally our final night dinner in Florence; what a feast!!"

Brian

Folsom, CA

Tour: 10/08/17

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

My wife had I have wanted to visit Italy since, well...since before we met one another. This was our first trip there and we were not confident in being able to arrange hotels and travel between locations, so this was the perfect solution. The tour also provided us with many other benefits, including access to museums (and the Vatican!) and many meals (and wine) included in the price. The tour is set up so that we were able to see the most important attractions in cities like Rome and Florence.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hard to pick one... seeing Botticelli's The Birth of Venus, Michelangelo's David and Pieta, the Cinque Terre, the Pantheon, as well as classic Italian towns like Lucca and Volterra."

Sarah

Hopkins, MN

Tour: 10/08/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

What a wonderful tour and experience! I loved the variety of cities, each so unique, and two nights in each allowed time for wandering and exploration. The Rick Steves approach is fantastic. The "no grumps" requirement sets the tone right from the get-go. Everyone was so friendly and ready to dive in, have fun, and enjoy an experience of a lifetime. The cadence of the trip is just right, the food was incredible, the culture, the local guides - I felt immersed in Italy and loved every minute.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hiking up the hills in Vernazza to see the post-card view was stunning. We just went to the trail head which was still a decent hike. Our guide, Jamie, highly recommended it, and I'm so glad he did and we didn't miss it! Another high for me was the Forum in Rome. History on top of history, buried and discovered. The local guide was fantastic! So knowledgeable and a delight to listen to. Without her tour, I wouldn't know all that I was looking at - she really brought it to life."

Stacey

Columbia, MO

Tour: 10/06/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The Heart of Italy tour was my first international travel experience and I can honestly say that the bar is set very high for any future travel plans. I was blessed to share this experience with my daughter and I couldn't have asked for a better tour guide or better group of people to share my time with. Overall, the trip was amazing! The word my daughter and I used often during our travel was serendipitous as we found something new to marvel at around every corner.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The wow moments were taking in the beauty of it all ... the architecture, the culture, the countryside, the rich history and art that show how a culture can embrace, preserve and cherish the past as true antiquity while demonstrating to the world how to grow and prosper by it. Realizing that wine is a food group that should be appreciated fully was a Wow moment, as well as the permission to succumb to your gelato craving no matter the time of day!"

Janis

Austin, TX

Tour: 10/06/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I was a little apprehensive about taking a tour. I was afraid we would be hearded like cattle day and night. However, I found this a great mix of tours and time to explore on our own. The supplemental guides were great at adding little tidbits of info that I would not have gotten on my own.

Jerome

Beach Park, IL

Tour: 10/06/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our first trip to Europe and it was great. We learned a lot about what to do and what not to do. Every day was a new adventure. Some things we did exceeded our expectations and some things did not quite live up to expectations. But that was what we expected. Our only complaint would be that our Rick Steves back pack didn't hold up very well. One of the straps started to rip half way through the trip.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Too many to fully explain. Probably our first sight of The Duomo in Florence. It was a grand sight. St. Peters Basilica and the Sistine Chapel were spectacular also. The views of the Mediteranean Sea from the Cinque Terra hiking trails. Quiet moments strolling through the streets of Volterra. Then there was all the art. Most of it I never heard of before but it was all spectacular. Every time we turned around there was a new wow moment."

Robert

Glen Ellyn, IL

Tour: 10/06/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My biggest fear was being paced by the slowest member of the herd. The entire tour group was very compliant and respectful of the meeting times and the 9 days went off like clockwork. Huge cultural immersion and educational experience, focused on politics and art. At the beginning, Ben passed out a historical timeline of Italy and world events, and a concurrent timeline of art and key artists. Would like to have seen a similar timeline of music and science. It would have tied it ALL together.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Expected what we saw in Rome & Florence - which was pretty wow. Volterra and Cinque Terre were very interesting and I'm sure we probably would not have gone there on our own. Ben Cameron was great and 3 of the 4 supplemental guides were outstanding and enhanced our knowledge and experience."

Connie

Beach Park, IL

Tour: 10/06/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Loved our first Rick Steve's tour, hopeful for many more in the future!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Turning a corner to see the magnificent "David" standing there, I got goose bumps!"

Sylvia

Oak Park, CA

Tour: 10/06/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This is our first trip with Rick Steves' travel company to Europe. Everything works out extremely well, exceeding our expectations. Special kudos to Ben Cameron who is super helpful, friendly, knowledgeable and fun to be with. We look forward to our next trip with Rick Steves'. All local guides/experts are outstanding, well versed and knowledgeable.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Pantheon in Rome was surreal for my husband. The breathtaking moment for me was the first sight of Duomo in Florence while the church bells went off."

Barbara

Mountain View, CA

Tour: 10/06/17

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

As with other Rick Steves' tours, the experience was wonderful. The logistics of getting places and seeing the highlights of each location went smoothly. Our guide was fun and knowledgeable and our group of travelers was terrific! We ate very well and were able to appreciate what we were seeing with the help of good local guides. All in all, another wonderful RS travel experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were three "wow" moments for me; in Rome, coming around the corner and seeing the Trevi Fountain in full glory in the twilight was breathtaking. Walking out of the train station in Monterosso and seeing the beautiful blue Mediterranean in the sunlight was another "wow" moment. And walking into a room at the Uffizi museum and seeing David standing in front of you was awesome in the original sense of the word."

Michael

Sisters, OR

Tour: 10/06/17

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

The organization and tour arrangements made for an effortless 9 days. As it was my first trip to Europe, the planning and experiences afforded may the trip both memeorable and effortless. It was a great trip.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The local tour guide Annie brought Volterra to life, and made this hill town and its history and charm my wow day and half."

James

Collegeville, PA

Tour: 10/01/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our first Rick Steves tour, so we weren't totally sure what it would be like, but our experience was wonderful. Great guides, well thought-out itinerary, and gracious friendly fellow travelers.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hiking above Manarola in the Cinque Terre was breathtaking. We took the Vineyard trail high above the town. The views were amazing. Going up the tower in Volterra was neat (and the tower in last hotel too!) The dessert trolley at Il Giglio Rosso on our last night was pretty "wow" too!"

Regina

Columbus, OH

Tour: 10/01/17

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

The simplicity of the tour was very relaxing...I didn't have to think about wayfinding or getting lost or standing in line for hours, and the venues were terrific. The group was very relaxed and laid back, with no big drama to deal with.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I loved Volterra. The history, the quaint town, the lack of crowds, and especially our guide Annie. I would have liked more time to wander the town and take in the views."

Colleen

Richmond, VA

Tour: 10/01/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had a fabulous time on our "Heart of Italy" tour! We were so lucky to have had beautiful weather, which meant we were able to spend lots of time outdoors. Whenever possible we chose outdoor cafes for our lunches and dinners on our own. Sitting at an outdoor cafe, sipping Prosecco, looking up at the Duomo in Florence was a once-in-a-lifetime-experience! Our pictures are stunning ... because they are all framed in the brilliant blue of the cloudless sky we had every day!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"We had many "Wow" moments! As already mentioned, sipping Prosecco next to the Duomo as the golden, setting sun reflected off of Brunelleschi's Dome took our breath away. Eating lunch (and sipping Prosecco) at an outdoor restaurant on Piazzale Michelangelo overlooking all of Florence was another "Wow" moment, as was viewing miles and miles of the Tuscan countryside from the highest point of the hilltop town of Volterra. And we could have spent all day on the Manarola Vineyard Trail!"

Jamie

Lake Oswego, OR

Tour: 10/01/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was exactly as promised, knowledgeable guides, comfortable hotels with friendly staff, spacious tour buses, and delicious food. The ease of access into the museums was huge! Breezing by other tour groups with our experienced local guides made all the difference. I appreciated the suggestions from our tour guide, Deborah, for the free time sight seeing. There is a lot to see in Italy and she helped us make good use of our time.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The pantheon brought it all together for me. The genius of the people, the rich history of the culture, and the craziness of modern Rome. I remember getting a little teary eyed in awe and wonder."

Monica

Burlington, VT

Tour: 10/01/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour was rated as the most active. It kept its promise. Great tour guide and assistant!! I especially liked the time we had on our own to explore...bonus!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Visiting Volterra. That town was unbelievable and with all the history...fantastic!"

Sydney

Midlothian, VA

Tour: 10/01/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my very first tour and it was wonderful. I had always been a bit leery of a planned vacation as I usually prefer making my own arrangements and being more spontaneous. But with this being my first trip to Europe, I appreciated all of the planning being done for me. The itinerary was varied and all of the guides were both entertaining and very knowledgeable. It was a perfect balance of guided tours and free time. I would definitely recommend it to others.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"After the hustle and bustle of Rome, I really enjoyed the low key charm of Volterra. But thinking back over the entire trip, there were so many special memories and beautiful photos, that it is hard to say one really surpasses another."

Cindy

San Jose, CA

Tour: 10/01/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I was a bit unsure about going alone but everyone on the trip was friendly and made me feel at ease. I enjoyed the blend of guided hours and free time, and the tips our guide gave us to help us make the most of both. The local guides enriched our understanding. The significant and beautiful places we visited met my expectations, and I was surprised at how many new things I learned about each place we visited and the people - past and present- who lived there.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Walking around the hill town of Volterra and seeing how people live there today, thinking all the time about the similarities and differences between them and my life in northern California. Learning about the Etruscans and admiring their advanced thinking."

Joanne

Olympia, WA

Tour: 09/29/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my first trip to Europe and it was fabulous! Being part of the tour helped me get the most out of the experience. I appreciated having the logistics worked out, and the venues and restaurants were fantastic. It was fun being part of a group and meeting new people. I learned a lot from the tour guides.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Everything I saw in Italy was bigger and grander than I imagined (except the cars - the cars in Itay are tiny). It would be hard to pick just one moment because the tour included a terrific variety of sights and experiences."

Robert

Ada, MI

Tour: 09/29/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Excellent! Well paced, informative and enjoyable. Our group was congenial and bonded well during our time together. Suggestions for free time were very helpful and enabled us to use our time to maximum benefit. This was our first time for a Rick Steves' tour and we were very pleased.

Martin

Edmonds, WA

Tour: 09/29/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We liked the fact that most of the planning for food, hotel, transportation and tours were planned out for us. This provided for a low stress and very enjoyable experience. I really liked all the members of our tour group-all had a good attitude and were pleasant to be with.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Volterra! Wow!"

Cynthia

Sherman Oaks, CA

Tour: 09/29/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour was my first tour and first trip to Europe. I've been a fan of Rick Steve's on PBS for years and I was so pleased to find out he has tours when I Googled small Italian tours. I think the tour was perfect in terms of the cities we visited, our wonderful group leader, and the balance between guided tours and free time to explore on our own. I definitely fell in love with Italy?? I really love photography and I had such a wonderful time taking pictures of the most amazing sights.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Well that's a hard one, because everything was wow!! Maybe the view of the Cinque Terre towns from the ferry. I stayed on the ferry for a few trips up and back just because it was so lovely being on the water with the magnificent views. David in Florence was breathtaking. The coliseum and Pantheon. Unbelievable!!"

Stephen

East Setauket, NY

Tour: 09/29/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour went beyond our expectations. My wife and I are musicians, love art, and I am a history buff, so expectations were high. It was a deep plunge into our ancient Western heritage from the viewpoint of history, culture, art, and religion. Of course it was wonderful to see all the things we had read about and to experience a culture different from our own. But I also got the sense that it was our history and culture too.Our heritage is much more "present" to me now.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I had two "wow" moments. The first was catching my first glimpse of the Colosseum. The size was striking as well as the fact that here was a historically important structure that was ancient and still in existence. The second was accidentally coming upon the excavation of the 2nd Senate in the middle of the modern part of the Campo De Fiore."

