• Sistine Chapel
  • Colosseum in Rome
  • Volterra
  • Wine Tasting in Tuscany
  • Tuscan Hillside
  • Bicycling in Lucca
  • Vernazza in the Cinque Terre
  • Ponte Vecchio in Florence

Tour Questions? Call 425-608-4217

Heart of Italy in 9 Days Tour

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 ambiance of Volterra, the pedestrian-friendly streets of Lucca, harbor-hugging villages of the Italian Riviera, 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

Sorry, we're unable to access departure availability at this time. Please try again later or contact us at 425-608-4217, Monday-Saturday between 9 am and 5 pm.

What's Included

  • A small, friendly group of 24-28 people — half the size of most tour groups
  • Full-time services of a professional Rick Steves guide and local experts who will make the fascinating history, art and culture of Italy come alive for you
  • All tours and admissions — at no extra cost — covering at least 16 group sightseeing events • Ancient Rome walking tour • Colosseum tour • Roman Forum tour • Pantheon • Evening walk through Rome • St. Peter's Basilica tour • Vatican Museum & Sistine Chapel • Volterra walking tour • Guarnacci Etruscan Museum tour • Alabaster workshop • Wine tasting • Lucca walking tour • Orientation for "vacation" day on Italian Riviera • Renaissance Florence walking tour • Florence's Accademia (Michelangelo's David) • Uffizi Gallery tour...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
  • Free stuff including Rick Steves Italy guidebook, Italian phrase book, moneybelt and earplugs
  • 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 2015
  • 50% discount on a consulting appointment with our in-house experts to assist with your pre- or post-tour travel plans
  • Flexibility should you need to transfer, or cancel/interrupt your tour
  • Fine print: You are responsible for the cost of your drinks and free-time sightseeing. See our Tour Conditions Agreement for important details regarding everything listed above

Itinerary

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

Day 1: Welcome to Italy

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, la dolce vita trek through the heart of Rome, soaking up the city's evening ambiance at the classy Piazza Navona 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: St. Peter’s and the Vatican Museum

Today we'll focus on Renaissance Rome. We’ll meet our local guide on the other side of the Tiber river and introduce you to the greatest church in Christendom, the awe-inspiring St. Peter's Basilica, home to Michelangelo's sublime Pietà. Then we’ll take you to the sprawling Vatican Museum, where you’ll see an endless collection of treasures as you make your way to one of the world's most famous works of art: Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel. Your afternoon is free to explore more on your own. Don’t forget to taste some delicious gelato along the way! No bus. Walking: strenuous.

Day 3: Ancient Rome and the Heart of Tuscany

We'll devote today to Ancient Rome. A local guide will take 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 Ancient Rome: the Forum. Then we'll leave Rome 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 hrs. Walking: strenuous.

Day 4: All Day in the Hill Town of Volterra

This morning we'll take a walking tour with a local expert 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, home town of Puccini. We'll take a walking tour of Lucca's elegant pedestrian streets and many Roman reminders, 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 hr. Bus: 4 hrs. 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 cliff-side 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, and 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 hr. Bus: 4 hrs. 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: strenuous.

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 train. Your guide will help you with any post-tour planning, leaving you well prepared for the road ahead. Grazie e ciao!

Itinerary specifics subject to change.

Activity Level

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 (several blocks possible) and up stairways to reach your hotel; then up several flights of stairs to reach your room.
  2. Be on your feet, walking and standing for up to 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

Victoria

Rye, NY

Tour: 10/30/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I really enjoyed the tour. It covered the highlights of each place very effectively, and in smaller places like Volterra went into more depth or felt more personal, e.g., wine tasting. I liked the information the guides provided, especially the one at the Uffizi Gallery, and their overall enthusiasm. The hotels were fine overall (I usually do hostels) and the group dinners were a blast.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Ancient Roman engineering, especially at the Pantheon, Forum, Colosseum. Before the tour Ostia Antica was great too. So was finding Keats' and Shelley's tombs. If I had a reason to be in Rome I would live there."

Pattie

Scottsdale, AZ

Tour: 10/30/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Great trip. I'm already planning a spring tour to Scotland.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The ancient gates to the city of Volterra- amazing."

Delia

Charleston, SC

Tour: 10/25/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My tour experience was everything I thought it would be. The group activities covered the sights one needs to see as an Italy neophyte & the free time was more than suitable for solo exploring & adventures. I was traveling with a fractured right ankle & was determined to not let it interfere with the trip. I needn't have worried. While it was strenuous getting around in a country where even downhill is uphill, I never felt l was a drag on progress. I ate like a horse & still lost weight!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Jeez...pick one! Having never been to Europe before, but consider myself reasonably well-read and educated, seeing the scale of everything in person is enough to bowl one over. From the interior of the Pantheon, the Colosseum, St. Peter's Basilica, the hordes of people making pilgrimages, the quiet dignity inside the churches, All Saint"s Day Mass @ the Duomo led by the Archbishop of Florence, an unexpected Comic-Con @ Lucca...I'm still trying to process it all. Good thing I used my journal!!!"

Molly

Catlett, VA

Tour: 10/25/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I have wanted to take this trip for a long long time. I planned this trip for a year. The tour lived up to and exceeded my expectations. Everything was well planned and thought out. Every thing that I wanted to see and do was included in the tour price, making it easy and seamless. Our tour guide Ann was both knowledgable and familiar with all areas of our destinations. All of the attractions tickets purchased for us and no standing in long lines both helped us see more and removed stress.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were many "wow" moments for me. Italy if filled with so much beautiful art and sculptures that you could hardly be unimpressed with any of those. The breath taking countryside and the remnants of the historical events and architecture were spectacular. But truly I was not expecting the tour activities such as the wine tasting, the dinners and all of the personal touches that we were afforded. The tour was well planned to please all individuals involved and happy."

Dennis

Mckinney, TX

Tour: 10/25/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I enjoyed the size of the tour group and the tour bus only being half full. It was also very nice to have time off to do our own thing and not have to be on the go constantly as we have done on other tours. We were disappointed that there was a comicon convention in Lucca the day we were there. This should have been taken into account when the tour was planned.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I was very impressed with the Torre Guelfa hotel in Florence. It had a lot of character and was in an excellent location. Also the meal we were served at the hotel in Albergo Primavera in Levanto was outstanding."

Mary

Mckinney, TX

Tour: 10/25/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Ann was an excellent tour guide and leader. She is knowledgeable,organized and has a good sense of humor. I liked that we had some easy days to counter the intense touring days. The part of the tour I liked the least was the quality of the hotels, especially the hotel in Rome and the one in Levanto. I did like the hotel in Florence.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Volterra was an unexpected gem. Even though we had rain the entire time we were in Volterra, its character and charm shown through."

Christina

Mount Pleasant, SC

Tour: 10/25/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Ann was an excellent tour guide. She was informative, had a great sense of humor , and very patient. We enjoyed the itinerary. The tour included key sights and left us time to tour other places on our own. We loved the small hotels and the courteous hotel staff. The group was full of interesting people from around the country. We really connected with another couple from Texas. For a first time trip to Italy, the tour worked well for us. The local tour guides were wonderful.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favorite wow moment was the visit to the Vatican. I was simply in awe of St. Peter's Basilica. The artwork, the grandeur, the sheer size of it was just amazing. I also really enjoyed the stay in Levanto. The town was much less crowded than the Cinque Terre towns and had a lovely beach. We saw the sunset over the Terranean Sea our first night there. It was peaceful and lovely."

Victoria

Vienna, VA

Tour: 10/25/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The places themselves were beautiful and breathtaking. Ann was a great guide and the people she hired to do the other tours seemed very knowledgeable and nice. I enjoyed most of the tour. Some of the walking was listed as moderate but we felt it should have been listed as strenuous.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I think that the St. Peters and the Vatican were the best. Truly humongous in presence, and beauty."

Shaun

Folsom, LA

Tour: 10/25/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Ann was wonderful and engaged everyone young an old in the tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"when my 17 year old daughter pulled out her sketch book in fron t of David and began to draw."

Cynthia

Lincoln, NE

Tour: 10/25/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Very well organized and we like the small group. Activities are well balanced between organized tours and free time. Guide (Ann) provided ideas for restaurants and activities without bias allowing each of us to make our own decision of what to do. Especially appreciated assistance in understanding the culture of Italy, how to watch for cover charges and service charges, tipping, how to navigate trains, etc. Helpful as we traveled on our own for a week after that.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were a lot of them, but really enjoyed the Roman Forum, Uffizi Gallery, and Cinque Terra."

Carolyn

San Marcos, CA

Tour: 10/25/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We signed up for the tour without a lot of expectations. We knew we pick a good tour company that had great reviews and we had heard word of mouth about the tour. This tour Heart of Italy, went way beyond our expectations. Our guide Ann, was great, and everyone on our tour were fun to be with. Everyone was punctual, and eager to go. Ann kept a great pace, kept things moving, zig and zagged when we she had too. Ann's choices of restaurants that we ate at and accommodations were top notch.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Rome and the Ancient city. Our local guide was so good, interesting and knew her history. She made it all come to life. I was just in awe of it all. To be walking on the same ground as the ancients did. To ponder all the biblical people who walked the city and the ground I was walking on was so thought provoking. My right behind the Ancient City was Voltarra and the history. This was something I knew nothing about. I really enjoyed the small town and our accommodations."

Bruce

San Marcos, CA

Tour: 10/25/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Excellent, Guide and itinerary was super

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Dinner in Montero"

Scott

Lincoln, NE

Tour: 10/25/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

I felt the hotels were very adequate clean showers people were nice the warming racks for towels were very nice to have available. I felt the tour guide was excellent and I really appreciate that Rick Steve tours teach people how to travel on their own. I also felt that even though we were busy with the tour and had a ample amount of education in history talk to us we also had rest and free time to do other things. The food that we were able to eat that was very good.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"For me the Cingua Terra area was outstanding and was my wow moment. Another wow moment for me was the Duomo church in Florence. I also liked Volterra even though it was raining the day we were there."

Steve

Kerman, CA

Tour: 10/23/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

No literature could of prepared us for what a great experience we would have traveling on a tour with a trained guide. We thoroughly enjoyed not having to map out of destinations and how we would get from one place to the next. Nina was fun, exciting, and so friendly that you wanted to spend all your time with her! We will definitely return for another tour but want want to request Nina or Jaime because we now feel like family. We hope our paths cross again.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The entire trip was wow but my husband would probably say the hike above Cinque Terre was amazing even though he could only travel between the 3 cities. It was definitely strenuous but wonderful. My wow moment was seeing all of the art work in person."

Janis

Glen Ellyn, IL

Tour: 10/23/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was a nice mix of big city (Rome and Florence) and countryside hill towns. It worked well to start in Rome, which is huge and busy, slow down the pace in the hill towns, and end in beautiful Florence. The food and wine were amazing everywhere.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It was a small moment but the view from our room in Volterra looking out over the hills was very special, and exactly what I was hoping to see."

Joe

Colleyville, TX

Tour: 10/23/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had a fantastic time time in Italy. Our guide Nina was great at keeping us informed, on schedule, and pointing out the the little unique aspects of each town. We arrived a day early in Rome which was a great recommendation to allow us to explore the city on our own and recover from a little jet lag. We also took the bullet train to Venice after the tour for a couple of days on own. A great way to get some relaxation after a very stimulating tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"When I opened the window from our Volterra hotel room to see the sunset over the valley my jaw truly dropped. I must also commend each local guide but especially Paulo at the Vatican and Cincy at the Uffizi."

Louis

Arlington, VA

Tour: 10/23/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my first experience with an organized tour and I can honestly state that it was outstanding. Nina, our tour leader and overall guide, took wonderful care of us and was a font of general knowledge at each location. She was also excellent company throughout. The local guides were also terrific and, beyond their knowledge, were wonderful communicators and storytellers. They were also so very interesting in their own right. Accommodations, transportation, meals - great!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Opening the window of our hotel room at the hillside town of Volterra and being awestruck by the view."

Ole

London, ON

Tour: 10/23/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Enjoyable tour of Italy made special by Nina.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The art in Florence."

Linda

Hampton Falls, NH

Tour: 10/23/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I've been on many tours of all kinds(rugged adventure to first class) and this was one of the best! The pace and schedule were perfect plus our tour guide was amazingly adept at "going with the flow" if something changed. There was just enough free time to explore(with pointers or not)and the other travelers in our group were just lovely and interesting people. I had been to Italy before but this was my husband's first time. It was important that he have the most positive experience & he did

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Realizing that the "paintings" in the Vatican were actually tiny mosaics. Incredible! But also in Volterra when our guide further tied together the political, cultural, historical and modern Italy. It was an "Aha!" moment for me."

Sarah

Knoxville, TN

Tour: 10/23/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my very first trip to Europe (alone, no less), and I can honestly say that there wasn't one thing I would have changed. The combination of the larger cities and smaller Tuscan towns was a perfect mix. The tour included all the major sites I wanted to see, but still with plenty of free time to break off on my own for independent sightseeing. This trip was an absolute blast.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"So many to choose from - climbing the steps of the metro at Termini Station and seeing the Colosseum right in front of you. Arriving at our Volterra hotel right as the sun began to set over the hills. The Raphael rooms at the Vatican and the Sistine Chapel!"

Michael

Milton, PA

Tour: 10/18/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was well organized, educational, and fun. The mixture of structured tours with very knowledgeable local guides and free time on your own was perfect. The meals were fun and interesting as we're the fellow tour members. A great mix of locations from big historic cities to smaller towns in beautiful natural settings. And Karin did a great job!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were many for me - The Sistine Chapel, Etruscan arch in Volterra, Vernazza from above, and David!"

Goro

Fort Collins, CO

Tour: 10/18/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour concept based on a combination of visits to MUST-SEE sites in popular tourist spots and visits to less known but fascinating rural communities rich in history and cultural traits perfectly matched my interests. All five local tour guides are profoundly knowledgeable in respective topic of strength, made tour far more interesting and presented best professional qualities. Above all, Karin, the tour leader, is superb in all respects, making the tour fun, educational, and memorable.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The beauty of small towns, such as Volterra and Levanto, as well as of bigger city like Florence. The high density concentration of eateries of all kinds in any city we visited is incredible. To be able to see the rich history by viewing the exhibits and monuments is another source of wow."

Robert

Columbia, MD

Tour: 10/18/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

It was very exciting to stay in small town and see those sights!!! Our tour guide Karen was extremely friendly, helpful and a lot of fun to talk with about the tour!! She always had time to help suggest little side trips and helpful with directions!!!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Seeing the changes that had taken place in Rome!!!"

Robert

Stillwater, OK

Tour: 10/18/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My wife was happy, so I was very happy.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Rome, with a population of 4 million people, it must be one of the friendliest city in the world.... Just think, all those people just wanting to live together. Where I come from, we have more cattle than people. The way I like it."

Margot

Columbia, MD

Tour: 10/18/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

I didn't find Cinque a Terra all that interesting. All the towns looked the same. Volterra was very interesting. I didn't feel the tour encouraged or even enabled much contact with locals beyond the tour guides. We had been to Italy with another tour company; I did like the small hotels and Karin's insights into how Italian life is different from that of America.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Seeing David."

Judi

Mundelein, IL

Tour: 10/16/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My overall experience was fantastic! It was wonderful to meet and travel with such a nice group of people. It was terrific to have such beautiful weather and to have such a knowledgable tour guide in Stephanie. It was great to have everything planned and taken care of as far as accommodations, entry to popular sights, meals. I would definitely travel like this again in the future.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I would have to say seeing the Duomo in Florence was my favorite "wow" moment. The size and detail of the building were amazing. It seemed to sparkle in the sunlight. The trip was full of many memorable moments and sights. The weather was gorgeous and added to the beauty of the scenery and the fun of exploring each location."

Jill

Berkeley, CA

Tour: 10/16/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Superb and just what I expected! I have been to Italy a few times but wanted to learn more about the history; that I did. Stephanie, our guide, gave us all the information we needed to help us understand the culture of Italy, how to navigate on our own and how to at least speak enough Italian to be polite. We really did become a family with our fellow travelers and I felt so well taken care of by Stephanie. There was an ease to the whole experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favorite moment was seeing David for the first time. Stephanie was so passionate about art and she conveyed that passion to us as she took us into a separate room to give us the history of the sculpture and to tell us more about Michelanglo before we saw it. When we turned the corner and got the full view of David I almost had tears in my eyes. We then got to stand at the perfect angle at which to view David and talk with Stephanie about all the details in the sculpture."

Michael

Berkeley, CA

Tour: 10/16/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I could NOT have been more pleased! This was my 1st trip to Europe and the tour exceeded my expectations by a landslide. Stephanie was just FABULOUS! Knowing that she was kind of a local (she'd lived there for 10 years) only added to her "inside knowledge" of the hidden gems we surely would have passed by. Her knowledge of the customs, quirkiness and idiosyncrasies of the Italian people helped us understand them so much more. It was a sad day when we parted her company....

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Stepping into the Pantheon at dusk. Being deceived by its bare exterior, I was not expecting much. Was I ever wrong! Looking up, and seeing the blue sky through its open portal in the dome, which was highlighted with ivory-colored lights was nothing short of breathtaking. You'd have to be pulseless to not be awed by its beauty."

Linda

Stillwater, MN

Tour: 10/16/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Loved everything about the tour. Stephanie, our guide, was outstanding. She is clearly passionate about making sure her tour participants get everything out of the tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The cathedrals and ancient Rome. I can't even describe these experiences to my friends/family."

Lisa

Webster Groves, MO

Tour: 10/16/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Our guide was excellent as were local guides. Accommodations were very nice in Rome and Volterra, but the hotel in Florence seemed run down and our toilet leaked badly. The location was great however. Food was outstanding in Volterra and very good in Monterosso and Florence. The meal in Rome was average. The length of the tour and time spent in each locale seemed just about right. The very best thing about being on tour was meeting the other wonderful people in our group.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favorite part of the tour (in retrospect) was Volterra. It was lovely and relaxing and the planned activities (tour, group meal and wine tasting) were outstanding. Another wow moment which we did on our own was the Roma vs Empoli soccer match."

Christine

Gordonsville, VA

Tour: 10/16/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Our tour director Stephanie made this tour experience so pleasant, successful and fun as to want to take another Rick Steve's tour. I also really enjoyed the balance of scheduled and free time.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The amount of knowledge Stephanie and the local guides shared with us."

Kenneth

Gordonsville, VA

Tour: 10/16/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Well organized and Stephanie was fantastic! Very friendly tour mates!

Eva

Delta, BC

Tour: 10/16/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Overall this tour was great. It is a very busy schedule on this tour, as it is really 8 days not 9. It does give you a great overview of different experiences and places in Italy. Big busy cities with lots to see and do and smaller towns with some interesting things to do. I would definitely recommend this tour to others. Definitely pack light for this tour and arrive in Europe at least a day early to help get over jet lag.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were several for me, but I would have to pick the Sistine Chapel as my favorite "WOW" moment. We were told the story of painting the Sistine Chapel and Michelangelo prior to our tour of the Vatican by our lovely local guide. So when we finally arrived I knew what to look for and could really appreciate the art as well as the whole story to go with it."

Janice

Seattle, WA

Tour: 10/14/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Great guides, great food, too rushed in the mornings.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hearing singing (arias) from a home in Lucca as I walked around the wall. First and last music heard in the Heart of Italy!"

Alexie

Colorado Springs, CO

Tour: 10/14/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I cannot put into words for incredible I felt every moment of this tour was. I have zero complaints, every single moments was amazing. I thought the tour had an excellent balance of group/planned activities and free time to do whatever we wanted to. I also thought the way it was set up was very well done in that we started in a big city then went to smaller town areas and ended again in a big city. It was a perfect balance. I had high expectations and they were absolutely blown away and exceeded

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Too many to count."

Jennifer

Ottawa, ON

Tour: 10/14/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Everything about my tour experience was wonderful. I have absolutely nothing bad to say about it! Every detail was meticulously planned for us to have the best time, and it went smoothly through the whole 9 days.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Gosh, everything. Bike riding in Lucca, seeing David in Florence, and entering Volterra for the first time - that felt like stepping into a fairy tale."

Therese

Graham, WA

Tour: 10/14/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Could we have done this on our own? Probably. However, I travel with two people who aren't as obsessive as I am when it comes to planning any part of the vacation. Therefore, I look forward to the time when we meet with the tour group so that I can finally turn over the reins to someone else. We also rely on a tour group to find those gems, such as Volterra and Lucca, that we otherwise might have missed on our own. Had a great group of tour partners, which made the trip even more memorable.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Probably wandering around the streets of Volterra. A picture around every corner. And it was a welcome retreat after the busy, loud city of Rome. I was also in awe of the rides through the countryside. The drives into and out of Cinque Terre were breathtaking, even though the weather was a bit dreary. My husband and I toured the Bargello museum while in Florence. What a wonderful visit that I highly recommend."

Fred

Kent, WA

Tour: 10/14/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It's very hard to summarize because each day was different in things seen as well as in people met. I guess to say the common theme is that each and every day we saw things and places that were nothing like I've ever seen before and the food was a similar experience for me. The people were great and helpful everywhere, with one minor exception for which we had been warned in Steve's material(He was a crooked subway sale person at the airport. Use the machines if you're tired!). My bad!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Viewing Florence from the top of our hotel's tower. Or maybe it was seeing the Colosseum in the distance from a busy Roman street. Or one of the group meals. Or the David. Or a boy with wearing a Dempsey T-shirt while carefully observing a piece of art in the Uffiza museum. Rather than a "wow" moment is was a "wooooooow" nine days for me."

Vicky

Connersville, IN

Tour: 10/14/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was absolutely fabulous! We were able to see and do things that I know we would not have experienced on our own. Our fellow travelers were a great group of people and our guide Ricardo was fantastic. True to the claim made in the description of the 9 day heart of Italy tour, the tour was indeed very active. I loved all of it, we hiked the trails in Cinque Terre and climbed many steps to the top of numerous towers to enjoy the breathtaking views.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The "wow" moment of the tour was the town of Volterra - I loved everything about this beautiful place. The views from the walls, the buildings inside the walls, the people, everything was wonderful. One of the highlights of the visit to Volterra was the wine tasting event arranged for the group - great wine, great food, great company!"

Jodi

Las Vegas, NV

Tour: 10/11/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our first trip to Italy, and it surpassed our expectations. My husband and I had an amazing time. Everything about the tour was well organized, fun and had an upbeat, positive vibe. Both Sarah and Amanda were knowledgeable, fun, interesting, kind and engaging. All of the sites and cities were fantastic and I learned so much and came away with an appreciation for Italian culture. I would love to come back and see more of Italy.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It is hard to choose one! My favorite parts were hiking in Cinque Terre, bike riding in Lucca and Florence."

Rachel

Olmsted Falls, OH

Tour: 10/11/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The Heart of Italy tour was everything I imagined and more. Tour guides were knowledgeable, accessible, and very organized. This tour was a wonderful mix of seeing two amazing cities and breaks in-between with visiting Tuscan towns and Cinque Terre. There was plenty of time to view sights after the planned tours in all the cities and towns. The hotels were lovely, as well as, the food, very well prepared and nice variety. Transportation between each area was well planned and comfortable.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I loved seeing the Roman Forum and Colosseum. Our tour guide, Francesca, was amazing. She was articulate, knowledgable and a gifted story teller. She brought me to tears with an overwhelming sense of history and presenting us with such a powerful sense of time and place. I was very grateful for this experience of viewing ancient Rome with such a passionate and gifted guide."

Becky

Santa Barbara, CA

Tour: 10/11/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My husband and I had a wonderful time! Our tour guide, Sarah, and tour apprentice, Amanda, were amazing and knowledgeable and it made us realize we could have never done this much on our own. The tour was well balanced with plenty of sight seeing and just enough free time to allow us to explore on our own. I loved the balance between big cities like Rome and Florence, and smaller quaint towns and villages like Volterra, Lucca, and Cinque Terre. WE WILL DO A RICK STEVES TOUR AGAIN.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favorite wow moment was seeing the Coliseum and Forum in Rome. We were provided with THE BEST local tour guide, Francesca, who was simply amazing and even, at times, moving. To actually get to stand there and touch the walls of this magnificent structure was magical. Throughout the tour, we were provided with local tour guides who are experts in their field and so well prepared for us. Including special no waiting in line entrances to the various highly congested sights we visited."

