• 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

2018

2019

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 22 group sightseeing events • Padua walking tour • Scrovegni Chapel • Padua's Anatomy Theater (when available) • Mosaics of Ravenna's San Vitale and Galla Placidia • Assisi walking tour • Basilica of St. Francis • Truffle hunt • Deruta pottery demonstration • Wine tasting • Orvieto walking tour • 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 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
  • Rick Steves Travel Store credit to use toward guidebooks for your trip
  • Guaranteed tour price, locked in the moment you make your deposit
  • Optional single supplements — this tour has a limited number of private rooms for solo travelers for an additional fee
  • Tour alum discount of $50 for each tour you've taken prior to 2018
  • 50% discount on a consulting appointment with our in-house experts to assist with your pre- or post-tour travel plans
  • Flexibility should you need to transfer, or cancel/interrupt your tour

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

Itinerary

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

Day 1: Welcome to Italy

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, as well as linger over lunch. We'll enjoy the afternoon back at our country hotel, where you can hike along the farm paths, take pictures, or simply relax by the pool before dinner together. Bus: 2 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

Mary Jane

Rushland, PA

Tour: 05/21/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our trip was simply fantastic! It exceeded our expectations on every level! We saw so many beautiful places, had delicious food, and learned a great deal. What made it truly special was our tour guide, Tricia, as well as all of the lovely people with whom we shared our experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"So very many memorable moments: Waking up in the beautiful Villa Pambuffetti and looking out over the vineyards The Awe Inspiring Cathedral in Orvieto as well as our picnic on the wall Beautiful Tuscany Walking the wall in Lucca Viewing the vista of the blue Mediterranean from the trail leading into Monterosso on Cinque Terre"

Scott

Vacaville, CA

Tour: 05/21/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our 7th RS tour and as good as any of the past tours. We really enjoyed the smaller towns of Italy. It is always fun to meet our group as we usually find they are just like us.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Can't have just one. The Giotto frescoes in Padua were breath taking. Seeing the gold faced cathedral in Orvieto with the sun hitting the front was incredible. I really like the Etruscan museum as well"

Sue

University Place, WA

Tour: 05/21/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my ninth Rick Steves tour, and I have to say that it was the best overall. We had the Dream Team of Patricia and Mario for our guide and driver, and all of the tour group members were extremely congenial as well. I especially loved the small hill towns, beachy experiences, and our last day at Lake Orta. My only regret is that my dad couldn't join us. He's the one who got me started on the Rick Steves tours, but he's 87 now and going through chemo. At least he'll enjoy the photos!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Too many to choose from. Coming upon the Duomo in Orvieto just as the sun was hitting the golden mosaics? The truffle hunt? Deciding to hike up Civita di Bagnoregio (even after swearing I wasn't going to, and even though it was almost 90° that day)?"

Christopher

Rushland, PA

Tour: 05/21/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My wife and I thoroughly enjoyed our tour! The hotels were very good, the food was excellent and our tour guide, Patricia Brady was phenomenal! The scenery on the tour was unbelievable, and this was our first time in Italy and the trip exceeded our expectations.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I had two: The first tour of the church in Pedova (Giotto life of Christ), and the Cinque Terre trails."

Edwin

Perrysburg, OH

Tour: 05/21/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had a wonderful tour. Tricia was outstanding and we had a fantastic group of people on our tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The day we walking the vineyards at Manarola followed by lunch at Corniglia. Then we hiked from Corniglia to Vernazza followed by swimming in the Med with a bottle of wine on the beach at Levanto."

Melanie

Doylestown, PA

Tour: 05/21/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We never would have scene all the areas on the tour if it wasn't for the expertise of Rick's experience. Everything was outstanding, Patricia was an unbelievable knowledgeable guide, better than any we've had. She was outstanding all through the 14 DAY TOUR, personable, fun, helpful, experiences and confident in everyday as we toured Italy.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"too many to tell, but taking the boat ride along the Cinque Terre was an amazing wow moment, the beauty was unbelievable, breathtaking and surreal. At that moment I felt overwhelmed with the beauty of the coast line, taken up with the beauty that surrounded me along the coast."

Kay

Perrysburg, OH

Tour: 05/21/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our 5th RS tour and we loved it. It wasn't the continual super wow moments like the 17 day Italy or Greece tours but the small villages are wonderful. We like small towns over big cities. Our tour companions and tour guide, Tricia, were the best ever!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Scrovegni Chapel in Padua, the pottery demonstration in Deruta, the Etruscan Museum in Chianciano, the boat ride to the Cinque Terre and hiking in the Cinque."

Linda

Chico, CA

Tour: 05/21/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Visiting smaller cities and their attractions was such a pleasure! Our guide, Trisha, was so full of information in particular details about the regions we visited. Amazing facts that she could share off the top of her head gave us all an in depth awareness of that part of Italy. Mario our driver was impressive navigating the many hairpin turns we encountered on the back roads between our destinations! The local guides we had were so passionate about their cities and histories.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Simply too many "wow" moments to choose just one!"

Jim

Kirkland, WA

Tour: 05/19/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Fabulous! Our guide Nina kept things rolling, has great attention to details and was very funny to boot. This was my 5th Rick Steve's tour as a party of one and I got to know everyone and enjoyed all of their company. Sometimes everything comes together to create a magical memory; this was one of those

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Our entire group singing off key to the tune of "Hotel California" while dancing around the dinner tables and clowning around in general, and since we were in the Italian riviera, substituting "Hotel Primavera" for Hotel California. Our guide was aided by our bus driver and also the hotel admin gal who should be in show business as well as the entire group It reminded me of being at a fraternity party in the 60's"

Peggy

El Campo, TX

Tour: 05/19/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Fantastic

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Our group dinners were always fun."

James

Sugar Land, TX

Tour: 05/19/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We thoroughly enjoyed our tour to the Villages of Italy. Nina was a great tour director and explained everything really well. We learned so much about the culture and the history of the people and the ares that we went to. The food and the accomidations were great. Most of all our group was great and we had great fun together.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Well, looking over the great landscape and mountains around Ovieto was excitable and beutiful. It's hard to say as we had so many "wow" moments."

Richard

Fort Collins, CO

Tour: 05/19/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was absolutely incredible. This was my second RS tour. Both tour guides were very different but their #1 concern was the trip and customers and our experiences. I was so surprised at all we did on the trip. Nina was the best, adding her knowledge of Italy to make us all smarter. The bus was brand new and our bus driver Sergio was the most friendly guy ever. We had Wifi and two seats per person, which is one reason I like the RS tour, plenty of room on the bus.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The small towns were just one wow after another. I'd already been to the big cities, so experiencing the small towns were a delight. Just getting up on the hill towns and looking at the countryside was one big WOW"

Terry

Sugar Land, TX

Tour: 05/19/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This trip met all my expectations and more. The activities were well planned and implemented. Very positive feeling for the entire trip.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Too many to list. Enjoyed the cooking lesson."

Debra

Blue Springs, MO

Tour: 05/19/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I loved this tour. The village/hilltop experience provided a chance to see Italian life at a slower pace and allowed for a more intimate look at its culture. I thought the excursions were so interesting and fun and I don't believe I would have experienced these without the tour. Overall my experience was lovely, fun, exciting and educational. Way to go!!!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I believe my wow moment was an experience rather than one particular site. My WOW experience was the hours we spent with Roberto at his agriturismo. The whole experience of taking part in making our lunch was so fun and educational. Wow. I loved every moment of it. He had such a wealth of experience and he was not shy about the benefits of making your own food. I loved it."

Deborah

Gilroy, CA

Tour: 05/14/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour included a wide variety of activities, cuisines, and POI's; made me want to return to Italy soon! A few of the highlights were: the cooking class by a real chef at a working farm, the walk along the ramparts of Lucca, the delicious food, the hike along the trail connecting the Cinque Terre villages, the Etruscan Museum and ruins tours, vist to an olive cooperative, and the hike to Civita di Bagnoregio. The locals we met were very friendly and kind, and our group was congenial.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The serene country vistas in the Hill Country."

Keith

Mililani, HI

Tour: 05/14/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Great experience in seeing many places and sights! Fun group, terrific guide, and the FOOD!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Many, but the gaining of the historical and cultural insights of Italy was quite amazing."

Jeffrey

Vista, CA

Tour: 05/14/18

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Excellent trip. Loved going to smaller villages especially in Tuscany and Umbria. Would have liked to spend more time in Sienna but we stayed an hr and1/2 away and spent too much time going back and forth. Most of the Guides were very good. Robert0 and Guiseppe were great.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Orvieto and the surrounding areas were my favorites"

Arthur

Edmonds, WA

Tour: 05/14/18

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

I have never, in my entire life, thought that ANYTHING was "outstanding," so my rating of "very good" is excellent. "Village" Italy, is misleading; it's really a "small city" tour, and I think that many of us thought the sites would be smaller, quieter, and slower. Instead, there seemed a need to be a need to expose us to "interesting" stuff (like dirt levels under a church) when we'd rather have been sitting around having a glass of wine. I could say more, but there's this dumb limit of 500 ch

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Just strolling around, sitting at cafes with other tour members, going out to eat, chatting with our tour director. More of these unforced moments would have been great."

Caroline

Brooksville, FL

Tour: 05/14/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My 8th Rick Steves tour did not disappoint. An experienced guide, a group of fun loving, interesting, and friendly travelers, an efficient bus driver,Ezio, who could sing and dance all made for an unforgettable adventure.This tour had it all...art, wine, food, hill towns, beaches, an island in the middle of a lake...so many varied parts of the Italian culture. I love the small village tours.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were wow moments every day. The hike to Civita di Bagnorrgio was breathtaking and the views over the valley were something I will remember always"

Robert

Edmonds, WA

Tour: 05/12/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Impressed with depth and breadth of information provided by guides from 7000BC through WWII. Clear explanations of what we were seeing and it's relevance to history and art. Enough repetition to give the info presented permanence. Trina, our Steves Tour representative, clearly had passion, enthusiasm and deep knowledge for both the art and history. Her enthusiasm created the same in us and keep the tour relevant, held our interest.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Depth and breadth of knowledge displayed by guides."

Philippe

Pittsburgh, PA

Tour: 05/12/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I could easily run out of superlatives to characterize this tour. So i'll just use adjectives in their plain form with the understanding that superlatives apply:I informative, pleasant, exciting, beautiful, tasty, not relaxing (for an old guy like me pushing 80, but glad I could hack it), eye opening (the Etruscan museums and civilization).

Favorite "WOW" moment

"This is a hard question to answer in the singular. So, instead of trying to answer an impossible single question, I am listing a few Wow moments without trying to order the level of wowness: 1. The facade of the Orvieto duomo 2. The inside of the Assisi basilica 3. The San Vitale and Galla Placidia mosaics 4. Some of the frescoes in the crypt of the duomo in Siena (in particular, the deposition from the cross and Mary mourning her son) 5. tuscan countryside"

Marie

Pittsburgh, PA

Tour: 05/12/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was an intense but marvelous two weeks crowded with beauty, history, and italian food. Trina Kudiacek set the tone with intelligence, energy, warmth, and humor.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"On our last full day together, having witnessed so much splendor that I thought I could not be "wowed" ever again, i saw a 12th century carved pulpit in a little chapel on a little island in the middle of little Lake Orta. The artist carved stone to sculpt figures and plants which have an immediacy that eclipses time."

Sally

Richmond, VA

Tour: 05/12/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our 7th RS tour & are grateful for the tour co. We do not want to travel with any other tour operator. The philosophy of only carry-on luggage and "no grumps allowed" works! The nicest people go on RS tours! Village Italy is a terrific tour of Northern Italy minus the large metro areas. I lost count of the # of UNESCO World Heritage Sites we visited. One UNESCO Wotld Heritage Site was a drive. Almost better than gelato. I feel rich after a RS tour b/c of the experiences.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Giotto's Scrovegni Chapel in Padova has been restored & every detail of visit has been considered. It was very orderly. Our guide for this excursion, Christina, was a WOW experience. In Siena going to the Crypt of the duomo was another WOW. The Crypt was discovered in 1999 & opened to the public in 2004. I could not get over the fact that I was looking at a cycle of paintings from the second half of 13th century. Think of it...... It was a WOW to twice rent bikes & cycte W/ my husband."

Betsy

Bainbridge Island, WA

Tour: 05/12/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I liked Fonterutoli, Tuscany, Civita di Bagnoregio"

Shauna

Reston, VA

Tour: 05/12/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Village Italy was a wonderful trip. I really enjoyed all of the cultural experiences, the food and wine, the truffle gathering, purchashing fresh snacks from the open air markets. Seeing the detailed mosaics and frescoes preserved in Ravenna especially, but really in all the churches was fantastic. Our guide,Trina, was always informative, giving us wonderful historical background and perspective on each day's adventure. Her upbeat attitude and ready smile made for a very positive group experiece

Favorite "WOW" moment

"We appreciated Trina's flexibility with the schedule which allowed us to see the Mille Miglia cars pass through Orvieto. That was an unplanned bonus surprise. And, I really loved being on the water in peaceful Lake Orta. Very beautiful. I will also take away a new found interest in the Etruscans and plan to do some reading to learn more."

Jane

Nipomo, CA

Tour: 05/12/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Every day was so special. We saw so much, and learned so much. The pace was brisk, and we got tired at times, but I do not know what I would have wanted to leave out.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Every time we entered a little stone village, which was almost daily, I said "Wow". That is what I went on the trip to experience, and I was not disappointed. And our last stop, in Lake Orta, was just stunning. It was uncrowded, beautiful, and peaceful. We stayed an extra night there, and wished we had stayed two! The perfect end to a wonderful trip."

Robert

Grand Rapids, MI

Tour: 05/12/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our 4th Rick Steves tour. We visited Italy 10 years ago on our own and used the Rick Steves guidebook to plan our activities. At that time we visited the major cities plus stops on the Amalfi coast, Tuscany, and Cinque Terre. Since we greatly enjoyed the small villages of the Amalfi coast (Ravello), Tuscany (Cortona), and Cinque Terre we found this tour itinerary to be just what we were looking for. We were NOT disappointed!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It's hard to pick one experience as a "wow" moment because the tour was all "wowwie." However, our favorite moments came in Manarola in Cinque Terre as we walked Rick Steves' recommended vineyard walk. Cinque Terre has become very crowded since we were last there 10 years ago but we found that in each village if we walked out of the congested area and were able to look down on the village and coastline the experience was very magical."

Howard

Bozeman, MT

Tour: 05/07/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It had been eleven years since our last visit to Italy and it was as beautiful and rich with art and history as I remembered. The people are friendly and warm. I enjoyed the food and wine, especially when eating at one of the local places recommended by Sarah, or the guide book.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Orvieto is one of my favorite hill towns. On our walking tour the evening we arrived, we ended at the Duomo di Orvieto. Sarah told us the story of the Signorelli Chapel and it's frescoes by Luca Signorelli. She made them come to life, explaining each panel in this intricate story. I listened and looked in wonder at the beauty and story of the frescoes. It is so hard for me to imagine the mind of the artist as he laid the panels out and their deep religious meaning. His talent awes me."

Jane

Durant, OK

Tour: 05/07/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Well planned, great bus and driver, lovely countryside, interesting stops (except the marble factory, which was too dusty and screechy to even hear the guide), well timed, consistently good hotels, wonderful food, only two grumps - and they were only mean to their husbands, and the most excellent guide Sarah who really went out of her way to make the trip memorable and who has the most mellifluous voice (I could listen to her all day).

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The first night of opera performances in Puccini's home town of Lucca. An intimate venue with singers so good they gave me goosebumps."

Jan

Vancouver, WA

Tour: 05/07/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Amazing tour. The villages more than lived up to my expectations. Each was unique with its own specialties in food, wine, art, and all had spectacular views. At times I felt like I was in a dream. The hotels ,too, were individually unique and very comfortable. Staying in so many family run hotels made the experience feel as if one is visiting friends. I thoroughly enjoyed, truffle hunting, the pottery workshop, olive pressing, making lunch together, etc. I loved staying in Levanto.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I think I said "wow" several times a day! The Cathedrals and Bascillacas each had their own beauty and history and All of the art work in the Cathedrals provided many of the wow moments.The first view of Siena, Lake Orta, and the bus ride through the mountains was spectacular. A wonderful trip in every way."