William

Saratoga Springs, NY

Tour: 09/29/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This trip was a fantastico experience. All the sites, hotels and restaurants were all top notch. What really made our Italy vacation special was our wonderful guide Rainer. His knowledge of the language, culture, sites as well as architecture and local food added that special touch.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Our, (actually my) Octopus dinner in Cinque Terra! The entire Cinque Terra and Volterre region was gorgeous."

Bonnie

East Setauket, NY

Tour: 09/29/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

From the first encounter, our guide Rainer was friendly, humorous, knowledgable, and encouraged us to get to know one another (the choosing of buddies based on lack of familiarity really worked well). He was quite articulate and displayed a wealth of information about history, culture, good restaurants, transportation options, and almost anything else he was asked about. The use of local guides such as Paulo in the Colosseum and Vatican added special richness.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Too many to choose one. The ancient sites, especially the Colosseum; the charm of Volterra; the stunning Cinque Terre; Michaelangelo's David."

Deborah

Olympia, WA

Tour: 09/29/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Every aspect of our tour was outstanding. Rainer's leadership, commentary and advanced planning (we know he had lots of help) made this a carefree and totally enjoyable experience for me. We packed so much into a small timeframe yet the pace was just right...a good balance of organized and free time. I would never go totally without a guide again, as I learned so much! It was also fun to explore and get lost a bit on our own. We felt totally safe the whole time.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Seeing the Coliseum for the first time; seeing Michelangelo's David; overlooking the city of Florence at sunset; climbing the narrow stairways at Vernazza...the list goes on! I learned so much about Renaissance Art and Italian history (and ...wine.)"

Sheila

Grand Haven, MI

Tour: 09/29/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My husband and I were happily surprised with this vacation. It was our first European vacation and our first Rick Steves experience. We thoroughly enjoyed the diversity of "The Heart of Italy" tour...accommodations, food and drink, tours and the various local guides and the places of course. We will be doing a Rick Steves tour again. Could we have Rainer please!!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Our wow moment was the first view of the steps on our hike starting in Monterosso and then all the beautiful vistas as we hiked the two trails."

William

Naperville, IL

Tour: 09/24/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The entire registration process was simple and easy to follow. David our tour guide was excellent. His demeanor, humility, sense of humor, and strong desire to constantly ask all of us was there anything else he could do was outstanding. I liked the balance of structured events and time windows that allowed for personal time to explore the areas we were in. Hotel selection was impressive. Hotel Museum started it off and it only got better. like the rotation of different areas.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Vatican, tour, Rome and all of the history involved in the Roman empire and the longevity of the buildings."

Keith

Rockville, MD

Tour: 09/24/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

David was a wonderful tour guide who was very knowledgeable about the sites we visited as well as cultural and local customs as they differed from what we have at at home.

Lars

Santa Clara, CA

Tour: 09/24/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Looking at my bookshelves, I have more than two dozen Rick Steve's books, and this was our third Steve's Tour - outstanding as always!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"David - the statue; although David our Steve's Tour guide was amazing as well."

Cheryl

Hickory, NC

Tour: 09/24/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was the best tour experience I ever had. David ( our tour guide) was energetic, fun, caring and had a great knowledge to share with us. Our whole group loved having him as our tour guide. The places we visited were beautiful. The meals were great and the interactions with local guides and local people made the trip even more special.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were a few "wow" moments. When we walked into the Colosseum through teh "Gladiator Gate" with our group when no one else was in the Colosseum yet was wonderful. I loved the city of Volterra and we happened to be there when a Bike race was finishing there. Our last evening meal in Florence was wonderful and David sang and played was a great experience."

Carol

Eugene, OR

Tour: 09/24/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The Heart of Italy tour had to be the most remarkable tour that I have taken with Rick Steves' Tours. The tour director was incredible. His knowledge of Italy and Italian cuisine and culture was fascinating. His sense of humor and musical talents were always hilarious and awesome.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel."

Allison

Spokane, WA

Tour: 09/24/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our tour guide, David was wonderful- smart, funny, helpful, light-hearted. The itinerary and transportation was fabulous. Our hotel in Florence was a wonderful treat!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Colosseum was one of my many wow moments of the Colosseum. We were the first to enter and came through the gladiator entrance! As our tour guide was talking, David came over and whispered, 'do you realize that outside there are hundreds and hundreds of people waiting in line to get in and we are seeing all of this just among ourselves'. Later, we asked David to take a picture of us and he took a few from different angles and they are the best pictures we have of the trip!"

Joanne

Croydon, PA

Tour: 09/24/17

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Our guide, David, was outstanding. He is very caring and wanted to make certain that everyone had a good experience. He went above and beyond to make sure each person's needs were met. We had the opportunity to see things that most tourists and there was some opportunity to do things on our own.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"We missed the last boat back to our hotel in Cinque Terre. We decided to take a water taxi back and the view was priceless. Also, the view from our hotel in Volterra was breath taking."

Cynthia

Santa Clara, CA

Tour: 09/24/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had a very enjoyable trip. Our guide was great. The locations of the tour and what we saw during our stays was great. The group meals were all great also. This is our 3rd Rick Steves' tour and we'll be back for another, I'm sure.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favorite Wow moment was the Cinque Terra coast from the water. We took a water taxi back to Monterosso just before sunset. Wow! Gorgeous. Also loved seeing Michelangelo's David, the Sistine Chapel, and the Colosseum."

Donald

Nine Mile Falls, WA

Tour: 09/24/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Made especially outstanding due to David with great music and and no excuses help with our return flight cancellations.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"David adding to overall wonderful experience."

Kathleen

Naperville, IL

Tour: 09/24/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

David is poetic. He just nailed it as a tour guide in knowledge, storytelling, tone, fun, personality, goodwill, direction, clarity on plans, and so much more! A gem! Thank you! And loved how many places the Heart of Italy Tour included

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Aside from the classics, Paula cooking at her restaurant Hotel Torre Guelfa The fruit & vegetables & the exceptional bakeries The Florence shop windows All the doors in Volterra"

Robert

Spokane, WA

Tour: 09/24/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The hotels were historic. And located perfectly near our major sights yet tucked away just off major thoroughfares. The group dinners were at intimate "ma and pa" places. And gave us a great cross section of Italian cuisine. The itinerary and transportation were well planned. Our guide and individual site guides were extraordinary.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Colosseum Our guide arranged an early entrance into the Colosseum through the gladiator entrance. We had it to ourselves! Later, all the sightseers came in through another entrance as we were exiting. Our guide at the Colosseum could teach a master's class. He was a passionate archeologist and his knowledge of dates, emperors, and facts were unparalleled."

Leann

Everett, WA

Tour: 09/24/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our first Rick Steves tour, and it definitely lived up to its reputation. I was entertained, educated and thoroughly thrilled by the experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Walking into the Roman Coliseum through the gladiator entrance early in the morning was a serious "wow" moment. There were many "wow" moments, but that one...well...WOW!"

Linda

Dewitt, MI

Tour: 09/24/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The overall experience was wonderful. We had the perfect balance of free time and tour time. Our destinations were amazing and the transportation was very nice and hassle free. The accommodations were very nice and their locations were amazing. I very much enjoyed learning more about all the local sites but more importantly it was nice to get a taste of what everyday life is like in each town we visited. I would definitely schedule another tour with Rick Steves' Tours!!!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It is hard to have just one "wow" moment but I would have to say the first was seeing the statue of David with my own eyes. Secondly, the time we spent in Cinque Terra was my favorite location. Strolling through the shops, spending time on the beach and eating the local cuisine was simply amazing."

Florence

Nine Mile Falls, WA

Tour: 09/24/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour itself was absolutely wonderful and everything and more than we expected.Our trip was marred by a cancelled flight on our return trip that resulted in staying in Florence for two more days.This wonderful trip was ruined by AIG, (travel insurance co).The agents acted like they had never had a flight cancellation and when we tried to get reimbursement, it took innumerable hours and frustration.They knew that the flight was cancelled but needed WHY. The barriers to payment were unreal.

Mike

Washington, DC

Tour: 09/22/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Cecilia was a funny and knowledgeable guide through the history and culture of Italy. The tour group was made up of wonderful people and we all got along well. The accommodations were excellent as were all of the logistics.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Running into a former colleague at a dinner in Florence. Seeing the Pieta was a close second."

Thomas

Victoria, BC

Tour: 09/22/17

Overall rating: rating 3 of 5

having been to Rome and Florence 2x in the 60's when I parked my moterscooter safely near the Vatican museum and walked in no security, no admission fee things have changed. too many tourists for me although cecilia did a great job and the local guides were good. really liked luck and Volterra. pleasant group of tour participants. I felt again the tour was as promised.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"luck was winner. seeing david again and appreciating the anatomical details in the sculptures[retired surgeon]"

Sheila

Littleton, CO

Tour: 09/22/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I've been on a couple of RS tours in the early 2000's. It readied me to travel confidently on my own for a number of years. This time I decided to do another RS tour then another few day on my own. It was so great to have wonderful accommodations planned and incredible meals to enjoy all with no energy on my part. The tour group was made up of super friendly people. The time spent as a group and "free" time was perfect. Travel from cities to hill towns was very comfortable.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There are so many "wow" moments from the ground we were standing on to the culture, art, food and wine. Just get out and walk, walk and walk so more. Explore! Really every moment was so special."

Brian

Columbus, OH

Tour: 09/22/17

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Good tour. Always enjoy meeting/interacting with other tour members. Excellent weather. Good sites and meals. All went well.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"No specific wow moment. Enjoyed Lucca, Volterra, and Monterosa - probably getting out and walking those towns was closest to a wow moment."

Tony

Oakland, CA

Tour: 09/22/17

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

This was a very well organized tour / travel group, having a precise set of daily activities which were very interesting and which were followed well! I am a 50s year old single man and going to Italy with a Rick Steves Tour group gave me plenty of opportunity to socialize and meet people and to learn about the people and culture of a different country. The Rick Steve's Travel Group also provided me with a good way to get to know MYSELF in a social way by socializing with others in the group.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The beach and nature scene of the Cinque Terre was beautiful. Raised my emotions to how beautiful nature can be. The beauty of certain iconic little churches in the Cinque Terre and along the way raised my emotions and brought love to my heart."

Pamela

Noblesville, IN

Tour: 09/22/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We were very happy we chose this tour. It was a great combination of cities and smaller villages. The Rick Steves organization plan was fun and so educational. We were glad to have extra time to adjust and see more of Rome before the tour began. The group of friends we made as we traveled were delightful. Fantastic trip.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The last group dinner was outstanding with awesome wines, food and people. We will remember so many special places and museums we enjoyed together."

Patrick

Grove City, OH

Tour: 09/22/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was extremely well organized and led, leaving very little for us to worry about other than showing up on time for scheduled activities. Kudos to the RS staff, guides, bus drivers, et. al. But the real stars of the tour were our fellow travellers: a diverse group ranging in age from about 40 to 86, each interesting and enjoyable in their own way. I'd love to take another tour with all of them onboard. In fact, I wish they were my neighbors, co-workers or golf partners. A GREAT group!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Rome & Florence (the "stars" of the tour) were good, but the the unexpected gems were the previously unknown towns: Volterra, Lucca, and the Cinque Terra. Given the unavoidable crowds and congestion in Rome, I would have gladly traded in a day there to spend it in the middle-tour towns. My favorite was Volterra."