Doug

Minneapolis, MN

Tour: 10/09/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Words cannot express the experience. My brain is abuzz...I'm reflecting on the emotions that were evolked as I was immersed in times and places new to me. Caterina and the local guides peaked my interests, stimulated my senses, and helped me absorb the magnitude and beauty of Italy. For me, a great trip is when my senses are pushed to their limits, my heart is opened even more, and I am intellectually challenged. The Heart of Italy tour did it all!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The tour helped me understand and embrace the cultures, customs, and mindsets of various regions in Italy and the interplay between these regions. The guides helped me understand the passion of the people, and what drove their decisions. The people, places, and cultures became very real to me. Sights are great to see, but more important are the passions and actions of the people within their own homeland. The knowledge and empathy shown by Caterinà and the local guides were pivotal."

Gary

Imperial Beach, CA

Tour: 10/09/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Excellent learning experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Seeing the art in Florence, especially David."

Sue

Minneapolis, MN

Tour: 10/09/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Love, love, love Katerina our guide. She was invaluable with knowledge of customs, culture, history, etc to make this such an educational and wonderful tour. She made it look easy, but I know she worked hard to make the tour the best for all of us. Also can't say enough about the guides for the specific museum , etc tours.......fabulous passion and descriptors for what they were showing us.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Florence was amazing. The vibe, the pedestrian friendly streets, and of course the amazing museums we toured."

Patsy

Imperial Beach, CA

Tour: 10/09/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

I loved our guide, Catarina. She was so knowledgable about Italy, the Italians and the art and food. She inspired all of us to be positive, and her enthusiasm was contagious. The only drawback was the pace of the walking. I could have used a bit more strolling, but that is probably because of my and shape. I felt that we got to see all of the highlights and had excellent Italian guides too.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I loved the Duomo and the David in Florence. They were truly breathtaking."

Keith

Prior Lake, MN

Tour: 10/09/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Right amount of touring and down time.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The local tour guides."

Susan

White Swan, WA

Tour: 10/09/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Our guides brought Italy to life for me. I always have had a hard time picturing the colloseum or the forum and what life was like back then. Our guide, Francesca, painted a very vivid picture. I took this tour as a solo traveler. Through the whole tour I felt included in our "travel family" at all times, yet I had the freedom to have some free time also. I would highly recommend one of Rick's tours to any one who is hesitant to travel solo.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There are the obvious WOW moments of Rome. But, the sights that will stick with me the longest are the time spent sitting on the steps outside the Vatican watching a little girl with lots of bouncy curls chasing pigeons around a fountain, or the time I spent standing with my toes in the Mediterranean sea, or then when I sat on a beach chair and broke it! (too much good pasta?). And, the bike ride around Lucca."

Bob

Merritt Island, FL

Tour: 10/09/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We were hesitant to travel as part of a tour group, but are glad we did. We planned for 12 days in Italy and put the tour on the front end to help us get acclimated to the country we have never visited. Having all of the arrangements made for us, the expert tour guides along the way, and the camaraderie of our group made it a lifetime memory.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Cinque Terre."

Dawn

Prior Lake, MN

Tour: 10/09/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

First time to Europe, and it couldn't have been a better experience. From our guide, to the guides in each of the cites and the group itself, made this a wonderful trip.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I cannot pick one wow moment. Moving from place to place continued to be wow moments for me. If I had to pick one, I believe it would have been our guide, Caterina."

Joseph

Goodyear, AZ

Tour: 10/09/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Although Italy was very rainy for our tour, the local guides more than made up for the discomfort with their knowledge and enthusiasm.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The tour sponsored dinners were the best food we tasted during our 9 day experience."

Gina

Merritt Island, FL

Tour: 10/09/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Our 9 day Rick Steve's Tour was a great way to begin our first trip to Italy. I was worried about being too structured on a tour and feeling rushed. However this tour was a perfect balance of structure and free time. Staying two nights at each location and having all the 'must see' things planned out for us, tickets arranged, local guides etc. was invaluable and really enhanced our travel experience.

David

San Diego, CA

Tour: 10/04/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our first trip to Europe and it was an amazing experience. We couldn't ask for a better time and experience. It was better than I expected.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Seeing the Pope give Sunday Blessings."

Thomas

Richfield, MN

Tour: 10/04/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

I thought Rick Steve's tour to the heart of Italy was pretty much as advertised. I thoroughly enjoyed it and I also enjoyed Dimitri our tour guide. The tour was a cultural experience and Dimitri kept us moving from sunrise to sunset. And it was a very physically strenuous tour if one wanted it to be ! Plenty of hills in Italy :)

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Two very similar wow moment ------ the first one was when we attended mass at the Basilica of Saint Peter on are own on Sunday morning with the Pope and the second one was the first time I entered the Sistine Chapel and saw the ceiling as part of our guided tour of the Vatican Museum."

Steven

Edmonds, WA

Tour: 10/04/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The time in Italy was great because of an outstanding guide in Dmitri and a fantastic group we traveled with. We quickly became like long lost relatives gathered for a reunion. I would travel anywhere with them. Loved every place we went, but especially the time in Volterra.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Seeing the Sistine Chapel."

Michele

San Diego, CA

Tour: 10/04/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our first trip abroad and we were a little unsure as to the best way to travel. Many family and friends had told us that we could do it on our own for less money and while that may be true the experience would not of been as wonderful as we had. First of all Demitri was fabulous and so very knowledgeable, kind , funny and planned the most delicious meals. I know we would not of picked those items on the menu if we were on our own.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Each and every local guided tour was a "wow" moment. The guides were so passionate about their tours it just captured you into their world. Even though I was just "there for the ride" I was entertained and educated at the same time.If left on my own I would not of known what I was looking at and looking for in each sculpture and painting."

Rosemary

Lakewood, CO

Tour: 10/04/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was, as always, wonderful. This was our 8th Rick Steves tour and we have enjoyed them all. We were revisiting some our favorite places this time and one new one. We had not been to Volterra and found it delightful.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Volterra was my favorite as I really like the hilltowns. I would say the whole trip was a wow especially our tour group and our superb guide, Dimitri."

Barbara

Valrico, FL

Tour: 10/04/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was the perfect mix of group activities and free time.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Dimitri added an unscheduled stop at the WWII American Memorial Cemetery outside Florence. This should be added to all tours that go to Florence."

Richard

Valrico, FL

Tour: 10/04/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was the second Rick Steves' tour we've been on and are already planning another. I liked the overall balance between guided time and free time. I also liked the small group size; everyone made an effort to become friends. Being on tour also enabled us to avoid the long lines at the museums. We still had to face "combat tourism" at the Vatican museum.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"After receiving transportation instructions the night before from Dimitri, we decided to take the Cinque Terra water ferry from Monterosso to Riomaggoiore. It was a beautiful day with calm seas and the towns stood out on the stark rugged coastline. We made a side stop at the Florence American Cemetery and Memorial. It was raining and dreary which made the stop even more poignant. My wife's father and uncle both participated in the Italian campaign."

John

Lakewood, CO

Tour: 10/04/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Great trip with a great group of travlers.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"No special "wow" moment. Just being in Italy with great travelers and great local guides was what made this trip to Italy really special. This was our fifth trip to Italy on a Rick Steve tour."

Marjorie

North Tonawanda, NY

Tour: 10/04/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour itself was a great choice of sights and locations. When one is investing the time, money and effort to travel, it is good to know that a tour has been vetted and recommended by a pro. Well-managed, high quality all the way around and worth every penny. Loved the close-to-the culture approach, traveling light and making the most of every moment. Day to day there was also a great balance between planned activities and free time, including the "vacation from the vacation" day.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"From the standpoint of sights, being able to take in the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel was a truly breathtaking moment. From the personal perspective, I experienced the thrill of connecting with Italian people as individuals - being able to use a few well-placed words of Italian (while not knowing the language)to establish rapport and understanding while communicating with restaurant personnel, shopkeepers, and others with whom I had opportunity to interact. Oh...and the cappuccino...."

Liz

Bellevue, WA

Tour: 10/02/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I took the tour with a friend and we found the group to be friendly and happy, "a merry band of travelers", just as promised. I loved the idea that we could relax and enjoy Italy and leave the details to the guides, which is exactly what happened. Ben and Amanda were terrific hosts, in fact, I felt like we were joining them on a trip and they were introducing us to all their friends and favorite places! I liked all their restaurant choices and hotel choices. They were very knowledgeable

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I had several "wow" moments, but I must admit that being back after 30 years, I was thrilled to see the Sistine Chapel (so clean!) and the Vatican again. Our guide brought it all back to life for me, loved her explanation ahead of time.!! I'm not sure it was a "wow" moment, but I was pleasantly surprised at how nice the staff was at each hotel. They were willing to help me with camera battery issues and lost luggage and were very kind. They always had a smile for us!"

Denise

Reno, NV

Tour: 10/02/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was an incredible experience. Ben and Amanda were amazing- WOW! The local guides Marta, Hilaria, Annie, Elena, and Ricardo spoke so vividly and passionately that it was easy to be transported to another world. Every aspect of the tour was dialed in and worry free. I felt very well taken care of and safe. The sights, food, activities and easy rhythm of the tour were spot on. I am a full on Rick Steves groupie! I am recommending this tour left and right!!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"That's a tough one because I feel like the entire tour was one big wow moment for me. I ticked a big one off my bucket list with this trip, but I put another one back on my list because I realized I have to come back. I feel really lucky that our group clicked the way it did and that we had Ben and Amanda at the helm. If I had to name one wow moment, the time spent with Annie in Volterra was probably the most magical for me. She just made Volterra's history come alive."

Pamela

Oklahoma City, OK

Tour: 10/02/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was amazing. Our guides, both Rick Steves and the hired guides in each location, were very knowledgeable and engaging. Ben did a great job of leading and being very informative as well. His knowledge of the areas visited was impressive. Both he and Amanda were very helpful with any other issues that arose during the trip. Great job!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Cinque Terre! I have been to Italy a couple of times but never visited this area. It's beautiful."

Elizabeth

Glenview, IL

Tour: 10/02/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We have been recommending Rick Steves tours to everyone since we have returned home. What a great time! Our guides (Ben and Amanda) were friendly and informative. And the special guides for the various sites struck the right balance between knowledge and playful. The hotels were all perfect and being in them made us feel a bit more Italian.

Michael

Laguna Niguel, CA

Tour: 10/02/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our first organized tour and we had some reservations initially. However, the pace, locations, ease of transportation, tour guides and fellow tourists exceeded our expectations and helped make this a memorable trip.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The drive from Rome and arrival in Volterra. The hillside villages and countryside were amazing."

Vincent

Liberty, TN

Tour: 10/02/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Overall I enjoyed the tour. sometimes we felt that there was too much to take in but that was good too. Ben and Amanda did a great job. Many thanks to them. The people on the tour were wonderful. A fine group of folks.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I can't think of a any one wow moment. I think I was most impressed by learning of the history of Volterra."

Martina

Liberty, TN

Tour: 10/02/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I really appreciated the leadership, humor, and knowledge of our tour leader, Ben. He had us all "wrapped around his little finger" as far as doing what he requested in meeting up at certain times, doing the transfers from train to bus, getting to the restaurants, etc. Cooperation with Ben was key to our trip. The jam-packed day in Rome was a bit too much. Overall the trip exceeded expectations! I really loved the on-site special tour leaders with their enthusiasm and knowledge!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I was stunned when I first viewed the Duomo in Florence. I teared up and could not believe that something like this existed and no one had ever told me, had not conveyed to me the wonder of seeing it. I also loved seeing the Mediterannean Sea for the first time. So beautiful, such a wonderful color. We sat at a seaside cafe, and altho it was after hours (3:10 pm) and the kitchen was closed, the waitress brought us wine, bread and cheese! Perfect!"

Linda

Sacramento, CA

Tour: 10/02/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was absolutely fabulous. I enjoyed the fact that all the hotel and transportation arrangements were made by your group. The tour guides were so knowledgable and engaging, and helped us maneuver the sites and restaurants we would be visiting on our own. The local guides were extremely passionate about their culture and the sites they were guiding us through.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I enjoyed the fact that everywhere you look in Italy, there is art and antiquity. You turn a corner and there is a beautiful church, a statue or an ancient ruin. I was given a new appreciation for art by your wonderful guides. The 'David" was a highlight as it opened up my eyes even more to the plan God has for each of his human creation, if we just put our lives and trust in Him."

Ken

Oceanside, CA

Tour: 10/02/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had a great group of people and enjoyed every ones company.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Visiting Vatican City and St Peters"

Patrick

Austin, TX

Tour: 10/02/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I don't know how it could have gone better. I have thought about this a fair bit. The least best part of it was the crush of people at the Vatican but how do you go to Rome and not see the Sistine Chapel? Going early and with a group made it bearable. So that part was good and the rest of the tour was wonderful.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were many: the Forum at sunset as the crowds were leaving. A dawn dip in the Ligurian Sea. The Porta All'Arco and the lifesaver story. Winetasting - clearly not something we would not have thought to do on our own. A nonscheduled early morning walk with Ben and Amanda to the top of the Victor Emmanuel Monument and to the Jewish Ghetto. Evening walks back to the hotel with other members of the tour. Lunch listening to opera students practicing in Lucca. The Uffizi Gallery. David."

Brian

Grand Rapids, MI

Tour: 10/02/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

I would rate my overall experience as outstanding if the hotels were of a higher caliber. While each hotel was certainly fine, they were not of the caliber of the rest of the tour, some based on location and lack of amenities, some based on the room. The one exception was the hotel in Florence, which was outstanding in location, quality and amenities. Otherwise, the tour delivered what was advertised and did so in an entertaining and highly informative, while still fun and relaxed, way.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Very hard to answer, there were several. Cinque Terre is awesome, the history of Rome is compelling, Florence is both."

Lori

Oklahoma City, OK

Tour: 10/02/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My first trip to Italy and my first Rick Steves tour, but definitely not my last! I've been home for one week and have talked to dozens of people touting what an amazing adventure you provide, the nice blend of structure and free-time, safe with the group and the guides and yet prepped to go and discover on our own. I felt so prepared for the trip that I could relax and enjoy the entire week and a half. A nice blend of strenuous days alternated with less rigorous ones. A trip of a lifetime!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The overall tour experience where you come together with 20+ people you have never layed eyes on and yet ten days later you feel so close and comfortable that it is actually sad when you have to say good-bye to them (guests and gides!)"

Jeanne

Edmonds, WA

Tour: 09/27/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Visiting Rome without a knowledgeable guide would be like eating pasta without sauce......we would have seen the sights but the interaction of these two lovely ladies brought us so much more. Our tour was cut short by a medical emergency so our experience was slightly different. On our third day in, we sadly left the tour for the hospital. We did see three hotels and loved the charm and location of each one. We will return to Italy!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Our WOW moment will be different than most. The kindness and generous spirit of the Italian people got us through a pretty rough time. My WOW moment is a wonderful realization of how many good people are out there. We got to meet several and consider ourselves blessed."

Linda

Peoriz, AZ

Tour: 09/27/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I loved learning how to take a train, take a bus and not be intimidated getting on board. Great balance of tour time and free time. My great joy was having one of my granddaughters along on the tour with me. It was her first time out of the USA and she didn't want to miss a thing. Seeing her get goose bumps when she saw the Coloseum or when she saw David in Florence was so worth the trip.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My wow moments were seeing David, Lucca, Volterra and the Cinque Terre. I wasn't planning on falling in love with Florence, but I sure did!"

Judy

Wayne, PA

Tour: 09/27/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The "Heart of Italy" tour was perfect for us. After tons of research of other tours with various companies, I soon realized we couldn't SEE IT ALL so I decided on THE BEST:THE HEART. Loved the mix of big city/small town for a well rounded experience.We enjoyed our fellow travelers very much~our guide and local guides presented an incredible wealth of knowledge with much enthusiasm!Tour was fast paced with built in time on your own~appreciated casual dress to go with those comfy shoes!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"WOW,am I really hiking from Monterosso to Vernazza in this relentless rain on this muddy footpath!I won't let the weather control my dream to be up here catching a glimpse of the sea and village far below. Totally soaked,it was worth it! The boats wouldn't go out that day but I accomplished my goal and got some pictures!(Of course the Colosseum,Forum,Sistine Chapel,David,cathedrals,museums were WOWS too)Loved riding bikes on the wall in Luca.Didn't know we would have the opportunity~for FREE!"

Sandy

New York, NY

Tour: 09/27/15

Overall rating: rating 3 of 5

Overall "good" but Reid "barely adequate". My expectations est'd by friend who has taken more than 4 RS tours...organized, timely and knowledgeable tour guide with minimal ass'tance on baggage transit etc. Reid's demeanor was inappropriate in my opinion.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The information and enthusiasm of Annie the guide for Volterra. (In fact the local guides aside from the one at the Uffizi who was so-so were all superb.)"

Delphine

Santa Rosa, CA

Tour: 09/25/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was pure joy! We saw beautiful scenery and magnificent sights. The art we experienced was beyond amazing. We were physically challenged. Our guide, Colleen, was fun to be around. Some of our local guides were fascinating and some were hilarious. I ate the best food of my life. When we had free time, members of our tour hung out together. We saw, we learned, we ate, we laughed. I had such a good time that I could never dream of topping it. But on to the next tour!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"How could every moment not be "wow" when you've never seen Italy? But the dynamics of our group were my favorite "wow". We cared for and encouraged each other. No grumps! And we all ate gelato every day."

Jennifer

Grand Rapids, MI

Tour: 09/25/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our first Rick Steve's tour and it was fantastic! We went back and forth on whether a tour would be the best way to take a trip to Italy, and it was the perfect choice. It was definitely active/strenuous, as stated in the info, but there was a good balance of free time to let us catch our breath. We were able to see/and do so much in the time we had, that I felt completely satisfied at the end of the tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I was very much looking forward to the Sistine Chapel and it did not disappoint. I could hardly catch my breath, standing under that beautiful ceiling. However, I was able to experience another WOW moment, that I didn't even see coming! Hiking the path from Monterosso to Vernazza exhilarated me and gave me a feeling of accomplishment that I did not expect! Not to mention the spectacular views!! So glad I did not miss it!"

Reid

Greensboro, NC

Tour: 09/25/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

The Best of Italy tour itenerary is well thought out. The only change I'd make would be to leave Volterra after one night and spend three nights in Cinque Terre. It was great getting a background of ancient Roman history and hearing about the masters while in Rome at the beginning of the trip. Our guide, Colleen, was awesome. All of the other guides were exceptional as well. The bus was comfortable. It was great to learn how to use the subway in Rome and to use the train in Cinque Terre.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"HIke from Monterossa to Vernazzo."

Jimmy

Pasadena, CA

Tour: 09/25/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Great tour. Local guides were entertaining and informative. Wonderful trip

Favorite "WOW" moment

"That Italy is younger than the US as a country. And of course the Italian Riviera!"

Nicole

Norwood, PA

Tour: 09/25/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Hotels, food, tours, tour guides - all great. We had the best, most memorable time... Thank you!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Too many to pick just one WOW moment."

Kathy

Austin, TX

Tour: 09/20/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour was a dream come true! We had the perfect guide and such a nice group of people to explore Italy with. The tour had a great mix of tour time and free time. My favorite parts were visiting the quaint Tuscan towns and the Cinque Terre. We have so many great memories and lots of beautiful photos!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favorite 'wow' moment was approaching the Cinque Terre via water taxi. It was breathtakingly beautiful!"

Faye

Napa, CA

Tour: 09/20/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

When we missed the plane to Rome we were so disappointed. Your staff Deanna and Alexis were so helpful in getting us to the next leg of the tour we put the Rome part behind us and went forward to enjoy the rest. Enjoy we did!! The entire experience was wonderful. I can't think of anything that went wrong.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The historical sites and information we received was invaluable. From Volterra to Lucca to Forence and of course the war memorial cemetery, was something we will never forget. We are history buffs and we soaked up everything we heard and saw."

Perry

Carlsbad, CA

Tour: 09/20/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Lot's of information packed into the few days. For me, not enough sleep time, after late group dinners, sink-laundry, and uploading photos over slow hotel wifi :-(. Great guides- Dimitri and ALL the local guides really made it a rich experience we couldn't have arranged ourselves. Daily pace was just right.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"On the tour, I enjoyed the surprise of seeing the narrow, stone paved streets of Volterra lined with little old ancient shops. Very picturesque (well, maybe partly because we were tired from the bus ride...). The best wow moment of our vacation was in Rome, the day before the tour, when, walking around the Trajan forum ruins on Via dei Fori Imperiali, we came face-to-face with the Colosseum."

Bill

Laguna Woods, CA

Tour: 09/20/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Both my wife and I had a fantastic experience with the tour. It was well planned, well executed and we feel that we got even more than we expected. Dimitri was a perfect guide! He was energetic, knowledgeable, interactive, and fun! We will recommend this tour to anyone who has the energy, because it was strenuous at times for anyone who is in their 60's. But we made it and feel stronger physically and mentally than we did when we left home.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"In Florence, Dimitri took us on a downtown walking tour and I think he purposely led us through some narrow streets with tall vertical buildings not mentioning our final destination, when we suddenly rounded a corner to the Duomo. WOW! I knew were were going to see it at some point, but this was still a surprise and an AWH moment for us."

Stephanie

Alpharetta, GA

Tour: 09/20/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Such an amazing tour. We started learning about Rome in a walking tour almost immediately. Dimitri set the tone for the week on our first walk. We saw so much. Learned more than the captions under the pictures. Ate amazing cuisine in every venue. We made new friends as we hiked the Cinque Terre, visited an Alabaster studio, trekked through ruins and museums, climbed to the tip top of a bell tower, and made our way through throngs of other tourists and rode buses, trains and subways together!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The American Cemetery near Florence was my wow moment. This was my 4th trip to Italy and I had no idea of the existance of this cemetery. Since my dad had served in Italy during WWII, it was very special to walk on those hallowed grounds and see the numbers of mostly young men who gave their all for us."

Sandy

Belleville, IL

Tour: 09/20/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It really was the best trip we have ever taken to Europe. It was a perfect balance between Sightseeing, learning the history and time to enjoy the beauty and culture of Italy. Everything was taken care of so we were so relaxed and worry free the whole week! Our guide, Dimitri, was outstanding! So knowledgeable and helpful. He went above and beyond to make sure we had any information we needed for our free time. It was all so wonderful!!!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Collessium for me, was unbelievable. To think how old it was and how it was built. The other was in Volterra When our Local guide told a story of the courage and bravery of the people in the town during the war. It really made you think about the real lives that had walked the streets we were standing on and the hardships they endured."

Grady

Alpharetta, GA

Tour: 09/20/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our tour met and exceeded our expectaions. All of the guides were very knowledgeable and friendly. The chemistry of the entire group was amazing. We enjoyed being with everyone, yet having time to do some adventures on our own. Would recommend this tour to anyone considering a trip to Italy.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The amazing history of Italy. All of it's culture and regional pride were on exhibit wherever you went. Each town or village was very proud of their area. No matter where you were, Their's was the best."

Teresa

Amherst, NY

Tour: 09/20/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Hi Rick, just got back from an awesome tour! Wanted to let you know how great Dimitri was; helpful, personable, professional, knowledgeable and a lot of FUN! Local tour guides were also great- so interesting! We still can't get over what a stress-free experience it was and how much we saw with so little effort on our part! It was a super experience that we will never forget!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Being in Voltarre on the feast of St. Linus and seeing the procession through the town. Such and authentic experience with the towns people. Also loved the wine- tasting with francesco."

Brian

Napa, CA

Tour: 09/20/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Due to Airline & TSA difficulties at San Francisco we missed all flights to Rome and did not get out until Monday September 21st. However with the help of Deanna and Emily in Rick Steves Tour Center & Logan at Travelguard we were able to arrange to arrive in Volterra and meet up with DIMITRI and with the rest of the Group by 10:30 on Wednesday September 23rd. Great experience would go on another Rick Steves Tour

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Group Dinner and Pesto Demo in Sestri Levante at the Hotel Due Mari"

Terry

Bellingham, WA

Tour: 09/20/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

As a solo traveler, I wanted to be able to learn about and enjoy Italy without having to do so on my own. This tour met my needs to see the major city sights and also visit smaller towns. We did some things that weren't expected which made the tour even more meaningful (the Florence American Memorial Cemetery, riding bikes around Lucca, seeing St.Zita). I loved all the local tours and guides. It was a wonderful experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were so many experiences that affected me in deep ways. Being able to see and be in the places where people have lived and created for thousands of years was humbling. Many of the "wow" moments came after climbing up hundreds of steps to the top of a tower and looking out over the city and/or the landscape (especially in Volterra and Florence). Despite the crowds, I was glad to have been able to go to Vatican City and St. Peter's. Hiking in Cinque Terre was a highlight for sure!"

