• Prato della Valle, Padua, Italy
    Prato della Valle in Padua
  • Basilica di San Vitale, Ravenna, Italy
    Ravenna's Basilica di San Vitale
  • Assisi
  • Truffle hunting in rural Umbria, Italy
    Truffle Hunting in Umbria
  • Civita di Bagnoregio
  • Wine tasting session, Orvieto, Italy
    Wine Tasting Near Orvieto
  • Cooking class in Chianciano Terme, Italy
    Cooking Class in Tuscany
  • Lucca
  • Manarola in the Cinque Terre
  • Lake Orta, Italy
    Lake Orta

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

Village Italy in 14 Days Tour

from $4,195 per person + air

Optional Single Supplement $675

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, medieval Siena, 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

2020

    • Apr 18–May 1 (Sa–Fr)
    • $4,195 + Air

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    • Apr 20–May 3 (Mo–Su)
    • $4,195 + Air

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    • Apr 27–May 10 (Mo–Su)
    • $4,195 + Air

    Join Waitlist
    • May 4–May 17 (Mo–Su)
    • $4,395 + Air

    Filling Fast
    • May 18–May 31 (Mo–Su)
    • $4,395 + Air

    Filling Fast
    • Sep 12–Sep 25 (Sa–Fr)
    • $4,595 + Air

    Join Waitlist
    • Sep 19–Oct 2 (Sa–Fr)
    • $4,595 + 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 • Padua's Anatomy Theater (when available) • Mosaics of Ravenna's San Vitale and Galla Placidia • Assisi's Basilica of St. Francis • Truffle hunt • Deruta pottery demonstration • Wine tasting • Orvieto orientation walk • Orvieto Cathedral and Signorelli's frescoes • Civita di Bagnoregio • Etruscan Museum • Italian cooking class • Siena orientation walk • Tuscan hill town • Lucca walking tour • Olive oil tasting and lunch • Carrara marble quarry • Ligurian Coast cruise (weather permitting) • Orientation for "vacation" day on the Italian Riviera • Lake Orta cruise…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
  • A tour kit including a guidebook (or books) and a moneybelt
  • Guaranteed tour price, locked in the moment you make your deposit
  • Optional single supplements — this tour has a limited number of private rooms for solo travelers for an additional fee
  • Tour alum discount of $50 for each tour you've taken prior to 2020
  • 50% discount on a consulting appointment with our in-house experts to assist with your pre- or post-tour travel plans
  • Flexibility should you need to transfer or cancel your tour

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

Itinerary

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

Day 1: Welcome to Italy

Our tour begins in elegant Padua (Padova) — 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 and Europe's first great anatomy theater (when available). 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 evening is free for wandering through this rustic stone village. Sleep in Montefalco (2 nights). Bus: 5 hours. Walking: moderate.

Day 4: Assisi and Truffles

This morning we'll take a short drive to St. Francis' hometown of Assisi, where we'll tour the magnificent art-filled Basilica. Afterward, we'll take a walk through town and have free time for lunch. 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 end our day at a scenic country estate enjoying a delightful farm-to-table dinner together (including the truffles). Bus: 2 hours. 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 hours. 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 hours. 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 have a light dinner and sleep (2 nights). Bus: 3 hours. Walking: light.

Day 8: Tranquil Tuscany

This morning we'll head out to Siena, arguably Tuscany's greatest hill town. After an orientation, you'll be free to explore Siena's treasures, including the Duomo and Campo, and 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 hours. 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 hours. 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 hour. 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'll 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 Monterosso, and then we'll take a short train ride to the beach town of Levanto, our home base for il dolce far niente (the sweetness of doing nothing). Tonight we'll share a family-prepared seafood feast. Sleep in Levanto (2 nights). Boat: 2 hours. Bus: 2 hours. 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 cliffside paths, taking in lots of fresh air and panoramic views between Cinque Terre villages. Or pick a village where you can spend your day exploring the stairways and alleyways, sunning yourself on the rocks, or sipping cappuccino and catching up on your journal at an outdoor café. 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 hour. Bus: 4 hours. 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. Your guide will help coordinate transportation to Malpensa, leaving you well prepared for the road ahead. Grazie e ciao!

Itinerary specifics subject to change.

Physical Demands

Our tours are physically active! It's an essential part of the Rick Steves tour experience. On our Village Italy in 14 Days tour — among other things — you'll need to happily…

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

Reviews

Rollanda

Bellingham, WA

Tour: 09/23/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our tour guide, Patricia, and driver, Mario were perfect in every way. The small and midsize hill towns were as magical as described and our accommodations placed us right in the heart of the best experiences. We appreciated the extra guidance from the Tour book and our guide for explorations on our own. We had time with artisans working traditional materials in pottery, alabaster, and marble, as well as traditional products of wine and olive oil. Their pride of craftsmanship was inspiring.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Gosh--these happened every day. We were moved by the histories of St. Francis and Clare, winding our way through the cobblestone streets on our own, imagining the horse racing around the piazza, and the shared meals (and those we discovered on our own). On our last day at Lake Orta, we took the boat back to the Island of Silence to hear 64 nuns sing Gregorian chants in the Romaneque Basilica. Yes. Wow!"

Valerie

Liberty Township, OH

Tour: 09/23/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Informative, fun, educational, lots of exercise, great food, great guide, and the best weather ever

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Byzantine mosaics!"

Steven

Seattle, WA

Tour: 09/23/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

My wife and I enjoyed the Village Italy Tour tremendously. It gave us exposure to many more sights, towns, and experiences than we could have had on a self-guided trip in a two week time frame. Our leader Tricia was personable and deeply knowledgeable about Italy, and she added compelling detail to all the experiences. Although I would have liked a bit more free time built in to the tour, it would be difficult to choose which sight or activity might have been left out to allow this.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were a few "wow" moments, and I can't choose one. Certainly the first view of the Duomo in Orvieto, with its marvelous exterior frescoes glowing in the sunlight. Also the view from the wall in the same town, where we had a picnic one afternoon. I also enjoyed skipping out on the day trip to Assisi, as my wife was feeling ill - instead, I wandered alone the streets of tiny and lovely Montefalco. I savored the serenity of this village in the early morning, not another tourist in sight."

Douglas

East Aurora, NY

Tour: 09/23/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

A well thought out tour that was a joy for Carol and I. 1.) Did I think we spent too much time touring churches...yes, but I have to admit they were incredible buildings. 2.)Some of the towns / Cities were a bit too crowded for our taste, but we don't think you can avoid that - Siena...nice but so jammed with tourists ( like us ) could not wait to leave. 3.) The smaller villages were the best part of the tour....really enjoyed Lucca, Volterra, Orvietto etc.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hard to say since everything was well planned and interesting, but I'll give you a few memories that stick with me. Cinque Terre - spectacular! Tuscany and the villa where we stayed....we could have stayed there for another 5 days and enjoyed it. Montefalco....my favorite village!"

Carol

East Aurora, NY

Tour: 09/23/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My husband and I were told to check out this tour, because it was so worthwhile. We are so glad we did. Where to start; our guide, Trish was wonderful and so knowledgeable! She taught us so much about the charming hill viillages we explored. This tour was so full of history, gorgeous vistas, beautiful churches, delicious meals. It really showed off so much that makes Northern Italy so lovely. Our fellow travelers were great! We enjoyed their company and that enhanced out trip

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The boat ride to the Cinque Terre was amazing! We also loved visiting the vineyards tour and wine tasting! So many amazing views of the countryside especially from the hill villages! Visiting the Carrera Marble Quarry was fascinating as well."

Linda

Langley, WA

Tour: 09/21/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Great guide, wonderful cities, lovely experiences!! Food was beyond belief. Enjoyed every moment.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"We loved the truffle dinner and the cooking school. The boat rides were fun too."

Stephen

Holland, MI

Tour: 09/21/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We took a Heart of Italy tour a few years ago and were excited to see more of Italy. We enjoyed visiting Volterra, Lucca and Cinque Terre again. Most of the places we visited on this tour were new to us and we enjoyed all of them. We especially enjoyed staying in Levanto and could have stayed longer. The truffle hunt was our least favorite activity. Our guide and bus driver were great. We were happy to meet the tour guide from our Heart of Italy tour again when we visited her winery.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Our favorite day was the free day we had in Levanto. We hiked the coastal trail in Cinque Terre on our first tour, so we walked to Bonassola in the morning of our free day and spent the rest of the day at the beach in Levanto. There were no crowds in Bonassola and the weather was perfect for a swim in Levanto."

Karen

Deerfield, IL

Tour: 09/21/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The Village Italy in 14 Days tour was just the right tour to introduce me to Italy for the first time. You get the sights, sounds, scents and flavors of Tuscany, Umbria and the Lakes in a well-planned adventure that has extensive touring as well as much private time. Our guide, Deborah, is a consummate professional and I would tour anywhere with her! She has every detail thought out ahead of time and was friendly, honest and charming. Brava, Deborah!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"We are proudly able to brag to our friends that we had 6 interesting, rare private demonstrations on the Village Italy tour: lunch making at an agritourismo, tasting of 4 wines at a Tuscan winery, exploration of a Carrera marble quarry, demonstrations of alabaster carving and pottery decoration, and truffle hunting/eating. Those activities don't seem to make other people's lists!"

Grace

Camarillo, CA

Tour: 09/21/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I loved it! The itinerary interested me, but our wonderful guide Deborah, bus driver Luca and local guides made it exceptional! They were a real team. The group was so great, fun and friendly. All of this made the trip for me. There were so many places and experiences I would never have had if I tried to do this trip on my own. The Ravenna's Byzantine San Vitale Basilica, the cooking class in Tuscany, the walk up to Civita di Bagnoregio, enjoying dogs hunt truffles, to name a few.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I think there was a wow moment at least once every day. The family-prepared seafood feast we had in Levanto was definitely a wow! We were treated to so many delicious dishes. I couldn't get over the dinner this family prepared for us!"

Skip

Richardson, TX

Tour: 09/21/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Our tour guide, Deborah, was/is very friendly, knowledgeable, and very capable. My wife and I appreciated her guidance and leadership very much. We found the group of folks super nice and we tremendously enjoyed their company and getting to know them. We saw and experienced some enjoyable things that we may not have had the pleasure of participating in had it not been for Deborah and the tour plans.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"1) The beautiful land around Hotel Belvedere. Sitting and relaxing on the back slope gazing out at all things "Italy countryside" beautiful."

Fred

Freeland, WA

Tour: 09/21/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Added to our earlier experiences in Italy from " Venice, Florence and Rome" a few years back! Loved the venues and experiences. Our guide Deborah was wonderful...experienced, knowledgeable, warm and entertaining. The group was great and came together quickly...made some friends. Starting with the awe inspiring frescoes by Giotto Lear through the beauty of Orta your eyes were opened anew every day.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Giotto frescoes have to rank near the top...that such powerful imagery could be rendered by an illiterate shepherd makes you wonder..."

Patrick

Deerfield, IL

Tour: 09/21/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Fantastic guide, and also fantastic local guides as well! Bus driver was phenomenal, too.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The day when we saw cathedral in Orvieto, and then later the bridge to Civita."

Joan

Bellevue, WA

Tour: 09/16/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Wonderful guide and group of travelers. Learned much about religious art and Italian history. Food was wonderful. I enjoyed the Etruscan museum. I remembered a walk to an Etruscan burial site and tufa carved roadways from a different trip. I wish that had been included as it was more meaningful than just the museum. I enjoyed the hands on cooking lesson and would have liked more participatory activities like wine tasting in Chianti (Brunello) and comparative olive oil tasting.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There wasn't just one wow moment. I was wowed by the Giotto frescoes, the mausoleum of Galla Placidia, the sun on the mosaic tiles of the cathedral in Orvietto, the walk on the walls of Lucca and the island of San Giulio's walk of silence at Lake Orta."

Shirley

Port Moody B C, BC

Tour: 09/16/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I enjoyed the extra room on the bus, only 25 of us on a regular sized bus. I like my husband, but we choose separate seats so that we both had a window seat, and he could stretch his legs. And, who doesn't need some "away" time? On this tour, 4 hours was the longest bus ride, just enough to rest and see the country side. Spending 2 nights at each stop is another bonus. My one suggestion might be to miss the visit to Pistoia, and go directly to Lucca as there is more to do and see in Lucca

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Just when I thought it could not get any better, we arrived at Lake Orta. What a wonderful way to end this great tour. My suggestion to others taking this tour, is to spend another night on your own at lake Orta. It is a wonderful hotel with a view of the lake and near to town."

Gail

Fond Du Lac, WI

Tour: 09/16/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our 3rd RS Italy tour, we've done South Italy & Sicily also. I have to say, they should reevaluate the activity level on this tour, because we felt it was as active as Sicily. After all, most of the villages are built on hills. Cristina was a wonderful tour leader we were lucky to have her! We had a great group of tour members, all fun, nice people. We know from experience what a difference that makes. This was my favorite tour for scenery/stunning churches/best food. Loved it all.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Villa Pambuffetti! & Montefalco dinner on the square at night. Scenery sunrise/sunset at Belvedere Hotel/Tuscany. The evening dinner at the truffle farm/restaurant was unforgettable/dreamy. All of the amazing lovely little chapels we found in every town we went to. Orvieto's cathedral is stunning/fun town. Assisi! Civita di Bagnoregio Wow. Lucca & opera! Chiesa di San Giulio on Lake Orta. Suggest 2 days in Venice before tour, and an extra day in Lake Orta after, which was so beautiful!!"

Julianne

Coloma, WI

Tour: 09/16/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our children gave us a trip to Italy as a gift. We were told to find something that would be a "dream". It was our desire to find something off the beaten track away from crowded tourist laden cities. We wanted to be saturated with village culture, history, agriculture and art. The Village Italy in 14 Days Tour was the magic ticket. The experience was beyond my wildest dreams. Taking this tour was a great introduction to Europe and we felt very comfortable as first time European travelers.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The entire trip was a wow moment. Every village and activity was a surprise, each being unique. The history, as relayed in stories by our guide Kristina, was both humbling and inspiring. What an experience walking the ground of ancient times!"

Tom

Windsor, CO

Tour: 09/14/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My goal was to experience Italy. Villages of Italy was the perfect tour to achieve that goal. However, what made this tour so enjoyable was our guide Anna. She brought a passion to introducing us to the many facets of life in Italy as well as her in-depth knowledge of the stories behind the historical religious leaders and cathedrals. Her residence in Siena and experience with this particular tour made it feel more like visiting her extended family. I enjoyed the people we met along the way.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The cooking class, the wine-tasting experience, the truffle hunt/dinner."

Carl

Oberlin, OH

Tour: 09/14/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our 6th RS tour, and I think this tour is in the top 2 for achieving the RS philosophy and fun. Anna was an exceptional guide, and the group response built on her enthusiasm and knowledge. Our first RS tour was Best of Italy 9 years ago, and the country has changed, especially the skyrocketing number of foreign tourists. But Anna was able to help us avoid many of the crowded commercial situations. We'll keep on traveling!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Many - Montefalco and truffles, Deruta and pottery, Civita, Sienna, just experiencing the Tuscan countryside, the Florence American Cemetery, Lucca, Carrrara, Lake Orta. We feel privileged to feel a little closer to that part of our world."

Donald

Lake Oswego, OR

Tour: 09/14/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

I enjoyed the tour, our guide and other group members. Loved the food and wine in that region.

Terry

Lake Tapps, WA

Tour: 09/14/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was simply a splendid experience. Our guide Anna is second to none and we had an exceptional group of mostly experience travelers. Everything including the weather came together.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"This will be a bit different answer. I had a medical issue that required help for the Italian health care system. Fortunately I was able to stick with the tour. My conditioned worsened and Anna arranged for me to see a physician in Orvieto who made 2 visits to our hotel and got me on the road to recovery. I was impressed by the quality of care and the compassion of Anna for arranging this care."

Barbara

Oberlin, OH

Tour: 09/14/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

First and foremost - Anna was wonderful! We learned history of each village; became semi-expert in art history; enjoyed local food and wine and had a great time. All thanks to Anna.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The mosaics in Ravenna. Beautiful and quite unexpected. Also enjoyed Montefalco and the accommodations there."

Marsha

Aloha, OR

Tour: 09/14/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

More entertaining and enlightening than I expected. Our needs were anticipated and met, curiosity prodded awake at every turn.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Anna arranged a side trip by taxi to Pisa. I climbed out of the van, expecting a hike, and there it Was! The tower I read about 50 some years ago, right there! It glowed in late afternoon sunlight. My husband and took an hour's worth of goofy photos, getting ideas from other travellers. She treated us to a toast to the adventure before the return journey to the hotel."

