• Prato della Valle in Padua
  • Ravenna's Basilica di San Vitale
  • Truffle Hunting in Umbria
  • Civita di Bagnoregio
  • Wine Tasting Near Orvieto
  • Cooking Class in Tuscany
  • Bicycling in Lucca
  • Manarola in the Cinque Terre
  • Lake Orta

Tour Questions? Call 425-608-4217

Village Italy in 14 Days Tour

from $3,995 + Air

Optional Single Supplement $725

See Tour Dates

La dolce vita (the sweet life) describes the intimate magic of small town Italy. This tour — with a tasty focus on food, wine, and culture — helps you live it. Starting in elegant Padua, your Rick Steves guide will take you through Italy's seductive countryside: artistic Ravenna, St. Francis' Assisi, Puccini's Lucca, cliff-hugging Cinque Terre harbors, and off-the-beaten-path hill towns and vistas. You'll be rubbing elbows with Italian culture, learning about crafting pottery, cutting marble, cooking pasta, making wine — even hunting truffles. Join us for Village Italy in 14 Days!

Dates & Prices

2016

    • May 2–May 15 (Mo-Su)
    • $4,195 + Air

    Join Waitlist
    • May 7–May 20 (Sa-Fr)
    • $4,195 + Air

    Filling Fast
    • May 9–May 22 (Mo-Su)
    • $4,195 + Air

    Filling Fast
    • May 14–May 27 (Sa-Fr)
    • $4,195 + Air

    Filling Fast
    • May 28–Jun 10 (Sa-Fr)
    • $4,195 + Air

    Join Waitlist
    • Sep 12–Sep 25 (Mo-Su)
    • $4,295 + Air

    Join Waitlist
    • Sep 17–Sep 30 (Sa-Fr)
    • $4,295 + Air

    Join Waitlist
    • Oct 3–Oct 16 (Mo-Su)
    • $3,995 + Air

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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 21 group sightseeing events • Padua walking tour • Scrovegni Chapel tour • Padua's Anatomy Theatre (when available) • Mosaics of Ravenna's San Vitale & Galla Placidia tour • Assisi walking tour • Basilica of St. Francis tour • Truffle hunt • Deruta pottery demonstration • Civita hill town visit • Wine tasting • Orvieto walking tour • Orvieto Cathedral and Signorelli's frescoes • Tuscan hill town visits • Etruscan Museum tour • Olive oil tasting and lunch • Italian cooking class • Lucca walking tour • Lucca bike ride • Ligurian Coast boat excursion (weather permitting) • Orientation for "vacation" day on Italian Riviera • Lake Orta boat excursion…and more
  • All group transportation from Padua to Lake Orta
  • 13 nights accommodations in memorable, centrally located hotels
  • All breakfasts and half your dinners
  • All tips for guides and driver
  • $100 store credit for your household to use toward guidebooks and other gear for your trip
  • Guaranteed tour price, locked in the moment you make your deposit
  • Optional single supplements — this tour has a limited number of private rooms for solo travelers for an additional fee
  • Tour alum discount of $50 for each tour you've taken prior to 2016
  • 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

Our tour begins in elegant Padua (Padova), with an easy bus ride from Venice's Marco Polo Airport. We'll gather at our hotel at 5 p.m. for a group meeting. Then we'll take a neighborhood orientation walk together and get acquainted with one another over dinner. Sleep in Padua (2 nights). No bus. Walking: light.

Day 2: All Day to Discover Padua

We'll hit the ground walking this morning, with a tour of Padua and its colorful market squares and piazzas. Along the way, we'll gape at Giotto's glorious frescoes in the Scrovegni Chapel. You'll have the rest of the day to marvel at the Renaissance masterpieces in St. Anthony's Basilica, roam through the university's acclaimed Botanical Garden, or relax with a creamy espresso at a sidewalk café. No bus. Walking: moderate.

Day 3: Ravenna and Hill Town of Montefalco

We'll drive to nearby Ravenna this morning for a tour of the brilliantly preserved mosaics in Ravenna's Byzantine San Vitale Basilica and Galla Placidia Mausoleum. After lunch we'll climb up into the Umbria region to the untouristed little hill town of Montefalco. The rest of your afternoon is free for wandering through this rustic stone village; then we'll share a feast of countryside specialties at our hotel in Montefalco, where we'll sleep (2 nights). Bus: 5 hrs. Walking: moderate.

Day 4: Assisi and Truffles

This morning we'll take a short drive to St. Francis' hometown of Assisi, where a local guide will introduce us to the winding medieval streets before touring the magnificent art-filled Basilica. We'll spend the late afternoon with a local farmer and his specially trained dog, hunting for one of the area's specialties: the truffle. We'll stay on the farm for a while, joining the family for a hearty, home-cooked dinner (including the truffles). Bus: 2 hrs. Walking: strenuous.

Day 5: Deruta and Orvieto

We'll drive through the peacefully green Umbrian landscape today. Our first stop will be in Deruta for a pottery-making demonstration at a family workshop. Then we'll drive off the beaten path to a rural, family-owned winery for a refreshing wine tasting and lunch. We'll finish our afternoon high atop the nearby hill town of Orvieto, where we'll marvel at the town's dramatic cathedral, including Signorelli's amazing frescoes in the San Brizio Chapel. Sleep in Orvieto (2 nights). Bus: 3 hrs. Walking: moderate.

Day 6: Umbrian Hill Towns

It's market day in Orvieto! You'll have a free morning to dive into this busy, colorful farmer's market and discover more of Orvieto's friendly charms. In the afternoon, we'll drive down the road and then hike up to the ultimate back door hill town, Civita di Bagnoregio. You'll have free time to revel in the traffic-free alleyways, astounding views, and hidden treasures that make this village so special. Then it's back to Orvieto for a free evening. Bus: 2 hrs. Walking: strenuous.

Day 7: Heart of Tuscany

We'll meander north into rural Tuscany today, stopping to visit the fascinating Etruscan Museum at Chianciano, where we'll learn about this mysterious pre-Roman civilization. Before we bite into today's lunch, we'll see how it's made, as our chef gives us a special hands-on Tuscan cooking lesson. Sufficiently fed, we'll end the day at our Tuscan country hotel, where we'll sleep (2 nights). Bus: 3 hrs. Walking: light.

Day 8: Tranquil Tuscany

This morning we'll  head out to Siena, arguably Tuscany’s greatest hill town. After a walking tour, you’ll be free to explore Siena’s treasures, including the Duomo and Campo, as well as linger over lunch. We’ll enjoy the afternoon back at our country hotel, where you can hike along the farm paths, take pictures, or simply relax by the pool before dinner together. Bus: 2 hrs. Walking: moderate.

Day 9: Hill Towns and Lucca

Today your guide and driver will take us along the less-traveled scenic route through Tuscany, with stops to wander through timeless hill towns with pristine views. Our final destination today is the engaging and prosperous town of Lucca, where after an orientation, you’ll be free to explore and find a local trattoria for dinner. Sleep in Lucca (2 nights). Bus: 3 hrs. Walking: moderate.

Day 10: Lovely Lucca and Olive Groves

This morning a local guide will introduce us to Lucca’s elegant streets and historic churches, all surrounded by some of Italy's most impressive Renaissance walls. Then we'll head into the countryside to visit a traditional frantoio (olive oil mill), where we'll learn about and sample Italy's famous extra-virgin export, and enjoy a farm lunch. The remainder of the day is free back in Lucca to explore more of its layered history, or perhaps take a walk or bike ride atop the walls. Bus: 1 hr. Walking: moderate.

Day 11: Carrara's Marble and the Riviera

We'll continue north today, pausing to marvel at the marble with a local expert at Carrara's snow-white quarries, the favorite of Renaissance sculptors. Then we will take to the sea (weather permitting) and enjoy a scenic boat ride along the Ligurian Coast, past the wave-washed harbors and hill-hugging villages of the Cinque Terre. Our boat will dock in the beach town of Levanto, our home base for il dolce far niente (the sweetness of doing nothing), where we'll sleep (2 nights). Boat: 2 hrs. Bus: 2 hrs. Walking: light.

Day 12: All Day on the Italian Riviera

You'll take a "vacation from your vacation" today in our Mediterranean getaway. You may choose to hike the cliff-side paths, taking in lots of fresh air and panoramic views between Cinque Terre villages, starting with Riomaggiore's Via dell'Amore. Or pick a village where you can spend your day exploring the stairways and alleyways, sunning yourself on the rocks, or sipping cappuccino and catching up on your journal at an outdoor café. We'll regroup tonight to share a family-prepared seafood feast in Levanto. No bus. Walking: light to strenuous (your choice).

Day 13: Lago d'Orta

We'll make a beeline to Orta San Giulio on the shores of Lake Orta, arriving with plenty of time to stroll its cobbled lanes and medieval square, and take a scenic boat ride out to little Isola San Giulio. Tonight we'll enjoy an arrivederci dinner together, where we'll share travel memories and toast new friends. Salute! Sleep in Orta San Giulio (1 night). Boat: 1 hr. Bus: 4 hrs. Walking: light to strenuous (your choice).

Day 14: Tour Over After Breakfast

Breakfast is provided, but there are no group activities today. Milan's closest airport, Malpensa, is 60-90 minutes away by taxi or bus. Your guide will help coordinate transportation to Malpensa, 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 Village Italy in 14 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 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

Kathleen

Cortland, OH

Tour: 10/12/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The Village Italy tour was like being in a traveling classroom - everyday was a new experience- all the things I should have remembered from high school history class I learned on this trip! Patricia was an excellent guide- very knowledgeable & a great sense of humor. I came home already to plan my next Rick Steve's tour but don't know I could ever top this one.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Truffle hunting with Sergio & his dog Rocco & the dinner after the hunt with his family. I felt like I was a family member just enjoying the love of Italian family dinner with singing afterwards!"

Sheri

Tualatin, OR

Tour: 10/12/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It exceeded expectations.....the equivalent of an entire semester of college history with more interesting and entertaining professors! Though tired towards the end,and missing family, I left feeling invigorated and inspired to learn more about this beautiful country and it's gracious and warm people. How could I ask for more!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"What a difficult question. It would be the visit and lecture at the Etruscan Museum and literally feeling astounded at the capabilities of these early inhabitants......I could scarcely believe what I was seeing. Wish my donation could have been much larger to insure its existence and work."

Kathleen

Washington, DC

Tour: 10/12/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Please allow more than 500 characters for these comments. I have a minor complaint: I mention the Etruscan Museum at the bottom of this evaluation. Here's the rest of it, that I can't continue in that last box: The cooking class after the Etruscan Museum tour was a lot of fun, but I would skip it or shorten it considerably in favor of spending more time at the museum. The list in the next box were some of my favorite "wow" moments.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were many: Scrovegni Chapel, St. Anthony Basilic,San Vitale in Ravenna, watching the truffle dog in action, the cellars and wine-event on the way to Orvieto, the Cathedral at Orvieto, Civita di Bagnoregio, Etruscan Museum with local guide Roberto, Lucca with local guide and walk on the wall, the small olive-oil factory and lunch afterward, Carrara marble quarry with local guide, boat ride along Ligurian Coast, walk with Patricia in Cinque Terre village, Isola San Giulio at Lake Orta."

Barbara

San Francisco, CA

Tour: 10/12/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Fantastic tour! Every day brought amazing experiences I would not have had if not on a Rick Steves' tour.The scenery was beautiful. The food and wine were fabulous. Our superb tour guide Tricia and outstanding bus driver Mario made this a truly memorable trip. It was great visiting small towns and interacting with local people. All of the local guides were knowledgeable and enthusiastic about sharing their culture with us. I have taken 12 Rick Steves' tours and this was one of the best!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Impossible to name just one for the entire tour. Each day had at least one "wow" moment. One of the most memorable was visiting Sergio and Ana's farm and getting to see Rocco the truffle-hunting dog at work; then having a delicious Umbrian dinner with the family followed by music and singing. Others include: Byzantine mosaics in Ravenna, Etruscan museum and guide Roberto, tasting olive oil we saw being pressed at frontoyo near Lucca, boat trip and hiking in the Cinque Terre, and so much more!"

Catherine

Columbus, OH

Tour: 10/12/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my 12th RS trip so I pretty much know what to expect. But given that this was the "Village" tour it had a little different bent. Every day seemed like it contained a unique experience, like truffle hunting in the woods with the farmer and his dog or making sausage with Stephano or seeing pottery made. The variety of experiences was wonderful and Trish was great in giving us background and information so we could appreciate what we were seeing.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I can never pick one moment, but one of my favorites was the dinner after the truffle hunt in the farmer's home with his family and the general gaiety and frivolity that took place after we ate with group singing and lots of hugs. The singing tradition continued at our farewell dinner with Mario in Levanto where our group put on a performance that brought tears to Trish's eyes!"

Mary

E Falmouth, MA

Tour: 10/12/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Each day was better than the last. Ample opportunity to taste all the wine, cheese, pasta you can hold. This should be called eating and drinking your way through Italy.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The view from our balcony at Lake Orta."

Cynthia

Columbus, OH

Tour: 10/12/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Fabulous tour, from our outstanding guide Trish, to a wonderful group. The city tour guides were wonderful and helped us become travelers and not tourists.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It is impossible to say there was just one "wow" moment when every day had its own "this can't be beat" moment and the next day, it just got better. The best "wow" moments were the uniqueness of each village, from Assisi to Lucca to Levanto."

James

Indianapolis, IN

Tour: 10/12/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

After months of preparation and anticipation of our tour, it is now over and the most pleasant of memories. So many pleasant surprises, activities, sights, experiences, personalities and delights made this the "trip of a life-time." Our guides dedication, professionalism, un-ending enthusiasm for the culture and architecture kept each day lively. Many thanks to Tricia. Two weeks of enrichment, education, fun good food & wine with like minded new-friends makes me wishing for a part 2 tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"TMTC (too many to count) - especially appreciative of the variety of experiences"

Fay

Mandeville, LA

Tour: 10/12/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Having travelled to Italy several times before, this tour of small towns and villages complimented our other trips very well. It afforded us the opportunity to experience the heart and soul of this diverse country.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"For me there was no one "wow" moment on this tour. Rather it was many times that I was pleasantly surprised by a particular experience. Such included the cooking class, the olive oil making, wine tastings, sunset in the Chianti area, seeing the Chinq Terra from the water, the truffle hunt, and so many more. To have taken this tour is to have come to understand the northern Italian spirit."

Linda

Indianapolis, IN

Tour: 10/12/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had a wonderful two weeks on this tour. Our guide, Tricia, was very knowledgable and conscientious. She provided us with an artistic and historic perspective, sprinkled with some of her own opinions and thoughts. Each day was filled with new adventures, sites, and experiences. Hotels and restaurants provided us with a taste of varied local cuisines. Tricia also offered tips of where to find local specialities when we were on our own for meals. Our group was diverse but fun.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I've been asked this several times but struggle to name just one moment. If I am limited to just one, I think the memory of enjoying a stunning sunset on the patio of the Belevedere Inn with two other couples we met on the tour as we all sipped Chianti and ate dark chocolate, is a memory that will make me smile for a long time."

Ralph

Washington, DC

Tour: 10/12/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our 4th RS tour and, as with the previous tours, it was fantastic. We are already in the process of deciding which RS tour we will do in 2016.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"So many wow moments to choose from. Perhaps the most memorable were the ones that involved interacting with the local folks we visited -- the truffle farmer, the olive mill operators, and the winery owner."