Martin

Montrose, CO

Tour: 09/18/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Statue of David."

Randy

Norman, OK

Tour: 09/18/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had a wonderful time and believe it is the best way to see Italy. The guides provide the background that lets you understand and appreciate what you are seeing. We enjoyed everyone on the tour and now have many new friends. The tour was organized and we didn't have to worry about transportation, lodging, or getting into any of the places that required tickets, which let us enjoy being in Italy. We only wish that we could have spent more time in Italy.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"2 things come to mind; first was when we first stepped into courtyard of St Peter's Basilica and seeing the enormity of it and how many people were there wanting to see it and realizing that there were that many people wanting to be there everyday of the year; second was seeing "David" for the first time after our tour guide gave us his insight as to what David was thinking, then looking at the statue and seeing what the guide saw was amazing."

Kent

East Lansing, MI

Tour: 09/18/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Great Tour. Loved Reid. Meals were very good. Hotels were great too. All the planned events were well organized went off without any glitches. Very high quality experience. I enjoyed all of the other tour members.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My wow moment was the Pantheon. Even though I had read about it and have seen pictures - there is nothing like seeing it in person. My other wow moment was seeing all the towns of the Cinque Terra lined up in a row. They were amazing."

Karla

East Lansing, MI

Tour: 09/18/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I came away from this tour with a very positive feeling and it felt like I was leaving family behind in the end.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It's a toss-up between the Pantheon the first night and the Roman forum on day 2. First, the Pantheon is something that you will never be able to appreciate from only pictures and movies of it. It really takes being inside it to understand its scale in relationship to the body. Impressive and awesome. Second, I loved the forum because I had no idea what it really was. I've only imagined it and of course my imagination didn't come close to what it is: excavated pagan temples!"

Larry

Villa Park, CA

Tour: 09/18/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

The tour was perfect with the correct amount of planned activities as free time. Our guide Reid was exceptional in all respects, Knowledge, organization and information as well as his attitude and interaction with the group. All the local tour folks were also amazing and informative. Perfect

Favorite "WOW" moment

"We took a short detour to Vinci prior to going to Florence. We climbed the tower there and saw an amazing view of Tuscany. This was totally unexpected and was magnificent. David was # 2 as Reid's lead up and discussion of the statue was exceptional. The pantheon was another big wow for us. Amazing building in an amazing place."

Mike

Oak Harbor, WA

Tour: 09/18/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was a trip of a life time! There was so much to see, learn, and experience that I feel forever changed. Our group leader, Reid, did an excellent job managing expectations and ensured an environment in which my wife and I were able to create priceless memories.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favorite "wow" moment was walking into St. Peter's basilica for the first time. It was simultaneously breathtaking and overwhelming."

Lina

Oak Harbor, WA

Tour: 09/18/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our first trip to Europe celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary. After much research we decided to go with a guided tour and are fans of Rick Steves. This tour provided us a structured, safe and worry free travel experience with a rounded itinerary. That said, we fully emersed ourselves in the art, architecture, history, landscape, food (and gelato) and culture. Our tour guide Reid along with our local guides were amazing throughout. We are planning another RS Tour in the near future!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Our tour was filled with many "wow" moments; the Sistine Chapel in all its grandeur, the scenic drive high above the Tuscan hills in route to Volterra, the beauty of Volterra and its people and finally, the picturesque villages of Cinque Terre!"

Cierra

Norman, OK

Tour: 09/18/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I loved this tour. Reid was fabulous, he managed to highlight everyone on the tour so we all bonded in amazing ways. I enjoyed the "backdoor approach", this approach gave us opportunities to communicate with some local Italians. Reid did a suburb job! He made sure we were all well fed with unique dining experiences, he made sure we arrived for our tours at times when were didn't have to wait too long & had great tours and tour guides. I know I feel like joining Reid and Rick's Tour again.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were too many. I loved Lucca and Vinici."

Paulette

Winterset, IA

Tour: 09/18/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had a fabulous time on our trip. The preparation was helpful, to understand how to pack and what to expect from the tour and the the experience. We had a great group of people and our seasoned tour guide gave awesome context to our sights and experiences. (Thanks Reid!)I loved the itinerary and each location had it's individual charm.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The walk from Monterosso to Vernazza stands out as a definite highlight. Also the winetasting in Volterra along with watching the creation of an artists work in an alabaster shop. Great views and good people made happy hour in Cinque Terre quite memorable as well."

Sonja

Tulsa, OK

Tour: 09/13/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our guide Andrea and her assistant Miles were very informative, fun, and helpful. Everyone in the group was easy going and no one held the group up.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Our visit to the Vatican and especially the Sistine Chapel and St. Peters Basilica. Also the David."

Sanford

Hapeville, GA

Tour: 09/13/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Will be a repeat customer.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Volterra restaurant was excellent. Local guide did fantastic job."

Kaitlin

Seattle, WA

Tour: 09/13/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

What a fun tour! Great guides, fun people, amazing food, and unbelievable sights-it all came together to create an amazing experience. The tour is the perfect balance of guided sightseeing and free time. I felt lucky to have experts to teach me about the amazing history of the places I was visiting, and loved having plenty of time to also go off on my own and soak everything in. A+!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Volterra blew me away. I didn't know what to expect and I couldn't get enough of it while I was there-just walking around the city and soaking in the ambience was a "wow moment". Between the views of the Tuscan countryside and the medieval buildings, the city is unlike anything i've ever experienced before. To have a knowledgable local guide to make the city's history come alive made it all the more fun. The delicious food and wine tasting didn't hurt either!"

Paul

Vancouver, WA

Tour: 09/13/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Great bunch of people -- we made some new frinds. The pace was just about right and we appreciated that the guides made it very clear that we could opt out of scheduled events if we wanted to. It was a great mixture of city and country.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Roman Pantheon. Maybe the Colisseum. Could have been the Cinque Terra. Too hard to identify."

Frances

Mt Pleasant, SC

Tour: 09/13/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was the first "tour" my husband and I had taken, we've always traveled on our own. This tour went beyond our expectations! We had so much fun. Andrea and Miles were fantastic and so informative; the lodging was very nice and in great locations; food...oh my goodness! And travel was very good, except the bus going to Florence, it was smaller than the previous bus. We loved our vacation!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Volterra. The American guide was so in touch with the town personally and gave a very moving history. The town itself was so delightful and so were the people. Cinque Terre for the beauty. Even though there were a lot of tourists, when you saw the view, you felt it was just you taking it all in. So much fun!"

Carol

Cape Canaveral, FL

Tour: 09/13/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our first time traveling with a tour group. It was very well organized, informative, and fun. I don't have any other tour group to compare with, but our guide certainly was knowledgeable and made it a great experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It was great group to travel with and get to know. We now have a large group of friends that live throughout the US. I'm sure we will keep in contact with many of them. Enjoying meals together in great locations certainly helped build relationships."

Steve

Spokane, WA

Tour: 09/13/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Andrea and Miles were excellent guides -- very personable and professional.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Volterra and Cinque Terra were highlights. Coincidentally, just watched Rick's TV tour of the Cinque Terra (ready to return!)"

Tonya

Wichita, KS

Tour: 09/13/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I thoroughly enjoyed this tour. I especially liked how we had together time but also time by ourselves to check out sites that may not have been part of the tour. Andrea and Miles were awesome guides. I had a birthday during the trip and wanted to let it slide by but they made it special and a day to remember.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I don't know if there was just one "wow" moment. I truly felt that way with every new adventure."

William

Tulsa, OK

Tour: 09/13/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was well-organized. The pretour education was valuable. The estimate of up to 8 miles walking per day was very helpful to work on getting in shape for the tour. My wife's FitBit recorded a seven mile per day walking average during the heart of the trip.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I would say visiting the Sistine Chapel. The local tour guide did an excellent job preparing our group for the Vatican museum and St. Peters Basilica."

Susan

Newark, CA

Tour: 09/11/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Was my first Rick Steve's trip and it was the best. Lots of guidance but also independence too.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Seeing the Vatican for the first time. The art, history and spiritual experience were amazing."

Rosemarie

Mountain View, CA

Tour: 09/11/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My experience was fantastic. Our entire party had a great experience. I loved our guide as well as each individual site guide. They all brought a love and enthusiasm for the history they presentetd. In addition each day was thoughtfully planned so there were activities and then down or free time. A great balance of types of activities too...i was so excited to hear of the bicycling opportunity.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Every day there was something great. I can not pick just one event. Overall, the experience made me comfortable in Italy. And after my last out of the country event 30 years ago, where the government was overthrown and machine guns were present, this was a great stepping stone to get me traveling abroad again."

Elizabeth

Chesterfield, MO

Tour: 09/11/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my first Rick Steve's tour and it exceeded my expectations. It was the perfect balance of group activity and free time. (I loved the public transportation lesson so we really could make the most of the free time that we had.)

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I have been asked that so many times since we returned and I can't answer it. Some things can't really be compared and there was NO experience that was not a WOW."

Jean

Coquitlam, BC

Tour: 09/11/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Colosseum and Forum"

Daniel

Newark, CA

Tour: 09/11/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Good variety of towns ( hilltop, large cities,small towns and beach ),knowledgeable guides with the right balance of free time and structure.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"In Rome, at the Coliseum"

Roberta

Seattle, WA

Tour: 09/11/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The Heart of Italy tour was fantastic, from start to finish! Such a wonderful mix of activities: going from city to countryside and having a nice balance of organized to free time! Thoroughly enjoyed learning about the history and culture of Italy and seeing the amazing art in its museums, churches and architecture and loved interacting with the Italian people in their surroundings. We had an amazing tour leader in Dimitri and a great group of fellow travelers hailing from all around the USA.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hard to pick one "wow" moment as there were so many! But to choose one ... I especially enjoyed being in Cinque Terre [INVALID] hiking the trail from one town to the next, swimming in the Mediterranean Sea and having a lovely, leisurely lunch on a hillside in Vernazza!"

Elaina

Racine, WI

Tour: 09/11/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Exceeded our expectations. Tour guides were fantastic! Perfect combination of activities and downtime.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"we were shocked by the size of the Colesseum. We went exploring on the evening prior to our official tour of the site, and didn't want to see it until the next day with the group. That proved impossible, as the moment we came up from the subway, there it was!! We never expected to see that looming right outside the subway doors! Just amazing!"

Edward

Seattle, WA

Tour: 09/11/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was our first tour and we were very pleased with all aspects. First and foremost Dimitri was excellent. He brought so much enthusiasm, fun, and cohesiveness to the entire group. The food, lodging, local tour guides were excellent. We felt the group and individual time was well balanced. Very nice time.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hard to say be a use everything was a wow to us. If we were forced to say probably Florence."

Peggy

Raleigh, NC

Tour: 09/11/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Beautiful art & scenery. Nice people& knowledgeable guide.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Cistene chapel"

Karen

Rochester, NY

Tour: 09/06/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I was sick and so that dampened my experience. Fellow travelers were fun and thoughtful. Guides were great. I'm sure my husband will give me more information that reflects well my own feelings.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Vatican apartments"

Brian

St Albert, AB

Tour: 09/06/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Fantastic beginning to end. Our guides were great! Sahara was extremely knowledgable and was great communicator. Jody likewise was a great addition to the tour, she went out of her way to assist us. The selection of hotels and restaurants were all first class. Minor issue with showers, but that is just all part of the European experience. The local guides were all knowledgeable and passionate about there subject.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Volterra was my wow moment love the history, the wine the food and the alabaster demonstration."

Marlene

San Mateo, CA

Tour: 09/06/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour exceeded our expectations! We went because we had family member that went on a Rick Steve's tour just rave about it so we thought we would give it a try. We were looking to maximize our time and experience in Italy and not have to waste a lot of time figuring things out like transportation and day excursions. And we got just that. Our guide Sara was fantastic and was really fundamental to making this trip so worth while. Pace, quality, and quantity of each day was just right.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Having dinner outside at wonderful family restaurant in Volterra. Every dish they brought out was fantastic and the wine was free flowing! It was great to get to know other tour members better during these dinners. It was just a perfect quintessential Italian night. We never felt like we were a part of this big faceless tour group going to these generic tourist traps every experience felt so personal and special."

Sally

Chula Vista, CA

Tour: 09/06/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our 9-Day trip to Italy turned out better than we expected. We unnecessarily worried about bathroom breaks or food issues. No problem on either. We especially loved our organized, cheerful no matter what, humorous, and caring guide Sarah from England. She kept us all informed in many ways and entertained during the rides to sights. I am recommending your tours to all my friends .

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favorite WOW moment is very hard to answer. Each day, we had spectacular sights (the Coloseum, hearing the Pope speak in Rome, seeing David, sounds (accordian music during the day and classical guitars at night). Oh, and the fabulous food every day was WOW. Probably the most memorable time was the last dinner together. The food was the best of the whole trip. All of the group felt very close as predicted and shared special memories. Even our guide, Sarah, was smiling as usual."

Kendall

Chula Vista, CA

Tour: 09/06/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

This was my first European trip and my first trip with a tour group. I was very impressed with the organization and style of travel with the Rick Steves tour. In particular, I appreciated the mixture of group activities and solo time given the participants. The booking of group events made entry into the venues smooth by avoiding waiting in long lines. I can't rate my overall experience "outstanding" instead of "very good" because of the severe and long lasting jet lag I experienced.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were to many "wows" to pick just one. Favorite architecture: Saint Peter's Basilica. Favorite art work: Michelangelo's Pieta. Favorite stroll: Vernazza"

Frederick

Craven, SK

Tour: 09/06/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Both the guide and the apprentice were excellent and went above an beyond to make everyone's vacation a success

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I think the Colosseum in ROME is my wow moment"

Stephen

Rochester, NY

Tour: 09/06/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

We loved the Italian people who seem to know how to live life fully. The tour group leaders were knowledgeable, friendly, charming people, and the whole trip was well organized and went like clockwork. I loved Rome, the Vatican, Colliseum, forum, Volterra, Cinque Terra and Florence. In short, I can think of no way to improve the overall schedule. Perfect combination of planned activities and free time. One hotel, and two of the meals were below expectations, otherwise outstanding!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Having a drink on our Florence hotel rooftop overlooking the Duomo. Walking from Vernazza to Monterosso culminating at a cafe right on the bay where I enjoyed a Peroni and a plate of spaghetti del mare to soothe my weary body. The calamari did however swim around in my stomach until late that evening."

Mona

Northwood, OH

Tour: 09/04/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Everything was great!!! Every hotel had its own special charm and not an issue with any of them. Every hotel employee was helpful and friendly. Roberto from Hotel Aberdeen picked us up at the airport and explained sites along the way. Meals were were fantastic and adventurous which we enjoyed. The restaurant Nina picked were great and staff were friendly. The tours were awesome with so much history. It was a lot to take in and the local guides explained everything throughly.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were a few but seeing the beauty of the colosseum within the context of the vibrant city of Rome. The other would be in Florance sitting on top of the tower at Hotel Torre Guelfa looking over the beautiful city and countryscape. The tower was small and held only a handful of tables and I felt like it was our secret getaway."

Jane

Ardsley, NY

Tour: 09/04/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This is first time doing a tour and it was beyond our expectations. We weren't sure if we would like traveling as a group, but everyone was great and just as anxious to get the most out the trip as we were. The group size was good and very manageable. We saw a lot together and yet felt like we have enough time on our own. The bus rides were very educational and went very fast. I thought I'd sleep most of the time, but everything was so interesting I never slept!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I had several wow moments most of them were when we were alone exploring or having an outstanding meal. The food was just the best and we ate in some great restaurants. Volterra and Cinque Terre were absolutely outstanding! Hearing the history of Voterra was absolutely fascinating and I had one of my best meals there! Cinque Terre was breathtaking."

Carl

Ardsley, NY

Tour: 09/04/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had a great time! The tour was everything we had hopped for. Nina or Tour leader was simply "The Best!". This was a very active tour, as advertised. Hotels and food were very good. It really did meet the expectations set by Rick Steves. There was a scheduling problem which caused us to have to do all of Rome in a day, but once we got past that it went really smoothly.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Having to pick one I'd say the tour with Riccardo of the Bargello Museum and Uffizi Gallery"

Nancy

Warren, MI

Tour: 09/04/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

From the very beginning of the tour in Rome I could tell this would be an experience I would remember forever. Our tour guide Nina was outstanding with all her knowledge of the areas we toured, her professionalism was top notch, and is someone who makes you feel very much at ease. I have told everyone I know that if you are planning a trip to Europe, a Rick Steves tour is the only way to truly experience the people, culture and of course, the food of a country.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It was the boat ride from Levanto down the Cinque Terre area of Italy. The views from the boat were breathtaking as you could see the entire coastline and each of the five towns of the area. It definitely lived up to my expectations after watching one of Rick Steves' TV shows of this area, which is why we planned on taking this particular trip."

Bonnie

Fitchburg, WI

Tour: 09/04/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had a fabulous time on our tour. Nina is an excellent guide, the itinerary was perfect in both content and variety, the hotels were charming, and our group was incredibly cohesive. I am glad the order of cities has been changed to have Rome first and Florence last. Rome was impressive - and overwhelming. Florence was rich with history and art - and much more manageable and relaxing. I also really enjoyed the smaller town experiences - Volterra, Lucca, and Cinque Terre.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It is hard to identify one "wow" moment. Having never been to Italy, we were captivated all the time! What I've been sharing with friends - most of whom have already been to Italy - is the lesser know art that continues to haunt me. The green Jesus that we saw in Volterra and the prisoners by Michelangelo in Florence. Favorite town and guide - Volterra. Favorite moment - dinner together in Levanto!"

Faye

Eugene, OR

Tour: 09/04/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Nina is great, I can't imagine going to Rome and Florence without the help of a guide. I enjoyed hearing her personal experiences living in Italy and she is very knowledgable about the art, history and current issues. I also enjoyed being with our group, all the people in our group were very nice and pleasant. Rome and Florence are so big and since I'm not a big city person, I found it invaluable to have a guide and be with a group.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Standing in the Sistine Chapel and looking at Michelangelo's art on the ceiling and walls."

Jacy

Oregon, WI

Tour: 09/04/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Perfect amount of scheduled vs free time. Our tour guide, Nina, was top notch. We felt safe, and in good hands every moment of the trip. We so enjoyed the personal interactions and friendship.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Volterra...opening the shutters in our hotel room and taking in that view! I will never forget that beautiful little village!"

Marilyn

Scio, OR

Tour: 09/04/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was exceptional, start to finish. Our group was wonderful, very enthused & easy to bond with. The big cities offered many historical sites & museums to visit, but the small towns offered a more relaxing and charming experience, and provided many opportunities to learn of their history & culture, too. It was tremendous to get a taste of so many places, many of which I hope to return to. Nina was a great guide, & I'd be delighted to take another of her tours.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"1. Our local guide Anni in Volterra told us the moving history of the area, & the wonderful way the townspeople taught the young people to become craftsmen & artisans. They were then able to stay with their families, rather than to leave the area for employment elsewhere. 2. Our stay in Levanto: in a very nice hotel near the Ligurian Sea, where we swam & enjoyed a beautiful sunset, & had a tremendous seafood dinner complete with singing & dancing. The Cinque Terra was lovely but very crowded."

Nicole

Upper Marlboro, MD

Tour: 09/04/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I truly felt I was on vacation with my family. I know you can't see all of Italy in 9 days but I felt this tour gave me a chance to see the highlights and still experience opportunities to explore on my own and enjoy all that the cities had to offer. I could not have asked for or planned on my own a better trip. It was everything I wished for when I decided to tour Italy.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Although we saw some beautiful sights and the historical significance behind most of it was great. My wow moment really came from our group dinners. There were some amazing people on this trip. And it was during those moments we had the opportunity to get to know one another and truly sit back and enjoy the experience. Our dinners in Volterra, Levanto with Chef Carlo and our final dinner in Florence. Those are the memories that will stay with me."

Shannon

Rocklin, CA

Tour: 09/02/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Dimitri was awesome! He was helpful, informative and fun! The trip was a nice balance of art/history, fun and relaxation!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I (female) loved Volterra and everything about it and my husband loved Cinque Terre and everything about it!"

Jean

Chattanooga, TN

Tour: 09/02/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

A wonderful experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"seeing the statue of David."

Bud

Edmonds, WA

Tour: 09/02/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Overall my expectations were exceeded. I was pleased with the mix of group activity/tours and the free time allotted to do things on our own. Our guide was excellent, the people on the tour mixed well, and enjoyed the pace of the tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Many great moments and enjoyed so many things but seeing the Colosseum in Rome would be the favorite wow moment."

Barbara

Peachtree City, GA

Tour: 09/02/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had one of the most memorable vacations of our lifetime! What made it so special were our "buddies" in our group, Dimitri our incredible tour guide, and every detail of the trip so carefully planned for a relaxing time. We enjoyed the mix of planned touring and the occasional down time--a perfect mix.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I don't think I could pick one "wow" moment because there were so many! All the historical sites, art, statutes, fountains, left me awe-struck. The view from Volterra into the Tuscan hillsides took my breath away."

Lorraine

Remus, MI

Tour: 09/02/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was a wonderful introduction to Italy. Considering the time limitation of the tour we had the opportunity to indulge in the tastes and culture of this wonderful country. The locals were open and generous with us as we visited each town.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"After all those semesters of art history in college, it was breathtaking to gaze upon the paintings and sculptures by the masters in the Uffizi Gallery. Also, wandering the streets of Levanto on our own gave us a chance to soak up the sights and sounds of the town, which we thoroughly enjoyed."

Nicholas

Remus, MI

Tour: 09/02/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour to Italy was a very memorable experience. from the pre-tour information and emails to our guide providing insights to the local sights, to Rick Steves information literature and travel tips. Our hotels were good, and restaurants excellent. The sights chosen for the Italy tour were perfect for 1st time travelers to Italy. Transport to sights was easy and understandable.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The trip to the Vatican was uber wow and emotional experience. The Art, the history and religion were fantastic!. Set up just right for morning tours and info from guides and afternoon free for seeing other portions of Musei Vaticani or attending services provided."

Rhonda

Happy Valley, OR

Tour: 09/02/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was a great combination of information, history, exploration and friendship. Each city had a two night stay. Part of that stay was spent as a group where there was a tour and/or demonstration and a big all inclusive yummy dinner. The other day we had time to explore our own food and event choices. It was a great balance of informative structure and spontaneous flexibility.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"In Rome, several of us from the tour group found ourselves at a family restaurant for dinner. The restaurant owner's 18 year old daughter was a trained opera singer. She sang Ava Maria for us; what a treat! It was electrifying! When she finished, there wasn't a dry eye. My husband took the arm of her father, "Today we have toured the Vatican Museum, Sistine Chapel and St. Peter's Basilica but THIS is the highlight of our day." Now it was the father's turn to cry. Very memorable evening!"

Deborah

San Jose, CA

Tour: 09/02/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my first experience with a guided tour. My daughter and I signed-up because we wanted to take a European vacation together but did not have time to work out of the details. Having all of the logistics handled was a great assistance. However, it was having knowledgable, articulate, experienced guides that made the trip exceptional for me. Also, we had a very compatible group--no whining, complaining, arguing or bickering.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Seeing the pantheon. For me it was especially amazing because it is still being used today."

David

Mansfield, TX

Tour: 08/30/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Well organized. Ferdinand was outstanding. Hotels were well selected. People were great!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Cinque Terre cliff walk. Dinners came in close second."

Jerold

Wyandotte, OK

Tour: 08/30/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

What an incredible education learned in 9 days with your tour in Italy. Each city, which included Rome, Volterra, Cinque Terre, and Florence was equally interesting and fun and educational. Our tour guide was a 12 out of 10 and mingled well with all of our group of 28. The hotels were not too fancy and yet not too simple and worked perfect as the center of all that we saw. Each day was filled with walking tours of the different cities and their highlights.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"In Rome, my favorite wow moment was the Coloseum and the Vatican. The history was incredible, looking at buildings that were erected so long ago. In Florence, the Ufizzi and Academia museums were incredible, with David being the highlight. Volterra was also very interesting, being so old and in the Tuscany region. Our favorite scenic site was Monterossa and Cinque Terre, for the beauty and age along the coast. Manarola was the most beautiful scenery these eyes have ever seen."

Diana

Lake Bluff, IL

Tour: 08/30/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Ferdi was a FANTASTIC tour guide and really made the experience that much better. Also, our group seemed to get along great, so it really added to the dynamic of the trip. I really enjoyed the tour but sort of felt we were 'going' too much. For example, an extra day in Cincoterra (sp?), Florence, & a night in Luca would have been great. We spent another night in Florence personally, and that was just the right amount. Maybe swap a night in Volterra for a night in Luca.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"A toss up between realizing the actual size of the David, and the beauty of Cincoterra. Again, I needed more time to both do the hike and relax there."

