• 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

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

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!!"

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."

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."

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."

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."

Magdalene

Meadowbrook, PA

Tour: 10/07/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

tour guide was fabulous. fellow travellers were great

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,"

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!!"

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."

Robert

Meadowbrook, PA

Tour: 10/07/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Cathedral in sienna"

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..."

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!"

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."

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."

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!"

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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 !"

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"

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."

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."

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. . .!"

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!"

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!"

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"

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)

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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)."

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!"

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. :)"

John

Ardmore, OK

Tour: 09/23/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Favorite "WOW" moment

"NUMEROUS"

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."

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."

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!"

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"

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!"

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!"

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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"

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."

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."

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!"

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."

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

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."

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"

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."

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."

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"."

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!"

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!!!!!

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."

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."

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"

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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"

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."

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."

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."

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."

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!"

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."

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."

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!"

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."

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."

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)"

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."

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."

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-"

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."

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!"

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."

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!"

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."

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!"

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....."

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."

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 !!"

Michael

Wilton, ME

Tour: 06/05/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Wonderful tour, great guide!

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!"

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"

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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!"

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"!"

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."

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."

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."

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!"

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."

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."

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!"

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."

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."

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."

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."

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!"

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."

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."

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!"

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!!"

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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? :)"

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."

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."

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."

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."

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"

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."

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."

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!!!"

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."

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."

Judith

Blaine, WA

Tour: 05/01/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Beautifully planned and executed.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Duomo in Orvieto."

Suzanne

Columbia Falls, MT

Tour: 05/01/17

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

We really enjoyed most aspects of this tour! Trish was really fantastic and the places we visited were all interesting and many are "off the beaten path". Many of the places we stayed at were really memorable and we were blessed with gorgeous weather throughout the tour. We would have enjoyed a second night at Lake Orta which would have truly made it a 14 day tour. Counting the hotel breakfast and transportation to a departure airport (at our cost) as day 14 of the tour really doesn't seem right

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favorite wow moment happened at our gorgeous hotel in Chianti which was set amongst rolling fields of olive groves and vineyards. After our lovely dinner, we went out and watched darkness fall and fireflies come out to flit magically amongst the rows of grapevines. We were enchanted!"

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

Mark

Felton, DE

Tour: 10/10/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My goal was to tour the Villages of Italy, having done the "circuit" of Rome, Florence and Venice in 1999. I decided to do your tour because making all of the arrangements would have been a nightmare. Well, my decision was a great one as I am certain I would not have had the depth and breadth of exposure to the villages and towns and would have certainly not seen some of the places on the tour. The use of local guides to give the true flavor of the regions was worth the cost of the tour alone

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Puccini concert in a converted church in Lucca. I am not a fan of opera but the concert was memorable."

Allan

Spokane, WA

Tour: 10/10/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I really enjoyed all the information and history that I learned on this tour. I previously, had no knowledge as to who the Etruscans were..

Favorite "WOW" moment

"truffles, pottery making, olive oil, marble mining"

Maureen

Spokane, WA

Tour: 10/10/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my 9th Rick Steves' tour and they have all been wonderful. We really enjoyed being out of the big cities, staying at a villa and an agritismo, cooking lessons, truffle hunts and marble and olive oil experiences. Our guide, Trisha was one of the best that we have had. Love the small tour size!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The museum and guide at the Etruscan museum. Learned and laughed so much. I also loved Cevita. We also liked staying at the villa and the agritismo----did NOT want to leave either one! So glad we had two nights at each. If you have such beautiful places, it is wonderful to have the time off to enjoy them!"

Amy Jo

Arvada, CO

Tour: 10/10/16

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Wonderful tour with a great group of travelers! Our guide, Tricia, was amazing. She brought her love of Italy to every place we visited. Her knowledge and enthusiasm was infectious!! A fast pace tour with little down time. I would have enjoyed a day "off" or an extra night in Levanto or Lake Orta. Really enjoyed all the "field trips", especially the pottery making demonstration, the wine tasting and cooking class with Stephano.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"So many WOW moments. My bike tour through the quiet villages of the Cinque Terre was AMAZING! I also really enjoyed mingling with the locals in Orvieto and the Duomo in Orvieto! Beautiful!! Loved the anatomy lab, at the university, in Padua. The beautiful countryside and our stays at Villa Pambufetti and HotelBelvedere were perfect. Frescoes in the Scrovegni Chapel. Loved Assisi as well!"