David

Mandeville, LA

Tour: 10/12/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

As a veteran of six RS Tours (all outstanding), I can say Village Italy ranks very high! Once you've seen Italy's big cities, it's time to enjoy the real heart and soul of Italy. A great itinerary, Italian culture & history, beautiful scenery, good weather, a fun group and fantastic guide (Tricia) combined for a fantastic two weeks.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Each day of the tour was an adventure in itself to enjoy. The mosaics in Ravenna's Basilica & Mausoleum and the Etruscan Museum in Chianciano both exceeded my expectations. Will long remember the several unique experiences of the wine tasting, cooking class, truffle hunt, pottery-making demo and first press at a traditional olive oil mill (just to name a few)."

Rochelle

Sacramento, CA

Tour: 10/05/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my first RS tour and it exceeded my expectations. This is not sightseeing; it is an experience every day that connects you to the personality, vibe and history of each village on an in-depth level. There was a good balance of structured touring and time on your own. A typical day consisted of an orientation of the town or a guided tour of a church or museum, then time on your own to explore. The food was fresh and amazing! I never want to open another bottle of salad dressing again!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"So many "wow" moments, from the views of the hilltop towns to the personal touches, such as going on a truffle hunt, a pottery making and painting demo, being serenaded by our tour guide and his band, to practicing Italian(I fell in love with the language). If I had to choose, it would be the second to last night of the tour, where we were treated to a local feast by the owner/chef of the hotel where we stayed, enhanced by our guide breaking out his guitar and our group dancing around the room."

Starr

Redmond, WA

Tour: 10/05/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This is our 12th RS tour. We have always had people on the tour who really got along well. That said, never have we experienced a tour where everyone came together so quickly and so wonderfully. Mix and match, we simply couldn't have had a better time together.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The FOOD (of course)! And being able to 'summit' Civita di Bagnoregio! (Really appreciated that David watched the incoming change in weather. We wouldn't have been able to climb/hike safely up and down in the next day's rain. It was perfect to have one strenuous day followed by an easy day.)"

Edward Lewis

Dolores, CO

Tour: 10/05/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Every facet of the tour met my expectations and, in many cases, exceeded them. This was our second Rick Steves tour and it was a delight. Our guide, David, was fantastic, handling all the details professionally. His musical talents added to what was already a wonderful experience. Our traveling companions were fun and joyful, even on rainy days (and there were several).

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The view from Punta Mesco on the trail from Levanto to Monterosso was my No. 1 "wow" moment, seeing all the Cinque Terre towns lining the coast. The truffle hunt, dinner and entertainment that followed was a "wow" too. And there were others."

Robert

Folsom, CA

Tour: 10/05/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Exceptional tour experience made possible by being away from the main tourist attractions, being shown a different side of Italy by a fantastic guide - David Tordi, and being with a group that gelled very well. Village Italy allowed us the freedom to explore while seeing and experiencing the culture.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were so many 'wow' moments it's hard to find one. Visiting and experiencing Orvieto and the passion that our guide, David, had for his home town and being able to understand the way of life in a small town while visiting the duomo and having the detail explanations of the art work was one of the best moments."

Susan

Dolores, CO

Tour: 10/05/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our 2nd RS tour, so we weren't newbies, and still, this tour exceeded our expectations. First, our guide, David Tordi, was exceptional. Second, our entire group was delightful. We particularly enjoyed all of the activities that put us in touch with real Italians. Each of them was welcoming, passionate about and knowledgeable in their fields: truffle hunting, making pasta, making music, learning about their lives and interests, all made this trip extra special.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"We are hikers and love a challenging trail. While in the CT area one of the trails we chose to walk was from Levante to Monterosa. We almost had it to ourselves (compared to the more heavily traveled trails between the "5 lands") and the views were spectacular! Especially the section that led us to Punta Mesca. On its high rocky cliffs we soaked up the warmth of a sunny late October day while watching the shadows of clouds play across both ocean and coast. Lovely."

Diane

Sammamish, WA

Tour: 10/05/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

What a great tour! We got to experience the best of touring with a group - new friends, fantastic guides, picturesque villages, quick and easy entrances to museums, and seeing special places and local people we wouldn't have found on our own. Plus there was enough free time so we could make our own choices of things to see and do in each village.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Too many to choose just one - the beautiful mosaics in Ravenna, the picturesque hill towns of Orvieto, Volterra, Civita di Bagnoregio, so many beautiful marble statues and frescos, the stone pictures in the floor of Siena Cathedral, the cooking lesson at the agriturismo, the truffle hunt and dinner, the seaside towns of the Cinque Terre...."

Sue

Akron, OH

Tour: 10/05/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our first Rick Steves tour and will certainly not be our last! It's apparent all Rick Steves employees & helpers - from those at the home office, the travel guide & the local guides, innkeepers, restautants, etc. - have the travelers' experiences in mind at all times. The itinerary was well thought out, including the guide choices. The countryside was beautiful & accommodations were great. Our group, which consisted of other first-timers and many who'd made many RS trips, was the best!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Seeing the Portiuncula in Assisi, then the basilica and St. Clare's church. Going to Assisi was a main reason for choosing this tour and once David knew this, he made special efforts to make it very special for me. He pointed out many additional sights and information re: Saints Francis and Clare throughout the trip."

Bob

Akron, OH

Tour: 10/05/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

David is an excellent guide who took to time to find out what our specific interests were and without any fanfare pointed out sites that he thought we would enjoy. Without exception the group was great. The description of the group as travelers instead of tourists is spot on.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"So many times. The mosaics in Ravenna, Assisi, the duomo in Orvieto, the Tuscan country hotel and the Cinque Terre villages were all breathtaking. I especially enjoyed the local contacts. The dinner at the truffle farm, the concert in Orvieto and the dinner in Levanto made the trip so much more fun and memorable."

Jean

Cheraw, SC

Tour: 10/03/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour exceeded my expectations. Our guide, Niña, not only gave us a historical background of each area but also immersed us in the culture and daily life of Italians. She also opened her home to the entire group when it was not possible to get to our planned excursion. It was a wonderful experience and worth every penny! Each area we visited was unique.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Each area we visited was unique and interesting. Visiting the home of Sergio and Eva in Montone was so special. Even though it was raining and we were unable to go truffle hunting the warmth and hospitality of that family was awesome!"

Judith

Tucson, AZ

Tour: 10/03/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my first Rick Steve's tour but probably not my last! Even though my health was slightly compromised - I underwent an emergency medical procedure the week before we left but did not want to cancel our participation - I was made to feel comfortable throughout the tour and was able to participate in all activities to the fullest extent. In Lucca, I even learned that the old adage is true...you never forget how to ride a bike!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The 500 character limit here may not be enough as one could list a daily 'wow' moment and still not do justice to this tremendous adventure! The frescos of Giotto, the mosaics in Ravenna, the works of Donatello and Michelangelo in Sienna all were breathtaking. The Umbrian and Tuscan landscapes are a sight to behold as are all the hilltop villages we visited. Simply considering all that has transpired within their walls over the centuries was a mind-boggling experience."

Forrest

Woodland Hills, CA

Tour: 10/03/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

I've never taken a group tour before. As a Rick Steves fan I thought I'd give this one a chance. It more than lived up to its advertisement. Our guide Nina kept us all entertained and informed throughout the journey. Had we traveled on our own I would have missed the history and the inside knowledge of contemporary life in Italy. When we visit Italy again I will be comfortable renting a farmhouse and staying longer. Thanks for making this trip so enjoyable...

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favorite "wow" moment was hiking along the Cinque Terra trail. The vistas along the coastline were hypnotizing. If I had had the time I would have slept over in each village just to be able to beat the crowds of tourist in the early morning. If I'm allowed a second wow moment I would have to say it was the people, the wine, and the food. Or I could just say it was all of Italy."

Laura

La Mesa, CA

Tour: 10/03/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The choice of villages was excellent. Small cities with gorgeous architecture, art, and excellent food. A visit to a ceramic business, cooking class with Chef Stefano, olive oil tasting, the Carrara marble mines, a visit to a winery, a dinner at a farmhouse, a visit to an alabaster business were all amazing, informative, and enjoyable. I wish we'd had more time in Orvieto, Lucca, and Sienna. Much more to learn and explore in those three villages in particular.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Our visit to the Deruta ceramic store close to the beginning of the tour. The craftsmanship and attention to detail was amazing. We only bought a little candleholder and a couple small gifts since we were mindful of the "packing light" instructions. The second "wow" moment was our visit to Montone. The hotel was gorgeous, as was the little town at the top of a mountain with amazing views."

Brian

San Mateo, CA

Tour: 10/03/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Just about everything was excellent! Excellent guide and itinerary really made for a very memorable experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Biking Lucca's wall; home-cooked dinner in Montone (eggs + truffles!!); sunset in Civita; having Ovieto's Duomo almost to ourselves in the afternoon; lunch at Nina's house after we couldn't reach the olive oil tasting venue."

Leslie

Woodland Hills, CA

Tour: 10/03/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Very good tour. We went to many places which would have been hard to find on our own if we were driving. Loved all the activities. And we were very glad for free time when we could discover lots of things on our own as this was the first tour we have taken. However, it was difficult following the guide through crowded streets when she was moving so quickly and we were looking right and left to see things we had never seen before.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Many very happy events....loved hiking in the Cinque Terra, loved Montone, Orvieto, Ravenna, and especially Civita di Bagnoregio."

Paul

Gales Creek, OR

Tour: 10/03/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Could not have been better!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"A canceled tour of a olive press, due to a very Italian road construction screw-up and lack of access; transformed into a impromptu lunch and oral presentation at Nina personal residence! Talk about going above and beyond the call of duty! Nina made the whole experience an excuse to show us her abode and neighborhood. What a treat and unforgettable experience. I also loved the cooking class, and the wine/food pairing (I would not dare to call it a wine tasting!"

Anthony

Sugar Land, TX

Tour: 10/03/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour, Nina, and the Rick Steves company exceeded our expectations and hopes. We were suprised by how well a fit it was to our style, and how it attracts the types of individuals we enjoy being around. Because of this, we certainly plan to do more.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My group of wows included the welcome dinner in Padua, St. Anthony's, the Orvieto winery (w/ Cecelia), Stefano and his Agriturismo experience, exploring Luca, and hiking the Cinque Terre"

Gayle

Lancaster, SC

Tour: 10/03/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Village Italy evetything I expected and more. Our guide, Nina, was knowledgable, gracious, and very hospitable. She even opened her home to us when there was road work and we couldn't get to our destination to see an olive press. Those at the olive press loaded up food and wine and came to Nina's house to serve us. The country and the towns we saw were even more special because of Nina.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were so many "wow" moments it is hard to choose one[INVALID]all of the basilicas, hiking along the Ligurian Coast, quaint Montone and I could go on, but I think Civita was so special with stairways to nowhere and a quaint little family run trattoria with the best bruschetta ever."

William

La Mesa, CA

Tour: 10/03/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Ninawas a superb guide, we learned more of the important local info, than is possible from any guidebook, even Ricks books. Nina was extremely knowledgeable about local habits points of interest, customs and habits. She kept a tight rein on us, that was never demanding, but light and subtle, but very effective. The tour was too short, we could have utilized a few more days in several of the villages, and I was sorry to hear that Montone will not be in future versions of the tours.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The stop we made at the ceramics factory was superb,seeing the process from start to finish was great. I dabbled with ceramics 35 years ago, the skill and artistry was truly magnificent. Having done some of it I could appreciate the artists skill, and rapidity, on a small mass production scale, truly amazing."

Susan

Gales Creek, OR

Tour: 10/03/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was fun and educational. I loved meeting Italians who shared their art, food, and sense of humor with us. Our guide, Nina, was outstanding. She shared her personal experiences as a Flemish woman living in Lucca. With her self-deprecating humor, she regaled us with the challenges and joys of living in Italy and provided valuable insights into the modern Italian society.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The wow moment was when Nina invited us into her home in Lucca. The road was closed to the olive mill. She, our bus driver, Adriano, and the mill owner, Angelo, all made a plan to bring the feast to her house. Angelo brought cans of his olive oil and a very good lunch. It was so generous of her to share her home and a creative way to ensure that we had a great time. After lunch, she took us on a walk to the nearby aqueduct. We even got to meet some of her neighbors."

Jocelyne

Jacksonville, FL

Tour: 09/28/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our guide Lisa and our driver made all the difference in the world. They were helpful and knowledgeable. It was my first tour with Rick Steves and I enjoyed it very much. The only complaint was that there were 5 of us in our 70 and having to carry our luggage to the hotels and up the stairs was a bit much for us. We were told ahead of time but were hopeful that it would not be as hard as it was. We are hard headed. It might be a good idea to have a small trailer meet the bus to carry the lug

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Certainly the caliber of the medieval villages that we visited was exceptional."

Shannon

Shelby, NC

Tour: 09/28/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had a great experience! The weather was mostly good especially when it counted, food and wine were fabulous, a nice group of fellow travelers, and guide and bus driver were excellent. We've been to Italy several times and it is always amazing! We've done Rome, Florence, and Venice using Rick Steves books and taken day tours to the Amalfi Coast, Pompeii, Pisa, San Giamanano, and Sienna), but this was our first two-week tour in Italy (we've also done RS France, Croatia, and Greece).

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Many wows, but Cinque Terre was the biggest. Loved seeing it from the water and then riding the train and hiking to each one to see them from the inside out. The beautiful frescos by Giotto and Signorelli were amazing. Almost every meal and wine; wine tasting, cooking class, truffle hunting with Rocco, and olive oil tasting. The beautiful hill towns, Orvieto and Civita, the Etruscan Museum, the anatomy theatre and laureled graduates celebrating in Padua, the organ playing at San Giulio."

Ronald

Bend, OR

Tour: 09/28/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our tour was well organized with a good combination of group time and free time. We had good instructions on things to do and places to eat in our free time, which was very helpful. Our tour guide, Lisa, really helped us understand the food, wine and culture of "village Italy". She made the experience come alive for us. All of our hotels were good and well located. Breakfasts were on the whole very good. Overall, it was a wonderful trip and exceeded our expectations.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were several "Wow" moments. One was the boat ride from Portovnere to Monterosso al Mare. The Ligurian Sea was so blue and the weather was perfect with blue sky and white clouds. It was breathtaking along the coastline with great views of the Cinque Terre villages. Another "Wow" was the beauty of Tuscany at our Hotel Belvedere di San Leonino. It was so peaceful and tranquil with autumn colors. Perhaps after all the touring it was a breath of fresh air and so relaxing."

William

Seattle, WA

Tour: 09/28/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We have toured Italy previously on the best of Italy tour and wanted to visit the smaller towns and villages. The village on the Village Italy tour were all nice and manageable except for Padua. Padua seemed out of "character" ( I.e. Too large and urban) when compared to the other villages Tour guide (Lisa Anderson) was the best guide of our 5 tours with Rick Steves. Very knowledgeable and friendly. Also our bus driver (Etsio?) was great. He sang and performed at many of our group dinners

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My Wow moment was walking on the bridge to Civita di Bagnoregio. A spectacular i.e. was and walk up to the village. A negative wow moment as seeing all the cruise ship pass ngers in Cinque Terre. When we lasted visited in 2007 there were small uncrowned villages. With the cruise hips, it was too many people for the small towns to handle."

Dorothy

Jacksonville, FL

Tour: 09/28/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

ENJOYABLE

Favorite "WOW" moment

"THERE WERE TOO MANY TO SAY."

Philip

Weldon Spring, MO

Tour: 09/28/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

On past tours my objective was always centered on the number of historical sites, museums or points of interest I could fit into a day. Although fulfilling I can know say I get what Rick has been saying all along about slowing down to soak in the culture, sit on a park bench and speak to a native, share a good laugh at the local bar and speak in the local language regardless if your good at it or not. This trip more than any other afforded us that rich opportunity.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The sing along at the truffle farm in Montone, really, yes it was an absolute blast. So much so our bus driver got up and sang along with the farmer, his wife and food preparers. What a surprise, haven't laughed that hard in years. Secondly was our bus driver. He was outstanding, never dream a he could have that big an impact on our tour, he kept us in stiches the entire time, singing, dancing, helping us practice our Italian while in turn we helped him with English."