Diane

Suncook, NH

Tour: 09/22/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This wasn't a tour for the faint of heart. It was a lot of walking and standing but worth every aching muscle. I learned so much and I think that is what I liked most about this tour. I learned about the people, the customs, the history and so much more. It was far more than what I expected.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were lots of "wows" The biggest wow, I guess was how informed our tour guide was and how much fun she was to have around. Swimming in the Mediterranean was pretty special! Very salty! Another Wow - the delicious food and gelato!"

Susan

Horton, MI

Tour: 09/17/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Ferdi was a terrific guide. He paid attention to all members of our group and helped us get the most from each place we visited. The local city and museum guides were also great. Hotels were comfortable, breakfasts more than adequate, coffee heavenly! Group members were friendly. Things were on time. Travel was comfortable. Cities and villages were nice contrast to one another. Felt like we got a good sampler of Italy.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Two moments are tied. One was the view from our hotel in Volterra -- magnificent! The second was our free day in Cinque Terre.The weather was sunny and mild and the ocean was amazingly calm. Our lunch at a restaurant overlooking one of the villages was amazing."

Marie

Miamisburg, OH

Tour: 09/17/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

With an impeccably brilliant guide, incredibly knowledgeable sub-guides, and gorgeous vistas, my tour experience was wonderful.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Experiencing first-hand the weight of the years of Roman civilization was my "wow" moment."

Michael

Miamisburg, OH

Tour: 09/17/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The Heart of Italy tour is a great introduction to a beautiful country. It certainly makes you want to come back for more. It was a good combination of big cities and small towns. The amount of time spent touring as a group and the free time was just about right. I'm sure that everyone wishes they could spend more time in some places and less in others but those are personal preferences. I'd recommend this to anyone.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Where do I start? The Sistine Chapel, David, the Uffizi, Tuscany, climbing St Peter's Dome, climbing Il Duomo? Ok, I'll admit it was the food and, of course, the wine."

Ah Shed

Montebello, CA

Tour: 09/17/17

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

The tour was excellent, the tour manager and local guides was excellent, so is the dinners. We really appreciate the information given and how to reach the hotel via train was excellent, the people and the buddy system was great.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were many wow moments but the best is when we first saw the Parthenon in Rome."

Nancy

Kirkland, WA

Tour: 09/17/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

A wonderful adventure. One I was unsure I was actually in shape for, as I read your descriptions carefully. I fell into bed exhausted most every night but felt I was seeing so much in such a short time, which is what I wanted. It was the best "weight loss" program ever! I do confess I was not one of the "multiple servings a day" gelato eaters, lol!!! It is good that you stress how physical the days are because some people are not always good at reading these details. ;)

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Just trying to comprehend the sheer enormity & complex civilization the Romans built with mere brain power and man power. Combined with so many artistic geniuses of the time, it truly was overwhelming. The amount of art that has been saved is more than impressive. That in itself was a definite "wow" moment."

John

Tuscaloosa, AL

Tour: 09/17/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My wife Inez and I really enjoyed the tour. Your tour guide was great and we would sign up with him in the future. Good thing you let us know about the walking we were prepared but a few in our group had a hard time keeping up. I was the oldest (75) in the group and I did fine. The tours were good and accommodations were good. The local guides did a good job except the one we had in the museum in Florence. He knew his stuff but would just take off to the next exhibit leaving us to follow

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Rome tour of the Forum and ruins throughout the city."

Mark

Carmel, IN

Tour: 09/17/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We were immersed in the history of Italy. The sights were spectacular. The back stories provided by our guides people, architecture and art alive. We would have never been able to see what we saw, stay where we stayed and eaten where we ate on our own. The tour venues, hotels and restaurants were extraordinary. The behind the scenes logistics allow you to experience more than you ever could on your own. i would recommend this tour to anyone who wants to experience Italy.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"i particularly liked Florence. The stories of Medici family and the Renaissance "wowed" me. The Florence Cathedral was my favorite structure. Where else can you see Michelangelo's Holy Family and David in the same day."

Tasha

Claremont, CA

Tour: 09/15/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was an amazing trip to Italy. I came here on my honeymoon with my husband and we have never been overseas before. This was a huge trip for us and this was a perfect introduction into Europe.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I think right in the beginning walking the streets of Rome and seeing the Trevi Fountain for the first time. I have always seen pictures of the fountain and thought it was beautiful but I have never realized the sheer massive size of it. It is incredibly huge! And the Pantheon. As a Famous Italian American said "fuhgeddaboudit! (which means forget about it!)""

Lorine

Akron, OH

Tour: 09/15/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We really enjoyed this tour - we can't believe how quickly the time passed.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were many beautiful and intriguing moments on this trip. We really enjoyed the historic village of Volterra and the wonderful seaside town of Monterosso in the Cinque Terra. The rooftop/hillside terrace provided a spectacular place to sip wine among the olive and lemon trees while overlooking the town and the ocean."

Milo

Fremont, NE

Tour: 09/15/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our first big trip to Europe, and our first guided tour over an extended number of days. The organization of the itinerary was just what we needed to have a great representation of Italy's central districts. The mix of city and small town atmospheres was very enjoyable, and the presentations of the historical perspectives at each locale were exceptional, whether done by Debra or the local guide for that specific site. There was a good variety of organized events and free time.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"During the walking tour of Rome, coming around the corner for the first viewing of Trevi fountain, followed by the Pantheon, were breathtaking moments. The drive from Volterra and into Cinque Terre was also awesome."

Melissa

Charleston, SC

Tour: 09/15/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our tour guide(s) was (were) wonderful!!! Loved everything we saw and did... The history was so fascination, as was the architecture, the scenery, the people, the food and the wine.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Roman Forum was a big moment, as it felt as if you were actually there during the time of its in inhabitants. But Cinque Terre was probably the biggest overall WOW for me, as I am a big beach person."

Nancy

Le Sueur, MN

Tour: 09/15/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Deborah and Jessica were the best! They went above and beyond expectations. When Deborah found out that the trails in Cinque Terra were closed to hiking, she put together activities for us to chose from on what would have been her "day off" from group activities.

James

Fremont, NE

Tour: 09/15/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This is the fourth Rick Steve's Tour my wife and I have taken, so we have come to expect an exceptional experience. This was certainly true of this one. Planning is always down to the detail which makes traveling easier and the inevitable changes in local conditions or circumstances are always handled in a professional and non-stressful way.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were a lot, of course, mostly of new and gorgeous vistas heaving into view on a regular basis. One unexpected wow! was in Monte Rossa, in the Cinque Terra, where we were treated to a complete full course seafood dinner. I don't much care for seafood and would never order it. But this was truly outstanding and helped remove my prejudice against seafood. Loved it! I should add that we live in Nebraska, one of the chief beef exporting states in the U.S."

David

Kettering, OH

Tour: 09/15/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I was very happy with the format of the tour. I did not feel like a sheep, nor was I left to fend for myself. It was a good combination of knowledge about how to navigate the country / city and free time to see some things I wanted to see that were not official agenda items on the tour. I liked the combination of big city / small city and the pacing. Rome can be overwhelming and it was nice to get to the country for awhile before going to another "big" city - Florence.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hiking at the Cinque Terre between Manarola and Corniglia. The weather was amazing and the views were spectacular from the top of the hillside."

Karen

Fremont, NE

Tour: 09/15/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This is our 4th RS tour. Every single one of them has been excellent. Loved it. Great scheduling. Enough free time. Terrific guide and travel companions. Scenery amazing -- Tuscany was gorgeous. Outstanding local guides. Loved that we got to spend a little time in Lucca. Nice to be about to bike -- felt like another side to tourism besides museums, cathedrals, etc. which I really, really love, too. Learned more about art on the Uffizi tour than I learned in school.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Drive from Rome to Volterra. Stunningly gorgeous. Also Etruscan museum there."

Daniel

Brecksville, OH

Tour: 09/15/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Exceeded my expectations! Great group of people and Deborah is an awesome guide. You can't help but take an instant liking to her, with her sunny demeaner, incredible knowledge and organization skills. We will definitely plan on another Rick Steves tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were many highlights, but we enjoyed the landscape and tour-planned meal in the Cinque Terra."

Cheryl

Fremont, NE

Tour: 09/15/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour was the perfect balance between big cities and small villages, active planned times, and time on our own. It was extremely well organized , and our tour guide, Deborah, was knowledgeable and congenial at all times. We had such special experiences in every location, and I wouldn't change a thing!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were too many wow moments to pick just one!"

Elizabeth

Dayton, OH

Tour: 09/15/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had an incredible trip to Italy to celebrate our 25th anniversary! Our group was cheerful and ready for adventure - we made new friends! Dinners together were highlights - Incredible regional food, plentiful wine, intimate restaurants, and great conversation. We enjoyed art, architecture, history, culture, and hiking. I loved the experiences: wine tasting, walking tours, shopping the outdoor market in Volterra, biking the wall in Luca, museum visits, the Vatican and Colosseum, and more

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I loved hiking in Cinque Terre. We did a challenging 3 hour hike on a beautiful day through lemon trees, vinyards and olive groves with an incredible view of the coastline and Mediterranean Sea. It was so so beautiful!"

Wayne

Chetek, WI

Tour: 09/15/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was great. Our guide Deborah, was very knowledgeable, and a lot of fun. We stayed in fairly nice hotels, and were left with lots of time to explore on our own. My personal favorite was the city of Volterra. It's like a medieval castle on a mountain. Also the meals together with the group was really fun. Highly recommend this tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Having dinner in Cinque Terra, overlooking the harbor on the patio of Piccolo Diablo. Top 50!"

Gregory

Surprise, AZ

Tour: 09/10/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We enjoyed the tour very much. A little sample of many things. As our group got to know one another, it felt as though we were traveling with long time friends. Having things prearranged (such as the Vatican tour)was a real plus. Kept the waiting in line to a minimum. The variety of experiences and scenery was just what we had hoped on our first (vacation) trip to Italy. Our guide, Ben, was great. Very knowledgeable and willing to teach or inform us about anything.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"For me, it was Volterra. Friends have told me about the small hilltop villages - actually staying in one was a real treat. My wife was most impressed by Michelangelo's statue, David."

Judy

Walnut Creek, CA

Tour: 09/10/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had a terrific time with our guide Ben and the fantastic group of people on our tour of Italy. We had excellent tour guides for all of the museums, Vatican, the Colosseum, Volterra, Luca, and the Uffizi. We found the pace of the trip to be very comfortable....with busy mornings followed by relaxing afternoons and wonderful evening dinners with the group on four different occasions. The restaurants chosen by the Rick Steves staff were wonderful experiences with delicious local cuisine.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My wow moment had to be the statue of David. We walked into the Accademia and there he stood...WOW!"

Greg

Longmont, CO

Tour: 09/10/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Great tour with Ben our tour guide a wealth of information. All the local guides great but in Lucca, Elena's energy as she talked about her city was infectious. We were always well taken care of by Ben with our transportation choices in Rome and thier quirks. We always had plenty of suggestions for our free time and help or tag alongs with Ben to start things out. The hotels were up to our expectations having been on previous Rick Steve's tours. The hotel in Florence was especially historic.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I especially enjoyed the Alabaster workshop in Volterra. Watching the skill of the owner as he fashioned a bowl from a square of raw alabaster was amazing."