Ellen

San Ramon, CA

Tour: 10/10/16

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Tricia did an excellent job of guiding us. She is patient, a good listener as well as a teacher.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Walking (hiking) into Civita di Bagnoregio was a WOW experience for me. Levanto was a WOW too! We loved this city! All the in situ art was also very special."

Kimberly

Washington, DC

Tour: 10/10/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was a nice mix of scheduled and unscheduled time. The pace was a bit more leisurely than some of the tours. Just enough art in churches to be interesting without being overwhelming. I chose this tour because it seemed to focus on "experiences" over museums and I was not disappointed. The group seemed to be compatible from the beginning which always enhances the overall tour experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"This is always a hard question for me to answer. A good tour should be a series of "wow" moments and this one was. The mosaics in Ravenna stand out and the chapel in Orvieto. Watching the full moon rise over the vineyards from the Hotel Belvedere di San Leonino was special."

Robert

Vassar, KS

Tour: 10/10/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

A good selection of towns, history, politics, scenery, and points of interest. Our sixth trip to Europe but our first tour. The marble quarry, olive oil factory, pottery factory, Etruscan Museum, winery, slow cooking lab, truffle hunt, and alabaster workshop were great additions to the wonderful scenery, food, and wine found in the hill country of Italy! Many of these experiences would not have been available to just the two of us on our own!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Picking just one moment from the many sight/sound/tasting experiences is impossible so I'm going to mention an historical fact learned that I still marvel at. Here we were gawking at walled cities and buildings from the 1,100-1,200s. OLD by American standards for sure! But, Italy, as a unified country, is younger by almost 100 years than is the United States. Wow, I never knew or imagined that!"

Robert

Orlando, FL

Tour: 10/10/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Where do I start? This was my first tour and I know that I will be on many more. I have visited Italy previously on numerous occasions and enjoyed every visit but this was the first time I had no worries about hotels,transportation, scheduling museums and purchasing tickets. Knowing that half my meals were arranged but giving me the freedom to venture out on my own to search for a "new" favorite restaurant was all part of the fun.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Every city, every stop, every day was a WOW moment but to choose just one I would have to say the seeing the coastline of Levanto was a WOW moment. While in Levanto some of us took an E-Bike ride tour along the hills and coast of that area. The views from above and along the coast were WOW moments."

Karen

Orlando, FL

Tour: 10/10/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Unforgettable; the only word to describe my experience! As someone who loves Italy, I knew I would enjoy the tour. But, I could not have dreamt of how much I would enjoy it. One can determine that the scenery and activities would be beyond exceptional, but add to this a group of people who want to be on this type of tour as much as you do, added with a guide knowledgeable of art, architecture and history, as well as the balance of activities made for an unforgettable experience beyond my dreams,

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Each day provided "wow" moments. From walking into the first villa, experiencing mosaics of Ravenna, the Anatomy lab in Padua, amazing frescoes,cooking with Stefano, living in a restored farmhouse, walking through olive groves and grapevines, walking with St. Francis, hearing about the co-op olive mill, treated to an organic lunch, experiencing the market as an Italian in Orvieto and having a picnic on the walls, climbing to Civita de Bagnoregio, the Ligurian coast, experiencing Lake Orta!"

Maryleigh

Vassar, KS

Tour: 10/10/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

For two independently-minded travelers, this tour exceeded our expectations! With all the details taken care of, it allowed us to just enjoy the experiences of Italy. Great food, great learning moments, great sights.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were many "wow" moments. I especially enjoyed the lunch at the olive oil mill. Simple, fresh food can be SO delicious!"

Joanne

Everett, WA

Tour: 10/10/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Wonderful, I was able to really see Italy as most Italians do.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Watching the full moon rise over Orvieto,the bus pulled over,it took a few moments the light was amazing."