Tim

Vancouver, WA

Tour: 05/07/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I enjoyed being exposed to the places we would never have know how to access. Im not a wine drinker, but love to see how everything is made or processed, the olives, the marble and especially the truffle hunting. Thanks to our guide Sarah I was able to complete our tour after experiencing a herniated disc on about day five. Sarah was so wonderful in getting me to a hospital and making it possible for me to get treatment. Our fellow travelers were so helpful, offering to help in any way. Thanks

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Late one night, a commanding presents wearing a black cape with a large double headed gold eagle on the back passed by. I came to find out that she and other university students would meet once or twice a week at a pup as a social outing. They made there own out fits in a style that identified the discipline that they were studying, law, science, etc. It was great to share what they did to enjoy life. The tuscan museum was another high light and and a great commentary on political life today."

Thad

Portland, OR

Tour: 05/07/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Remarkable, especially in the way Sarah always found days without the rain that was predicted! Seriously, it was the nicest blend of planned and free time, meals together and on our own, educational and entertaining time on the bu, all choreographed by a very competent and personable tour guide.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Etruscan museum in Chianciano, for its intellectual content. The most emotional event, however, was at the American Cemetery on the Greve River, taking down the flag at 5pm and the ceremony of folding it for day's end. What an honor and an unexpected treat to be there just at that time of day."

Maggie

Morrisburg, ON

Tour: 05/07/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

First time on a tour of any kind & I could not have chosen a more perfect experience. Far exceeded my expectations.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The main "WOW" for me was how consistently engaging, passionate & interesting our local guides were about each of their respective local subjects. History came to life as we listened to each of these local 'gurus'!"

Jon

Vancouver, WA

Tour: 05/07/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was fantastic! There was a lot of variety and a good balance between independent exploration and group activities.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My first Wow moment was waking into St Anthony's in Padua. There were so many WOW moments that it would be hard to choose. Duomo in Orvieto, Leaning Tower of Pisa (arranged by Sarah), etc."

Susan

Bozeman, MT

Tour: 05/07/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our tour could not have been better. Both our guide and bus driver were excellent, Sarah's additions to our planned schedule went above and beyond any expectations for the tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My "wow" moment was the trip to Civita. Sarah was enthusiastic and encouraging in spite of less than perfect weather, and I am so glad I made the trip. The walk was breathtaking and our wine and cheese with Sarah's friend Rachel was truly special."

Robert

Washington Crossing, PA

Tour: 05/05/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour checked all the boxes for me. Great food, wine, gelato, traveling companions and an exceptional RS guide. I admit to not being a student of history but I am a strong consumer of culture when immersed in it and Lisa our guide is very skilled at weaving the history and culture together into a very consumable form for me. I very simply enjoyed myself at every stop on this trip.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"This tour was so strong overall it is difficult to pick a single "wow" moment. However the day in Assisi was quite dramatic from start to finish in terms of history, religion and culture. Our local guide was expert at relating the important content and artwork representing the profound historical impact of St. Francis."

Ronald

Surrey, BC

Tour: 05/05/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Amazing variety of beautiful sites. A full set of experiences. A very capable guide who looked after not just the group, but each of us individually. I was surprised to look back and realize just how comfortable I had become with Italy and Italians - I know that's not an accident.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I liked the car rally in Volarra and getting lost hiking the Cinque Terra."

Katherine

Florissant, MO

Tour: 05/05/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour was everything and more. I'm a frequent visitor to the message boards so Village Italy was very highly anticipated. It most definitely lived up to the hype. I cannot imagine a more suited guide than our beloved Lisa. After what has now been 4 RS tours I can honestly say she's been one of the top (at the risk of offending any other guides, maybe THE BEST)! We loved her demeanor and poise and affection for us. I love the idea of the "wine kitty"....

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Everyday was a WOW moment. The beauty of the vistas, the color of the wine, the food, the history......these memories will last a lifetime."

Kathryn

Surrey, BC

Tour: 05/05/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Overall I thoroughly enjoyed the tour. It provided a good balance between organized touring and free time. Our tour group was small (about 19 people) and everyone seemed to get along well. The bus transportation was roomy and comfortable and our driver was excellent.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I think my favourite 'wow' moment was getting lost hiking the Cinque Terra. We started off on the main trail but took a wrong turn and ended up far above our destination. From our vantage point, every view of the Cinque Terra and it's coastline was spectacular. When we finally stopped for an espresso at a tiny hillside village, a kind lady in a big van offered us a lift. We ended our adventure with a wild ride on a narrow winding road down to Vernazza."

Pat

Washington Crossing, PA

Tour: 05/05/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Everything worked on this tour. Lisa, our guide was always on top of things, the weather was mostly sunny and the group was small (only 19). Visiting the villages of Italy gives you a real taste (pardon the pun)of the culture.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It is difficult to pick one "wow" moment. I felt like every day there was a spectacular view or beautiful church or delicious meal. Civita di Bagnoregio was one of my favorite places. A view at the end of every street!"

Dorothy

Scituate, MA

Tour: 04/30/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I enjoyed the variety and the thought that went into the itinerary. I have been on Viking River Cruise this was my first Rick Steves. I loved the visits and local guides that gave a deeper connection to the areas we visited. The pace for me could be a little slower. I enjoyed the day off in Levanto

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It is difficult to choose out of the many memorable moments. I did enjoy walking at night in Lucca and we stumbled into the amphitheater which was gently lit and had a small band playing. Completely unexpected."

Kirk

Santa Paula, CA

Tour: 04/30/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

For me, the overall experience was learning from the Guides. Might I say, they were all very knowledgeable and fun to be with. Our Guide "Trish" was just the very best. She made the trip just over the top. I specifically loved the food, wine and having meals with everyone in the group. In short, a wonderful experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Being a construction nerd, the buildings, arches flying buttresses. I have to imagine how they cut, and moved the stones and assembled them without any machinery. What engineering methods were used beyond trial and error."

Valerie

East Sandwich, MA

Tour: 04/30/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my second Rick Steves' Tour and it was wonderful. Tricia is the consummate guide. She is very knowledgeable and patient. The description of the tour ahead of time was very accurate. I was part of a group of 10 people that planned to travel together so we were comfortable from the start.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I think my favorite was the boat ride along the Riviera. The views were fabulous. This ride would have been better if the boat was not so crowded and if there had been some safety considerations made. People were standing and there were no obvious life jackets. At each port along the way we had to wait for docking space. This meant that we were breathing all the engine fumes while we idled. People were queasy by the time we reached the final port of Monterosso."

Keli

Citrus Heights, CA

Tour: 04/30/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Thoroughly enjoyed all aspects of the trip from the fabulous food to the gorgeous sights. Our tour guide Tricia was an absolute delight! I could seriously follow her around and listen to her talk about Italy, art and food indefinitely!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"As an artist, I adored seeing the craftsmen carve the alabaster and the Carrara marble."

Barbara

Saint Paul, MN

Tour: 04/30/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour was filled with destinations I'd long wanted to see, and they were even better than I expected. Nice to see so much with minimal bus time. And the travel between destinations was just beautiful.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Many "wow" moments but particularly the mosaics of Ravenna and the boat ride along the Cinque Terra. I'd hoped those would be memorable moments, and they definitely were. Surprise "wow" moments included the wonderful tours in Assisi and the Etruscan museum."

Jon

Citrus Heights, CA

Tour: 04/30/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Wonderful as always! This was our fourth RS tour, and I think our favorite one (altho the last one is always our favorite). The pace of the tour was very chill, and we saw some wonderful sites simply not available on the big city tours as those villages were too far away from the big cities. See wow moments below. My only global complaint is something beyond all of our control: the weather. LOL!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Too many to count: the Duoma in Orvieta and the Etruscan Museum, the Scrovegni Chapel and the churches in Ravenna come to mind. Loved the truffle hunter/meal. The walk around Orvieto. Trattoria da Ubaldo in Lucca. Vineyard walk in Manorola; and the walk 'up and over' to Bonnasolia. The walk around the lake and then the churches walk in St. Orta we did after the tour when we stayed on."

Karen

Richardson, TX

Tour: 04/30/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my second RS tour and I can't wait to book a third! Everything is so organized and efficiently executed. My husband summed it up perfectly when he said that a RS trip is not a vacation, but, rather an adventure. It is a very busy 2 weeks but you get so much bang for your buck!!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The truffle hunt was so much fun to watch and the dinner afterwards was simply amazing. The time spent in Cinque Terre was stunning and the last days on Lake Orta were magical!"

Karen

Elkhorn, WI

Tour: 04/30/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Excellent - it met or exceeded our expectations as repeat RS travelers:)

Favorite "WOW" moment

"oh, SO many!! but picking 1 of the many, I'm going with Orvieto, & the glorious view of the town from the terrace of the family-owned winery. (plus it was a funny to realize at the start of the visit that I had been there before, in March 2015, when I did the RS Venice-Florence-Rome tour with my girlfriend!)"

Susan

Durango, CO

Tour: 04/30/18

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

A good overview of northern Italy. LOVED the art work. Enjoyed the ambiance of Lucca, Levanto, Volterra. I was overwhelmed by the number of people traveling especially around the Cinque Terre. Rethinking time of year for our travels. The guides were outstanding. Very informative and engaging. Top notch. Food at wine sampling, olive tasting, Tuscan country hotel, Levanto, and Lake Orta was so Italian! Dee-licious! Fun to meet new RS travelers.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"ALL of the art work but especially the mosaics in Ravenna, Scrovegni Chapel in Padua, Duomo in Sienna, Basillica of Assisi."

Jackie

Chattanooga, TN

Tour: 10/09/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Having been to Italy many times, I wanted to see some more out of the way places. This tour delivered on that! I know that I am an Italy nerd, but Padova, Lucca, Carrarra, Cinque Terre, and Assissi were on my short list of must see places in Italy. None of these disappointed. However, I must admit that the experiences on the tour outshone the places on the tour. The truffle hunt, the marble quarry, the olive co-op, and many more were great.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There are many wows, Scrovegni Chapel, the truffle hunt and dinner following, thw marble quarry at Carrara, the olive co-op and seeing olive oil being made and a great lunch there, and the boat ride in the Cinque Terre. It is hard to pick a favorite, all those were truly wows, in a trip filled with wows."

Mary

Wooster, OH

Tour: 10/09/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my first Rick Steves' Tour and it exceeded my expectations! Nice hotel accommodations, delicious food and wonderful experiences at points of interest, i.e., truffle farm and dinner, winery, Carrera marble mine, pottery shop in Duretta.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My first sight of the Basilica in Orvieto in the late afternoon light; it is spectacular!!"

Samuel

Hood River, OR

Tour: 10/09/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The plan and arrangements of the tour were truly outstanding. Having 2 nights in every place was great and activities selected seemed carefully thought out and very informative and enjoyable.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"No single favorite. Loved experiencing and walking all the small cities and the beautiful countryside."

Jeri

San Marcos, CA

Tour: 10/09/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I had wonderful, exciting and fantastic time. The member's on our tour were all so fun to be with and easy to spend time with.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I loved Orvieto. We all went to the market and bought a little something that we could share with everyone and got together along the wall of the village with a beautiful view of the countryside. The olive oil factory in Tuscany was amazing. We were able to watch how olive oil was made. We had a wonderful lunch. There were many WOW moments on this trip."

Vicki

Portland, OR

Tour: 10/09/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Tricia, our adorable tour guide MADE this trip for me. She has the most incredible personality and knowledge of Italy which she shared with us in a way that was not only educational but fun, fun fun. I just love her and would love to take another tour if she was my tour guide.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favorite moment was when i fell head first on my back down a flight of marble stairs in our hotel in Padua. I'm just being funny; that wasn't my favorite "wow" but it sure made an impression on my body. Because of my fall I missed out on a lot of the special moments but I still enjoyed this trip immensely."

Patricia

Boise, ID

Tour: 10/09/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I had really no preconceived thoughts about the tour other than how would a couple dozen people get along for two weeks? Well, I will say that I was pleasantly surprised and pleased at the cohesiveness of all our divergent personalities and geographic distances. I'm not sure whether it is a usual occurance that the tour participants get along or that we were blessed to have a great group of "friends". Each and every person showed concern and caring for the other individuals and their experience

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were many wows... but hands down is the boat ride . The weather, cobalt blue water and clear skies contributed to a wonderful trip. A very close second is the truffle hunt. So fun."

Joseph

Boise, ID

Tour: 10/09/17

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

I had a very good time. I learned a great deal and returned with a head full of Art, Architecture and History. Our guides were great especially Tricia. While we had a good deal of free time, I was usually ready to relax and not go explore much. I would have liked scheduled time in a grocery store (Italian culture). I did that eventually and it was informative. I might also suggest that we stay in a hotel for 3 days, once to allow for laundry. I'd shorten the tour by one day.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The boat trip past cinque terra and the blue Mediterranean sea blew me away. Another "wow" was the truffle dinner as the flavors I experienced were so different than anything I have ever had. I was a truffle virgin!"

Lisa

Knoxville, TN

Tour: 10/09/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

For me, this tour overdelivered. This was my first trip to Europe and first major vacation solo. The entire group made me feel welcomed and never alone. The individualized experiences that we participated with certainly made the tour more of a true Italian experience. Without partnering with this tour, I'm not certain that I would EVER have had the opportunity to go on a truffle hunt or participate in a hands in cooking class, both on glorious farms that essentially took my breath away.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Porziuncola Chapel brought me to tears. This was truly an awe inspiring moment for me, to sit and marvel in this little chapel which spoke to St Francis centuries ago. Nothing compares to the beauty of Cinque Terre as seen from the Ferry or above on a trail. My heart was full at each stop along the way."

Judy

Akron, OH

Tour: 10/09/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Village Italy is the tour I've wanted to do for nine years and it was beyond my expectations. Patrica makes this tour memorable for so many reasons. The variety of towns/villages, hotels, guides and sights made every day interesting. The tour is packed daily with learning about and experiencing the Italian culture within each location. There were "wow" moments and time for quiet reflection. I treasure the memories of this tour more then any other RS tour I've been on.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favorite "wow" moment was looking up at the stunning frescoes in the Scrovegni Chapel in Padua. Second would be the amazing mosaics in the Basilica and Galla Placidia Mausoleum in Ravenna. To see the beauty created by ancient craftsmen and artisans is thrilling."

Marcella

Corvallis, OR

Tour: 10/07/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I really enjoyed this tour of village Italy. There was a great mix of history, culture, sites, downtime, food, and wine. Our tour guide David was outstanding and provided a local insight of the areas we visited. He also created a great atmosphere with his sense of humor and musical talents.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Its always hard to define a "wow" moment but I must say that the Duomo in Orvieto has a truly stunning mosaic-ed exterior that reflected the Umbrian light beautifully."

Cheryl

Everett, WA

Tour: 10/07/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

A fantastico blend of culture, history, food, and fun! Beautiful sights at every turn, interesting activities to learn from, an awesome group of tour buddies, and David, our personable guide, is a gem who incorporated many special moments for us all to enjoy and cherish. Village Italy in its entirety was an experience that far exceeded my dreams and expectations. Thank you so much for all the wonderful memories!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Multiple "wow" moments that included Ravenna's Galla Placidia Mausoleum's stunning mosaics; beautiful location and Hotel Belvedere in Chianti; San Brizio Chapel in Orvieto; witnessed the press of olive oil near Lucca; and of course the boat ride viewing the Cinque Terre villages. All spectacular in different ways."

Kathy

Lake Oswego, OR

Tour: 10/07/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My husband and I have been to Italy three times on our own, and we went as tourists, learning about Italian cities, towns, and villages superficially. This time was our first tour and we became travelers. This trip was outstanding and so rewarding! We learned tons that we would not have learned had we done it on our own. Our guide, David, was absolutely the best! And our local experts taught us about carrara marble, olive oil production, making ceramics, Etruscan culture, and more.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favorite "wow" moment was going down into Etruscan caves that were 3000 years old!"

Robert

Olympia, WA

Tour: 10/07/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Good food, good choices for tours and cities to visit and spend the night. The bus and the driver and tour guide were excellent. Bus was in excellent condition and the rest stops were well timed. I enjoyed the narrative that David told about the history, customs, food and differences of each city and region we visited. Of course the villages, churches, ruins antiquities, and architecture were the meat of the trip.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Watching the dogs hunt for truffles and the olive oil pressing were "wow" moments. The concert in Lucca (not a planned event) with piano, soprano and tenor singing in a church hall was outstanding. The Vespa parade (unplanned) in Padova was great. 100 Vespas racing down a narrow street was a sight!"