Christopher

Heath, TX

Tour: 09/10/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Ben did an outstanding job.It was very nice to just relax and enjoy ourselves not have to worry about a thing.Bonus was we met a lot of new friends. And we got to sees some of the best art and architecture man has created.Thanks

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Florence the statue of David"

Sidney

Heath, TX

Tour: 09/10/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Wow and more Wows!! My husband and I had the best time. Our guide, Ben, was awesome. His knowledge of Italy and the history was unbelievable. We had the best group of people. All 28 of us got to know each other and the camaraderie was amazing. All of the tour guides at each of the tours were awesome too. Very knowledgeable and passionate about each of their cities.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favorite "Wow" moment was David in Florence by Michelangelo!! It was phenomenal to say the least. However, the views from the countryside of Volterra and the views from the Italian Riviera in two of the towns in Cinque Terre from Monterosa & Manarola were spectacular!!! There really were so many moments. The church service in the Vatican was so emotional. All of the art and history is so much to take in and to hear the history is more than I can put into words!"

Michael

Walnut Creek, CA

Tour: 09/10/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Over all it was better that I expected. Even though the tour description said it would be one of the most in walking, standing and moving-it was do able. I was awed by the amount of art works in Rome. I loved the small streets and the alleys that led you to something new, a small plaza or church. The age of the buildings seems to be embraced there vs building new. I loved the hotels-out of the way. Ben was a walking encyclopedia. loved it.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I think the "wow for me was how well the age of the country supported adapted to the modern traveler. The number of people visiting Rome. The streets of Volterra the hike in Cinque Terre and coming around the bend of the trail and here is the view of the city below. Wow."

Lou Ann

Longmont, CO

Tour: 09/10/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I felt that Ben did an amazing job at initially making our group feel comfortable and excited about our experience. I felt that our group meshed very well, had a good attitude and no "winers". Ben did a wonderful job of seamlessly making it fun for everyone and keeping us on track and learning a lot of history at the same time!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I think seeing The David sculpture in Florence was the wow moment for me. It was incredible and a lot bigger that I thought it would be. I thought it was great that we saw this in the late afternoon when that crowds were smaller, letting us spend more time taking this all in."

Dan

Fort Collins, CO

Tour: 09/10/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Wonderful tour. We saw (and ate) so much, experiencing Italy up close. Ben was a terrific host and tour guide, very knowledgeable and personable, funny and very experienced with all of the venues. We really enjoyed the Rick Steve's tour philosophy of traveling light, walking to venues, etc. The local guides hired were great too and showed a real love and respect for their towns and its history. We're already plotting our next Rick Steve's tour, maybe to Ireland.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Having already traveled to Egypt and Greece and with a real interest in antiquities, I was most looking forward to Rome's early buildings, the Coliseum and Forum. It was so much more than I expected. They were well presented through the local guide and I learned so much! My first experience with the radio receivers we often wore. Pretty common for tour groups, but my first chance to enjoy them."

Cheryl

Minneapolis, MN

Tour: 09/10/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My husband and I have been traveling internationally for quite a few years and have always done it on our own, with the help of guide books. I was a bit worried about joining a tour and all of the together time. What I really liked about this was the mix of the group time and the alone time. It was really the best of both options. We learned a lot on the group tours in the morning and then had time to explore on our own later in the day.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The beauty of the Cinque Terra was my favorite! The only city I had been to before was Florence and I was amazed at how different it seemed when getting the insight from Ben. His input added a lot to the city. So many interesting little things like the Do Not Enter signs that have been altered."

Virginia

Albany, TX

Tour: 09/10/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My tour experience was truly amazing! Our tour guide Ben was fantastic, and made our time in Italy unforgettable! I loved the walking tours and the amount of free time that we had. Every time we went to a museum, we didn't have to wait more than 10 minutes, which was so nice! The group dinners were charming, authentic, and delicious! Having meals together was a great way to get to know the rest of the group. Overall, communication, timeliness, scheduling, and entertainment was great!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I loved the group dinners, one night in Rome we went to a restaurant and were served course after course of delicious, fresh, hand made Italian food. At the end of dinner our tour guide had the cook come out for us to applaud. This sweet Italian woman who cooked for the whole resutrant came out and it was such a neat way to end the night, thanking her for the talented cooking she provided us with!"

Susan

Walnut Creek, CA

Tour: 09/10/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I knew that the trip would be good based on what I had read about and had seen the thoroughness of the Rick Steves shows on television. I was actually much more impressed once I had actively started the tour. The group (28) really gelled; there wasn't a bad one in the bunch. I was also very impressed with Ben's vast amount if knowledge everywhere we went. Ben, and of course the group made the trip so very enjoyable, Ben is adorable and was very nice to us "older folks". Cannot wait for the next.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Thee obvious one is "The David. It was so much more in person than I would have thought. We had planned this trip based on the Cinque Terre, but I fell in love with the peacefulness of Volterra and Tuscany in general (we also visited Siena and San Gimignano)."

James

Indianapolis, IN

Tour: 09/10/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Just had a terrific trip and all the tour members were great. Really enjoyed the balance of group activity and free time. The trip had a "just right" feeling and would do it again. Ben was phenomenal leading the group!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The winery walk above Manarola! Each step revealed a more stunning view of the village and the sea."

Thomas

Berthoud, CO

Tour: 09/08/17

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

I liked the tour very much... I thought when I saw the itinerary at first that we had an awful lot of free time... but it turns out, it didn't feel like too much at all. As soon as we turned around it was time to meet he group again. I saw places on this tour that I would not have put on my bucket list, that turned out to be some of my favorite places. I really liked not having to wait to check into our hotel rooms, just give them your number and you're handed a key.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were many... turning corners and seeing sculpture and paintings I have read about for 30 years right in front of my eyes. And everywhere you turn there is beautiful 1,000 year old architecture."

Michael

Oakville, ON

Tour: 09/08/17

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Our tour guide, Andrea, made the tour an outstanding one. Her knowledge was very impressive, and would be able to answer our questions spontaneously. She musters our group and guides us along with ease, and is always in a great mood. Her travel passion is infectious.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Leaving Volterra on the bus, I glanced out the window as a rainbow appeared to flow out of the fading town and into the sky. Magical."

Pamela

Martinez, CA

Tour: 09/08/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Andrea was amazing and made our trip a very pleasant experience. The food and sights were wonderful. It was worth every penny!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were many, however, Volterra and Cinque Terre stand out the most. Possibly because I had already been to Rome and Florence in the past."

Eddy

Enid, OK

Tour: 09/08/17

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

What a great experience. I never expected everything to go perfectly. Our tour guide, Andrea was knowledgeable and completely organized. She knew what to do for anything that came up and took very good care of us.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Everything was amazing."

Lara

Laramie, WY

Tour: 09/08/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The Heart of Italy tour was amazing. The hotels and restaurants were all very good. I was impressed with the knowledge of our tour guides and especially our tour guide Andrea. It might take us a while, but both my husband and I would love to do another tour someday!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"So many - I really enjoyed being in the smaller towns of Volterra and exploring the Cinque Terre a bit more than Rome and Florence in many ways, but it was definitely a wow moment to be standing in front Michelangelo's David at the Accademia Gallery. I don't think I ever expected seeing it in person before the trip and hadn't realized how tall and impressive it would be."

Tim

Provo, UT

Tour: 09/08/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was very well organized and provided a good mixture of organized time and free time. There is so much to see in the areas we visited so it is important that the time be divided between those things that everyone will want to see and those things that make a trip special that may be a little off the beaten path. This tour was able to do both of those.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were many but being in the Sistine Chapel and not only viewing the paintings of Michelangelo, but realizing that you are standing the same room that he spent 10 years of his life is very special and actually somewhat sacred. Volterra was a hidden gem and could easily spent another day there."

Julie

Fishers, IN

Tour: 09/08/17

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Great first tour experience, a perfect mix of tour togetherness and on your own exploring.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Exploring Cinque Terre. Sistine Chapel!"

Susan

Martinez, CA

Tour: 09/08/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I went on the tour with a friend of mine and we both had a wonderful time. Our tour guide, Andrea, was a lot of fun and filled us with interesting information. The dinners were excellent and the other tour members were friendly and fun. Even though we got caught in a tremendous rainstorm at the Coliseum, it still proivded me with an experience I'll never forget. I've never seen rain like that before. It had to be the storm of the century! Our bus drivers were all wonderful too.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It has to be our stay in Voltera - it was beautiful and filled with very interesting history. The shopping was good too! And to be able to be in a building that was built in 500 AD was amazing. I also liked the hotel we stayed at."

Sheree

San Jose, CA

Tour: 09/08/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My overall tour experience was excellent . We had an excellent guide in Andrea! The pace was just right with enough free time. The plans for avoiding crowds when visiting the Vatican, Collisium, Ufizzi was much appreciated! Unfortunately, the weather was not cooperative and we had to miss the Forum, but it could not be helped. My Cinque Terre experience was also somewhat marred by weather.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"At every group meal that Andrea selected ??. Food was very good on this trip."

Candyce

Yuba City, CA

Tour: 09/08/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour gave an outstanding experience for anyone wanting a glimpse of Italy, with the intention of going back.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"So many. I have been to Italy several times, but had not been to Voltera, which I loved. The tiny hilltop town was a jewel."

Larry

Hancock, NH

Tour: 09/03/17

Overall rating: rating 3 of 5

We have been on a Rick Steves tour before and knew that we would be pleased with the destination choices and enjoy the cultural experiences along the way. This tour did not disappoint! Like the last tour, there were destinations we wish we had more time to explore, especially when we arrived at a destination late in the day, it felt rushed at times. The food was plentiful and the rooms were clean, it was what we had expected. We were very pleased with the local tour guides.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Cinque Terre was our favorite destination. We hit the trail a little after 6AM and hiked from Monterosso to Corniglia. We could see a thunderstorm over the water just north of us, thankfully it continued to head north and we remained dry! We enjoyed beautiful vistas and appreciated the fact that we had the trail to ourselves, not seeing anyone until our descent into Corniglia. We treated ourselves to a fantastic breakfast and then took the train to Vernazza and then back to Monterosso. Perfecto!"

Bill

Calgary, AB

Tour: 09/03/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was our first trip to Europe...we were quite hesitant about taking a tour. We could not have had a more fabulous time. Our group was great, our 'family' dinners were fun & totally entertaining (could have used a little more Red wine...lol). Sarah, our tour guide was fantastic, her knowledge of all things Italian was incredible. She has such a passion for Italy, it was a huge part of why we enjoyed the tour so much.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I think hiking between the Cinque Terre was my biggest WOW moment, the views were incredible. Seeing St Peter's Basilica in the early morning when we were pretty much the only ones there was incredible. There were many, many more WOW moments..."

Steven

Faribault, MN

Tour: 09/03/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was our first Rick Steve's tour so we didn't exactly know what to expect. I was very impressed with the tour. The mix of scheduled tours and sight seeing with free time is perfect. It is encouraged to get to know all the people on the tour which we did. We met some great people who I'd love to travel with again. The buses between locations is first class.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I guess I'd have to say my favorite wow moment was the dinner cruise we took in Cinque Terre. It was a beautiful night and just sitting on the boat taking in all the beautiful coastline was incredible. I also enjoyed the enthusiastic crew on the boat and there stories. The food and wine was also fantastic."

Paul

Chesapeake, VA

Tour: 09/03/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had a WONDERFUL time with Sarah. She is the consummate professional and a wealth of knowledge. The tour had the right balance of history, sightseeing and physical activity. We really enjoyed our travel partners on the tour and the whole group interacted extremely well.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I think that meeting the people who ran the small restaurants was my "Wow" as I'm a food and wine junkie. I really loved all the love and care they put into the food and their special interaction with Sarah was evident by the many years they had known her. I felt like I was visiting "family" and got a truly local experience."

Janice

Sandy, UT

Tour: 09/03/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Great trip overall! Expert guide, fun travel group, excellent destinations.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Just one??? Walking up to the Roman Colosseum. Walking into the town of Volterra. Seeing the statute of David for the first time. All WOW moments."