Sherry

Fort Myers Beach, FL

Tour: 09/28/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour had a nice balance of churches and education and eased into relaxation by the end. The stop at the Florence American Cementary was unexpected and very touching. There was a nice balance of group meals and activities and time on your own. Our guide Lisa made it a perfect trip!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Staying in the Tuscan countryside. Wish we could have stayed longer!"

Julia

Woodland, WA

Tour: 09/28/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was an excellent tour for several reasons: Our guide was outstanding, the accommodations were uniformly good and the variety of locations and experiences (truffle hunting, city tours, olive oil and wine tasting) were rewarding. The tour was well planned and well [INVALID]d. We enjoyed the people on tour with us, as well. They could ALL keep up even though some were well into their 70s. There were no grumps.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Since childhood I have been fascinated by the ancient world of the Greeks and Romans. Now the Etruscans!! The wow for me was the Etruscan Museum at Chianciano and the Etruscan Gate (saved during WWII by the city folk). Also on my Top 5 list would be the cooking school, the visit to the vineyard for a wine tasting, the afternoon in Civitas and the early church in Padua with the exquisite mosaics. Every day pretty much had a wow moment!!! Thanks. Loved the university tour in Padua."

Shem

Shelby, NC

Tour: 09/28/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our third tour and it met all of our expectations. We are already signed up for our fourth so that is probably the best comment I can make. The itinerary was well thought out and a good balance without too many bus hours. Plenty of time on our own which is important. My wife will cover our comments in more detail than I do

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The American cemetery in Florence was a nice added touch by our guide as an unscheduled stop. She knew from past tours what an emotional impact it can make for tour guests. I think it should be added to the itinerary for everyone to experience. To go a step further I think it should be on any Steves itinerary that goes to Florence since it is so close. I don't think it is mentioned in the Steves book either. Any American that makes it to Florence should visit this cemetery"

Sondra

Jacksonville, FL

Tour: 09/28/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was everything I wanted and more. Our guide Lisa was wonderful. She was able to give us so much knowledge of the area and make it so much fun. Our driver Enzio was terrific too. Would recommend this trip to anyone with only one caution. There is a lot of walking and pulling your bag through towns. Pack light and be in really good shape.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The trip by boat past the five Cinque Terre towns. Also lived Orvieto and Lake Orta. All were beautiful and special in their way."

Cherie

Bothell, WA

Tour: 09/28/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

You need to double Lisa Anderson's salary. She is awesome, even the seasoned RS tour goers agreed she was the best guide ever. And you must have the bus driver Ezio again. He was a one-man musical entertainment show - and a safe attentive driver. Overall I enjoyed the tour and am glad I took the trip, although it was intense and exhausting. I loved all the walking and all of the sites that were included. I appreciated being a solo traveler in a really nice group.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Proto Venere - please stop there more often and for longer; Byzantine mosaics; Orvieto, Lucca, Civita Bagnoregio, Truffle hunting, Deruta ceramics (I could have spent more; all the gorgeous dogs; olive oil. Mostly just soaking up the ambiance of small medieval towns."

Alexis

Greenwood, MN

Tour: 09/26/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Well organized. Enthusiastic and informed guide. Lots of extras. Loved the trip.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Every day there was something new that was exciting."

Carol

Olympia, WA

Tour: 09/26/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I loved this trip to Italy--the small villages, the people, the food, the wine--everything!!

Klaus

Olympia, WA

Tour: 09/26/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

It was the usual Rick Steves format with just the right balance of free time, structured touring, visiting something off the beaten track. The food experience met all expectations I enjoyed all the guides for giving relevant and interesting information in just the right amount

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I especially liked Lucca and Ravenna"

Jean

Raymond, MS

Tour: 09/26/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had an unusually congenial group of travelers who were prompt in meeting the bus, non-complaining, and very friendly with everyone. Our tour guide Trina was top-notch, and our bus driver Mario was the greatest. We have visited the Tuscany/Umbria eight years ago on our own, but this tour went to different less traveled areas and gave us a more close-up look at the country and the people.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favorite experience was the visit to the family farm where we watched an enthusiastic dog hunt truffles then later ate truffles over scrambled eggs. We walked through the hillside farm and saw a large variety of produce growing: wine and table grapes, kiwi fruit, many vegetables, walnuts and other favorites. Then we sat around long tables next to the kitchen and were served a many-course Tuscan meal consisting of many items produced on that farm, including the delicious wines and grapes."

Sherry

Costa Mesa, CA

Tour: 09/26/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our guide, Trina, was FABULOUS in every way. The group we travelled with was just wonderful...so congenial, considerate, diverse and all VERY fun and adventurous people. We were sad to say good by to the special friends we made. Over all it was a wonderful, memorable trip!!!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were SO many I can not pick just one. Civita di Bagnolia was an amazing experience to walk up to, The beautiful San Lionina area and the Belvedere Inn was something we will always remember...the views of the hills, villas and vineyards from our comfortable room were like we were in a dreamland. Loved so many of the adventures!"

Daniel

Greenwood, MN

Tour: 09/26/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My spouse and I had a wonderful experience on this tour. We enjoy traveling in the European countryside. We were attracted to this tour to experience the villages of Northern Italy. We also enjoyed all the experiential activities - very interesting and added much to the overall experience. The tour had an excellent mix of art, food, activities, and beautiful landscapes. Lastly, we had a great group of fellow travelers on the tour. They were a lot of fun.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"A couple...the mosaics in Ravenna and sight of Civita de Bagnoreigo before I crossed the bridge. I should also add the Scrovengni Chapel. As you can see, I'm having difficulty in choosing a favorite "wow" moment."

Rick

Salmon Arm, BC

Tour: 09/26/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This is our second Rick Steve's tour and the tour was outstanding but the group of people we were with was exceptional. We had a diverse group but all got along really well. Trina our guide facilitated this interaction very well. From the time we met the group in Padova to our last dinner in Lake Orta all events went smoothly and the experience was second to none. I was particularly impressed when special arrangements were made to get me soup when I was in bed with a bad cold.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Just meeting some really really neat people."

Linda

Salmon Arm, BC

Tour: 09/26/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

The tour was great and we really enjoyed it. The trip is a busy one but well planned with some free time. The food was good . The trip itinerary was what we expected with a few pleasant surprises! We certainly wouldn't have seen many of these areas on our own. Each Rick Steves trip makes us a bit more confident travelers when we are on our own. Our travel companions were great and the group got along well. We met many nice people. Would love to do more Rick Steves trips .

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favorite wow moment was driving up and seeing Civita......just standing there's beautiful . It was a flash to medieval times. The Duomo in Sienna was spectacular also. The scenery was beautiful everywhere."

Dan

La Quinta, CA

Tour: 09/26/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our first Rick Steves tour and will not be our last! We wanted to experience the Italian countryside and immerse ourselves in the Italian culture far from the hustle and bustle of large cities. Each day of the 14 day tour was filled with new and informative activities presented by our wonderful guide, Trina, and the numerous local guides that gave us such a unique look at Italy past and present.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"While in Padua we were fortunate to take part in a tour of the third oldest university in the world established in 1222 A.D. We saw classrooms frequented by Galileo and Copernicus. Additionally, we saw the first cadaver lab in the world with its conical shaped viewing theater accommodating some 300 students. A close second was realizing what a strong influence Saint Francis has today on believers world wide. Assisi is truly a pilgrimage site. Learning about his life was very uplifting."

Cynthia

Portland, OR

Tour: 09/26/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

No doubt, PEOPLE made the tour outstanding - our guide, Trina, our fellow travelers, and the local folk we were able to interact with. Good mix of touring and free time to explore on our own. We were not looking for a building tour or an art tour. We were looking to experience Italy, and I believe we did the best we could have done with two day stays. Great taste of Italy!

Bob

Raymond, MS

Tour: 09/26/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Wonderful trip. Our group seemed to be diverse but came together well. No "grumps". Lots of interesting things to see and do; lots of interesting people to get to know. Had a great time. Had to come back to add this: Bus Driver Mario was a real treat. He made everything run well, and was friendly, helpful, kind, etc. He added so much to the trip!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Eutruscan museum was a high point; just imagining the things they did so very long ago."

Mary

San Antonio, TX

Tour: 09/21/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Sorry for the late response. But I do want you to know : I have taken numerous tours with other tour companies. This was by far the best tour I have taken. Very well planned. Everything I expected and more. Catarina was the best tour director I have had very knowledgeable , not boring,always a smile on her face, and very caring for the group. Loved, loved this trip

Carol

Bozeman, MT

Tour: 09/21/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My husband and I chose this tour because we had never been to Italy before and thought this would be a good introduction. We like visiting the sites in large cities but prefer going to the countryside and small villages. The tour was perfect for several reasons, and our tour guide made it so because of her personality and knowledge. The other people on the tour were very pleasant, not a grouch among them. And, the bus driver, Domenico, was the best.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I didn't have one; I had several. What I enjoyed the most were the Italian people, who were warm and helpful. I appreciated their willingness to figure out "what we were actually saying" when we attempted to use our rudimentary Italian in the market place, at the stores, and etc. I loved the variety of activities, from a cooking class, to wine and oil tasting, to visiting churches and dissecting theatres,to watching a dog dig truffes.....and more. Excellent."

Robyn

Mount Vernon, WA

Tour: 09/21/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Caterina Moore is a gem of a tour guide!!! Our group could not have been more fortunate. She was very in tune to the needs of each member of the group. She did a wonderful job of immersing us into Italian culture, history,art, music, language and cuisine almost without us quite realizing it. I was able to carry over that knowledge when on my own and later after the tour when my brother and I continued traveling in Italy. We also had an outstanding singing bus driver, Dominico. Robyn

Favorite "WOW" moment

"This trip had so many wow moments. Some were the mosaics in Ravenna, truffle hunting and family dinner and the hill towns. Village Italy is a well planned tour with a wonderful variety of activities."

Lee

Richland, WA

Tour: 09/21/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was a delight from beginning to end. This was my second Rick Steves tour, and I want nothing more than to take another. I think -- in fact I'm certain -- that it would have been impossible to duplicate the experience without the planning and expertise of the Rick Steves team. I've been home for a week now, and I still dream about it, both asleep and awake.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were many -- at least one a day and usually more -- but I actually said the word aloud when we entered the Scrovegni Chapel in Padua."

William

Milwaukie, OR

Tour: 09/21/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was the best one so far. Good food, wine and history. Great group of people and the best tour guide.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Olive oil making and history."

Gerald

Campbell River, BC

Tour: 09/21/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

It was a pretty incredible experience. All good

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There are so many "wow" moments from the tour it's difficult to choose only one. I think sitting in the lecture theatre where Galileo taught in Padova was one of the most thrilling."

Martha

Desert Hot Springs, CA

Tour: 09/21/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our guide, Catarina, was excellent, very well-informed, enthusiastic and helpful. Also outstanding were local guides whose knowledge & ability to convey and integrate history and culture, made the whole experience meaningful, relevant and 'come to life'. Hotels were varied and interesting, local tours were outstanding. I have done a great deal of independent travel but could never have obtained such remarkably informed local guides[INVALID]-consistently! Group was small, cohesive, friendly.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It is impossible to choose one 'wow' moment: Scrovegni Chapel; St. Anthony's Tomb; Donatello sculptures; Ravenna Mosaics; the energy at Assisi; families' traditions of excellence in ceramics, wines, organic foods, olive oil; Orvieto Duomo; Etruscan history and museum; Tuscan vineyards & hotel; Lucca wall promenade; Carrera production & history; beautiful Cinque Terre. The food! The wines! The people! Bella Italia!"

Janet

Yorba Linda, CA

Tour: 09/21/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The Village Tour offered so many memorable experiences: truffle hunting on the farm, pottery demo in Deruta, wine tasting on a beautiful estate, the breath taking views of Civita de Bagnoregio and the walk on the foot bridge, the picnic on the old wall in Orvieto, our beautiful Hotel Belvedere in Tuscany where the food and wine were superb and the hot tub was heaven, olive oil mill and farm lunch, and even in the rain Cinque Terre and Lake Orta were beautiful. Best Rick Steves trip yet!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were so many wow moments; seeing Civita de Bagnoregio from the bus, arriving in gorgeous Cinque Terre on the boat, but Lake Orta was a little bit of heaven on earth at the end of our two weeks. The view of the lake and mountains from our hotel was breath-taking. Our last dinner there was superb."

Joan

Campbell River, BC

Tour: 09/21/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Dear Rick and Travel Company We have just returned from what could be described as a university art/history field trip sprinkled with scenery, food and wine that would cause Minerva herself to weep.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Breathing in Tuscany! The morning stroll through the misty vineyard drawn by it's beckoning plump green and purple grapes competing for "the dolce", then later feeling transformed by it's spirits fit for Florentine Gods. Villa Belvedere feeds the body and soul."

David

Weaverville, NC

Tour: 09/21/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Overall it was pleasant. The tour bus was cramped as the seats were so close to each other I had to sit sideways to keep my knees from bumping the seat in front of me; the bus we had in Portugal had much more legroom. The hotels were a mixture; some were very pleasant and some were very tired! I would have appreciated more of the contemporary local cultures and less of the churches, frescos and mosaics; after a while they all started to look the same.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were several "wow moments" and they were all provided by the local guides Giuseppe at Assisi and Marina at Siena; both provided interesting local comment and observations on history and contemporary life. Either of them would have made a great tour guide."

Mark

Ormond Beach, FL

Tour: 09/21/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Loved the smaller town destinations on this tour. Also enjoyed the cultural experiences such as the truffle hunt and dinner in Tuscany and the family dinner and singing in Levanto, just North of the Cinque Terre. Our guide, Catarina's expertise on art, food and wine, and culture also enhanced our experience on the trip. Her infectious enthusiasm for all things Italian kept our interest piqued and left us wanting more!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Mosaics in Ravenna. Particularly the mausoleum. Also loved hanging out in the Park in Padua during our free time watching the park guard manage the throngs of locals enjoying an evening at the park."

Patricia

Milwaukie, OR

Tour: 09/21/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Village Italy was our favorite RS trip so far. We appreciated seeing beautiful art and architecture and, of course, enjoying fabulous food and wine. But, even more, we appreciated the out-of-the way experiences such as the truffle hunt, the olive oil frantoia, the ceramic factory and the cooking classes. Participating in activities, rather than merely viewing them made the trip memorable. Catarina, our guide, did a great job of arranging a balance between group activity and free time.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hard to say, as there were so many. My favorite was our visit to the olive oil frantoia and learning how olive oil is processed."

Ann

Montgomery, AL

Tour: 09/21/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my first Rick Steves tour and it couldn't have been more wonderful. I enjoyed everything about it. Our guide was so knowledgeable and hospitable and sensitive to our needs. Every day brought a new adventure. I enjoyed all of the local guides and the different planned events. Most of the people on the tour had been on several tours and they all said this was the best one ever. I totally agree.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I honestly can't say. Every day was a "wow" moment for me."

Nicholas

Bozeman, MT

Tour: 09/21/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was excellent. I have not been on tours before this and did not quite know what to expect, although from Rick's TV shows I had presumed it ought to be good. I was not dissappointed. The tour was all I could have ever expected. The itinerary was interesting and varied; the guides were exc ellent and engaging; the bus driver was a hoot and a lovely gentleman; the other travelers were interesting people; the hotels were terrific; the food and wine were to die for.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I would be misleading you to say there was one "wow" experience, since there was one at least every other day. One of our goals on this trip was to discover if we could navigate in Italy with our rudimentary Italian coupled with the rudimentary English the Italians might have. The answer was a resounding - Yes. The basic friendliness of the Italians coupled with Caterina's gentle teaching about how to travel in Rick's manner have given us great confidence for future trips."

