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  • Tuscany, Italy
    Tuscany
  • Val d'Orcia
  • Tuscan hills
  • Pienza
  • Pitigliano
  • Island of Elba
  • Lucca

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Best of Tuscany in 12 Days Tour

from $4,095 per person + air

Single Supplement $775

See Dates & Prices

Starting in Florence, the capital of Tuscany, you'll discover the incredible Renaissance art treasures of the Bargello and Accademia, followed by a deep dive into the Tuscan countryside. Roll your way through the Chianti hills sipping wine and strolling through Siena. Breathe in the fresh air of the Val d'Orcia, where vineyards and cypress trees go on forever. Meet local family farmers and taste their fresh products. Learn how to make homemade pasta and savor every meal. Soak up the Tuscan sun on historic Elba — and fall in love with everything about this beautiful region. Join us for the Best of Tuscany in 12 Days!

Dates & Prices

2022

2023

What's Included

You'll get at least 20 group sightseeing events — at no extra cost!

Here's what you'll see and do on our Best of Tuscany tour:

  • Florence orientation walk
  • Accademia Gallery (Michelangelo's David)
  • Florence neighborhood walking tour
  • Local market tasting
  • Bargello Museum
  • Mosaic workshop
  • Siena Duomo tour
  • Chianti wine tasting
  • Brunello winery lunch
  • Monte Oliveto Abbey
  • Family farm visit and olive oil tasting
  • Pienza Hermitage and walking tour
  • Italian cooking class
  • Scenic hill town drive
  • Pitigliano walking tour
  • Via Cava walk
  • Butteri (Tuscan cowboy) ranch
  • Orientation for "vacation" day on Elba Island
  • Volterra walking tour
  • Lucca walking tour

Plus you'll get all this, too.

  • 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 Tuscany come alive for you
  • All group transportation from Florence to Lucca
  • 11 nights' accommodations in memorable, centrally located hotels
  • All breakfasts and half your dinners
  • All tips for guides and driver
  • A tour kit including a guidebook (when available) and a moneybelt
  • Guaranteed tour price, locked in the moment you make your deposit
  • Tour alum discount of $50 for each tour you've taken with us
  • 50% discount on a consulting appointment with our in-house experts to assist with your pre- or post-tour travel plans
  • Flexibility should you need to transfer or cancel your tour

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

Group sightseeing events subject to change.

Itinerary

Day 1: Welcome to Tuscany

Our adventure begins in Florence, the capital of Tuscany. At 4 p.m., we'll gather at our centrally located hotel for a brief welcome meeting, followed by an orientation walk through our favorite Renaissance city. Along the way, we'll be introduced to the divinely domed Duomo and its storytelling Baptistery doors. Then we'll get to know each other over an aperitivo of Tuscan drinks and appetizers before setting you free to enjoy the city's evening ambiance and a light meal on your own.

Light walking: 2–4 miles throughout the day with some hills and stairs. No bus. Sleep in Florence.

Day 2: Renaissance and Everyday Florence

A local scholar will join us this morning as we tour the Accademia Gallery and study Michelangelo's majestic David. Afterward, we'll enjoy a neighborhood walking tour that connects us with the daily lives of Florentines — and their love for food and local markets. It's the perfect introduction to the rest of your day, which is free to explore more of Florence (including the Uffizi Gallery if you've booked ahead) and enjoy dinner on your own.

Strenuous walking: 2–8 miles throughout the day with lots of hills, stairs, and uneven terrain. No bus. Sleep in Florence.

Day 3: Florentine Treasures and Chianti

We'll begin our day at Florence's famed National Museum of Bargello. Housed in a 13th-century palace (and 18th-century prison!), the Bargello welcomes us with intimate looks at Renaissance masterpieces by Donatello, Michelangelo, della Robbia, and more. We'll end our morning with a visit to an impressive mosaic workshop, where we'll learn how local artisans keep this Renaissance art form alive. After a break for lunch, we'll meet our coach and driver and embark on a scenic journey over the hills of Chianti, ending at our family-owned countryside hotel. We'll be welcomed with an aperitivo, followed by a traditional Tuscan dinner together.