Marla

San Marcos, CA

Tour: 10/07/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my second Rick Steves Tour and the first for my husband. Even with ten years between tours, I found once again that the trip met or exceeded all of my expectations, once again. The guide, David Tordi, couldn't have been better. His knowledge and love for his home country was apparent throughout the trip. He consistently went out of his way to add fun, personal touches (e.g. private music concert with his talented band) during the entire tour. The itinerary was perfect!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"That is really hard to pick! However, I would say that visiting the little village of Montefalco was magical. We basically had the little village square all to ourselves one evening."

Martin

Yakima, WA

Tour: 10/07/17

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

A packed 14 days that rarely felt too rushed, and covered a wide variety of towns, countryside and seashore. Mixed in were all the "jewels"; the magnificent cathedrals, rolling hills of vineyards, and all the wonderful art and sculpture, not to mention the amazing food. A sterling first experience for us with your company and with Italy.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Too many to list, but if I had to it would be the awe-inspiring Basilica in Padua (St Anthony's), Orvieto Cathedral, Duomo di Siena, and the St Francis of Assisi Basilica."

Robert

Meadowbrook, PA

Tour: 10/07/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Cathedral in sienna"

Diane

Goodyear, AZ

Tour: 10/07/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our first Rick Steves tour and we found it to be as great as we had been told. I was looking after a tour where I could experience the normal life of the people of Italy and eat the foods they eat. I feel I got that every day and I loved every minute of it.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I loved the evening watching the dogs hunt truffles and then tasting them afterwards. It was an amazing evening."

Christine

Yakima, WA

Tour: 10/07/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

As a first timer with R Steves, I am impressed with the level of coordination, efficiency, and attention to detail. It was a very pleasurable experience and one I hope to repeat. Accommodations ranged from very acceptable to outstanding. I especially loved our stays at the beautiful lodgings in Montefalco and Chianti. The local guided tours were very interesting. I learned a lot about the history, culture, and local agriculture of Italy on this trip.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Very hard to choose just one. Our day on the Cinque Terre was outstanding, beautiful weather, so picturesque! The visit to the Olive Collective was fascinating, as we got to see an actual olive pressing in action. We had a wonderful dinner at Locanda del Teatro in Montefalco on a very quiet evening,the square almost empty, a moon out - definitely felt like we weren't in Kansas any more! :) A very entertaining after-dinner party with David at the Hotel Primavera in Levanto. Great fun!!"

Eunice

New York, NY

Tour: 10/07/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Great group Outstanding tour guide, can't ask for anyone better than David, knowledgeable, funny, great organiser. Super bus driver Loved the itinerary

Favorite "WOW" moment

"As the ferry turned the corner and Riomaggiore appeared Cinque Terre was my highlight,"

Angela

North Wales, PA

Tour: 10/07/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

An excellent tour that lived up to and exceeded expectations.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were so many; Civita di Bagnoregio, Duomo di Orvieto, scenic lookout of Orvieto in late afternoon, the mosaics in Ravenna's Byzantine San Vitale Basilica and Galla Placidia Mausoleum, the views from the bus of hill towns, olive groves, and vineyards, etc, etc..."

Magdalene

Meadowbrook, PA

Tour: 10/07/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

tour guide was fabulous. fellow travellers were great

Kathy

Steilacoom, WA

Tour: 10/02/17

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

At first, I was concerned about the locations as some didn't seem to mesh with the Village Italy theme. I looked forward to staying in quaint, family owned hotels and being able to wander through the towns. The cities seemed too modern, and not really a village atmosphere. However, many of the locations were absolutely on target; Villa Pambufetti in Montefalco and the Hotel Belvedere outside Sienna. Overall the places we visited were what was represented.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I had two; the Etruscan Museum visit and the archaeological tour through the 'foundation' of the church in Orvieto. Loved the local tour guides personalities and the information they shared. Very interesting to see each location."

Jim

East Lansing, MI

Tour: 10/02/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

What a wonderful tour. The villages are breathtaking in their simplicity. Yet there is astounding art (and gelato) in the smallest of places. I was so taken by the early Christian mosaics in Ravenna. The evening stays in Montefalco, Orvieto and the Castellina in Chianti were so enjoyable. The fun activities, such as truffle hunting followed by a dinner with a truffle theme, pottery making and a wine experience pairing wines with foods were all unforgettable.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I think the mosaics in Ravenna were a sight to behold. To experience the simplicity of the early Christian movement before the ornateness that followed in later centuries was a refreshing perspective and an incredible art experience. Just to relax in piazzas in the evenings and enjoy exquisite dinners in these gems of villages was so special."

Jim

Portland, OR

Tour: 10/02/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was a great tour in large part due to to Trina's leadership and enthusiasm. I enjoyed the smaller villages format as it was less crowded. I also enjoy the format of some structured time and some unstructured time(as typical on RS tours).

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My two favorite wow moments were the Mosaics in Ravenna and swimming in the Med in Levanto. The mosaics were awe inspiring and represented world class artistic expressions. Swimming in Levanto in the ocean was an afternoon, spur of the moment activity, and was one of those unanticipated surprises. It was so relaxing looking at the town from the water and just floating there."

Kathryn

Portland, OR

Tour: 10/02/17

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

This was our 1st trip to Italy and it was very enjoyable because of the knowledge of our guide, Trina. She taught us so much about life, history and art in Italy. Our bus driver, Guido, was very skilled, getting us easily into tight spaces and driving carefully. All the local guides were great, interesting and educational. We felt very comfortable traveling with our Rick Steve's group. Such a great country and I know we will be back.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were so many moments! Looking up at amazingly old and beautiful frescoes or mosaics in the many churches we visited...swimming in the Mediterranean while in Levanto...all the views from the hillside towns and the agri-tourismo...just sitting on the patio at the Belvedere Hotel having a glass of wine and some appetizers with our new friends."

Stephen

Eaton, OH

Tour: 10/02/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our guide, Trina, was outstanding. The tour itinerary was very good. The highlights were the opportunities to stay in the towns, small and large, and get a feel for life in Italy and I really enjoyed our time in Padua, Orvieto, and Lucca. I would have preferred to stay in Siena and in one of the Cinque Terre towns rather than out of town. Although our hotels were lovely and the food both places was excellent, our time in Siena and the Cinque Terre felt rushed.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My most memorable moments were seeing Civita, climbing to the balcony of St. Mark's Basilica in Venice and looking out over the piazza, a side trip to Pisa to see the Field of Miracles, visiting the Last Supper in Milan, and, above all, climbing above Vernazza and Manarola for spectacular views of the beautiful towns and the Mediterranean. Well, that and the fresh sardines in lemon sauce, the pesto on trofie pasta, the calamari, and the gelato."

Kenneth

Kalispell, MT

Tour: 09/30/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Many wow moments, all guides were great, especially Ann

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Byzantine Chapel and Churching Ravenna. The mosaics were just amazing"

John

Arvada, CO

Tour: 09/30/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Great weather, people, accommodations, and guide. Third trip including Italy for us. Always fun. Can't eat (or drink) like Italians, but tried! Guide Ann was very nice, well prepared, and happy to share her adopted country with us.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Lunch at the olive oil factory outside Lucca."

Rick

San Jose, CA

Tour: 09/30/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

our 7th Rick Steves tour - enjoyed all of them - this was among the very best of the 7.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"so many...but probably the truffle hunting with dogs."

Linda

Kalispell, MT

Tour: 09/30/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I thought our guide, Ann, was outstanding. It was nice to have hotels, travel, local guides and several meals provided. The folks we had in our group seemed to blend in with each other nicely.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"For me it was all the beautiful landscape. The pottery place was amazing, to see such beautiful artwork was quite entrancing. I did enjoy the frescoes and mosaics but it was overwhelming at times, hard to take it all in in such a short time-I'll enjoy looking at our pictures. Makes one inquisitive about Italy's history, a need to learn more!!! The people in Italy were very accepting!"

Kathy

Seattle, WA

Tour: 09/30/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our first RS tour, and it was amazing in every way. Traveling with people who started out as strangers and, by the end of the tour, were friends, added so much to the experience. Having all of the details so obviously given a great deal of thought allowed us to just enjoy the journey. Traveling on a beautiful big bus with room to spread out, and driven by a very competent and personable driver was a delight. Staying in very nice hotels was a treat. I loved the entire experience!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I can't choose just one "wow"! The walk of silence on the island in Lake Orta was such an unexpected experience. Beautiful Portovenere, where we were given time to have lunch, and then the boat trip from Portovenere to Monterosso was spectacular. Market day in Orvieto was so much fun. Getting to attend a Puccini concert in a beautiful church in Lucca was incredible. Watching the artists hand paint the pottery in Deruta and was truly special. One "wow" after another. . .!"

Anne

Seattle, WA

Tour: 09/30/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was a trip of a lifetime. From the first get-acquainted gathering to our good-byes the morning of our last day, this tour provided everything I wanted and hoped for. My traveling companions and I could never have planned the variety of experiences we enjoyed on this Italy tour. Every day was a new opportunity to hear, see and taste the best of Italy's hill towns.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I have two "wow" moments. First, I was enthralled with Lucca. This town wasn't even on my radar. Ann and our local guide introduced us to the beauty of this lovely town in such a way that several of us wanted to settle in right then and there. Secondly, my fellow group travelers were awesome. There was a comradery that I hadn't expected, and it is carrying over into our personal life with several group members."

Laurie

Cambria, CA

Tour: 09/30/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our first tour. It was beautiful, wonderful & we had such a fantastic time, thanks to our exceptional tour guide, Ann (she was absolutely perfect-so organized, knowledgeable, nice, fun-a joy to travel with); our amazing driver, Mario; the other great guides in various cities, who helped make it so informative & interesting; & the fun-loving group of people with whom we shared the adventure. I miss them all. We had such special, interesting & fun experiences. It exceeded all our expectations.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It's impossible for me to single out a moment, because the tour was filled with hundreds & nearly everything was so spectacular. Italy is such a beautiful, picturesque country, especially these villages & small towns. Warm, friendly people. The churches with amazing artwork; the foods & feasts; our cooking lesson; how easy Ann made it for us to enjoy so much & have confidence to venture on our own; how we transformed from strangers to a bonded, caring group that enjoyed being together."

James

Pittsburg, CA

Tour: 09/30/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

A wonderful experience, excellent accommodation, great food and wine, bus and driver, Marco, just can not say enough good things about him. Our guide Ann was the best and one of the most caring guides of all my Rick Steves tours (this was my 18). Ann really looked after us, even in off times you could find her in the lobby. Se was with us for every breakfast chatting up everybody. Her coordination of all the events was spot on city walks she pointed out Rick Steves recommended Restaurants.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were two, in Padua, the Giotto's beautiful frescoes in the Scrovegni Chapel and The brilliantly preserved mosaics in Ravenna's Byzantine San Vitale Basilica and Galla Placidia Mausoleum"

Wally

Tucson, AZ

Tour: 09/30/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our 5th Rick Steves' tour and certainly one of the most enjoyable, primarily because of the guide, super tour members and the fact we were in a wonderful part of Italy. Experiences and history of each of the hill towns, the Tuscan cooking lesson, truffle hunt, the pottery making exhibit, the marble quarry .... each were memorable Having dinner in a small square in a small restaurant in Orvieto was special.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The boat rides : - first the ride along coast and viewing all the towns along the Cinque Terre plus a stop to wander around Montarossa before catching the train to our home base in Levanto. - second the boat trip around Lago d'Orta. ...what a beautiful lake and island in the middle of the lake !"

Patsy

Tucson, AZ

Tour: 09/30/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was wonderful - superb guide - great vistas and what a tour group we had. From the very first day, this entire group "hit it off" with each other. Add 13 days and we all got to know each other very well. Our guide, Ann was terrific - we were all amazed at the education she was giving us about the area we were visiting. Her knowledge was great.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favorite WOW moment was hiking up to Civita di Bagnoregio. With a pair of bad knees, I wasn't planning to do the hike up to this lovely little village town. But our guide said we could begin and turn back if we felt we could not go on. Once I began I did not stop, and was completely surprised I made it up and back down without incident. Looking at the scenery as I walked up - WOW!!. This little hill town was beautiful with flowers and little cafes. Lake Orta was beautiful and so peaceful."

Carol

Arvada, CO

Tour: 09/30/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our ninth Rick Steve's Europe Tour and one of my favorites. As with all of your tours, we had an outstanding guide, a great group of people, and an itinerary that allowed some free time, while packing in plenty of sightseeing to satisfy any traveler. I loved the time spent doing more cultural things on this tour, such as the cooking class and truffle hunting. Also, the tasting "experience" at the winery and visit to the olive oil mill were very enjoyable.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I have been waiting to see the Cinque Terre from a boat for many years and it did not disappoint. Also, just staying at the beautiful hotel in the countryside in Tuscany was a real pleasure. Looking out at the rolling hills, vineyards, and olive trees with an occasional hill town in the distance was a perfect "wow" moment for me."

Justine

Walla Walla, WA

Tour: 09/30/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was an amazing experience and one that will always bring back wonderful memories. From the beginning in Padua until our last day at Lake Orta, our truly gifted guide, Ann Long, made sure that each day for our fun, friendly "herd" was filled with many great opportunities to learn so much about the rich Italian culture and history, to taste the best food and wine in Italy and then rest in lovely accommodations. Thank you!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"This is a hard question to answer. For me I truly loved every moment and have too many favorites to pick just one, but a wonderful surprise for me was Lucca. Before this trip, I had never heard of it and found it to be a fascinating city with a very interesting history. The wall around Lucca with the promenade on top was unusual and lovely. Also, we had the opportunity to attend a Puccini opera in his hometown. That was a highlight!"

Caryn

Walnut Creek, CA

Tour: 09/30/17

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

I published a complete trip report on the forum at https://community.ricksteves.com/travel-forum/trip-reports/village-italy-october-2017-part-i but I will put a few additional comments here - the main reason this tour gets 4/5 instead of 5/5 stars is because I think your team could do a better job pointing us to good restaurants. Of 5 tours we have taken, 3 have had v. good to excellent on-tour food, but VIT was not one of those. (cont under food)

Brian

Oak Ridge, NC

Tour: 09/25/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was a brilliant stroll through the Italian heartland. There were minimal touristy aspects to the itinerary. Rather the tour was a taste of vintage Italian culture, precisely as promised.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Relaxing moments in the rolling vineyards of Umbria and Tuscany."

Cary

Portland, OR

Tour: 09/25/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I thoroughly enjoyed this tour, my 9th with Rick Steves. The group was a pleasure to travel with and our guide, Nina, was a delight. The tour provided a good mix of beautiful countryside, history, art, and architecture. Food and wine were spectacular all along the way. The cooking class with Stefano was a blast, as was the truffle hunt. The tour was a feast for the senses.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Sitting with good friends and good wine while looking out over the Tuscan landscape at sunset."

Jennifer

Burien, WA

Tour: 09/25/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had many great experiences on this tour that we would have NEVER been able to put together on our own. All those experiences are then spiced up by the expert guides that gave us an extra appreciation of our travels with such varied topics as Etruscan history and culture, the art of mosaics in Ravenna, the beauty of wine and food pairings (in a centuries-old estate in Umbria), and the pura vita of olive oil processed by a community coop. We had many once-in-a-lifetime experiences on this tour

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The meals we had as a group were all wow worthy, but my stellar experience was our dinner at the truffle farm. From harvesting the truffles with Bruno and his dogs, through the exquisite caviar-like truffle [INVALID]s on our buffalo mozzarella appetizers to the delectable scrambled eggs with shaved truffle, it was all an amazing culinary experience that we will never be able to exceed. Wow!"

Bruce

Burien, WA

Tour: 09/25/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Personally, I would have liked a stop or two fewer, so I could have explored each location more. However, given the diversity of the group and keeping all happy, the tour was amazing. Some of the terminology gave be problems with our history lessons, but that was likely because this was my first trip to Europe.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Had I not been to Milan and Venice prior to the tour, I would have said the Duomos. By time I got on tour, I was pretty much Duomo'ed and crowds out. I liked the quieter villages and side tours (pottery shop, marble quarry...). I enjoyed both boat excursions (Cinque Terra and Orta), but my tour WOW was likely the truffle experience (hunt and especially the dinner)."