Kathleen

Victoria, BC

Tour: 09/21/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Loved the tour! Really enjoyed all the experiences of Italian life - cooking classes, truffle hunting, wine tasting, olive oil tasting. Loved the group dinners and lunches and the Slow Food experiences. Loved the scenery and the villages - all very charming, authentic & interesting for a variety of reasons. The tour provided a good balance between group activities and independent time and was never boring.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favourite "WOW" moment was the visit to Lake Orta at the end of the tour. After leaving Cinqua Terra and climbing up the hills enroute to our final destination, I didn't think that anything could top that scenery. Then we arrived in the beautiful village at Lake Orta. It was stunning. The visit to the island in the lake was beautiful and unlike anything else we had done. It was a highlight."

Valerie

Anacortes, WA

Tour: 09/19/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I had such fun. We had a good group which helped, but this particular tour was one we had talked about for awhile. It met all our expectations. We did not want a crowded city experience. My husband is done with churches! Our favorite things were walking in the countrysides, eating at the farms, and the boat ride along the Cinque Terre. But the best was the opportunity to hear Puccini sung in Lucca.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hearing Puccini sung live in Lucca for me was the best, followed by the cooking lesson and lunch at Stefano's. I realize that the singing was an extra and not really a part of the tour, but Trish did encourage it, most of us went, and we are opera fans! The cooking lesson preceded by the talk on the slow food movement was spectacular. Besides being fun and delicious, his words will remain with me. Thank goodness he shared those recipes! I've already used them!"

Steve

Edmonds, WA

Tour: 09/19/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This truly was the trip of a lifetime. The guide,accommodations,meals,side trips and local guides were all first rate. The depth of the information we received on history,culture,art,architecture and food was impressive. The connections between all these subjects was pointed out and it all became more real. One of the reasons we travel is to expand our worldview. This tour succeeded in that regard in a powerful way. Our group quickly "gelled" and the group dynamic was comfortable and inclusive.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hard to pin it down to just one moment but I will never forget our evening at Sergio and Eva's truffle farm. After meeting Rocco the wonderdog we got to witness the close teamwork between two good friends....will never forget the cry of "Dove,Rocco,Dove"...after some success we returned to the farmhouse to a fabulous feast of some of the freshest most savory food I have ever experienced. The homemade wine , the warmth and hospitality all made for a dreamlike evening. The singing was beautiful."

Dennis

Aitkin, MN

Tour: 09/19/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Great tour guide. She has so much knowledge of the country in general and the towns we visited it was almost overwhelming. The selection of all hotels and all activities were great.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"They all were a ¨wow¨."

James

Anacortes, WA

Tour: 09/19/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I wanted to experience the culture and the food but without the city hassle factor. Thanks to the guide and the agenda, I did. Our guide Trish Bailey was knowledgeable, enthusiastic, energetic and well organized. The chosen sites were like individual colors in a painting. Our group enjoyed the visits and enjoyed each other which has been a consistent pattern over three Rick Steves tours. The villages each had a distinct history and feel.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The dinner after truffle hunting where we sang with the family and laughed so much. And listening to great voices and a pianist in Lucca performing Pucini in his hometown. The cooking lesson. Bravo, bravissimo! Three Wows!,"

Michael

Portland, OR

Tour: 09/19/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I loved everything!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Truffle hunting with Rocco. No, maybe staying in the Guardiola in Montone. Wait...crawling up the Carrara marbled mountains. Assisi, that was my favorite but then biking on the medieval walls of Lucca. I bet touring the Etruscan caves filled with wine at an estate then having lunch was a wow. The awesome is a blurr."

Mary

Ponte Vedra, FL

Tour: 09/19/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This trip was so much more than we expected. The guides were so knowledgable and friendly. At times it seemed like a busy trip but for some reason we did not mind at all because we were always being amazed, learning something and being completely awestruck.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"This is a tough one as there really were so many for me. Getting to go to Volterra when it wasn't even on the itinerary really did it for me though."

Nina

Naples, FL

Tour: 09/19/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was a great [INVALID]ion of towns to visit.the guide was excellent. The group was freindly.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The stay at the Belvedere five star hotel. the setting was beautiful."

Ronald

Ponte Vedra, FL

Tour: 09/19/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Trish was the best tour guide anyone could imagine!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Host family singing after serving dinner at the truffle farm. They seemed like the happiest people on the planet-truly enjoyed their work."

Janice

Edmonds, WA

Tour: 09/19/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Wonderful adventure! We could never have had so many delicious fullfilling days traveling on our own. My expectations were surpassed and fears of touring with a random group diminished. Our guide Patricia was brilliant orchestrating tours, activities & possibilities...helping us whenever needed. We always had the impression she wanted us to have the fabulous tour we signed up for. The tour bus was expertly driven by Dario & a luxurious coach. Accommodations well situated & lovely.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hard to pick just one but the Scrovegny Chapel visit in Padova. Seeing the development of perspective as you do in these frescoes...WOW! Additionally, seeing it all so up-close made it personal. Having to double check... the lower trim elements were so 3D! And then of course the age of the the art itself AND significance in terms of influence & stylization from that point on."

Donna

Aitkin, MN

Tour: 09/19/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was the most fantastic tour we´ve ever taken. My husband used to do incentive travel twice a year (one trip in the US and one in Europe). The tour guide was the best ever, very knowledgeable about the city we were in, repeated information regarding hotels, dining, etc., personable and very helpful with additional information. The cities were absolutely beautiful. This was our fifth time in Italy and beyond compare. Every city was a delight to walk through and enjoy.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Our last night at Lake Orta. The hotel overlooked the lake and the island in the middle. Seeing the sunset from our balcony was a WOW! The hotel and dinner were enjoyed by all of our new friends. Great interacting with people with similar likes and dispositions."

Vicki

Grants Pass, OR

Tour: 09/14/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my first Rick Steves tour & I can say that it exceeded my expectations by a longshot. I have been to the larger cities such as Rome, Florence, and Venice, and wanted to return to Italy but with a closer look at the smaller cities. I wanted a cultural experience but I also wanted good food and a group of fun people to enjoy it with. This tour had it all! The places we visited were special, the meals we shared together were great, and the group was like a family by the end of the trip

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hard to pick just one "wow" moment from the many memorable adventures included in this tour. The truffle hunt and the special dinner based on that delicacy plus the sing along with the family was so much fun. Also, enjoyed the Tuscan cooking lesson by Stefano and the great meal that followed plus a copy of the recipes. Enjoyed the mosaics housed in Ravenna, the Etruscan Museum at Chianciano, and the frescos in Scrovegni Chapel."

Jerome

New Haven, MO

Tour: 09/14/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

The tour was conducted very well. Just about the right amount of free time vs allotted time. Love the level of interaction between tour members of a small group.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Looking out at the island from the balcony of our Lake Orta Hotel. Wish we had just a little more time there."

Pamela

Topeka, KS

Tour: 09/14/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We have been on 3 Rick Steves Tours and I think this was our favorite. The small towns and villages we visited were beautiful, the food was wonderful and my husband and I could not have asked for a better experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The farm we visited outside of Montone with Roco, the truffle hunting dog, was the best. The farmer was so sweet and his wife and friend prepared a feast for our group. There was pasta with a truffle sauce, homemade wine, home cured proscuitto, among many other dishes. All were good, but it was the people who made it great. They sang for us at the end of the meal and it was an experience I will never forget."

Howard

West Chester, PA

Tour: 09/14/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

A good trip. Saw some interesting sights and was glad to get away from the crowded big cities.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Many great moments, but my favorite was the boat ride where we got to see the Cinque Terra."

Stephen

Sunnyvale, CA

Tour: 09/14/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The best thing about the trip was we had a good group, no complainers. Our tour guide probably was the best contributor to the overall experience. She treated like adults.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"-Riding bikes in Levanto through the tunnels -Olive oil tasting. Unique event with great food"

Irene

Gold River, CA

Tour: 09/14/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

After taking two other Rick Steves tours in previous years, I had high expectations for this one. I was not disappointed. The food, the local guides, the bus driver, the itinerary, the tour guide--all were excellent. To add to an already satisfying experience, the other tour members were compatible, enthusiastic, and appreciative of all the opportunities we had to enjoy Italian village life.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favorite activity was the truffle hunt and farmhouse dinner afterward. What an experience it was to traipse behind the truffle-hunting dog and see him locate and then dig up truffles. The home-cooked meal that followed was outstanding."

Doug

Lebanon, NJ

Tour: 09/14/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We've taken a lot of vacations, mainly on cruises (ocean & river) and also single location vacations. This one was just wonderful. We toured, had fun, saw thing we would never have thought of looking for and all of this was planned by someone else. All we had to do is be on time and move with the group. What a pleasure.We are convinced that Rick's' tours are in our future. Interestingly, that my wife asked if we could cancel the 4 other vacations on other tours, and move them to Ricks. lolol

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favorite Wow was when we went to the Etruscan Museum and hosted by Roberto. He was such a wonderful guide, so full of humor and knowledge that I was blown away. He truly should be a mainstay for these tours."

Norman

West Chester, PA

Tour: 09/14/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour visited small Italian towns, many of which were on mountaintops. We had many varied experiences including visiting a marble mining area, being given a cooking lesson, seeing an olive oil coop, tasting wine, hunting for truffles with Rocco, the Truffle Sniffing Dog and, of course, touring many churches. It was great being away from big cities and too many tourists. Our group was what we have come to expect on a Rick Steves Tour, harmonious, friendly and enjoyable to travel with.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Cinque Terre. This was the main reason I wanted to go on this tour. We were able to hike two segments of the trails between towns and, though this was the most crowded area we visited, it was a great experience to hike the trails and see the wonderful views."

Barbara

Everett, WA

Tour: 09/14/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Overall, I had a lovely first Rick Steves tour. I enjoyed my fellow travelers, and our shared experiences. I loved hiking up and out of the Cinque Terre, and swimming twice on the shore there. The food was wonderful especially at the farm where the farmer and his dog dug truffles. I loved the Lakes (must go back!). Loved seeing art history, hand made ceramics, wine tasting, olive oil production....and playing word games as a group on the bus.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hard to choose just one! I loved bicycling around Lucca, also climbing the towers there with the trees at the very top. I also loved joining new (Italian) friends for lunch one day...."

Jim

Granite Bay, CA

Tour: 09/12/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Wonderful! I loved the small tour group.I loved seeing small towns/villages and interacting with locals.I loved all the "special events" like truffle hunting, the cooking instructions at the Agriturisimo,etc. Our guide,David, was very enthusiastic, a wonderful communicator, and obviously enjoyed his job. He is so proud of his country. And especially of his hometown, Orvieto! He knew all the places whe should visit on our "free time". The free time on a Rick Steves Tour is just as important.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Civitta was most unusual and impressive. The time warp is hard to wrap my head around. One of the most enjoyable evenings was truffle hunting, then having the family use them in dinner. And entertaining us with song! BTY, our driver Mario, though not a RST hire, had a fantastic singing voice. You should consider how you might have him on more tours!"

Brian

Port Townsend, WA

Tour: 09/12/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Probably the best tour I've ever taken thanks to the knowledgeable guides and friendly bus driver.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Definitely the truffle hunt on Day 4! Hunting the truffles with the dog was fun and something completely different. We really enjoyed the "farmhouse dinner" where we got to taste our harvest. Some sing-alongs followed. What a great group!"

Virginia

Granite Bay, CA

Tour: 09/12/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was the best tour we have ever taken. Italy was not at the top of my list of places to visit. We only went because some friends were going. But it turned out to be the most wonderful experience! We enjoyed the guides, our travel mates, the places we visited, the food, the wine, the music...I could go on and on. It was a beautiful country and we met so many terrific people. Just thinking about it all makes me want to hop on a plane and go back there. . .

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It is difficult to pick out just one...I really enjoyed our visit to the farm for truffle hunting and dinner. Walking through the vineyard, vegetable garden and orchard, seeing "Rocco" dig up the truffles, eating a home cooked meal of locally grown foods- all of that made the evening a special one. And it ended with an impromptu songfest by our hostess, her helpers, Mario (our bus driver) and David. It was a magical evening!"

Linda

Port Townsend, WA

Tour: 09/12/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our first trip to Italy and was absolutely perfect. We covered a lot of ground and we saw some outstanding scenery but it was more than that. I felt our little group of travelers were really able to experience the Italy most tourists never get to see. The itinerary was perfect---busy but not overwhelming. We appreciated 2 nights in all the towns but wished we could stay a second night in our final stop, Lake Orta.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The little hill town of Montone! It was so perfect, like a Disney movie set or maybe the Italian version of "Brigadoon"[INVALID]-a quaint and charming hilltop town that only appears for Rick Steves tours! I loved walking thru the narrow lanes, gazing into the valley, and visiting with local cats posed next to pots of red geraniums. There were even some old men playing cards in the town square! Simply perfect!"

Janet

Ketchum, ID

Tour: 09/12/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Could not have been better The Villages are where it's at in Italy The people, the customs, the sights, the food This is the way to get immersed into Italy and then to have a guide like David you really get knowledge and experience of the culture. I've traveled in Italy many times and this time I learned more than all the other times put together. The big cities are great, but the culture is in the Villages. Dont miss them

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were MANY. But an individual one was climbing to the top of the tower in Sienna. I'd been to Sienna before, but the view from the top gave me a new view of Italy --The way the Italians design, their customs, the architecture. It provided a time for reflection as I looked over the city and especially the square below and how precise it was laid out. It was a personally rewarding experience for me."

Daniel

Albuquerque, NM

Tour: 09/12/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I feel we saw a lot of territory and many of the highlights of the region, while still being able to stay two nights in each location (very important). I learned a lot about Italy's history. I saw world class art in the churches. I had a great time with this group - we all meshed very well. I ate a lot of good food and drank a lot of good wine - a success by any accounting.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The art I saw in the churches - the Scrovegni chapel, the Ravenna mosaics, Orvieto's San Brizio frescos."

Maureen

Sterling Heights, MI

Tour: 09/12/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our tour "Village in 14 Days" was amazing! Enjoyed the diversity of areas we visited. What a treat right from the start. The "buddies" we picked fit us so well in our personalities and likes. When you have members that have repeated your tours 7-9 times, we got great feedback for future trips!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Was it the wine pairing? The wine flavors and aromas? The olive oil lesson? The hands on experience making pasta? The history of the hilltops? The fabulous meals? The tour guide's knowing answers to our questions, if not would look up and get back with us? The breathtaking scenery? It was all WOW!"

Pauline

Tigard, OR

Tour: 09/12/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was an exceptional tour and one of our best of 7 RS"s tours so far. Everything went very smoothly. Our tour leader, David, was fantastic, and our tour group was great. We had been to larger Italian cities before but wanted to experience more of the country/village ambiance. We were pleasantly rewarded with all of the local, family, historical and unique places that we visited.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"As many others have said, there were too many "wow" moments to even mention. All of them were exceptional. Civita, Lake Orta, the Estruscan cellars and museum, the olive, ceramic and alabaster factories, the cooking class, the truffle hunt and dinner at Sergio's farmhouse, listening to David's band play, Meeting the locals, walking in underground caves where the Etruscans lived 800 BC, being in the marble quarry where Michelangelo stood...............all were outstanding!"