Caryn

Flint, TX

Tour: 10/10/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour was just fantastic and exactly as we had hoped it would be. I would recommend it to all my friends

Favorite "WOW" moment

"As a physical therapist my wow moment was being able to see the first ever anatomy theater in Padova."

Jodi

Vancouver, WA

Tour: 10/08/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Such a wonderful trip, and I loved traveling with Rick Steves tour! Our guide Nina was so funny, knowledgeable, open, and knows how to be THE guide. She does not miss a step. Our hotels were fun, and unique. The meals were FANTASTIC, and innovative. I loved that we also had local guides. Everyday, There was the element of history, culture, friendship, and constantly saying "I'm so lucky to be able to take such a wonderful trip".

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I had many "wow" moments, but I think the very first one was seeing the hill towns from the bus. You crane your neck, you grab your camera, and hope that this is where we will be staying."

Linda

Tucson, AZ

Tour: 10/08/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Having never been on a tour, I really didn't know what to expect. I have to tell you, this tour was fantastic. I fell in love with every place we went. Our tour guide Nina brought every place alive for us, with enough history, anecdotes, and culture that made me truly appreciate everything we were seeing. Our tour mates were enjoyable and there was a true sense of camaraderie among the group that made it even more memorable. It was well paced with sufficient free time to explore on our own

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I think my favorite WOW moment was our stay at the Hotel Belvedere di San Leonino. It was a beautiful hotel in Castellina in Chianti, in the most beautiful Italian countryside imaginable, surrounded by vineyards and olive groves. It was a Tuscan dream!"

Douglas

San Ramon, CA

Tour: 10/08/16

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Nina Dierckx is an excellent guide and fun to be with,couldn't ask for a better experance.My wife and I had a good time as expected.The tour was a tipical Rick experance. Susan and I have been on 10 Rick tours now and we know what too expect.

Margaret

Sudbury, MA

Tour: 10/08/16

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Nina, our guide, was excellent. Hard working, organized, personable, and went out of her way to make it a good experience. I enjoyed seeing so many new places, but there were two sides to that - changing hotels every two days and learning the geography of new places so often ended up feeling a bit taxing. It was interesting, but also tiring. The food at the group meals was excellent. Seeing so many different parts of Italy was great.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Scrovengni Chapel took my breath away. I was deeply sorry to have to leave after only 15 minutes. I felt the same way about the Mausoleum of Galla Placidia with only 5 minutes viewing time. I understand the time limits are out of the control of your tour. It might be worth seeing if you could negotiate a double time entry for the tour. It would have been a big selling point for me. I was looking forward to both sites and very sad I couldn't enjoy them longer."

Patricia

Tucson, AZ

Tour: 10/08/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was a surprise. My passport is very full, but I have never been with a tour. My experience was way above any expectation I had. Having been in many of the cities we visited, I was pleased to learn & see so much more this time.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Probably the wine tasting & lunch at the family owned estate with the most beautiful view & buildings. This was something that never could have been planned on a private trip. The economics of this day, & many others, confuse me since the trip seemed so reasonably priced."

Mark

Sudbury, MA

Tour: 10/08/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our guide Nina was fantastic...full of information, energy, enthusiasm. Food was great, local guides were great, content was great. It was a tiring trip due to frequent moves, but well worth it to see as much of Italy as we did. Nina did a great job juggling things to correspond with the weather, and keeping the troops entertained during many hours on the bus.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Tuscany at the Bellevue hotel...walking at dawn among the vineyards and olive trees."

Suzanne

Texas, TX

Tour: 10/08/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my third RS tour, but first bus trip. I was apprehensive about bag schlepping, hotel changes, and just a "bus" experience in general. However, I was pleasantly surprised. I wanted to see small town Italy as well as visit some sites in more remote areas. Realizing that this would require either a lot of logistics planning on my own to coordinate trains, cars, busses etc., I decided to let the RS organization handle all of that and just "get on the bus, Gus." Great decision!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Loved the boat ride from Porto Venere to Monterossa on a bright sunny day[INVALID]a view of the Italian coast and the Mediterranean exactly like a movie poster. Mosaics in Ravenna were a very close second wow."