Mary

Corvallis, OR

Tour: 09/25/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was excellent. Although, I thoroughly enjoyed the other two Rick Steves' Tours I took, this was particularly special. I really experienced small town Italy, and feel I have assimilated some of the Italian culture. Staying in each stop for two nights was helpful, since one could better familiarize yourself with each town.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were so many "wow" moments, it's difficult to choose one. Visiting the Scrovegni Chapel was an amazing experience. Nina's excellent knowledge of the art and history of the Chapel enhanced the experience for me."

Joan

Levittown, NY

Tour: 09/25/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour guide, Nina, was excellent. We were lucky to have Casey as the tour assistant. The tour members were all very nice. A real camaraderie developed as the tour went on. We got to see so many more places and do so many more things that I would have been able to do on my own. Highlights are going out with a truffle hunting dog, cooking class, oil olive pressing demonstration, lunch at a winery, many delicious group meals. Lake Orta was a really beautiful place.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favorite "wow" moment was a private group dinner one night when the bus driver, Domenico, sang italian songs and danced with our tour guide, Nina. Then the waitress got up and sang and danced. Then the whole tour group got into the act and we all sang and danced. It was a great big fun party."

Harold

Levittown, NY

Tour: 09/25/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Everything came together to make my trip to Italy a truly outstanding experience. The group became fast friends that just added to the overall enjoyment. Although it was exhausting it was just what we wanted, pretty much non-stop touring and eating. Oh, the eating. Best food I have had on a Rich Steve's tour and this was my seventh.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"In Italy every day is a WOW moment."

Michael

Durango, CO

Tour: 09/25/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was excellent throughout the tour. Met some great people in our group. Had amazing food and wine. Nina will be tough to top. She was hilarious, interesting, fun, knowledgeable, inclusive, and did an amazing job herding the crew and keeping us on task The excursions were all good and I wouldn't change any of them. The perfect amount of balance between group time and free time.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Every group dinner was a blast. I particularly enjoyed the marble quarry tour."

Jay

Mcmurray, PA

Tour: 09/25/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

great hands on village experiences. Nina was outstanding with her insight, listening skills and humor. Bus driver was friendly, excellent driver and highly recommended.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"touching the tomb of St Francis and St Anthony. truffle hunting and marble visit were outstanding."

Jeffrey

Wheeling, WV

Tour: 09/25/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The combination of local hotels near places of interest plus the amenities of the bus as well as tour guide Nina made for a complete tour experience. The different locations showcased in small towns in northern Italy made for an exceptional two weeks. The dinners that were included were delicious and represented the culture perfectly.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"In Padua at the Palazzo del Bo. I am a retired MD and I read medical history. To see the original anatomy medical theater was amazing.The names of previous medical physicians , familiar to me, who studied there was also a wow factor."

Robert

Irvine, CA

Tour: 09/23/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It is always great traveling to a country where the wine and food are wonderful. The unique experiences on the villages of italy tour made this truly the best tour i have taken. I had so much fun that I was surprised to see the notice of the farewell dinner on the daily itinery.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"please see question above. With all the unique experiences, I have yet to come up with "the" wow moment. All clustered at the top of the chart were the visit to Tenuta le Velette, Chianciano Etruscan museum, Stephano - Chef at Agriturismo La Pietriccia, the visit with Angelo at the Florence American Cemetery, Frantoio la Visona olive oil tasting lunch, the Levanto feast (but all I needed was the soup!)...out of all of these Stefano currently has the slightest of margin for the lead. :)"

Debby

Danville, CA

Tour: 09/23/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

All in all, a truly great tour. It was even better than I was expecting. There is so much packed into the 2 weeks, it takes a while to sink in after you return home! The tour gave a really good feel for the real Italy. The small villages and cities give a better chance to experience what everyday life is like. I liked meeting and interacting with people in the shops, markets and trattorias. It's a definite "feel good" tour!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were many! One in particular was watching the sunset over the Tuscan hills, with a lovely glass of wine, from the terrace of the Belvedere."

Robert

Danville, CA

Tour: 09/23/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This is our 6th tour and like all the others is was a very rewarding experience. Our guide, Sarah, made the trip for me because of her enthusiam. Even the name game, which I always dread, worked with her. Her desire for us to learn Italian was infectious even though she gave me easy room numbers in Italian. The group was also great and everyone seemed to get along well. All of the tours from the winery to the pottery and Carera Marble site were well done and enjoyable.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The stay at the Villa in Montefalco, Umbria was unbelievable. The view over to Assisi was amazing and the breakfast the best on the tour."

Gordon

Abbotsford, BC

Tour: 09/23/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I don't know where to begin. The entire tour was exceptional, as has been the case on all our previous Rick Steves tours (this was our third).

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Can I pick only one? Very difficult to limit it to just one. From looking at Mosaics in Ravenna from the 500's, to hunting for Truffles on a Truffle farm, to walking among the vineyards ripe with grapes with the beautiful Tuscan rolling hills and setting sun as a background, to hearing the passion that Stephano had about his olive oil, and hiking among the Cinque Terre towns, these are but just a few of the highlights and wow moments of the trip!"

Linda

Mission, KS

Tour: 09/23/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our guide, Sarah, was exceptional. She was extremely knowledgeable, helpful, fun and attentive to our needs. The balance of tour and private time was perfect and the quality of the local guides was outstanding. Sarah taught us Italian, had information on Italian performers, led songs, and ensured that we had a full travel experience. The tour group was probably the best I've been part of for the four tours I've been on. Very compatible, punctual and a lot of fun.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were so many it is really hard to choose, but I would put the cooking class at the top of the list. It was very interactive, we all had a lot of fun creating our dishes and the food we made was fabulous. The extra, unexpected opportunities were also "Wows" for me - the trip to Pisa and the World War II Cemetery."

John

Ardmore, OK

Tour: 09/23/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Favorite "WOW" moment

"NUMEROUS"

Maxine

Agassiz, BC

Tour: 09/23/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This trip was just Wonderful.My one daughter and I had gone on the 21 day tour and wanted to see the tall Spruce trees and villas on the other side of the valley in Tuscany.We were not disappointed.I really enjoyed the whole trip.Would ?? love to go on a tour again but if I don't, I'm grateful I've been on the Best tour.To make this even more memorable I went with my two daughters.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"All the hotels were great but we really got the luck of the draw at Belvedere di San Leoniono in Seina.Our room was so special with a little sitting area outside ,and a nice inside sitting room with a pretty bared window that opened.I could sit there with a glass of ?? and look out at the beauty of the area HEAVEN .Our sleeping room was so light ,bright ,colourful and comfortable.Loved the local food and local wine."

Martin

Anchorage, AK

Tour: 09/18/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Great Trip. Our guide, Patricia, was very knowledgeable and helpful throughout the trip. She's a gem who made the trip fun, informative and comfortable. Our drive, Ezio, was very professional and capable. Very easy on the equipment and a very conscientious and courteous driver. He was also just a nice young man. We had a lot of fun with our group of fellow travelers. My wife and I enjoyed the trip very much and are considering another Rick Steve's adventure. keep on traveling.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I don't have a wow moment."

Scott

Springboro, OH

Tour: 09/18/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was one of the best RS tours we've taken, even though we had been to several of the towns on previous tours. The history, art, food and villages complemented each other to make a near perfect experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Probably the Scrovegni chapel, although there were a lot of close seconds."

Diane

Anchorage, AK

Tour: 09/18/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

So many experiences. Our tour leader, Trisha, was so knowledgeable, patient with a warm sense of humor and always ready to help. Our local guides clearly explained their areas of interest. The trip was well planned giving us plenty of time to explore both with our guides and group, and on our own. Our fellow Rick Steve travelers were fun, adventurous and easy going.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"So many. The San Brizio Chapel, the vineyards, truffle hunt and dinner, wine tasting with matching foods, etc. etc."

Elaine

Rockwall, TX

Tour: 09/18/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The Villages of Italy tour with Patricia, Sept 18 - Oct 1, 2017 was a very great trip. Couldn't wait for the next day to come as we knew that it was going to be special. Never dreamed that you could top the day before but some how it seemed like it did. The planning that Tricia and all in the office put into making this trip so informative and exciting is very obvious. Thanks for making it so special.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Too many to choose from. Each day had some very unique and great sights. The magnitude of all the Cathedrals inside and out was mind boggling!"

Carol Ann

Salem, OR

Tour: 09/18/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The Village Italy tour was outstanding. Of course, I signed up for this tour because of the destinations, and all of my hopes were realized.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My very best experiences were at the Scrovegni Chapel (unfortunately, all too short an experience!) and in viewing the Byzantine mosaics in Ravenna. However, these were both places I very much wished to see."

Paul

Reading, MA

Tour: 09/18/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This is an active tour; the pace is just right in my opinion. We really enjoyed the bus "lectures" when Patricia would speak about Italian history - she has a real knack for tying historical facts to the experiences we were having hands on. For my wife and I the food was a very enjoyable part of the trip. We enjoyed the group meals as well as our own forays to local eateries.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Wandering through the vineyard where we stayed in Chianti and watching a rainbow before a magical sunset. WOW!"

Deborah

Springboro, OH

Tour: 09/18/17

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

This was one of the best RS trips I've taken. We seemed to cover a lot of different subjects, from art to food to history. The cities we visited were interesting and offered a variety of sights to see and ambience to soak up.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The mosaics in Ravenna were very impressive. The colors were so vivid that is was hard to believe they were 1500 years old."

James

Huntsville, AL

Tour: 09/18/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

A very enjoyable trip. Took us to some places we had visited before on other trips but we learned more about them. Also took us to places we had never been and broadened our understanding of the country. Keeping to the Italian countryside rather than the cities provides a completely different perspective on the country.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Scrovigni chapel and Giotto frescoes."

Carly

Farwell, MI

Tour: 09/18/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Wonderful guide and most selections of hotels were good

Favorite "WOW" moment

"cinque terre walk between two villages"

Mary Jane

Portland, OR

Tour: 09/18/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We were very excited to take this tour, and it exceeded all of our expectations. Our tour guide, Tricia Brady gets most of the credit. Her knowledge, professionalism and sense of humor made every day of the tour special. Every day was filled with beauty, great food, wine and a deep sense of the heart and history of the Italian people. It was a joy!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Oh, so many. One unexpected "wow" was touring the Etruscan Museum in Chianciano Terme. I knew nothing about the Etruscans, but our local guide, Roberto brought them to life during our tour. (He was very entertaining as well as informative) I just had no idea how important that culture was to the formation and future of Italy. Fascinating!"

Marcia

Eagle River, AK

Tour: 09/16/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I hear myself summarizing it to others as "very professional, educational, organized and thoughtfully planned." I can't believe everything I learned about Italy--I became intrigued with Etruscan culture which was a surprise, and enjoyed the smaller towns, local guides, time on my own-- and appreciated being "militantly on time."

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The three experiences with the Etruscan museums and the archeological dig in Orvieto. I was stunned with that culture that existed hundreds of years B.C. What they could create in jewelry, sculpture, sarcophagi, the equality of women, so glad I learned about it. I guess that unscheduled optional tour in Orvieto to the archeological dig under the church where I saw the 1200 years of history in that 15 slice of earth is my imprinted WOW. And surprisingly enough the opera night in Lucca!"

Karen

West Des Moines, IA

Tour: 09/16/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I enjoyed the small group experience and variety of experiences from churches, villages to food. The tour offered enough free time to explore on your own and to decompress if need be.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Really hard to pick as the whole trip brought different places to explore. Each of the churches had their own wow due to the craftsmanship and beauty."

Janet

Buckeye, AZ

Tour: 09/16/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Great group of travelers that all got along well. Thoroughly enjoyed Trina's leadership, along with the knowledge she imparted about Italian culture, history, politics, family life and customs.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"So many, it's hard to pick just one. The cooking lesson, the boat tour in Cinque Terra, the pottery company."

Billee

Seattle, WA

Tour: 09/16/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our 2nd trip to Italy and our first Rick Steves' tour. Every day of the tour was a wonderful experience. The entire trip was well organized, nicely balanced, and fun. We learned so much. The local guides were exceptional. Our guide, Trina, could not have been more prepared and helpful to all of us. Our bus driver, Mario, took very good care of us as well. Thanks to all! We hope to have more travel adventures with this top notch tour organization.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Too many to count! The art, the people, the food, the opera in Lucca, the views, the ruins, walking the wall of Lucca, wine tasting, our Tuscan villa lodging, the cooking lesson, Christina guiding us in Padua, beautiful Lake Orta, and walking the streets of such lovely hill towns."

Jody

Roseburg, OR

Tour: 09/16/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

First of all, please excuse the lateness of this review. We have been dealing with medical issues since our return. Also, I am writing this for both my husband and I since we are of the same opinion. What a fabulous trip this was!! It was almost too much to take in! Can't say enough about Trina,(see below) the guide being such an important part of any tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"This is a tough one. It was Italy after all! Visually, walking over the bridge to Civita Di Bagnoregio was a "wowfull" moment, We were also wowed by our stays at Villa Pambuffetti and The Hotel Belvedere di San Leonino. Lake Orta was beautiful as well. Really loved the little truffle dogs and their owner! I was particularly looking forward to that and even though weather prevented us from hunting with them, it still did not disappoint! LOVED ALL the demos! Pottery, glass, cooking, alabaster, etc"

Michael

San Carlos, CA

Tour: 09/16/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This is our second Rick Steves' tour, and it exceeded our expectation. The tour provided a good mixture of culture, sightseeing, and culinary experiences, also an excellent exposure to agriturismo, visit to farms in Italy. The number of bus stops, group dinners, amount of free times, and daily itineraries were very well-planned, maximizing enjoyment of Italy. Best Rick Steves tour yet!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Drinking wine with my wife in a Tuscany farm house and enjoying a view of hill towns near by. Truly a sweet life!"

Paula

Ankeny, IA

Tour: 09/16/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Well done Rick Steves and company! The trip lived up to every hipe I had read and heard. This was my first Rick Steves tour and I carefully compared it to may others before making my selection. You were hands down every thing you said you would be.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I could sum up by saying the overall WOW was simply standing and realizing I walked where Galileo had walked in Padua, gladiators fought where I stood in Lucca and I could almost visualize the people trying to save their arch from the Germans in Volterra. I doubt I would have gotten the same wonderful experience with such deep history, great food and lodging and guidance on my own or with another tour."

Tom

Sparks, NV

Tour: 09/11/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The entire trip was amazing. Lisa Anderson was an outstanding leader and the 24 people on the trip we excellent travel partners, we very much enjoyed each others company. All the sites we visited were wonderful and timed well and at the same time we had plenty of time on our own, so a great balance. The food and wine was also excellent. Lunch at a winery, a cooking class where we ate the lunch and lunch at the olive press business were off the charts.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The whole trip was a wow, my goal was to unplug, enjoy small towns, eat great food and drink wine. Got to do all of this with a great group of people. The suprise visit to US World War II cemetery was very moving knowing that our soldiers gave up their lives for freedom and to liberate Italy, very moving experience."

John

Wellesley, MA

Tour: 09/11/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Outstanding! Everything was organized to perfection. Best Italy vacation ever. Great job.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Following the Umbria winery tour, going into the dining room and seeing the wonderful Italian lunch displayed on the table. Being Italian-American I appreciated the incredible aromas and the anticipation of eating this beautiful local fresh meal!"

Robert

Lawrence, KS

Tour: 09/11/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I believe this was our seventh Rick Steve's tour and was among the top three we have but all were good. Part of it might have been that it was in September and we usually traveled in June. That said, I think the primary reasons were that we went to places that were less frequented by we tourists, the group was very compatible and fun loving, our guide was among the top three we have had, we stayed two nights in each location, the bus rides were not extensive between stops of interest.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favorite among many was viewing the scenery as we walked on the rail-to-trail path between Levanto and Bonosora on the Italian Rivera. A wow visit of another kind was viewing the stunning frescoes by in the Scrovegni Chapel by Giotto."

Martha

Pueblo West, CO

Tour: 09/11/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Lisa Anderson was very helpful, informative and approachable. Great group. Enjoyed the hands-on experiences.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Cinque Terre Tuscany countryside"

Steve

Palm Springs, CA

Tour: 09/11/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was as near to a perfect travel experience as is possible! The best leader, Lisa, of our travel family. Great itinerary and wonderful hotels. Lots of informative extras and amazing meals. No big cities, only small and quaint hill villages. Travel in comfort, make great friends and see amazing places. This was a dream tour!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Finally going to Civita di Bagnoregio. I saw this on one of Rick's shows and have yearned to get to this uniquely magical place. I had goose bumps as I walked across the foot bridge to this old village that is perched on an eroding rock above the valley below. Wandering the narrow streets and finding lots of cats made this a dream come true."