Donald

San Francisco, CA

Tour: 09/12/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Over the years I've visited the major/larger and "important" tourist paces in Italy - Rome, Florence, Siene, Venice, etc. For a number of years my youngest son lived in Rome and when I'd visit him we travel to places he like to go to [INVALID] "beaches and sun." Hence, my Rick Steve trip goal was to see the smaller towns and villages and gain exposure to the life style, important treasured sites and culture of these Italian Village places having long histories. My goal and objective was met 100%

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I found Lake Orta to be special and peaceful place and respite after the 14 week tour. I stayed in Lake Orta for two more days before traveling on at the end of the tour to busy and 2.5 population city of Milan. As far as unique experiences there were many [INVALID] going to a farm and having a dog search for truffles followed by a home cooked meal and energetic performance, going to a winery in Orvieto at harvest time, pottery, visiting an Olive producer, being right in the marble mountain qua"

Dick

Seattle, WA

Tour: 09/12/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I had never been to Italy prior to this tour. I have a much different impression of Italy having completed this tour. Italy was only what I had read and heard from others. I now feel I understand Italy and its people. I now feel I can understand why Italians might feel differently about all sorts of things, not better or worse, just different. Culture, history, politics, architecture, priorities, the list goes on and on. Wow !!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Watching the passengers disembark and board the shuttle boat along the Cinque Terre."

Michael

Woodinville, WA

Tour: 09/12/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Second trip to Europe. First in 25 years. Having all the ground transportation, lodging, and our local guide made the whole thing outstanding. Gone were worries about communications, navigation, different time zones and more. The mix of destinations and activities was unique in that I would never have been able to arrange to go truffle hunting as just one example. The hotels were all good and friendly to us tourists.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were so many, hard to pick just one. But looking at the entire experience, it was getting on the plane after 2 weeks in Italy and realizing absolutely nothing went wrong and that the expected value of seeing new things, people & places was more than realized. I really did not want to study 2000 years of Italian history for the trip. David did a fantastic job filling in the info. we needed to understand what we were looking at without going into detail until my eyes glossed over."

Susan

Albuquerque, NM

Tour: 09/12/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

David, along with Lisa, was an excellent tour guide and able to impart his knowledge and love of Italy easily. The local guides were also excellent. I feel as though we had a balanced sampling of history, art and culture.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Wow moments were many but I especially enjoyed the visit to Civita di Bagnoregio, it's history and physical setting. The truffle hunt was just plain cool!"

Thomas

Tigard, OR

Tour: 09/12/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

What can be said? it was another Rick Steves's tour with great guides, hotels, food, and itinerary! We enjoyed everything.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"As usual, there were several "WOW" moments. The evening spent with David and the Bartenders (his band), the dinner at the truffle farm, and the caves dating back to B.C."

Kim

Toronto, ON

Tour: 09/07/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

What a way to celebrate our 25th anniversary!!!!!This was my first time to Italy. It has always been a dream to visit Tuscany and it definitely didn't disappoint. We decided on a guided tour for the first time so we could begin to understand the culture and how to travel through Europe safely. The information provided by Rick Steves tours was accurate and very easy to follow.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My wow moment was everything! Each place was so unique and offered a wonderful experience of food, culture, sights and sounds."

Robert

Newport, WA

Tour: 09/07/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

For first time "Rick Steve's" tourists we were very unsure of the trip however after being assured of the trip and our guide (Lisa) from friends we settled in and let Lisa do the work. We were soooo very happy with our tour...time with the group, time on our own and time site seeing was balanced perfectly. We learned so much about the history of Italy we were astonished and very much appreciate Lisa for her debt of knowledge. We are ready to return!!!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The small hilltop towns....especially Montone and the personal touches provided by the locals....making pasta and sausage, going to a farm and truffle hunting and learning some of the olive oil making technics."

Steve

Villa Park, CA

Tour: 09/07/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We, Steve and Barbara, loved this tour of Italian villages. The pacing was just right, with two nights in nearly every location. There was a nice balance of group activities and free time to wander. The hotels were centrally located for exploration of each town. The group dinners were all outstanding and a lot of fun. Our tour guide, Lisa, was superb in all regards and our group was a perfect mix of friendly travelers.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"In general, the wow moments were a result of being able to experience Italy in personal ways by being exposed to the daily lives of those living in the areas we visited. Specifically, the cooking lesson, the truffle hunt, the wine tastings, the Lucca bike ride, the various artisans we met, and all the great tours of historic sites combined to form one large "wow" that lasted nearly two weeks."

David

Aurora, ON

Tour: 09/07/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our first RS tour and it far exceeded our expectations. Every time we left a town, I didn't want to leave because it was so beautiful, interesting, and fun. But when we arrived at the next town, it would offer a whole new set of amazing features. I feel that I really got an immersion into Italy and Italian culture, and of course Italian food and wine. It was like traveling with an extended family. The other travelers were a delight to share time with.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Truffle hunting in Montone was the highlight of a trip that was filled with wow moments. Walking through Eva and Sergio's gardens, vineyards, and then the truffle area was fun and could never be duplicated on your own. Then enjoying the fabulous dinner they prepared and ending the evening with everyone singing songs together was delightful. I'm very thankful that I got to experience this."

Pamela

Lorain, OH

Tour: 09/07/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Completing the Villages of Italy Tour has imprinted my husband and I with memories that will last a lifetime. We visited so many incredible cities each with their own historical specialties and uniqueness. Each day we had so many wonderful experiences that layered on top of the ones we had the day before. We enjoyed all the special tours and guides who demonstrated their passion and skills. The food and wine were outstanding!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Experiencing Italy through all my senses. Tasting truffles for the first time after participating in hunting for them. Walking the bridge to Civita. Seeing Giotta's frescoes and Ravenna's mosaics. Smelling wine and honey. Feeling the sprays of Byran's Grotto in Porta Venera. Touching the cedar's of Tuscany and picking grapes off the vines. Biking with the wind in Lucca. Hearing Puccini concert."

William

Lorain, OH

Tour: 09/07/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I felt the Village of Italy Tour was beyond my expectations. Pam (my wife) and I wanted to see a different type of Italy beyond just seeing the big cities of Italy and this tour accomplished that goal. I was especially impressed with Padova, Montone, Lucca, Civita di Bagnoregio, Tuscany, Levanto, Cinque Terre, and Lake Orta. The sights we saw and the people we met were fantastic.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were many "wow" moments on this tour. My favoite was probably seeing Civita di Bagnoregio. It was amazing to see such a town built on a huge mountain. The hike up to the town was wonderful, scenic and challenging. Although this was my favorite "wow" moment, I would be amiss if I did not mention Montone, Orvieto, Assisi, Lucca , Levanto, Cinque Terre and Lake Orta as "wow" moments as well."

Cheryl

Aurora, ON

Tour: 09/07/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We have never travelled with a group but had used Rick Steves travel books many times in our European travels. We loved his philosophy and enjoyed his travel shows on public television. This trip surpassed our expectations. On our own , we could never have had such a variety of rich experiences.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were so many wow moments! The farm experience with the truffle searching dog and warm , welcoming family dinner at the farm was the most unique experience. Loved the cooking lesson! Loved the cheese and honey tasting! The pottery painting was very interesting! The tour of the marble quarry was fascinating!"

John

Knoxville, TN

Tour: 09/07/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Excellent tour. The activities were well planned and Lisa was very well prepared to make this tour a special time for all of those on tour. I enjoyed the small villages and the time we spent on tour and our free time. I would highly recommend this tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Carrara marble tour and the walk and tour of the Civita di Bagnoregio. The scale of the marble quarry was impressive and the explanation of how the mining of marble takes place was excellent."

Nancy

Knoxville, TN

Tour: 09/07/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We really enjoyed the focus of this tour on Italy on a smaller scale. Having already seen the major cities, I feel I got a taste of the r e al Italy. Our guide Lisa was exceptional and enhanced our understanding of ancient and modern Italy.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Justinian mosaics and Etruscan museum"

Cathy

Newport, WA

Tour: 09/07/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We enjoyed the perfect combination of incredible history, beautiful towns, our wonderful travelling family and the sweetness of doing nothing in lovely northern Italy...all with our outstanding guide, Lisa. Wandering little streets in Montone, sharing a meal with Sergio and Eva, the cooking class with Stefano, a spritz in the piazza, hiking a Cinque Terre trail. This is the perfect tour for those who want to experience the countryside along with larger "small" towns like Lucca and Assisi.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Many "wows"! The whole town of Montone including it's sweet piazza and charming little streets. Stefano's passion for slow food, quality ingredients and respect for the farmer. Learning about the WWII history regarding the Etruscan arch in Volterra. Hiking the trail from Corniglia and seeing Vernazza around the curve! Looking up and seeing one of our fellow travelers across a crowded piazza...always reason to smile!"

John

Newport, WA

Tour: 09/07/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Because our friends were interested in going to Italy, and especially the smaller towns, we "volunteered" to go with them. This is our second "Village Italy" tour with guide Lisa. She was worried that we would be bored, but that couldn't have been farther from the truth. The tour was easy-going, with a wonderful group of people; we seemed to click right away and enjoyed each other's company throughout the tour. I would highly recommend this tour to anyone.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Belvedere Hotel in Tuscany was so beautiful...to wake up in the morning and have breakfast overlooking the vineyards and countryside. And...I was introduced to the spritz and will never look back!"

Deborah

Canton, MI

Tour: 09/07/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was not only our "virgin" Rick Steves' Tour but our first overseas travel tour outside the US. It was the trip of a lifetime and exceeded our expectations! Everything from the itinerary, the local guides, our tour guide, Lisa, our bus driver Mariano, our meal experiences, and our tour group was wonderful. Having fabulous weather was the icing on the cake. We especially enjoyed having a chance to relax and unwind at our tranquil Tuscany Hotel Belvedere about midway through the tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Our favorite "wow" moment from the tour was our hike from Levanto to Monterosso. While the trail was challenging and strenuous in places, we were rewarded with gorgeous views of the sea and had virtually no traffic to contend with!"

Rudy

Toronto, ON

Tour: 09/07/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Better than I had imagined .

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Whole trip was WOW !!!"

Kathleen

Martinez, CA

Tour: 09/07/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

It was a wonderful tour! Our tour guide, Lisa, is knowledgeable, fun, and always tuned in to the needs of her group. It's hard to believe that in a couple of weeks we saw so many delightful places, learned so much about history, art, wine, honey, olive oil, and food. Our 'teachers' and hosts could not have been more warm and welcoming. Those in our tour group were THE BEST traveling companions. Their warmth, spirit of joy, and thoughtfulness enhanced an already great trip !

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There are so many memorable images, but seeing Civita di Bagnoregio atop the hill and completing the walk to and from it is the best. Spending the evening with Sergio and his family, hunting truffles, dining with them, and enjoying their singing was another highlight. Others were the stop at the cemetery near Florence, the trip to the marble quarries, the visit to Volterra, and the delicious meals !!!"

Glenda

Sherwood Park, AB

Tour: 09/05/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We loved the "whole tour experience" Our tour guide Katerina was the ultimate professional. She was able to make us all feel included and to handle all the myriad details as they came up without anyone knowing how hard she was working for our enjoyment !

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Our favorite wow moment was the two days we spent in Lucca. There was a celebration one night with music and procession in the streets. We were exposed to opera singing in a beautiful chapel and the city tour guide brought the history of the city to life. To top the experience off we rode bikes along the village fortification! My second favorite village was at Lake Orta. I would love to have had a few days there to revel in the beauty and tranquility of the area."

James

Danville, CA

Tour: 09/05/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I really enjoyed the village Italy tour. It had the proper balance of must see sites and Italian culture. Our tour guide, Caterina and the local guides, really added to the experience by not just providing facts, but going into the story behind the facts.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"For me the "wow" moments were in the agro-tourismas. Together as a group we ate traditional local food and learned of the culture of that area. The biggest "wow" was when we assisted the staff preparing lunch. I worked pulling pasta for the pasta course, it was quite an experience and I plane to use the technique in the future"

Caty

Danville, CA

Tour: 09/05/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Catarina was a great organizer and tour manager. I had a great time with this tour, learned a lot about Italy's art, culture and cuisine. The hotel accommodation was satisfactory overall, except the one in Lucca. The room was not clean and there were flying insects and mosquitoes in the room.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Two memorable moments: 1. The relaxing environment and wonderful dinner at the hotel Belvedere in Tuscany. It will be perfect if they offer an non alcoholic drink option for before dinner cocktail, 2. The beautiful sunset in Levanto."

Mary Ann

Tallahassee, FL

Tour: 09/05/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

From beginning to end our tour was excellent! This was due in large part to our wonderful guide, Caterina. She was knowledgeable and entertaining and kept us gong up those many, many steps when we thought we couldn't take another one. And the variety of experiences was just right. We learned so much and met such warm, lovely people. We want to go on another tour soon and will keep up with you on Facebook. Thanks again for giving us a trip to remember.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The tour of the Basilica of St. Francis with our guide Giuseppe was a "wow" moment for me. David's tour of Oviedo was also wonderful."

Thomas

Tallahassee, FL

Tour: 09/05/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had a wonderful time and came home exhausted but happy.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Walking into Santa Maria degli Angeli and seeing the little church restored by St. Francis."

Jeff

Silver Spring, MD

Tour: 09/05/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Never having been on such a tour I was unsure what to expect, but liked the Rick Steves line of thinking. We had a blast with 19 other people we had never met, and ended up with some life long friends, which made the trip much more fun. We got into places we never would have seen without this tour, quicker and more directly. The only down side was I felt over churched, it seemed like we went from one church to another to start the tour, more options would have been nice.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Cinque terra I believe was my wow moment. The sea views from the land and the land views from the sea were awesome. I really enjoyed having the day to do as we wanted and visit spots that interested us. Cat did a fine job of pointing out where and what we could do and sent us on our way, what a great Italian day. The other wow was the wine, wine as a food group was delicious, we drank many house wines and were never disappointed."

Deborah

Steamboat Springs, CO

Tour: 08/31/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our trip, Village Italy, was spectacular. Our tour guide, Patricia, was phenomenal. The itinerary was wonderful and we loved every minute!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were so many, it's impossible to decide. Visiting Civita, staying in Mentone, Cinque Terre, and so much more --- hard to chose just one!"

Orrin

Steamboat Springs, CO

Tour: 08/31/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Overall our tour was great. Our guide Patricia made the tour a very special experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Civita was one of many"

Rick

Bellevue, WA

Tour: 08/31/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The Villages of Italy tour was different than previous Rick Steves tours I had experienced. The focus was on providing a number of unique experiences that were really great. Spending time with an olive oil producer, a truffle hunting dog, an alabaster carver, an impassioned farmer who directed our group in making lunch. These were just a few of the experiences that I found exhilarating.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favorite "wow" moment was not one of the ancient relics or museums or cathedrals. I think back on the time at Hotel Belvedere in the Tuscan countryside and particularly the wonderful experience of eating dinner on a canopy-covered patio as the sun set. The weather was perfect, the food and wine were excellent and the camaraderie of our group made these two evenings outstanding."

Gary

Portland, OR

Tour: 08/31/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was certainly the best trip I have ever taken because of Patrica and her expertise in history and advice. You could have a better tour guide and traveling experience than this one. I would do another one if your guides are as good as her and as sweet and gentle with the clients. She was prompt and detailed in everything she does and very considerate of all of us as we traveled the route. She got more hugs and kisses from other tour guides as we would meet up with them. Thank You, T.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Lake Orta,Lucca with Puccini concert, Belvedere Hotel. The whole trip was great. Olive vinyard, wine vinyard cook class, and mable quarry. I can't pin down one."

Charlotte

Beaverton, OR

Tour: 08/31/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Wonderful. Tricia is an excellent tour guide. One can tell she loves guiding people and she makes sure that everyone is happy and enjoying their trip. I loved our schedule and enjoyed the towns we visited. Some of the hotels were not the best. The one in Padova was terrible. Not the people managing or running the hotel just the decor and funky way it looked. Beds were not good.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The location of our stay in the vineyard. Wonderful lodging and location."