Mary

Lake Tapps, WA

Tour: 09/14/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This Village Italy tour was my 4th RS tour and by far the most outstanding tour in every way. Our group definitely fell in line with our energetic guide, bonded and had a new, unexpected experience every day. In Padua, our local guide, Kristina, shared personal stories about her family's experiences during WWII which engaged us. Roberto, at Etruscan Museum, shared so much knowledge about the people of that time which set me off on researching this time period and the people. Amazing!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Every day was a "WOW" moment! Mine would be the group dinner at Albergo Primavera the night of our 51st wedding anniversary that no one, we thought, was aware of.The lights went out and a beautiful custard dessert was wheeled before us donned in "trick" candles. The wine flowed, tour friends singing a top chairs, dancing and much laughter. So special and it was a moment that you realize how much these tours offer to everyone. So many experiences and friendships!"

Thomas

New Berlin, WI

Tour: 09/14/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We have been to Europe a number of times, but generally to larger cities. This was the perfect trip to experience the charm of the villages and balance out our overall Europe adventures.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It's kind of a tossup. Originally, I would have said staying in the countryside villas among the vineyards...quiet, peaceful featuring postcard views in every direction. But, our guide wove the story of Siena just right...wonderful stories of this hilly town, especially the Palio. Her contagious enthusiasm made this stop memorable, along with great food at CICI, Piazza Campo, throw in an antique road rally event and top it all off with fresh Ricciarelli. Time was too short."

Tereasa A

Truckee, CA

Tour: 09/09/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my first Rick Steve's tour and I found it to be well balanced with history (from our guide, local guides, churches and museums), local culture, interesting side activities, structured group time and free time.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"St. Anthony is one of my favorite people, so of course his church in Padua. Civita was very interesting. Loved seeing the floors and pulpit in Siena's Duomo."

Peter J

Truckee, CA

Tour: 09/09/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had a very great experience! We're thinking about and discussing next years' trip!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I have 3 to share: Padua Basilica of Saint Anthony, especially the Exhibition "Diorami della Vita di Gesu" or "Dioramas of the Life of Jesus" I spoke to the attendant Lucca The overall vibe of the town; the very old buildings mixed with modern technology + fashion wear offered The operatic concert was wonderful + recommend it Lago d'Orta The lake + Alps in the distance, the island, but especially the San Giulio Church interior Hard to imagine all the boat rides to build it Thanks!"

Dennis

Edmonds, WA

Tour: 09/09/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our Village Italy Tour, Guide, and Group Members were great.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Walking on the wall In Lucca at night after listening to Opera Arias by Puccini in Santi Giovanni e Reparata."

David

Tallahassee, FL

Tour: 09/09/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

A very well-paced trip, beautitul towns, great hotels!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Probably the visit to the vinyard."

Marjorie

Salem, OR

Tour: 09/09/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I loved all the places we went and stayed, and Trina was an excellent and patient guide. I particularly loved seeing the mosaics in Ravenna and only wish we could have spent more time there. Favorite hotels would be Villa Pambuffetti in Montefalco and of course Hotel Belvedere di San Leonino, but all were great. The food was excellent; my only criticism is that there might have been too much of it!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Seeing the mosaics in the Mausoleum of Galla Placidia and the church of San Vitale. I had read about them, but actually looking at them was amazing. What artists those mosaicists of the 6th century were! Wow indeed!"

Barbara

Seattle, WA

Tour: 09/09/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Wonderful group of tour pals. Loved our guide. All the hotels (except one) were well situated to the town and sights. Meals were delicious. The bus was spacious, clean, modern, and the driver was very skilled. This may need to be my last RS tour as, upon turning 70, I find the pace to be too rigorous.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Taking the boat from Portovenere to Monterosso and seeing the Cinque Terre from the water, during a thunder and lightning storm. Excellent! Swimming in the Mediterranean at Levanto. Sitting in the piazza having dinner under the stars in the plain, untouristed, Montefalco."

Jan

Tallahassee, FL

Tour: 09/09/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was both a reunion and a tour. 9 of us were connected by prior friendships, 6 from a prior Rick Steves tour in 2002, the grand tour. We have subsequently traveled in various combinations on additional and independent tours. We were thrilled then and trilled this time. The few repeats we experienced were anticipated with delight. The pace is a bit slower on Village Italy and welcomed 17 years later. The towns were exquisite and some of the hotels quite posh.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The stop at the US cemetery was unexpected and powerful. The local guide was terrific. Question 2 continued .( For some reason I was unable to type more than a few characters after the second paragraph.) The food and wine provided was both delicious and abundant. Two evenings in a row of great food and amazing sunsets will always be remembered. And the group was great. Well prepared by the Rick Steve's literature and Trina's coaching there were no grumps!"

Mary

Ellicott City, MD

Tour: 09/09/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I loved this tour. I loved the locations, almost all the hotels, the sights we visited, and our wonderful tour guide Trina.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were many WOW moments on this tour but two standouts would be the Scrovegni Chapel and its frescoes and sunsets in Tuscany. Also, our group dinners in Tuscany (Spectacular setting outside) and our final group dinner in Lake Orta (another wonderful meal outside.)"

Michael

Plymouth, MN

Tour: 09/07/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

the cities, hotels and tours were very well done

Mary

Portland, OR

Tour: 09/07/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our guide, Deborah, was excellent. She was knowledgeable, kind and thoughtful and entertaining. One can't ask for more. The hotels were all wonderful but the one in Padua was such fun. The sisters and their mother provided a warm welcome and a breakfast that was superior to the other hotels. Mario, our bus driver, was skillful and very professional. We were lucky to have him. The villages were such fun, much better than being in a huge city.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The mosaics at Ravenna were the "WOW" moment. I loved seeing them. I will remember them clearly. Thanks for including them in the tour. Of course, the dogs at the truffle plantation were such fun. They provided such energy and joy in their hunt that one could not help from smiling."

Joanne

Homeland, CA

Tour: 09/07/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

this was my first Rick Steves tour. I still can't decide if I brought too much clothing as I was happily tired each and every night and never would have been able to stay up a little longer to hand wash. Surprisingly we had laundromats at just the right times. I enjoyed the wide range of sites to visit and different types of hotels. I will definitely be booking another tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"when you walk into any of the historic churches you are just struck with awe at the grandeur of the inside. Especially when you remember they were built in the 13th century and the population of the area was tiny. it will stay with me forever."

Kathy

Portland, OR

Tour: 09/07/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Enjoyed the variety of experiences and places. Deborah was a great guide. Loved the family-run hotels and other businesses we visited. Really liked the Padua Hotel run by the sisters and all the fun art.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hard to pick one. Cinque Terre was a place I'd like to visit again. Also was fascinated with the hilltop medieval cities we visited."

Faith

Seattle, WA

Tour: 09/07/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Far exceeded expectations - well planned and punctuated by some time off!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Tuscan country hotel Belvedere. Pool, verdant valley, dinner sunsets were a welcome respite."

Mona

Montrose, CA

Tour: 09/07/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The hill towns were lovely. You get a closer look at Italian life that you don't when visiting big cities. You couldn't take a bad picture. The scenery was wonderful and the places we went varied and wonderful. Lots of artwork every where! I think my favorite meal was the one we helped prepare at the agriturismo La Pietriccia. I am cooking some of the recipes they gave us at home now!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were 2 wow moments...The Mosaics of Galla Placidia in Ravena. The hill town of Civita di Bagnoregio which was an interesting walk and not as bad as I thought it would be. I had seen many pictures of it and glad I got to see it in person."

Michael

Homeland, CA

Tour: 09/07/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Deborah made the tour her help and knowledge paved over any reservations

Favorite "WOW" moment

"the first hotel: it was what have we got ourselves into. we had come from 3 days in Venice at the hotel Danieli, yes a bit of a shock."

Tari

Milwaukee, WI

Tour: 09/07/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

The tour was fun, informative, and exciting. I loved learning about all the different cities that we visited. The guides were knowledgable and engaging. The facilities were adequate to fabulous, depending upon our location.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"That depends upon your definition of "wow". There were many times when I felt that I wanted to move to Italy! I loved the people and the landscape. However if I had to pick one moment, it would be when we were in Cinque Terre/Levanto. The scenery was breathtaking and I loved the hiking paths. The bridge to the town that was falling off the cliff in Liguria was my other "wow" moment. I am terrified of heights but I made it across that bridge with the help of my husband :)"

Patricia

Plymouth, MN

Tour: 09/07/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We've been on ricks tours , Always enjoy them. Do feel 14 days is too long,tired and you start to lose your focus

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The whole trip.good food,scenery and side visits"

Genevra

Missoula, MT

Tour: 09/02/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I feel like I learned lots-from art history to truffles to olive oil to wine. We got so much new info in such a brief period.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I loved seeing Assissi."

James

Bowmansville, NY

Tour: 09/02/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The content of the tour, and our guide Patricia were terrific. It was a great approach to everyday life in normal Italy which we wanted to be exposed to. The accommodations were better than expected and the meals were very good. Patricia did a GREAT job. THANK you for a very memorable trip. Jim & Mary Ann Frank-Bowmansville N Y

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Too many to pick."

Terry

Morro Bay, CA

Tour: 09/02/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour started with a meet and great at our hotel in Padova. Then off to a wonderful dinner. By nights end we were fast becoming 'friends'. Our tour guide, Trish, was very knowledgeable of the history, art, architecture and was able to communicate it well. She has a great skill of the Italian language, even with her Scottish accent ??. Lisa, Trish's apprentice was equally charming. Couldn't wait to tell my friends about Rick Steves

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I found the walled cities stunningly beautiful"

Catherine

Fishers, IN

Tour: 09/02/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

The tour guide was very knowledgeable & accommodating. The tour group dinners were disappointing.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"REally did not have one"

Elizabeth

Atlanta, GA

Tour: 08/31/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

There are no words to express how valuable this trip was. Christina, our guide is a travel goddess! From the moment she introduced herself and each of us together to the the teary eyed end, each moment was filled with knowledge, passion, and ease. This was my first Rick Steves tour and it definitely won't be the last. I am hooked. Village Italy in 14 Days flew by fast. To be in each and every location was a dream. Every moment was filled with travel pleasure and astounding beauty.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Padua was an experience to never be missed. It was filled with beauty and intelligence. The Scrovegni Chapel left me in tears of joy and wonderment. Montefalco may be a "best kept secret" paradise. Orvieto was charming. San Casciano in Val di Pesa war memorial was a moving testimony to those that gave their lives. Great choice. Lucca....I want to live there!"

Carole

Swanton, MD

Tour: 08/31/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Our guide, Cristina, was so passionate about her country, its people, and all of the cathedral artworks. She took excellent care of us to include a "private" tour when we misunderstood her directions one evening. Our group of 24 jelled from the moment we first met and immediately felt like "old friends" traveling together. Although the forecast called for endless days of rain, we had perfect weather every day.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favorite "wow" moments were the tour of the ceramic shop - watching all of the detailed hand work that went in to each piece, and the tour of the Carrara Marble Quarry - it's hard to imagine how difficult that job must be."

Diane

Port Coquitlam, BC

Tour: 08/31/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our third tour with Rick and thoroughly enjoyed. The group was especially terrific. Christina did many many things to assist me, especially regarding stairs and a convenience for a room with the least or no stairs. As always the travellers had lots of room on the bus. The location were wonderful. i had thought Siena was my favorite but with this trip, Lucca came a close to bumping siena off her pedestal. The stop in Pistoia was disappointing when Volterra could have been made a stop.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Lake Orta and the hotel we stayed at."

Barbara

Los Altos, CA

Tour: 08/31/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Having traveled to the major cities in Italy on our own, we thought that travelling on the Rick Steves' Village Italy tour would be a great way to enjoy the smaller locations and enjoy a more immersive, slower "le dolce vita" pace of travel. This tour did not disappoint and we were able to experience the many sights, sounds, histories, cuisines and cultures of each of the villages we explored.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"As always there are too many "wow" moments to list but let me share but a couple that really stand out in my mind ... Watching the energetic dogs dig for truffles and enjoying a delicious 5-course truffle meal afterwards; the very touching visit to the American Cemetery which left us feeling both humble and grateful for the many men and women who served so valiantly and paid the ultimate sacrifice."

Angela

Poughquag, NY

Tour: 08/31/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This is our third tour with Rick Steves - it won't be the last! We ed this tour as our second time in Italy; our first was Heart of Italy in 9 Days which left us wanting to see more of village life. This tour hit that mark. We could not have had a better guide than Christina. The rapport she had from our first meeting was nothing short of remarkable. Anyone can have knowledge but not everyone can convey it in an engaging way. Spectacular sums it up.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"This is a hard question since there were wow moments daily. However, my wow moment was when visiting a cathedral. A woman was crying as if her heart would break. Christina went over and spent time comforting this woman (she has just lost her 5 year old grandson). This compassion for another stranger is what was so special for me - Rick certainly selects the right staff."

Anthony

Cincinnati, OH

Tour: 08/31/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Christina was an absolutely EXCELLENT guide! She has a true passion for her country and for people!! We had a great group to travel with and every aspect of the trip was truly beyond my expectations! Christina went above and beyond on multiple occasions!! Each of our local guides were extremely knowledgeable, funny and they made it fun to learn. Many of the hotels were "quirky" but exactly what we've come to expect (clean, well located, etc.). We graduated from tourist to traveler!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Numerous WOW moments include: 1) St. Anthony's Padua 2) Tour of pottery making facility 3) Carrera marble quarry tour 4) Cooking class"

Richard

Poughquag, NY

Tour: 08/31/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my third RS tour and it was the best so far. In addition to the flawless execution of the tour over the 14 days, what makes a tour a wonderful experience to me is the guide, my fellow travelers and mother mature being nice ie, not too much to no rain. And not to be overlooked was our excellent bus driver (Domenico) who transported us from town to town on time, safely with no traffic incidents, and not once did he have to backup to navigate a very sharp switchback. Bravo Domenico.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"While there were many "wows" - each town and church is impressive, two events standout: Christina consoling the grieving mother at the church and the visit to the cemetery for fallen WWll American soldiers. The local guide explained the war campaign in that region of Italy. Then she shared letters written by a young soldier from the war front back home to his mother. Based on the particulars and outcome, it was a moving experience."

Catherine

Richmond, BC

Tour: 08/31/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

I had a fabulous trip, it helped that the weather was great but the group of fellow travellers were wonderful, the guide was great and the places and experiences were top notch. I could not have dreamed having such a variety of experiences.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I can't choose just one moment, I just did love the whole Tuscan experience. Everyday was a thrill."

Linda

Evansville, IN

Tour: 08/31/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My daughter and I went on the village Italy tour and it was an outstanding experience for both of us. Experiencing the Italian countryside, the culture and history was what we were looking for and that is what we got from the tour and our exceptional guide, Christina. The local guides were knowledgeable and passionate about their area of expertise which enhanced our tour experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The "wow" experiences were the cultural experiences. The wine tasting and lunch, the truffle hunting experience and the dinner served with truffle foods, the pottery making demonstration and the cooking class and lunch. Each of these experiences were interactive and very enjoyable."

Robert

Port Coquitlam, BC

Tour: 08/31/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

As we have come to expect with Rick Steves' tours, the tour experience was top notch. We had a great tour guide - Christina - and a friendly and engaged group with which to explore the hill towns of northern Italy. To say that we were delighted is an understatement.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were lots of 'wow' moments, but the one we enjoyed the most was the cooking lesson with Stefano. What an excellent introduction to Italian cooking, and how to make things simpler - his demonstration of how to make a lighter-tasting pesto using arugula was excellent. And adding ice cubes instead of using more olive oil ... who knew??!"

Caroline

Liberty Lake, WA

Tour: 08/26/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I wanted to experience the culture, food and wine of Italy. I feel that this tour captured everything I expected and wished for. Anna was absolutely amazing and made the trip fun, informative and special in many ways. She is a wealth of knowledge and if I had traveled in another way, I would not have learned what I did. We also loved our driver, Giovanni. He was kind, courteous and extremely prompt. Overall, it was the time of my life and I made new friends and thank you for the experience

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I am not sure that I can capture just one "wow" moment but the most touching was visiting the American Cemetery. Please keep this important piece of history in your tour as many of us did not even know it existed. I also loved the magic of the small towns and the beauty of Cinque Terre."

Clifford

Madison, NJ

Tour: 08/26/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

see below.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"So many but equally enjoyed the tuscan cooking, wine experience and riding bicycle atop the walls of Lucca. The scenery and the bustling street activity."

Lee

Walnut Creek, CA

Tour: 08/26/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Terrific! The hill towns were wonderful to visit. That is actually why we chose this tour...away from the bigger cities. And the tour far exceeded our expectations. The cooking class, truffle hunting, wine tasting, incredible views. All unforgettable experiences.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Two...the views from Hotel Belvedere (plus dinner at sunset...and Anna's tour of Sienna. The villa Panbuffetti rates highly also."