Jacqueline

Wesley Chapel, FL

Tour: 08/30/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Ferdi had the patience of Job himself with countless questions and request with some of the travelers, a wonderful trip and a lot of Italian beauty to enjoy and remember. Thank You Jacqueline McIntosh.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The second time looking at the beautiful statue of David."

Karen

Federal Way, WA

Tour: 08/30/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had an amazing time. Loved every minute of it. Ferdi was the best tour guide. We learned so much from his knowledge about the history of all the places we visited. Would not have down anything different. Would recommend your tours to everyone.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I loved the people we met plus the amazing scenery. My favorite place was Voltere."

Jodi

Lynnwood, WA

Tour: 08/30/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

One word fits it all, AMAZING! It's a life time experience and I can't wait for my next tour!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Sight seeing, all the wonderful food and people!"

Shari

Soquel, CA

Tour: 08/28/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our first time taking a group tour and it was absolutely wonderful! The tour guides, both Sarah and William, were terrific and the local guides were great. It was a great balance of group time and time on our own. We appreciated learning about the metro systems, along with hearing about the local educational systems, economy, politics, etc.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Too many to list...just actually being in all of the places you've heard and read about your whole life with so much history and art everywhere - it was one "wow" moment after another."

Diane

Medina, OH

Tour: 08/28/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I loved everything about it. the tour guides, the people in my group, the food and of course the choices of cities to visit in Italy.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The night we climbed to the top of the tower while staying at our hotel in Florence. The view was incredible and shortly there after we were joined by others in our group who also wanted to enjoy the view."

Theresa

Coldwater, OH

Tour: 08/28/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The trip was absolutely amazing! Sarah and William could not have been more knowledgeable or made the trip any better. We had a wonderful group which helped also. I was in Italy 9 years ago with a friend...used your book to get around Florence a bit but taking the tour I learned an immense amount of information that I missed the previous time. Volterra was beyond words as well as the Cinque Terra. Just perfect!!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"CT region, especially Manarola."

Kimberly

Cupertino, CA

Tour: 08/28/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Wonderful. The guides were knowledgeable and very friendly. They looked after us very well so all we had to do was enjoy the experience and make new friends.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Pretty cliche, but I'm going to have to say seeing Michelangelo's David. I've heard so much about it but to actually see it with my own eyes is an incredible experience. I knew he was going to be larger than life but what I saw exceeded my expectations. Thank You."

Thelma

Ajax, ON

Tour: 08/28/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We decided to go to Italy (9 days in Italy) on a Rick Steves Tour, because having never gone to Italy, we wanted to see the best of the best of Italy; the Vatican, Colosseum, the David, Cinque du Terre, Florence, Volterrre, Lucca etc, etc. What we got was; the best with the best, our guides Sarah and William (with all their hard work) made it look easy. Our group was great, we had a wonderful bunch to tour with on our adventure. My Husband and I had the time of our lives! Already recommend it.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"In the pretty town of Volterra in Tuscany, as a group we toured the town during the day and at night a wine tasting. Then to dinner on our own my husband myself and two other couples we met from our group. After dinner we decide we'd like just one more glass of wine. So there we are in a wine store talking about wine in English/very broken Italian to a shop owner who spoke Italian/very broken English. We sat in the garden of our hotel talking and laughing with our new freinds sipping wine - Wow!"

Linda

Brookville, IN

Tour: 08/28/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my first "tour" experience and it was great! I didn't realize how much I missed Sara's and William's commentary until we left the tour and proceeded to Venice on our own!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Seeing my first glimpse of the Mediterranean en route to Lovanto! And the fact that we not only survived but were able to navigate on the trains!"

Nancy

Sarver, PA

Tour: 08/28/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The leadership and group we were with were so much fun. Sara and William were excellent tour leaders and worked together well. It couldn't have been a better experience. Thank you.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The bicycle moment in Levanto through the tunnels and by the sea. Also, the many historical sites."

Liz

Gresham, OR

Tour: 08/28/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The dynamics within our group of travelers was really excellent! Everyone was easy-going, friendly, and interested in all of the activities that were planned. Our two guides, Sara and William, were knowledgeable, fun and organized. They really made the trip terrific.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favorite "wow" moment was during our visit to the town of Volterra. Our local guide told the story of how the townspeople were able to save the Roman Arch leading into the city from being dynamited by the retreating German army. The fact that our American guide, Annie, married into a local family whose aunt was a participant in that event (at the age of 9) was so meaningful. This is a piece of history that I will always remember."

Bryan

Fresno, CA

Tour: 08/28/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our first "package" tour and it was a wonderful experience. Our Rick Steves' guides were great, most of the local guides were outstanding, our fellow tour group members were great. I would definitely recommend a Rick Steves' tour to my friends. Great fun and great value.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"(1) With tongue in cheek: Hearing that we were "lucky because the Vatican tour wasn't very crowded today". (2) Hiking from Monterosso to Vernazza. The trail was wonderful (although as challenging as expected) but the view of Vernazza from the trail was breathtaking!"

Rebecca

Fresno, CA

Tour: 08/28/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour exceeded my expectations. It was well organized and provided many experiences that would otherwise would not be accessible.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Walking back to the hotel late at night after a wonderful,free organ concert in a church in Florence, we were walking through the piazza Signore when a cook from a restaurant was singing an operatic aria from the back door to a growing audience outside the restaurant. He still had his apron on, probably having finished cooking the last meals of the evening."

Christopher

Soquel, CA

Tour: 08/28/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Fantastic group dynamics. For a group that large to function so well as a whole and on an individual level was great. The balance of group tours or time together as well as the free time to explore was excellent. The guides of the trip, Sarah and Will, were very knowledgable and a joy to be with. The local guides were fantastic, incredibly well informed and entertaining. Group meals were always excellent and a fun time.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I would have to choose between either the Colosseum or hiking in Cinque Terra.."

Carol

Sandy, OR

Tour: 08/28/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Overall my tour experience was absolutely fantastic! From start to finish it was superb, things ran smoothly and the people were great. Our guides, Sara and William were so fun, efficient and knowledgable that it felt like we were all old friends. Our group has created a Facebook group to stay in touch and share photos.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It's hard to pick only one, a trip to Italy has been a lifelong dream. Seeing the Italian countryside was warming to my spirit. Seeing David and the Sistine Chapel in person (finally) were stunning and moving experiences for me. Being able to walk around Rome and Florence where the masters have walked was a 'pinch me, I'm in Italy' moment. When I ordered lunch in Italian and the waitress thought I was a native I was so happy."

Robert

Ajax, ON

Tour: 08/28/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

- overall everything was very good - it was everything it was stated to be and I would recommend

Favorite "WOW" moment

"- no wow moment rather a wow experience including the weather, food, Hotel locations, interesting tour mates and just the right measure of self-time"

Deborah

St Petersburg, FL

Tour: 08/28/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I had an absolutely wonderful time in Italy. I have been wanting to visit for many years now and this year it worked out that the timing was right. Not only did I get to go but I had the opportunity to travel with my father; an experience of a lifetime. I am so grateful that we chose to book our trip with Rick Steves' as it not only lived up to the all the wonderful things I had heard but it surpassed my expectations.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Volterra was probably my greatest "WOW" moment! When we arrived there, I felt a love and peace fill every part of me. It was a place I could see myself living. It was so beautiful and welcoming."

David

North Granby, CT

Tour: 08/16/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We thoroughly every aspect of the trip. Locations visited excellent. Food excellent. Group we were with delightful. Tour guides knowledgeable, personable, fun.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Gelato overdosed."

Nancy

Winter Park, FL

Tour: 08/16/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my first tour, of any kind, and it was a fantastic experience. I will definitely do it again and strongly believe that RS Tours are the way to go. The pace of the tour, the included sights, hotels, meals and activities were wonderful and our guide was outstanding. I learned so much, thanks to Jamie, and had a great time doing so. He really set the tone for the whole tour which was upbeat, fun and informative. I felt this tour was the perfect mix of big cities and small towns.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I think it had to be walking into the Pantheon for the first time. Jamie did a great job of setting the stage for us before we entered and it truly was the best of many wow moments during the tour for me."

Dan

San Jose, CA

Tour: 08/16/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Too many good things to talk about. However, to sum it up, it was one of the best vacations my wife and I have had in years. We've highly recommended others to take a Rick Steve's tour. I can't say enough about Jamie's value he added to our trip. He's knowledgeable, good for references to other places during our free time and just added so much to the tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Celebrating our 30 year anniversary in Italy with my wife. What could be more of a "wow" moment than that?"

Katherine

Saint Paul, MN

Tour: 08/16/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Fabulous trip that should have been renamed "an Italian food and wine experience and weight loss tour." Excellent variety of hotels in the designated cities and wonderful, abundant food and wines. Loved experiencing the cities by walking, biking and hiking (as much or as little as you cared to do). The small group gave it a very personal feel and our tour guide Jamie was superb as a history/art guide by day and food/wine expert by night.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Volterra and Cinque Terre were favorite cities each had special WOW moments. In Volterra, we were escorted to the hidden wine cellar in an old stone building. Descending down the well worn stone steps, we wound our way into the wine tasting room where we were greeted by a wine expert who guided us through wine appreciation and ample tasting. In Cinque Terre, the hotel chef made a fish soup and pesto that will be long remembered and poorly imitated in our home kitchen."

Darla

Huntley, IL

Tour: 08/16/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Each city was so interesting and our guide helped us appreciate it to its fullest. Each city guide was well chosen and brought the cities history to life. We also had great tours through museums, especially through the Uffizi Gallery. This was our second time to do this trip. Volterra was an all new experience for us and we found it fascinating. While we were in some of the same cities, it was a different experience and we greatly enjoyed them again.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The tour of Volterra was probably my favorite experience. Seeing the archiology digs and hearing it's fascinating history is unforgetable. Dinner right down on the Tiber River in Rome on our free night also rates at the top."

Jennifer

Portland, OR

Tour: 08/16/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I don't have time to write much, but overall experience was amazing. Never travelled to Europe before (for our group of 4) and Jaimie made the experience unsurmountable. The perfect mix of tour/history, down-time, food experiences. We never worried about anything, which was such a pleasure considering we knew nothing going in - and we felt like we were immersed inside the culture of each city and town.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Too many "wow" moments to choose one."

Rachel

Kirkland, WA

Tour: 08/16/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

My tour experience was awesome! Jaime is a fantastic guide and host, full of insight and fun jokes. I would definitely recommend this tour to anyone who wants to explore Italy, because you get a little bit of everything- big cities, Tuscany, and the seaside.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Seeing the David statue in the Uffizi gallery, and swimming in the Mediterranean. Oh and the lovely wine tasting in Volterra!"

Kristine

Davis, CA

Tour: 08/09/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Exceeded every expectation we had. This was the first group tour for our family. We will not hesitate to book a Rick Steves Tour in the future. Our 13 and 17 year old children were kept engaged and the time with and without the guides was perfect.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Actually the 'wow' moment for me with Rick Steves came after the tour when our family was on our own. We had extended our tour and booked several local guided and non-guided tours. It was at this time that I truly missed our Rick Steves group and it came to light what a gem our tour group was."

Jon

Davis, CA

Tour: 08/09/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

not really nine days (more like seven with two halves at the beginning and the end) but a lot of Italy is covered in those nine days; the tour appears to run smoothly so all that is required while on tour is to enjoy and learn arrived a few days before the tour and stayed in Italy after and went on a few organized, one-day tours in that time; difference between them and Rick Steves is pronounced, enjoying Italy with your Rick Steves friends or being herded with occasionally rude strangers

Favorite "WOW" moment

"my selfishly favorite moment was looking out of the hotel window in Volterra, down the narrow, little street and feeling so content in a different world but the best "Dad" moment was in Cinque Terra, after forcing my grumbling daughter to walk the trail, and to hear her thanking me at lunch"

Grant

Parker, CO

Tour: 08/09/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour exceeded my expectations in every way. Having never been on such an organized tour, I was a little hesitant about what the experience would look like, but looking back on the trip there is simply no way the trip would have been as meaningful or enjoyable had we not gone on this tour. Everything from the logistics to the other people on the tour - all first-timers as well - made this trip the experience of a lifetime.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"While it had always been on my bucket list to see Rome, the David, the Vatican, etc. - and they were amazing - the highlight of the trip is Volterra. It is a quaint Tuscan hill town with amazing views, good food, and an unbelievable wine tasting experience."

William

New York, NY

Tour: 08/09/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was everything we hoped it would be. It confirmed for us that Italy is in fact the wonderful place we expected. The logistics were handled flawlessly. All of the guides were terrific - informative and engaging. Our group was friendly and engaged. And just the right mix of group activities and free time.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Little things, believe it or not - like seeing the door through which Galileo walked for his trial for heresy. Or the story about how the people of Volterra saved their ancient arch from destruction by the Germans in WW II. These are things you don't learn when you're on your own."

Megan

Parker, CO

Tour: 08/09/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was an incredible experience that I recommend to anyone looking to travel in Europe. Having never done a long-term organized tour, I was hesitant that we would be herded like cows around the cities and subject to boring guides. The experience was the complete opposite. Everything from our tour guide and the hotels to the local guides and coordinated dinners was well coordinated, meaningful, fulfilling, and unique.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I've always wanted to see the Colosseum, the Vatican, and the hill towns of Cinque Terre. All of which were great. However, I actually said "WOW" several times in Volterra. It is the quintessential Tuscan town, with amazing history that gave me chills, professional artisans that line the streets selling their crafts, a unique wine tasting in a 13th century wine cellar, delicious food, and breathtaking views of the surrounding hills."

Jay

Southlake, TX

Tour: 08/09/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

More than ever expected. We historically do not go on guided tours largely because we do not want to feel or be restricted or have irrelevant information provided while "captive". This toured defined what I would have written prior to our trip as an outstanding, appropriate, well-managed and best-matched (for our family) tour guide.I don't know if our tour ran exceptionally well or if all tours flow this seamlessly. No exaggerations or deviation were made; all as advertised!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"So much of the Italy we saw was "wow" visually, historical and culturally but the "wow" moment of our tour has to be the guides; hands down. Knowledge with passion will inspire, memorialize moments and educated anyone. Those traits were found in all our guides. We were guided by a Roman, an Etruscan, a Tuscan and a well-rounded scholar of history."

Douglas

Kansas City, MO

Tour: 08/09/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Everything was really good. I'm sure that's not very useful as feedback, but the overall experience was great.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Either hiking around the Cinque Terre or going through the Forum in Rome, which had the advantage of being the major site we saw that had the lowest concentration of people obnoxiously taking pictures."

Laura

Alpharetta, GA

Tour: 07/26/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My husband and I traveled with our boys 20 and 16. Nina was awesome at including the whole group with facts and basic culture elements. The tour was rigorous so enjoyed the down time. I really enjoyed the major city sites with the quieter village towns made for a great combination. Got to see all the great sites and also get a feel for the people and culture.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Loved the colosseum in Rome; the art, sights, shopping and streets of Florence; and Volterra - what a great 2 night stay in such a wonderful town."

Lawrence

Sun City, CA

Tour: 07/26/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our "Heart of Italy" trip greatly surpassed my expectations. I've visited Italy many times on business but was never able to bring my wife, who'd never been there. The Rick Steves tour (our first) was perfect because we were well cared for and got a tremendous exposure to the beauty and history of Rome, Florence, Volterra, Lucca and the Cinque Terre, as well as the culture and traditions of our Italian hosts. The accommodations we excellent and the mix of activity and leisure was perfect.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favorite "wow" moment was the mid-day visit to the Colosseum. Our Rick Steves tour guide, Francesca, was FABULOUS. Her narrative brought what we were seeing alive. She mixed history with culture, past and present, and caused me to deeply reflect on what we were witnessing. Her concluding speech/analysis of the horror and humanity that was ancient Rome actually brought me to tears. Absolute JOY in this part of the trip because she made it all relevant."

Michael

New Albany, OH

Tour: 07/26/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was even better than expected. The amount of activities was just right. The cities we went to were a great itinerary. The people on our tour were wonderful and fun to be with.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Cinque Terre was a return destination for us, but it was still the highlight. Volterra was also a wonderful experience and riding bikes in Lucca was great."

Linda

Corte Madera, CA

Tour: 07/26/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I went on this tour in 2011 with Nina's husband Jamie. Even though it was the same tour, it was a different experience. Jamie told us a lot of history, but Nina told us funny stories about life in Italy. She was amazing. The tour was great, but I wished we ended in Rome like the last time. Florence is hot, crowded, and not as green and spacious as Rome. I love the countryside around Florence, but it is my least favorite part of the tour. Great food, great guides, great tour!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Our hotel in Monterosso on the beach...opening our hotel window to an amazing view of the sea, the coastline...ahhhhhhhh. Swimming in the Mediterranean Sea... the meals together...Francesca's tour in Rome."

Suzanne

Rochester Hills, MI

Tour: 07/26/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I appreciated the convenience, I feel that the tour was crafted to make the most of our time and experience. I enjoyed getting to know the other people on the tour

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Tour thru the colosseum , St. Peter's basilica , beautiful! Seeing the lines at the various attractions for people that were not part of tour groups...felt very grateful we had decided to go with a tour."

Albert

Middleton, MA

Tour: 07/19/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Tour very well organized. Ricardo, our tour guide was awesome. Extremely knowledgeable.Very personable, welcoming & comfortable.We loved your formula of consistency with one guide throughout the tour, augmented by subject matter experts at the high profile sites (e.g., Vatican, Ancient Rome, Volterra, Lucca, etc. We appreciated one dinner with the group every other night (i.e., with one dinner every other night to ourselves). Also appreciated quality of 3 star hotels - great value for the $.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Vatican, Ancient Rome, Volterra, Cinque Terre, Florence. We suggest you skip Lucca and give two days in Cinque Terre."

Marieluise

Camarillo, CA

Tour: 07/19/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

The heat!!! But, all of our hotels had AC and elevators. All very nice people, Ricardo included.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Vatican and how close we were."

Shubha

Chicago, IL

Tour: 07/19/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Got to experience the wonders of Rome, Cinque Terre, and Florence. Tasted marvelous food, interacted with locals, and took in the beauty that Italy had to offer!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I cant narrow it down to one "wow" moment, as there were several - A) Seeing the beauty of Cinque Terre B) Eating freshly authentic pesto pasta C) Daily gelato!! D) Seeing David and St. Peter's Basilica"

Jeff

Grayslake, IL

Tour: 07/19/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had a great time ! Well planned & good balance between scheduled and free time. Not a flaw anywhere.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Volterra Italy was a hidden gem. What an experience to visit and learn the history along with outstanding food and ambiance. Not a place to miss. The visit to the Coliseum & Roman Forum were beyond expectations. The guides knowledge and stories of the locations history were outstanding. Just a few of many ...."

Mary Ann

Regina, SK

Tour: 07/12/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our first trip overseas. Our friend had taken your tour of Italy before and highly recommended your company. We had an amazing time and met some fantastic people (both on and off the tour). We didn't have to wait in any lineups to get into the attractions and we got to see some amazing sights! Everything was all lined up for us which took the guesswork out on how to plan the day and how to get there. I will be recommending your tours to others.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"They were all wow moments but to pick just one would be the Colosseum and Forum. Of all the places we visited Volterra was my favorite."

David

Auburn, WA

Tour: 07/12/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Very well organized, knowledgeable and friendly tour guides and an overall great introduction to Italy that hit some of the biggest highlights in a short period of time.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Seeing Michelangelo's David was transcendental."

Janice

Regina, SK

Tour: 07/12/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my second Rick Steves Italy tour, with a slightly different itinerary. However, I was fortunate to have Karin as our guide again! I looked forward to meeting her again and having her lead us through Italy, and she didn't disappoint. She and assistant Andrea gave us the best of their knowledge and expertise everywhere we went, always ready to answer questions and offer advice.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Entering the Accademia Gallery and seeing David at the other end, towering over the hall and commanding our attention. You can't look away..."

Mary

Windham, ME

Tour: 07/12/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was totally awesome!! I loved every minute of it! This was my dream.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Oh my goodness. I loved it all the Vatican, Pantheon, Coliseum, Ruins, and Churches oh and David. The small towns were my favorite part of the trip going to Lucca, Cinque Terre, Volterra! Dipping in the Mediterranean and eating outside at a lovely restaurant having a band playing next door!! Just wonderful!"

Chris

Folsom, CA

Tour: 07/12/15

Overall rating: rating 3 of 5

The tour was a good experience. More good than bad. The food was incredible and the sights were amazing. We are past tour members having taken the paris 7 day in 2012. I do have one criticism and that is not having enough time to take pictures when with the grouup being led by the tour guide. We took the 9 day village Italy this summer and got to experience what it would be like to be on the move in a group. We were told by the tour leader that if we were not at the meeting place on time

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Seeing an Italian melodrama in Volterra. Also experiencing the Cinque Terra."

Christy

Regina, SK

Tour: 07/12/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

This was our 1st time in Italy and 1st guided tour. Overall, it was great. The tour is very fast paced, and covers a lot of ground in the 8 days (it's not really 9 days, let's be honest about that). Karin was an excellent leader. Our tour occurred during a heat wave which made the entire trip somewhat uncomfortable - but Karin did her best to make it as enjoyable as possible by making appropriate adjustments. The tour had a great balance of organized activities and free time.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Having never been to Italy before, my wow moments occurred in Rome - seeing the colosseum for the first time, walking into the pantheon, strolling through the Roman forum, walking trough St Peter's basilica, etc. Other wow moments included things not on the "list", like having Karin point out some "random" roman ruins on a street that have been converted into a cat sanctuary; walking into a random church and seeing magnificent art. An unexpected wow moment is the town of Volterra overall"

John

Fairfax, VA

Tour: 07/03/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Very well done! There is no better way to celebrate a 36 year wedding anniversary than in the Cinque Terra after a glorious few days in Tuscany. I should have been doing this the previous 35 years.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"In Florence, realizing we were at the birthplace of much of the culture of the western world and the birthplace of the scientific revolution. Visiting the Galileo museum and seeing the instruments of the Academia del Cimento."

Linda

Delran, NJ

Tour: 07/03/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We were so happy we decided to do the tour instead of on our own. We were able to get so much interesting information and do so much but felt as if we had a good amount of down time also. Our tour guide Donald was so interesting and told some great stories! We have never been to Italy before so we wanted to see a lot but also be able to stay in hotels more than one night. It was wonderful to see all the main attractions in Rome and Florence but Volterra & Cinque Terra were amazing!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My "wow" moment was watching the sun set over Volterra. The scenery was breathtaking and I just loved the little medieval town and all the cobblestone streets and even caught a few minutes of a play in the old theatre watching from the streets above before bed. Also taking the boat from Monterosso to Vernazza was so amazing to see the village view from the sea and then exploring Vernazza and then Manarola. I never dreamed I would be in such an amazing place!"

Ed

Etna, NH

Tour: 07/03/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

As a tour virgin I was impressed. Having all the logistics planned out, an informative guide to keep every thing happening and provide information, great group dinners, a well thought out itinerary, convenient hotels made for a fantastic experience. The limited time in the bus flew by with interesting scenery and stories from our guide Donald. The biggest surprise was how well I enjoyed my fellow group members. It was nice bumping into each other in some of the small towns as we explored.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"After several days days of touring cities, coming out of the train station in Monterossa Al Mar and seeing the ocean and beach vacationers. It was a fantastic vacation within a vacation."

Deirdre

Welfleet, MA

Tour: 07/03/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Loved it! My first trip to Europe, also first vacation to a 1st world country. The schedule was well planned, fast paced but balanced. I liked all the tour schedules & time of. We discovered we wasted the most time & $ when we had free time! I was not well educated about a tour & discovered that I would reco it to anyone of any age if they have a short amount of time to travel. Donald made the entire trip...a trip!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Day after tour ended a couple from the tour handed us a brochure from Museo Nazionale de Borgello. On the bottom of the back page was a photo of the courtyard. I gasped, it was the same photo that's been in my house since the mid 90's after finding it in my grandmother's house after her death. It was her wedding gift. The photo always drew me in but I never knew where it was or had a clue as to how to find the place. We did go & were AWED to be "standing in" the photo. PURE MAGIC!"