Robert

Fairborn, OH

Tour: 08/31/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour, Villages Italy, was an amazing and wonderful experience! The group size, the match up of tour members, the tour bus and driver, the tour guide and associates and the itinerary were perfect! When I compare this tour to one I took to Italy last year run by a different tour operator, Rick Steves' will be my only tour choice in the future.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I especially enjoyed the visit to an operating farm and an demonstration of a trained dog truffle hunt. This truffle hunt was followed with a fabulous home cooked Italian meal prepared by the family of the farm. Out tour guide told us that this event was the last to be included in any Rick Steves tour. Sad, I hope they find a replacement for this wonderful experience."

Mary Ann

Fairborn, OH

Tour: 08/31/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I really enjoyed this trip! I liked going bicycle riding on the wall of Lucca, the making pottery tour in P., preparing food with an Italian Chef, going truffle hunting on the farm, the wine tasting at the winery outside Orvieto, and the Tuscan resort/farm stay!!! I could stay here a lot longer. Our tour guide Trisha was Outstanding and I loved to listen to her Scottish accent. I appreciated all the tips she gave us, i.e. where to hear a great concert in Lucca, our picnic (the pork!)!!! ...

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were a lot of these! The last supper in Lake Orta! The Tuscan Farm stay. The meal on the Truffle farm! Making pasta. The beautiful scenery. Bike riding on the wall of Lucca. Tasting olive oil and"

Lynda

Birmingham, AL

Tour: 08/31/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Wonderful way to get away from the big cities and feel the real "vibe" of Italy. I had previously visited several of the small towns included but this tour brought a fresh perspective of life in those villages. Great way to see, hear, taste, and feel life in Italy! So many experiences were crammed into the two weeks without feeling rushed. Well planned. Great guide. This was my 9th RS tour and they just keep getting better.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"So many that its hard to choose. Picnic lunch on the wall in Orvieto after a wonderful shopping expedition in the weekly market, Tuscan sunset while dining outside at the lovely Hotel Belvedere, truffle hunting, dinner and serenade at a family farm. Seeing Civita de Bagnoreggio in the late afternoon light on a lovely day was incredible!!"

Cindi

Bellevue, WA

Tour: 08/31/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

From the first night dinner in Padua to our last "supper" in Lake Orta, we experienced continuous "wow" moments between all the varied activities packed into this 14-day tour. All the villages we visited were unique and special as well as the "extra" villages we visited such as Ravenna, Volterra and Civita di Bagnoregio. Our guide Tricia was fabulous, our bus driver (Andriano) was excellent and all the local guides were memorable--particularly Giuseppe, Marina and Roberto.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were many "wow" moments on this particular tour but if I was to choose one....visiting St. Francis of Assisi cathedral, monastery and listening to Giuseppe's stories was a definite highlight."

Noemma

Thornton, CA

Tour: 06/29/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour was the best time of my life! I loved just about all of the locations that we went to. Lucca was not a favorite of mine, just because it was very crowded and SO hot that during our free time, we didn't explore as much as we'd have liked to. But, all of our locations, especially Lake Orta, were fantastic. We had a major heat wave, but that didn't deter Caterina at all from making our tour super fun!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favorite "wow" moment being at Lake Orta during our final day. It had gotten to about 97 degrees that day, so when we came back from the convent on the island, which was super cool, we jumped in to the crystal clear lake! It was so perfect with the view of the mountains, the clear water, and the blue skies. I really wish we had gotten more than just a day here! It was definitely my most favorite destination during the trip, but our hotel Belvedere was a very close second."

Harry

Enumclaw, WA

Tour: 06/29/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Excellent tour and I would recommend it to anyone. Liked the "local" emphasis of this tour. Can't decide wether the Village Tour or Southern Italy tour was better. Both offered unique prospectives of Italy.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Seeing the countryside and fields of sunflowers was something I really enjoyed. Food preparation, wine tasting, and olive oil processing were top moments."

Daniel

Oak Harbor, WA

Tour: 06/29/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We were looking for structure along with some freedom to customize our Italy experience. The relationships with others in the tour group, along with the expertise of our guide, made for a better than expected experience. The hotels, towns, food, local guides, culture and organization of the tour and our guide allowed us to really feel like we experienced what we set out to do: see Italy in smaller towns and villages and have a great time doing so.

Dave

Salem, OR

Tour: 06/29/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was wonderful. In spite of the unexpected heat wave, we really enjoyed the tour and all the great things we saw and experienced. We really got to experience Italy, (not just be herded through sites) and learn how different the country and society is compared to our perceptions. The intimate interaction with individuals, the opportunity to stay in unique hotels and visiting sites we would never have discovered on our own, made the experience something we will remember.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were several wow moments. Just when I would begin to think, maybe I have seen enough churches, the next one would be more spectacular than the previous. The Etruscan museum, the winery with the Etruscan caves, the medieval towns, the marble quarry, learning about olive oil, and we even got to hear a Los Lobos concert in Lucca. And the stay at the villa with the wonderful pool was so great with its ambiance and fine dining."

Tamara

Enumclaw, WA

Tour: 06/29/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Overall experience was wonderful, and lived up to my expectations. The food, fellow tour members, and are guide were all terrific, and I especially appreciate the ability to see parts of the country that you can't see on your own. One of the reasons we continue to come back for Rick Steve's tours is the ability to see things from a more personal perspective with tours to places where relationships have been formed with small farmers and local guides that let us into the real culture.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were so many it is hard to pick just one ! My "wow" moments were the personal experiences. The Truffle Farm tour and dinner were definitely a highlight, but I also really enjoyed the "market picnic day" where we all got to go shopping, and then get together for a group lunch with lots of local treats! An unexpected Wow was the ongoing views of the sunflower fields in full bloom during our bus rides between destinations."

Wendy

Albuquerque, NM

Tour: 06/29/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We felt that the tour group was just about the right size; the group members meshed quite well; and the trip contained about the right mixture of planned activities and free time. The planned activities were of a high quality and we enjoyed them very much. One comment I would like to add is that the visit to Lake Orta was well worthwhile and we liked it! Please keep that in the Village Italy tour.Only downside to this tour: intense heat/humidity, perhaps more than normal.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"For us (husband and self) it may have been the opportunity to see the Byzantine mosaics in Ravenna, especially the ones of Justinian and Theodora. Not many (if any) tours would have provided that experience. There were so many 'wow' moments on this trip, it was really hard to pick out just one. Perhaps the Giotto fresco cycle in Scrovegni Chapel would have matched it."

Andi

Franktown, CO

Tour: 06/15/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was a fabulous tour and I have many with which to compare it! I loved exploring the small(er) towns and villages of Italy. Most of all, I loved all the interactive, hands on experiences of this itinerary. I would love to see more tours of this type! Of course, the fact we were fortunate enough to have Tricia for our guide made the tour that much more enjoyable.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I loved, loved, loved the experience of the truffle hunt and the wonderful meal and subsequent "family party" afterward. Then there was the view from our room at Lake Orta...Civita.....the Scrovengi Chapel......the Olive oil "Experience"....and on and on and on. The entire tour was one big WOW."

Marisol

Westlake, OH

Tour: 06/15/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Good balance between planned and free time.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were many "wow" moments. The truffle hunting with Rocco the dog was great and the hosts were so gracious entertaining the group. Having a beer at the top of Civita di Bagnoreio was delightful. The views from Cinque Terre were spectacular. Just the interaction with the locals and their food was wonderful."

Thomas

Steger, IL

Tour: 06/15/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our 6th RS tour, so obviously we love the tours! We really enjoyed everyone that traveled with us. The small hill towns that we visited were wonderful. Our days were rather hectic, as so much was planned for us. Often we had plans or activities in the morning for one town, and then more activities or plans later in the day, for a second town, so it was a bit hectic. And tiring. But all in all, we felt it was a very enjoyable tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"One of my most memorable moments, a real "wow" was the walk and the view of Civita di Bagnoregio. At first we felt the walk might be too strenuous, but we gave it a try, and we were so glad that we did. That place was incredible. Another really great experience was the truffle hunting and dinner in Montone. Watching the dog find the truffles was fun, and the family dinner with singing after was great fun!"

Nancy

Denver, CO

Tour: 06/15/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was great! Extremely a wonderful balance of all things wonderful. The varied experience that were offered to the tour members was unbelievable.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Too many wow moments to chose from, the Cinque Terre by boat, the truffle farm experience, the olive co-op, the cooking lessons, the food, the wine and not the least the outstanding guide."

Lynda

South Bend, IN

Tour: 06/08/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

It was a great trip - super guide and driver (Trina and Dario), awesome art and cultural experiences, good food.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Scrovegni Chapel & Ravenna mosaics - San Vitale especially."

Gregory

Spring Branch, TX

Tour: 06/08/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Outstanding experience. The variety of locations was amazing. Good balance between architecture, history, small town life, etc. Very fast paced; packed a lot into 14 days. Great tour leader. Very knowledgeable and engaging. Good group of folks. Had a great time. Lots of wine and lots of food!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Boat ride to Moterosso was amazing. Perfect weather and gorgeous scenery."

Donald

Helotes, TX

Tour: 06/08/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I'd rate this tour "Better than Outstanding" if I could! This trip totally exceeded my expectations. Our tour guide, Trina, was as close to "perfect" as I can rate. She is an expert on Italian heritage, history, current-day politics, and issues. She obviously had a strong network of local tour guides and local contacts which really enhanced the entire trip. I got the impression that our group got to experience quite a number of things which you would never, ever find on your own !

Favorite "WOW" moment

"This is an impossible question to answer, but here are my "highlights." The town of Montone, the city of Orvieto, the wine tasting near Orvieto, the architecture of Civita de Bagnoregio, the seaside beauty of Monterosso di Mare, Lake Orta, the American World War II cemetery, and the Carrerra Marble Museum, were all incredibly compelling. And the rest of the 14-day trip was just about as good. As I said, I can't cite just one WOW moment -- this trip was truly sensory overload !"

Nancy

Helotes, TX

Tour: 06/08/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our first Rick Steves tour, and it won't be our last! There were so many sights, activities, and experiences packed into our trip! We are already looking ahead to our next trip with Rick Steves.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Everything was amazing! I think Civita di Bagnoriego and Cinque Terre would be my favorites."

Michael

Coquitlam, BC

Tour: 06/08/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My wife and I decided to take a tour after much deliberation. We had made 4 previous trips to Europe and we felt we were able to make good itinerary/hotel/food choices especially with the assistance of our Rick Steves' guidebooks. Our major concerns were centred our preconceptions of the "tour" experience, how would we like to be herded around and would we adjust to being scheduled to get up and out at a set time. Well we adjusted perfectly and the experience was fantastic.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Wedding crashing in Orvieto. Although not planned it reflected the magical experience of the tour. On our return to Orvieto after visiting a stately villa for a wine tasting our driver pulled over at an Oriveto viewpoint. A newlywed couple was using the picturesque setting for their wedding pictures. We all piled out and started taking pictures of them, their photographer took pictures of us taking pictures of them, all topped off with a Grappa toast for the happy couple."

Maria

Coquitlam, BC

Tour: 06/08/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This trip by far surpassed my expectations. All the towns we saw were wonderful and our guide and driver were top notch. Everything ran so smoothly. We needed a holiday without the worries of planning our days, scheduling our transportation and beating the line ups to museums. This tour provided us with a worry and stress free vacation with many extras that we wouldn't have been able to do on our own.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I think it's impossible to name just one as there were so many. Foraging for truffles with a farmer, Sergio, and his dog is way up there on my list. Top this off with Sergio's wife and 2 other ladies from the village cooking us a multi-coursed meal using the truffles and many other delicacies was a major treat. They also came out and sang to us while we sipped on Sergio's home made wine. They welcomed us with open arms and how does one find something like that travelling on one's own?"

Barbara

Saint Louis, MO

Tour: 06/08/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Trina was an excellent teacher and never overwhelmed us with TMI. I appreciated the pace of walking[INVALID]she characterized it as SLOW (except when we had a connection to make!)[INVALID]but it was just right for me. The side trips to Siena and the WW2 Cemetery were most memorable. I was moved by the on-sight guide's relating the story of one fallen American soldier interred there. Our bus driver, Dario, in addition to being an excellent driver, was so hospitable and generous to the group.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"At Carrara, the tour of the quarry museum lead by it's creator, Walter."

Helen

London, ON

Tour: 06/08/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was our 25th anniversary and we could not have planned such a fabulous trip on our own. We loved the stress free bus rides and learning about our next stop before we arrived. The meals together were excellent and we enjoyed the company of our fellow travelers.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Lucca was my wow town. Absolutely loved the walking cycling path on the wall surrounding the town and the size of the town was perfect for walking and exploring."

Randy

London, ON

Tour: 06/08/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

There were lots of extra things that happened on our trip that were great. Crashing the wedding photoshoot in Orvieto, hearing the organ being played in the church in Lake Orta, hearing the chanting at Lake Orta's St Francis chapel, going inside the walls at Lucca. Eating at Trattoria del Orso in Orvieto we got the chef's special. The food was one of the best meals we have had.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"This is a tie. We heard the organ being played - Bach's Toccata and Fugue in D minor. It is an amazing piece to be heard played in a church, but in this setting it was even more amazing. and later that same day I was in the Sacro Monte and I was looking at the art when a couple of people came in and started performing a Gregorian chant ( I had my back to them and I didn't realize for a few seconds that I was not alone in the chapel)"

William

Whitby, ON

Tour: 06/08/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Well organized and executed. My fourth tour and certainly not my last. Rick Steve's tours always deliver what they promise and more with a lot of variety.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"No "wow" moment. Just another GREAT Tour!"

Robin

Spring Branch, TX

Tour: 06/08/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I had never been on a tour before, and was apprehensive about spending my vacation with complete strangers. I had a wonderful time. Our group was so much fun. The weather was amazing, the food was delicious and the Italian people were gracious. The hotels were comfortable and quiet. The activities were interesting and fun. I've told everyone that I would recommend the Villages of Italy tour as a great vacation.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Having dinner on the patio of the villa with the view of the Tuscan countryside."

Sandra

Edmonton, AB

Tour: 05/25/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

I enjoyed the tour. The hotels and staff were good. The tour guide was professional, courteous, and gave us very good instructions to find our own way around.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There are too many to pick just one."

Peter

Great Falls, MT

Tour: 05/25/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

this was my first time in Italy and my first time on a tour so I don't have much to compare to. That said I just tried to take everything in and not rush to judgement. I liked the cities chosen. The food was wonderful. The hotels were chosen for location and except for the hotel in Orta the staff were delightful and I enjoyed each tremendously. Transportation was excellent. Our driver was a joy. In almost all cases I loved the chosen activities for the day. Our guides were very informative\

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My wow moment was looking out from the wall of Montone (sp) into the valley below, followed by gelato from a balcony overlooking the piazza in Siene (sp)"

JoAnne

Everett, WA

Tour: 05/25/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Great places to visit. Great food and wine. Great sights. I really enjoyed this tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Civita di Bagnoregio and the Hotel Belvedere di San Leonino in Castellina in Chianti"

Joan

St Albert, AB

Tour: 05/25/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I took this tour then from lake orta travelled to rome to pick up the best of italy southern tour. I loved this tour the best. Our guide was wonderful and the food to die for, sometimes way too much! I liked the fact we wernt on the bus for long stretches of time too. Have recommened this tour to others to take. The onky place i wasnt too in love with was Lucca but did take in a Puccini concert there inside a church which was wonderful. Only having 20 people on this tour was fantastic

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There was many but I remember the knowledge and stories that heidi told us in the chapel of san brizio. I was awed. She made that tour!!!"