Ashley

Walnut Creek, CA

Tour: 08/26/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour was truly the trip of a lifetime. The sites/sights seen, adventures experienced, and new friends met were simply magical. Our tour guide, Anna, was exceptional. Highly informed, extremely fun and social, and thoroughly thoughtful, she made the trip appear effortless (which I know CANNOT be the case on her end). In addition, our bus driver, Giovanni, was outgoing and kind, and quickly became another member of our new "family." I cannot recommend this trip highly enough!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"While there were many moments of thinking, "am I really here on this amazing adventure?," several instances stand out. One was our truffle hunting experience and following dinner near Montefalco. Bruno, the handler of the "truffle sniffing dogs," guided us as we followed the dogs on their hunt. What a novel experience! I would NEVER have thought to seek out this kind of itinerary item on my own. Following "the hunt," we were able to enjoy a fabulous dinner utilizing, you guessed it, truffles!"

Karen

Howell, NJ

Tour: 08/26/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our Absolutely wonderful, knowledgeable guide Anna made the vacation!. I learned so much about Italian art. She is truly inspiring and so energetic... She gets 5 stars for sure!!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I truly loved the villas, Belvedere and the villa owned by Mauro and his wife. They were both very charming and the owners were most hospitable. I actually had a couple of wow moments which were the wine tasting in Tuscany and visiting Ravenna."

Dee

Walnut Creek, CA

Tour: 08/26/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Unforgettable! Loved the hill towns; the quaintness, the history, local color and jaw dropping vistas. The experiences such as the Truffle hunting and the following delicious truffle dinner; the wine tasting/pairing at the winery near Orvieto are priceless memories. The opportunity to have these rich experiences was the reason we chose this tour and they exceeded our expectations. Our guide, Anna Piperato, was amazing and she made every day an adventure.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The view from the pool at Hotel Belvedere and watching the sunset at dinner in the courtyard are two of my favorite memories and I celebrated my 70th birthday there! Anna's tour of Sienna provided us with a inside view into a beautiful city through the eyes of a resident who loves her new home. It was interesting to learn about the contrados and how they are a community. I bought the scarf of her contrado ( the Lupe) and wear it proudly."

Nancy

Webster, NY

Tour: 08/26/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was just as advertised, a wonderful trip through small towns of Italy. However, the villas, food experiences and guide were better than anticipated!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There was more than one. What I really enjoyed were the evenings spent in the village squares sharing meals with our new friends among the people of the towns."

Bruce

Pacifica, CA

Tour: 08/26/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The trip was fantastic....well planned and organized, great activities (wine tasting, pasta preparation), good hotels/lodging overall, both Tuscan Villas were nice....Good mix of organized tour activities and free time, as well as the option to dine out on our own (we found many great restaurants in Orvietto, Lucca, Cinque Terre, Montefalco). A great selection of towns, villages and cities... way better than my modest expectations of the itinerary beforehand

Favorite "WOW" moment

"too many...but the cathedral in Orvietto was amazing....knew nothing about the town or its history before the trip...was a very pleasant surprise...also the tour of the local Contrada was a highlight (being part of Anna's neighborhood in Siena)...getting a peek behind the curtain of the Palio, seeing the banners, the race helmets, drums etc was very interesting"

Patrick

Webster, NY

Tour: 08/26/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

From the beginning of the process to the end of the tour your organization is extremely well run. All of the staff is very knowledgeable and helpful. Your small group size gives it a more personal experience. By he way, your bus driver Giovanni was great. He interacted with us throughout the tour and I would request him for your tours as often as possible.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"For me that is hard to say. I enjoyed a number of the tour stops equally. I must say, the unscheduled visit to the american military memorial and cemetery was a moving experience. This should be a regular stop on your tour."

Mary

Lake Orion, MI

Tour: 08/24/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The Village Italy tour was a great experience. Every day was filled with art, beautiful views, and delicious food. We had a great group of people to travel with and enjoy different activities such as truffle hunting, wine and olive oil tasting, a cooking class, and walks in old rustic villages.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favorite wow moment was entering a mosaic filled basilica in Ravenna. The bright colors and artwork was amazing."

Susan

Conifer, CO

Tour: 08/24/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The itinerary was perfect! I wanted to see villages and hill towns and stay out of big cities and just loved it. I must admit I struggled physically with the heat (it was SO HOT) and the amount of hills and steps we had to take, but it was worth it!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Every time we went somewhere new I would think "this is my favorite place yet", but in reality, I loved them all. Probably my most "wow" moment was the mosaics in Ravenna."

Pawel

San Francisco, CA

Tour: 08/24/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

A good and well-designed, fast-paced, well-guided tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The boat ride in the Cinque Terre."

Dena

Raleigh, NC

Tour: 08/24/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Wonderful! Everyone who wants to see Italy should take the Village Italy tour. So beautiful, so much interaction with the locals as we experienced a truffle hunt, olive oil tasting, preparing lunch at a farm, just to name a few. Very busy but always had our free time.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Many "wow" moments. Seeing the Carrara marble "mountain" and where Michelangelo picked the marble for some of his sculptures. Seeing the Cinque Terre from the Ligurian Sea as we took a beautiful boat ride to Monterosso. The rolling hills of Tuscany."

Joe

Fort Wayne, IN

Tour: 08/24/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was a wonderful blend of planned activities and still allowing free time to explore. It is so well thought out with locations and hotels that most would never find. Places like: -mosaics of Ravenna -beauty of Tuscany and The Belvedere hotel -incredible Civita di Bagnoregio

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Civita di Bagnoregio was incredible. The sheer beauty and uniqueness made it seem out of this world. The view as you approach and what you see while in the village was just outstanding."

Wendy

St Petersburg, FL

Tour: 08/24/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was well-planned and included everything as outlined on the website. Our guide, Nina, was outstanding. The towns we visited were small, quaint and perfect for spending the days wandering.

Scott

Sammamish, WA

Tour: 06/24/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Fantastic tour overall! Loved that this itinerary focused on smaller towns, rich history, and contained an excellent sprinkling of interesting activities such as truffle hunt, cooking class, Etruscan museum, olive oil\wine tastings, and had local guides at times that brought amazing life to the sights we saw. We brought our sons with us, and it was a great way to spend 2 weeks together enjoying Italy; just the right amount of time on our own, and a great tour group!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I was absolutely amazed and stood in awe when we soaked in the sheer magnitude of the architecture, engineering marvel, and effort required hundreds and hundreds of years ago to create masterpieces such as the San Vitale Bisilica & Galla Placidia Mausoleum in Ravenna, St. Patrick's Well in Orvieto, and walled hill-top towns like Civita di Bagnoregio. Also, in Carrara when we stopped in the marble workshop and saw craftsmen and artists working on beautiful statues\pieces while we were there!"

Danielle

Stamford, CT

Tour: 06/24/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We absolutely LOVED our tour. It was our first time in Italy (or anywhere in Europe) and our first group tour. Every day, we felt like it got better and better. I thought the 14 days was a perfect amount of time and we loved getting to experience off the beaten path villages and have unique experiences like the cooking classes, truffle hunt, marble quarry. These are things we never would have found on our own. Ann made our experience fun and pleasurable for everyone.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It's hard to pick one... but 1) Civita di Bagnoregio (the awe of the bridge and the quaint town on the other side... so worth the walk. The views were amazing!) 2) Stefano- his passion and knowledge were inspiring and the cooking class was one of the best experiences of our trip 3) Orvieto- the views, the quiet, "local" feel, seeing authentic Italians playing, dancing, etc... we even ran into other travelers we met in other cities along the way, making it feel like a small town 4) views!!"

Nancy

Williamsburg, VA

Tour: 06/24/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Even with record heat, the tour was informative and fun. We experienced a good deal of walking, but also made use of trains, buses, and boats. It seemed like we so saw many awe inspiring buildings and art that the walking was always worthwhile. The villas we stayed. in were especially nice. I have been to Italy 4 other time, but saw different places and loved this itinerary

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My WOW moment was seeing St. Francis's small sanctuary surrounded by the cathedral. I was amazed by this holy place."

Ken

Burlington, WA

Tour: 06/24/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our first Rick Steves tour and we enjoyed it very much. We had been to Italy before (Rome, Florence and Venice), and wanted to experience the smaller towns of Italy. Having a Guide with us made it a wonderful experience, and their knowledge (and Rick's experience) allowed us to see a number of sites we wouldn't have seen or known about.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The towns of Montefalco and Voltere. We had our most memorable dinner in Montefalco, and really enjoyed the alabaster studio we visited in Voltere."

Cynthia

Ormond Beach, FL

Tour: 06/24/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Overall, I had a great time. This tour is about the Italy of food, wine and beautiful Churches. It was amazing to see all of the frescos and mosaics, which one doesn't see in Rome. This year's heatwave was brutal, so I definitely suggest a light wardrobe in June. I survived on skirts, sleeveless tops and a shawl to wear in churches, with a water-cooled scarf to help take the edge off when walking. And don't forget a wide-brimmed hat!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"In Lucca, our local guide, Gabriele, was taking us around the city, and as we neared the end of his tour, we came to the former Franciscan convent built in the time of St. Francis. It now houses a technical school. With the term being out, the courtyard was deserted, and Gabriele decided to take us in to see a fresco painted within thirty-five years of the great saint's death. It was rediscovered in the 1990s, and a very early portrait, by someone who may have seen him! Awesome!"

Kateryna

Williamstown, MA

Tour: 06/24/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Ann was very organized and patient. She is very lovely.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I had a blast in Vernazza, hiking Cinque Terre trails, swimming, people watching and listening to an opera concert in all that beauty."

Justin

Williamsburg, VA

Tour: 06/24/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

While the temperature was very hot, this tour is great for those who have done all of the big cities. It gives another view of this beautiful country: it's people, food, drink, architecture, history.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I had been to Padua before, but had not seen large parts of the city, particularly the Prato della Valle."

Susan

Burlington, WA

Tour: 06/24/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our tour was wonderful. Most of that was due to our guide, Ann. She was outstanding. We enjoying traveling with a great group of positive people (almost all). We were a bit hesitant about group travel but almost everyone really agreed to be positive and enjoy Italy and the group. We loved the villages, the smaller the better. Sienna was fun but crazy due to the upcoming horse race the next day. We saw so many wonderful things and learned so much.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I loved the mosaics in Ravenna and the beautiful, quiet town of Montefalco. In Montefalco we wandered off the main square to find a terrific restaurant. It was our favorite of the whole trip. We were the only customers for a while and the service and food were outstanding! Not to mention the view."

George

Sammamish, WA

Tour: 06/24/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I have mixed feelings about group tours. Sometimes having 25, as was the case in Italy, feels like too many and at other times it's fine. I particularly like the balance between group touring and being on our own. In each tour we have taken the guide has done a good job of orienting us to the town we are in so it is comfortable wandering around.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I don't think in terms of wow moments. I enjoy the entire trip and the information the guides and in particular our lead guide, Ann, shared along the way."

Karen

Everett, WA

Tour: 06/17/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Overall, the tour was fantastic. I would rate it between outstanding and very good but for the reasons outlined further on in these comments, I'm rating it "very good." This is my fourth RS tour and this one did not disappoint. Like the other tours, this adventure really provided an education about Italy and made me feel like I could travel there again on my own. I feel like I have a much better understanding of Italian history and culture than I did before.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were many but I would say seeing the Inn at Montefalco for the first time."

Mary

Dufur, OR

Tour: 06/17/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

For the most part, we had an absolutely wonderful time. The hot weather was the only factor that did not make this a perfect trip, but no one has control over that.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The immense history in Italy. I learned so much!"

Amy

Durango, CO

Tour: 06/17/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It's Italy, obviously breath taking! The tour guides really made this such a special, personalized, educational experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Cinque Terre.....WOW!"

Brooke

Village Of Lakewood, IL

Tour: 06/17/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was extremely special since I was traveling for my parents 50th anniversary with them and my siblings. Rick Steve's and our guides did very special things for this celebration. I loved going to quiet villages that aren't so touristy. The towns they chose were a perfect mix of Tuscany, Mediterranean Sea, Lake, and even the American Cemetery. I loved all of the things we were able to do that we could never have done without Rick Steve's. Fabulous tour and guides. Highly recommended.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Two Wow moments for me. Lake Orta was such a stunning, beautiful town and a perfect way to end our trip. I fell in love with Orvieto. Felt like I could live there! I also couldn't believe how incredible Carrera was with the mountains of marble."

Melissa

Golden, CO

Tour: 06/17/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Guides and driver were phenomenal! Being immersed in the Italian culture with food, wine, local people, local hands-on experiences were life-changing. The small villages with hardly any tourists were my favorite parts.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Walking to CIVITA DI BOGNOREGIO and seeing how the town is eroding but still functioning was outstanding. The views were amazing. Also, Cecil's wine tasting at her vineyard was incredibly fun!"

Kathleen

Rossville, TN

Tour: 06/17/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

As usual, this RST (my fifth) was amazing and really deserves 4.5 stars as it was just short of outstanding overall. I especially enjoyed the smaller villages and the off-the-beaten path opportunities on the trip. The history (and the connection to today), the art, the food, the wine, the scenery and the chance to be a temporary local were all there - and are the reasons I keep coming back to RST!!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"This is always such a hard question to answer as I have at least one on every day of a tour. One for sure was staying at (and the views from) Castello di Gargonza. Montefalco was also a highlight! And the mosaics at Ravenna, and the Cinque Terra from the boat. And... :)"

Roger

San Diego, CA

Tour: 06/17/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Easily one of the best tours I've ever done. Our guides were knowledgable, informative, and really understood how to work with our group and the individual personalities. We truly were just one big happy family for two weeks.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Our time in Orvieto. What a quaint, yet vibrant town with so much history and things to see and do."

Catherine

San Diego, CA

Tour: 06/17/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was wonderful! The only complaint was the weather......very hot. I enjoyed every town and every experience. Our tour guides were amazing and Mario was so sweet. Every traveler with us was friendly and considerate. What a lovely group! My favorite town was Orvieto. The city underground and St. Patrick's well were so memorable. Southern Italy is next on my wish list.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I think my wow moment was trying to use my "little" Italian I learned in my Italian for Travelers class. The Italian people were so sweet when I tried to communicate in Italian. They helped me and it was apparent that they appreciated my effort."

Jeff

Bellevue, WA

Tour: 06/10/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

A fabulous, clockwise sweep through Italy's villages and smaller cities. We added a 2-night bonus in Verona, before traveling to Padua via train to begin our tour. I loved meeting Italians; they seemed genuinely appreciative toward visitors. Art, history, food, wine, religion and stunning landscapes greeted us at every stop along the way.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I loved visiting Assisi and the story of St. Francis and St. Clare. I am a Protestant but it was still very inspiring, and I think Rick is right, the Catholic Church knew a good deal when they saw it, and co-opted his movement into the mainstream."

Ann

Bellevue, WA

Tour: 06/10/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I loved this tour. each time i take a tour with Rick Steves, i say the most recent tour was the best but this really was the best. I enjoyed the smaller towns and like the lack of crowds. The food was varied and fantastic. I especially enjoyed that we had a smaller group. The normal tour size of 28 is too big. i think we had 21 and that was perfect. our bus was too big for 21 and could have been a smaller bus. also, the bus is too big for those winding roads. it seems dangerous.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The truffle farm was one of my favorites. it was fascinating to get out into the Oak grove with the dogs and the truffle farmers to see them in action. Then the dinner afterwards with truffles on each dish in every course was amazing...delicious! Oh, but the tunnels under Orvietto were facinating. What an interesting underground system of tunnels and wells and dove shelves. Siena was wonderful with the stained glass window artisans. He was very clear in explaining the trade"

Ashley

San Antonio, TX

Tour: 06/10/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

As always, Rick Steves' runs a tight ship. The tour was well planned, organized and executed. We stayed at a delightful mix of tiny boutique hotels, mid-size modern hotels, and old rustic family villas. The food was excellent, the venues superb, and the side trips (locally guided trips of highlights in each town or region) were fascinating.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I'm a nut for ancient infrastructure and I was ecstatic seeing all the Etruscan gates, arches, walls, caves, tunnels, cisterns & wells, as well as ceramics, sculpture, jewelry and other artifacts in Orvieto and Chianciano, not to mention the magnificent Roman forum in Volterra. The Byzantine San Vitale Basilica and Galla Placidia Mausoleum in Ravenna were mind-blowingly beautiful."