Strenuous walking: 2–8 miles throughout the day with lots of hills, stairs, and uneven terrain. Bus: 1½ hours. Sleep in the Chianti countryside.

Day 4: Savoring Siena

Today we'll head out to one of our favorite Tuscan hill towns: spirited Siena. With a local guide, we'll introduce you to the city's treasure-filled Duomo and learn the story of Siena's medieval city-state rivalry with Florence. We'll also gain insight into the city's beloved Palio horse races and learn why this tradition means so much to residents of every Sienese neighborhood. You'll have some free time to wander around Siena's charming streets — or relax with a drink and a view along the famous Campo. We'll return to our countryside hotel for some down time before enjoying a tasting of the world-famous Chianti wines.

Moderate walking: 2–6 miles throughout the day with some hills and stairs. Bus: 2 hours. Sleep in the Chianti countryside.

Day 5: Tuscany's Val d'Orcia

This morning we'll head to Tuscany's picturesque Val d'Orcia region. Along the way, we'll hear stories of how this area was impacted by the tumultuous events of World War II. We'll stop at a family-run Brunello winery for lunch, tasting their delicious homemade prosciutto as we sip their fine wine. This afternoon we'll learn about the pivotal role of monasticism in Tuscan history at the hilltop Benedictine Abbey of Monte Oliveto Maggiore, famous for its wood-carved choir and colorful frescoes by Signorelli and Sodoma. We'll finish our day enjoying a traditional Tuscan dinner together at our villa in the Val d'Orcia.

Moderate walking: 2–6 miles throughout the day with some hills and stairs. Bus: 3½ hours. Sleep in the Val d'Orcia.

Day 6: Farm-to-Table and Pienza

Today we'll visit the neighboring hill town of Pienza and take a short, scenic walk along the town wall before venturing underground to find a unique piece of Etruscan history. After some free time in town to enjoy a tasty gelato, we'll head to a nearby working family farm to learn how Tuscany's proud agricultural traditions are kept alive and sample the family's wine and olive oil. As evening approaches we'll gather back at our villa for a fun and informative cooking class, where we'll learn time-tested pasta-making techniques. We'll enjoy the labors of our culinary creations over a lovely dinner together.

Moderate walking: 2–6 miles throughout the day with some hills and stairs. Bus: 1 hour. Sleep in the Val d'Orcia.

Day 7: Hill Towns and Via Cava

Today we'll take a scenic drive along a less-traveled route through "back door" Tuscany — wandering through timeless hill towns with pristine views. At the "Little Jerusalem" village of Pitigliano, a resident will treat us to a history lesson that reveals how its nickname came to be, and we'll walk one of Tuscany's Cave Roads, pondering the mystery of these ancient passageways. Rest assured, we'll return to our countryside villa with plenty of time to kick back and relax before dinner on your own.

Strenuous walking: 2–8 miles throughout the day with lots of hills, stairs, and uneven terrain. Bus: 2 hours. Sleep in the Val d'Orcia.

Day 8: Maremma's Old West

This morning, we'll say goodbye to the rolling hills of the Val d'Orcia and head even further off the beaten path into the ranching region of Maremma. For lunch, we'll mosey on over to a working cattle ranch for some tasty Tuscan BBQ and see how modern-day cowboys and their horses keep Maremma's "Old West" traditions alive. Then we'll hop aboard a Mediterranean ferry to set sail for a very different kind of destination: the sparkling island of Elba.

Strenuous walking: 2–8 miles throughout the day with lots of hills, stairs, and uneven terrain. Bus: 3½ hours. Boat: 1 hour. Sleep on the island of Elba.

Day 9: Napoleon's Island of Elba

Set your watch to "island time" for a little "vacation from your vacation" in seaside Tuscany. The day is yours to take in the stunning views from Napoleon's villa, where the infamous emperor spent 300 days in forced exile. And just like "His Imperial Majesty," you'll also have plenty of time to explore the local harbor of Portoferraio, with its colorful old town and marina, or just relax along the beach. When hunger calls, enjoy today's fresh catch at your choice of the many delightful Elban eateries. Remember, you're on an island, so you can't get lost.