Janice

Lebanon, OH

Tour: 09/03/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I have wanted to tour Italy for many years but my husband was not interested in travelling abroad as he travelled worldwide extensively for work before he retired. At last, he "caved in" and signed us up for my Christmas gift last year. Needless to say, the trip exceeded all our expectations! We both found the trip amazing. Sarah, our tour guide, provided wonderful information and tips with humor and grace. The history and beauty was breathtaking.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The well preserved historical buildings of Rome! However, I would love to rent a place in Volterra for a month and relax and explore the area even more."

Bruce

Lebanon, OH

Tour: 09/03/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Loved the history, art, and architecture we experienced! Local guides were exceptional! Shara a great organizer/ coordinator! Rome, Volterra, and Florence way exceeded my expectations! Great group of people we toured with.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Colloseum and Forum in Rome,inside of St. Peter's, all of Florence, and the history of Volterra. Can't select just one, was blown away by many, if not all of stops and experiences."

Elizabeth

Columbia, MD

Tour: 09/03/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I had such a wonderful time on our tour. The great mix of people, the wonderful cities and an AMAZING guide made for a great trip.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I really don't know if I could pin point one thing. I loved all the knowledge of our guide and local guides who really brought the cities to life."

Scott

Burton, MI

Tour: 09/01/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Arrived a day early which was a big help. I am in good physical condition but found walking pace and being mostly on concrete and paving stones quite demanding on legs and feet. Good footwear very important. Our guide's commentary was very enriching, including stories and discussion on bus. Our Rome local guide was too wordy for me. All hotels were fine, Voltera a bit rundown but the swimming pool was a big plus. Got plenty of sightseeing, exceeded my expectations. Sound system very helpful.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"No one favorite. Hiking the trail between towns 3 and 2 at Cinque Tierra yielded some fabulous seaside vistas. Coming to grasp the extent of Roman Empire Rome was an enlightenment! The Parthenon very cool. The enormous scale of both Ancient Roman structures (at the Forum) and Roman Catholic basilicas and churches impressed me."

Dale

Grand Haven, MI

Tour: 09/01/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Heart of Italy in 9 days tour Guide Lisa was excellent. She was more than tour guide she allowed each person to experience each stop in one on one basis allowing the moment to be "special". Each breakfast lunch and supper she planned was an event. It allowed for bonding time for each person and as a group. Food was soooo good. Was fun learning to ride trains from place to place and Metro in Rome along with bus transport in city. Buses from city to city very clean modern and good drivers

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Loved stop in Luca with local guide giving "Stories" with flair. Bike ride on top of wall"

Elizabeth

Grand Rapids, MI

Tour: 09/01/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had a great tour of Italy with our wonderful tour leader, Lisa. The cities were great, but the smaller towns, especially Volterra and Levanto, were much to our tastes since they were very walkable and we were able to really see and appreciate these towns in the short time allotted. We continued our trip,for another 5 weeks working our way up into Germany, Austria. And the Netherlands. The Italy trip was a good start for us and gave us the confidence the rest on our own.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Volterra with it's closed in feeling, narrow streets and great vistas was my favorite part. We walked around the town after dinner one night, feeling completely safe and enjoying the warm starlit evening- so romantic!"

Dawn

Escondido, CA

Tour: 09/01/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We were very happy with everything and feel like we were educated on many different levels of traveling through Italy. It made us comfortable to be able to do something on our own next time. I loves how specialized the tour guides were in each city/destination. And also having time on our own was great too. It was so nice not having to get to point B from point A on our own and just being taken care of. Would highly recommend to anyone.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Probably seeing the actual statue of a replica you have looked at your whole life. And the Cinqua Tera was amazing!!!"

Earl

Orange, TX

Tour: 08/27/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was a great tour all around! I really enjoyed our guide as well as the mix of tour guides we had for individual days. I also liked the mix of organized and "on your own" time each day; to me it was the perfect balance.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Our first evening in Rome! When the sun had gone down we were having a drink at a little spot on the Via dei Coronari. All of a sudden Rome became this quiet "little" town that we seemed to have all to ourselves and a few locals!"

Alan

San Francisco, CA

Tour: 08/27/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I was pleasantly surprised with the overall tour. This was my first tour. I enjoyed the smaller group setting. This made it possible to get to know many other people on the tour. We have met up with another couple in San Francisco. I like the "buddy" system for role call. Very efficient. All of the tour guides at the different locations and cities did an excellent job, i.e. Rome, Florence, Lucca, Volterra, etc. I will do another Rick Steves tour

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My girlfriend & I took the train to Manarola. There we saw 2 guys from our tour group that recommended the restaurant on the hill (Nessun Dorma) around 4pm. We got an excellent couch type seat that overlooked Manarola. Incredibly romantic sitting & watching the sunset. We stayed until after the sunset and got a beautiful picture of Manarola at dusk with the moon in the background, the sky a dark blue, and a light shining off the sea. The picture is as beautiful as it was in real life."

Henry

Livermore, CA

Tour: 08/27/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Last time we were in Italy was 12 years ago so we did not expect any WOW moments, we expected just enjoying some needed time off. What resulted from a last minute booking resulted in a life long appreciation of a well run tour, great meals and meeting new people that are now part of our life. Andrea was always attentive to everyone's needs and made sure you were ready to hit the streets with all the information you needed! Traveling Italy with Ricks Steves tours is the only way to go!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"When you step off the trains and walk into the towns the only words that are spoken is "WOW' you don't want to leave!"

Marietta

Glendale, CA

Tour: 08/27/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Everything was exceptional. I expected it to be nice based on Rick Steves' reputation ,but it was much more than that.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The reason for choosing this particular tour was the stop in Cinque Terre. However, the guided tours by local guides was an unexpected , really "wow" moments"

Lisa

Orange, TX

Tour: 08/27/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had a fantastic tour guide, Andrea, a fantastic itinerary, an amazing country to visit and a fun group of people. We absolutely loved everything about the trip. It was such an added feature to have guides at major sites, I really feel that we got so much more out the experience. Each guide was excellent and their love and knowledge of their particular site was evident. Did I mention the food? :) I thought that the trip was the perfect balance between group plans and on your own time.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were so many "wow" moments in this trip. I am so thankful for the experience. It may seem a small thing, but the evening meal at Paola's was such a wonderful experience, that I will choose that!"

Karen

North Salt Lake, UT

Tour: 08/27/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My daughter & I had the best time! Thank you to a great tour guide, Andrea! She made the tour enjoyable & stress free. I also liked the individual tour guides... they had a plethora of information in regards to their respective areas. Oh, the breakfasts & dinners were amazing. This was my first Rick Steve's tour & can't wait to take another!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The selection of amazing tour guide (s)."

Grace

Alexandria, VA

Tour: 08/27/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Wonderful trip! Loved our group and our tour guide. Hotels were all comfortable and group dinners were delicious. The tour offered the perfect balance between group activities and solo activities, and the activities themselves kept me interested and excited. My only "regret" was not booking a longer tour. I'm already planning my next Rick Steve's trip!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The beautiful views in Volterra!!!"

Christine

Mckeesport, PA

Tour: 08/27/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Newly widowed and fresh off the psychologists couch, I decided to do something to test my true resilience and character. Never been any place outside of the US. When friends talked about Italy, their eyes glazed over and they were instantly transported back to there, enthusiastically and lovingly, describing their experience. I wanted that. I got it and more; an amazing beautiful place. Now watch my eyes when I talk.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Sitting in the courtyard at the hotel in Volterra with a glass of prosecco, looking out over the countryside. Never will forget it. So peaceful. So picturesque. Just beautiful. Oh, and David...absolutely awe inspiring. WOW!(that is an homage to Alan)."

Rita

Menlo Park, CA

Tour: 08/20/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was my first RS tour and I had a great experience. What I liked most about the tour was that there was a good balance between group and independent (free time) activities. This provided the best opportunities to visit museums as a group (and saved the hassle of standing in lines and getting an excellent tour by the amazing local guides) AND explore the various places on our own. It was helpful to have Nina give us an introduction, maps etc so one could explore independently.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I had several. The top "wow" moment was hiking in the Cinque Tere. The views were spectacular and the ability to do this on my own was very meaningful. Another "wow" moment was in the Sistene Chapel soaking in Michelangelo's brilliance. Of course, I have to include the Colossuem and Forum among the "wow" moments. The views along the drive from Lucca to Cinque Terre and Cinque Terre to Florence were also amazing."

Scott

Ankeny, IA

Tour: 08/20/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I definitely liked the fact of having our site seeing tickets included with the overall package. These also included local guides, scheduled times to the museums, etc. This allowed me to avoid the hassles of getting admission tickets and waiting in long lines. I thought the total cost was very reasonable considering it included all hotels, some meals, tours and guides.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Colosseum and the Forum. Our guide was fantastic about telling the story of these sites, and making us able to visualize their original condition and their history."

Tina

Moscow, ID

Tour: 08/20/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Nina was a fabulous tour guide, knowledgable, engaging, fun and very organized. Never a dull moment with her in charge! We were also fortunate that every one of our fellow travelers were wonderful.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There was more than one "wow" moment for me. Seeing the David in Florence and The Pieta and the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican were very special moments for me. Staying in the beautiful Florence Hotel was amazing, and I loved exploring and hiking in the Cinque Terre."

Karen

Mentor, OH

Tour: 08/20/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Absolutely a top notch tour! Great balance of sightseeing and free time. The museum/city guides ranged from excellent to superb. Nina, our tour director, was wonderful and clearly enjoys her job. I personally feel this trip was worth every penny.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There wasn't one specific wow moment. Just being in Italy and seeing the sights that I have read about was amazing."

Georgia

Arlington, TX

Tour: 08/20/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was really HOT in August in Rome, but I thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The moment in the Sistene Chapel when I looked up and saw God's finger touching Adam. Our guide, Ludovica was fantastic."

Molly

Mankato, MN

Tour: 08/20/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Fantastic! All the planning and scheduling was done for us. It saved us so much time and they made sure we hit all the important "don't miss" sites. We were given tips on out of the way non-touristy spots to visit on our own. We had plenty of free time to explore and had direction for those times so we were not wasting any of our precious vacation hours. Nina had us feeling like a "family" by the time we walked out of our orientation meeting together that first day!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It is difficult to pick just one, we had so many. We had great experiences in Rome and Florence. Our guides did a wonderful job helping us understand not only how incredibly ancient everything was we were seeing and walking on but how resilient the people were and what their lives were actually like 1000's of years ago. However, the small towns of Cinque Terre and Hill Town of Voterra were some of our most memorable "wow" moments. The buildings, towns, streets, & views were incredible."

Patrick

Mankato, MN

Tour: 08/20/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our guide, Nina, was fantastic. Well organized, knowledgeable and interacted with everyone in the group well. Our accommodations were great (good locations and comfortable). Transportation between locations was very comfortable. Every fellow traveler was fun to be with and all participated in group activities.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"So many to choose from but our first evening in Levanto was great. We stayed at Hotel Primavera and had dinner together. Great meal and a lot of "unwinding" after dinner."

Bob

Moscow, ID

Tour: 08/20/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was everything I hoped for, and much more. We were blessed with such a wonderful guide, Nina. Nina's knowledge of the history and culture of the sites we visited was incredible. It was like taking short college courses in history, archaeology and anthropology. We were also fortunate to have such wonderful local guides at each locale. Rick Steves' Europe has done an outstanding job of finding the best local people. I will highly recommend this company to my friends.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Colosseum in Rome. I am so amazed at the architectural and engineering skills of the ancient Romans. That was my favorite site, though there were so many amazing sites that we visited on the tour, too numerous to mention here. The Colosseum was part of a walking tour of ancient, central Rome. Our guide for that tour was Francesca, my personal favorite local guide."