Brian

North Vancouver, BC

Tour: 06/10/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our Villages, Italy, was a fantastic trip. This was our 2nd Rick Steves trip in 2 years and we will plan more in future years. Rick's trips are so well organized and pack in many unique activities which would not be included or available with other tours. Our guide, Nina, had a great personality and was very well versed in the culture and history of Italy. Included meals were very tasty, filling and incorporated the best of Italian cuisine. Our bus driver, Domenico did a great job.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Almost too many great moments to mention. But the truffle hunt with the dogs was a first for us and we loved eating the tasty use of truffles in our after hunt luncheon."

Ernest

Rockford, IL

Tour: 06/10/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Excellent tour guide, great group of people. Good mix of planned activities and free time. Overall good experience. Great Gelato.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Lake Orta was a very picturesque and peaceful way to end the tour."

Bill

Maineville, OH

Tour: 06/03/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Being with 12 other couples for 2 weeks was a bit of a wake up for me. Having that out of the way the experience was a lovely, educational, fun, and at times exceptional adventure for my wife and I. We would never have gotten the details and history traveling by ourselves. In many respects it was brainless with driving, hotels, sites all decided in advance it was truly relaxing with respect to the details while still having a trip full of new experiences.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Lake Orta was stunning as was most of Italy but the lake setting cool temperatures made for an picture perfect end to the trip."

Robin

Falmouth, VA

Tour: 06/03/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

What a great way to experience Italy without the crowds! Our group was such a fun bunch of people to travel with, and David and Savannah took such good care of us. The places we stayed were wonderful, and the staff so friendly and happy to host us. But staying in a medieval castle (Hotel Gargonza) was a special experience not to be missed. The group meals were incredible. The art and historical sites we visited were of the highest caliber, and most had no crowds to fight.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Sitting outside the Hotel Primavera in Levanto singing Imagine while David led us on his guitar and the owner's family and friends joined in, along with passers-by. You just can't plan a moment like that."

Margee

Spokane, WA

Tour: 06/03/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my first Rick Steves tour; and it will not be my last! I loved every minute. I learned about Italy and it sparked an interest in further study of it's history. I laughed a lot thanks to our stand-up comic tour guide. I ate way too much but it was all delicious. I walked many miles enjoying the sites and sounds of each place we visited. I got to know all the amazing people in our tour group.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The view from our room at Villa Pambuffetti."

Joe

Dublin, L

Tour: 06/03/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was better than I expected, and my expectations were high

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The artwork. I am now a fan of Giotto Concert in Orvieto square, in support of mayoral candidate. If we could have voted for him he might have won, but we couldn't and he didn't Impromptu music session outside Hotel Primavera in Levanto."

Mary Jane

Seattle, WA

Tour: 06/03/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Thank you so much for offering this special tour of Italy. It was incredibly informative and delicious and fun!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The truffle hunt and meal, the visit to Deruta, the visit to Carrara and so much more made this a remarkable trip. I appreciate the thoughtful planning that brought us to Levanto to stay for example rather than the more crowded Cinque Terre., and the mind boggling seafood feast."

Kimberly

Puyallup, WA

Tour: 06/03/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We were completely blown away by Italy. The knowledge of the local guides and our tour guide made Italy come alive for us. We are truly thankful to David for making this the trip of a lifetime.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Visiting an American WW2 cemetery that I knew nothing about. Made extra special by one tour member who was the first in his family to visit his grandfather's grave."

Carol

Stow, OH

Tour: 06/03/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Perfetto! Expectations for each day were communicated clearly. Our tour guides were constantly attentive to the needs of everyone in our group and all the details of the tour were impeccably arranged. It was our guide's charisma that facillitated the very positive and fun dynamic that grew among all the participants. The selection of locations and experiences as well as the food & wine were all fabulous!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"This is a hard one to answer, but the most impressive experience for me was our stop at the American Cemetary in Florence. The grandfather of one of our tour members was buried there and my own father fought in that area during WWII. The local guide did a beautiful job with her presentation. While it was a somber experience, I beleive it was the most meaningful for everyone in our group."

Mary Beth

Kent, OH

Tour: 06/03/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Villages of Italy far exceeded my high expectations. Every minute was fun. We learned and saw so much. Our tour guide, David, was incredible. He is a happy, engaging person, who gave more than 100 percent all day, every day. His enthusiasm and kindness were evident in each of his many interactions. David shared his own family's stories, his music, his love of history and his country with all of us. He is a true professional, who became a friend. The itinerary was terrific.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I really enjoyed the surprise trip to the American Cemetery near Florence. Because one of our tour members told David that his grandfather was buried there, we were able to stop for a tour. What a breathtaking experience for everyone."

John

Spokane, WA

Tour: 06/03/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Fabulous! We fell in love with Italy - its countryside and villages, its people, food, wine, music, art, and culture. Our rollicking tour guide David kept us laughing with his stories and songs, answering questions and teaching us so much about Italy. Our tour group bonded quickly into friends, creating a Facebook group to share photos and videos. I never will forget the luminous sunset dinners at the truffle farm, the castle courtyard and the restaurant overlooking Lake Orta.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"We celebrated our 47th anniversary during a sunset dinner at the Tuscan castle where we stayed. The whole group applauded a lovely toast for us by David, our tour leader. Equally great moments included walking the walls of beautiful Lucca, a deeply moving tour of 5th century Christian mosaics in Ravenna, and a side-splitting late night singalong including a rendition of "O Sole Mio" by David and our bus driver Mario, who unveiled an astonishing tenor voice."

Phil

Dublin, L

Tour: 06/03/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was more than my expectations

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The sight on our arrival at our villa in Montefalco and the Castle Gargonza. The settings, the interiors and history of these properties."

Carol

Lebanon, OH

Tour: 06/03/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We enjoyed the ease of the trip, our first trip we didn't plan every moment. We learned so much, didn't get lost, have to worry about parking, and made new friends.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The hike in Cinque Terre the views were spectacular. It was harder and longer than I thought, I was so hot when I got to the sea in Vernazza, I jumped in the water with my clothes on, it was great!"

Kerry

Tybee Island, GA

Tour: 06/03/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We made the decision to take the Village Italy touring 14 day tour based on the listed description and itinerary posted on the Rick Steve's Website. I can honestly say that the experience was everything we expected and more. This tour literally exceeded all of our expectations!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There are really too many to document, but perhaps one of the most memorable was staying at Castello di Gargonza. Staying in this Castle turned hotel was a truly unique experience from the enchanting room to the romantically charming restaurant. It was something almost right out of a fairy tale."

Michele

Issaquah, WA

Tour: 06/01/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was a wonderful tour that not only met but exceeded our expectations. Very well managed and scheduled, which gave all tour members wonderful experiences along with some down time.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Had so many... Loved ALL the stops we made, there wasn't one that I would of wanted to miss..."

Virginia

Winnsboro, SC

Tour: 06/01/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had expected the Village Italy tour to be exceptional but it far exceeded our expectations.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It's hard to choose from so many wonderful memories. Was it in Orvieto when we turned corner to be amazed by the Duomo gleaming in the late afternoon sun? Was it standing on the balcony at Villa Lechi gazing over the neat rows of olive trees and cultivated fields of the Tuscan hillsides before us? Maybe it was gazing at the incredible Byzantine mosaics of San Vitale in Ravenna. Or maybe it was in the dank wine cellar again at Villa Lechi hearing the story of locals hiding from Nazis."

Dennis

Issaquah, WA

Tour: 06/01/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was simply fantastic! There were so many great moments it is hard to pinpoint just one as a favorite or best moment. My wife and I would highly recommend this tour (and in fact, a Rick Steves tour in general) to anyone who is looking at a tour or vacation.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There was no one "wow" moment but many "wow" moments! The tour had several highlights ranging from the incredible architecture and history, the beautiful countryside and scenic moments seemed to be around every corner, the great wine and food, our guide Sarah was fantastic and so much more. We would tour again on a Rick Steves tour without a second thought."

Lyn

Franklin Park, NJ

Tour: 06/01/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Not enough room on these forms! We had a fabulous experience with RS. All of this is just suggestions. One thing we noticed is that we were told we'd be staying two nights at each hotel and the last hotel (one of the most spectacular), we only stayed one night. Left us feeling a little jipped. I think that last hotel deserved another night, especially to just "be." Also, it might be nice if Villa Lecchi relaxed their policy about hanging clothes in the rooms to dry.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"This is a very hard question because I felt the entire tour was a WOW moment. I'd never been to Italy, never taken a RS tour, and was so excited to explore Italy and the culture and rich traditions. There was WOW everywhere I looked. There was WOW in the food, there was WOW in the people, there was WOW in the beautiful panoramic vistas, there was WOW in many of the places we stayed, our group and tour guide were WOWs and overall, it was a fantastic WOW experience."

Rosemary

Goodyear, AZ

Tour: 06/01/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our 4th RST. It was outstanding and my favorite. Sarah was extremely knowledgeable about the subject matter of everything on the itenary and additional places that we inquired about. She was extremely delightful and was extremely assertive when she needed to be. The food and hotels were all outstanding. All of the people on the trip were delightful and everyone got along great with each other.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Really enjoyed the Villa Lecchi in Localita Lecchi. We had a great dinner outside on a long table. The villa overlooked a picturesque valley that was so peaceful and tranquil. Occasionally you could faintly hear and see a train moving through the valley. It was the perfect setting to reflect on the trip and life in general. Sometimes the best moments are the quiet ones."

Michele

Newnan, GA

Tour: 06/01/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was everything I'd hoped for and more. It exceeded expectations. I loved the pace of the tour and the ambiance of the small villages. I highly recommend the itinerary!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Being at the American Cemetery outside Florence, an unexpected and moving experience."

Thomas

Issaquah, WA

Tour: 06/01/19

Overall rating: rating 3 of 5

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Lake Orta."

John

Newnan, GA

Tour: 06/01/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Great trip due to wonderful Sarah and a really good group. As in past Rick Steves travels, the local guides were very knowledgeable and outstanding. The pace was very good and I really liked staying away from high density tourist locations. Food and wine was most excellent!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"First day of tour, June 1 my birthday, Sarah had arranged for the singing of Happy Birthday in Italian. The meal and everything about the evening was tremendous."

Thomas

Eugene, OR

Tour: 06/01/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Just a true traveling experience that exceeds the itinerary. The mix of staying in the center of walled cities, staying on hilltop villas in the countryside, making so many unexpected visits along the way, and guidance for free time will surpass expectations. A great way to enjoy , and learn about , the wonderful country the Italians have created.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Probably the boat ride from Porto Venere to call at each village of Cinque Terre. What a beautiful afternoon outing. A close second was riding a bike on top of the city wall completely around the beautiful town of Lucca."

Alice

Chapel Hill, NC

Tour: 06/01/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The best thing about the trip was the lead guide, Sarah; second were the local guides or leaders of experiences and third, the Italian food. All of the accomodations were excellent to superb!!!!! I loved having a tour without pre-planning for entry to museums, restaurants, etc. We did a My Way trip of RS last year and negotiating the museum entries, and the food, etc was a LOT!!! Plus the local guides make THE BIG difference on a guided tour. That makes RS tours the best!!!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Scroveni chapel in Padua and the local guide Carla with us there. I had never seen a picture/painting/fresco of the Nativity with Hailey's comet. This was definitely a WOW moment."

Jill

Morgantown, WV

Tour: 05/27/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I loved the Village Italy tour and Trina was an exceptional guide. The villages and people, the churches and the frescoes, and the food and wine exceeded my expectations. The only negative about the trip was the activity level of moderate stated for the Village Italy tour seems too low. This is my 8th Rick Steves tour, including a 2018 Best of Switzerland tour. I feel the Village Italy tour had a lot more uphill and downhill walking and steps to climb and descend than a moderate activity level.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Wow, it is so hard to pick only one. At the Basilica di San Vitale in Ravenna, our local guide suggested we stand inside of the entrance door that was used by church goers years ago to simulate their entrance to the Basilica. That sight was breathtaking. The golds and blues in the Bysantine mosaics from the sixth century glittered in the light. A close second was a gorgeous sunset viewed while eating a truffle dinner at La Cucina di San Pietro near Trevi with Montefalco in the distance."

David

New York, NY

Tour: 05/27/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I learned a great deal on this tour even though I had already been to Italy (at least 6 or 7 times) and I study archeology and Roman history. It was mostly off the tourist trail, although not entirely. Sienna and the Cinque Terra were crowded enough that I was not as bothered by the short amount of time we spent in each as I would have been otherwise. As always, the guide, the driver, and the other guests were a pleasure. The itinerary was intelligent, humane, varied, and unlike any other tours.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were a lot of "wow" experiences, like the abundance of amazing frescoes or eating raw sausage on a farm. Overall, I might have to choose Lucca or Orvieto, not so much for their "wow" as for their balance of livability and quiet sophistication."

Ellen

Las Vegas, NV

Tour: 05/27/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Village Italy exceeded our expectations. The addition of a stay at the Castello di Gargonza with its gracious host Niro was a delight...a beautiful setting, large comfortable rooms, and delicious food. The welcome reception was particularly delicious with seasonal treats like fried squash blossoms. Villa Pambufetti, Hotel San Luca Palace, and Hotel La Bussola were all exceptionally beautiful and comfortable venues.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The surprise addition of to Arezzo to our itinerary provided three WOW moments: First, the views of the Piazza Grande, with its beautiful 16th century heraldic shields, Second, seeing Pierro della Francesca's 15th century fresco masterpiece, Third, a spectacular lunch at La Lancia d'Oro, which proved to be our finest meal in Italy. Truly, Arezzo would be worthy of a full day on the Village Italy tour"

Brian

Leander, TX

Tour: 05/27/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our third Rick Steves tour and, once again, the tour exceeded our expectations and then some! The locations and itinerary for the tour were absolutely perfect to give us a mix of experiences and education to truly understand and appreciate the history of and life in Italy. Each place had its own character and story to tell. Thanks to our amazing guide, Trina, we also had some special surprises and unique side trips along the way that further enriched the experience. Great group!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The tour was one "wow" moment after another. Without spoiling anything, we were fortunate enough to stay in some truly memorable locations that absolutely knocked our socks off. Another big "wow" for me was our guide, Trina. She is an excellent teacher. With her leadership and instruction, the story of Italy unfolded throughout the days. By the end, we had a well rounded understanding of what made and continues to make Italy special."

Beverly

Granger, IN

Tour: 05/27/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I could not recommend this tour high enough. I would take it all over again if I could. It was wonderful, stimulating and beautiful. I so enjoyed learning more about Italy's culture. The one suggestion I would have is to provide other books in the back of the bus so one could familiarize themselves with some of the history of Italy. Perhaps a book on the Medici's, the Ranaissance movement, etc would be helpful. I always enjoy reading them when we are on the bus.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"For me it was the boat ride when we got to the Cinque Terre. It was fabulous to see all the towns from the water and it was a beautiful day full of sunshine. It was so colorful and picturesque from the water."

Linda

Morgan, UT

Tour: 05/27/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This trip exceeded my expectations beyond anything I could have hoped for. The art history, cultural experiences, hotel accommodations, food, wine, and fellow travellers, along with a wonderful guide and exceptional bus driver left nothing to be desired. This was my first trip with Ricks Steve's and it won't be my last.

Favorite "WOW" moment

""My Wow moment" I loved the beauty of Gargonza. The castle was exceptional. I would have loved to stay another night. The truffle tour and beauty of Assisi was amazing. And of course hiking in Cinque Terre, was worth every step. The beauty of the Ligurian sea was incredible!"

Samuel

Morgan, UT

Tour: 05/27/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Everyday was filled with great information, incredible sights and wonderful food and wine. I am not really a history buff, but our guide Trina's vast knowledge and comfortable presentation made the entire trip interesting and informative. All of the places we went were eye opening and awe inspiring and just enough free time mixed in to reflect on the previous days experiences. Kudos to our amazing guide and our bus driver Sergio !

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It's difficult to pick one "WOW" moment, but I so enjoyed the walk through Assisi and the fun truffle hunt and dinner. I also very much enjoyed the hospitality and beauty of our stay at the Castello di Gorganza. Such a beautiful setting and wonderful service and food! Wish we could have stayed longer. Cinque Terre was also incredible. Hiking and walking each village was a treasure and a treat!"

Rebecca

Zephyr Cove, NV

Tour: 05/27/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our group was so cohesive, open and magnanimous. If someone in group needed help many members were willing to jump in and provide a helping hand.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"So hard to narrow it down to one "wow" moment as the variety of locations, terrain and atmosphere all make for several favorites. I will say seeing the Cinque Terra from the sea was memorable, soaking up Orvieto was wonderful and visiting Carrera and seeing how marble is cut from the mountain was mind-blowing. Finishing our tour at Lake Orta was perfect - charming, lovely location easy to relax in."