Krissie

Nepean, ON

Tour: 07/03/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I was originally hesitant about taking a tour, but this made me a convert! Our trip was amazing, a great mix of activities and down-time. We got to see so many amazing sites and parts of the country, which would be difficult to do on our own. All of the logistics flowed perfectly, hotels were well located, and we never had to wait in a single line. The local guides were amazing and passionate, and Donald was so knowledgeable and friendly. We got to know everyone in the group and had a great time

Favorite "WOW" moment

"So many!! Swimming in Cinque Terre, stepping out from the subway to see the Colosseum in Rome, David in Florence, wine tasting in Volterra, riding a bike on the walls of Lucca. So much history and culture."

Bobette

Chandler, AZ

Tour: 07/03/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We loved it! Being a first time international traveller I didn't know where to begin. Choosing a Rick Steves tour was wonderful. All we had to do was show up. Our guide, Donald, was great! So informative and so helpful. The hotel accomodations were nothing fancy, but comfortable with a local feel. The combination of tour activities and free time was just right for us. The mix of city, country and seaside was appreciated. We met and enjoyed time with some wonderful people touring with us.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It's hard to come up with a "wow" moment but visiting the American Cemetary was something I wasn't expecting. We were given a flag to place on a marker. We were told to say the serviceman's name. It's possible that name has not been said in 71 years. It was quite emotional for me. Certainly, the views at Cinque Terre were breathtaking. Riding bikes on the wall around Lucca was a highlight. Just being in the town of Volterra after learning of the Etruscan civilization was amazing."

Amy

Huntsville, AL

Tour: 07/03/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

I enjoyed my tour very much! The guide, Donald, was exceptionally organized. We did not wait anywhere. He always had tickets and we went right in to every museum or tour, even the Vatican. The local guides were exceptional also and just kept getting better.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Volterra, a small village in Tuscany. Everything was so picture perfect. We toured and wandered and had a marvelous time."

Lisa

Welfleet, MA

Tour: 07/03/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Donald was our leader, and he was TERRIFIC! We felt comfortable, looked after, yet independent enough to venture out on our own, as we bonded with some of the other tour members. Donald has encyclopedic knowledge in his areas of expertise and was a professional blend of warm, funny, helpful and a little irreverent! We could not have asked for a better trip! Thanks Rick for doing what you do, and hiring who you hire! Because of this experience, my wife and I will DEFINITELY be back. Lisa B

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Italy has more affluent history than god. In fact, it's where god was invented!"

Wendy

Etna, NH

Tour: 07/03/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was a great combination of organized and free time -- mixing interesting cultural activities with opportunities for plain old fun. Our guide, Donald, was very knowledgeable. He was able to relay information to us in a way that kept us interested, including interesting historical tidbits and just the right amount of humor.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It's hard to pick just one "wow". One of my favorite moments was when we trundled out of the train tunnel and up onto the seashore of Monterosso. The salt air, the blue sky, and the low-key hustle and bustle of a beachside area was a refreshing contrast to the business of Rome."

Robert

Canton, MA

Tour: 07/03/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Exceeded my expectations in that I felt like I saw and experienced everything I hoped to plus a few things more! Donald was an excellent guide. Knowledgeable, personable, and pretty unflappable. Understood we'd be taking public transportation and therefore can't complain, but taking it in Rome was a reminder why I don't use it back in the states. Not a fan of the local buses. Meals in Rome and Volterra were excellent and the wine tasting was a lot of fun. Loved the bike ride in Lucca!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hard to choose from so many wonderful moments but if I had to pick a WOW it would be a tie between seeing Michelangelo's David and visiting the Cathedral Sanca Crucia. Hard to believe Galileo, Michelangelo and Machiavelli are all buried in the same place!"

Ronald

Frisco, TX

Tour: 07/03/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour offered a wonderful blend of big city - the art museums and artifacts of Rome and Florence and the quaint beauty of rural small town locations. The tour group size was perfect and it's guide - Donald White was extremely professional, knowledgeable, approachable, personable and a deft decision maker. He represents the Rick Steves philosophy extremely well! In addition, the "subject matter expert" local tour guides were very knowledgeable and personable.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Can't say there was a singular "wow" moment that stood out from many on this tour. I'm a retired Navy Captain, who deployed to the Mediterranean on many occasions. We would often port in Naples and take leave in Rome. So even though I have visited the Vatican on several occasions, I'm always taken back by it's sheer majesty and beauty. That said, I had never been inside the Coliseum and greatly enjoyed that tour. Cinque Terra was beautiful in it's own right."

Andrew

Delran, NJ

Tour: 07/03/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The Heart of Italy tour had everything that my wife and I could have hoped for. From the busy streets of Rome to the small towns of Volterra and Lucca, the diversity of the trip was amazing. The history, food, art, culture, and the people in our tour group made this the trip of a lifetime. Our guide was fantastic, and we learned so much from him.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Its hard to pick one, but the scenery in the Cinque Terre is just incredible."

Rebecca

Colorado Springs, CO

Tour: 06/26/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was a great experience. We saw and did a variety of different things. I really felt like I had a taste of Italy.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I loved seeing the David. I also really enjoyed bike-riding on the wall around Lucca. The colloseum was incredible - I would have liked seeing and learning more there."

Lorraine

Hopkinton, MA

Tour: 06/26/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our first tour with Rick Steve's and after having such a wonderful experience on our trip to Italy we can't wait to book another tour with Rick Steve's. Our tour guide Nina was phenomenal. She was a true teacher who had an incredible passion and love for the areas in Italy that we toured. Nina was able to enrich all the tours we went on with her dialogue either before or after the tours. She spent time with all members of the tour group and always made the group feel like a family.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Our favorite "wow" moment of the tour was "Chinque Terre" ... this area is so picturesque that words do not do it justice. The quaint little towns on the water were absolutely breathless, never mind the vineyards that we climbed through to get from Monterossa to Levantra."

Jo Anne

Fremont, CA

Tour: 06/26/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was excellent, couldn't have been better. Nina did an outstanding job all round - guiding, maintaining a good pace, imparting an impressive depth of knowledge of the history and culture of the areas we visited and helping answer individual questions that arose. The local guides were also very good. And the individual speaker systems made touring so much more enjoyable.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Actually, there were lots, but if I have to narrow it, I will have to give the nod to the Michaelangelo sculptures, both the Pieta and David. To think they were conceived and executed by such a young person. Incredible!"

Clorice

Springfield, OR

Tour: 06/26/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This is my second tour through Rick Steves. On both trips I felt safe and secure. Loved the size of the group and the events planned.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"To many "wow's" to count!"

Jeremy

Gibsonia, PA

Tour: 06/21/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was the perfect balance of expert guidance and arrangements and freedom to explore the wonderful sites on our own. The tour guides from Rick Steves were excellent. The local guides in the various locations were almost uniformly outstanding with deep knowledge, personal stories and warm personalities. The group meals were all fantastic with the dinner in Volterra standing out as perhaps the best meal anyone in our family had ever had. The other members of the group were all pleasant.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The dinner in Volterra Swimming by myself in the harbor in Cinque Terra just before sunset. The story about the bridge in the city wall in Volterra near the end of World War II."

Virginia

Portland, ME

Tour: 06/21/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

The tour was wonderful ... a perfect balance of busy cities and relaxing hill towns and seaside time. Caterina is terrific, and we were fortunate to have Cynthia on our tour as well. They are both enthusiastic, knowledgeable and full of (seemingly endless) energy. I can't say enough about the local guides...just fabulous. And the food was amazing. Our group dinners were some of the highlights of the trip. Wonderful, local food. Wonderful, new friends.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I have been to Italy before with my husband. We did it all on our own that time, and it was great. This time, having the local guides and Caterina and Cynthia there to give us the background and history details, we just learned and saw SO MUCH more! Not sure I can go into a museum again on my own without a guide to help tell all the wonderful stories and really highlight the experience."

Cara

Austin, TX

Tour: 06/14/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

I loved the Rick Steves experience. We didn't need to worry about booking hotels or arranging city transfers or getting around. We were able to see the highlights in each city, then given plenty of time to explore each sight more or go off & do something on our own. Guides for each city were amazing & very knowledgeable. The group size was just right- small enough to get to know each other, & small enough to travel & sightsee as a group but large enough to get to meet a wide variety of folks.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The statue of David. Our guide backed us up in the room with our heads down and lined us up facing away from the sculptue. He babystepped backwards through the hall step by step as the coast was clear, until we were right at the David. On his count we turned around and there he was, in all his glory. It was a very emotional moment."

Kirk

Hallowell, ME

Tour: 06/14/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I have never been on a tour before , it was much better than I was planning. Had a great time with all the great people.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The whole experience was the best part. Good people, good guide, good tour. Very well done!"

Wendy

Hallowell, ME

Tour: 06/14/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I had never been on a tour and wondered how I would like it. The tour exceeded all my expectations. Alfio was a great guide. The tour was well planned and had a good mix of tour activities and free time. I really enjoyed all of the places we visited and learned a lot in the process.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It's hard to pick a single moment. A few of the memorable moments were: our tour of the Roman Forum/Colosseum with our exceptional guide Francesca; sunset at the hilltop town of Volterra; a fun group dinner in Levanto; walking between towns in the Cinque Terre; and sunset from the roof terrace of our hotel in Florence."

Janean

San Diego, CA

Tour: 06/14/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Every moment was very rich in Italian culture, history, art, and food. I am the independent type and this tour had a nice balance between guided group activities and free time. Seeing Italy through the expert eyes of the guides made me realize how my former independent travels of Italy fell so far short of the rich experiences I had on this tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Francesca brilliantly helped me understand what the Colosseum and the ancient Romans were about; there were several moments when tears welled up in my eyes because of the intensity of the experience."

Sara

Boston, MA

Tour: 06/14/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Absolutely exceeded my expectations.

Laurie

Palisade, CO

Tour: 06/14/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

From our 1st introductory meeting, I felt relaxed and excited for the upcoming tour. I was not disappointed! We visited some amazing cities and sites led by Alfio, our great tour guide. He was personable, interested in each one of us, and was a lot of fun. In addition to that, our local guides were also excellent. The tour agenda was well planned and included some unique experiences such as cooking lessons, wine tasting and observing an alabaster artist. A great tour! Laurie Jeske

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Seeing the Sistine Chapel and the statue of David were my wow moments."

Megan

Austin, TX

Tour: 06/14/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The Rick Steve's tour of Italy was by far the best vacation I have ever been on. I was so glad that we could navigate through the country with ease, and that we had our tour guide to translate for us. The tour always found the best guides, attractions, and restaurants!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Visiting the Roman Colosseum and the ruins of the Roman forums was amazing, especially with our tour guide, Francesca! She was extremely enthusiastic about the history and future of the area, and she had thoroughly researched it too. She made us all step back in time by imagining the Colosseum through the eyes of the average Roman 2000 years ago. I found it very inspiring and moving, and I will never forget it!"

Riley

Seattle, WA

Tour: 06/14/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Overall, the tour was quite enjoyable. the food was great, the tour guide was great, the gelato was great, and I liked the way the tour left us to fend for ourselves every now and then, because I enjoy not having someone talk at me the entire time. It was very refreshing. I also liked the choices that they made in terms of efficiency they didn't waste time, and they did a good job of making the most out of every visit.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favorite "wow" moment of the tour was getting off the bus in rome and seeing the colosseum... in real life. (it seems bigger in real life)."

Daniel

Oakdale, MN

Tour: 06/12/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was a fantastic experience. The mix of planned activities and free time was about right, however, we found ourselves looking forward to getting back with the group. Our group was very fun to be around, and when we were together, we were always doing or seeing something new.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The view from the hiking trail between Monterosso and Vernazza. WOW!"

Blane

Rutland, VT

Tour: 06/12/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Cindi and I started two years ago planning a special 40th Anniversary trip. The Heart of Italy Tour June 12-20 2015 was the perfect celebration for us! Exceptional itinerary and blend of activities, events and personal time. Beautiful orchestration and coordination of "details", so we could immerse ourselves in the many facets of Italian culture, cuisine, art, history and focus on our experience. Tour and Local guides did a fantastic job adding "color", depth and perspective!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Each day presented unique sensory delights in many forms that stimulated and tantalized. The surprise was the unexpected scope of responses that each experience evoked for me. Art, sculpted or on canvas, architecture, ancient or Renaissance, the smell and taste of perfectly paired food and wine or the eye popping first glimpse of Vernazza, on trail through a frame of olive branches; there was beauty at every turn, infectiously engaging, inviting deeper participation. All spectacular Wows!"

Mike

San Francisco, CA

Tour: 06/12/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Good tour guide; great travel companions; excellent local guides. The hotels were comfortable with helpful staff. The breakfasts were all delicious and plentiful. I loved having all the tours arranged ahead of time and being able to move to the front of the line.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hard to say, but it was probably seeing David in Florence. We spent a lot of time in that gallery"

Gina

Palo Alto, CA

Tour: 06/12/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was well-planned and exceptional from start to finish. We did not have to worry about anything, and were free to enjoy both the guided parts of the tour and the time we had free to explore on our own. We liked that we had about half guided-time, and half free-time. The size of the group was just about right. Small enough to get to know people, but not so small that people got on each other's nerves.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The hike from Levanto to Monterossa was one of my favorite "wow" moments (there were many). It took no time at all to realize we were practically alone on just about the most beautiful hiking trail at the edge of the sea. Our tour guide had said that we could almost see the curvature of the earth at times, looking across the Mediterranean, and he was right."

Cindy

San Francisco, CA

Tour: 06/12/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Everything was about as perfect as we could have hoped for. Our guide, Rainer, was knowledgeable with a good sense of humor and patience. The local guides were amazing. Their expertise breathed lived into what could have been completely overwhelming. The feasts together were the best. All accommodations were comfortable, clean and hospitable. It was a joy to share our experience with our delightful traveling companions.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It is hard to choose just one! I think I had to pinch myself every day to believe I was actually in Italy. I loved Volterra with it's rich history and idyllic setting. After a rainy night, I woke up and looked out my window to see a huge rainbow stretched over the green valley below my window. That looked like what I had always imagined Italy would look like."

Marianne

Colleyville, TX

Tour: 06/12/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour exceeded my expectations in every way. Rainer was a marvelous guide. I feel like I learned so much from him, due to his extensive knowledge of Italian history and culture, and his excellent teaching ability. The hotels were all perfect and the tours and choice of locations were excellent. If any problem were caused, it would be that Rainer set the bar too high for any future guide to exceed. Thank you so much!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The sites of Italy are each one more astounding than the other . The beautiful works of art and architecture that deserved a "wow" were too numerous to mention. Having not traveled to Europe before, each town surprised us with its beauty and history. With regard to the "wow" moment of the tour it was the first few hours. As we set off as a group on foot it was immediately clear that we had made a good decision. Rainer lectures like an energetic and enthusiastic school professor."

Judith

Chicago, IL

Tour: 06/12/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The Heart of Italy Tour exceeded my expectations. The 3 days spent in each city/location was enough to enjoy the history, culture, and beauty of the sites. Our traveling companions came from all parts of the country and everyone enriched the experience. There was not a "grumpy" person in the group! A great mix of ages ranging from 14 years old to 70 something.

Cindi

Rutland, VT

Tour: 06/12/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

What an excellent adventure! New places, new people, new foods, new sights...and some of those were very old! I learned a lot about a lot... Traveling by taxi, train, bus and planes in Italy...ordering food in Italy....viewing artistic beauty and natural beauty...and the best part? People are people and we all can, and do, get along!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"David...and anything else sculpted by Michelangelo. All the amazing churches, attending mass at St Peter's Basilica. Sitting at the top of Hotel Guelfa, with a lovely wine, looking out over the panorama, with my Italian yarn to knit and my sweetie."

Lawrence

Chicago, IL

Tour: 06/12/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had a wonderful experience with a great tour guide plus fun and interesting local guides!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Too many to list: the Sistine Chapel, St Peter's, David, and many more. We are owners of a beautiful Irish Setter. In Volterra we ran into a couple from Genoa walking their Irish Setter! She looked just like our dog so we had a fun conversation about dogs and touring. Our hotel in Florence had a tower with a small bar. That was our favorite evening place with an incredible 360 degree view of the city. Felt that we could touch the Duomo."

Earleen

Clovis, CA

Tour: 06/07/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

There were five family members in our group ages 13 to 69 and each of us thoroughly enjoyed the whole trip. We loved the structured guided time and felt we had plenty of free time as well. Our guide Nina was outstanding. She took good care of each of us and gave us great advice for the times we were on our own. We enjoyed everyone in our tour group. We were sad to go our separate ways at the end. All the local tour guides were excellent.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Florence and seeing Michelangelo's David. Unbelievable. Really each city had a "wow" moment. The tour was full of unexpected surprises and so much beauty."

Barbara

Florissant, MO

Tour: 06/07/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my first trip to Europe. My daughter and I went to celebrate her college graduation. Participating in a small group was ideal, with just the right amount of tour/group time versus time on our own. We enjoyed both. The participants on the tour were all very pleasant and a nice diversity of ages (including 4 mother/daughter groups).

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Driving up to Volterra, which was just everything I pictured Tuscany to be -- hilltop, the wall, so scenic!"

Scott

South Windsor, CT

Tour: 06/07/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was a wonderful experience. I expected to see, learn, taste and enjoy Italy. We did that and so much more. Nina is an excellent tour guide that got the most out of the tour. We enjoyed meeting the people we toured with that came from all over the US. Certainly, the art, history and sites were so much more interesting than seeing them on tv or magazines. Then best way to experience Europe is on a tour. Thanks for the memories!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It's very hard for me to pick a "wow" moment. I enjoyed all of the tour. The mix of locations (cities, country side and sea side) was the perfect touch."

Wanda

Berkeley, CA

Tour: 06/05/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

It was very good. I was concerned I wouldn't be able to keep up, your pre trip literature was somewhat discouraging, but it all was great.

Karen

La Jolla, CA

Tour: 06/05/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our first organized tour vacation. Exceeded our expectations! It really made the most of our trip. We could not have seen half of what we did had we not had a guide to get us up and going in the morning. Plus no arguments between my husband and I about where to go, how to get there etc, etc. No "lost" days figuring things out or getting off track. The group was awesome and we all really interacted and connected. Good times!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hiking in Cinque Terre. The beauty was incredible. Also, the enormity of structures and history in Rome. Amazing city. You really can't get a feel for it until you are there and walking the streets and see it's glory on every block."

Sydnie

La Mesa, CA

Tour: 06/05/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Great fun. Great learning experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Could not pick just one. They all go together to make the whole."

George Thomas

La Mesa, CA

Tour: 06/05/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My overall experience was excellent. My ankles got swollen from the standing especially in the Vatican but I learned a lot about the times of the artists and their motivation. I wanted more time for the Coloseum and Forum since that was my primary interest. My wife had not been to the Vatican so I went with her. After Rome the trip went magnificently. Volterra was an excellent transition. The guides and tour their exceptional. BTW the gelato tips everywhere were great. The food was great.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Eating Wild Boar Ragu with Chianti, while enjoying the Corpus Christi medieval parade in Volterra. It was simply magical."

Linda

Applegate, CA

Tour: 06/05/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I have never taken a group tour before and always preferred to travel independently. I have to say I was very pleasantly surprised and am already looking for my next tour with Rick Steves. We saw the best of the sites in each location in an efficient yet unhurried pace. I feel we saw so much in the length of the tour, our 9 days felt like a 2 week vacation.It was a great balance of History, culture, art, fabulous food and free time.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It is so hard to pick one, I had many. Our local guide at the Colloseum gave us a wonderful tour with insight into the culture of the times and even the reason for the games. The Vatican tour was way beyond expectations."

Stephen

Endwell, NY

Tour: 06/05/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

David was an Excellent guide - personable, interested to enhance our experience always. He loves his country, and that made us love it! His guitar playing was an unexpected pleasure!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"We had a dinner at a restaurant David recommended: Ristorante Bar Per Blucca on the water in Levanto, short walk from Hotel Primavera, which was outstanding freshly caught fish, brought to our table and unbelievably fresh, perfectly seasoned - benissimmo!"

Maria

Endwell, NY

Tour: 06/05/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was a whirlwind of history and incredible sights and views. Our guide was extremely dedicated to making our experience in Italy an unforgettable one - being that he was from Italy himself - and this really came through in each and every tour. The format of the tour was set up great. Guided tours were accompanied by free time and group dinners were always followed by dinner on your own so that you could have an individual experience with each city.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favorite "wow" moment was the hike in Cinque Terre. Although it was very tiring, the views were awesome and getting to eat in Corniglia, where there were very few tourists, with a few of the town and the sea, was very special."

Stacia

Matthews, NC

Tour: 06/05/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our Heart of Italy tour balanced assistance and guided experiences with a good amount of free time. Our guide was cheerful, patient, and organized, and our group members seem to really appreciate each other and the group outings, dinners, and time on the bus. We enjoyed plenty of walking and were glad to rest well in the comfortable hotels. (Tiny showers--by American standards--were just a fun challenge.)

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The guided tour of the Uffizzi gallery in Florence touched me; the passion and respect of our guide magnified experiencing art of the greats up close."

Rex

Matthews, NC

Tour: 06/05/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our tour experience exceeded our expectation. Our guide David was knowledgable and did a fantastic job being positive and organized with our group. We were able to navigate large cities far more effective than had we been on our own. the mix of time with our group and time on our own was perfect. What a great experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Volterre and the beautiful Tuscan countryside as well as Cinque Terre."

Rick

Seattle, WA

Tour: 06/05/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was excellent. Very well run, simple Instructions,and very informative. Our tour guide that lead the group David was great! The guides for the Vatican,coliseum, Lucca,Volterra were super. Full of energy and communicated so well. The hotels were good with plenty to eat for breakfast & the organized meals were fantastic. I have a hearing issue so I do wish we had the radios for all cities. It's easier to hear if those are available even though Lucca & Volterra are quiet

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I loved Lucca & Volterra. The history of these cities is amazing"

Jud

Berkeley, CA

Tour: 06/05/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Surprised by how much I liked the organized aspects of the tour. We had previously done most of our own organizing but began to realize the amount of effort and even study to get the most out of a visit. This tour provided that along with camaraderie and entertainment. Specialist tour guides were also a giant plus.

Douglas

Sartell, MN

Tour: 06/05/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had never done a tour trip before, that being said, I would sign up for a tour with Rick Steves in a heartbeat! We were blessed with a great bunch of folks on the tour, our guide David was superb!!!!!!! I thought the tour was a great balance of history, culture, locale, food and exercise. The hotels were in great locations and staff was great.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The vatican tour. Great to get right to the front of the line, awesome guide, hit the must know highlights with awesome discussion. It was overwhelming in an awesome way."

Summer

Seattle, WA

Tour: 06/05/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Can't wait to do it again! Every moment on the tour was amazing. From the kickoff in Rome to the final dinner in Florence where our guides band played and we danced and sang. Everything was perfect!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Definitely the cinque terre. The beach town in between the larger cities of Rome and Florence gave a nice little break between the hustle & bustle of the bigger cities."

Elyce

Anchorage, AK

Tour: 06/05/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

David was very exact in his dates and times of events regarding history. It was very informative. He's great at PR and a pleasure to listen to. Our guide in Lucca was very intertaining and a keeper. A pleasure to listen to. Our guide in Rome not so much.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The beautiful museums and their architecture was very impressive especially the ceilings."

Darrell

Chubbuck, ID

Tour: 06/05/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I enjoyed the trip and all it had to offer. Our guide was excellent, the hotels were great, and the food was terrific. We also had time each day to do as we pleased, which was nice.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Too many to choose from - sorry!"

Belen

Piedmont, OK

Tour: 05/31/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I am pleased we used Rick Steves to travel Italy for the first time. There were long lines we were able to avoid, so many insider tips that we would never have known about. The tour was well planned with an elaborate dinner every other night that we wouldn't have indulged in on our own (we wouldn't have known where to start). There was plenty of time to explore on our own and a perfect amount of guided time. And best of all, I am thankful for a knowledgable guide that was fun and interesting.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favorite were the little surprises our tour guide tucked into our schedule- one after a cozy feast, and one on top of a hillside town. Our guide gave a fantastic presentation before beholding The David that was completely inspirational."

Jeanette

Newport, NH

Tour: 05/31/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The trip was fabulous. I'd do it again in an instant. One of the reasons I chose Rick Steves Tours is the guides. I knew they were well-trained to lead a tour, but also that they are people who know the area and it's history, the difference between visiting a great museum and visiting a great museum with a teacher. Alfio was excellent. He not only told us the facts about the places we visited, but the historical evolution of how those places developed. Made all the difference.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favorite "wow" moment was seeing Michelangelo's David. I still choke up when I remember the first instant I saw him, so huge and perfect."