Walking light to strenuous: your choice. No bus. Sleep on the island of Elba.

Day 10: Charming Volterra

This morning we'll board our ferry back to the mainland and make our way up to one of our favorite hill towns: Volterra. We'll have some free time for lunch before meeting a local friend, who will give us a walking tour that includes artisans working in an alabaster workshop. Then we'll head on to the final stop of our Tuscan adventure: the impressive walled city of Lucca.

Moderate walking: 2–6 miles throughout the day with some hills and stairs. Bus: 3½ hours. Boat: 1 hour. Sleep in Lucca.

Day 11: Puccini's Lucca

This morning we'll take a tour of charming Lucca, hometown of the great opera composer Giacomo Puccini. We'll stroll the elegant, pedestrian-friendly streets while learning about the history, music, and artistry that still thrive within this Renaissance walled city. The afternoon will be free for you to wander through more of Lucca, walk atop its scenic wall, or take a short train ride to see nearby Pisa's leaning tower. This evening we'll have our final dinner together, sharing memories and toasting our new friends. Salute!

Moderate walking: 2–6 miles throughout the day with some hills and stairs. No bus. Sleep in Lucca.

Day 12: Tour Over After Breakfast

Breakfast is provided, but there are no group activities today. It's a breeze to reach the Florence or Pisa airports by train. Your guide will help you with any post-tour planning, leaving you well prepared for the road ahead. Grazie e ciao!

Itinerary specifics subject to change.

Physical Demands

Our tours are physically active! It's an essential part of the Rick Steves tour experience. On our Best of Tuscany in 12 Days tour — among other things — you'll need to happily…

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

Reviews

Salvatore

Tour: 06/13/22

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Very informative and fun

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Statue of David"

Alice

Tour: 06/13/22

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

First, our guide, Francesco, was wonderful. He was very friendly, knowledgeable, patient, & fun to be with. It helped that he was also a sommelier! Next, our bus driver, Mario, was “super!” He was personable & very responsible - not drinking wine at meal stops and sometimes not eating lunch for fear of becoming sleepy at the wheel. I felt like we were in safe hands w Mario & Francesco at the helm. Our other guides throughout were great, & we very much liked all other 18 people on tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Arriving at Gorgonza was my “wow” moment. I felt like I got off the bus and stepped into a fairytale!"

Imelda

Tour: 06/13/22

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I've been to Italy four times and this trip surpasses them all by far. I felt truly immersed in the culture, history and people of Tuscany. I learned and experienced so many new things. I've come away enriched and so much more appreciative of the gifts shared by Italy with the rest of the Western world.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favorite "wow" moment happened the evening we were treated to a mini- Puccini concert in Lucca with the lovely soprano, Silvana. Listening to her hit those high notes in the restaurant made my soul shiver. What a delight!"

Angel

Tour: 06/06/22

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our first RS Tour and we were a little concerned about being with a large group, BUT we had a wonderful time! It was fun to get to know the other travelers and we had plenty of time on our own. It was so convenient to have all hotels, guided tours, transportation, and special meals pre-arranged for us. We had opportunities to meet locals and be welcomed into their homes. We learned SO much! Our guide was knowledgeable, kind, and caring. Will definitely sign up for another RS Tour!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"When we arrived and stood at the balcony terrace of VILLA LECCHI and witnessed the splendor of the Tuscan countryside laid out before us, I audibly gasped! It was magical! Our host, Laura, welcomed us with prosecco and appetizers as she shared her family's story. Her son treated us to a wine tasting experience in the underground cellar of the villa. It was a real treat!"

Gary

Tour: 06/06/22

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my first tour of any sort. It was my first time in Italy. It was my honeymoon. I cannot imagine having has a better experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"No single "Wow" moment --there were several. "Wowed" by the landscapes we travelled through. "Wowed" by the knowledge, professionalism, & friendliness of our guides. "Wowed" by what I learned of the culture and history of Tuscany. "Wowed" by the people our tour guides introduced us to, famers, vineyard owners/workers, etc. "Wowed by the pristine water on the beaches of Elba. "Wowed" by how congenial our tour mates were."