Marshall

Portland, OR

Tour: 09/11/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our 9th Rick Steves tour, and it was absolutely fantastic! The villages, the food, the tour experiences were all stellar.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were so many "WOW" moments that's it hard to single one out. A number of tour members took the "tunnel" trail, which was a previous train trail converted to a bicycle and pedestrian trail, between the Cinque Terra villages of Levanto and Bonassola. The views were absolutely breathtaking, and these two villages were incredibly charming. I also loved the cooking class where all the tour members participated in creating our own Italian feast."

Francene

Walnut Creek, CA

Tour: 09/11/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Excellent experience. We had a great group of people and a Lisa was a super guide.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I think our cooking class with chef Stephano was outstanding. I loved the truffle hunting and the ceramic making as well. Having a chance to talk to those making it happen makes a difference instead of just talking "about it"."

Noel

Calgary, AB

Tour: 09/11/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Couldn't have done this tour on our own at our age. Could not have learned as much about Italy on our own anyway. Superb experience

Catherine

Lake Oswego, OR

Tour: 09/11/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The trip exceeded our expectations by far! We loved the small hill towns that we visited as well as the cultural experiences that we participated in. Our tour guide Lisa was knowledgable about local history as well as cultural norms and added to our experience by including anecdotes from her life as an ex-pat. Our bus driver Dominico was very professional, I am glad that he was doing the driving in and around the small towns. I admire his ability to navigate small country roads.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It is difficult to pick out 1 outstanding wow moment, each day was better than the previous day. All of the local tour guides added to our experience as well."

Julie

Jasper, IN

Tour: 09/09/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our 2nd RS tour. First one was "on your own". So glad to experience a guided tour. We are anxious to pick our next guided tour!! REALLY appreciated the amplifiers we used with earphones!!! We could hear loud and clear all that our guides said. Please keep using them!!!!!

John

Sayre, PA

Tour: 09/09/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We've been traveling in Europe on our own for at least 15 years using your guidebooks and found your recommendations consistently outstanding. We love Italy, so when we noticed this tour, we thought we'd give it a try. It was the best trip we have ever taken, bar none ("none" includes many ocean and river cruises and a tour using Collette). Guide, companions, villages, activities, food, transportation were uniformly outstanding.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Walking around the corner and seeing the facade of the cathedral in Orvieto."

Roberta

Cuyahoga Falls, OH

Tour: 09/09/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was great! Jammed packed with amazing things to see, do and eat! Our experienced guide, Caterina, made the trip a treat. She was so personable, patient,well informed and knowledgeable. The buddy system worked perfectly to unite all of us. Such a great group of people, talented and friendly.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"We had a picnic on the city wall with food provided by the group from the local farmers market.. I t was also our buddy info day . A chance to get to know our friends better."

Mark

Estes Park, CO

Tour: 09/09/17

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Caterina was incredibly good, a Rick Steves treasure! Too much walking and education, not enough free time. Cooking class was a highlight, should have several.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"St, Francis Basilica."

Susan

Estes Park, CO

Tour: 09/09/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I think this was an amazing trip. There was such a great variety of experiences and education. Seeing the marble quarry, the pottery experience at Doruto, the incredible feeling at Assisi, the ancient towns all were amazing. The special treats of cooking class and olive oil education were really fun for me. I would suggest giving us more time at pottery shop in Doruto. Everyone wanted and needed more time there. I also liked each hotel. Also Dario our bus driver was terrific.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I think for me it was the surprise of seeing the huge and beautiful church as we were walking with our group through Orvieto. Caterina didn't tell us it would be so awesome. She let us experience the overwhelming surprise. Perfection."

Susan

Voorheesville, NY

Tour: 09/09/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This third RS tour felt like the best yet. The food, accommodations and sights were wonderful. Just when I thought the previous day's experiences couldn't be topped, I'd be proved wrong almost immediately. This tour suited us perfectly with it's emphasis on the land, agriculture, food, people, art and history of "village Italy." I loved learning about wine, olive oil, wild boar, truffles, pane cotta, frescoes, mosaics, pottery, Etruscans, marble quarrying, and alabaster.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Bruno and his truffle hunting dogs, smelling truffles as they came from the ground, a delicious meal on the open dining area, backlit by an Umbrian sunset. Jewel box artistry in the Galla Placidia. First glimpse of Orvieto cathedral facade in golden light. Luxury of time in Orvieto cathedral while Caterina explained the San Brizio Chapel art. Being swept along in an authentic passagiata as we arrived in Lucca. Amazing Civita di Bagnoregio."

Jerrie

Rico, CO

Tour: 09/09/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my fourth Rick Steve's tour and did not disappoint! The history and the sights we saw were amazing and made so much so because of our guide, Caterina and driver Dario! What a pair and she was the most knowledgeable person about all of the history imaginable! She also had a great sense of humor and our group was very companionable.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"That's s really tough one, there were so many, I loved staying in the country and I guess the cooking class and lunch as well as the olive oil historic place......and the olive oil/farm and lunch! Sounds like I was most impressed with food, but all of the history and ruins are my favorite."

Joyce Nancarrow

Pasadena, CA

Tour: 09/09/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Caterina made two weeks in the hill towns of Northern Italy absolutely fabulous!! Her knowledge of history, art, the people, and towns was encyclopedic and our tour group was the beneficiary. The tour towns were unique, vibrant, genuine, and lovable. I will go back to Montefalco and Orvieto again, but every stop was special and wonderful. The small towns were welcoming, more so than the big cities. Everyone recognized Rick Steve's and was happy to see us, unlike other tour groups.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My WOW moments were the close family-ness of the hill town villagers and the local guides Caterina used; both brought the tour alive in a very memorable way."

Sharon

Columbus, OH

Tour: 09/09/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Loved the opportunity to explore the smaller towns of Italy. This allowed me to take in the history, art and countryside without being trapped in a large city. Our tour guide Caterina was fabulous!!!!! She looked out for each member of our group to make sure they were having a great experience. She took feedback along the way from the group and adjusted the pace as needed. She has great knowledge of art and history; she helped me appreciate these two perspectives more than I could imagine.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The fresco paintings in San Brizio Chapel - Orevieto"

Jerome

Sammamish, WA

Tour: 09/09/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We were not sure about the tour format, our previous travel has been on our own, staying at each place longer. We ended up liking the tour a lot, because of the outstanding tour guide, the very knowledgeable local guides, and the excellent selection of visits. The bus was amazingly comfortable, and the driver, Dario, was a genius at driving, never a fast stop nor start.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"We had quite a few wow moments. The single most memorable for me was the church in Assisi. Most of the meals were "wow" events."

Joan

Sayre, PA

Tour: 09/09/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My husband and I have made several trips to Europe using Rick Steve's guide books as our travel "Bible". We have always been thrilled with the suggestions and assistance provided by the books and have adopted a lot of Rick's travel philosophy. We've hesitated to try tours in general, preferring to do it on our own. This was our first tour and we loved every minute of it. It won't be our last Rick Steve's tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were so many great moments. My first view of the breath-taking cathedral in Orvieto in the late afternoon sunshine was certainly a "wow" moment. Then entering its San Brizio Chapel a few minutes later to encounter Signorelli's dramatic frescoes was overpowering."

Fred

Cincinnati, OH

Tour: 09/09/17

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Favorite tour was of the marble quarry in Carrara. Also just by chance there was a road rally of older race cars in Sienna going on while we were there that passed right past the Campo- very fun to see."

Alan

Voorheesville, NY

Tour: 09/09/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We selected the Village Italy tour because we wanted to visit Italy but were not necessarily interested in spending time in big cities. This tour exceeded our expectations. We were able to see a lot of the countryside of north central Italy, experience life in small and medium sized cities and villages, view great art and architecture in their original context, and eat great food. Although most places we visited were not tourist free, the vast majority were not inundated by tourists.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It is difficult to decide on one wow moment. However, three experiences stand out in my mind:1) my first view of the mosaics in the Mausoleum of Galla Placidia in Ravenna; 2) the view of the outside of Duomo in Orvieta; 3) watching Bruno the truffle hunter work with his two dogs."

Nicholas

Tampa, FL

Tour: 09/04/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Fabulous! Wonderful food and drink, great guide, and a memorable cultural experience. The tour was just as I have come to expect from Rick Steves' productions.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Holy Cross procession through Lucca on September 13th."

Karla

Seattle, WA

Tour: 09/04/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my 11th R.S. tour and even though I have enjoyed them all...this was one of the best. No wonder it is one of Rick's best sellers! Large cities may be exciting and action-packed but visiting small villages can be just as rewarding. On this tour I really felt I was in Italy and sometimes even felt I was a local! Even though this tour may have been a little more laid back than some of the others...I still felt that everyday was an adventure!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were so many "wow" moments but the food (and wine) was especially good. I am still thinking about the ravioli with truffles that I had in Orvieto and the seafood ravioli I had in a restaurant located right smack on the shores of Lake Orta. Exploring the paved pedestrian path leading from Levanto (where we were staying) to the tiny seaside town of Bonassola was another "wow" moment. The path was a converted railroad line cutting through the mountain separating the two towns...along the sea."

Veronica

Montclair, NJ

Tour: 09/04/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This is a great tour. I had always dreamed of visiting Siena, and Assisi, and chose this tour for that reason along with the range of experiences included, art, history, culture and cuisine. In this tour I "experienced" village Italy, and it exceeded all my expectations. The tour was well planned, and our tour guide Sarah was terrific-thoughtful, fun, and attentive to individuals and the group. Excellent pacing, good balance of group and free time, and a great group of fellow travelers

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were so many, I do have just one. But the visit to St. Francis Basilica, the mosaics in Ravenna, the procession in Lucca, the beauty of the Cinque Terre villages, are some but I really also enjoyed all the wonderful shared group experiences, the cooking class, wine tasting, truffle hunt, glass of wine in Civita, and the great group dinners."

Louis

Cupertino, CA

Tour: 09/04/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We chose a Rick Steves' tour because we wanted an experience that would present the history and culture of the country, and allow us to explore on our own. We chose the Village Italy Tour because it would take us to smaller towns and villages where we could experience more of the Italian lifestyle and culture without the hustle and bustle of the big cities. We also wanted to look for locations we like to return on our own for a longer visit. This tour provided all that and more.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It is really hard to pick only one "wow" moment. I enjoyed the view and hike to Civita hilltop town, the Chianciano Etruscan museum, the stained glass workshop in Siena. and the cooking lesson at Agriturismo La Pietriccia the most."

Christy

Cupertino, CA

Tour: 09/04/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour is excellent. I enjoyed having all the details and logistics taken care of by our capable guide Sarah and excellent driver Guido. I specially appreciated the history and hometown details from local tour guides. I loved the stops to local artisan workshops. I loved the stops at wine and olive oil tastings, pasta making, and truffle hunting, especially loved the meal provided afterwards. All group lunches and dinners were great and memorable.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Too many "wow" moments. Still don't know why I felt a special connection to The Basilica of St Francis. Wow to see large and small hill towns perched on top of cliffs, Civita and the suspended bridge leading to it, and the beautiful view from the Manarola Vineyard Walk (thank you Rick Steves for recommending it). I have to include the best 3 Euro roast pork sandwich from the Orvieto farmer's market."

Cheryl

Edmonton, AB

Tour: 09/04/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour itinerary is very well planned with just enough organized activity combined with free time. I could tell in retrospect that a lot of thought and organization has gone into each planned event utilizing excellent local guides along the way. This tour was quite rich in history, culture and local experiences. The longer I am back home and thinking about my tour experience, the more I am appreciating all that I saw and did!

Kathleen

Tampa, FL

Tour: 09/04/17

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

As usual the trip was well organized with a good mix of guided time and independent time. Again, as usual, the group was great and we made friends quickly. Our guide, Sarah Corfield, was excellent, the best so far.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Holy Cross procession in Lucca--a wonderful surprise. And--the Leaning Tower of Pisa--another surprise."

Martha

Schenectady, NY

Tour: 09/02/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our second RS tour. Our previous VFR tour whetted our appetite and insured that we would return to Italy. This tour continued the excellence that we experienced in Venice, Florence, and Rome and completely lived up to our high expectations. Our fellow tour members were warm, supportive travelers who enhanced the tour. We had an excellent tour guide in Trina and an superb bus driver in Mario. Each of the local guides were outstanding in the knowledge that they imparted. Bravi!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I've given this question much thought and decided that the entire tour was filled with "Wow Moments" Each of the villages that we visited had its own special charm and we loved all of the experiences that we participated in. The sites, vistas, and activities were all amazing. I will always remember the beautiful Tuscan vistas from our bus and the incredible art and architecture that we saw on our tour. Standouts include the mosaics in Ravenna and the incredible basilicas and cathedrals."

Emily

Ridgeland, MS

Tour: 09/02/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We have taken other small group land tours (as well as ocean cruises & river cruises) & Village Italy was the best! Everything, from the sites we visited, special excursions & local tours, was well planned and very enjoyable. The activity & amount of walking (exercise to burn off all the calories from so much delicious Italian food and wine) was good. And, our gluten free diets were carefully considered and we appreciate the special attention paid to that.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Everything was great it's hard to pick a favorite place or thing we did. Though not a "wow" moment, we really enjoyed the wine tasting because of the food pairings. Having been to numerous wine tastings everywhere from Napa Valley, to France, Spain & Portugal, the one on Villages Italy stood out as the best. Conversely, I thought the Carrera marble tour was underwhelming."

Sandra

Seattle, WA

Tour: 09/02/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This Village Italy trip exceeded all my expectations! Perfect combination of an excellent tour guide, Trina, who kept the bus rides interesting with her ability to weave complicated history into understandable 'stories' and our driver Mario, who smoothly maneuvered the bus thru narrow, winding country lanes. The local guides were passionate, articulate and proud of what they were showing us. The tour had a nice mix of art, history, charming villages/scenery, and hands on experiences.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Everything was wow! The sunset views of the Umbrian countryside from the Montefalco viewpoint brought tears to my eyes. And then I had the same reaction looking out at the rolling Tuscan hills from the Hotel Belvedere property. Gorgeous, just like in the calendars... Most of all, the tour group made this a fantastic trip experience for me. A great group of friendly, fun loving people who enjoy touring, experiencing, eating, drinking, and relaxing together. Time for an aperol spritz!"

Will

Ellensburg, WA

Tour: 09/02/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Trina did an excellent job of providing information about what we were seeing and experiencing. She was very good at orienting us prior to free time. Overall I felt like there was a very good balance between the guided portion and the free time which I enjoyed very much. I also very much enjoyed the end of feeling of the small towns we travel through. I would definitely recommend this particular tour to my friends.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"A single wow moment is really hard for me to come up with. During our free day we walked between the Levanto and Monterosso. When we arrived we found a place to sit close to the water and ate a lunch of local foods that we had purchased the night before bread cheese fruits and other items. Beautiful day, beautiful hike, beautiful location, wonderful food, it was more of a wow experience than a wow moment"

Janelle

Melrose, MA

Tour: 09/02/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Fantastic! The trip exceeded my expectations on so many levels. A lot of credit goes to our excellent guide, Trina Kudlacek. She gave us history and background information so that we could understand where we were going and what we were looking at. Trina was so in tune with our group that she could recommend activities for our free time that appealed to different individuals in the group. We would not have enjoyed this trip as much without her!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I think my favorite "wow" moment was in Montefalco. Trina had us walk through the Medieval town to a beautiful view of the valley below and the sun was just setting beyond the mountains. This had me in tears! Then to turn around and there was the moon too! The beauty of the valley and the sun and the moon just filled me up with joy. I will never forget this moment."