Coleen

Great Falls, MT

Tour: 05/25/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I did not want to go home.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Playing Solo with the group. Montone. A spritz with new friends by the pool in Tuscany. Loved Orvieto."

Bruce

Bellevue, WA

Tour: 05/23/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was a well oiled machine... from our tour guide's expertise in history and Italian culture and art to our bus driver who was a perfectionist in navigating even the smallest streets and roads, to the selection of hotels and adventures to embark on. I would highly recommend this tour to anyone.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The cooking lesson, truffle hunting, and pottery demonstration stood out as some of my favorite examples of "wow" of experiencing Italian life moments. The town of Civita di Bagnoregio was my favorite in terms of ancient architecture."

Linda

Snoqualmie, WA

Tour: 05/23/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My husband and I have done quite a bit of travelling over the last few years and the Village Italy tour is now our favorite vacation. It seemed that all the tour members enjoyed each other and we had the best tour guide, Trisha. We were able to enjoy many things such as special lunches and dinners and tours that we could never have arranged on our own. There was a good mix of tours and free time. Having more free time toward the end of the tour was quite welcome! Overall, a special tour!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were many "wow" moments to remember but a special one was the truffle hunt and dinner. There was a downpour of rain during the hunt but it didn't dampen our spirits. A unique experience. I loved that the ladies that cooked the dinner (and our bus driver) sang "O Solo Mio" after dinner. An enchanting evening that I'll never forget."

Wendy

Edgewood, WA

Tour: 05/23/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had a wonderful time on our Hill town Italy tour. We are big Rick Steves fans and this was our first tour. Our guide Patricia was wonderful. We were so impressed with the wide variety of activities that we experienced on our trip. The food was amazing! A rustic farm dinner after Truffle hunting, a cooking lesson in Tuscany and amazing multi course meals in other locations. Highly recommend this tour for a real Italian experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favorite wow moment had to be climbing into the iconic hill town of Civita di Bagnoregio. How gorgeous! There were many other "wow" moments on this trip. In Lucca we climbed the tower for spectacular views and we also went to a beautiful opera performance in Lucca. Another wow moment was a quiet country walk in Tuscany."

Gregory

Edgewood, WA

Tour: 05/23/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Never having done an organized tour before, I was somewhat skeptical of what the experience would be like. Was I going to have enough free time or would I be stuck in a bus or walking around in a big group the whole time? I am now a believer. I was very impressed by the service level, attention to detail and the make-up of the tour, including the amount of time we had on our own to explore. This was a great way to see and experience Italy!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Our favorite Wow moment was experiencing the beautiful, dying city of Civita di Bagnoregio. Spectacular!"

Christine

Bellevue, WA

Tour: 05/23/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our first tour and it exceeded any expectations! Can't imagine a better guide (Tricia Brady); funny, knowledgeable and full of energy! This is a very active and educational tour and I loved that. Felt there was enough time in each village.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"One wow moment? Hard to say. Loved Castelina in Chianti in Tuscany. Loved the Orvieto winery tour and wine cellar dating back to 200 B.C., olive oil society tour in the countryside near Lucca, Civita di Bagnoregio, the dying city was so interesting. Wished we had more time in Volterra!"

Gabriele

Wauna, WA

Tour: 05/23/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was relaxing, educational, great fun. The tour members were all wonderful, we had a great time.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were many "wow" moments. The ancient hill towns were spectacular, I loved Portovenere at the Ligurian Sea, Lake Orta was beautiful; too many to pick just one."

Bill

Snoqualmie, WA

Tour: 05/23/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Patricia is the best guide I have ever had on any trip. She is knowledgeable, personable and creative. Your company is fortunate to have a person of Patricia's quality serving your clients.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The farm house dinner, preparing lunch and the picnic at Orveito. Also the Bellveder hotel."

Jayne

Zeeland, MI

Tour: 05/23/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We started the tour with non-specific hopes to experience art, culture, food, and understand more about Italian and world history. The Village Italy tour exceeded all of our expectations!! Everyday was thoughtfully planned to optimize our 2 week cultural adventure with just enough downtime to process what we experienced between locations.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It is difficult to pick just one moment, but perhaps the splendor of the mosaics in Ravenna's Byzantine San Vitale, with our guide helping us to understand the interplay between art and faith and politics and culture."

Mary Ann

Holland, MI

Tour: 05/23/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The trip was fabulous! Loved experiencing the hill towns, local people through learning about trades/expertise and hotel ownership, the mix of art, culture, history, everyday life. I learned so much, got a more intimate look at Italy than we could have on our own.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"So difficult to choose: The mosaics, alabaster, and marble in Ravenna. Dinner at Sergio's home after the truffle hunt"

Kenneth

New Hope, PA

Tour: 05/23/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

very good. Wanted to see Umbra and Tuscany countryside and small villages and did so. Tour very efficiently run. Good pace, knowledgeble guides and good selection of places to see. Found Rick's tips to be very helpful.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"No real wow moment but was really taken with first time seeing the Tuscany landscape. Just as I had imagined. Wow is being very pleased with the trip."

Sharon

Seattle, WA

Tour: 05/18/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I had watched the movie, "Under the Tuscan Sun" so many times over the years and found the scenery just beautiful as well as the architecture and knew one day I would go. My mom passed away almost three years ago and with my inheritance, I decided that she was going to send me! I guessed that the movie was probably going to be a lot more spectacular than the "real" northern part of Italy. It surpassed all expectations and Tina was an awesome guide.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I really can't say there was just one "wow" moment - I enjoyed the entire trip (aside from the rain but that wasn't very often). I did enjoy our Riviera stop and being able to get out into the water. We had a great group of people and we became family by the end of the trip."

Sara

Round Rock, TX

Tour: 05/18/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was our first trip to Europe, and will not be our last Rick Steves' tour because it exceeded my expectations in every way! Every place we went was unique and beautiful. Trina was exceptional, everything was seamless and appeared effortless, although I know she worked hard to have it feel that way for us. Our group was fun, funny, and energetic and it was very pleasant to see all those folks every day for 14 days.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The day we walked up the bridge to Civita di Bagnoregio. That took my breath away in more ways than one.. I have never said Wow so many times on vacation, it became very obvious that I needed more adjectives in my vocabulary.. but Wow said it all!"

Helen

Humble, TX

Tour: 05/18/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Fantastic!!!! Trina was wonderful.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My husband & I really enjoyed all of the small Towns & villages. If I had to chose one wow moment it would probably be Chianti. Or maybe the Deruta pottery demonstration. It is just to hard to choose. Enjoyed it all."

David

Ascot,

Tour: 05/18/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

This was our third Rick Steves tour and it lived up to our expectations of excellent value for money and high ratio of experience per unit time.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The best was left until last - Lake Orta. Spectacular lake and equally spectacular positioning of our hotel."

Steve

Denver, CO

Tour: 05/18/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

This was my third Steve's tour. The activities on this tour were the best of all my tours. The hotels were the worst of all my tours. I loved Trina the tour guide.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The trip to Tuscany and the tour to the village on top of the mountain accessible only by bridge."

Anne

Ascot,

Tour: 05/18/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was an event-packed tour. Lots of walking and stairs so we were very fit by the end. The tour guide was well versed in Italian History, Art and Modern Culture. Food experiences were great and varied. Overall, eating in Italy was an affordable pleasure. The Italians have a great attitude to life, living and interpersonal relationships.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Scrovegni Chapel, as explained by our local guide, was a memorable event. Lake Orta was a great release from the crowds (especially those in the Cinque Terre region) and the scenery was rather pleasing. Truffle hunting was fun."

Mitch

Kirkland, WA

Tour: 05/18/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was an outstanding trip. Trina, our guide, was first rate - sure knowledgeable, enthusiastic, a great communicator, and very organized. Lodgings were very good, and with the exception of Lucca, quiet. The activities were wonderful. Local guides, with the exception of Lucca, were excellent. The Lucca guided tour was a bit of a forced march, meaning too long for the late afternoon. What's up with driving through a spa town, and not having the opportunity to visit the spa, get a massage

Favorite "WOW" moment

"A dinner at del Morro Aronne in Orvieto and another dinner in Lucca of the Bistecca all Foirentine. Outstanding! Also, the Basilica of St. Francis. Great guide."

Nathan

Humble, TX

Tour: 05/18/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Over all was excellent trip, we have always enjoyed Italy, and the Rick Steve tours guides gave always been a great source of information .

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I had several! The smaller the town, the bigger the wow!"

Julie

Kirkland, WA

Tour: 05/18/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Having been Rome & Florence, I certainly didn't want or need to be engulfed in the craziness of a large city. There was plenty of artwork to admire during this trip yet it, thankfully, was not a main focus of the trip. This trip was about being exposed to what makes Northern Italy so wonderful: truffle hunting, pasta making, wine tasting, marble quarries, honey & cheese tasting, ceramics, beautiful rolling hills & yes, a few saints thrown in for good measure.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There wasn't any one "wow" moment. It was a "wow" pretty much any time I walked into a church &/or chapel, particularly the basilica in Assisi. The church artwork is always so incredible: the grandeur, the colors, the evolution of perspective. To see such beautiful artwork in the space it was intended for really gives it a sense of purpose."

Jane

Redmond, WA

Tour: 05/18/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Overall....super good....Trina is an OUTSTANDING guide - so very knowledgeable, very passionate about Italy....clearly very good at 'handling' all sorts of travelers - the folks who are a traveling party, the introverts....those who have been to Italy several times and just want a deeper visit.....

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Difficult to choose.....the frescoes in Ravena, the local guide in Assisi....the honey tasting....the olive oil press....."

Donna

Las Cruces, NM

Tour: 05/16/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

What a wonderful tour! The itinerary mixed small cities and smaller towns, rural and urban, hill towns and lowland towns, famous sites and not-so-famous pleasures. The hotels were welcoming, lovely, and/or quirky. The food was beyond outstanding. The additional activities (truffle hunting, etc) were all wonderful and added to our knowledge, enrichment, and enjoyment. This has got to be THE best tour of Italy.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It's very hard to find only one. Every day had multiple wows. But if I had to pick just one, it would be the truffle farm experience. Sergio and Eva and friends were so welcoming. Their dogs are lovely. And we all enjoyed walking through the oak forest as Rocco sniffed out truffles. But the crowning moments were after dinner. The Italians sang to us with their lovely voices. We had choral members in our group, and we sang back. It was as close to magical as you can get."

Janet

Bend, OR

Tour: 05/16/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour met all of my expectations. This was our 6th Rick Steves' and I have always enjoyed the people that take these tours. The tours have all been very different but none disappointed me. I liked the variety of activities and exploring the small villages on this one.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were many great moments. We went to a Puccini concert during our free time in Lucca and when the tenor started singing, that was a real WOW! moment. This concert was so wonderful that we went back again the next night to hear different singers. The Carrara marble fields also blew me away. I'm so glad we got to experience this."

Paula

Portland, OR

Tour: 05/16/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I enjoyed all of the places we visited and appreciated the "free time" to explore on our own.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favorite WOW moement...to be honest it was realizing what a great group I ended up traveling with. We saw so many amazing places and enjoyed each other's company in small groups, and our large group. Everyone was on time, friendly, supportive and eager to do things together. Nina was wonderful and fun to be with. She also shared so many interesting tidbits of information about places we toured, art work, Saints' stories that I have come home and WOWED my friends with my stories of the tour"

Beth

Denver, CO

Tour: 05/16/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I really enjoyed the tour. It met my expectations. The group was wonderful. One suggestion is to change the verbiage in the print materials for the cooking "class" in Tuscany from "class" to "demonstration"; I it would be clearer to folks so they could sign up for the cooking lesson with Gianlucca in Lucca, the next town. I was disappointed that we could not enter the Anatomy Theater in Padova due to the contract issues; you should update online information

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I think my wow moment was truffle hunting. What an experience to be welcomed so warmly in someone's home. Such an unusual and enjoyable experience."

Eileen

Tigard, OR

Tour: 05/16/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Loved it! Beautiful countryside, hill towns and art! Very congenial tour group as well. Excellent choices of places to visit and stay (with one exception). Well planned for time in each place visited and hotels stayed in (and in good locations in each city).

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Difficult to pick just one! Civeta was spectacular, both to see from a distance and so photogenic inside the town. Loved seeing the beautiful countryside of rolling hills, vineyards, olive trees, everything so green! Loved the small, untouristy hill town of Montone surrounded by lush green hills as well as larger Orvieto, and Volterra! Would have liked more time there. The free day in the Cinque Terre was special, especially hiking above Vernazza and spending time in Riomaggiore."

Cynthia

Temple Terrace, FL

Tour: 05/16/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our second Rick Steves' tour. I did not think it was possible, but it was even better than the first one. We had a super guide, Nina. She made the trip fantastic. Great variety of activities!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"That is a hard question. Every city on our tour had a wow moment! I think when we were assigned rooms in Montone and ended up in this fantastic guard house up on the hill! The whole tour came in to see the place! Incredible!"

Chris

Temple Terrace, FL

Tour: 05/16/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Without a doubt this was the finest travel experience I have ever had. You can "learn" about Italy by visiting on your own or going on just about any tour. If you want to "experience" Italy, this is the tour for you. Our group of travelers included those who had been on several tours with a Rick Steves group and those who had not been on any of his tours. That said, our group was outstanding and just an absolute pleasure with whom to travel.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Too many to name just one but included in that mix: 1. Montone-our room was the "guardhouse" which was unlike anything I had experienced. Sitting in the town "piazza" sipping a drink and just watching the locals play cards. 2. Watching "Franco" sculpt alabaster in Voltaire. 3. Hike from Levanto to Monterosso-you come around the corner of the last hill and can see all five villages of the Cinque Terra as well as the channel to Portovenere. The view is from a postcard."

Leonardo

Bal Harbour, FL

Tour: 05/16/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The overall experience was outstanding and was true to the tour as described in the brochures. No surprises, only good ones.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Arriving at the Locando del Capitano in Montone. This was the quintessential Village Italy experience, this town, this hotel."

Laurie

Renton, WA

Tour: 05/16/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The Village Italy tour had just the right combination of tour activities and free time to explore on our own. The fact we had two night stays at each location was great - it gave us the ability to explore and yet not feel rushed. Our guide, Nina, made our tour the best yet (this is our 2nd) and I highly recommend her! The truffle hunting, farmhouse dinner and wine tasting & pasta making experiences were fantastic. Nina's indepth knowledge of Italy made it that much more enjoyable!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Too many to count: The Etruscan museum was super cool[INVALID]our local guide Roberto was extremely knowledgeable and hilarious [INVALID] I have the utmost respect for someone as witty and quick as he is to joke in a non-native tongue. The Tour of the Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi, the long walk up to the crumbling hill town of Civita di Bagnoregio was exhilarating and a walk into medieval times."

Brent

Renton, WA

Tour: 05/16/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

On this tour, the group itself was a major component in the enjoyment. There was not one person who I felt was a drag. That wasn't the case on our previous tour. I also thought our guide, Nina, was ideal. She was an American and understood our thought processes and sense of humor. At the same time she has lived in Italy for more than enough time to be Italian. She didn't have to strain to "get us."

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I particularly enjoyed the trip to the Olive Oil Press, Cooking experience & Truffle Hunt. It would be difficult to separate these 3 activities. I would rate them 1-Cooking; 2-Truffle Hunt; 3-Olive Oil Press."

Diahann

Waikoloa, HI

Tour: 05/16/15

Overall rating: rating 3 of 5

My group of fellow travelers were extremely enjoyable most well traveled, we all seemed to gel nicely. I enjoyed the itinerary but would have enjoyed it more we had stayed 3 nights in each hotel, too much moving for me.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I enjoyed many moments in small restaurants I found on my own, people I met just walking around towns and getting lost taking photos. Italy is a WOW moment...."