Norma

Palos Park, IL

Tour: 08/20/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I cannot say enough about how much we enjoyed the tour. Nina was such an amazing leader for our group. Her knowledge of the history, things to do on our own and restaurants were so helpful. Meeting and bonding with complete strangers on this trip was the best thing ever! We be came a strong band of new friends...no one was ever left to feel alone or not part of the wonderful locations. This was our first RS Tour and I cannot say enough about it! Amazing experience

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Every day on the Heart of Italy Tour was a wow moment! From the history and beatuiful scenery to the restaurants we went to. But Nina did suggest that while in Cinque Terre we take the boat and stop in Portovenere. Wow was that amazing! That is a must! We than took the boat back and got off and the different stops to explore. This trip was full of daily wow moments"

Debra

Ankeny, IA

Tour: 08/20/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I had an amazing tour experience. I was reluctant to sign up for a group tour because large groups slow you down and there's bound to be at least one grump. However, we only have positive things to say about our Rick Steve's tour. It was particularly helpful to "skip the lines" on our tours. Of course, having everything planned in advance makes a trip more efficient and the staff know the best days and times to visit particular sights.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My "wow" moment was hiking the trails between the Cinque Terre villages. There is only one way to capture the iconic images and it involves some sweat and sore muscles."

John

Corona, CA

Tour: 08/06/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Jamie and our fellow travelers made this a fabulous trip. I am physically active but at 52 it is no joke, the walking is strenuous and by the tour end I was tired. We stayed in Italy for another week. Italians are very gracious, some can be rude but rude people are everywhere. Learn a little Italian and it will make a big difference. If I had it my way I would pick up today and move to Tuscany! Thank you Jamie for facilitating a wonderful Honeymoon.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Volterra was fantastic. The food and views from the mountain top were life changing. Steep hills but beautiful terrain. Look forward to returning."

Shirley

Scarsdale, NY

Tour: 08/06/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour was outstanding; got even better by the day! The tour guide, Jamie, was organized, knowledgeable, generous with information and gave us great balance of touring and free time. His daily doses of history and background were invaluable to put the sites and artifacts in context. The food was plentiful and delicious. Hotels were very good except for the Vatican hotel which was away from central Rome and breakfast was mediocre. Otherwise the other hotels were great.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"We were absolutely blown away by the level of preparation, depth of knowledge and passion about Italy's history, sites and local culture which the tour guide Jamie and the local guides have. The history and art information they provided made standing in the Coliseum, the Forum, Lucca and Volterra very special."

Kevin

Cedar Rapids, IA

Tour: 08/06/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Really enjoyed all of the people on our tour, there was a right balance of free time as well as group tours. Our tour guide did a wonderful job.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Our tour guide of the Coliseum was amazing, her stories that she provided during the tour were unbelievable."

Julia

Stoughton, WI

Tour: 08/06/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was very well done. Everything flowed smoothly, the accommodations were nice and unique. Jamie (our tour guide) knew what he was doing and did a good job with group cohesion and sharing interesting information about the places we traveled to. The tour guides for specific sites were well picked and exceptional at what they did. Not only were all of the guides very knowledgeable, they were also very passionate about what they spoke about. The food was very good as well.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"When touring the Collesseum, the tour guide, Francesca, told the story of Rome and the ruins that we walked through in such an amazing way. The story was ours, not just an old and disconnected history. It had something to do with each of us. We were told that her tours had evoked tears, but I didn't believe it until I saw that she had indeed evoked tears from several in the group."

Courtney

Minneapolis, MN

Tour: 08/06/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I loved the tour guide that the company provided and also really enjoyed the tour guides that were used within the tour itself at the different sites. They were all really great guides and had a wonderful experience with all of them. Also, the sites were wonderful and the way the tour was set up with starting in Rome and ended in Florence was perfectly planned. I wish that the Rome hotel was more in the center of Rome instead of close to the Vatican City, but that is the only complaint I have.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Coming into the hill top town of Volterra was probably my favorite wow moment. It was just such a cute town and was exactly what I thought the countryside of Italy would look like. I was amazed looking out over the city walls to see the beautiful countryside."

Joel

Mill Creek, WA

Tour: 07/30/17

Overall rating: rating 1 of 5

This was our fourth Rick Steve's tour. All previous ones were excellent, with excellent tour guides. Sadly, this fell far short of expectations. The tour guide seemed to be "mailing it in". Went over the bare minimum, but absolutely no value added.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Unfortunately, there wasn't any. Just a minor example, all prior trips had a wow moment, a trip to a forest, unexpected singers, etc. There was nothing. Not even a sample drink, or chocolate on the bus, or elsewhere."

Robert

Binbrook, ON

Tour: 07/30/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Being our first Rick Steves' tour, we weren't sure what to expect. Our expectations were high, and we were not disappointed! Our guides were fun, fonts of knowledge and local trivia, and kept us laughing the entire trip. The accommodations were always very comfortable and well located, and most staff treated you like family. The included meals were outstanding in taste and quality, and always reflected local cuisine. Travel was also very comfortable and easy. Overall, a 10/10!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were SO many, it's hard to choose. Walking through ancient ruins (like the Colosseum), on and under medieval city walls (like Lucca), or exploring the narrow streets--each with their own vibrant sights and sounds were amazing ... and the food!!! I tasted some of the best food ever on this trip--some as part of the meals arranged by the tour, and others recommended in the guidebook. Definitely a few "WOW!" moments there! :)"

Eileen

Mill Creek, WA

Tour: 07/30/17

Overall rating: rating 1 of 5

Very disappointing. This was my 4th Rick Steve's tour and the overall experience was nothing like the previous 3, which were all outstanding. Tour guide was very disengaged, was untimely as to visiting certain sites (we were late to the Pantheon and did not get in), did not learn everyone's needs or even our names. He stated several times he was not from Italy and criticized the country several times. He did not speak about timeliness. We had to wait several times for late tour participants.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I cannot say that there was one on this tour."

Samuel

New Freedom, PA

Tour: 07/30/17

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

I was ROBBED in Rome airport upon arrival. Overwhelming CROWDS were horrible. Tremendously HOT weather was exhausting. I do not recommend travel to Italy during the months of July & August? NO WAY! Your company should not plan trips to those HOT & CROWDED places. Maybe it was not that HOT & CROWDED 30 years ago but today...FORGET IT! Ferdi was attentive to client needs.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Worst WOW and unbelievable moment was when I noticed that I had been violated ( robbed ) even after purchasing a Rick Steves' money belt. Favorite moment was drinking cold H2o with ice & delicious Gilato Ice cream. Learning that police don't arrest thieves because they don't want to pay the thieves medical insurance, housing and food."

Tina

Chattanooga, TN

Tour: 07/30/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my first time to travel to Europe and I believe I picked an awesome trip to get me introduced to traveling there. The tour guides were so helpful and helped to make each city more fulfilling. The only downside to traveling to Italy in July/August is the terrible heat! I would advise folks to travel there another time of the year.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I loved Volterra, it is a very charming and truly authentic Italian city. I would go back in a heartbeat."

Samantha

Shawnee, KS

Tour: 07/30/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I had a great time touring Italy. Our tour group was a wonderful group of people and we had a great tour guide. We got to see so many things and hear about all kinds of history. It was a great way to travel.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Personally, I loved the Conque Terre. We had a lot of free time and it was fun to hang out with some of our group members, taking boat rides and visiting the beach. We also had a great little hotel in a fun location. It was a great relaxing part of our vacation."

Julie

Sammamish, WA

Tour: 07/23/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Fun, informative, pace was great - sometimes faster, sometimes lingering, as appropriate to the site. Learned interesting and meaningful history and things about the Italian culture. very enjoyable, great group of people and excellent guide.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Can't pick just one! Loved history of Etruscan gate/arch in Volterra, hiking in Cinque Terre, laughing on bus with fellow travelers, etc."

Vincenzo

Alexandria, VA

Tour: 07/23/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was very educational and well organized. There was a good mix of organized tour and free time. At no point did it feel like there was too much going on, which made everything relaxing and enjoyable. Our group, but especially our tour guide Patricia, was phenomenal.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My "wow" moment was the tour of the Coliseum. Our tour guide Paolo was extremely informative and the way he gave the tour was easy to understand. He was excellent."

Patricia

Victor, NY

Tour: 07/23/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We were very pleased with the overall tour experience. Being this was our first group tour, we didn't know what to expect. The blend of group activities and free time was appreciated. The group meals were excellent and the hotels were quaint and lovely.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The hike from Monterossa to Vernazza was amazing. The views from the cliff trail were not to be surpassed."

Debra

Alexandria, VA

Tour: 07/23/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our tour guide Patricia was fabulous. We had a great group of people who got along well even though the weather was very hot. There was a nice mix of organized tours and free time. Our local guides were extremely knowledgeable. We not only enjoyed the beauty of Italy, but also learned a lot about the history and art. I also can't say enough good things about Patricia. She was always pleasant, got us to where we needed to go on time and with a smile, very patient, and helpful.

Tom

Sammamish, WA

Tour: 07/23/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My wife and I had a wonderful time on this tour. We have no complaints about anything related to the tour and it met and often exceeded our expectations. The challenge was the summer heat and 108.5°F temp is very challenging with the amount of walking involved. Our next tour will not be in the summer.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"This was our 2nd Rick Steves tour and we loved the character and history of the Tuscan hill towns. Hiking the trails of the Cinque Terre was also great. The most amazing part of our tour for me though was our guide and the amazing people that made up our tour group."

Dennis

Mission Viejo, CA

Tour: 07/23/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Just great. Loved the mix of tour/ free time. Getting into to places as easy, group dinners were fun, bus was great.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The immensness of St. Peter's"

Jackie

Gilroy, CA

Tour: 07/23/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my second Rick Steves' tour and it won't be my last. It was a great experience, made even better by the tour guide and the group members.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hiking the Cinque Terre and the food- Italians really know how to eat! Florence was a highlight as well; Rome was a disappointment."

Margaret

Shamong, NJ

Tour: 07/23/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our first Steves tour and we were traveling with 9 people (2 families). Though it was very hot and busy in Italy (July!), the approach of the tour and philosophy behind it was everything we were looking for. The pace of the Heart of Italy tour was perfect (after the amazing but overwhelming Rome, we had several days in small town/coastal spots which allowed us to take a breath and relax a bit). I felt that the pre-tour materials and guidebook really prepared us for the trip.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Experiencing St. Peter's and the Sistine Chapel Wandering the narrow quiet streets of Volterra and hearing about its unique history. Listening to the bells toll noontime from the top of Giotto's tower in Florence."

David

Redmond, WA

Tour: 07/23/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Another great well organized tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The town of Volterra"

Bonnie

Mission Viejo, CA

Tour: 07/23/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I thoroughly enjoyed the tour. Our guide and the local guides were very informative and open to questions and comments. I appreciated all the help our guide offered at the each location - getting into venues easily as a group, offering advice on where to go in each town, providing information on life style and political issues in Italy, etc. I really liked all of the time we had to ourselves.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I love history, so seeing how history was everywhere was amazing to me."

Joseph

Beaver Falls, PA

Tour: 07/23/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour surpassed our expectations we very much enjoyed our experiences and itenerary.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There are so many! We loved Volterra, Vernazza, and the fabulous art in Florence. St Peter's Basicallia made me want to weep with emotion."

Karen

Portland, OR

Tour: 07/16/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Had a wonderful Heart of Italy tour with Nina. Nina was great- tough, fun, educational and professional. You can tell she takes pride in what she does.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Overall learning. I felt like we had a live art history tour interlaced with amazing food, cities and people."