Richard

Zephyr Cove, NV

Tour: 05/27/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The variety of the countryside and the age and distinctive nature of all the villages visited was what one hoped for when selecting this tour .

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The age of many of buildings and the alleyways , narrow and wide , negotiated by foot or vehicle was always rewarding ,"

Jim

Granger, IN

Tour: 05/27/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was great with a fantastic site list and food galore. Orvieto was a food favorite.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Cinque Terre villages were so unique and beautiful. We would love to go back!"

Carol

Westford, MA

Tour: 05/25/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our 4th RS tour and certainly not our last since I've already started planning for next year. As always, a wonderful guide, Cristina from Padova, a great itinerary and wonderful tour mates who were lots of fun. Mid-May was a nice time - not hot yet and other than the Cinque Terre which we mostly skipped there weren't really crowds. A highlight was the free day we walked from our base in Levento along the sea to Bonassola and had scrumptious onion focaccia from the bakery.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I remember saying "wow" after we had walked from the bus across the town of Bagnoregio and I saw Civita di Bagnoregio in the distance, but that was not my favorite place. My favorite day was Day 5 in Deruta and Orvieto which was my husband's 60th birthday. Our guide Cristina and the rest of the group made sure it was a very special day for him. Pottery, a winery lunch w/ a surprise birthday cake and winery apron gift, and then Orvietto and our favorite restaurant in Orvietto for dinner."

Martis

Durango, CO

Tour: 05/25/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

More cathedrals than I would have liked to see...I personally skipped several. It seemed that we were always rushing.To get to another church! Housing, food, transportation all very good as usual. Cristina the best!

Vickie

Ponte Vedra, FL

Tour: 05/25/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

This was our 3rd Rick Steve's tour. We added this tour onto the tour of Sicily. In my opinion our group visited too many churches. My husband and I opted out of a walking tour in Lucca because of another church tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Deruta pottery and the olive oil presentation/lunch were two of my favorites."

Charles

Ponte Vedra, FL

Tour: 05/25/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

After taking the 21 day Best of Europe tour last year, we decided to take this tour to get a more concentrated experience in smaller towns of Italy compared to the traditional large city bucket list tours. This tour did not disappoint in that regard. The hotels were clean, well appointed and ideally located in each town. The visit to the WWII cemetery was an add on and should be elevated to beincluded in the itinerary. The free time in each locale was great to find great food and drink spots.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Experiencing the small towns without masses of tourists was accomplished multiple times on this tour. Dinners in Orvieto, Luca, and Montefalco were a treat because most tourists had left and it seemed we had the town to ourselves."

Rochelle

Quincy, IL

Tour: 05/25/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I travelled with 2 other girlfriends. None of us had ever been on a tour before so we were new to this experience. We looked at various tour groups before deciding on Rick Steeves because we enjoyed the activity level, the small group size, and the itinerary. We were not disappointed. In fact, on the long flight back to the States we all agreed the tour exceeded our expectations. We especially enjoyed the unexpected destinations and food experiences.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were so many including one amazing meal of homemade pappardelle in a very small village outside of the Florence American Cemetery. But I have to say I've always wanted to travel to Civita di Bagnoregio and it did not disappoint. it's just such an unusual place and one that may be gone in the near future-the views and history are amazing. Also, the Cinque Terre-loved and visited all five villages. If you are going find the time to explore all five."

Randall

Indianapolis, IN

Tour: 05/25/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Cristina was great! Great itinerary with minor exceptions Would have liked more time in Assisi Very nice estate we stayed at outside Siena but would have preferred more time in Siena or to stay within walking distance to explore the city more.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Can't limit to one but greatly enjoyed Ravenna, Assisi, American cemetery in Florence, Siena, Lucca and Cinque Terra."

Steven

Kirkland, WA

Tour: 05/20/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Having the opportunity to see the parts of Italy that are not Rome,Florence,Venice,Naples,and Milan was a treat. Patricia is an outstanding tour guide. Her Scottish/Italian heritage, Italian history knowledge, and vibrant personality made the trip priceless. We were very lucky to have her leadership as she slowly fades her tour guiding career into the sunset. (38 years) Each day was filled with new adventures that are difficult to describe, but need to be experienced to appreciate.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"This is very difficult, but, actually there are two. 1. The ceramic factory in Deruta. Each phase of production from the Tiber River clay to the hand painting was engrossing. Wanting to buy everything was almost uncontrollable. 2. The Puccini concert in Lucca was over the top! Held in an abandoned old church, with performances by three men; tenor, baritone, and pianoforte. It brought me to tears."

Ron

Anchorage, AK

Tour: 05/20/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Great trip

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Carrera marble quarry ."

Janice

Sammamish, WA

Tour: 05/20/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Excellent tour! From our guide (Tricia) to the itinerary, hotels, day tours, meals, accommodations and bus travel with the wonderful Mario. We had a lovely group with great camraderie. Can't say enough good things.....but I will, to anyone who will listen!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"This trip didn't have the "wow" factor that last summer's my way alpine europe did, but that's not the point. Each day brought beautiful new natural and historical man made sights. Probably the water view of the Cinque Terre was a highlight. We were so happy the boat ride up the coast was possible. The villages were lovely from the water and this was a real treat. Also, sunset lighting on the duomo facade in Orvieto was spectacular. Tricia positioned us just right to see it!"

Vicki

Pasadena, CA

Tour: 05/20/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our Village Italy Tour was awesome! It was filled with so many delightful adventures in beautiful villages. This was our ninth Rick Steves' tour and it reminded my husband and me of the many reasons we love RS tours. The towns visited, delicious group dinners, new friendships, amazing landscapes and views, bus rides filled with historical and cultural information, daily gelatos, and humorous and diligent guides made this tour one our favorites!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Our favorite "wow" moments were a group picnic lunch spread along a wall overlooking Orvieto....breathtaking and delicious! Earlier in the morning, all of the tour members went to the local farmers market and purchased a delicious array of foods and Italian specialties to share. Ahhhhhh..... Another "wow" moment was a picturesque boat ride from Porto Venere along the coast of the Cinque Terre, ending in Monterosso, on a picture-perfect day. We keep pinching ourselves."

Steven

Orlando, FL

Tour: 05/20/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

A fantastic tour leader, an energetic and fun group of travelers and the beauty of Italy made for the perfect vacation. The pace was great, scenery and accommodations were superb. Learned so much from Patricia, the local guides and fellow travelers. This was our third Rick Steve's tour and as such are expectations were high. Once again your organization delivered above and beyond our expectations. Thank thank you so much

Favorite "WOW" moment

"So hard to pick one. Seeing the Orvieto cathedral at sunset was stunning. We spent an extra night at Lago d'Orta and truly enjoyed the ambiance and people. The group feast in Levanto was tremendous. But if I had to chose 1, Our tour of the Basillica of Assisi, the beauty and the superb local guide Giuseppe, really was a wow for me."

Lydia

Orlando, FL

Tour: 05/20/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was a fabulous trip. We had so many new experiences and learned so much. Tricia was an excellent guide who brought her years of experience to this tour along with her wonderful sense of humor. Our travel companions quickly became friends. The towns we visited fit the bill of quaint, not crowded, historically interesting and beautiful. I would recommend this tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were many. I love all the churches. Walking inside them and having my jaw drop because of the beauty. Basilica of Saint Anthony did this to me Also the Scrovegni Chapel. Market days are always fun and interesting. Drinking Aperol Spritz every chance we got and people watching in the squares. The view from our balcony on Lake Orta gave me goosebumps."

Nancy

Sitka, AK

Tour: 05/20/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our first Rick Steves' Tour and we weren't sure what to expect. Our concerns vanished once our tour guide, Patricia, greeted our group during the welcome reception. It was immediately evident that we were going to be in good hands and in excellent company for the next two weeks. Patricia's humor and knowledge made each day memorable and spectacular. Our meals, tours, accommodations and travel companions exceeded what we imagined.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I have to say that the food and lodging were outstanding and the tours were so informative and fun, but the "wow" moment for me was sharing all of this with 25 awesome people who brought such warmth and friendliness to the group. This added to each and every experience, making the whole trip one big "WOW" moment."

Victoria

Portland, OR

Tour: 05/20/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Absolutely wonderful tour!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"View from the hotel room at Lake Orta."

Deborah

Anchorage, AK

Tour: 05/20/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I enjoyed seeing and learning a lot about Italian history, art, religion and culture. Our guide and local guides were great. I wanted to spend more time in smaller towns, like Lucca and Orvieto. Sienna and Padova were nice but too big and especially in Sienna, we didn't have enough time there to really know it, so I would save it for a different tour. They weren't really what I would call villages, which is what I was looking for. I liked doing a local event like the Puccini night in Lucca

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Seeing the Cinque Terre from the boat, and then hiking the trail the next day. I also really liked seeing and hiking up to Civita. And we went kayaking on beautiful Lake Orta. Amazing settings!"

Susan

Seattle, WA

Tour: 05/18/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Great tour guide and the locations got us away from the big crowds in Europe.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I can not identify one particular event that was above another because they where all great."

Carol

Cardiff By The Sea, CA

Tour: 05/18/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The Village Italy tour was outstanding with the focus on small hill towns and the life and people within. We visited local artisans including owner of local winery, olive oil mill, pottery workshop, local farm with a truffle dog owner, chef/owner of agriturismo. They shared their daily life and knowledge with us as well as some delicious meals. Along with the interaction with local artisans we viewed fabulous mosaics and frescos within basilicas.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I never can pinpoint one "wow" moment. On this tour there were many different ones: the sight of the hill towns from afar and from below, the country villas that we stayed in, the opera in Lucca, the tremendous frescos and mosaics and their stories, the truffle dogs and Bruno their owner what a character, and the personal tour of Sienna by our lovely guide who lives there. Anna made life in Sienna come alive with a visit to her contrada and tales of the Palio."

Paula

Warthen, GA

Tour: 05/18/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We chose this trip because we were very interested in these villages in Italy. We love the country, its beauty, and the genuineness of the locals. Many of the sites we were to visit were on our "must see" list. Our experience far exceeded our high expectations. Anna was a delight. You have found a true jewel in this young lady. She represents the Rick Steves travel concept exceptionally well....while adding her own personal touches. Her people skills are amazing and such an asset.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were so many each day it is hard to choose, but seeing the sunset over a lovely vineyard on a hillside with the shadowy mountains in the distant...was perfectly amazing, wowing, refreshing and refreshing after a day of showers. I also must include the walk up to Civita! What an amazing location. I do hope it can become a World Heritage Site; even if that limits visitors. Experiencing the past, present and future in such an unusual and precarious moment in time will remain a WOW."

Molly

Bainbridge Island, WA

Tour: 05/18/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our guide, Anna, was superb. Her knowledge of Italian art and history made each village come alive.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Seeing the beautiful mosaics in Ravenna--took my breath away. Loved the Drute pottery factory."

John

Warthen, GA

Tour: 05/18/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Great tour and tour guide. There was a lot packed into 14 days, but I did not feel rushed or overwhelmed. This was my ninth Rick Steves tour and they just keep getting better.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I always have one or two special places I want to see on an upcoming tour. This time it was Civita and the Scrovegni Chapel. Of course they wowed me, but so did the whole tour."

Beth

Virginia Beach, VA

Tour: 05/18/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Village Italy was the first Rick Steves Tour I had done. Won't be the last! Loved everything about it. Anna was an incredible guide!! Loved meeting people on the tour and making new friends. Loved seeing so much of the beautiful villages. Enjoyed having several days in each village plus free time to explore. Wonderful memories will warm my heart for years to come!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were so many 'wow' moments! I think every place we went had its own unique wow moments. And, because I had only been to large Italian cities (Rome, Venice) I loved the village appeal. Absolutely loved Siena and Lucca. Loved the experiences - the truffle hunting dogs and delicious truffle dinner, the winery lunch, the cooking lesson and lunch in Tuscany, the pottery tour in Orvieto, the marble tour in Carrara, the "stroll" up to Civita di Bagnoregio, hiking in Cinque Terre, the amazing art!"

Fred

Seattle, WA

Tour: 05/18/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Great tour leader and information from local guides. Just what I needed.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Visiting Seina."

James

Virginia Beach, VA

Tour: 05/18/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Wonderful trip that was well organized and very interesting while also being great fun. Methods to encourage interaction with the group were very effective and we made some good friends along the way. Our tour guide Anna was fabulous! She was a wealth of knowledge, always upbeat, and lots of fun. She made the trip! Guides at each city were also terrific--- a great team effort!Food and drink were superb. Would have liked to have 2 days at Lake Orta instead of just one--- beautiful resort!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Visiting all the cathedrals/basilicas/churches--- art was overwhelming. Enjoyed the free days in Orieveto and Levanto. Visiting the WWII cemetery outside Florence was special!!"

Jennene

Hopedale, MA

Tour: 05/18/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my first tour and first with Rick Steve's. I was traveling solo! I still am relishing in the wonderful moments and information I was exposed to and considering which tour to take next year. The tour exceeded my expectations! I was so grateful for how Anna streamlined all our time and ticketing, so that waiting was not part of the experience. In general this tour was well planned and well executed!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I am an Art History lover so the Scrovegni Chapel took my breath away! With that said I was awed by the narrow darkened walkway opening up to the piazza of the Orvieto Cathedral, in all of its sparkling mosaic splendor! Did I mention Giotto's marvelous work at Assisi! I could go on, each day brought wonder and joy to my life!"

Bill

Norfolk, VA

Tour: 05/18/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We loved it! The tour group was the right size for the bus (26 vs. 52 seats), so plenty of elbow room. Logistics all went seamlessly, despite 9 straight days of rain. The balance of sightseeing vs. experiences was excellent. Some hotels were borderline subpar (Padua, in particular), but others were very comfortable (Lake Orto). But the very best thing of the trip was our superstar tour guide, Anna; she just exceeded every expectation.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Anna, having adopted Siena and the Lupa Contrade as her home, took us to her Contrade's church, where she explained the Palio to us and then narrated for us the video of Lupa's July 2016 Palio victory in a manner just as exciting as someone calling the Kentucky Derby, and then took us through the Church's 3 room museum to Lupa's centuries of Palio racing, with all the jockeys' gear and outfits, and the Palio banners that had been one. She really made the Palio come alive for us all."

George

Fitchburg, WI

Tour: 05/18/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Everything about the trip was great. Anna, our guide was outstanding. She had the perfect background for guiding us around the villages of Italy.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"We were on a Rick Steve's tour in October 2011 in Cinque Terra and witnessed firsthand the flooding and devastation caused by the torrential rains. Our guide then, Karen, dealt fabulously with this traumatic event. One of our purposes for this trip was to go back and see the beautiful towns after the clean up and restoration. Our Wow Moment was meeting with Marco and Matteo, who, with their father and mother, had sheltered us and perhaps saved our lives. Seeing them was a real pleasure."

Linda

Virginia Beach, VA

Tour: 05/18/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

This was our first organized tour & I am a "frustrated travel agent",loving to plan our trips & having lived & traveled extensively in Europe, so take that into consideration in reading my review.Loved having the transportation,checkins to hotel & other logistics taken care of. Was a great group of people from all over the US. Our tour Guide Anna was amazing. Experiences were wonderful and something could not have planned myself. Would have preferred nicer hotels and less bus time the first day.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Loved the "experiences': The wine tasting - Cecilia was captivating and so passionate - she is a gem. The chef lunch - Stefano also was so passionate, friendly and can't be replaced. Cooking the meal together was such a great team experience and so much fun. The truffle hunting, olive oil education, and ceramics stops were unique experiences. Finally, visiting the Florence American Cemetary was a surprise, a must see, and a very emotional and meaningful experience."

Donna

Houston, TX

Tour: 05/13/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour of the village cities was exactly what I wanted. I have been to Rome, Florence, and Venice, and while they were nice to see, I love and appreciate the smaller towns and staying in the old sections of the cities. Trina was a wonderful guide who shared indepth knowledge of the country, history, culture, and architecture.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"This is very hard to choose only one. I had a wow experience in every city and venue we visited. I really enjoyed all of Lucca."

Troy

Port Neches, TX

Tour: 05/13/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We enjoyed the exploring the small towns, villages and countryside of northern Italy and experiencing the history, culture, architecture, foods and wines of the region. Our tour guide was helpful, knowledgeable and fun to be around.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The evening dinner following the truffle hunt near Montefalco with the sun setting over the beautiful Umbrian countryside while dining on delicious food and visiting with new friends was probably the top "wow" of several "wow" moments during our tour."