Amy

Cambria, CA

Tour: 05/16/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I had a wonderful time. Nina, our guide, was knowledgeable and gave us a lot of useful information. She seemed to love what she was doing and this made the trip even more enjoyable. The particular group on this tour were not only pleasant, but prompt at every stop.(Having travelled with other groups before, I can say this is not always so.) I was most impressed with our driver, Mario, who made sharp turns seems easy.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I have a real 'wow' and a funny 'wow.' The real 'wow' of all the experiences on this trip was seeing Dante's tomb in Ravenna. Having read that it was closed Mondays, I was thrilled to discover it was open the Monday we were there. The funny 'wow' - being from California (drought - saving water whenever we can), I had a tub in Orvieto and took a bath! WOW!"

Joni

Bal Harbour, FL

Tour: 05/16/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was an amazing tour from start to finish. The tour guide, Nina was so wonderful. All the hotels had a warm feel to them, especially because most were family run. The local guides were all knowledgable and entertaining. All the group excursions were very well planned and I enjoyed all of them. The group meals were delicious. The people on the tour all shared the love of travel and good times. It was impressive that everyone was on time each day, got along and I never heard anyone complain.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were a lot of wow moments for me but I think the view of Civita di Bagnoregio when you first see it was spectacular!"

Joan

La Conner, WA

Tour: 05/16/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I have used Rick's guide books for years but this was my first tour. It exceeded my expectations. Arriving at the Cinque Terre by boat on a gorgeous day, Wow! Beautiful Lake Orta and another boat ride. Our fabulous roomy bus and Mario our charming driver. Excellent orientation tours and plenty of free time to digest and take in what interested us most. The expectation that we would leave at a specific time, which was honored by everyone in the group. A well informed tour leader.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Singing with the truffle farmer his wife and lady friends. Meeting a bunch of enthusiastic pre-teen girls in a restaurant, sharing our names and ages, parting with smiles and hugs. Wine tasting in a beautifully decorated dining room. Fabulous lunch at the olive coop."

Zoe

Edmonds, WA

Tour: 05/16/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was my first time abroad and I was so excited about the experience. I liked the size of the group we were with and I felt very spoiled on this trip. We ate well, we received wonderful recommendations about places to visit and fun restaurants to check out for a local experience. I also felt we covered a lot of ground over two weeks but we also got to have quite a bit of time for exploring on our own. A month later, I can still say my trip to Italy with Rick Steve's couldn't have been better.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"So many wonderful things to remember and how do you quantify it by coming up with one thing. I would say probably say going to the church with Giotto's art in Padua was really special. I felt like we were able to glimpse a work of important art and it will not soon be forgotten. I loved Christine's talk she gave about the work and I appreciated the detail the artist conveyed like the draping of the material and the story telling."

Alvan

Logan, UT

Tour: 05/11/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

We greatly enjoyed this view of small village Italy. Fantastic meals, great cultural experiences, and (for the most part) a very enjoyable group to travel with.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The guided tour through the University of Padova was especially memorable for me, knowing that such scientific luminaries in history studied there. As a scientist myself, this was like a muslim making the pilgrimage to Mecca."

Keith

Franklin, TN

Tour: 05/11/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour was amazing! We went to places in Italy that we would have never found or ventured to. All the cities and countryside were great places to visit - the cathedrals and history, the beautiful landscapes, the side trips to hunt truffles or see the olive oil manufacturing facility, and so much more.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Walking down a narrow street and then seeing a majestic cathedral come into view. Or maybe it was dinner with the farmer and his wife, and the songs they sang afterwards."

Bill

Provo, UT

Tour: 05/11/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was fantastic. We had just the right balance of enjoying the small village towns and exploring museums and churches. Starting in Padua was a great idea, so that we could see the Scrovegni Chapel. All of the towns [INVALID]ed for the village Italy tour were amazing, from the incredibly small Montone to the famous Siena. Ending at the Cinque Terre and Lake Orta was a great way to decompress at the end of the tour. I can't think anything that was a waste of time.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I can think of three "wow" moments. The first was unplanned. A member of our tour group was a professional singer, familiar with opera. She gave us an impromptu brief lecture and demonstration of opera during lunch prior to a concert that most tour members attended in Lucca. The second "wow" moment was just fun. Hunting truffles with Rocco the dog. The third "wow" was the breathtaking view of the mosaics in the Mausoleum of Galla Placidia. I literally gasped when I saw them."

Eileen

Provo, UT

Tour: 05/11/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Beautiful landscape and towns. A nice variety of experiences that taught more about Italian life. My favorite tour was the "Best of Italy in 17 Days," but this one was a close second. I love the beauty of Italy, and this tour, with its emphasis on smaller places, especially hill towns, highlighted all that's wonderful about this country. I would highly recommend this tour, especially to those uninterested in the big city experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The mosaics in Ravenna, Civita di Bagnoregio, the Pieta in the Orvieto Duomo, actually (finally) "reading" a stained glass rose window instead of just standing before it in illiterate admiration. And Siena. Always, Siena."

Diane C

Olathe, CO

Tour: 05/11/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Wonderful, broad [INVALID]ion of experiences. Archealogical, historical, religious, art, food, music and culture. Hiedi was an amazing guide and her ability to deal decisively and kindly with people, solve and anticipate problems and take care of the group was unmatchable!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Attending the Pucinni Concert in Lucca!"

Daniel C

Olathe, CO

Tour: 05/11/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We saw great things with a great group of people. I cannot imagine that we could have had a better guide than Heidi. She was amazing.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Oh My! There were so many. My favorite place was Cinque Terre. Everywhere we went along that coast was a continual wow experience. I loved the trails there, the coastline, the colorful villages on the hills, the food, the gelato and the folks who live there that were so nice to a bunch of tourists."

Deanna

Mesa, AZ

Tour: 05/11/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The best tour I have taken. I really enjoyed interacting with local people on the farm & truffle hunt, olive oil production and meal, wine tasting at the family owned winery, back to basic Italian cooking, the marble quarries, Pottery-making --all things I probably wouldn't have experienced on my own. The accommodations were excellent. I gained such and appreciation of the people, culture and beauty of Italy.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I had many "wow" moments. But one experience that has stuck in my mind is the afternoon spent on the farm. The family and friends that helped with the meal were so delightful and full of life. The meal was delicious and the folk singing topped off the evening. I loved how they interacted with each other and were so gracious to all of us. My 'wow' moment for beauty would be wandering the streets of Orvieto and Civita."

Charlie

Moraga, CA

Tour: 05/04/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Every day was a new adventure and every day delivered something special. We LOVED the Villages and Vineyards tour of Eastern France last year and didn't think anything could match that. At the end, though, we felt this one was just as good. Running into Rick Steves himself in Siena was an added bonus.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"How knowledgeable our guide Trina was. She started with geology, tied that into topography, agriculture, past and current living conditions. Knew history from Etruscans to modern day. On last bus day, when I thought she was drained, she delivered an incredibly interesting presentation on current issues such as seniority vs. meritocracy, how it impacts business, education, youth unemployment, etc. Then she expounded on inefficiency of government, legal system, etc. Amazing tour de force. Wow!"

Mary

La Mesa, CA

Tour: 05/04/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our fourth RS tour and they all have been wonderful. This group just happened to really click which made it all the more fun. We had plenty of free time which is important. We had a great mix of cities and country time.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"We were in Sienna with our group and were surprised to have Rick Steves show up to say Hi! That was a lot of fun. We even ended up in Rick's Blog on line with a selfie that he took. Trina by the way was our guide! Everything that we did that was planned out for us was a "wow" moment. Always a lot of different and unusual activities to experience. I especially enjoyed the evening watching the family dog digging up truffles for us to enjoy at a wonderful family dinner. Lots of fun!"

Joyce

Portland, OR

Tour: 05/04/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our tour was so much fun and educational too This is my third Rick Steve's tour and the best so far. It absolutely exceeded my expectations, I have been bursting to tell everyone. As usual a great mix of group time and free time. Our guide , Trina, was great and went out of her way to help each person meet their own goals. This was my husband's first trip to Europe and Trina really helped him feel at home and fall in love with Italy. Now we want to go back!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Oh my gosh! There are so many! Making spaghetti was wonderful. Everyone learned so much and had so much fun too. The honey tasting was memorable too because it is a joy to see people who are passionate about what they do. The olive oil family was neat too. The Etruscan museum was so interesting and so historically important. And visiting the American cemetery was so meaningful too. I'd say the truffle hunting dog and family party was the best experience! So personal and fun!"

Marilee

Troutdale, OR

Tour: 05/04/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I absolutely loved this tour. The group was so compatible. Guide Trina was incredible. And I loved visiting the smaller towns/cities.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Lago d'Orta at sunset."

Stuart

Round Rock, TX

Tour: 05/04/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Wonderful time. I tell all of my friends that the best thing about RS tours is the "free time". We want to spend a summer in Lucca! So impressed with Trina. She made it look so easy, but we know she was working very hard to make our experience wonderful. She always communicated with us on the plans, especially how our plans might have to change due to circumstances. Antonia's perspective was very helpful in understanding Italy and the challenges of "going native". Very special view.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Scenery in Tuscany; just like a never ending postcard! Of course, meeting Rick in Sienna was pretty cool too!"

Kathleen

Alturas, CA

Tour: 05/04/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour was great! We had a knowledgeable and experienced guide, traveled in a roomy, comfortable bus, stayed in nice hotels, were very well fed, had a fantastic itinerary, and were treated to an abundance of memorable experiences. The Rick Steves travel philosophy pretty much ensures that one's fellow tour members will be congenial people, and that there will not be too many of them!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I don't think I can limit myself to one special moment, there were so many. Making friends with the locals was memorable[INVALID]particularly an elderly gentleman in Orvieto, and the young proprietor of a vegetarian restaurant in Lucca. It was a thrill seeing San Gimignano on the horizon like a mirage from our hotel in Chianti. Watching Roco the truffle hunting dog do his thing was a treat. And the visit to Civita di Bagnoregio! A chance meeting in Siena with Rick Steves was pretty cool, too!"

Heather

Orting, WA

Tour: 05/04/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

What a wonderful tour! I love seeing the "off-the-beaten path" sights! I absolutely loved Trina. She so skillfully crafted her talks to include geology, history, and culture. It was truly an educational experience. I loved Antonio's ex-pat perspective. But I especially appreciated my fellow travelers - They made retirement look good! I hope I have half the energy they have when I finally retire. This was my first Rick Steves tour and it won't be my last.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were so many! Standing in the Anatomy Theatre in the University of Padua was probably the most meaningful for me as a physician. But I have to say that eating home cooked food including the recently uncovered truffles at Sergio and Eva's house was my favorite!"

Herman

East Amherst, NY

Tour: 05/04/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Great trip overall. I'm glad we picked this trip for our first trip abroad. While the pace was demanding at times, the range of experiences was really eye opening.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The views from the ramparts in Lucca. It was a beautiful day and the town was picturesque. It was a place I wanted to stay longer or certainly come back to on another trip."

Rosemary

East Amherst, NY

Tour: 05/04/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our first trip to Europe and we could not have chosen a better tour. The hill towns were wonderful, packed with one great experience after another. I was also impressed with the small cities, with their delightful mix of modernity and tradition. Padua is much more than just a place to start the tour, Lucca is much more than the beautiful park on the walls, and Levanto is a wonderful beach town. Add our guides Trina and Antonia, and our driver Mario, and we had a very special tour!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Of the many "wow" moments, my favorite was sitting in Galileo's classroom. Our guide was excellent, really creating a sense of history for us. Other moments: The stunning mosaics in Ravenna; touring the Etruscan museum, learning about this society from a fantastic guide; bicycling the walls in Lucca; slow food, from truffles to honey and cheese; watching the surfers in Levanto, then walking back for lunch and another gelato; sitting on our balcony overlooking Lake Orta."

Carolyn

Durham, NC

Tour: 05/02/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The Village Italy tour exceeded my expectations. Our guide, Patricia, shared her vast knowledge of so many aspects of Italian life. Her knowledge combined with many years of tour-guiding experience coupled with much enthusiasm and patience made for a fun and memorable experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were so many it is really difficult to choose, but the magnificent Byzantine mosaics in the San Vitale Basilica would certainly be one of them as would the beauty and serenity of Isola San Giulio at Lake Orta."

Lisa

Sammamish, WA

Tour: 05/02/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The villages and hill towns exceeded my expectations. Add to that the expertise of our guide Trish and it made this a wonderful tour. We had a really fun group. The truffle hunt with "Rocco" was fun and then the dinner after at the farmhouse was amazing. What warm and inviting people! The pottery making demo was lots of fun. Made us wish we had more room in our suitcase to take home some of the lovely pottery.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Exploring Montone. Such a beautiful town. It was in such good shape and was small enough that you could explore every nook and cranny. It was probably my favorite but all the hilltowns were gorgeous."

Cynthia

Grand Junction, CO

Tour: 05/02/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I enjoyed balance of art&education,free time&structure.1st tour ever, usually travel independently.Great intro to It., diversity of regions, history,food, unique traits of communes.Pace was steady,tour participants convivial, lodgings,food&planned events exceeded expectations.I wanted more time each place I visited,especially Civita Bagnoreggio, Volterra,Orta. Tour exposed me to unique experiences I couldn't easily find on my own, inspired me for future travel planning.

Favorite "WOW" moment

""Discovering" Portovenere from the boat on our way from La Spezia, exploring the town & castle, enjoying its specialness on the Ligurian coast as a tantalizing preview of the Cinque Terre made it a WOW. The boat trip from Portovenere along the coast, stopping at each of the villages, was spectacular. The day on the water was relaxing, and built excitement and anticipation for the last few days of the trip. The unexpectedness of this shift in our itinerary made it even more special!"

Jack

Urbandale, IA

Tour: 05/02/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Very good trip,the group fit perfect , no bad apples,our guide set the trip apart from other trips Tish new her stuff, great attitude, would travel again with her. It did not hurt that we had no rain, lots of sun and not to hot.Happy we did small towns , have seen enough big towns. We will do another trip with Rick, this was our 3rd. Lots of bang for the buck. Jacj H

Favorite "WOW" moment

"We had two Montone our first stop and Lake Orta good way to start and end!"

Weather

Italy / Milan


Italy / Venice

Venice Weather


Italy / Florence

Florence Weather

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 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 this tour, which starts in Padua and ends at Lake Orta. Most tour members will arrange to fly into Venice and out of Milan ("multi-city" on flight booking websites). Booking round-trip to one city will require a connecting flight, train trip, or additional overnight stay. Venice and Milan are transportation hubs, making travel before or after your tour quite easy.

For your post-tour departure, please note that Milan has two airports, Malpensa and Linate. Malpensa is the easiest from which to depart. It's best to book your flight from Malpensa no earlier than 10 a.m. on the last day of the tour. Taxis make the 45-minute trip to Malpensa for around €95 for up to four people. Bus or train options may be available, but there is generally no direct route from Orta to Malpensa, so the trip can be long and often still involves taking a taxi for part of the journey. At the end of the tour, your guide will help coordinate transfers from Orta to airports and train stations. If you depart from Linate, book your flight no earlier than noon on the last day of the tour. Anticipate about two hours to get to Linate by taxi and a fare of around €150. If you choose to fly home from Venice, you need to plan for an extra overnight stay, as Lake Orta is a five-hour train ride from Venice and you won't be able to connect with an international flight on the same day.

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

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

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

Sightseeing On Your Own

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

Here are a few suggestions for sightseeing in Padua that we do not do as a group (see guidebook for details): Basilica of St. Anthony, Baptistery, Piano Nobile (a.k.a. il Ridotto) of Caffé Pedrocchi. You may also want to consider spending time in Venice or Milan.

Packing

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