Ellen

Tour: 05/30/22

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

I would have given it an outstanding review had it not been for all the Covid stress and a bit of overscheduling. Our guide said this was a fairly new tour and they were tweaking things as they go, so understandable. Overall, a fantastic experience and the RS company seems to be doing about as good as could be done to deal with Covid and helping us to travel as safely as possible.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Our tour was a series of WOW moments! We fell in love with Volterra! Loved that we had plenty of time to explore and Francesco's wife, Annie, was such an interesting perspective."

Maureen

Tour: 05/30/22

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Each town, village and every accommodation was outstanding but if you had any issues with stairs or hills you were in trouble

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Staying at Moscadella and walking to Castelmuzio that had a local fair while were there"

Kathleen

Tour: 05/30/22

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Francesco did a great job! We saw some terrific things, but some areas were more difficult to navigate than I expected.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Staying at the hill town. (Hard to pick just one)"

Kurt

Tour: 05/30/22

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Considering the state of "high anxiety" most of us have lived through over the past 2+ years, it was great to be back out in the world. Much credit goes to the operator, guide, transportation, hotels, restaurants - everyone working on our behalf to keep us informed, safe and well-cared for. Thank you very much.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The "hills of Tuscany," photos, videos, written descriptions didn't prepare me for the striking visual impact of the land. What a setting for the history, the drama, and circumstances that has affected world history."

Ronald

Tour: 05/30/22

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Francesco is a saint. Through the various health issues he had to deal with, especially the Covid concerns, he never wavered. He was always positive and enthusiastic. Francesco worked tirelessly behind the scenes to make sure we made all of our meeting times, even when some members of our group lagged behind. And he constantly reminded people of the importance of mask wearing. The ranch experience in Maremma was disappointing. The tour was too long and the buttero show was staged and touristy.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"La Moscadella Hotel in Castelmuzio. The rooms blew us away. Loved the pool, the food, and all the extras. The cooking class was lots of fun. A first class hotel. And the opera singer in Lucca was amazing. I just closed my eyes and listened, taking in the Puccini music with joy. Sorry, two "wow" moments."

Michael

Tour: 05/30/22

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Francesco was amazing, I loved the variety of accommodations, I loved the content learned and the food and wine were fantastic.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Staying in Gorgonza"

Larry

Tour: 05/30/22

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Positive with a good balance between planned activities and free time.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Etruscan tombs"

Matt

Tour: 05/30/22

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Francesco was a perfect fit for this Itinerary and our group of people. The small group tour worked very well for the sites we visited. The included dinners were outstanding and every dish was explained. The local guides added specific knowledge to those visits. La Moscadella was very disappointing and several people had terrible nights trying to sleep. They would not turn the AC lower than 80 degrees. Every other part of the tour was perfect. We covered a lot of great towns and history!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I had 3 WOW moments. The Opera singer entertaining just our small group with Puccini was an amazing WOW moment. Siena, Volterra, Pienza, Lucca and Pitigliano are all WOW Tuscany towns to explore. The family run Santa Giulia Brunello winery visit, wine tasting, lunch and product purchases was a WOW afternoon."

Jacqueline M

Tour: 05/23/22

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The accommodations, destinations, and our tour director, David, were all outstanding.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The entire experience was excellent. David’s knowledge, interaction, professionalism, and his willingness to share his talents and personal experiences regarding his family history, (wwII) , brought much unanticipated meaning and value to my trip."

Faye

Tour: 05/23/22

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Favorite "WOW" moment

"La moscatella, beauty of Elba island, too many to name"

Nicole

Tour: 05/23/22

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

So much more than I ever expected. Perfect amount of group activity and time alone. So much food! Arriving at a hotel and they already knowing your room number and having them hand you the key is so nice. Relaxing on a cool bus after a busy morning is Heaven. The guide was perfect, funny, smart, and all around wonderful. We rarely opened our wallets, just for an occasion cold drink. The other members of the group were seasoned travelers and it went so smoothly. I will do it again.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Two of the hotels in Tuscany were off the charts. The first castle and then the Isabella experience. Swimming in a pool at a castle in Tuscany is a wow moment."