Janet

Port Neches, TX

Tour: 05/13/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I knew before the tour started that it would be great...just because my previous tours have been great! My brother and his wife did this tour last summer and they loved it, so I had insight into what was coming.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I enjoyed the truffle hunt and the dogs! It was fun! The place where the dinner was held was amazing!The colors at sunset was gorgeous! The food was wonderful, too! The other "wow" was riding on the bus and seeing the countryside. It was pretty, especially the fields of poppies!"

Crystal

Lake Stevens, WA

Tour: 05/13/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I seriously could not have imagined a better experience!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"For me, it was visiting the little Etruscan museum and learning that there was such an advanced society in Italy so very long ago. It was really impressive to see the artifacts from that era."

Stephen

Eagle, ID

Tour: 05/13/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our recent Village Italy tour exceeded our high expectations. Excellent guide, accommodations and overall experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Trying to comprehend the magnitude of having nearly 2500 years of history exposed in six feet of excavation before our eyes at archeological dig in Orevieto. Mind boggling to say the least."

Nancy

San Rafael, CA

Tour: 05/13/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Magnificent experience traveling through Northern Italy and its charming villages. Trina is an exceptional guide with a wealth of knowledge and expertise. The tour was well organized and really captured the essence of traveling to smaller villages within the culture and history of Italy. Our journey was well-paced and we traveled by bus, boat, and train throughout the tour which gave us different experiences/perspectives within Italy.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Civita di Bagnoregio, ancient, hilltop, medieval village and walk! What a view!! I had many WOW moments throughout this trip - loved the boat tour at the Cinque Terra and of course, Tuscany and all its natural beauty. The family owned villas we stayed in at both Tuscany and Umbria were truly magnificent! The food, art, history, cultural experiences(i.e. cooking, wine, truffles, olive growing, Estrucan history, art, etc.) all created amazing memories and joy that will always be cherished!"

Mike

Simcoe, ON

Tour: 05/13/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Villages of Italy is our favorite RS tour of the 5 tours we have taken. In fact this is the second time we have taken this tour, the first was ten years ago. Although there had been some changes over this period, the essence of this tour has not changed and it remains an all time favorite.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The optional archeologist led tour of Sant Andrea Church in Orvieto. Was totally blown away the 3000 years of history contained in the basement of that church. My tourmates decided to forego this optional tour. That was big mistake. My other wow moment was completing the Cinque Terre trail from Vernazza to Monterossa al Mare. We had completed the first 3 "legs" of the trail 100 years ago so it was nice to finally complete the last leg."

Carol

Lake Arrowhead, CA

Tour: 05/11/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We spent two weeks on the Village Italy Tour in May. Our tour guide was exceptional! I was amazed at how much history there was in places I had never even heard of. The only problem was the weather (it rained all but three days), but we just kept going.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I think when our tour guide explained to us that Italy was a young country only formed in 1861 and how we could see that with the differences in the different regions."

Karen

San Antonio, TX

Tour: 05/11/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

There aren't enough adjectives in any language to describe how awesome this experience was for me. I wish I could have stayed longer.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Honestly, my favorite "wow" was BEFORE the tour, right as I got in country. A local man saved the day. He was so excited when he realized he could help me all the way to my tram stop for the hotel, (and pay my way with a ticket he already had on hand) that as we sprinted from the bus toward the tram he swept his arms into the air and with total joy shouted, "WELCOME TO ITALY!" After that, the Wow's just kept on coming."

Craig

Fuquay Varina, NC

Tour: 05/11/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our first Rick Steves tour. It was also the first time we have been to Italy. It was without question, the most fun and educational vacation that we have ever had. We were fortunate to have David as our guide. He always made us feel comfortable with our surroundings while providing us with historical and political information for the region we were visiting. The local guides added a lot to the experience. The art and architecture were even more inspiring than we imagined.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were many. Standing inside buildings that were built centuries ago was an experience that I will never forget. The food and wine experiences were my favorite. They really provided an insight to the regional variances and the passion that these people share regarding their craft, traditions and local history."

Mary

Fuquay Varina, NC

Tour: 05/11/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This has been the vacation of a lifetime. I had to pinch myself often because when in Italy it felt unreal, like I really wasn't there, like it was a dream. We saw and learned a lot more about Italy, the culture, history and people then we would have on our own.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Too many wow moments to count. The outstanding basilica in Orvieto and the city beneath the city in the smaller church in Orvieto."

Claudia

Bellevue, WA

Tour: 05/11/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Mama Mia! We had a fantastic experience on the Village Italy Tour! My husband, David and I, were both visiting Italy for the first time - and we'll be back to explore more of this beautiful country. The joy of seeing the Italian villages certainly overshadowed any damper on the trip (and of course, weather is never a sure bet!) We both loved the culinary aspects of the trip-local foods and wines. Local guides were excellent, particularly our guide in the Carrara marble quarries.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The hands on Tuscan cooking experience was our WOW moment! We loved learning new techniques of making gnocchi, pesto, and pasta. It was a bonding experience to get to know other tour members while preparing our lunch together, listening to our Tuscan chef impart his knowledge, and finally relishing the meal!"

Christina

Phoenix, AZ

Tour: 05/11/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My overall tour experience was absolutely incredible, more than I dreamed it would be. From the minute we arrived in Padua until the moment we left Lake Orta every detail of our tour was amazing! David, our guide, is an absolute GEM! His charisma and knowledge are over the top. Every village that we visited, local tour guide that we had, and every group activity that was planned were spectacular. Every day was more phenomenal than the day before. Bravissimo!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Every day of the trip had a "wow" moment for me, but I'd have to say my favorite had to be our stop at the Agriturismo La Pietriccia in Tuscany, where we received hands on experience preparing our lunch from locally sourced food. Stefano was very nice and very informative. It really made me think twice about my first visit back to the grocery store when I finally got home. I believe that was the real turning point where our group really came together as well."

Delbert

Phoenix, AZ

Tour: 05/11/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Awesome tour guide and bus driver.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"the town of Montefalco, walking thru the gates to the small hill top site."

Millie

San Diego, CA

Tour: 05/11/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Not even the rain could dampen our overall enjoyment. I especially liked visiting towns that are not on the typical tourist route which allowed us to experience life in Italy being lived by Italians. Getting to see dogs hunt truffles and then eat a meal based on truffles was a favorite part of the trip for me.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Walking through our guide's hometown, Orvieto, and observing how the local people greeted David, along with a somewhat impromptu lunch at a local restaurant where David and his band played for us."

Michael

Cooperstown, NY

Tour: 05/11/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our second Rick Steves tour. We previously did Best of Sicily in 2016. As in 2016 we finished this tour with a sense of true satisfaction with our overall experience. Our tour guide David Todi was a true professional and a pleasure to be with. Our fellow travelers were a nice blend of folks all considerate of others and the places we visited were all of great interest. Hotels were fine, clean, quiet and comfortable. Meals provided was very good, some better than others.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I am a runner. I tried to get up early every morning and do an "orientation run" in the town we were in. All runs were great but, while in Orvieto I had the opportunity to run down from the main part of town to a park which overlooked the valley below. I could see for miles. The sun was coming up, the valley was green and lush and I was at peace. I can still picture that view as I type this note."

Stran

Quinton, VA

Tour: 05/06/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was a chance to see around the world renowned sites of Italy to how the country developed, one town at a time.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The "WOW" moment that stands out most was at Tenuta Le Velette. The Winery has been in the same family for 6 or 7 generations, and has been producing wines since pre-Roman times. Across the valley is the hill Town of Orvieto?, a spectacular view from the terrace. But the WOW came when we were invited to go down the stairs from the estate's kitchen and enter the expansive wine cellar dug by the Etruscans over 2000 years ago."

Jerry

Tacoma, WA

Tour: 05/06/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was a very exciting, varied tour with a great tour guide Cristina and a wonderful driver Mario. Cristina was highly motivated to show us a wide variety of Italy. We always looked forward to each new day. The hotels were wonderful, the food special and the people on our tour were a cohesive group on an exciting adventure.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It has to be the scenery, whether on a rural hillside or an ancient town center, Italy is such a beautiful, picturesque Country. The spring flowers, the sunsets and the street scenes were all special."

Dennis

Redmond, WA

Tour: 05/06/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my first RIck Steves tour and definitely not my last.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were several " wow" moments, but given both the proximity of our tour to Memorial Day and the fact that my father was awarded a Bronze Star for his service in Italy during WWII, the unexpected visit to the US Memorial Cemetery near Florence was my most emotionally significant moment. Rick Steves' philosophy of international tourism as a political act was absolutely validated by my experience. Italy, like the rest of the EU, appreciates our past sacrifices despite our current leadership."

John

Carlsbad, CA

Tour: 05/06/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Personally if felt that there was an overall sameness to each day. One church after another.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The military cemetery was very moving. The excursions to the winery, marble quarry, olive producing and others were very interesting. Montofalco was probably our favorite town and hotel. The country side was amazing and the few Italians that I was able to interact with were very pleasant. Siena and the story of the horse race was also very good."

Susan

Tacoma, WA

Tour: 05/06/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

What I love about RS tours is all the historical facts I learn and the hands on learning with our guide (yes, I do realize I could look in the book) but this is better. Great weather and I walked 122 miles and lost 4 pounds with everything I ate!!!! Christina our guide was the best guide I've had and Mario our bus driver was both fun and competent - making us feel safe on our journey while enjoying it, too.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"In one of the Basilica's I finally realized - those frescoes are just a giant picture story book. Also at the end of the tour, we walked in silence on an island at San Orta Guilio and read the sayings - as a hospice nurse the one that got to me - 'at the end of the journey, we are aware'! Had to process that for a moment."

Susan

Rock Hill, SC

Tour: 05/06/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Starting with the spectacular Italian country side and the beautiful towns and villages, this tour more than met my expectations of quintessential Italy. The group was fun and engaging from day one and sharing this experience with these folks was a great deal of the joy. Our guide was thoughtful, knowledgeable, caring and on task at all times. Our bus driver was extremely capable, friendly, and fun, even when he handed me my exploding travel bag (a errant sound machine). Take this trip!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"While having dinner with the group on the beautiful and interesting truffle estate, I turned to the picture window behind me to find the sun setting over the unbelievably lovely Tuscan landscape. The light was perfect!!! I am not an artist or a accomplished photographer, but I now understand the element of light to both. Mountains, villages, vineyards, cypress trees, and poppies! And Light. Awesome!"

Hugh

Tallahassee, FL

Tour: 05/06/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Our 4th RS tour, and it met our high expectations. We had a very good group of fellow travelers which added to the overall experience. Loved most of the "villages" we visited, particularly Padua and Lucca. Great meals, great wine, beautiful countryside, wonderful churches, cathedrals, and museums, very good local tours, great fun!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Some of my favorite moments included: walking around the towns of Padua, Lucca, and Orvieto; wine tasting and lunch at Tenuta Le Velette, led by the knowledgeable and very entertaining Cecelia; Etruscan museum tour, led by Roberto, boating along the Cinque Terre; our farewell dinner with bus driver Mario."

Susanne

Bainbridge Islanf, WA

Tour: 05/06/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my fifth RS tour and a very good overall experience. It was marred by my husband illness at the last minute and he couldn't come. I came without him and still had a good time. Cristina was very welcoming and the group very friendly so I lost my worries about traveling solo. The group melded quickly and the combination of group and solo time was perfect. I like most of the activities although the group meals still could be improved upon. The local guides are the best part.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Probably the truffle hunt since I'm a big dog lover. It was very interesting to see how the dogs work with their trainer. The people running the truffle farm were great and that was the best group dinner too. Love love the Umbrian countryside. A close runner up was the cooking class at the agriturismo in Tuscany. Wonderful meal and we had fun cooking it. The owner was most welcoming and great to hear his opinions on slow food etc."

Dianna

Tallahassee, FL

Tour: 05/06/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

There was much to love about this tour. We went to great places, although they were mostly cities rather than what I would call villages. Our tour guide was very informative and we loved the group of fellow travelers. The food was, for the most part, excellent and the places we stayed were very nice. Almost all our stops along then way were memorable with good local tour guides. The weather put a damper on our trip as it was cold windy, and rainy many of the days.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Having a earthquake wake us up in Siena. Stopping by the Florence American Cemetery was an experience we won't forget. Our final group dinner with our bus driver, Mario, was filled with great food, singing and a little dancing!"

Dave

Manchester, MO

Tour: 05/06/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The Village Italy tour was everything that I wanted: organized, educational, and very relaxing (I did not have to worry about driving, parking, etc.). The tour was a good balance of group sessions with a guide and free time for independent exploring.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The frescos in various cathedrals."

Twila

Omaha, NE

Tour: 05/04/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I loved the Village Italy tour. Especially enjoyable was the combination of smaller towns and little villages. The tour could have lasted a few days longer as there was so much to see and absorb.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I enjoyed the frescoes, mosaics, truffle hunt, cooking class, hike to the hill town Civita di Bagnoregio, cathedrals, and the villages of Cinque Terre. I found the boat ride to little Isola San Giulio most memorable!"

Martha

Seattle, WA

Tour: 05/04/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

While on the tour there was so much visual and verbal stimulation. Two weeks post tour and I am savoring the experiences now and for some time to come. It was a very positive getting me out of my culture.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Have to say it was meeting up with Anna Piperato in Siena. She was our former tour guide in 2017. Sarah arranged for the surprise meeting. Anna shared her love of her home and her experiences. Especially enjoyed visiting the Lupa Contrada and Anna sharing her experiences as a contrada member"

Monica

Beaverton, OR

Tour: 05/04/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our Villages tour was simply outstanding! Sarah is a fabulous guide and she made sure that everything went smoothly and that we all had the best experience possible. Each place we visited created a wow moment, so I'm not sure how I'm going to answer the next question. Our accommodations were excellent, with a few that were over the top, especially Villa Pambuffetti and Hotel Belvedere di San Leonino. As with our last tour, VFR, the local guides were fantastic & added so much to the trip.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I can't pick just one wow moment, every day had its own wow moment. But perhaps my favorite wow moment was lunch at the olive mill outside of Lucca. I'd long dreamt of a homemade lunch or dinner in a Tuscan farmer's kitchen, and this was even better than my dream. It was a combination of experience and food. Perfetto!! And I'd certainly put the Giotto frescoes at the Scrovegni Chapel in Padova on the list."

Molly

Gresham, OR

Tour: 05/04/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

After our RS tour, we spent some more time in the Chianti region and worked our way north to visit our daughter, who lives in The Netherlands. We were gone for 2 months, starting with our RS tour. I am filing this survey quite late. This was our 4th RS tour and we had an idea of what to expect. Yet, there were still surprises. We had cooler weather and more rain than we would have liked for this tour. Our guides and hotel hosts made some nice adjustments.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I loved the visit to Civita. That was a sunny Tuscan day, and a great adventure. Sarah bought us gelato to celebrate our accomplishment and then allowed time for us to wander."

Ellen

Dallas, TX

Tour: 05/04/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We very much enjoyed the tour. Loved the small group concept. Sara was amazing....bus driver was excellent. Itinerary was well thought out and beautiful. We have been to Italy at least three times in the past...and we managed to see new and different places than our other travels.

Myranda

Hastings, MN

Tour: 05/04/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Our weather was unseasonably cool and rainy. This put a damper on some aspects of our trip. We enjoyed the additional evening outing to see Leaning Tower of Pisa that Sarah arranged for us.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Levanto feast was excellant. The food was fabulous and entertainment was outstanding. Samantha was especially good at getting the group to join in the festivities."

John

Sacramento, CA

Tour: 05/04/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I enjoyed the tour immensely. The towns and areas it covered were interesting and gave a broad view of the history of those parts of Italy, which was fascinating. The guides were good, the activities were interesting (truffles, olive oil, etc). The pace left us feeling that we had accomplished a lot.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The entire tour stands out at a "wow" experience. Ravenna and Orvieto, with their Orthodox and Etruscan histories were especially interesting."

Laurel

Omaha, NE

Tour: 05/04/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Sarah was an outstanding tour guide. She is always considerate of the needs of her group. I was impressed by her fluency in Italian as well as her knowledge of Italy's cuisine, art, and history. She was generous, providing tasty little treats that she passed around for us to enjoy. My wife is hearing impaired, and Sarah did her best to make sure My wife could hear her and the local guides. That alone made the trip an exceptional one for us.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Too many to mention. The stay at our villa in Montefalco was extra special."

Jerri

Plano, TX

Tour: 05/04/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our first Rick Steves tour and we were very pleased. The variety of places and excursions was wonderful and informative.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Too many to name. Sarah Corfield "made" the trip. She's a pleasant person and always cheerful."

Walter

Beaverton, OR

Tour: 05/04/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We've taken two tours in Italy with Rick Steves.... both were great, but "Villages"was completely off the charts! The food... The wine... The olive oil... The people, places, quiet beautiful rural Italy... Wonderful!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Very tough to say... it was all amazing! If I had to choose, I'd pick either our lunch at the olive press... wonderful authentic, food, wine and olive oil; or, the Hotel Belvedere in the Tuscan countryside..."