Alice

Cottonwood Heights, UT

Tour: 09/02/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

WE WERE SO PLEASED WITH OUR GUIDE TRINA, OUR COMPATIBLE FELLOW-TRAVELERS, & THE PACE OF CHANGE FROM TOWN TO COUNTRY. TRINA RESCUED US TWICE-ONCE WHEN WE FOUND WE HAD MADE WRONG FLIGHT RESERVATIONS HOME, AND AGAIN, WHEN I LEFT MY CAMEERA CHARGER IN OUR HOTEL IN PADUA. TRINA EVEN TRIED TO RECOVER SAM'S STETSON HE HAD LEFT SOMEWHERE, BRINGING UP THE CURBSIDE VIEW OF OUR RESTAURANT IN RAVENNA AND CALLED THEM. THE STETSON WAS NOT LEFT THERE, BUT TRINA TRIED. LOVED SPEAKING WITH LOCAL PEOPLE.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I WORRIED OUR VISIT TO ASSISI WOULD BE OVERWHELMED BY TOO MANY PEOPLE, BUT IT WORKED BEAUTIFULLY. OUR LOCAL GUIDE WAS BOTH SERIOUS AND HUMOROUS, AND IT WAS A WONDERFUL TOUR OF THE 3 CHURCHES. MY FAVORITE, HOWEVER, WAS THE TINY CHAPEL THAT THE POPE HAD TOLD FRANCIS HE COULD HAVE. IT WAS UNBELIEVABLE FOR OUR 52ND ANNIVERSARY ON SEPT 4TH TO BE RECOGNIZED AND TOASTED AT A GORGEOUS COUNTRY VILLA IN MONTE FALCO. THE DINNER WE WERE TREATED TO IN MONTE FALCO THAT EVENING WAS ONE OF THE BEST OF MY LIFE."

Maureen

New York, NY

Tour: 09/02/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour covered the history and culture of northern Italy. The experiences of wine tasting and oil tasting and truffle hunting were important to understanding the culture. The tour guide was well versed in the history of the country and how the history explains who the Italians are today. The other travelers were very warm and friendly and interested in learning. Certainly, the tour guide knew the towns, where to shop for this or that, where to find certain foods.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I am not sure that I can pinpoint one "wow" moment. I loved the mosaics of Ravenna and finding mosaics in other towns. But I also loved the villas that we stayed at. But, learning about the Etruscans was very important."

Todd

Stevens Point, WI

Tour: 09/02/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I had a wonderful time on this tour. We had gone on the Venice, Florence, Rome trip and wanted more of Italy. Trina, our guide, was terrific! The hotels/villas we stayed in were all fantastic. We loved the itinerary. There is so much to see and do and the combination of planned activities and free time worked well.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I can't pick a specific moment. It was 2 weeks of highlights!"

Lynnette

Brooklyn Park, MN

Tour: 09/02/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our second Rick Steve's tour so we knew what to expect. The trip was great, a nice group and a wonderful tour guide. Trina was an excellent teacher and guide. Everything went very smooth. Having a great guide and wonderful bus driver makes a big difference.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The US cemetery we visited in Italy was very emotional and quite a surprise. It wasn't on the agenda and never knew it was even there. Having had my father in law serve over there we were able to see on a map where he was stationed. The Retired US serviceman that gave us a tour was really good."

Jody

Seattle, WA

Tour: 09/02/17

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

The itinerary was outstanding, exposing us to the less urban face of Italy. Everywhere was walkable, with many options for exploring. This was my 7th Rick Steves' tour, but my first as a solo traveler. As warned, the rooms were smaller than "normal" American standards, but I was disappointed in the cleanliness of my rooms in two of the hotels.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My WOW moment was the beauty of the mosaics in Ravenna, just breath taking! Seeing them was a surprise. I expected to see the lovely landscapes of Umbria and Tuscany, the amazing picture postcards villages of the Cinque Terre, the stunning approach to Civita di Bagnoregio, and the gorgeous frescos by Giotto, but the Ravenna mosaics were not on my Italy radar screen."

Edward

Melrose, MA

Tour: 09/02/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Tremendous! Loved the places we stayed, things we saw, things we got to do. Trina provided SUPER information on the context - history, religious, political - for the places we went. So glad to have seen the smaller towns and cities in Italy - not just the big tourist stops. The local guides knew their stuff. Loved the free time to explore - with guidance and suggestions from Trina - super valuable. We got to really experience Italy. Just makes me want to go back for more!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Too many "wow" moments to pick just one! But my favotites - sunsets and moon rises: - At Montifalco an incredible sunset over the valley from the overlook on the north side of town. - Outside Assisi, after the tuffle hunt, before an exceptional dinner, a beautiful sunset from the restaurant terrace. - In Orvieto, A full moon rise over the Duomo after a simple dinner on our own with the town quiet and all to ourselves."

Nickolas

Rome, NY

Tour: 09/02/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The restful afternoons drinking wine and eating meat/cheese platters that could be purchased in each city's piazza is what I miss most. Just watching people, enjoying the warm sunshine and chatting with our co-travelers will be my greatest memories. Our guide Trina was great and our bus driver Mario was remarkable.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The local guides truly made this trip for me. They brought history to life."

Janis

Rome, NY

Tour: 09/02/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour experience went well beyond our expectations. Since I've been back, friends keep asking me what was my favorite part. I'm having a difficult time answering them as EVERY aspect, was my favorite part: Our co-travelers were such a great group of people that I truly miss them! Our Guide was phenomenal! The locations each presented a unique experience. The local guides were so knowledgeable! Our bus driver was amazing! So much history and art.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The entire tour, from start to finish, were "WOW" moments. Every day provided a new experience in a new location. There were two events that really blew me away. One was the marble quarry. The other isn't on the itinerary but you will experience it on a daily basis. It's the Italian way of life with daily "Passeggiatas". What a wonderful culture to put family first!"

Bruce

Chico, CA

Tour: 06/26/17

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Very good overall trip- I was on this 'same' trip in 2010 and feel this revised one is better overall. I prefer Montefalco over Montoni for overnight stays as Montefalco had more options in the evenings. The truffel 'hunt' was equally nice at both venues but enjoyed the afterwards meal/setting more on this trip. I did like the 'downtown' hotel at Lake Orta in 2010 but only as a mater of convenience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There wasn't a clear-cut winner but the boat ride to Montarosa was very nice-"

Debbie

Campbell, CA

Tour: 06/26/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

With this being my second Rick Steves tour, I must say it only re-affirmed my sense of quality in your tours. First and foremost, I must give much of the credit to our intrepid tour guide, Tricia. She put her heart and soul into this tour, acting as an historian, cultural guide, and other duties while herding 24 eager, but inexperienced, tour members. I can't even count the number of times she answered the same question over and over again, and never lost her patience or sense of humor.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were numerous "Wow" moments on this tour, but my favorite was a concert we attended in Lucca in a church featuring opera singers who had graduated from a nearby music school. They sang several favorite opera aria's, but the pianist who accompanied them was astounding! Very romantic..."

Elyse

Los Angeles, CA

Tour: 06/26/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Stepping inside the Orvieto Duomo."

Carolyn

Novato, CA

Tour: 06/26/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

excellent pacing, both daily and overall. Our tour guide, Tricia, was a wonderful leader, full of smiles, energy, and knowledge.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Carrara marble quarry (didn't expect to be literallly in the middle of the operation) Puccini concert in Lucca (recommended by Ricia, our guide)"

James

Mason, MI

Tour: 06/26/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was a fantastic tour. It was very well planned and organized in every detail. There was a nice balance of group activities and free time. The tour covered history, art, architecture, culture and cuisine. Our guide, Tricia, was awesome. We had a great bus driver, Mario, also. This was our first Rick Steves tour and we're already planning our next.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were many "wow' moments! My favorite spot was Lake Orta with it's fascinating town and scenic lake and island."

Jane

Sapulpa, OK

Tour: 06/26/17

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

This is a great tour. The itinerary was wonderful, guide Tricia was outstanding, and the local guides were great. Visiting the olive oil press, the marble quarry, the winery, the organic farm/restaurant, and the truffle farm raised this tour above even the normally high RSE standards. This has probably become my favorite RS tour, of 11 taken.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"This tour is packed with wonderful experiences, but I think the only times I actually said "Wow" were for things we did in our free time - the archaeological site at San Giovanni Church in Lucca, or the Palazzo della Ragione in Padova¸for example. But these were things I wouldn't have seen if we hadn't been on this tour. The guides - Tricia and the local guides - and the cultural experiences were the highlights of the tour."

Loraine

Tucson, AZ

Tour: 06/26/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I took this tour because it has a rather complicated itinerary of things to see in places difficult to plan for and get to on my own. It did not disappoint. I'm older with bad knees, so I had to skip some hiking that was too challenging for me, but that was okay. I was able to do everything I wanted to do.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"As you might expect, there were many of them, but my favorite was visiting a marble quarry at Carrara. I love seeing how things are done anywhere, but to see the area where marble has been quarried for centuries and to learn how it was done over time was fascinating. It was also great to see it being done right now and to be on the same roads as the trucks carrying it to the port."

Candy

San Marcos, CA

Tour: 06/12/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We were looking for a more immersive plunge into Italian people, food and culture. This tour did not disappoint. With the guidance of an amazing team leader, Sarah, our group came together as a family and jumped right in. We also chose this tour for the range of experiences. One of my favorites was truffle hunting with Bruno and his dogs Puci and Enea. Where else on earth can you run through the trees following a man and his dogs digging in the earth for such delicious nuggets.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"As many who've reviewed this tour before me agree, it is tough to choose a favorite. Being in 3 different towns for festivals was so unexpected and definitely a wow. St Anthony in Padua, Corpus Domini in Orvieto and St John in Monterosso - you couldn't help but to get drawn into the locals excitement. The Villa il Poggiale in San Casciano was the most beautiful place I've ever stayed at and picturebook Italian countryside. Can't leave out the Villa Pambuffetti in Montefalco either, beautiful."

Connie

Vancouver, WA

Tour: 06/12/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our 3rd Rick Steves tour, and like the others, it exceeded expectations. Every day was filled with interesting experiences that we would not have done on our own. Our fellow travelers in the group were great as well and we enjoyed relaxing in the evening with our Italian wines or aperitif! Sarah even made arrangements for some of us to go to Pisa if we wished. Overall a wonderful vacation.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"So many! For me the Assisi tour was especially moving because of the history that our guide made so vivid. The small chapel inside was amazing. The wine tasting and the underground caves at a beautiful villa was another wow moment! The small hill town of Civita with its steep bridge was also one of my favorites."

Marcel

Jamestown, RI

Tour: 06/12/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our first Rick Steves tour and what an amazing experience it was! The Village Italy Tour seemed like an excellent way to get to a number of small towns in Umbria and Tuscany that we have wanted to experience for years. And we were not disappointed. The pace, timing and experiences on this tour were just perfect for us. I liked the small tour group and of course our most amazing guide, Sarah. Our tour group genuinely cared about each other and we had a delightful time.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I've wanted to travel to Assisi for many decades and finally arrived there on this tour. It was very special to see the chapel where St. Francis prayed and his place of death. The great thing about this Rick Steves Tour was that ample time set aside to take in the complete ambience of the site in private contemplation. Our guide for the Basilica of St. Francis, Giuseppe, was just perfect as a contemporary advocate for the principles of St. Francis."

Steven

Vancouver, WA

Tour: 06/12/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Once again the RS folks outperform! This is our third RS tour and we leave wanting more! Our guide, Sarah Corfield, was just awesome. She was knowledgeable, caring, and attentive to not only the details of our travels but to our individual needs and concerns. Our fellow travelers were a pleasure and so much fun, nary a grump in the group!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Loved the traditions of learning at the medical school in Padova! I was pleasantly surprised to learn many ways the Italians risked so much to save many Jewish families during WWII, including hiding them inn a hidden floor in the Basilica of Assisi!"

Denise

Seattle, WA

Tour: 06/12/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our fourth Rick Steves' guided tour & best yet. Sarah was so knowledgable about the Italian culture and history and was equally passionate to share her vast knowledge. The villages we toured were each interesting, unique and endearing. This trip has got us seriously considering visiting for 1-2 months on our next visit and using one of these beautiful towns as our home base. Truly an inspirational experience!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The cultural experiences - olive oil tasting, cooking class, truffle farm, ceramics studio, marble mine - were the highlights for me. If I had to choose only one it would be participating in the truffle hunt and then enjoying a multi-course meal featuring truffles. Those truffle hunting dogs were amazing and the bond with their handler was heart warming to see."

Rick

Summerfield, FL

Tour: 06/12/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Both my wife and I agree this was by far the best vacation tour experience we've ever encountered. Our tour guide (Sarah) was thoughtful, knowledgeable, light hearted, and very attentive to our needs and the needs of the group. The group itself came together quite easily, and everyone seemed to enjoy each others company. No tensions, "no grumps. Everyone was happy, helpful, and wanting to engage, and enjoy each other and the experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Multiple "wow" moments throughout our tour. Almost impossible to lock on to just one. We reflect on St. Francis Basilica, the Truffle hunt, the Deruta pottery making demonstration, the festival of St. Anthony,the wine tasting at Le Velette. The hike from Monterosso to Vernazza. Mass at the Basilica in Orvieto in celebration of Corpus Domini!!!Each day provided lasting memories. Great "wow" moment(s) when almost entire group sat around, indulged in some vino, while laughing the afternoon away!"

Raul

Foothill Ranch, CA

Tour: 06/05/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was amazing ! I'm not a fan of tours and I always travel at a faster pace and in several times I use Rick Steves books but this time I took a chance and find this experience so rewarding cause we don't only learn a lot but also enjoy it so much cause we don't have to worry about anything. The locations were careful choose, the timing was perfect and the guide was extraordinary, knowledgeable and funny

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Montefalco was fantastic, the accommodations were great ! And the tour was very interesting ( truffle hunting ) the food was really good, the sunset was perfect and to close the moon was amazing !!"

Belinda

Longmont, CO

Tour: 06/05/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The Village Italy tour exceeded my best expectations. Our guide, David, provided exceptional insight into Italian culture through local, regional, and national perspectives. Each day was an adventure of discovering historic villages, local foods and wine, and the opportunity to learn from local guides. I can happily say that I finished the tour with a deeper contextual understanding of Italy and its people.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were so many "wow" moments during our tour. Perhaps the one that I enjoyed the most was Truffle Hunting with dogs followed by eating a delicious Truffle inspired dinner overlooking the Umbrian countryside at sunset."

Michael

Wilton, ME

Tour: 06/05/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Wonderful tour, great guide!

Sally

Flagstaff, AZ

Tour: 06/05/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

What a fabulous tour! This is experiencing "real" Italy---and the pace allowed for time to absorb the culture, places, and food!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It is hard to choose just one "wow"[INVALID]but perhaps the evening that we all sat outside after dinner (Cinque Terra)while David (tour guide)played guitar and Mario (driver) and Samantha (from the hotel) sang traditional Italian music (and some we knew too!). People walking by stopped to join in, dance, and laugh. Small children stared. We felt like we were temporary locals traveling through. I'm still humming snippets from some of the songs....."

Marcia

Wilton, ME

Tour: 06/05/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour exceeded my expectations. I thought it would be low-key, not very exciting, but I was pleasantly surprised. Each town was unique, fascinating, and I learned so much. David was an exceptional tour guide. He was very knowledgeable, articulate, humorous, kind, and helpful. I would highly recommend this tour to anyone.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Wow ...lots of "wow" moments. Lake Orto tasting pesto/learning how to make it marble quarry hunting for truffles Way too many to enumerate!"

Mike

St Louis, MO

Tour: 05/27/17

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

The tour was very good. There were a few more strenuous walking days than I expected and the showers in the hotel were quite small. I guess I should have expected that for the Village Italy tour. There were more churches and frescos included in te tour, but again I should have expected that.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Visiting Carrera and learning about marble."

Gerald

Venice, FL

Tour: 05/27/17

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

the trip was very energetic. we had great group and the guide and itinerary were excellent.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"i must say the entire trip was a wow. If I had to pick one thing it be the Marble query."

David

Manlius, NY

Tour: 05/27/17

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

The guide was very knowledgeable and kept us on schedule. The tour highlighted the Villages as promised. the pace was good as advertised, some easy, some difficult.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Cinqueterra"

Marshall

Renton, WA

Tour: 05/27/17

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Loved visiting so many small towns and villages! Dominico (bus driver) was great and his bus had it all: clean, comfortable, free wifi, usb charging ports and even an espresso maker! Ann was a great tour guide. Very knowledgable, organized with lots of great stories about the Italian culture and traditions. Loved having varied experiences: Truffle hunting and dinner (and I don't even like mushrooms!), pottery demonstration, wine and olive oil tastings and tours. The cooking class! A++

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Visiting the Basilica at San Vitale was amazing! The intricacy and brilliance of the gold and other colors in the mosaics was breathtaking!"