Jeanette

Brecksville, OH

Tour: 05/31/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Everything was excellent. The group size was perfect and we were happy that there was a great mix of age groups from young adults to retirees. Everyone got along well. Alfio was a lot of fun, always courteous, good humored, and knowledgeable and he shared with us his philosophy about Italy. He helped us gain a great deal more insight into Italy than we would have had on our own. The travel experience was great as well. All the events, dinners, tours were timed very well with little downtime.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Cinque Terra"

Kim

Portland, OR

Tour: 05/31/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had a fabulous time! I was looking for a good balance between my husband, Tracy (who could visit museums, galleries, churches, ruins 8 hours a day)and myself (good for 2-3 hours tops), and our Rick Steves tour did just that. Between the guided tours and Alfio, we got so much more out of our visit than if we did it on our own.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were so many! I'd say the way Alfio introduced us to David, walking through Volterra, and possibly the "wow, I think I'm going to die" moment hiking uphill from Monterroso to Vernazza."

Kimber

Tulsa, OK

Tour: 05/31/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I had a wonderful time, learned a lot.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Viewing Michelangelo's David, under Alfio's method and information was one of my wow moments."

Cindy

Newport, NH

Tour: 05/31/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was educational without being pedantic. The guides were unique, well spoken, and knew their subjects. Alfio's additions to individual guides' topics gave special insight to events going on in the world during that same time. It was amazing to learn how things all related history-wise. His 'surprises' (renaissance dancing in particular) gave glimpses of things that never made the school history books.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Even though it wasn't my prime reason for taking the tour (I was there researching a novel), I think it was the way Alfio presented the us to the statue of David. Then there was the immense size of the Cathedral of Florence. And the town of Volterra..."

Angela

Everett, WA

Tour: 05/31/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my first trip to Europe and I loved every minute of it. The tour was well planned and yet full of surprises. I have never travelled with a tour group and I would recommend that first time travelers to Europe travel with a Rick Steves' group.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were too many to pick one. I would say seeing the David was pretty wow as was the colosseum in Rome. The dinners were always "wow" moments as well!"

Sara

Arlington, VA

Tour: 05/31/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was fabulous. The perfect mix of planned events and time to explore on your own. We were able to visit multiple locations in Italy without feeling rushed. The hotels and dinners gave us a real taste of Italy and its culture.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The breathtaking beauty of Volterra and Cinque Terre."

Garey

Arlington, VA

Tour: 05/31/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was more than we would have ever hoped for. From signing up to conclusion the Rick Steves team was GREAT. The hotels were charming. The restaurants for our dinners were awesome. The touring and free time combination was just right. Our college graduate daughter found two other recent graduates to pal around with and wonderful older people on tour adopted her as a daughter. Alfio was SUPERB our guides were great. It was a fabulous trip.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"This group totally came together at our welcome dinner in Volterra. The surprise folk-dancing led by Luigi and Alfio in the parking lot after dinner will never be forgotten. It took our entire group who were already good together and melded us into a unified whole. At this point we were family, and a really close happy family, and it stayed that way till we tearfully said our goodbyes in Florence. WE have made friends with people around the country and we will get together again, for sure."

Carol

Ardmore, PA

Tour: 05/31/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

All the information prior to the trip was excellent, from what to pack, phone numbers, what documents to bring. Your excellence in planning this trip makes me confident to plan another trip with Rick Steves. In addition to the sites visited, the BEST part of our tour was our tour guide, Alfio. He was able to integrate multiple personalities with every facet of this trip. He had a sense of humor and well as a depth of knowledge.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There is no single "wow" moment. However I will mention the bike ride in Lucca, dancing in the street of Volterra, the tour of the colosseum and the lessons learned in the Uffizi. Of course every gelato was a "wow" moment, especially the last one which was a treat from Alfio."

Thomas

Ardmore, PA

Tour: 05/31/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The trip was well organized, and our guide was in control at all times. Due to Italy holidays and the weekend, several events were out of sequence but handled so smoothly the you may want to reconsider the sequence of events.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Riding bicycles on Lucca's wall was the most fun. I hadn't peddled a bike in 30 years."

Malcolm

Aurora, CO

Tour: 05/29/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Good tour with a nice group of people. Cinque Terra was the highlight and the reason we went. I would have liked an additional day to hike the trails.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"See comment below on Forum and Colosseum."

Janice

Aurora, CO

Tour: 05/29/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Our hotel rooms had a lot of street noise and it was diffiult to sleep (We are folks who find ear plugs not comfortable, even though we had them) Recommendion: Request Rick Steves folks get nonstreet facing rooms, even tough it costs a little bit more

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hiking Cinque Terra Art Museums in Rome and Florence"

Emily

Fairfax, VA

Tour: 05/29/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It's impossible to choose just one wow moment, but taking a moment to pause in the rooftop terrace in Monterosso al Mare, staring off into the Mediterranean as the sun was setting was definitely a wow."

Cheryl

Columbus, NE

Tour: 05/29/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my first trip with Rick Steves. I have been to Europe over 5 times with other companies and on our own. This was by far the most organized and personal trip I have had. The restaurants were awesome, lots of food. The special touches, pesto demonstration, wine tastings, all top notch. The tour guides especially Francesca from coliseum in rome were the best I have ever had.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The night we spent on the balcony overlooking the doumo in Florence. Cecilia arranged a birthday party for one of our group, cannoli's and music, champagne."

Mary

Kingstree, SC

Tour: 05/29/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I knew that the sights of Italy would be spectacular. What I didn't know was the enormous impact a guide would add to seeing those historic sights. With a good guide, like our Rick Steves guide, those sights came to life. We were 'there' as the gladiators fought in the colosseum, we were 'there' on the hilltops of Volterra and Lucca building walls to protect our city and way of life, and we were 'there' in Florence being awed by the phenomenal sculptures and the skill they represent.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"One night after dinner, our entire group was sitting on the rooftop terrace of our hotel in Florence with the Duomo lit and violin music playing. It was truly magical!"

Kathi

Beatrice, NE

Tour: 05/29/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This vacation exceeded my expectations! The whole trip was well organized and carefully planned. Our tour group became a group of friends we enjoyed spending time with each day. The trip provided the perfect balance of "group tour" and individual time to explore on our own. Our last evening together was something I will never forget.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I wanted the whole "wine" experience and I was not disappointed. My WOW moment happened in Volterra - the evening we spent with Bruno and Lucio learning about and tasting wine down in the cave. It was perfect!"

Newsom

New Bern, NC

Tour: 05/29/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Thank you Cecilia for taking us through the heart of Italy in fine style. While the pace was rapid, we got in stride and stayed with her pretty well. (Never thought I would walk 7 or 8 miles in nearly 90 degree heat for several days in succession.) The food provided as part of the tour was fabulous and the special food treats that Cecilia kept finding for us (such as the buffalo mozzarella that she purchased for us after we toured the Parthenon) was amazing.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Best part was our time in Volterra. Great small city to visit for 2 days. We enjoyed finding our way around the back streets and walkways. Really appreciated the local tour given by Annie -- so informative and really interesting. And the wine tasting was quite special -- the location, presentation, selection of wines and appetizers. (Yes, we did purchase a case of one of the wines presented during the "tasting".)"

Sandra

New Bern, NC

Tour: 05/29/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our second Rick Steves tour and again it exceeded all our expectations; it was well planned, offering us the best of everything, historic sites,quaint contryside villages, wonderful cuisine and the ultimate in wine. We had great combintions of planned tour activities and free time to explore on our own. The guide Cecilia, went out of her way to make us all feel comfortable and providing us with the information we needed to survive on our own.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The WOW factor for me was driving through the hills of Tuscany, seeing the peaceful terraced vineyards and coming into the small village of Volterra and hearing the church bells chiming! It was charming and so perfect. That night around 11:00 pm we heard a choir singing and opened our hotel windows. leaned out and enjoyed the music! It was spectacular!"

Teresa

Saint Paul, MN

Tour: 05/29/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Wonderful tour - loved everything!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Cinque Terre and Volterra"

Keith

Florence, WI

Tour: 05/24/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Having never traveled outside of the US, I knew that a tour would be the best way to experience our first trip to Italy! We have no regrets, nothing but great times, meeting new people, and learning so much about the essence of each city and community. The time on our own was great. We had the confidence after some guidance from Coleen and others in the group to visit parts unknown.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"How do I pick a wow moment when each new experience was spectacular? Volterra is amazing in its authenticity and charm! Annie and Francesco provided a rich understanding of the history, importance and pride of a well loved and maintained community. The wine tasting was spot on."

Carol

Lexington, MA

Tour: 05/24/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I have travelled alot but This was my first tour group and I cannot say enough about Rick Steves style touring. The balance between guided tours and free time was perfect. Colleen was creative and flexible in her ideas when "changes happened". As everyone seems to say, our group was the BEST! I think Rick Steves attracts a culturally curious geoup of people...curious about exploring new places, new people, new foods, YUM!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hard to choose the WOW moment, but i think being in Florence, turning the corner to see the glorious Duomo."

Cynthia

Geneva, IL

Tour: 05/24/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

When craving an escape beyond the ordinary the Heart of Italy is the trip for you! It was amazing and so much more than I could have ever hoped for! The entire tour was expertly put together. A jam-packed tour with plenty of group activities and time to explore the wonders Italy on our own! Rome, Volterra, Lucca, Sestri Levante, Cinque Terre and Florence combined the best of city and country. Colleen, our tour guide was amazing!!!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"So many WOW moments - every corner you turn in Rome offers a WOW moment! The enchanting hilltop setting of Volterra was hard to beat! The Renaissance and Baroque masters and frescoed ceilings...wow, wow, wow! The breathtaking terracotta roofs...medieval castles...the spectacular sunsets...and yummy gelato! But if I had to pick "a" favorite it would be Cinque Terre. BEAUTIFUL!!"

Wendy

Florence, WI

Tour: 05/24/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

As this trip was made in celebration of our 30th Wedding Anniversary, we spent months researching and decided to book the first trip to Europe as a tour. We have absolutely no regrets, had a wonderful time, and treasure our memories of great experiences. The 9 Days tour offered a full spectrum of activities both formal and informal, gave opportunity for "down" time, developed our skills for exploring independently, and allowed us to form relationships with other participants.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Wow. So hard to decide. The Italian Riviera, Sestri Levante, and Cinque Terra by the sea were definite "wow" experiences. The opportunity to view the relics, artifacts, statues, and artwork at all museums and galleries was the best."

Sharon

Lexington, SC

Tour: 05/24/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Initially reluctant to join a "tour group," I was outnumbered by my family! Am I ever glad I did join this group! From VIP access to the Vatican and museums to immediate seating at top-notch restaurants to local tour guides to wonderful hotels - I saw Italy the best way! Colleen (and all our local guides) provided history, humor, and too many to count AHA moments!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were too many to narrow it down to just one!!! Personally, my "wow" moment was walking into St. Peter's Basilica - INCREDIBLE! Second - David! Third - turning a corner in Rome and seeing the most incredible ruins dating back over 2,000 years! Voltera, Lucca, street vendors ... and CINQUE TERRE!!!! Does it get any better than CINQUE TERRE?????"

Kimberly

Augusta, GA

Tour: 05/24/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Excellent! Collen was great and set up the best local guides. Hotels were outstanding and close to grocery stores. Bus drivers were safe. Best way to see Europe with this Rick Steves tour, very pleased!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Rome, all of it! The Colleseum and St. Peter's. Loved Cinque Terre as well."

David

New Port Richey, FL

Tour: 05/22/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I didn't know what to expect as this was my first tour, but it was excellent.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Appreciating the vast difference in towns and cities just a short distance apart."

Linda

Hanover, MA

Tour: 05/22/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We thoroughly enjoyed our tour, tour guides and fellow travelers! We liked all of the places we went and appreciated the free time. We particularly enjoyed our group dinners.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Sunset on top of our hotel in Florence"

Debra

Burnsville, MN

Tour: 05/22/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was the perfect blend of structure/guided touring and flexible touring on our own. The highlights in each city were exactly what I would have wanted to have seen, but as part of the tour group, our reservations allowed us to avoid long lines and wait times - a HUGE plus! We had additional guides for some of the sights and they were extremely knowledgeable and for the most part, passionate! Hotels were comfortable and reflected the culture and group meals were well-planned and delicious!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It is difficult to pick one "wow" moment since this was our first European trip. The statue of David - amazing. The art and architecture of Rome was overwhelming! Again, the opportunity to see works of art and ancient relics/architecture up close and intimate (no barriers)was impressive. Cinque Terre was beyond beautiful - the Mediterranean Sea coupled with rising cliffs and mountains and villages tucked up the sides was inspirational. Exploring Italian villages was time well-spent."

Allan

Wesley Chapel, FL

Tour: 05/22/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My family and I went back-and-forth between going on a tour and trying to explore Italy by ourselves. I feel very happy that we chose Rick Steves tour in the end. I feel that when you are in a foreign country and you're trying to get the most out of a short amount of time it is best served to take a tour. My tour experience in Italy was wonderful. Ben, our guide, could not have been better. His passion, knowledge, and personality are all top-notch. I will always use Rick Steves tours!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The view of the hills of Tuscany from the top of Volterra. It makes me want to buy a villa that I can't afford."

Joseph

Bloomington, IL

Tour: 05/22/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our first Rick Steves trip to Spain last year was great, so we decided to try another one. The Heart of Italy Tour didn't disappoint. Guide Ben gets an A+++ for bringing Italy to life. From the hustle and bustle and landmark sites of Rome, the never-ending postcard views on the way to and in the Etruscan hill town of Volterra, the quaint walled city of Lucca, the sensory overload of the cliffs and sea in Cinque Terre, and the elegance of Florence; we were "wowed" from start to finish.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Since this was a "best of" tour, the wow moments were pretty much non-stop. The Pantheon, the Vatican, the Sistine Chapel, St. Peter's, the Colosseum, the Forum, Tuscany and the hill town of Volterra, the walled city of Lucca, the Italian Riviera, and the wonders of Renaissance Florence. This trip is a feast for the senses."

Charlotte

Vestavia Hills, AL

Tour: 05/22/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our trip was fabulous and I would recommend a RS tour to ANYONE (and already have!). It was such a great blend of planned activities and time on our own. Even when we had free time Ben had such wonderful suggestions of excursions, walking tours, or other exciting things to see and do. We love to travel and were so happy with how the trip was organized and laid out.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It was not a particular moment, but just walking around through history laid out in front of us. The Colosseum, the Pantheon, the Forum. It was just incredible to me to be able to walk on the Roman Road."

Walter

Vestavia Hills, AL

Tour: 05/22/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was an excellent experience. There was a perfect balance between planned outings and free time. Our tour guide was excellent. He was extremely well prepared and his personality perfectly fits this job. Our tour group was a great mix of people of all ages and areas. A thoroughly enjoyable experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"When we rounded the corner to see the Pantheon for the first time was unexpected and incredible. This was just the first of many "wow" moments as Rome and the rest of the tour were full of them. 9 Days in Italy......WOW!"

Barry

Burnsville, MN

Tour: 05/22/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our first time in Europe. I enjoyed all of it. Ben was a great guide. The locations, hotels, sites, tips, stories, food, made it all fun. I particularly liked the mix of guided activities and unstructured "off tour" times.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The submersion in ancient history in Rome. The views, pace and "hike" in the Cinque Terra."

Hannah

Medfield, MA

Tour: 05/17/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I think that our tour guide was absolutely fantastic. Incredibly knowledgeable and really worked out to give us a taste of the real Italy.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Seeing Ancient Rome."

Jody

Greencastle, PA

Tour: 05/17/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

My tour experience was excellent. I like the itinerary. Volterra and Lucca were terrific choices for smaller towns to visit. The cinque terra area was as beautiful as the pictures I had seen.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My "wow" moment occurred over and over again in Rome. In our free time we visited many churches and were blown away by the art. (Of course I was blown away again when we visited the Vatican with the group)"

Daniel

Lancaster, CA

Tour: 05/17/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Everything was fantastic (just like my tour last year). Cecilia was a sweetheart, very energetic and funny. She was extremely knowledgeable and friendly. She showed her mastery of the city of Firenze(her home town)when we arrived, and took us for a gelatto treat at "per que no?" and I could see why she used to go there as a kid. Despite the Colosseum employee strike, and the Trevi Fountain being closed for remodeling, Cecilia made it a most memorable vacation. She did "little extras"ie:prosecco

Favorite "WOW" moment

"That had to have been the "Bike Ride" in Lucca. What a pleasant surprise that it was included in our tour to my amazement. I took three laps around the fortress wall and even enjoyed a passing rain cloud drizzling a light rain on my face. I would not have done it otherwise, but now I recommend it as "must" to anyone traveling to Lucca. Thank You!"

Vicky

Brownsburg, IN

Tour: 05/17/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour was fabulous. Cecilia is very knowledgeable, patient, and has a great sense of humor. It was the kind of trip I would have planned myself, had I taken on the responsibility - but it was nice to have someone else do it for me! Cecilia and our local guides are to be commended for working around a strike that threw a last minute wrench in our sightseeing plans.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favorite "wow" moment was when Cecilia took us around a corner in Florence to see the Duomo. Everyone talks about how significant the dome itself is, but I never realized how incredibly beautiful the rest of the cathedral is."

Lisa

Houston, TX

Tour: 05/17/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

We enjoyed the all of the cities, the tours, meals and the guide. It was very fast paced and we moved around quite often. The people we traveled with seemed to enjoy themselves also.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The view from Il Vittoriano were amazing!"

John

Brownsburg, IN

Tour: 05/17/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I thought the tour was very organized and well thought out. I thought Cecilia was great to work with and did an outstanding job of leading us thru all of the exhibits.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I have never been a big fan of the arts but the tour guide that we had at the Uffizi gallery did an outstanding job of leading us thru the gallery and explaining the artist and what they were trying to project. In particular, he explained that one of the artist was trying to illustrate in one of the paintings that we all are born and all will die, therefore we should live life to the fullest each day."

Polly

Okemos, MI

Tour: 05/15/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was fantastic with lots of sites to see, good food, and lodgings where we slept well every night. I especially enjoyed our tour guide who had a delightful blend of energy, humor, thoughtfulness, and charm. I still hear her voice telling us in her delightful accent everything we wanted to know, granting every request whenever possible, and brightening up the room with her presence. She got to know each of us personally, & made every effort to make everyone bond with other group members.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Patricia was excellent in every skill listed. Having been on other tours, I noticed that she made every problem that arose go away or not matter with such grace and style. My favorite wow moment was hiking the Cinque Terres and seeing the exquisite sights under the clear blue sky of the perfect weather we had."

Mary Ann

Grand Forks, ND

Tour: 05/15/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

As a first time traveler overseas, I'd recommend a Rick Steves' Tour to everyone! Starting with our guide, Patricia, every day was a new, wonderful experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I'm not sure how many times I said "wow" on this Tour, but it was certainly more than a few times!! I was awestruck with the Cinque Terre region. Hiking the cliff-side path was awesome! The fact that on the entire tour, very little time was spent in a bus, made me VERY HAPPY! I love to walk, and we did plenty of that! Again, Patricia kept us moving and interested in all we saw!!"

Jennifer

Matthews, NC

Tour: 05/15/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had never been on a tour before and were a little apprehensive that we weren't "tour" people but we loved it! The group was so congenial, it was so well planned with plenty of time off,the use of time was efficient- making the most of our time without totally exhausting us. The local guides were so knowledgeable and the education we got was great - enough information to make sense of what we were seeing but not such an overload we couldn't take it in. And Patricia was amazing!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It's hard to pick one. My first sight of the Colosseum, St Peters, the beautiful landscapes of Tuscany, the Cinque Terre and the art treasures in the Uffizi. But I guess if I'm picking one I'd say Riomaggiore. It was just so beautiful and charming and I felt not quite as touristy as Vernazza and Monterosso."

Sandra

Scottsdale, AZ

Tour: 05/15/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Exceeded expectations. Very well organized. We had an exceptional group of fellow travelers -- everyone was positive, considerate, and flexible. No one let the subway strike in Rome get them down, we just all walked more! We saw and did everything expected and much more. The trip was just the right mix of arranged tours and free time.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I have to mention 2 moments -- sometimes it's the simple things. The hill town of Volterra was stunning and so nice after all the congestion of Rome. And I loved the bicycle ride along the walls of Lucca."

Edward

Scottsdale, AZ

Tour: 05/15/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Great, liked Patricia and we had some outstanding guides.

Katherine

Scottsdale, AZ

Tour: 05/15/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Great experience! Loved our guide, Patricia!

Marilyn

Woodinville, WA

Tour: 05/15/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was everything promised and more. Our tour director, Patricia, was outstanding! She was kind, knowledgeable and had a great sense of humor. In my opinion, Patricia took the tour from good to great! There were no surprises and the tour bus rolled smoothly from town to town.....I enjoyed meeting our tour mates and I have to say that everyone on the trip was truly a joy to travel with! I highly recommend Rick Steves tours....

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Without a doubt, for be it was the Vatican and St. Peter's Basillica.....I loved the coliseum and the forum too. The history portion of the tour was my favorite "wow" moment."

Christine

Bedford, NH

Tour: 05/15/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Fantastic tour, our guide, Patricia was outstanding, she went the extra mile to make sure the trip was special for all. The itinerary was a busy one, but we would not have had it any other way. We enjoyed everyone in our group of 28 travelers from all over the US. Hotels were good and we the group meals were delicious. Local guides were all wonderful, adding so much more to our vacation than we could have done visiting on our own. Excellent overall experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"St. Peter's Basilica, the Coliseum and Forum, the beautiful valley of Volterra, and the view of Vernazza and Monterosso from the "Walk of Love" between the two villages."

Dan

Mukilteo, WA

Tour: 05/15/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was the best trip of my life. I had never been to Europe before and the trip opened my eyes to the world.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It is difficult to name just one "wow" moment, but if I had to, I would say visiting Cinque Terre. It was magical. The view, the town, the water."

Tim

Okemos, MI

Tour: 05/15/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Patricia was an outstanding tour guide and so were all the other guides we had on the different tours. The hotels were all very nice and the buses were 1st class.The meals that were provided were very good also.I have recommended your tour to a few people of which 4 of them are probably going to go this fall.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The drive up to Voltere was dramatic. the Vatican tour was also great.The 5 towns on the Italian Riviera were also great. Florence tour guide was outstanding also."

Scott

Grand Forks, ND

Tour: 05/15/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I can't say enough how great our tour was ! Truly outstanding!! Our Guide Patricia really helped make our tour experience one to remember. She was extremely knowledgeable and sincere in all her efforts to make our tour one to remember. She has a fantastic attitude and was always available for any questions or recommendations. Our attraction's tour guides were also amazing and did an outstanding job of describing in detail, so many of the most interesting points of the sight.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Its' very hard to say what our favorite "wow" moment was since there were so many! I can't say enough how great of an itinerary the 9 Day Tour includes. From the bustling city of Rome with it's attractions to the small towns of Volterra and the Cinque Terre. Great restaurant experiences with the favorite foods and wine from each region and also fantastic tour guides for the major attractions !! Too many to pick just one!"

Curt

Spokane Valley, WA

Tour: 05/10/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Perfect pace, very knowledgeable local guides, Virginia Agostinelli (primary guide) was GREAT! Will do another tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Standing in 2,800 year old Etruscan ruins above Volterra."

Stephen

New York, NY

Tour: 05/10/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was the best tour I've taken.. Virginia and the local guides were phenomenal. While somewhat physically challenging at times. it was all quite doable. Our service dogs were well accommodated and we are most appreciative. We enjoyed our fellow tour partners.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Uffizzi. While this was my third time there and studied much of its content I was completely blown away. The local guide was brilliant."

Carol Lea

New York, NY

Tour: 05/10/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was beautifully planned to offer us the best sites, the best food and a superb guide. My husband and I did the tour with our two service dogs and Virginia did a lot of extra work making sure the dogs could get into the Vatican, on the Metro and into the wonderful restaurants where we ate our dinners. She was so gracious, warm, well-informed, caring and funny. We just adored her and are so grateful for the work she did on our behalf. All the other guides were great, too.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"After days of long, long walks and stairs and standing and listening to the wonderful guides in the hot sun, we lay on our backs with the dogs in the grass in Lucca, looking up at the blue, blue sky and thought about never going home!"