Kurt

Carlos, MN

Tour: 10/08/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our first Rick Steve's tour and what an outstanding time it was. Great group of fellow travelers, easy to feel like family by the end due to our small number. Always felt safe in the hands of our bus driver Ezio. A number of our fellow travelers are regulars with Rick Steve's Tour and now we certainly understand why. We have recommended this tour and Rick Steve's Tours to a number of friends already. Can't wait for our next tour, which we will book soon.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favorite "wow" moment was following the wine tasting at the wine estate near Orvieto, we proceeded into the kitchen and then down the stairs to the wine cellar.... where they've been storing wine since 500 BC. So many more 'wow' moments too numerous to mention here."

Beverly

West Chester, OH

Tour: 10/08/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was great to see the "non-big city" side of Italy. We saw so much in a short period of time. Each space had its unique qualities, but there was always the commonality of being Italian. Being on a tour with a guide and a bus enabled me to access places I probably would not have otherwise seen. And it was fun to share the experience with the other tour members.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I can't choose just one. The mosaics in Ravenna dazzled me. The beauty of the countryside around Hotel Belvedere was just stunning. Discovering the Etruscans was such a surprise. The lunch we prepared with our host Stefano was such fun and delicious. His knowledge of food was impressive. And visiting Civita seemed like entering another world. My "un-wow" moment was on the boat at Lake Orta when I felt so at peace."

Michael

West Chester, OH

Tour: 10/08/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Having seen most of the major cities in Italy, it was so relaxing and rewarding to experience the smaller places.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Seeing the interior of the Scrovegni Chapel in Padova. Not only strikingly well-preserved, but the artistic step forward by Giotto made it even more meaningful. And I'll never forget the sunset in Tuscany at our country inn."

Amy

Windsor, CO

Tour: 10/08/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It rained quite a bit but Nina found ways to brighten the day with spritz and chocolates and wine. The tour is strenuous but well worth the struggles. Accommodations range from pedestrian to top notch. Lovely hosts/hostesses, all staff very friendly and accommodating. Great views of Italy, loved the small villages and hill towns. Great food. Wonderful companions.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My wow moment was definitely the mausoleum in Ravenna with the blue mosaic ceiling with the gold stars. Absolutely gorgeous."

William

Westfield, MA

Tour: 10/08/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I do not feel comfortable driving in Italy, so this tour was perfect for me. I wanted to stay at every stop we made. The food and wine and the group were great, like having a two week party. Nina did an excellent job of guiding us. My only complaint was that there was not enough knee room on the bus. I must say, though, the driver, Enzio, was outstanding.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The abundance of art in every church and town, the view of so many villages high up in the mountains as we drove by, and arriving in beautiful Lake Orta."

Cathy

Shoreline, WA

Tour: 10/08/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The rating above gives an "outstanding" category. That hardly covers my experience with this tour. Every day was new and different and lovely. The only thing I had to do was to open my heart and embrace each experience. As we traveled, our knowledge base of Ital broadened with each experience. Each guide was extremely knowledgeable about his/her subject, and personable and passionate.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There was no real favorite moment, because every day held a wow moment, but I think the little town of Civitis was one of the larger wow moments for me. To think that this little town continues to thrive after many centuries, amazed me. Also it was quaint and so very lovely."

John

Shoreline, WA

Tour: 10/08/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was outstanding. I wasn't sure I wanted to go on a tour, it was my first. Like to plan my own activities but found I loved the mixture of group activities including wine tasting, stain glass demonstration, etc and guided tours of church frescoes and village walks very much. Loved the variety of small towns we visited from the dying city of Civitia to the beautiful, walkable town of Lucca and Levanto. Appreciated the personal time nearly every day where Cathy and I could explore.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Venice was the most fascinating town with the narrow alleys and canal dead ends. Never been in such a strange and fascinating city. Probably the biggest wow for us was the Puccini concert we heard at the Church of St John in Lucca. The arias were magnificent, we were transformed by the music and walked out in a daze to wander the streets now magic with a full moon til we found a small restaurant for dinner where we talked and talked about the power of music and the beauty of Italy."