Cleveland

Oklahoma City, OK

Tour: 07/16/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Really excellent itinerary and the tour guides were awesome. Well done.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"walking around in Volterra."

Candy

Berkeley, CA

Tour: 07/16/17

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Our first Rick Steeves tour was a big success. We enjoyed the variety of activities, pace, information from the local guides, tips on navigating and best spots for gelato. Appreciated staying 2 nights at minimum before having to pack up. Our teen was pleased to have fellow travelers in his age range. I would suggest Vatican tour as optional and replace with Borghese Gallery. The crush of people touring the Vatican detracted from the experience. Would have liked to stay in Vernazza.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"In Florence the Piazza Del Duomo In Volterra the Etruscan Entry Gate (Arco) In Lucca the Walls In Rome St Peters and San Clemente In Cinque Terra Vernazzo"

Megan

Arlington, VA

Tour: 07/16/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was out first Rick Steves tour experience and it could not have been more outstanding! Joining the tour, as opposed to going by ourselves, truly enriched our appreciation, learning, understanding, and immersion of Italy and the amazing sites we had the opportunity to see. We really enjoyed each stop on the trip, having the balance of free time and structured time, and the Rick Steves philosophy in action.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My husband's favorite wow moment was the Roman Coliseum. My favorite was our free day in Cinque Terre, where we took a 15 mile hike through the towns in and around Cinque Terre - spectacular."

John

Staunton, VA

Tour: 07/16/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My experience was overwhelming in a positive way. I'm still processing the vast amount of information, both sensory and content, that was presented. I haven't traveled extensively, and my exposure to different cultures/people was very interesting.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were a lot of "wow" moments! Most were associated with places: Volterra (quite a contrast to Rome)...the Etruscans. Bonassola..truly a "back door" treat. Florence..Santa Croce Church (the tombs of Michaelangelo, Galileo, and Machiavelli)."

Anita

Bartlesville, OK

Tour: 07/16/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Loved the size of our tour. We had 25 individuals.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Everything!"

Pamela

Oklahoma City, OK

Tour: 07/16/17

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Our tour was very well planned, however I was surprised that certain museums and historical are artistic venues were not on the tour.....

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Lucca"

David

Philadelphia, PA

Tour: 07/09/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We saw soo much and Tommaso was the BEST! His knowledge base was great. He answered all of our questions and had questions for us.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Honestly, the ENTIRE trip was a WOW moment."

April

Kansas City, MO

Tour: 07/09/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Visit to the Vatican and St. Peter's Basilica"

Gary

Kansas City, MO

Tour: 07/09/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had a great time. Having a guide knowing his way around the Vatican alone made the cost of this tour group worthwhile. Great value for the money. I also like the use of the headphones. My hearing is not the best and the headsets really helped me to hear what was being said by the tour guides and made the experience much more enjoyable.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Seeing the Vatican Museum and the Sistine Chapel. This will be etched in my memory forever."

Mark

Calgary, AB

Tour: 07/09/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was terrific! The sights, the food, the history - I simply loved taking all of it in. I appreciated being treated as an intelligent person, and I loved how the tour struck just the right balance between structured activities and free time. Also, Tommaso was FANTASTIC. He really made everything come alive in a wonderful way.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were so many. For me, personally, it was wandering around in Florence and rounding a corner to see the Duomo! I'd previously studied many of the sites we saw on the trip, but for some reason I'd never seen a picture of the Duomo before. "Wow!" hardly does justice to the moment when I saw it."

Robert

Baltimore, MD

Tour: 07/09/17

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Seeing the Etruscan gate in Volterra or maybe it was seeing The David."

Brian

Canton, MI

Tour: 07/09/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was everything I hoped for and more. Tour logistics were perfect.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Standing in the coliseum was awesome - learned so much about the history of the place. A close second was the bike tour at Lucca - don't miss it."

Renee

Bath Springs, TN

Tour: 07/09/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

What a joy it was to check off my 70th birthday bucket list on the Tour of Italy with my precious daughter and best friend as well as 23 great "new best friends"! It was everything and more that I had hoped it would be.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Although I am a Protestant, I will have to say that hearing a priest pray over me in the Sistine Chapel and mass at Notre Dame were "wow" moments!"

Logan

Gig Harbor, WA

Tour: 07/02/17

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

This response is being filled out by both Logan and Vickie. We saw a lot in a short time, and appreciated the inspiring guides throughout the trip. The bus was very comfortable and the driver very polite and helpful. We had a great time getting to know the local areas and each other. The hotels were very nice and well-located with friendly hosts.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Logan's WOW moment was seeing and being in the massive basilicas and cathedrals with all the stained glass and art. Vickie's WOW moment was seeing the countryside scenery since the cities were not new to her. She especially enjoyed the Cinque Terra area, sea and relaxing days there."

Gregory

Lawrenceville, GA

Tour: 07/02/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my first European trip and first experience with a guided tour. The tour was everything I had hoped for- filled with knowledgeable tour guides, many sightseeing opportunities, an adequate amount of "free" time to explore on our own, and new, exciting food to experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I would say it had to be history and spectacle of the sights in Rome. Seeing St. Peter's Basilica, the Vatican Museum, the Sistene Chapel, the Coliseum, and the Roman Forum was a great prelude to the rest of the tour. One could easily spend weeks in Rome trying to see everything the city has to offer, but I believe seeing the sights listed above as well as others on our city walk (Trevi Fountain, Spanish steps) was a special experience."

George

Clifton Park, NY

Tour: 07/02/17

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

We very much enjoyed our tour. There was an expectation of high quality and we were not disappointed. From pre-tour to follow-up we have felt included and informed. By booking ourselves to have three nights prior to the start of the tour we were able to visit Borghese Gallery, San Clemente, San Giovanni in Laterano and other sites. These complimented the site tours and other activities that were part of the overall tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"No specific "wow" moment as the entire tour was fun and exciting.Volterre was an unexpected surprise beginning with the steep bus ride up the mountain and all of the beautiful views! While tourists were there the amount of people were relatively small. Everyone in the town was pleasant and helpful. Would have liked spending an additional day there to visit other artisan shops e.g. the violin shop. The wine tasting and alabaster shop were informative and fun The best gelato of the tour was there!"

Eric

Edmonds, WA

Tour: 07/02/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Excellent tour with two wonderful guides. Sarah had a great job providing tour information, teaching Italian and other interesting facts about the Italy. Elena had a fresh enthusiasm about our trip. She always had smile on her face and was easy to talk with....as was Sarah We chatted with Elena about her hometown, Venice. Our tour mates were equally wonderful and a pleasure to travel with. One of the many pluses of this tour was our "free" time. We truly enjoyed these moments.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were many..but choosing one would be seeing Vernizza from the hiking trail. It is truly a picturesque view! It was well worth the hike."

Sarah

Denver, CO

Tour: 07/02/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my first group tour and my first trip off the continent (Mexico doesn't count). I was very excited to finally see Italy, Tuscany the coast and Florence. This all exceeded my expectations. Everyday was wonderful. Sarah and Elena were such great hosts and guides, they made us all feel to comfortable and we were one big family in about a day or two. The group dinners and breakfasts were are opportunity to visit and get to know each other.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"People keep asking me this, and actually everyday was WOW, but I think swimming in the Mediterranean, swimming way out and then looking into the land at the Cinque Terra was the best. I kept thinking, I am really here. The water was so soft and the air so clear, and the town was so charming. I always felt safe. And I love the water."

Charles

Weymouth, MA

Tour: 07/02/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

From the first Hotel to the last, the accommodations could not have been better, nor the staff friendlier. The included breakfasts were always filling and relaxed. The included dinners were no less than spectacular, lasting for hours with great conversation and amazing food and wine. Every minute of our planned time was filled with more learning than I ever could have imagined. Our tour group leader Sarah, was truly awesome, pointing out every tiny detail all the time the group was together.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Our tour started in Rome, with a very full first day. The pre dinner two hour tour had a lot of little wows, but eating dinner in the place where Julius Caesar was killed, was a huge WOW for me."

Andrew

Orlando, FL

Tour: 07/02/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my first trip outside the US, and I could not have asked for a better experience. The combination of structured activities and free-range time was very nice. Our guides clued us into places and history we never would have known about otherwise. We are looking forward to many more tours with the Rick Steves group in the future.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"St. Peter's Basilica in Rome, and the statue of David in Florence"

Jennifer

Mercer Island, WA

Tour: 07/02/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour design, route are all well thought out. I can tell Sarah, our tour guide and Elena (Apprentice) are both working very hard to ensure everyone have a great time. Love the local tour guides, they are knowledgeable and interesting persons. We feel so spoiled as we can just avoid the line, and go right into all the museums. The tour at Ufizzi was very impressive as we need to be at the museum super early. I really appreciated that to avoid the crowd.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Cinqu Terra is the favorite place in terms of scenery, food, beaches, water, everything is just right, and wonderful. Probably too short, can easily stay there for 1 extra day. The Pesto demonstration was superb. I was very skeptical to begin with, but it was the best pesto source, and lasagna that I have ever tried. The restaurant was only for our group, it was just wonderful."

Roger

Walnut Creek, CA

Tour: 07/02/17

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Great way to be introduced to Europe . The snoring roommate was the only negative

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Monterosso al Mare . Going back some day."

Dale Ann

N Dartmouth, MA

Tour: 06/25/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I was pleasantly surprised. It was better than I expected. It was quite physically demanding for me...........I'm 68 and have leg vein problems which caused my legs to swell, etc. Other than that,I really enjoyed the whole experience and would recommend it to others. The food was great and the places we visited were awesome.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The feast prepared by Carlos at the Albergo Primavera."

David

San Diego, CA

Tour: 06/25/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Everything was well planned and everything worked. Nina was a great guide, very well informed, very personable, very easy to follow.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were many "wow" moments: Pantheon, Colosseum and Forum in Rome; Uffizi, Accademia, and Pitti Palace in Florence. The Sistine Chapel, though, perhaps stands above those other moments. We had the opportunity to sit and look for 20-30 minutes, and we took it all in."

Kathleen

Minneapolis, MN

Tour: 06/25/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our tour was fabulous!! LOVED Nina! She took care of us and guided us above and beyond our needs:) The local guides were also excellent. I would do it all over in a minute:) THANK YOU!!!!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were many but, the view from our hotel roof top was spectacular in Florence."

Melanie

Marshfield, MA

Tour: 06/25/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our first Rick Steve's tour. By day 3, my husband, who is a resistant traveler, asked when we could sign up for the next tour!!Our 22 and 19 year old sons traveled as well. This was a very well organized, informative, active, all encompassing tour. Everything described in the book is accurate, so it's important to pay attention to the rated activity level in deciding if the tour is right for you. It's a wonderful balance of group and free time to explore on your own.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I'd have to say it was our stay at the Albergo Primavera in Levanto. Wow moment was the FEAST prepared by the owner, Carlos, exclusively for our group. Seafood soup, calamari, smelts, pasta with homemade pesto, roast beef, rabbit, fried string beans, red cabbage in balsamic reduction ending with homemadecream puffs with chocolate sauce and homemade limoncello.Carlos is the chef at his daughters restaurant" Trattoria Il Piccolo Diavolo Montessoro Al Marre" in Montessoro. Highly recommend youit"

Jennifer

North Canton, OH

Tour: 06/25/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Our tour guide suggested an elevator that took you to the top of a building that gave the most amazing view of Rome! Best part was, we were virtually the only ones up there. No big crowds and the view was breathtaking. Without her suggestions we would have never found this hidden gem."