Thomas

Savage, MN

Tour: 05/10/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

With minor exceptions our tour experience was fantastic. Everything seemed to go according to plan. The overall approach of having half to three-quarter days of planned tour activities and occasional group dinners worked exceptionally well; allowing time for us to explore and do things on our own part of the time. The accommodations and group meals were excellent and the travel to each new location worked seamlessly.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were many WOW moments; the first view of the Coliseum in Rome, even before exiting the bus, was very special. So too was the initial view of Michelangelo's David, the shear size and detail of St. Peter's Basilica, and the general atmosphere and charm of Florence and the size and spectacle of the Duomo in Florence. The Pantheon in Rome was amazing as were the views of the Tuscan country-side from Volterra."

Bobann

Seattle, WA

Tour: 05/10/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

This was my third trip to Italy and sixth RS tour and all went very well. I was unexpectedly traveling as a single but felt comfortable in the group and on my own. The itinerary suited me well and I got to cover new territory in Italy with a very enjoyable group of people. As usual the guide was great and all of the arrangements for the tour went well.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Seeing David in the Accademia was quite remarkable."

Deborah

Denver, CO

Tour: 05/10/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Absolutely superb guide Virginia & superb local guides throughout the trip.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Every moment of trip with Virginia & with all local guides were fantastic."

Gordon

Denver, CO

Tour: 05/10/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Virginia was a totally professional, approachable, helpful, good-natured and cheerful guide. She was very adept at being all of this while still being firm and clear about necessary structure for the good of all. My wife and I learned a lot and enjoyed the company of our amiable group while also appreciating our independent time.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Approaching Volterra and seeing the magnificently green hill country. It didn't hurt that Rick Steves happened to be in town and stopped at our wine-tasting!"

Barbara

Vancouver, WA

Tour: 05/08/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Lisa was a wonderful tour guide. She was organized and well informed and did a great job of making everyone feel comfortable. We loved all the places we went and appreciated the combination of structured and free time. We also liked that the group wasn't too large. I felt our group was very compatible, which enhanced the experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were so many wonderful experiences and beautiful sights it's difficult to choose one. One particularly beautiful sight was the view we had from our hotel in the hillside town of Volterra. Volterra was our favorite place we visited, just because it was smaller and more quiet and less affected by tourism."

Anita

San Jose, CA

Tour: 05/08/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I have been on dozens of different tours and Lisa is the very best guide I have had! Not only does she know the area, she makes you feel wanted. Having someone that cares is priceless.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Lisa"

Jim

San Mateo, CA

Tour: 05/08/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My Heart of Italy tour was great. All of the group was on time and considerate of all their fellow travelers. Everyone was on time and always ready to go. I was traveling by myself, but I was accepted by all the rest of the group. It was great having a group leader, telling us and showing us all the hi-lites of the areas we visited. Also, I like the Rick Steves suggestions to spend extra days before and after the tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My "Wow" moments were many.But, My main objective was to visit the Cinque Terre. And I was not disappointed. I used the boat transportation to get to all the towns. I was able to hike all over the mountain sides and get spectacular views at vantage points above the towns. Breathtaking! Also, with all the hustle and bustle of Rome and Florence, Volterra was a quiet a contrast. Very pleasant and quiet. My group leader even set me up with a massage in town. It was memorable."

Brittany

Hoover, AL

Tour: 05/08/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

I had never travelled overseas before, so this was all new to me. I had a blast! You could tell our tour guide, Lisa, was very knowledgeable about every area we visited and I liked the way she presented the material to our group. There is a lot of traveling that is fit in within a short span of time. However, I felt that the time was very well organized. I felt the local guides did a fantastic job, as well. Most of them even told a few jokes and all of them kept the group's interest.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"That is so hard to pin point. There were many "wow" moments. I would say, to see The Vatican and the Sistine Chapel, the Roman Ruins, it really hits home how all the things we read as kids were right in front of us. But, seeing Tuscany and exploring the Cinque Terre was a great experience. So many things! Also, we had wonderful weather, a great group, and a fantastic tour guide."

Herb

Dallas, TX

Tour: 05/08/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was my first Rick Steves tour and my first time in Italy. Our tour guide, Lisa, did a fabulous job. She is very friendly, helpful and caring. She obviously has a passion for her job, for Italy and her "tourists". I really liked the fact that she was the overall guide but that we had local guides for several different cities and towns. The buses were great, the choices of hotels and restaurants were well considered and very good.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favorite Wow moment was touring the Coliseum with how old it is and the stories the guide told about the gladiators being slaves and the audience were returning Roman soldiers who were being kept occupied by the violence."

Juli

Dallas, TX

Tour: 05/08/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

All details of travel, accommodations, meals, and tours were handled professionally, and with genuine care. Lisa was a superb guide and we loved all that she shared about so many aspects of life in Italy. She extended true concern for our comfort and safety, and she provided every opportunity for us to get the most from our trip. The local guides were the best and we learned so much about the history, culture and art of the regions.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Uffizi gallery tour with Ricardo. He was amazing and brought my Art History class of twenty years ago to life! Made me want come home and dig out my text book, which I did. The Vatican will bring tears to the eye of any Christian as did the Duomo in Milan (our extended stay but recommended by Lisa)."

Lois

Ojai, CA

Tour: 05/08/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I enjoyed the trip greatly. The balance of sites that are difficult to get into (such as the Vatican and the Uffizzi museum with minimal lines but the tour got us in easily) with our own choice of activities was really just right. The tour guides were a real addition to help understanding what we were seeing and the historical and political importance.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The "wow" moment is the coliseum Amazing! New to me and my favorite part of this tour was Volterra and the Etruscan history. The people of Italy have been through so much and hang on with such resilience. I enjoyed the story about the city dump and resourceful use of mental patients to help uncover the ancient forum and baths. What a positive experience for all involved."

Steven

Ojai, CA

Tour: 05/08/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Just a treat from start to finish. An excellent combination of tours and being on our own. A great group of traveling companions. I didn't even have to remind myself about the "no grumpy" pledge because there was nothing to be grumpy about. And our guide was always there when we needed her, with just the right mix of helping us out and allowing us to be independent. Having two nights at each hotel made for the right amount of packing and unpacking. Perfect.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Our evening walk through Rome the first night of the tour. The Pantheon, the Piazza Navona, Trevi Fountain and topped off by walking up the Spanish Steps at night and admiring the view. Although the Ufitzi gallery was pretty "wow" too."

Augusta

Gates Mills, OH

Tour: 05/08/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The overall experience was fantastic. The small group experience is so enjoyable. I appreciate the 1/2 day of guided time and the 1/2 day of free time to explore on our own.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It was all fabulous. Rome--the Colosseum tour with guide Hillary Volterra-wine tasting with Francesco walking tour of Volterra with guide Annie Lucca-tour guide was very good ( sorry don't recall his name ) Florence-the tour guide at the Uffizi museum ( sorry don't recall his name) Cinque Terra-the long boat ride along the coast line the town of Levanto-the perfect base to explore the cinque terra"

Deborah

Snoqualmie, WA

Tour: 05/08/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Lisa was a great tour guide - knows her history and she worked well with the locate guides. She was also very accommodating with the needs of people within the group including, directions, special wines, where to shop, how to ask for items in a restaurant, etc. The tour itself was great but wished we had more time to linger at the sites which I know is hard when you are trying to pack in several sites. We didn't visit the last site so we could go back to a church and spend more time.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The churches; the amount of frescos and beautiful roman columns."

Gregory

Katy, TX

Tour: 05/08/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was not only outstanding, but it far exceeded our highest expectations. Lisa, our tour guide informed us from the start she wanted to transfer her passion for Italy to each one of us through our 9-day tour experience. I can affirmatively state, "Mission Accomplished"! If my wife and I had tried to do the same tour on our own, we would have enjoyed the locations and the sights, but would have missed all the history and context that Lisa provided us over the entire tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Each new day provided a new experience and new favorite. But overall Florence was our most impressive and certainly the top of the "WOW" moment for us. Taking in all the beauty and structures and putting it in the context of how many years ago....it still is a WOW moment for us!"

John

San Ramon, CA

Tour: 05/08/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Lisa was a fantastic guide. She easily related to both Americans and Italians and brought the cultures of both together in a seamlessly easy, fun adventure. The tour was well planned and allowed enough down time to explore more on our own. Dinners on tour were fantastic, and just enough group time to get well acquainted with the very interesting people in our group. Everyone seemed up for the active adventures we went on and there was a great positive vibe throughout the tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The coliseum in Rome and the Vatican tour were the best wow moments. Cinque de terra had the most beautiful sights of small villages, especially from the boat we took to visit them. Really too many great moments for this short note."

Barbara

Katy, TX

Tour: 05/08/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

From the very first meeting to our last breakfast together the tour was outstanding. The number of participants was neither too large nor too small and everyone was friendly, cohesive, and got along well. Lisa had answers for every one of our questions about Italy. Not only did we learn about the history and art of Italy but about current life too. The towns we visited were each so different and gave a wonderful overview of Italy. I'd be hard pressed to choose a favorite.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hmm, too many to choose for one favorite. Learning how to read the bus signs to get around Rome really widened our world. We could get farther than what our two feet could take us and didn't need to rely on taxis. The sumptuous artwork in the Uffizi Gallery was spectacular. Walking into the Accademia Gallery and seeing David standing over everyone took my breath away. The food was always a "wow". Still dreaming about the pork dish with raviolli which we had in Volterra."

Patty

Custer, WA

Tour: 05/08/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our Heart of Italy tour with Lisa Anderson was awesome! It was a great combination of tour time together and time for us to explore on our own. It was nice it covered the most popular places in Italy but it also gave us an opportunity to see the small cities such as Volterra, Lucca and Levanto. I would do it again in a heartbeat.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My wow moment on the tour was the Pantheon in Rome, it was amazing how they were able to build it and how it is still standing today. On our own we went to the Ponte Vecchio bridge during the day and then at night when all the shops were closed down. It was beautiful to see what a difference it makes when all the doors are closed for the night. The Ponte Vecchio bridge at night was so romantic, with singers and all the lights on the water, delightful."

Nancy

Nashua, NH

Tour: 05/03/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We totally enjoyed it ..David was the best ..He took care of everything for us ..He always was courteous and thoughtful. I appreciated the nice touches he included ..Italian chocolates on our longish bus ride ...the tissues he handed out if the facilities were lacking t'paper..and the songs he sang us playing his guitar .. You do need to be in good physical shape to keep up with lots of fast walking...I think the tour of the Vatican was tiring ..could have used a rest or coffee break..

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hiking the trail in Cinque Terre. St Peter's Basillica...seeing the Pieta Seeing the country side in Tuscany...spectacular"

Sara

Spokane, WA

Tour: 05/03/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I had a wonderful time. I know the time is always a problem but I would appreciated three days in each spot instead of two. All of our locations really could've used one more day to see more fully.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I really enjoyed the wine tasting in volterra."

Nancy

Hilton Head Island, SC

Tour: 05/03/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our second Rick Steves tour. We enjoyed it very much & look forward to taking future tours.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Joe says the food & wine -- I say gelato!!! Volterra & Cinque Terre were also outstanding."

Shannon

Camas, WA

Tour: 05/03/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my first experience on a guided tour, and it was fantastic! Both David and Stefanie were friendly and knowledgeable, and really cared about the tourmembers having a great tour. The tour was the perfect combination of guided time and free time, allowing us to rest if we wanted or see things not included on the tour. I learned so much on the tour, the guides really made the sights come alive with history.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The bicycle ride in Lucca! Lucca is a beautiful Tuscan city, and after our guided tour of the city, our guides informed us they had rented bicycles for us to use to ride around the city on the path built on top of the old city fortification wall. The path atop the wall is flanked by beautiful large trees that form a canopy; a warm Spring breeze with dappled sunshine, it was a wonderful surprise of a treat!"

Jane

Seattle, WA

Tour: 05/01/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Overall tour experience was very good and tour guide was very good. Liked Karin very much.28 people are too many and ungainly in getting around. Very conspicuous pulling suitcases through cobblestone streets. Max size should be perhaps 22-24. Was good mix of big and small cities. Really nice "skipping the line" and getting into museums fast. Tour well organized and efficient at seeing sights. Maybe shouldn't schedule this tour when Italy's Labor Day holiday lands on a weekend. Crazy crowded.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Sistine Chapel ceiling decoration's nine scenes from Book of Genesis, most notable of which is The Creation of Adam, with the hands of God and Adam reaching toward one another."

Susan

Ebensburg, PA

Tour: 05/01/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

An incredible experience! We surveyed a number of tours before [INVALID]ing this one. We are competent -not quite savvy -travelers. We had a great experience because of the support that Karin gave to us. It was a great combination of free time and activities. We would not have been able to navigate the Vatican or Florence's museums in a meaningful way without the guide's direction. The schedule got us into busy museums early or late in the day to avoid crowds.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Cinque Terre. We walked from Monterossa to Vernazza, then went by train to Manorala and hiked the Vineyard Trail. The vistas were truly "wows" and we captured great pictures. One of mine that I posted to Instagram was "copied" by EarthPix a few days later!! Our guide Karin gave us great advice about what to do during that free day. I think that the sense of accomplishment from being able to move among the towns contributed to that "wow" moment."

John

Ebensburg, PA

Tour: 05/01/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour guide, Karen was superb[INVALID]very knowledgable, organized, friendly, and approachable. The accommodations were comfortable and well located. The meals were excellent. The overall experience exceeded my expectations.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Rome--now my favorite city."

Jeannine

Avon Lake, OH

Tour: 05/01/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour exceeded my expectations. Our tour guide, Karen, was excellent, as were the local guides in each city we visited. The accommodations were all clean and perfectly located for the sights we saw. I especially liked the Hotel Torre Guelfa with it's medieval tower. The buffet at the Albergo Primavera hotel in Levanto was some of the best food I've had in ages! Aside from the sights, I think I enjoyed the company of our fellow travellers the most. What a fun and interesting group of people.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were so many it's hard to pick one. I loved the story Karen told about the Italian firemen sprinkling red rose petals through the hole in the dome of the Pantheon at Pentecost. Seeing the David in person was breathtaking. The history in the Forum, especially the depiction of the sacking of Jerusalem on the Arch of Titus and realizing that the construction of the Colosseum began at the same time and finally, the frescoes in the Santa Maria Novella were amazing - like nothing I've ever seen."

Kelly

Chicago, IL

Tour: 05/01/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was an outstanding experience. Due to the guides' knowledge and expertise, the experience of seeing the sights and locations was enriched greatly.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hiking the trail in Cinque Terre."

Rita

Ann Arbor, MI

Tour: 05/01/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Loved the knowledgeable guides.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"the art and architecture."

Deborah

Sequim, WA

Tour: 05/01/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I decided to take this trip because that is what my husband wanted me to do after his death. This trip was very fulfilling. I not only had excellent tour guides, especially Karen who was our main guide, but I learned so very much from everyone I came into contact with at this time in my grieving process. The art lectures, the good feelings of belonging, our family like group dinners, the strenuous walking all added to my overall satisfaction. Not once did I feel alone. Everyone was kind.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Basilica of the Santa Maria Novella was truly a 'wow' moment. The most beautiful alcove, off the main alter, depicting Christ on the cross was so simplistic that it took my breath away. I felt full of love and complete especially knowing my husband was there in Spirit. The Sistine Chapel came in second for the feeling of completeness."

Karen

Annandale, VA

Tour: 05/01/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Lovely trip. Our guide was friendly, helpful and informative, and other tour participants were a great mix of companions. To top it off, the weather was uniformly sunny and warm.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It's really hard to single out any particular moment [INVALID] I would say that some of the group dinners were the most fun."

Frank

Ann Arbor, MI

Tour: 05/01/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The overall experience, the tour members, the facilities we stayed, the tour guides (All the individual tour guides were exceptional and an expert on the material, Karen our main tour guide was spectatular), the facility staffs, the locations, etc. were fabulous. My wife an I could not have packed in as much sight seeing if we had planned the vacation on our own.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It's difficult for me to choose one favorite "wow" moment, but seeing the Sistine Chapel and the statue of David up close were very inspiring and moving."

Nancy

Seattle, WA

Tour: 04/26/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We wanted our 1st trip to Italy to be perfect and it was! Having never been on a group tour before we were a bit apprehensive, so knowing that everyone had pledged not to be a grump was reassuring. We couldn't have asked for a better tour guide than Alfio. He was extremely knowledgeable, passionate about Italy, a super nice guy, and lots of fun. We all wanted to take him home with us! Our local tour guides were great, too. We learned SO MUCH, and feel like we really experienced Italy!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"l. The Sistine Chapel, more impactful than I could ever have imagined. 2. Listening to Francesca, our local guide at the Coliseum, who was the most amazing combination of teacher, historian and philosopher. She set the tone for us to become "travelers" instead of "tourists," moving many of us to tears. 3. "The David," so exquisite it left me breathless. Alfio had a most unique, unforgettable and perfect way for us to enter the room to see it, too. All were spiritual experiences."

Robert

Elizabethtown, KY

Tour: 04/26/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Exceeded my expectations

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Vatican tour with Saint Peter's basilica and particularly the Sistine Chapel."

Charlene

Kalispell, MT

Tour: 04/26/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Very positive. Exceeded my expectations. The guides were excellent, especially Alfio. I appreciated the group camaraderie. Also, the Rick Steves philosophy of travel, which drew people who were energetic, friendly, but also independent. Independent exploration during free time. Instructions regarding navigating on our own. Excellent food and wine for group dinners. Comfortable accommodations. Overall, I am highly recommending Rick Steves Tours to my friends.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Standing in the tower at the Torre Guelfa at night overlooking Florence during a full moon."

Dennis

Kalispell, MT

Tour: 04/26/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Exceeded my general expectations. Being more interested in general history vs. art history, I found the tour enlightening and balanced. All of the lodging was fine, meals that were provided were excellent, educational wine tastings, and cooking class was great. The group was good, with only one couple not necessarily completely engaged with everyone. Otherwise, all in the group went out of their way to engage, initiate conversations, invite one another for dinner, etc.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The architecture and feel of Volterra and Lucca, the short hike at Cinque Terra."

Lesly

Port Townsend, WA

Tour: 04/26/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Not having ever been on a tour, and went into this situation a bit leery, I was impressed with my experience. I feel I made a most excellent decision to do a 9 day tour as my intro to Italy, since I had planned on 2 weeks by myself following the tour. I felt relatively comfortable to do so after spending this time with Alfio and the tour. My fellow companions were friendly and as I was pretty much the only solo traveler, appreciated their including me in at times when we had free time.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Realizing I knew so little about (or at least couldn't remember) the history of Italy and the experience of understanding and taking in all that was presented to us. From the Vatican Museum, David, to the beauty of Tuscany, there wasn't just one "wow" moment I'm able to isolate."

Dean

Lenexa, KS

Tour: 04/26/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We were very impressed with the tour, from the planning stages until the very end. The process of booking the tour, paying for the tour, completing all paperwork, and arriving at the starting point was extremely easy and user-friendly. The guide was fantastic, and the value was great.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"For me, the "wow" was really the level of understanding we gained of the history of Italy, the many cultural influences, and the place that the various peoples held in world history. The guides painted the picture so vividly."

Edward

Flemington, NJ

Tour: 04/26/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had an knowledgeable tour guide that enhanced the experience. The sites of the tour were incredible interesting. The pace of the tour was also appropriate for the length of the tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Rome, especially the Vatican and our group dinner in Levanto."

Lisa

Flemington, NJ

Tour: 04/26/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I thought the tour was a nice balance of activity and free-time. Loved our tour guide Alfio, he was very knowledgeable and personable and made the group come together. Really nice group of people on the tour. We had a fantastic trip and will remember it forever!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Seeing St. Peter's Basilica in person after watching so many midnight Christmas masses on television, truly jaw-dropping. Had goose bumps the entire time inside."

Debra

Dubuque, IA

Tour: 04/26/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We traveled with a very convivial group, all of whom were enthusiastic and had the energy to keep up a busy itinerary...made it a pleasure for all, I feel. I felt the only disappointment was the Cinque Terre experience, due to cool, rainy weather, primarily. I understood that the hiking trails are unreliable as to access, but might have been nice to understand ahead that nearly all trails were not open, one or two having been closed for about 5 years. Otherwise, a great experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Arriving at the Roman Coliseum...Wow...and discovering Francesca would be our guide...Wow again! Whole tour of Coliseum and Forum were fantastic!"

Bradley

Chandler, AZ

Tour: 04/19/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was my first time in Europe, and was made so easy, informative and comfortable that I was thrilled.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Many, many highlights, but Ancient Rome and the small towns stand out."

Kathleen

Chandler, AZ

Tour: 04/19/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was absolutely delightful! We felt that the tour guide, Ben, was so knowledgeable and engaging. He really made the trip so fun and interesting. All the local tour guides we had on our trip were wonderful. Their story-telling abilities kept us engaged. The areas we visited on this tour felt like a perfect balance of small towns and big city experiences. We wouldn't have changed a thing.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Probably the vineyard walk in the Cinque Terre region. It was so relaxing,a nice change from the big city hustle and bustle."

Carol

Lawrenceville, GA

Tour: 04/19/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Ben was a great guide. He brought us the flavor of Italy. I embraced the history, the art and the people. Ben brought all of this to us. I love having free time to explore.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Volterra and Lucca.....loved the smaller towns."

Susan

Lawrenceville, GA

Tour: 04/19/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was a great balance of structure to learn about the places we were visiting and free time to explore on our own. It was wonderful not having to worry about finding a hotel or transportation. Our guides were extremely knowledgeable and helpful, yet unobtrusive. They made wonderful suggestions on what to do and see during our free time, but they were never "bossy." Everything ran according to schedule. Fabulous trip!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were so many "wow" moments. My favorite was probably seeing the beautiful mountains and countryside as we drove down some very winding roads into Levanto. Breathtaking! The Sistine Chapel also took my breath away."

Sharon

Ann Arbor, MI

Tour: 04/19/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

After traveling to Europe several times independently, I decided a group tour would be better since I'd never been to Italy and wanted to see as much as possible. I always use Rick Steves travel books when I travel so decided to join the Heart of Italy tour. I was more than thrilled with our tour. It was so much more than I ever imagined it could be. Our tour guide, Ben, was amazing, as well as the local guides. I definitely will take another Rick Steves tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My wow moment was the beautiful weather we had for each destination! I liked Rome the best, so easy to get around and experience the history of that great city."

Mary

Shady Cove, OR

Tour: 04/19/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had the most wonderful time. It flew by. We saw everything we wanted to see and then some. Crowds in Rome were a little overwhelming, but very glad it was the first stop. Had it been the reverse, I may have had a meltdown. Our group was great and everyone was very pleasant. Ben, of course, was fabulous.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Seeing the "David"."

Cathy

Moorpark, CA

Tour: 04/19/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Ben and Antonia were awesome!!! Individual site guides were outstanding. Dinners provided by tour were excellent...don't change a thing.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were many, many "wow" moments....the Vatican City Tour...the coliseum tour....the beauty of Cinque Terre....Wine tasting in Voltarra was outstanding.....Carlo's dinner in Cinque Terre.... the flam beau sirloin roasts in Florence."

Kenneth

Geneseo, NY

Tour: 04/19/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We have taken tours with other companies, but this tour experience by your company topped them all. The pace, the hotels, the personal touch expressed by our guide(s) was superb. Our next tour will definitely be with your company. The tour of Italy is one great experience whatever tour company is taken. However, we feel the extra effort that your company puts into planning a relax, yet filling experience, it a notch about others. We have told all our friends about your tour company.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Getting away from the big city of Rome (which we enjoyed) and then going to Tuscany region and staying in the quiet little village of Votera?"

Susan

Geneseo, NY

Tour: 04/19/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Having done tours with 4 other companies and enjoyed them all, our Rick Steves tour was far and away the best tour ever! It was the perfect combination, for us, of planned events, free time and group size.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Walking in the vineyards above Monarola on a perfect day with awesome views of the village and the Mediterranean."

Susan

St Catharines, ON

Tour: 04/19/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Great group - wonderful guides - Ben and Antonia complimented each other and both were most friendly and attentive as well as very knowledgeable re all we were seeing. Just the right balance of being in group and having time off. Good accommodations. Very good meals.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I loved the hike from Montessera to Vernazza in Cinque Terre. The day was glorious weather and it was lovely to hike and come upon the town at the bottom of the hill!"

Adele

Tichborne, ON

Tour: 04/19/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We came back having had a marvellous experience. Rome was noisy, crowded and marvellous ! I was enthralled. Tuscany was magical. Ben has obviously built quite a network with local hotel owners and restauranteurs! It always felt like we were going to friends of his and were made so welcome. He is worth his weight in gold.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The hills of Tuscany.the gentle rolling beauty was spectacular and just went on and on."