Helen

Jersey Village, TX

Tour: 10/08/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was one of the best, busiest, and most active of ten Rick Steves' tours that we've taken. So many activities, demos, and delicious dinners were packed into this tour! Even though the activity level is listed as moderate, there were lots of steep inclines, stairs, hikes, etc. (Please understand, we have no complaints ... after all, this IS a tour of "HILL towns," I just think prospective travelers should be aware, to make sure that you're in shape.)

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I always have a tough time choosing, but as a former art major, I would have to say that seeing the mosaics in Ravenna's San Vitale Basilica was truly amazing, as well as seeing Giotto's frescoes in Padova's Scrovegni Chapel. My favorite "wow" hill town for the marvelous visual landscape leading up to it, was Civita di Bagnoregio ... just incredible!"

Alice

Dayton, OH

Tour: 10/03/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Amazing guide, 20 fun traveling companions, good hotels, wonderful pre-tour advice (pack light, get in shape to walk a lot, etc). Particularly liked: the hand-painted pottery shop, alabaster artisans, wine and olive oil tastings, Etruscan museum, Porto Venere and Civita de Bagnoregio. We planned extra days on our own at the beginning and end with great advice from the indispensable RS Italy guide--just the best. Only change I would make is to schedule trip in Sept.-Oct. weather wasn't the best.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Civita de Bagnoregio in the afternoon sunshine, the walled city of Orvieto looming above the parking lot, Lake Orta in the moonlight. (I expected it to be Cinque Terre, but the weather didn't cooperate)"

Sandra

Cincinnati, OH

Tour: 10/03/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

A variety of activities with a very congenial group of travelers and outstanding guide..

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I could never decide this."

David

Hamilton, NY

Tour: 10/03/16

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Good group of fellow travelers. Great mix of events and sights. More educational than previous tours, probably because our guide was special. Only disappointment was weather constraints in travel to see Cinque Terre villages (pending storm shut down boats and trains). Outstanding guide did a great job of working around weather problems.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Three wows: Scrovegni Chapel tour in Padua; truffle hunt; walk to Civita di Bagnoregio."

Paul

Englewood, CO

Tour: 10/03/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We are definitely into the Rick Steves approach to touring. We find the balance between group and individual time to be just right for us. We like being on the go and seeing as much as we can each day. Our tour group was very friendly, interesting and fun. Our tour guide Sarah gave everyone frequent personal attention. She really cared that we had the experiences each of us wanted on the tour and she went out of her way to help make things special for each of us.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Portovenere was an unexpected great stop along the ride to Levanto. Walking the back streets of the tiny village and finding wonderful focaccia at a little shop for lunch was absolutely perfetto! The 800 year old Church of St. Peter on the rocky cliffs at the north end of the village and our daily dose of gelato rounded out our wonderful stop just south of the Cinque Terre."

Susan

Washington, NH

Tour: 10/03/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My husband and I chose to celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary on the Village Italy tour. This was our first tour ever, and it was amazing. The tour itinerary and the guides proved to be first class. Sarah, our tour leader, ensured that each of us experienced Italy in ways that would not have been possible if we had taken a similar trip on our own. I cannot imagine how the trip could possibly be better. We loved the people we met, the places we visited and the daily "surprises".

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Wow is the right word. Every day was filled with "wow" moments. I think the slow food cooking experience was my favorite. Everyone had such fun learning, cooking and eating great food prepared with love and laughs."

Bob

Washington, NH

Tour: 10/03/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was the 1st non self-guided tour my wife and I had ever taken, and it was our gift to each other for our 50 anniversary. I don't like being in big cities so this tour seemed perfect - and it was. Everything was perfect. Our guide, Sara, made everyone in the group feel welcome from day 1. She's a gem. The itinerary including our lodging, places, and events visited along the way was well thought out and executed to perfection.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I'm an avid amateur photographer, so I had at least one "wow" moment a day - probably many more than one."