Kelsey

Tour: 05/23/22

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Great! Loved the variety of accommodations and destinations. Perfect about of scheduled activities and on your own time. Loved all the wine and food!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Rolling hills of Tuscany!"

Cynthia

Tour: 05/23/22

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Tuscany is stunningly beautiful. Tour offered a great balance between planned activities and free time! Fellow travelers, local guides, accommodations, variety of sights and guide, David were exceptional. Amazing opportunity!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Every day was a "wow" moment! Several wow's included David, the sculpture and David, our guide! Other wow's included Gargonza and La Moscadella! Pitigliano, group dinners (one with a band), cave roads and free day on Elba with a climb to the top of the fort, followed by a swim in the Mediterranean! Oh, can't forget opera in Lucca. Was a joyous trip!"

Thomas

Tour: 05/23/22

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The itinerary was very inclusive taking us to places that showed the true Italy. The small towns and families behind the businesses was very informative and inspiring. However without our tour guide David Tordi’s insight knowledge and Italian and French language skills of all the areas we visited, it would not have been the quality tour that it was. His overviews of each area given to us on the bus rides and while we were at each venue gave us a more in-depth look at the places we visited.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"His local knowledge of these areas and his fluency in Italian brought out the local peoples views and insights. Individually the places where we ate and stayed were first rate with all of the qualities one could ask for. In particular Gargonza and Moscatello as our hotels was nothing short of fabulous. Also having a private session in Lucca with an opera singer and pianist was extremely special for me. Again the performance brought me even deeper to the Tuscany Italian experience."

Barbara

Tour: 05/23/22

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour was fantastic with gorgeous places to visit, amazing sights to see, perfect pacing, tranquil (and mostly spectacular) hotel rooms, authentic and delicious meals and wine, genial and fun- loving fellow travelers, and the very talented, personable, and well organized tour guide, David. Despite having been to Tuscany before, every day on this tour was a new adventure.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"We celebrated our 50th wedding anniversary on this tour, and David our guide made it a most memorable occasion by arranging for flowers, a prosecco toast, and a live band (with him on guitar) and even a little dancing. Aside from that personal "wow," we thought the hotel rooms and setting of Gargonza and Moscadella in the Italian countryside were the finest we have experienced on any tour."

Maury

Tour: 05/09/22

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My first time in Europe, my first formal tour of any kind; it was FANTASTIC.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Pitigliano was such a wonderful mix of all that makes Tuscany great."

Jeffrey

Tour: 05/09/22

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our tour experience was fantastic - everything from the guide, the tour members, the activities and the hotels.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The rolling green hills of the Tuscan countryside. It was picture perfect. Also, the unexpected Roman ruins in Volterra."

Terrie

Tour: 05/09/22

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our tour guide, David, really made the trip. His love of Italy and its food, music, art, history was so contagious. I felt safe, excited, happy and in awe throughout our 12 days together. From the David in Florence, to the castles, the green rolling hills, the wine, the olive oil, the gardens, the food, this trip could not be improved upon!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"So many "wow" moments. How about a private opera performance on our last night together in Lucca."

Sheri Ray

Tour: 05/09/22

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

David is an excellent tour guide! Lido, our bus driver, is the BEST! The whole group bonded, in part due to David, but we watched out for each other and had alot of fun. David's cultural and historical knowledge gave such depth to our Tour of Tuscany and his sense of humor it priceless. We enjoyed our tours in each city and the hotels we stayed in. Going on the Rick Steve's Tour is just so easy.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Do I have to choose just one? No, I didn't think so...that was just a misprint. David David David at the Accademia; Pienza and the tour of the private underground caves; deciding which town had the best cherry gelato; gardens at Val d'Orcia; the beautiful fresco's; tombs; Elba...you get the message. So many "wow" moments!"