Leslie

Danville, CA

Tour: 05/22/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The short answer is-best vacation I have ever been on! This was our first Rick Steves tour and I was really looking forward to not having to drive, make decisions on hotels, make reservations for everything. But it was the people we were with that made this trip so great. Our guides were fantastic! Our driver was fantastic! And, we met 20 like-minded travelers that we got to be friends with. Usually, I come back from vacation ready for a rest, but now, I can't wait to go again!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Oh, to pick just one? I guess that would have to be the pre-wedding dinner celebration ( pulled off in secret by our guides and the hotel staff) for the couple getting married in Italy right after the tour. Everyone joined in, even the hotel staff. But, really, every day had a wow moment. Going down to breakfast, checking into each hotel, discovering a restaurant, it just never ended."

Mark

Danville, CA

Tour: 05/22/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my first Rick Steve's tour and I must say I don't know how this tour could have been any better! From the hotels, the food, our tour guides Trina and Kathleen, along with all the local guides, plus our bus driver Dario. It was a flawless performance in an incredible country. Our group was the best. Don't know how you do it but this trip has made us RickNicks for life! The trip was the perfect length just wish we had two nights at the end.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The whole trip was just one BIG WOW!!! But if I have to choose I would say the Ravenna mosaics took my breath away. I will always remember the Hotel Belvedere in San Leonino Tuscany. The view out over the Tuscan plains as the sun set into the west. The vineyards and Olive trees the light breezes and wonderful wine made this a truly magical moment."

Nancy

Cocoa Beach, FL

Tour: 05/22/17

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Very well managed and executed. Stress free for me.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Truffle hunting with the dogs."

Robert

Livermore, CA

Tour: 05/22/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Tour was well planned, with outstanding food, great sights to see, and excellent places to stay. The balance between group time and on-your-own time was right. Logistics went smoothly, no glitches. Highlight was a wedding dinner on the next to last night for the couple that was getting married a week later. Tour guide, Trina, and bus driver, Dario, schemed to pull off a great evening. I suspect Kathleen helped too. The chef did a marvelous job and there was music.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"We found the Tar-Tuf Truffle Restaurant in Siena. Roberto, the tour guide at the Etruscan museum, is connected with the restaurant in some way and gave us the tip. It was in a quiet section of town with a perfect setting and beyond perfect food with truffles."

Dan

Blue Ash, OH

Tour: 05/22/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The VI tour allows you to become very acquainted with a more authentic Italian experience. Visiting small hill towns and various regions provides such a perfect mix of culture, food, wine, art, and geography. We were blessed with beautiful weather, a great guide, and a compatible group of fellow tour members. Our R/S guide, driver, and tour apprentice hosted a wedding celebration honoring our soon to be married wedding couple post tour, benefiting the entire group with a memorable evening.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The trip was one memorable moment after another, from the incredible scenery to the wonderful towns, the great art, fabulous food, and the incredible people! Every day was filled with its wow moments."

Juli-Robin

Santa Rosa, CA

Tour: 05/22/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my first trip to Europe. It was fascinating. Our guides were awesome. Trina was so informative about the history and Kathleen gave us great food guidance. We also go married right after our trip. We stayed in Lake Como the week after and got married on June 8th in Bellagio. Trina and Kathleen were helpful as well. We learned about traditions in Italy..bella figura. Our group was awesome. I was so happy that we all got on so well. We definitely has fun together.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Again, first time in Italy so a seasoned traveler may not have been so awestruck. I loved the city of Lucca. Padua was very interesting...great guide. The Trains were manageable - as long as you got on the right one..HA"

Bruce

Edmonton, AB

Tour: 05/22/17

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Overall a very good tour. No major issues. I really enjoyed touring Italy.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Just very different than what I am used to."

Norine

Edmonton, AB

Tour: 05/22/17

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

A very good tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"None to report."

Autie

Longview, WA

Tour: 05/22/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Pardon my delay inn responding. I have been traveling with family since my return from Italy. Over all this tour far exceeded my expectations. The details "you" take care of on behalf of each traveler is exceptional. Both of our guides are exceptional guides and always seemed aware of each travelers needs. I was amazed at how they watched and read each of us from day to day. Trina's history knowledge which she shared with us as we traveled certainly enhanced my trip.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were too many to count. I thoroughly enjoyed each day."

Cindi

New Braunfels, TX

Tour: 05/20/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I can't begin telling about my overall experience without starting with our tour guide, Tricia. Her knowledge of Italy, both present and past, was incredible. With that being said, my overall experience was filled with learning; from marble quarries to truffle dogs to Giotto's masterpieces and many things in between.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favorite "wow" moment happened touring the marble quarry at Carrera. As we were wrapping up the tour, standing at the base of the mountain, a worker fairly high up on our side of the mountain, set off an explosion to loosen some marble. Of course, not only was he able to extract hunks of marble, it also created a land slide. It was all controlled but pretty exciting. We all felt we had first hand knowledge of how it's done!"

Nicole

Springfield, IL

Tour: 05/20/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour was everything I wanted and more. It was a great way to learn about Italian culture and really experience the Italian way of life. The focus wasn't just on tourist locations, but really about experiencing all that was there to offer. Tricia was such a great guide and we had a tremendous group of people that made the entire experience even better. I was traveling solo and had no issues with my roommate or finding people to enjoy dinner with.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It is hard to really narrow this trip into just one moment. I enjoyed so much from the wine experience to the cooking class. My most powerful moment came when visiting Assisi and seeing the tomb of St. Francis, who is a very meaningful figure in my life. That was just a moment that I will treasure always."

Veronica

Seattle, WA

Tour: 05/20/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My first Rick Steve's tour and would not be my last. Very satisfied with the way the tour is setup. Lots of different activities and down time to catch up.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"So many to list. 1)The unexpected blasting at the Cave Di Marmo Fantiscritti Carrara!! 2)The olive tour to the Frantoio Sociale La Visona are definitely top of my list. So educational!"

Naomi

Warrenville, IL

Tour: 05/20/17

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

This was an unusual trip. I believe the largest city we visited was Padua, and we enjoyed experiencing smaller cities. Everything went smoothly - Tricia and Ezio worked seamlessly together, the group was exceptionally compatible.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"We had the almost perfect picnic in Orvieto! It was one of the market days; Tricia sent us shopping for picnic fare - after preparing us adequately. We all brought our purchases to share in a scenic park-like setting on an absolutely perfect day."

Leslie

Gresham, OR

Tour: 05/20/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Everything was so magical from beginning to end. Immediately Tricia set a tone of warmth, enthusiasm, passion for Italy, and security. Through her efforts our group gelled so well and from the first day we were off on a whirlwind of amazing sites, knowledgeable as well as witty and fun tour guides, and memorable moments. Every day was a great balance of full agenda in the morning and more relaxed afternoons with time for making our own discoveries of food and festivity! Absolutely fabulous!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My "wow" moment came with learning about and seeing the incredible work of Giotto in the cathedrals. His impact in taking religious art into the Renaissance Era and influencing Michelangelo was so interesting. Another "wow" was the tour through the ceramic factory and seeing all the steps involved as well as the artistry on the plates, etc. The finished products were absolutely beautiful and works of art for sure."

Mary

Dunlap, IL

Tour: 05/20/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My husband and I planned this trip to celebrate our 40th anniversary. We are new to the Rick Steves' "way" and to Italy. We were not disappointed. Everything about this trip was outstanding, from our tour guide to the local guides to the group meals and daily itinerary. It is a trip we won't forget.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It's hard to pick a favorite, but I have to include: the Scrovegni Chapel, walking up to the Pambuffeti Villa in Montefalco, the Basilica of St. Francis, the truffle dinner, observing the artists painting the ceramics at Deruta, learning enough Italian to feel comfortable in the culture, the picnic on the wall in Orvieto, Stephano and the Agriturismo la Pietriccia, lunch Frantoio La Visona and the beauty of Lake Orta."

Greg

Seattle, WA

Tour: 05/20/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was outstanding from beginning to end. We did so much and saw so much in the 2 weeks that it was hard to believe that we did all of that and saw all of that.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hard to pin down just one thing so I will say that it was the scenery. The scenery of Tuscany and the Ligurian Coast and the Lakes Region was just stunning. Our guide, Patricia, was beyond outstanding and certainly deserving of some "Wow"!"

Phyllis

Golden, CO

Tour: 05/15/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We thoroughly enjoyed this tour. Sarah was an exceptional tour guide. Her thorough preparation and thoughtfulness were greatly appreciated. The pace of the tour was good - enough time on our own and enough time touring specific sites.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The cathedral at Orvieto is magnificent. But the most fun was the cooking class and luncheon. A close second was discovering how delicious truly Italian gelato is!"

Barbara

Vashon, WA

Tour: 05/15/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was BETTER than I expected. Sara was incredible. The experiences were memorable and outstanding.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were many, but seeing the medical theater in Padua where Galileo taught anatomy was a highlight. The mosaics in Ravenna were unforgettable. Assisi was one of my favorite places as well as Orvieto."

Janet

Broomfield, CO

Tour: 05/15/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Once again, great small group and off the well-worn pathways of Italy's big cities. Really a nice addition to getting to know Italy by seeing smaller villages and the countryside. Lots of free time to explore on your own. Tour activities well- planned and interesting. Most accommodations were high level and quite a "luxury" (as in private villas where we were the only people staying there) Also, very good to have 2-night stays throughout the trip. Tour Guide was low-key and very effective.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Carrera marble quarry. Fascinating to see something that old and famous."

Edward

Huntsville, AL

Tour: 05/15/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our Village Italy tour was excellent. Everything went smoothly. The tour group consisted of many Rick Steve tour veterans committed to this style traveling. That made everything easier. They were a diverse and interesting collection of people. The art was of course a major attraction and lived up to all expectations. I will talk more about the tour guide Sarah Corfield in the question below, but for now just let me say she was fantastic and a major factor in the success of the tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"In 1971 as a college student, much to the chagrin of my landlord and eventually a great detriment to my bank account, I painted Giotto's Deposition of Christ from the Cross (Lamentation) directly on the wall of the living room of my apartment. I considered both my work and Giotto's masterpieces and all my visitors were very impressed. My landlord was not. Maybe he was not an art enthusiast. Forty six years later the hair on my arm stood up as I stood before that fresco in the Scrovegni chapel."

Michele

Richmond Hill, ON

Tour: 05/15/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our tour guide "Sarah" was so informative and friendly, I enjoyed the Italian lessons, she made learning fun and not intimidating! Our group was also very friendly and enjoyed learning about the history of each town. Sarah made the trip for me, she was always approachable and had endless knowledge about each town we visited. It was like being with a best friend. The villas and hotels we stayed in were amazing, and the food!!!!!T our guides were riveting!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Seeing my children aged 23 & 19 go into a Duomo for the first time, they were breathless! The villa in Montefalco!!! The welcoming dinner in Padua!!!"

Steve

Richmond Hill, ON

Tour: 05/15/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Sarah was a wonderful guide, our group was "well behaved" compared to our previous tour in 2015. We enjoyed our villas the best.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Villa Pambufetti? lol, in Montefalco (forgive any spelling mistakes please) lovely location and facilities just outside of town, a perfect short walk to the local restaurants."

Lynda

Highlands Ranch, CO

Tour: 05/15/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We enjoyed our tour very much. Pre-trip communication was good and Sarah did a great job as our tour guide. The itinerary was well planned and things went smoothly. Weather was great too!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Beautiful views in Umbria and Tuscany."

Michael

Beaumont, TX

Tour: 05/15/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

the tour covered everything & more it said it would. I most interested in the churches & loved seeing all on the tour & ones I saw on my own. I had never been to the Italian riveria or the lake area, but I enjoyed both. out of all the towns we visited I had only been to siena so it was all new to me which was great. our tour director sarah was fantastic. the food on the tour was good & the hotels were nice & centrally located.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"going to san vitale & going to the church to see the mosaics I had studied in art history as an art major. the mosaics were beautiful, but I loved the roman arch church they were set in. I also was very happy that we got to inside the monsoleum next door. other wow moments were the walk of silence on island in lake orta. the doumo baptistery in Padua. visiting st Anthony basilica in Padua. the unexpected to pisa. building sandcastles on the beach in levanto. revisting siena."

Mary Beth

Paonia, CO

Tour: 05/15/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was a fabulous tour with a wealth of local guides and unique experiences that I very much enjoyed, especially meeting the various artisans and craftspeople in their work spaces, participating in wine and olive oil tastings, preparing an Italian meal, the Etruscan museum, the truffle hunt and the Carrara marble excursion. The beautiful countryside and fascinating towns with their ancient frescoes and mosaic art were splendid. I especially enjoyed Orvieto and Lucca.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were so many! However, I remember literally saying "Wow" twice, once when we rounded a corner and I first saw the façade of the Duomo in Orvieto and the second when I first saw the view from my room's patio at the Hotel Belvedere di San Leonino outside Siena."

Janet

Eureka Springs, AR

Tour: 05/13/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It far exceeded my wildest expectations. Our group was very congenial and our guide, David, was amazing. His wealth of knowledge, tireless interaction with us and sense of humor greatly enhanced our Italian experience. I was very impressed by the educational and cultural aspects of the tour, as well as the quality of the accommodations and management of our time. We were kept sufficiently busy and stimulated, yet had enough time on our own. It was an experience I will never forget.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I found the Etruscan history and the ancient hill towns the most fascinating."

Richard

Eureka Springs, AR

Tour: 05/13/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I thought the tour was far better than I had expected. It started off great and somehow it got better with each passing day. It's an experience that I'll also remember fondly. Although I tell my wife that we shouldn't take another foreign tour because we might feel let down after the Small Village Tour of Italy, I am convinced that a Rick Steve's tour could never be a disappointment.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I thought the Etruscan Museum and the guide giving the tour represented my Wow moment the best. I just wish we could have spent another hour there after the official tour. Too much to see in our limited time."

Carolyn

Bloomington, IN

Tour: 05/13/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

As I've said several times since I came home - I would do it all over again tomorrow if I could! We had a wonderful group, everything promised in the literature was delivered (and so much more). David was an excellent guide and added so much value - a real rock star as a guide and as a musician!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Seeing the Giotto frescoes at Cappella Scrovegni - a lifelong dream. Local guide Christina so added to that experience with information regarding the relationships between Dante, Giotto, and the University. *Visiting Christina's family's parish church and her recounting of their experiences during WWII. *The Piazza del Campo in Siena - the scale was breathtaking. *Discovering the Etruscan origin of my name at Museo Etrusco Chianciano. *Truffle dog Molly bringing me her truffle : ) *Lucca opera!"

Kathleen

Scottsdale, AZ

Tour: 05/13/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour was better than I could have ever imagined. My husband and I have traveled through Europe with other tour groups and cruise lines but this tour was by far the very best. The ease of signing up for the tour, the information that was provided before the tour and the guidance during the tour was so refreshing and so very professional but also so casual and relaxing at the same time. We would definitely do another Rick Steves tour! .

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were many "wow" moments on this tour. From the mid-evil cities, beautiful churches with their frescos and mosaics, rolling hills of Tuscany, colorful outdoor markets, views from the Hotel Belvedere, climbing tall clock towers, visiting the very moving American Cemetary and Memorial outside of Florence, the walks around the beautiful Cinque Terre and beautiful Lake Orta. There were so many more."

Susan

Corvallis, OR

Tour: 05/13/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our tour was fabulous. We are looking forward to taking another Rick Steves tour soon. David, our tour guide was everything we want in a guide. He was informative, knowledgeable, helpful and funny. He spent extra time with us helping to figure out our post tour travel plans. A highlight was when he planned a special concert for our tour group. His band played a concert just for us which was terrific. Everyone loved it.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I loved the truffle hunt. Watching those dogs work was exciting."

Kim

Corvallis, OR

Tour: 05/13/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We really enjoyed David as our guide. He is full of information, even adds music to our bus rides. Rick Steves tours are a great way to go on a vacation and meet people we dont know and develop friendships during the trip.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The hotel and view in Montefalco (the Italian Giuro Bicycle race was there during our stay), truffle hunting, the pottery making demonstration and store in Deruta, The italian cooking lesson and lunch in Tuscany, the country hotel in Tuscany with its beautiful, peaceful setting."

Ann

Riverside, CA

Tour: 05/13/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We will be RETURN CUSTOMERS. River cruises got us to Europe. But now we have experienced being part of Italy. A far more rewarding journey.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Every single day presented us with a "JAW-DROPPING AWE"... From sights to food to experiencing the thrill of independent exploration."