Andrea

Fort Collins, CO

Tour: 04/29/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

There isn't a category higher than Outstanding...or this trip qualifies. Not a grump in the bunch despite unseasonable cold and wet. Excellent choices of venues and lodging and professional leadership. I felt a camaraderie right off the bat in the tiny breakfast room of Rosella's that stayed with us to Lake Orta. (Our bus driver Lucca became part of our crew as well.)

Favorite "WOW" moment

"An impossible task. Being mesmerized by the vast repertoire of Trish Brady's knowledge and love of Italian art...a chance meeting Cecelia and her husband at a restaurant in Orvieto the evening of the tour of their winery...the grand plaza in Siena...the gracious Pambuffettis..."

Lesley

Davis, CA

Tour: 04/29/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Village Italy is the "Italian Experience" as our fantastic guide Tricia told us. Not only do we visit the usual churches & museums, we also saw Italians at work. We visited the Carrara marble quarry, an olive oil press co-op, a beautiful ceramic maker's shop, an alabaster workshop, vintners (of course), a truffle farm & an agriturismo where we had a cooking lesson. And the beauty of the countryside is just incredible. The group lunches & dinners were excellent too, and of course the wine...

Favorite "WOW" moment

"So many! I loved the Scrovegni Chapel with Giotto's frescoes and the incredible mosaics in Ravenna. Other wow moments were the view of Assisi from our window at the Villa Pambufetti, the view of the Tuscan countryside from the Hotel Belvedere and the view of Lago d'Orta and the thunderstorm from our room. And most all of the dinners, especially the all-truffle dinner at the truffle farm, had their own "wow" moments."

Richard

Lacey, WA

Tour: 04/29/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The overall trip was amazing! The general mix of attractions was wonderful, but at a certain point you get the feeling that if you see one more church, you'll scream - but then it is Italy where it seems every family has it's own chapel.I loved the other experiences - the olive oil processing and tasting, the wine and food tasting, the cooking experience, and especially the marble quarrying. Who knew you could put alabaster on a lathe and machine it?

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The quarry of marble at Carrara with an entire mountain of marble blew my mind"

Dianne

Lacey, WA

Tour: 04/29/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was well organized. Tricia did a great job, and it seemed she knew people everywhere we went! All of the tour group members were congenial. I was entranced by all the lovely old towns and the fantastic scenery, particularly in Tuscany and Umbria. What a great experience to see hills covered with rows of grapevines alongside olive orchards. The Villa at Montefalco was a special treat. I'd been looking forward to Cinque Terre, and it certainly didn't disappoint! The seacoast, wow!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Seeing the anatomy theater in Padua was a thrill, and really brought those early days of medicine into focus. The sun shining on the Duomo in Orvieto lit up the gold in the frescoes-stunning. The Etruscan Museum in Chianciano brought early history alive for us, and our wonderful guide there had a great sense of humor! Volterra was a unique find!"

Marlene

West Vancouver, BC

Tour: 04/29/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour of the villages in Italy was wonderful! Tricia was a great tour guide, with such a passion for the country! Really enjoyed all the activities included - from the wine tasting, to the Tuscan cooking class, to the pottery factory, to the olive oil mill, to the marble quarry, and so on! Wonderful sights - the beautiful frescoes by Giotti, the well-preserved mosaics in Ravenna,the amazing hilltop villages, and of course the villages of the Cirque Terre! I could go on and on!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Too many to just choose one!"

George

Raleigh, NC

Tour: 04/29/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour was one of the most enjoyable travel experiences I have had. In great part that is due to Patricia's excellent managerial and communication skills, and personal warmth. She is a lovely person who enjoys others and gladly shares her knowledge with them. I learned so much about the history, architecture, art, food, people, and geography of northern Italy and enjoyed it all. Patricia is a wonderful teacher and companion.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I especially enjoyed visiting the Orvieto area. The town is beautiful, full of wonderful things to see and do. The cathedral is amazing with incredible frescoes. The town is walkable with many excellent restaurants and the people are very friendly and welcoming. Our visit to Tenuta Le Velette winery in the area was also excellent. The lunch and wine tasting was superior, and our hostess Cecilia was a wonderful guide through Italy's and the winery's history. She is knowledgeable and dynamic."

Marlene

Vancouver, BC

Tour: 04/29/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour itinerary, the great guide and bus driver, the warm, friendly group of fellow travelers all contributed to making this an outstanding tour. I loved the variety of hotels we stayed in, my favourite being Hotel Belvedere di San Leonino.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hard to choose as there were many. However, it has to have been eating lunch outdoors in Rio Maggiore. As we sat high above the tiny harbor with a wonderful view of the colorful houses clinging to the hillside and the sparkling Mediterranean at our feet I knew this was a memory I will cherish forever. The most "fun" time was definitely the Italian cooking lesson."

Michael

Phoenix, AZ

Tour: 04/27/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour exceeded my expectations in almost every way. The group was united and connected. The pace was appropriate and the activities varied and aligned to the tour agenda.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The incredible history and art of the regions."

Hank

West Harrison, IN

Tour: 04/27/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our guide, Trina, and driver, Sergio were just the best. Flawless the entire trip. I especially enjoyed the Tuscany region with it's rolling hills and farm villas. All the Italians were friendly, helpful and considerate. All the places we visited were clean, no litter. One disappointment was the Cinque Terre, the day we boarded the boat there were four cruise ships docked. Just too many people for the small towns.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Seeing Orvieto from across the valley at the winery. The American cemetery at Florence. Not many get a chance to go there, it peaks your interest to study the Allied invasion through Italy."

Michele

West Harrison, IN

Tour: 04/27/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour experience was everything I've come to expect...knowledgeable, thoughtful tour guides, impressive local guides and friendly and connected travel companions. Italy itself was a joy with the quality of the food, wines and friendly locals. Umbria, Tuscany and Lake Orta were highlights!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I actually had 2 "Wow" moments! The first was meeting Rick Steves when he walked into the restaurant where we were eating on our own and asked if we were from Trina's group. The other was Lake Orta...it is spectacularly beautiful."

Christine

Pleasanton, CA

Tour: 04/27/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Loved the tour group. Everyone is so friendly and happy.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Cinque terre. All five town."

Debbie

Cincinnati, OH

Tour: 04/27/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I really enjoyed the small Italian villages. Each city had its own beautiful cathedrals and Basilicas. I also found interesting the Florence American Cemetery and Memorial. So glad Trina made this a stop.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My" wow" moment was when Rick Steves walked into the Osteria Via San Giorgio restaurant in Lucca. My other "wow" moment was Orvieto. Chinque Terre we had a misty rain off and on all day. Wish the sun would have been out."

Fonnie

Alameda, CA

Tour: 04/27/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I learned so much about Italy in this tour.Its less crowded and people are friendly. Good food and good wine. I think everyone should go to Rome , Venice and Florence frist, then they would appreciate the villages.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hiking up to CIvita di Bagnoregio. hi"

Charles

Tracy, CA

Tour: 04/27/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

One can not explain the wonderful experience, one must find & feel it for themselves. The services you provide make the experience very easy to organize ones' plans & to have few, if any worries while traveling is great.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I didn't have any one particular "wow" moment during the trip, but experienced several. Each village has its' own personality & discoveries that makes getting lost fun. The small towns I found more impressive because it allows you to met & get to know the people."

Mark

Albuquerque, NM

Tour: 04/22/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

First of all, I would like to thank Rick Steves for his ongoing research and generosity to share countless hours and decades of fact finding to inspire, inform and educate all of his participants before ever leaving home! As a first time Rick Steves traveler, or "Ricknick" as I was told, I was thoroughly impressed with the organization and execution of this tour. I'm hoping that this questionnaire will not be restricted by a numerical limit of "10 being best" to describe the experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Too many to choose only one, but certainly the little known museum dedicated to the ancient Etruscian civilization."

Clarice

Los Osos, CA

Tour: 04/22/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our first Rick Steves tour and it did not disappoint! From the helpful packing list, detailed travel book, and efficient call center to the first welcome in Padova, we knew we were in for a treat. Not only did we learn history about each town, we got to experience the local character and charm of each as well by spending two nights in each hotel.. And, oh my....the food and drink! There was so much packed into each day, while still leaving time for us to explore on our own.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It's so hard to pick just one, but I would say the moment we walked into the Basilica of San Vitale to see the amazing, vibrant, intricate, and awe inspiring mosaics took my breath away."

Julie

Albuquerque, NM

Tour: 04/22/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Since I am not one to recall facts or specific names of places but rather rely on my feelings - I can only say that my feelings were well fed by excitement, comfort, enthusiasm and an adventurous spirit thanks to the well planned and executed attention to details by all those that were a part of making this special trip a reality for me.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I loved the truffle hunting - and pretty wowed by the dogs finding what looked like a piece of poop yet turned into these delectable delights that followed in our truffle filled meal. I was also wowed by the spread of seafood and other amazing culinary gems at our hotel stay in the Mediterranean area where the owner was the chef. We had fun singing and dancing there as well."

Deborah

San Carlos, CA

Tour: 04/22/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

I rated the tour as "Very Good" and not "Outstanding" mainly because it would have been nice if we had been informed that a tour starting on Pasquetta would mean also being in Italy on Liberation Day and Labor Day. All of these holidays meant that a lot of Italians were off work and enjoying many of the wonderful sites that were part of our tour. Ironically, my husband and I felt more free of crowds during our two extra days in Milan than we did in many tour destinations.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I cannot come up with just one! I loved the mosaics in the church and tomb in Ravenna, the boat trip from Porto Venere to Monterosso and our stay in Levanto, including the bike ride to Bonassola, and everything about Orvieto, which is where I would live if I could move to Italy."

Mike

Los Osos, CA

Tour: 04/22/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I enjoyed the company of the other travelers, the knowledge of our guide, and the organization of the tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hard to pin point one "wow" moment. There were many and each village had its WOW."

Patricia

Maitland, FL

Tour: 04/22/19

Overall rating: rating 3 of 5

I was not as happy as I had been with both Ireland tours. I felt that the tour guide was not as engaging as the guides I have had in the past. Her presentation had a lot to be desired--and I feel like she did not go the extra mile to ensure our time. In the past the guides have always given an in dept history of the areas and history.

Carolyn

Manchester, CT

Tour: 04/22/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I truly enjoyed this tour. The pace was more relaxed than other Rick Steves tours we have taken, allowing us plenty of time to just take in the essence of Italy. I enjoyed the smaller towns on this tour and the wide variety of experiences, from truffle hunting with dogs to visiting the Carrara marble quarry, an olive oil mill, strolling along the Renaissance walls of Lucca, the Etruscan museum, and taking a boat ride along the coast of Cinque Terre. We made wonderful new friends on this tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My "wow"moment had to be Signorelli's amazing frescoes in the San Brizio Chapel. In fact, the moment I saw them I said, "WOW!" and our wonderful tour guide said, "I guess this is your "wow" moment. There were so many amazing things we saw on this tour and the experiences we had that it is really hard to not include many more wow moments."

Patricia

Longwood, FL

Tour: 04/22/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was a good blend of the vibrancy of Italy's smaller cities with the peacefulness of the Umbrian and Tuscan countryside and the beauty of the sea coast along the Cinque Terre. Along the way we were enriched with true Italian experiences of art, history, and culture. The food served to us was wonderful. The tour was active but well paced and allowed us ample time on our own. As was my experience on my previous Rick Steves tour, we traveled with a great group of people. Fun!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were so many! The Giotto frescoes in Padova, the mosaics in Ravenna, the Puccini concert in Lucca, and walking through a soft rain in Tuscany and looking up to see a perfect rainbow over the vineyards. One thing that I particularly enjoyed was the uniqueness of each hotel where we stayed. Each had its own memorable quality from the fun art at the Hotel al Fagiano to the quiet peacefulness of the Hotel Belvedere in Tuscany, and a short walk to the sea in Levanto."

Sharon

Sonoma, CA

Tour: 04/22/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

It was an excellent group of people, and I enjoyed being in smaller cities and villages. I loved going back to Siena again.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Ambience of Siena."

Robert

Manchester, CT

Tour: 04/22/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I had high expectations for this tour, based on the excellent reviews and the fact that the tour sells out quickly. As usual, I was not disappointed. There was a nice balance of small towns, large towns and country locations. The tour leader was great, and my fellow tour members were fun to be with. The amount of bus time was not excessive, and our tour leader judiciously filled some of the hours with interesting commentary.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I was very impressed by the view from the boat from Porto Venere to Monterosso. To able to see the Cinque Terre villages clinging to the hillsides was awe inspiring. It was fortunate that the weather was good on the day of this trip, and that the sea was not too rough."

Francis

Marietta, GA

Tour: 04/22/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

On previously trips to Italy & using Rick Steves Guide Books, we had been to many of the places on the the Village Italy Tour. However, the trip was entirely different and enhanced, with our tour guide and local guides supplying information; the additional things we could not have done on our own wine & olive oil tasting, truffle hunting; itinerary, bus transportation & hotels all worked out for us; a really good group of people; the group meals; and surprises along the way all positive & fun.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Fabulous seafood buffet, singing & dancing at hotel in Levanto---with the leadership of Ann, Mario our singing bus driver and the hotel staff person---what a fun evening & a total surprise! Also Ann's description of the chapel frescoes in Orvieto cathedral a wow!"

Virginia

Marietta, GA

Tour: 04/22/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was a wonderful experience. It was my second tour having done the Ireland tour last summer. We have traveled with Rick's books for 18 years, I realize with the tour we were offered many experiences that we would not have had if we were traveling on our own., such as the truffle farm and dinner, the seafood buffet, olive oil talk and meal, wine talk and meal. Ann, our guide, and our fellow travelers made a great group. The food was great, representative of the area.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My Wow moment was the abundance of the seafood buffet in Levanto and seeing the pride the chef took in his work. It was such a fun night that included opera singing by our bus driver, Mario, a group sing of old time favorites and dancing. A really special time and really bonded our group together."

Donald

Pacific Grove, CA

Tour: 04/22/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was wonderful. We had the right mix of an excellent guide, congenial people and a well thought out itinerary. The balance of free time and organized activities was perfect. And, the blend of art, culture, wine, food and good conversation made every day special.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My "wow" moment was the visit to the Etruscan museum in Chianciano. The museum collection was breathtaking and the narration by Roberto, our local guide, was sophisticated. His talk was like taking a graduate-level course in cultural anthropology."

Marie

Pacific Grove, CA

Tour: 04/22/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The lovely Italian countryside was fun to experience in springtime and "village Italy" did not disappoint. From medieval towns, to mosaic-filled churches, to modern accommodations, to wineries, agrotourismo businesses and artisan workshops, I feel that I had a great all-encompassing two week experience. The two-prong structure of group activities and free time was perfect.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Although it isn"t a "moment, I loved the wonderful art we saw. Seeing Giotto's frescos in the Scrovegne Chappel was truly memorable. Stumbling across a Donatello here or there was thrilling, as was the early Rennaissance art in the Pinocotecca in Volterra."

Linda

Santa Rosa, CA

Tour: 04/20/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

A wonderful experience. Nice pace, plenty of interesting and useful information provided all along the way. Our guide Sarah was lovely and caring. Her experience as a teacher shone through immediately. I appreciated her polished approach. We enjoyed the itinerary with all the stops at places that are hard to reach by train (the main reason I took this tour). The other participants in our group were all enjoyable to be around.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My "Wow! moment was the bonus tour in Siena where Anna took us to her Contrada for a tour of their museum and chapel, and told us all about what it's like to belong to a Contrada. She was so enthusiastic and explained things in a way that an American could understand culturally. She knows the details that would be intriguing to an American. I knew about the contradas but only in relation to the Palio, which is such a tiny aspect, just the most obvious one to the outsider."

Anthony

Honolulu, HI

Tour: 04/20/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Overall, our Village Italy tour was outstanding. We enjoyed the entire trip including the friendships developed with all of our tour members, tour guide, tour assistants, and even the bus driver. We were a family on a road trip for two weeks. We talked and laughed with each other. It was a good fun trip. We would love to do it again.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were so many "wow" moments that it is hard to choose just one. Some of them included truffle hunting, wine tasting and food pairing, agriturismo cooking classes, visiting the local constrada in Siena, walking up to the hilltown of Civita, visiting the leaning tower of Pisa, and boat ride along the Cinque Terre coastline."