Deborah

Tour: 05/09/22

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

The 12 Days in Tuscany tour was very educational and entertaining. Interacting with Italian local families and experiencing their lifestyle was an authentic way to learn the regional culture. Staying at family owned hotels brought a warmth to the entire experience. The tour guide David Tordi was exceptional.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Experiencing the beauty of the Val d’Orcia and staying at La Moscadella."

Bonnie

Tour: 05/09/22

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We have been on multiple Rick Steves tours and as usual another excellent experience. Liked the smaller group of 20 as made group activities more pleasant and intimate. Guide David Tordi excellent.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"An opera singer singing happy birthday to my husband on his 84th birthday"

Mona

Tour: 05/09/22

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The itinerary is outstanding and our guide (David) was truly exceptional. On a scale of 0-100, he was a 125!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The private Etruscan/Medieval cave in Val d'Orcia reflected an awe inspiring cross-section of pre-history and history. The vertical connection between the church on top the cave with Etruscan and medieval art work, and the spring and older church at the bottom of the cliff gave me chills. the young tour guide did an outstanding job weaving the history with personal stories from his own family."

Dennis

Tour: 05/09/22

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

David was tremendous! He was detailed and in so many ways made the experience unique for all of us. Being from Tuscany he made each location and city visited special. He made each individual on the tour feel like he was personally there just for you!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were 2 wow moments on the tour for me the Castello Di Gargonza and Lucca. The Castel experience was unique, gave us all a real Tuscany view and appreciation of the beauty and uniqueness of this ancient area of Italy. The castle was almost exclusively our playground to explore and relax. It was a great way to begin the tour. Lucca is the city of my family. Giannini's have lived there for centuries and I was amazed at the beauty of the wall and surrounding area."

Susan

Tour: 05/09/22

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

David, our RS guide, made this a fantastic experience that we will always treasure and we hope to travel with him on another RS tour in the near future. This was our first RS tour and we were thrilled with the quality of the itinerary and the way David unfurled it for us in his skillfull, informative and unfailingly personable way. The broad variety of tour experiences made every day rich and engaging, with just the right mix of structured activities and free time.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Traveling with David was the big wow factor - his seamless and enjoyable leadership helped our group develop a warm bond and embrace both the planned itinerary and surprise "Wow" bonuses like the private operatic performance of Puccini arias David arranged for our group in our Lucca hotel, a sumptuous group dinner in tiny Castel Muzio, complete with tolling bells. Other Wow moments were our two remarkable agriturismo experiences at La Moscadella and La Gargonza and visiting Etruscan caves."

Marc

Tour: 05/09/22

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Great venues, great group, fabulous tour guide

Favorite "WOW" moment

"La Moscadella venue. Unbelievably beautiful. Great hosts and delicious food."

Howard

Tour: 05/09/22

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my third Rick Steves Tour and it was the best!! Tuscany was beautiful and tasty with many good meals, amazing art and architecture. The group got along well and everyone cooperated. We stayed at a couple of wonderful hotels including a 1000 year old castle. But what really took this tour over the top was our tour guide, David. He was very knowledgeable, looked after our welfare, shared his story with us, and serenaded us.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"This is very hard to decide: It could have been staying at the castle; or visiting the hermits grotto, or David teaching us about how Italians communicate with hand gestures."

Patricia

Tour: 04/25/22

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Francesco was a wonderful tour guide. He was very knowledgeable, enthusiastic and patient. I also really liked Lucia in Florence, Roberto in Siena and Annie in Voltera.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I didn’t have a “wow” moment but I did have a lot of memorable moments"

Maurice

Tour: 04/25/22

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Overall, I enjoyed the tour. Francesco was a great guide.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Having Silvana Froli perform for the group on the last night in Lucca. Just amazing. This should be included in every tour."

Diana

Tour: 04/25/22

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Although we had been to Tuscany a few times before, this tour gave us the opportunity to see areas that were new to us (Pitigliano, Elba, Gargonza, and Castelmuzio) as well as to re-connect with special places like Siena, Volterra and Lucca. It was so refreshing to spend time in some of the loveliest countryside in Italy. Francesco, our guide, provided a view of Tuscany as only a native son could. His leadership was competent, helpful, informative, and cheerful throughout our journey.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Etruscan sites at Pitigliano and Pienza were so interesting and unexpected as was the farm visit and lunch with the charming family in Pienza."