Fred

Scottsdale, AZ

Tour: 05/13/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My wife, Kathie and I had high expectations for this trip since we regularly use Rick Steve's travel books and have taken some private tours where Rick Steves was personally consulted. However this was our very first tour with a Rick Steves group, it far exceeded our highest expectations. The itinerary, tour guide David, our bus driver Dominico, even the weather was far superior than imaginable.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Selecting a favorite 'wow' moment would be very difficult, since every day had a 'wow' factor. Those daily 'wows' were just enhanced by tour guide David's knowledge and caring approach to each days activities. Also David's special surprises enhanced our experience."

Lansing

Palo Alto, CA

Tour: 05/13/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was the best experience I have ever had on a tour! It was my first time in Italy and I returned with great respect and appreciation for the people and country.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"So many! Perhaps the spontaneous, personal moments: an unexpected encounter with the Tour D'Italia in Montefalco including a special dinner arranged by our guide at an Abby open just because of the Tour. Also a concert in Orvieto with our guide's band, just for us."

Carol

Sun City Center, FL

Tour: 05/13/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Each and every day was filled with information and fun. Everything we did, big or small was totally delightful due to the meticulous planning by RS and our Exceptional guide, David!! There was magic and knowledge in every vista. Food was to die for, great group of fellow travelers, and fantastic accommadations!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The incredible Ligurian feast in Levanto!! So deliciioso! The impromptu guitar concert given by our guide, David was super fun for everyone no one wanted the music or the evening to end!! Also our bus driver, Domenico sang Volare with David, and Samantha, added to fun with her pantomimes!!"

Victoria

Bloomington, IN

Tour: 05/13/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was AMAZING! All the places that we stopped were continual learning experiences[INVALID]so much information! Information about food, wine, olive oil, cooking, art, architecture, history! It was so beautiful, also. I had never been in Italy and we were very lucky that aside from a few rain drops on the bus windshield while driving[INVALID]it never rained on our tour!!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were so many! All the basilicas and cathedrals--with amazing art! I enjoyed seeing the pottery in Deruta and the artisans that sit there painting and creating it!"

James

Riverside, CA

Tour: 05/13/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I love to travel, and a tour like the "Villages of Italy" makes me want to pack up again and GO. Our tour guide, David, made this trip the success it was. David was well informed about every site we saw, kept us intertained and waiting eagerly for the next adventure on this trip. The tour bus was comfortable and the driver very professional. Our hotels were always located in "easy to get to" places and very comfortable. I recommend this triip highly.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"On a great trip like this it's hard to pick a favorite "WOW", but I would say the experience of visiting Civita di Bagnoregio was it. This place is in a setting that is spectacular and the walk to get there was well worth the effort."

Tanya

Roswell, NM

Tour: 05/08/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our 4th RS tour, and it lived up to the quality tours we've enjoyed before. Our tour guide, Trina, was exceptional. She worked hard behind the scenes to make sure everything went off without a hitch. Restaurant choices were exceptional. Our group bonded easily - Trina does a better job at 'name game'...ask her about it! Loved the choice of places we visited, the balance of tour/free time. Perfect, relaxing opportunity to explore the best of Italian villages and Tuscany!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Too many WOW moment's to distill down to just one! Loved the amazing artwork in the churches. The architecture was incredible. This was the wine and foodie tour! Meals were amazing (zucchini blossoms and truffles, olive oil and wines). Gelato was a treat in every stop. Our guide and our tour group had such a wonderful chemistry, and we hope to see each other again soon. Maybe reunion? :)"

Ellen

Kent, WA

Tour: 05/08/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was excellent in every aspect. All the hotels were unique in their own way which added to the fun of discovery. Each of the cities chosen to visit were well thought out so we could easily explore in the allotted time, offered wonderful foods and markets, and left us with a taste to return to Italy again. The special meals arranged by our guide were outstanding. It was a nice balance of bus time versus time for sights. We came back from this trip 100% satisfied with the tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There are too many to come up with only one, from seeing the magnificent architecture of the churches and wonderful art contained within to the farmhouse meal at the Frantoio. Each of the tours were excellent with enough information and history to inform. Our group was fun from day one and we all had a marvelous time traveling together. We were very moved at the Florence American Cemetery and was honored to have visited there."

Richard

Roswell, NM

Tour: 05/08/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our favorite tour of the five we have done. Our tour guide Trina did a great job of leading us and we really enjoyed the Rick Steves Family on our tour. There was so much history to learn and art works to enjoy. The villages each had their own flavor and ending in Lake Orta was a beautiful ending. Out bus driver Dario was a great addition and Trina used her gift set to make our experience the best it could be. I would strongly recommend this trip to everyone.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My wow moment was the United States graveyard just outside Florence. To think that our country helped liberate Italy and that thousands of American lives were lost in the process was a sobering and moving experience."

Joe

Wadsworth, OH

Tour: 05/08/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

A really great cultural experience. We saw breath taking art,and ate outstanding food you could only get in Italy. Our hotels were either in the old city center or in the country with scenic views. We walked down countless narrow streets that had been there for hundreds and hundreds or years. Our guide Trina had boundless energy with one goal to make our trip and memorable and as fulfilling at possible.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Many individual "wow" moments, but the best was just walking through those countless old winding streets in ancient cities."

Terri

Elk Grove, CA

Tour: 05/08/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Overall the trip was wonderful. I learned so much history, saw places too beautiful to describe, ate delicious food, & drank a lot of great wine. The tour was recommended by a couple we met on a previous tour. We cannot thank them enough as this tour was fantastic. We went to places I never heard of and saw churches that were museums unto themselves. We are so glad we chose this tour. Our guide plus local guides filled our heads with history that I had never heard and I have a degree in history!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"For me, the 'wow' moment was very personal.The visit to Assisi was an emotional experience.My mom, who died 30 years ago, loved St. Francis.She had a statue that she let me & my 5 siblings play with.To be where he did his work and where he died was overwhelming for me.I heard about his works on the guided tour.My husband & I went to many shops until I found the statue that spoke to me & it is proudly displayed in our home.My mom was with me all that day.I know why she loved St. Francis so much."

Joan

Surprise, AZ

Tour: 05/08/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The U.S. Veteran's Cemetery."

Vivian

Victoria, BC

Tour: 05/08/17

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Very very good. Covered an amazing amount of territory and experiences: art, churches, food; town and country. Free time well positioned among the scheduled activities. Didn't give an 'outstanding' rating as I sometimes felt we needed more time (see end comments).

Favorite "WOW" moment

"More than one: the mercato in Orvieto, where I bought the best nespole (medlars) I have ever seen; the Etruscan Museum at Chianciano and guide Roberto; the church in Bonassola, empty except for the little Italian woman slowly mopping back and forth, back and forth, a form of moving prayer. Top moment: a square in Levanto, with budding ballerinas being taken through their routine to the sounds of Mendelssohn's Midsummer's Night Dream. Enchanting."

Terry

Austin, TX

Tour: 05/08/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

For 25 years, my husband and I have traveled a lot of Europe using Rick Steves guide books. We had talked about trying one of the tours to see how we would like it. We chose this tour because it wasn't as aggressive(travel distances were fairly short) as many of RS' tours. The tour was a bit too fast paced for us, but we did enjoy all of the extras included in the trip, ie: visiting the WWII American Cemetery near Florence. This was our first RS trip, but won't be our last.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Museum Chianciano with Robert as the guide. He made everything in the museum seem special."

Suzanne

Vancouver, WA

Tour: 05/06/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Fabulous! Expert, helpful tour guide, wonderful group of fellow travelers that we connected with right away. Loved the small villages and all the interactive activities.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Such beautiful scenery. Favorite was Civita and Lake Orta. It was difficult NOT to take an amazing picture. Favorite activity was the cooking class on the farm."

Loretta

Makawao, HI

Tour: 05/06/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Lisa has endeared herself from the start of Orientation. As she introduced herself it was clear that her first interest was making sure we all got to know one another and it was her desire to make sure we would have the best experience of Village Italy possible. Her warmth and enthusiasm spilled over and the excitement of having such a personal guide made a great first impression.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It wasn't until after the tour when all had settled in that I realized my "wow" moment was that I was truly living and being a part of the Italian culture. I loved the experiences of visiting Civita di Bagnoregio, having hands on Tuscan cooking lessons and learning the slow-food philosophy, the boat ride to Cinque Terra and its villages, touring the historical churches (St. Anthony's Basilica, Scrovegni Chapel, San Vitale), and the many local places quaint with market life & historical feature"

Anne

Virginia Beach, VA

Tour: 05/06/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This (our 6th RS tour) was just as delightful as all the others before. It was well-organized and led by our fabulous guide, Lisa. The people bonded nearly immediately. We find the Rick Steves format to be very conducive to making interesting friends quickly (even for shy people). The pace was lively, the food was delicious, varied and representative of each region, the views spectacular, the free times enjoyable, the cathedral art awe inspiring, the regional history fascinating!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The most surprising "wow" was our first stunning view of the Carrera marble quarry. The next was the Belvedere hotel in the Tuscany hills of San Leonina. Our room was like rustic palace and the grounds were beautiful and serene. Another wow was how Cinque Terre has changed (overcrowded) since we were there ten years ago but that just made the lesser visited Corniglia and Levanto (where we stayed) that much more relaxing. It reminded us to expect the unexpected and enjoy!"

John

Louisville, KY

Tour: 05/06/17

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

The tour was an excellent, action-packed 14 days, seeing many hill villages, with different threads. These seemed to me: the arts (and architecture) from pre-renaissance through late renaissance. Also, the Italian history thread with a lot on the Etruscans, and their predecessors. And then their was food and wine! The guide was very good, but the agenda as planned and executed was too busy, too fast, and too exhausting. I will make some suggestions below.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"(1) The ceramics factory (2) Free day in Cinque Terre (3) Seeing Giotto's work (4) Cooking and eating our lunch"

Jeff

Vancouver, WA

Tour: 05/06/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The other "guests" on the tour, none of whom we knew, were delightful! We became friends with 18 of the 22 folks. The tour guide, Lisa, was "awesome!" Very helpful, knowledgeable, responsive to various issues. And the tour itself - the beautiful countryside, the fun cities, and the varied tours and activities - wonderful!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The churches! How in the word did they build these beautiful facilities so many years ago? And the incredible artwork in the churches!!!"

John

Virginia Beach, VA

Tour: 05/06/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Right from the start, this group clicked with each other -- immediate chemistry. And Lisa fit right in with all of us. Thoroughly enjoyed visiting the small town, non-touristy destinations that make up the bulk of the tour. Great series of "how to" visits -- ceramic shop, marble quarry, truffle hunting, vineyard, olive press, alabaster shop, cooking class.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Unlike our previous 5 Rick Steven tours, I really can't think of a single "wow" moment on this trip. I guess maybe the most dramatic moment was seeing Civita and walking up the long bridge to get up to that village."

Laurel

Missouri City, TX

Tour: 05/06/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

loved the whole experience thank you

Favorite "WOW" moment

"loved hiking Cinque Terra trail. Love Love the town of Montefalco. Loved Villa Pambuffetti. loved Civita di Bagnorogia. cool underground tour of Orvieto. Loved Stefenal making us cook ... Velle Vedera country walk in evening was nice place was beautiful. Lucca Olive mil and Lunch was so GOOD."

Franklin

Durham, NC

Tour: 05/06/17

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

I thought the tour itinerary was excellent, our guide Lisa was above excellent, but the hotels were a disappointment and after a long day trying to relax is sub par hotels really hurt the entire tour experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The ferry ride along the Cinque Terre."

Joan

Canton, GA

Tour: 05/06/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Another great RS trip. We enjoyed every bit of the experience. From the first evening introduction there was a feeling of comfort and excitement and no end of conversation. Village Italy was the perfect tour for us as we had only visited 1 of these cities in our previous trips. We thoroughly enjoyed the more intimate small town experience of the villages.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"We have traveled with Rick's guide for many trips before taking his tours and have visited Cinque Terre about 6 times. The drive entering the area was always beautiful and quite challenging. This time though, approaching the same location from the sea offered a completely different impression and a wonderful WOW moment for each new harbor! Over time there have been many changes to the area but it remains a unique and enchanting break by the seaside."

Judith

Blaine, WA

Tour: 05/01/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Beautifully planned and executed.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Duomo in Orvieto."

Cynthia

Alameda, CA

Tour: 05/01/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We chose this tour for the itinerary. It exceeded our expectations in terms of experiences, food, and accomodations. Our Guide Patricia was wonderful.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I had many "wow" moments, but my most favorite was out stay at the Hotel Belvedere di San Leonino for the beauty of the area, our accomodations and experiencing Sienna. I loved the Tuscan cooking lesson."

Walter

Alameda, CA

Tour: 05/01/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Great tour. Covered so many beautiful towns. Congenial group. Outstanding tour leader

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Difficult to pick. Every stop was a new wow moment."

Robert

Blaine, WA

Tour: 05/01/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Tricia is fantastic! What a privilege to see Italy with her guidance. Informed, humorous, helpful. Could not be better. The mix of art , food, and sites was prefect for me[INVALID]-except too much shopping time at the pottery. The Etruscan museum was a particular treat. The accommodations were from good to terrific except for Levanto which was functional with nice people but totally without character. You should block out room 111 that looks into the hotel sign and a street light.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Tough choice. Meeting Patricia is #1. The cathedral in Orvieto at sunset was stunning."

Lori

Columbia Falls, MT

Tour: 05/01/17

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

We started our Europe trip with some independent travel, so we were ready to join the tour, which means that life is getting a whole lot easier! It was a lovely tour. Most of our fellow travelers were very friendly, although we did have a couple of grumps that did have an impact on the trip. Italy is a beautiful nation and this tour helped us see a little deeper into the culture of Italy than we might have seen traveling independently.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My wow moment was our truffle night in near Trevi. Walking through an olive orchard in the early evening and watching an absolutely stunning sunset while enjoying a delicious truffle dinner! What an incredible evening. Ultimately this tour had multiple favorite "wow" moments, but this is the first one that came to mind."

Sanders

Shreveport, LA

Tour: 05/01/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our sixth Rick Steve's tour so, we were familiar with the format and activity level. Going to smaller villages in Italy was truly a "cultural experience". It is a very active tour but, one that really gives you a good feel for the smaller towns. Tricia, our guide, was just excellent.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"This is really not a "fair" question since, there were so very many wonderful moments of the trip. Watching the sunset from the terrace of our hotel in San Leonin in Chianti was pretty spectacular. There were just so many "wow" moments that it's hard to single one out."

Kathleen

Alexandria, MN

Tour: 05/01/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I enjoyed every minute! We saw and did so much. This was our third RS tour and was just as great as the other 2. We met such interesting fellow travelers and saw such a variety of places. The tour was more strenuous than I had expected though. We even had good weather!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hard to pick just one. The cooking class, the Etruascan museum, the hundreds of years old hill towns, the cinque terre, all were great. thanks to Roberto at the museum for finally explaining why so much of our number system is based on 12. I ate too much gelato, but it was worth every pound."

Doug

Concord, CA

Tour: 05/01/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour met my expectations and more. The rural and small town theme was what I wanted when I signed up for the tour and it was delivered. The countryside is beautiful and reminded me somewhat of my home state of California. The tour just flowed with no hitches or problems that I can recall. We even had great weather.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Civita di Bagnoregio for the stunning views of Civita from Bagnoregio on a nice day."

Suzanne

Shreveport, LA

Tour: 05/01/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Loved the small villages and the sights on this tour. Tricia was an excellent guide. The small group size really makes a difference. You are able to get to know one another.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Can not pick. This tour is full of "wow" moments."

Rod

Seattle, WA

Tour: 05/01/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I really appreciated how well we stuck to the schedule. Every morning, there it was, with everything in the brochure listed with times of arrival, and sure enough, we invariably arrived just as planned. Amazing.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Oddly this changes from day to day. There were several that I could choose but as soon as I think of one, another pops into my head. Our first sighting of the Duomo in Orvieto in the evening light was definitely a wow, but a pigeon dish at dinner on the square in Montefalco was a masterpiece. A different kind of wow."

Weather

Italy / Milan


Italy / Venice

Venice Weather


Italy / Florence

Florence Weather

Pre-Tour Planning

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

Trip Resources

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

Tour Hotels

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

Transportation

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sightseeing on Your Own

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

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

Packing

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

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