Elena

Atlantic Beach, FL

Tour: 04/20/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

One of my most enjoyable RS trips. Felt we were among local Italians (several holidays during our stay)- especially at Levanto (so glad you had tour stay here). Enjoyed visits/sampling at olive oil coop; family-run winery and tasting; pottery making; Carrara Marble. Great guide! Great group of people on our tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Quiet wows, but wows, nonetheless: St. Francis's simple place of prayer wrapped in a huge basilica; Galla Placidia; the Scrovegni Chapel; Signorelli's frescoes; our Civita hike; the beautiful countryside of Tuscany and Umbria"

Kenneth

Pacific Grove, CA

Tour: 04/20/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Exceptional tour guide Sarah and Anna and Heather Educational, cultural experience and fun. Great accommodations at the afarmhouse and the Villa

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Private concert with Bartender in Orvieto"

David

Atlantic Beach, FL

Tour: 04/20/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was better than advertised. The examination of current Italian life + culture was a plus. Examples include: economic [winery, olive oil coop, slow food], approaches to climate change [High speed rail]. Smaller towns/cities as well as the 4 holidays included during our tour allowed closer contact to the people without the usual bustle of everyday life.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"WOW Moments: Tour: Scrovengi Chapel - Giotto's frescoes. Tour related: Visiting Mutigliano, 7KM north of Lucca where my grandmother was born in 1889. Visiting The Church of San Frediano in Lucca where she was Baptized. Food: The pasta dish with the sauce that included zucchini flowers and saffron. The tour group: My 23 fellow travelers, our wonderful guide Sarah, ass't guide Anna, and Heather from RS/US. The group seemed to be bonded by the close of the Opening meeting."

Dorothy

Middle Village, NY

Tour: 04/20/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Such an incredible time from the very start.

Elisabeth

Gainesville, FL

Tour: 10/15/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our 2nd Rick Steve's Tour and I would highly recommend them to anyone. The size of the group is great. The guides are knowledgable, interesting, and friendly. The driver is extremely skilled. No complaints at all.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The water taxi ride from south of Cinque Terre along the coast. SO beautiful!!!"

Robert

Bothell, WA

Tour: 10/15/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We LOVED this tour, our guide, our driver, our local guides, our hotels, our meals and wine, everything about it. It was just great, and we think our entire tour group thinks so as well. We had a terrific group of friendly, very nice people, and enjoyed sharing tour events, meals, and conversations with all of them. We were very fortunate to have perfect weather every day except the last day. We certainly packed too much -- we need to take a remedial "packing light" class!!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Can't pick just one -- too many!!"

Susan

Concord, CA

Tour: 10/15/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Beautiful tour route. Lovely villas to stay at.. Sarah was a wonderful guide. Fun tours and learned a lot about the country.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Probably the lunch we prepared and the olive oil factory."

Ann

Victoria, BC

Tour: 10/15/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was well paced, full of interesting and unexpected sites, and not only was our guide brilliant the group was the friendliest most inclusive bunch I have ever travelled with.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I really enjoyed the truffle hunt, (the truffles not so much!), and the cooking class, but oh, Giotto!"

Teresa

Bothell, WA

Tour: 10/15/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We loved it! Everything was wonderful. We enjoyed all of the planned events, all of the people in our group, Sarah, Ezio(our bus driver), the meals, our local guides, our hotels, the things we did on our own (with great suggestions by Sarah),just everything!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I would say that every day of the tour was a wow for me!"

Jo

Longview, TX

Tour: 10/15/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Wonderful to have details (hotels, transportation, tickets) taken care of and have access to things we would not have discovered on our own (truffle hunting, olive oil press). Yet we did not feel "herded"...my concern about participating with a tour. We had enough time on our own to experience things of our own choosing. Everyone on the tour became like family...I miss them already. The tour was very informative, without being stuffy. It was both fun and educational.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Tasting "new harvest" olive oil...pressed within the week, which we got to do several times! My only regret is that without checked baggage we couldn't bring any home with us. Finding a way to order new harvest oil on line has not been successful."

Billie

Richardson, TX

Tour: 10/15/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour included quality experiences that I value. Especially the olive harvesting, truffle hunt and dinner, and chef directed cooking school-dinner. All the tour lodging choices were good and some were breathtaking. I especially appreciated the bus not being crammed full of people. We have always avoided tour groups because of this. Our tour allowed us to decompress on the bus, spread out and relax. I felt safe and non rushed.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My wow moment was at the first Villa stay that was on the hill overlooking the vineyard. That took my breath away. We walked up to a wine reception and beautiful estate house. We could hardly stop for taking pictures."

Cathryn

Mukilteo, WA

Tour: 10/15/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Loved the itinerary - amazing views as we drive through Tuscany And Umbria.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Wine tasting at Le Vellette winery near Orvieto. Also - the boat ride up the coast to the Cinque Terra. And financing s small Agriturismo on our own in Monterosso."

Cheryl

Encinitas, CA

Tour: 10/15/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was well organized and the villages visited offered a comprehensive look at the culture of the various regions we visited. I especially enjoyed rhe local guides. Roberto our guide at the Etruscan muesem was very informative as well as entertaining. Our guide Gabriele. In Lucca was also outstanding. There were really no poor guides.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The visit to the Carrara mines was truly one of the highlights of our tour. I had seen these mountains from a distance but to be almost in the midst of the extraction and see and hear of the history was very moving. For me it the descriptions of the slaves maneuvering these large slabs down the mountain and then the distances they were carried are amazing. Ancient history always gives me a sobering perspective on how fleeting our time is and how we focus on things of little importance."

Yen

Forest Grove, OR

Tour: 10/15/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was my first trip to mainland Europe. The trip was incredible and was the best vacation I have ever taken. Sarah, our tour guide, was thoughtful, knowledgeable and organized. She went beyond her duties to make sure each of us had the best experience. I really enjoyed the history lessons from the local tour guides. The other tour members also contributed to the overall positive experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I have so many unforgettable moments on this trip. However, my favorite "wow" moment was looking out over the olive groves and grape vines, listening to Andrea Bocelli as our bus winding its way up the hills toward our villa in Montefalco."

Jeanne

Edmonds, WA

Tour: 10/13/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We were returning to Italy after my husband had a heart attack on our 1st RS tour. It was our make up try. We chose the Village tour because our experience when John was in the hospital was with the Italian people. And we fell in love. We thought smaller towns would give us more contact with the people. We were correct. The tour was everything we thought it would be. We will have the memories forever.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"This is a very difficult question.....The older lady tending her perfect, beautiful garden that sits on a sheer cliff in Civita would come close. Watching sun setting over the hills from the beautiful veranda of the Hotel Belvedere in San Leonino was amazing. Our very lucky day in Sienna watching all the Palio celebrations. I could go on but I cannot pick a favorite "wow" moment because there were too many."

Janet

Washington, DC

Tour: 10/13/18

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Cappella degli Scrovegni was magnificent, on a par with the Sistine Chapel."

Catherine

Excelsior, MN

Tour: 10/13/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was wonderful tour. Ann was on point and absolutely charming and so open and well spoken. Our driver, Stefano was also a delight and an expert on the road. The city guides were so passionate and educated. The side trips (olive oil press, vineyard, truffle hunting, cooking class, ceramincs and etc) gave us great insight to life in Italy. I had hoped to understand Italian culture better and this trip filled me with great insights. I greatly appreciate Ann sharing her life in Italy with us.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Civita di Bagnoregio, First setting eyes on the Duomo in Orvieto - gorgeous, Assisi, St. Francis and St. Clara, Tuscany, Classico Chianti, Volterra, Siena, Cinque Terre, the trails and the train. The tour group was incredible, lovely people!"

John

Excelsior, MN

Tour: 10/13/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

From meeting our tour group in Padua, to our farewell dinner in Lago d'Orta I had an excellent trip. Our tour guide, Ann is very knowledgeable and entertained us with her wonderful stories while we rode the bus to our next destination. All of the local guides were equally excellent. They shared their knowledge and passion, while each guide made their talks interesting.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"After airline food, our first meal in Italy, dinner at Antica Trattoria dei Paccagenella in Padua, was magical. The Basilica in Assisi, Civita, frescoes, mosaics, descending St. Patrick's well in Oriveto, climbing Guinigi Tower, walking all the way around Lucca's wall, hiking Corniglia to Vernazza in Cinque Terre were all wow moments. Even just walking in the Tucsany countryside, wandering through towns, alleyways, streets, cloisters, buildings were all magical moments to experience."

Tim

Bellevue, WA

Tour: 10/13/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Loved the tour - it was the perfect way to get acquainted with small town Italy.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Both the Villa Pambufetti and the Hotel Belvedere di San Leonino were amazing places to spend the night. Seeing the Cinque Terre was also quite unique and special."

Vicki

Bellingham, WA

Tour: 10/13/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

As a first-timer I was quite nervous about the tour - unsure of the group dynamic and intimidated by the packing restrictions. The tour was packed with amazing experiences, knowledgeable local guides, a fabulous tour leader, and a wonderful group of fellow travelers. I feel that we got a taste of the true Italy.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It is difficult to choose one out of so many but Siena on the day of the Extraordinary Il Palio was a truly unique experience."

Roberta

Damariscotta, ME

Tour: 10/13/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was a wonderful tour along with a fantastic tour group and tour leader. This was the best time ever. Everyone was very friendly and enjoyed spending time together.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"What isn't a "Wow" moment in Italy? It was all Wow, from the small little towns to the larger cities; the cathedrals, the people, the food, etc."

Edward

Encinitas, CA

Tour: 10/13/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

A great trip overall. I loved visiting the small towns and able to have some interaction with tha local people. I enjoyed all of the side trip like the wine experience, the truffle searching and a great meal, the cooking demonstration, the olive press operation and meal. I would have eliminated the marble tour in order to have allowed more time at Cince Terra. Our guide Ann was a riot and very informative always willing to go the extra mile for you. I will highly recommend your trips.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I loved our hotel in Tuscany near Sienna surrounded by vineyards. We had a good team mix we all jelled well. The photo sheet that Ann put together helped with remembering all the names."

Joan

Park Ridge, IL

Tour: 10/13/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Tour was very well run. Loved the opportunity to be a part of Italian life. Particularly enjoyed the experiences: truffle-hunting, wine experience, olive-oil pressing, alabaster sculpting, marble mine tour, cooking class; and local guides. Hiking and biking in Cinque terre area was amazing.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Assisi and Etruscan local guides were the best. Communicated the history/culture of Italy - and human race- in touching fascinating fashion."

Sarah

Sausalito, CA

Tour: 10/13/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

An unforgettable getaway filled with great food and wine, beauty at every turn, and charming new friends. I had visited Rome/Venice/Florence the year prior (which I absolutely loved), but Village Italy was a totally different experience, allowing exploration of lesser known spots that would be a bit more challenging to plan/see on one's own. It seemed the perfect mix of group activities/tours and free time to eat/explore according to individual preference. 20 out of 10 stars!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Getting purposely lost in Padova and stumbling onto unexpected treasures like Galileo's doorstep (Padova is a GEM, it felt like REAL/unspoiled Italy!), a Puccini concert in the composer's hometown of Lucca (sweet and surreal), and the time a fellow traveler drenched his salad in red wine instead of balsamic at the dreamy Hotel Belvedere (he called it an accident). Hey, no judgment here."

Nora

Encinitas, CA

Tour: 10/13/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Ed and I loved the trip! We were pleasantly surprised, we were keeping our expectations low. The group seemed to jell well and we loved our guide Ann. We thought the days were well thought out, a few things we would have changed, but not enough to alter the entire trip.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"A couple of things were the "truffle hunt" and dinner, the "wine experience" We LOVED the hotel Belvedere di San Leon"

Michael

Washington, DC

Tour: 10/13/18

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

This is a very nice tour and I enjoyed getting to some of the more out of the way places in central Italy. I also very much liked the additional experiences that the RS tours provide, like the Etruscan museum and the visit to the Carrara marble quarry.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Visiting the Cappella Degli Scrovegni in Padua. I was pleasantly surprised at how nice Padua was. Certainly a town I would like to visit again."

Maureen

Ridgefield, WA

Tour: 10/13/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our 17th Rick Steves tour and as usual a wonderful trip. The setting, food, wine and fellow travelers provided fabulous memories. Additionally, our luck with weather was exceptional: sun and warm temps for mid to late October!!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I had two: the Etruscan museum where guide Roberto provided history layered with info about the Etruscans' equal treatment of women and their limited emphasis on militarism. My second "wow" moment was the unexpected special Palio in Siena. Our day visit coincided with the race so we experienced the crowds and all the excitement of the build-up. We purchased scarves of the various contrata and upon return to the hotel watched the race on tv! It was a rare treat!!"

Andrew

Ridgefield, WA

Tour: 10/13/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The patron saints of travelers, Anthony of Padua and Rick of Edmonds, sent us perfect weather for our tour of northern Italian hill towns. Italy's fascination with food and wine provided us with excellent meals, nicely lubricated with ample amounts of wine and a touch of limoncello. The old towns provided an urban environment very different from ours. Tight spaces demonstrated the difficulty of expanding towns on hills. Our group was wonderful - everyone had a sense of humor.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Many will say the Palio in Siena, which was over the top "wow". But for me, the simple, quiet, Etruscan museum with commentary by the local guide made the biggest impression. Etruscan burial sites for men and women contained no weaponry, and suggest that men and women were equal. Human diversity ensures egalitarian societies will crop up periodically before being conquered by oligarchs or empires -- a comforting thought these days."

Ronald

Sacramento, CA

Tour: 10/08/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The Italia small village tour with supreme leader Trina and vessel commander Mario was the most amazing and rewarding experience in my life since the 2015 Sicily tour. All places visited and all events were absolutely wonderful. The entire tour group was interesting and very comfortable to be around. The places, the scenery, the food and everything else just made for a perfect experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The entire tour was WOW WOW WOW. Although I must admit that my 69th Birthday celebration was was special. Thanks to our host and the entire group for that very special moment."

Douglas

Holly Springs, NC

Tour: 10/08/18

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Very good tour and a great alternative to visiting the popular/high visibility sites like Rome, Florence, Venice, etc. If you already been to those places this is good to see another slower place side of Italy and put you more in touch with the locals.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Lake Orta. Very impressed and did not know anything about it. We hear about Lake Como or Maggiore all the time but this place was like a diamond in the rough. Wish we could have spent more time there."

Polly

Lewisburg, PA

Tour: 10/08/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our second RS tour and it exceeded all of my expectations. from the hotels to the transportation to the tour guide to the meals. I could not have asked for anything more from this experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Our guide surprised us with a stop at the Florence American cemetery. It was a beautiful tribute to our fallen troops and a wonderfully unexpected highlight of the trip."

Candice

Sacramento, CA

Tour: 10/08/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my 4th Rick Steves' tour and, like those previously taken, was excellent. I call myself a lazy tourist as I want to see and learn as much as I can without having to constantly open a tour guide and study. Trina was our guide and she did not disappoint. She is a very good teacher, full of historical knowledge and great tips to make the time on your own special.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Well, my WOW moment was a moment that was not even included in the tour itinerary. We visited an American World War cemetery and monument. Of course, we always here of the cemeteries in France but why do we not know of other American cemeteries in other foreign countries. The moment was so very touching. We had the privilege of being met by the administrator of the moment who provided so much insight and history."

Steve

Martinez, GA

Tour: 10/08/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was excellent and exceeded our expectations in nearly every way.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were so many amazing moments that it's difficult to [INVALID] just one. Strolling through the pedestrian areas in the small villages, sitting on the terrace at the countryside hotel outside of Siena enjoying the view and a glass of wine, and seeing the cliff-top village of Orvieto from a distance are among the top memorable moments."

Weather

Italy / Milan


Italy / Venice

Venice Weather


Italy / Florence

Florence Weather

Hotels & Flights

Tour Hotels

In case you wish to book pre- or post-tour hotel accommodations, the contact information for the tour's first and last hotels is included in your tour confirmation email as well as in  the Itinerary section of your online customer account. One month prior to the tour departure, you'll find the directions to your first tour hotel and a complete list of hotels where we'll be staying while on tour in the Documents section of your customer account.

Flights

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

Most tour members arrange to fly into Venice (VCE) and out of Milan's Malpensa airport (MXP) — choose "multicity" on flight-booking websites. Booking round-trip to one city will require a connecting flight, train trip, or additional overnight stay in Italy.

If you're leaving out of Malpensa airport on the last day of the tour, it's best to book your flight no earlier than 10 a.m. Taxis make the 45-minute trip from Orta to Malpensa for around €95 for up to four people. Bus or train options may be available, but there is no direct route from Orta to Malpensa. Please note: Orta is closer to Malpensa than Milan, so there is no need to go through Milan on your way to the airport.

Please note if you're considering using Milan's Linate airport, it will be closed from July 27 through October 27, 2019. 

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