Thomas

Seattle, WA

Tour: 04/17/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Enjoyable and enlightening, but a bit tiring for us 70-somethings. We felt we got a good overview of Italy that will help us decide where to spend more time in any future visits, as well as some unique experiences we would have missed on our own.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were several: the expert wine tasting and guidance in Volterra; the dinner prepared by Chef Carlo and wife Daniela, who served us the whole Italian Riviera on our buffet table in Hotel Primavera in Levanto; and Franco and Mimmo, who prepared a scrumptious tenderloin flambe and decadent dessert tray in the Giglio Rosso in Florence. We also loved the hillside hike above Manarola, with its historical vineyards and knock-out views."

Donna

Evanston, IL

Tour: 04/17/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I traveled alone and because of the welcoming atmosphere Nina helped create, I made friends right away and never was alone unless I chose to be. I was overwhelmed at first by all there waste see in Rome, but came away with a wealth of new experience. I loved Volterra, Lucca the Cinque Terre, and Florence as well. Just a perfect trip.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"As I'm sure many people say, one "wow" moment is hard to pick. I think the beauty along the hike between Vernazza and Monta Rossa would be one. Then, there were the museums, the alabaster workshop, the food...and the more food. And the gelato!"

Jean

Seattle, WA

Tour: 04/17/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Four of us joined the group in Rome. We had already stayed in Sorrento for 3 evenings and felt pretty rested. Good thing because the tour kept us very busy! Nina and guides provided a plethora of information. Nina was very much in charge of our group which was nice-no desenters or "problem children". And with 15 of us from the Seattle area, it was like home away from home. None of us had been on a Rick Steve's tour prior but I'm certain many will sign up for future adventures.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"We saw so much but I think I have to say the visit to the Coloseum with Tour Guide Francesco (sp?) was such an eye opener. She sked us to compare the human sacrifices of the Romans to events in our lives today and is it fair to judge them according to our standards? Fascinating, thought provoking...."

Mark

North Bend, WA

Tour: 04/17/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

When people ask me about my favorite part of the trip I keep saying it was being on a Rick Steves' tour. Italy was great but the experience we had designed for us made it truly unforgettable!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"In Volterra out guide told us a story about lifesavers candy that brought a tear to my eye. Having great guides takes traveling to the next level and Annie in particular did that for me."

Mary

Kirkland, WA

Tour: 04/17/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The trip was marvelous! SO much was packed into the 9 days, yet I never felt rushed! Having never been to Italy, I have come away knowing I saw an excellent 'sampling' of the historic landmarks PLUS gained an understanding of the ways of the Italian people yesterday and today! I appreciated our planned group time as well as the time reserved for our individual quests. Our group leader was wonderfully helpful by suggesting things we could do, but never what we should do!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Because Rome that we were SO fortunate to see and hear about (excellent local guides!!) was more what I expected and had read and learned about, when we got to Voltaire, and walked down the cobblestones, then turned around to view the wall, the land below, I was overwhelmed!! This was the Italy I imagined, but never really thought would be there........ or I'd actually see it? And be IN IT?"

Beth

Bothell, WA

Tour: 04/17/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I was hesitant to take a tour but I am very happy that I did. I was not only shown historical sites, but got a very good overview of the Italian people and the flow of their lives. This made it much easier to integrate into their ways, which was especially helpful when we took a few days on our own after the tour ended.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I still can't get over that the ancient Romans had a very colorful city...the statues were painted, not just the white marble we have come to accept as their norm. Picturing it really blows my mind!"

Will

Centerville, MA

Tour: 04/17/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Lovely! The weather was good, so we were able to see and do all that was scheduled and after the scheduled activities, we went out roaming, taking in the sights and did our fair share of getting lost, but lost in a good way, where we saw even more than we set out to see. Our guides were all excellent and we learned very much from them. We did our learning with our guides and then went out on private sojourns by ourselves or with others in our group to enjoy the sights, food and the towns.

Cali

North Bend, WA

Tour: 04/17/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

While we expected to be on the younger side of our group, we didn't anticipate how much fun we'd have with everyone on the tour! What a great group of people! Nina did a fantastic job bringing us all together and making us feel really comfortable in what could very easily be an awkward situation at best. We were so impressed with the perfect balance of structured time that saved us logistics headaches, and unstructured time that allowed us to really explore Italy!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My "wow" moment was walking into St. Peter's Basilica. Wow! The president of Italy decided to visit the Pope for the first time while we were there, and had it not been for Nina's "ear to the ground" information about when the Basilica was opening again, we would have missed it. ...but when I think of our trip to Italy, there were so many special moments with the tour group (dinners in our own little groups, funny stories as we regrouped for group dinners, etc.) that it is hard to pick one!"

Ronald

Bothell, WA

Tour: 04/17/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

To sum it up in a few words: Great people, great leader, excellent guides, good accommodations, good meals, no hassles! Deciding to embark on a Rick Steves tour made sense since my wife and are wanting to spend more time in Italy and this gave us an excellent background. My primary goal (which was met) was to learn as much as possible about one of my passions - Renaissance art, and in particular that of Michelangelo. My secondary goal (again met) was to immerse myself in the culture.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were many, but I was truly in awestruck by the beauty of the Basilica in Rome (I am not Catholic BTW). Since that portion of our guided tour was cancelled (due to the President of Italy visiting the Pope) we waited over an hour to get in - but it was worth it. When I saw the Piata I nearly cried! So beautiful - WOW!"

Margaret

Bremerton, WA

Tour: 04/17/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my first time in Europe. I've always wanted to see Italy and I will be forever grateful that I took this tour. It was amazing, fun, and sometimes overwhelming all at the same time. I've had 2 knee replacements in 2 years, and most of the time I was "bringing up the rear" when walking, but I did it! That said, I would do the tour again in a heartbeat.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My "wow"moment took me by surprise...I would have expected seeing the Sistine Chapel or the statue of David...but it happened in the Colesuem when Francesca Caruso was speaking. She brought ancient Rome and it's people to life for me. I was seeing with my heart and not my eyes. I could actually feel their presence, and "see" Rome not as ruin, but in it's glory. Amazing!"

Marian

Avon, IN

Tour: 04/17/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was all that I thought it would be and more. The weather that you ordered was exellent throughout the nine days. Good job on that one!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I loved it all, But especially Volterra. After Rome it was a treat to be in a small town."

William

Portland, OR

Tour: 04/12/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was great! Our group of 26 was a nice mix of ages, travel experience and from all over the US. We really lucked out with the weather having bright sunny days except for a bit showery in the Cinque Terre for one day. The days were very active to get the sights covered but there was a nice mix of free time to do what you wanted. I feel our trip was a great value in both money and time (and a lot less stressful than trying to do it on our own).

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were many but probably my favorite was biking on top of the medieval city wall of Lucca. Oh, and gelato."

Schele

Alexandria, VA

Tour: 04/12/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Jamie and the itinerary and the pace were all perfect. Terrific overview of the country: Romans, Etruscans, Renaissance, village life, countryside, huge city, great food, small city ....

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Volterra was my favorite spot."

Dan

Alexandria, VA

Tour: 04/12/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Overall a great experience. Well organized. Good balance of activities and free time.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Our time in Florence."

Corinne

Hilliard, OH

Tour: 04/12/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

My husband and I had a great time on our tour. I liked the itinerary for having a mix of small towns and big towns and a good combination of history, art, culture and food as well as group versus independent time. The hotels were all well located and clean, the included meals were delicious. We enjoyed the museums, history and scenery. Jaime is very knowledgeable and we really appreciated the local guides. Francesca in Rome and Annie in Volterra were particularly good.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Can't choose just one: The impressiveness of everything in St. Peter's Basilica, visualizing the past in the Colliseum and the Forum, and with the Etruscan arch in Volterra. I found the alabastar workshop in Volterra very interesting. Really enjoyed bicycling on the city walls in Lucca. The sculpture in the Borghese gallery pre-tour was amazing! Loved the gondola ride post tour."

David

Hilliard, OH

Tour: 04/12/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

I enjoyed staying in the middle of the cities and not needing to get on a bus each morning to drive into the city.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Forum and Coliseum in Rome."

Denise

Portland, OR

Tour: 04/12/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Had a great time. Enjoyed the sites and tour guides. Jamie was a wonderful leader . Other folks were fun to be with also.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The roman forum definitely. Very informative guide."

Karen

Greenleaf, WI

Tour: 04/12/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Wonderful!

Joseph

Greenleaf, WI

Tour: 04/12/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Favorite "WOW" moment

"cinque terra hike between the two towns."

David

Olympia, WA

Tour: 04/10/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This is the first time in Italy, our guides made it very easy to take it all in.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Great to see 1500 to 2000 year old buildings still intact."

Gloria

Olympia, WA

Tour: 04/10/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Had a fabulous time. Loved the education on ancient history, the personal stories about living in Italy vs. the US, and the tour had just the right amount of free (on your own) time and group time. Guide and apprentice were awesome, fun, and knowledgeable. Our only regret was that the Heart of Italy tour did not include Venice.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Seeing the Colosseum and Michelangelo's David."

Judith

Grand Marais, MN

Tour: 04/10/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

First of all, we had two outstanding guides, Karin and Davide, for the price of one, since this trip was David's last intern position before taking on his own tours. Besides being a wonderful musician, from which we benefited from at least 3 times, he will do fine on his own. Karin is truly a great guide and a wonderful person. Italy is such a wonderful place, and I loved going to a less-visited city, Volterra, which may be my favorite memory among many others.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Like most of us, there were a lot of wow moments, but I think the two spontaneous happenings in Florence had to top them all. We were on our way to the Acacemia Gallery to see David when a fully re-enacted honoring of Bruselleschi's funeral day came down the street, music, drums, costumes, all as if in the early 16th century. Then we came upon a large group preparing to hug the baptistery and selling t-shirts as fundraisers for its repair, and our guides bought us each one and we joined the hug!"

Bill

Indianapolis, IN

Tour: 03/29/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We chose to go on this tour to celebrate our 25th Wedding anniversary. We were worried about traveling with a group, as we had always just made our own travel arrangements. However we could not have been happier with the combination of group orientation walks,the advice from Lisa and the amount of time for us to explore on our own. It was an outstanding trip!!!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"So many to choose from. As in most things nothing you see on TV ever compares to seeing it in person. Going to the Vatican and actually sitting in the Sistine Chapel was overwhelming. Being in the Colosseum and just walking around the cities of Rome, Luca and Florence were unbelievable. However the hike we took from Monterosso to Vernazza was simply beautiful and one of the best days of the tour."

Leslie

Salinas, CA

Tour: 03/29/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was a trip of our lifetime and since my husband and I were the oldest couple we were so proud that we kept up with the group.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The wonderful family like atmosphere we all experienced during the group diner the night before the tour concluded."

Rebecca

Sandpoint, ID

Tour: 03/29/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was the perfect experience for first timers in Italy. Our guide was engaging and experienced. She knew the balance between fun through experiences and fun through relaxation. All the guides were so knowledgable about their area of expertise. Their personal stories woven into the historical aspects of each location made the towns come alive! Reading the same information in a book or even listening to it on an audio guide still isn't as meaningful as the shared stories of a great guide.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The final group dinner was very special. We had gotten to know so many new traveler friends! Sharing the experience with them was quite special."

David

Salinas, CA

Tour: 03/29/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our third Rick Steves tour and it exceeded all our expectations.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Once again arriving at the beautiful Cinque Terra."

Brian

Seattle, WA

Tour: 03/29/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our first family travel experience in Europe. The tour uniformly exceeded my and our expectations. One very important element(to us) was how the tour helped our two teenage sons navigate in a different culture and appreciate the history, politics, and art that were introduced. The walking tours and the exercise opportunities were welcome.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were many... Watching our sons experience Roman history and Italian culture with the help of the tour. Climbing up in the tower of the Torreguelfa hotel in Florence and being rewarded with the panorama including profile of Sta Maria Del Fiore. Family hiking to Vernazza."

Leonard

San Diego, CA

Tour: 03/29/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The Italy tour was fun-nominal. The group of mostly "first-timers" pulled together quickly and we enjoyed the entire trip, even the morning storm where we walked for a mile in pouring rain to get to the bus. History, art and culture really came alive. I understand Rome as the eternal city more than ever.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Many times I see great sights and I think I'm walking into a book or postcard and I don't grasp the greatness of the experience. Seeing the David in Florence, up close is awe inspiring. I also can't get the sight of the Bronze Hercules out of my mind. Why have history books ignored this marvel? It's not smooth and perfect but the scale of a bronze 2500 year old, 25 foot statue is amazing. How did they cast this? Lighting struck it and saved it for all of human history! Wow!"

Judy

Apopka, FL

Tour: 03/22/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My husband and I had an exceptional time on our tour. Both Stephanie and Stacy were so helpful, accessible, and fun! Earnest and I realize how much better this trip was by taking the tour vs. trying to do it on our own. We stayed in warm and friendly hotels, ate great meals, and learned so much about Italy's history, culture, and art. The local tour guides were also passionate about sharing what they knew with us, it was a pleasure to learn from them.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I especially enjoyed the smaller towns of Volterra and Levanto. We saw the locals create their masterpieces of alabaster and pesto. My favorite story: a shop in Volterra had beautiful artwork, but it was closed every time we went by. I finally called the number on the door and reached the owner. The communication was rudimentary, but she was able to understand me well enough to let me know she would be right there and I was able to purchase an original work of art to treasure."

Trisha

Minneapolis, MN

Tour: 03/22/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I loved the entire experience. I thought the way Stephanie laid out the expectations in the beginning was wonderful and helpful, got everyone on the same page. All of our tour guides were knowledgeable and so passionate about what their topic. It was wonderful to really be a part of the history of Italy. The dinners were fabulous, a great time to bond with your group and to experience regional dishes in a great atmosphere. We have not been able to speak highly enough about our experience!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It has been a dream to see the Colosseum. My husband I knew we had a guided tour of it the next morning but we wanted to see it at night too, so after dinner in the Jewish Ghetto we walked over to ancient Rome and there it was...beautifully lit and majestic everything I ever thought it would be. We spent time walking around with hardly anyone else there and just enjoyed the view peacefully. The next morning we had the most incredible guide walk us through the history and architecture."

Amy

Manchester, MA

Tour: 03/22/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Overall I am pleased with the routing of the tour. The itinerary is solid and gives excellent exposure to that pocket of Italy. The included group activities were wonderful: wine tasting in Volterra, alabaster demonstration, pesto making demonstration...all great extras that made the trip. Time on our own at sites shouldn't be so short that we have to decide to "either use the bathroom or see more on your own". That happened a few times and was a disappointment.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"On the hike from Monterosso to Vernazza, that first time I could see Vernazza from way up on the cliff through the trees was a picture postcard, once in a lifetime moment. It took my breath away. We also were lucky enough to be alone in the Medici Chapels and almost alone with Michelangelo's David just as the Accademia closed. To be one on one with such stunning marble was amazing."

Jean Robert

Orlando, FL

Tour: 03/22/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

My overall experience was very good. My previous trips to Europe were done solo. Since I am traveling with a group on this trip, I got the benefit of the companionship and camaraderie offered by the group. In addition, the majority of the logistics was taken care of for me so I didn't have to worry about things like hotel, transportation, guides etc.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I was particularly fascinated by Cinque Terre. Absolutely loved the mountain adjacent to the beach."

Louise

Indianapolis, IN

Tour: 03/22/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My sister and I spent 2 days on our own before meeting up with the tour so Stephanie and Stacy were a else one sight. Everything was planned which was wonderful. Stephanie did a great job of using Italian and explaining the art as well as the current culture of the Italian people. We were exposed to art, interesting people, and marvelous food! I liked that there was scheduled and I scheduled time.....maybe could have used more free time. I lived the tour and enjoyed our leaders.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Italian riviera"

Pamela

Snohomish, WA

Tour: 03/22/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my first tour of any kind. It gave me a feeling of safety in a new country I had not experienced before. I did feel there was too much detail in some of the descriptions of sites. By the end of the week, many of us were weary of standing so long. Perhaps incorporate more sit down experiences of different natures, not just historical exposés of museums.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Rome experience was the highlight with the Coliseum particularly. Having been a Latin student 52 years ago, the ancient Italy all came together being able to touch, confirm stories and see actual ruins."

John

Irvine, CA

Tour: 03/15/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our tour guide Ann was fantastic throughout the whole trip. The specialized tour guides all had a passion for their subject or town, so that made the experience all the better.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"When our tour guide Francesca at The Colosseum really painted the picture for us of what a day in the life would have looked, smelled, and felt like. She really made that tour pop. The cupola at the top of St. Peter's was my favorite view of the trip, so I would make sure not to miss that."

Kelli

Williamsburg, VA

Tour: 03/15/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our tour manager, Ann, was very down to earth, approachable and knowledgeable. The tours were pertinent and each of the tour guides was excellent in their presentations. The tour was planned in consideration of the energy levels, with sufficient time to rest, explore on your own and enjoy group activities. The tour also provided variety with big city, mountains, beach and smaller city. Excellent package!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My biggest "wow" was the marble mountains. Never thought about where marble came from and thought it was beautiful to see the mountains. Fascinated by the prospect that those mountains had been chipped away at for thousands of years and still stood tall and magnificent. My favorite spot was Volterra which had breathtaking views, a romantic ambiance and was historically fascinating."

Arnold

Elizaville, NY

Tour: 03/15/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Super Ann made the whole experience memorable-Thank you Ann

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Many but the docents at each site were truly well studied in their field."

Claudia

Long Beach, CA

Tour: 03/15/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

First time with Rick Steve's. Not for sissies! Knowledgeable guides. Got to know the cities and countryside well. Plenty of walking which we were warned about. Liked that we stayed 2 nights in each place and had frequent time to ourselves. Buses were comfortable although a little short on leg space (I'm 5'9"). We were told that hotel rooms would be rotated so that you would get a really nice room one night and maybe a smaller room) the next night. We liked ALL our hotel rooms.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Gosh hard to choose. Galleria Borghese (0on our own) The Coliseum (because of Francesca) The town of Volterra The cathedral in Florence The Uffizi"

Suzanne

Middleton, WI

Tour: 03/15/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our tour was exceptional. The accommodations were all very well located and very comfortable. Ann Long was exceptional as our tour guide. She was very knowledgeable and attentive to our needs. Having lived in Italy for 30 some years,she has an insight into the culture which she shared with us often.The city guides we had were also exceptionally good.My traveling companion and I both felt the trip was a great value and we look forward to our next Rick Steve's adventure.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Coliseum tour with Franscesca!"

Kimberly

Austin, TX

Tour: 03/15/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

I had a wonderful time on our Heart of Italy in 9 Days Tour. Our days were jam packed with interesting and fun activities. Some days I was so tired from all the walking but it was so worth it for the amazing experiences we were having. My favorite part of the tour was the local tour guides that we had throughout the tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Our tour at the Colosseum and the Forum with Francesca was so wonderful. I was completely mesmerized by the way she took us back in time to when the Colosseum was built. I felt like I was there with all the sights, sounds, and feelings of that awe-inspiring and terrible place. I can't imagine a better way to experience Ancient Rome. She is a master at her craft!"

Teresa

Williamsburg, VA

Tour: 03/15/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was my first professional tour. It was everything I wanted it to be. My guide Ann was fun and funny . She was always on time. I loved that I didn't have to think of anything. Ann did it all. My job is demanding , I'm a boss. I for once in forever that I can remember , got to really let my hair down . Lol . I loved being told when, what and where. It was fantastic. The accommodations , food , intertainment was delightful. The company was suburb.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The tour guides that specialized in their own area. The knowledge and depth of the history. The love they shared of their art, their statues and their towns. Amazing time."

Ken

Arab, AL

Tour: 03/15/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We are having a very busy time in our house now--suffice it to say that Ann was fabulous and we loved the trip--we would definitely recommend the trip to our friends and family and have already done so.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Having our blind daughter get to touch an ancient fountain in Lucca that the local guide got permission for."

Julie

Ocean Springs, MS

Tour: 03/15/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my first time in Europe and my first time on a tour. I don't think it could have been any better. I enjoyed every aspect of the tour. Excellent food and accommodations.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Viewing the art in the cathedrals. When I walked in the first one, it took my breath away."

Alan

Austin, TX

Tour: 03/15/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was great. The local guides were all excellent.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Walking by where Julius Caesar was cremated in the forum. Francesca set the scene so well."

Stephen

Ocean Springs, MS

Tour: 03/15/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The Heart of Italy tour was our first Rick Steves adventure and it was everything we dreamed it would be and more! My wife and I booked this tour to celebrate our 30th anniversary. Our tour guide, Ann Long, was a real gem. She and the other local guides really brought the history and art and cuisine to life. Our skilled bus driver navigated the twisting hill roads with great expertise. Each stop was a new adventure and we also thoroughly enjoyed the considerable free time to explore on our own.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were too many great experiences to single out one "wow" moment. However, high on the list would be seeing the breath taking art in the Sistine Chapel, as well as the statue of David. The coastal towns along the sea were something special, as were the small towns of Tuscany. Since I was raised a devout Catholic, the visit to St. Peter's was also quite special and inspirational."

Pamela

Arab, AL

Tour: 03/15/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Trip was incredible - we are having a very hectic time here now getting back with work issues and school for the kids, so I must be brief. Ann was a great tour guide and very attentive and informative. Our kids got a tremendous amount out of the trip.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Lucca--everything there"

Merry

Bellingham, WA

Tour: 03/08/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I cannot imagine a better tour experience. The Heart of Italy provided a great balance between urban, traditional sightseeing and off-the-beaten- path sights. The variety and the mix of scheduled tour time and personal time was just right. Sarah Murdoch is excellent, as were the other local guides. Her professional knowledge and skills made the tour experiences come alive. I appreciated the classical sights,but was even more enchanted by everyday life in Italy.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Volterra was my wow moment because it was such a surprise. The village's setting, its amazing history leading back to the Etruscans and the tradition of its citizens' artistic endeavors were fascinating. Strolling the narrow streets past picturesque shops and houses made me feel as if I had stepped into a storybook."

Kristine

San Antonio, TX

Tour: 03/08/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I have been on Italy several times before but I feel like I learned things on this tour that were new and fresh. The ability to tell a story of the art, culture, food or even politics was top notch on this tour. Sarah encouraged everyone to embrace the culture through food, walking the streets, soaking up the art history and learning to be independent travelers. Off-season is the way to go. We had a really great group on this tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I have two! 1. Hiking the trail in Manarola in the Cinque Terre. We had a perfect day with sun, a breeze and an amazing view of the town and the water. It was a postcard moment. 2. Volterra - The alabaster demonstration, amazing views of the countryside and a wine tasting, combined with a great meal made Volterra one of my favorites. It's just a fun town to wander around and get lost."

Christin

Forest Hills, NY

Tour: 03/08/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

It was a wonderful trip that was well organized and well packed with great things to see. We only wish it were longer and/or had more time in each of the destinations. Also, very high quality on the group meals and the tour guides in each location - much better than other tour companies we have used.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"For me it was Cinque Terre. We had the fortune of being there on a beautiful day that was in the beginning of the season so it was virtually empty - something that we could have never gotten during high season. The day "off" was helpful to explore the area at our own pace and to experience everything the towns had to offer. We only wish that we could have been there when the ferries were operating, but it gives us an excuse to go back!"

Patricia

Ann Arbor, MI

Tour: 03/08/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our guide,Sarah, made everything run smoothly. She was prepared, knew when the best time to tour each location, and was so knowledgeable.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were many: The city of Voltare was a favorite."

Nial

Ann Arbor, MI

Tour: 03/08/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

A good balance between guided excursions and free time to explore on our own. Local tour guides were for the most part very good and added value to the experience. Our guide arranged visiting times for various sites that minimized wait time, which was a great time-saver given the relatively short time available in each location.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hiking to the top of the Vatican dome for a view of Rome."

Weather

Italy / Florence


Italy / Rome

Pre-Tour

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 find a list of recommended books and movies.

Transportation

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

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

There is more than one way to get to and from your tour. Most tour members will arrange to fly into Rome and out of Florence (“multi-city” on flight booking websites). Booking round-trip to one city will require a connecting flight, train trip, 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

For information about traveling by train, read Rick's train travel and rail pass tips to decide if your travel plans merit a rail pass. You can get a rough idea of costs from the above guide or Rick Steves Italy guidebook.

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 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; Capitol Hill museums; Santa Maria Maggiore; Castel Sant’Angelo; Capuchin Crypt; National Museum of Rome; 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.