Christina

Tour: 04/25/22

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was fantastic! I loved the smaller group of seasoned travelers. Francesco is an outstanding guide who makes his job look easy and fun. It was like touring with a knowledgeable and helpful friend. Every day’s itinerary was varied and interesting and we met many local people. The group meals throughout the tour were fantastic and the hotels in the Tuscan countryside at Gargonza and La Moscadella were wonderful and relaxing.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Some of my favorites are: Immersing myself in the art of Florence; Learning about the frescos at the Abbey of Monte Oliveto with the entertaining Roberto Bechi; Visiting the ancient Etruscan and hermitage site near Pienza, and the ruins and cave roads at Pitigliano; Relaxing on the beautiful beach, and climbing to enjoy the views at Fort Falcone, in Portoferraio."

Frances

Tour: 04/11/22

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I thoroughly enjoyed the tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The stay at Castello di Gargonza was fascinating. I loved the little village experience The Isabella experience and the cave walk was also great"

Sharon

Tour: 04/11/22

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my 7th RS tour and it ranks at the top of the list!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"So many...the beautiful Tuscan countryside, great food, great group, great guide, great wine and our stay at La Moscadella!"

Kathryn

Tour: 04/11/22

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We were extremely lucky to have booked spots on the very first Rick Steves Best of Tuscany tour! Tuscany is magical place that we hope to return to. The guides, the scenery, the food and the cities we visited were wonderful.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Climbing up to the Medici fortress on the island of Elba and gazing at the gorgeous view of the city and the water beyond."

Lori

Tour: 04/11/22

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was one of the best RS Tours I've taken so far. Our guide was phenomenal, the hotels were incredible, the group was a great mix of personalities and the places we visited all had their own special ambiance and feel. There were too many "wow" moments to include them all in the next answer as I ran out of space!!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"After 9 RS tours I can honestly say that none of them had just 1 "wow" moment. This tour was no different. Arriving at Gargonza Wednesday afternoon was my first "wow". It was such a joy having the entire "village" to ourselves and the rooms were wonderful. The Abbey of Mon Oliveto Maggiore is my next "wow" with its amazing frescos! The hermitize (discovered by Isabella's father-in-law) in Pienza would be next - awe inspiring. Lastly it would be the Etruscan burial area outside Pitigliano."

Martin

Tour: 04/11/22

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The guides were excellent. The hotels were charming. The bus and driver were great. The meals; traveling companions; and tour sites were wonderful. Even the weather was cooperative. It’s hard to find fault with anything.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Staying at Isabella’s and seeing the Tuscan countryside."

Art

Tour: 04/11/22

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

For a first-ever tour, the itinerary was pretty flawless. Lisa was a great guide. The lodging choices were anywhere from good to exceptional. The weather was great.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My "Wow" moment was visiting the Val D'Orcia, the activities on the itinerary and staring out of the bus window at the landscape. Elba should recieve a mention, as well. The second (Castell Di Gorgonza) and the third (La Moscadella) hotels were phenomenal and unlike anywhere I've stayed on my previous RS tours."

When To Go & Weather

Any time between April and October is a good time to visit Tuscany. However, the months of April, May, September, and October are best for combining the convenience of peak season, fewer crowds, and the most pleasant weather.

Italy / Florence

Hotels & Flights

Tour Hotels

In case you wish to book pre- or post-tour hotel accommodations, the contact information for the tour's first and last hotels is available in the Itinerary section of your tour account. One month prior to your tour's departure, you'll find directions on how to get from the airport to your first tour hotel and a complete list of hotels where we'll be staying in the Documents section of your tour account.

Flights

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

Most tour members arrange to fly into Florence (FLR) and out of Florence or Pisa (PSA) — choose "multicity" on flight-booking websites if departing from Pisa. From Florence's airport there are shuttle buses and taxis to the city center. If traveling from Lucca to Pisa upon departure, Pisa's airport has a train that offers an easy connection to and from the Pisa Centrale train station.

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