Paul

Marshfield, MA

Tour: 06/25/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We as a family and personally speaking for myself could not have been more pleased with our Rick Steves Tour. Nina was outstanding in every regard and aspect, a true professional with a depth of knowledge of Italy's history and quirk's,secrets, daily living and cultural importance that made our trip a fascinating journey. We had the time of our lives and would and have gladly rec commended a R.S. tour to all our friends.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Too many to count but the Tuscan feast in Lavantro was hard to top."

Maxwell

North Canton, OH

Tour: 06/25/17

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The story about the citizens of volterra protecting the gate during Ww2"

Karen

Canton, OH

Tour: 06/25/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was very good! Nina was a great guide. The people on the tour were great. We saw everything I wanted to see. Hotels were located perfectly.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Seeing the Sistine Chapel!"

Richard

Canton, OH

Tour: 06/25/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour exceeded my wildest expectations. Nina did a great job of making sure our experience was the best it could possibly be.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The stunning views from the Cinque Terra. The water was deep blue and gorgeous!"

Gwen

Chester, CT

Tour: 06/25/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The trip was even more than I expected. Nina was a wonderful guide, funny, interesting, so knowledgeable and personable. The other tour members were great. The fact that we barely had to wait in entrance lines or for museum admission was wonderful. The scheduling was great. Loved the hotels, the group meals, the wine tasting, the itinerary and just everything. Especially enjoyed the local guides in Rome, Florence, Lucca and Volterra. People ask me what I liked best and I say "All of it"!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Walking under the tunnel and coming out and seeing the Sea of Liguria! Gorgeous"

Suzanne

Chandler, AZ

Tour: 06/23/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Probably the best way to explain my overall experience is when I am asked by friends what was my favorite part and I truly cannot give them an answer. The entire trip was amazing and everything I had hoped for and more.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"see above"

Carol

Canton, NY

Tour: 06/23/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I frankly didn't have high expectations because I have never wanted to go on a tour. But this one struck the right balance between structure and free time. The hotels and restaurants were outstanding and our fearless guide informative, responsible and personable. I was just there to speak the language and eat the food, but I formed some unexpected connections with other group participants and learned a lot of history.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Finding that after spending a year learning Italian on Duolingo, that I was able to understand most of the signs and converse with the locals on a basic level. After that, it had to be finding the town that had been the picture on a puzzle that my family had put together and learning that the vantage point was actually a cemetery."

Jacqueline

Phoenixville, PA

Tour: 06/23/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Volterre offered many wow moments. The scenery, the dinner buffet, the art museum, the alabaster demonstration. While we have seen them before, the Sistine Chapel, Vatican museum, and David statue are always amazing!"

Stephen

Dublin, OH

Tour: 06/23/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Had a wonderful trip to Italy and saw exactly what we hoped to see.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Seeing Leonardo's Annunciation--seeing the actual painting that awakened my appreciation for the theological significance of the incarnation as an ever-occurring event."

Mary

Selah, WA

Tour: 06/23/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was an outstanding trip that left me wanting to go back. A lot was packed into a short period of time, yet I think it was a great introduction to Italy and covered some must-see locations. I look forward to next seeing other places of Italy, each with its own unique charm.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I was absolutely"wowed" by Michelangelo's Pieta and David. I knew these works were important, but seeing them in person was stunning and moving."

Stephen

Issaquah, WA

Tour: 06/23/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our family's tour experience was fantastic. We were initially concerned that the overall group would be "older" and our teen boys wouldn't connect. However, this wasn't the case. The group was great, with a large diversity of age, interests, and experience. The tour was very well organized with a perfect blend of activities, free time, nice accommodations, and comfy transportation. Molly, our tour guide, was amazing with her energy and passion for Italy and the arts.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My biggest wows were St. Peter's Basilica & Michelangelo's David. However, there were wows all over the place in every destination."

Gaetano

Liverpool, NY

Tour: 06/18/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was a fantastic tour! Getting there a day early really made a difference in adjusting to Italy, getting over jet lag, and just feeling more settled in. Anna is an amazing tour guide. I wouldn't imagine a tour with anyone else. She's incredibly intelligent, energetic, and most importantly passionate about her job as a traveler.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Seeing an artisan make a bowl in an alabaster shop in Volterra was my wow moment. It was incredible to see him at work in his shop. It helped me understand how authentic everything in Italy is versus the United States."

Kathleen

Kirkland, WA

Tour: 06/18/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had an outstanding tour of the heart of Italia. This Was our third Rick Steves tour and our guide Anna was by far the best of the three, which does not take anything away from the other three, but her energy, personality and knowledge and thoughtfulness puts her on the pedestal of great guides. She fostered a real sense of the group and it was enjoyable to meet such a diverse range of experiences and personalities.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Anna and the pasta, both fantastico."

Paul

Charlotte, NC

Tour: 06/18/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Tour exceeded our expectations

Favorite "WOW" moment

"See the great historic that I studied in Graduate School of Architecture. Seeing, touching, studying the Tuscan arch that predated Roman arch design."

Madeline

Huntington, NY

Tour: 06/18/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

OMG! I believe I'm still in Italy. Completely enhanced my life forever. RS was able to find a perfect balance between scheduled activities and down time. We were always going but never exhausted. Each day our terrific Anna had us prepared and energized for our day. She took a personal interest in each of us, ending our visit with a handwritten note. Who does that? We all got along beautifully. Really! Looking forward to my 3rd RS tour!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"During my hike in Cinque Terre, I moved aside to let some other hikers pass. The woman said, "Oh no, you go we're tourists". I was like " ok, thank you and I hope you enjoy your stay". Hello! I'm a "traveler". So cool!"

Rhonda

Avon Lake, OH

Tour: 06/18/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We loved everything about the Heart of Italy tour, even the strenuous walking; it helped us work off the daily gelato calories! Our guide, Anna, was exceptionally knowledgeable as well as fun to be with. The special tour guides at the museums and each city were the icing on the cake. Our tour guide at the Coleseum was a gem; she tied Roman history and culture into our current lives and made me want this tour to never end. The four group meals gave us a taste if regional specialities

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There are so many! Having to narrow down to one "wow" moment, it would have to be visiting Volterra with its cobblestoned streets, its historic gate, and the view of the Tuscan countryside and the ruins of the amphitheatre. I loved it all!"

Brian

Holland, MI

Tour: 06/18/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We really enjoyed the tour and our expectations were exceeded by the ease of the schedule and professional leadership provided with Anna, our tour guide and all the supporting city guides we encountered. We enjoyed the freedom of the unplanned hours each day and though expected it, we just got into the rhythm of seeing and experiencing cities, people and food on our own.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The group dinners! WOW! Anna was wonderful in planning the dinners to be unique and even catered quite well to the dietary needs of several tour members. WOW! was seeing the countryside, the seaside and with brief explanations of what there was to see, it was wonderfully absorbed."

Susan

Gardena, CA

Tour: 06/18/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

i absolutely loved the Heart of Italy tour!! Anna our guide was fabulous and extremely knowledgeable! I loved the small group we had, as it gave us a chance to make new friends. The places we traveled to were the perfect choice for me. A little bit of the larger cities of Rome and Florence, mixed with the smaller areas in the Tuscany area made for the perfect trip. It makes me want to go back and spend more time in each place.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favorite 'WOW' moment was the beauty of the countryside in the Tuscany area. Takes one back in time. Also the villages of Cinque Terre, and the colorful beauty of each one was amazing. My favorite gelatos were there along with the pesto lasagna!"

Carol

Holland, MI

Tour: 06/18/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our entire experience exceeded our expectations. The guides were amazing and it was a delight to get to know the other tour members. Our accommodations were comfortable and convenient. We learned so much and had so much fun!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The experience of being in Volterra and the incredible views there were unexpected and amazing."

Kurt

St Louis, MO

Tour: 06/18/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our experience was better than we could have imagined. We enjoyed ourselves a great deal and our guide Anna was a joy to be around. Well done!!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favorite moment was seeing "David". Walking in the hall looking down and seeing it lit was spectacular."

Mark

Edmonds, WA

Tour: 06/09/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was very enjoyable. We saw a lot in a relatively short period of time. The [INVALID]ed destinations were all tremendous and different from one another.

Jeanette

Santa Cruz, CA

Tour: 06/09/17

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

We took my 80 year old dad and were somewhat concerned it would be too much. He loved it! Can't stop talking to all his friends about how great the trip was. Cecilia, our guide, kept us in line, and was a bounty of information about all things Italian. In particular, she showed us some wonderful dining and wine. I felt the trip was a great value. I didn't expect to have such good dining. The guides were generally very knowledgeable

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Loved the last meal in Florence with "Maria" and her wines. The meal was lovely. I had seen all the sites accept Volterra (which was beautiful and my Dad's favorite part of the trip)."

Richard

Shawnee, OK

Tour: 06/09/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was only my second time to travel to Europe and I am so glad I chose to go on a Rick Steve's tour rather than attempt to go it alone. The level service you provided was first-rate. You were able to provide us relatively quick entrance to museums and key places to visit. That was a tremendous benefit to our group. There was a good balance of structured group activity and free time. It was nice to get to know the others in our group, too.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Our day in the Cinque Terre was fantastic. Thanks to the train we made stops in every one of the five villages. We hiked from Vernazza to Corniglia. We were able to catch one of the last boats from Riomaggiore back to Monterosso and enjoy the view from the sea. Walking from one of the side streets in Florence into the area to suddenly see Brunelleschi's Dome was breathtaking. Standing next to such masterful artwork I just kept reminding myself that I really was there!"

Enely

Port Moody, BC

Tour: 06/09/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Excellent tour and very knowledegable tour guides! This was our first Rick Steves tour and we will go again on another of these tours in the future. We appreciated how organized and efficient our tour guide Cecilia was.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were many "wow" moments. We especially enjoyed the tour of the Vatican and the village of Volterra. The wine tasting evening in Volterra was especially enjoyable!"

Donna

Shawnee, OK

Tour: 06/09/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had a wonderful trip. Cecilia was a fantastic tour guide, and the people in our group added to the overall experience. The "local guides" were very informative, and the group meals were very enjoyable. We could not have asked for a better trip. Thanks to all of the RS group who worked hard to make this a great experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Our favorite "wow" moment was walking around the corner and seeing the Duomo in Florence. It was breathtaking."

Weather

Italy / Florence

Florence Weather


Italy / Rome

Rome Weather

Pre-Tour Planning

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

Trip Resources

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

Tour Hotels

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

Transportation

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

There is more than one way to get to and from your tour. Most tour members 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, and/or additional overnight stay in Europe. Both Rome and Florence are major transportation hubs, making additional travel before or after your tour quite easy. Milan and Venice are both about three hours by train from Florence, our tour's end point. Siena is less than two hours by train from Florence. From Rome, Naples is two hours south.

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

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

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

Sightseeing on Your Own

If you arrive in Rome before the tour begins, use the Rick Steves Italy guidebook to get oriented. Ride the public transportation, try out a few words of Italian, and get over your jet lag with lots of fresh air and exercise.

Here are a few suggestions for sightseeing that we do not do as a group: Borghese Gallery (reservations mandatory, closed Mondays), Spanish Steps, Capitoline Museums, Santa Maria Maggiore, Castel Sant'Angelo, Capuchin Crypt, Ancient Appian Way (great for biking), and catacombs. Most museums are closed on Mondays. Confirm your sightseeing plans with any tourist information office. If you are interested in seeing the pope, you may want to attend the Sunday blessing. You can check the pope's schedule in advance.

Packing

There are great opportunities for hiking in the Cinque Terre. While hiking boots are not necessary, we recommend you bring a pair of comfortable walking shoes with soles offering good traction.

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

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