Lona

Rehoboth Beach, DE

Tour: 10/03/16

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

I loved all the places we visited. The tour was quick paced and well planned. Our guide, Sara, was fantastic. She is adorable, knowledgeable and a pleasure to be around. We all got along well. The hotels were really good. My only issue was personal. On this tour we changed hotels every 1-2 nights. I knew this before the trip. This time I got worn out from walking suitcases up and down hill towns ( no kidding, right) where the bus could not get anywhere near the hotel.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Civita Orvieto Padua. Loved the town and university"

Jana

Waterport, NY

Tour: 10/03/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Loved the trip. Well organized, highly informative, pleasant guide and bus driver. Excellent wine and food. Amazing sights, comfortable rooms.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Wow moments would have to be the amazing basilicas- San Vitale and St. Francis,and the Scrovegni Chapel. But actually standing in the Carrara quarry was amazing, cooking with Stefano and hunting for truffles with Molly was fun."

Linda

Renton, WA

Tour: 10/03/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was by far the best of all our exceptional 7 Rick Steve's tours. The scenery was amazing. Our tour guide, Sarah made the tour exception. Her pleasant manner, leadership style lead to the building of community among our tour members.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The visit to Civita was the absolute "wow" moment. It is a very special view, and reward for a strenuous climb. The special treat that Sarah provided was exceptional"

Nancy

Englewood, CO

Tour: 10/03/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

All of the smaller towns we visited had their own unique character and charm. We saw and did (and ate!) so many wonderful things on this trip that we almost feel we need to take this trip again to get it all straight in our heads. Our (feeble) efforts to communicate with Italians in their own language were always met with gracious hospitality by the Italian people.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I had wow moments every day when I turned the corner to see another fabulous medieval city scene with narrow cobbled streets, unique stone buildings, buttresses and winding stone staircases. And all the cats... A surprising "wow" was Samantha at Albergo Primavera in Levanto. She was terrifically entertaining and went well out of her way to make sure we had fun at the hotel. I would call her my favorite "local guide"."

Kenneth

Beavercreek, OH

Tour: 10/03/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

A wonderful exposure to the villages and towns of Umbria and Tuscany. We had previously visited the big 3 cities so this was a nice change of pace and view of local culture. We had a great group of fellow travelers that added to the experience. The pace, while active, provided much free time to enjoy local sights, shopping and food. The scenery was wonderful and brought to life the movies we have seen in the past.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The scenery and views of the villages sitting high up on the hills were wonderful. The history and seemingly unchanged ambiance of these villages and small towns were striking. Mary's wow moment was helping prepare the luncheon with the group and Stefano, then sitting down to enjoy the delicious food and wine."

Monica

Rehoboth Beach, DE

Tour: 10/03/16

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

This is my third Rick Steves tour and the most difficult one for me My biggest problem is that on this tour there was no effect made to get the suitcases to the hotel I understand that there would be walking and I certainly workout on a regular basis. I found going up hill walking in the rain, 20 minutes with suitcases to get to a hotel to much for me. I found myself in pain and this has never happened on any other trip. I did like our group, I thought the guide was very good.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My wow moments were on the views of Italy . I enjoyed our dinners together and many of the tours."

Michael

Cincinnati, OH

Tour: 10/03/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Your was everything we expected and more. Great guide, Sarah. Excellent accommodations. Clean, modern bus with an excellent driver, Guido. All aspects of the tour were well organized. Will be recommending this tour and Rick Steves' tours in general to my friends.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Giitto's frecoes in the Scrovegni chapel. Although there were many "wow" moments in the tour. Would recommend that you not change a thing on the program."

Carl

Indianapolis, IN

Tour: 10/01/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The Italian Hill Country Tour is an experience of the people and the culture, rather than a "look and see" the statues and churches. We weren't "observers," we were "participants." "Participation," required the coordination, assimilation and understanding of the members of our tour group. Ann Long is the perfect Tour Director for this type of "experience." Ann's firm, but fun loving guidance put us at ease and engendered many friendships between the tour members.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hard to decide. As stated in #2, this Tour was an experience in participation. We enjoyed Cecilia and the wine pairing experience and Maura and Alessandra at Pambuffetti. Stephanos at the cooking class was informative. The agritoursimo at San Leonino was a nice relaxing setting for discussing our adventures with our new tour friends and enjoying great wine and tasty Italian dishes. Must say the Puccini Opera Singers in Lucca, were an unexpected and unplanned delightful evening."

Ronald

Linden, CA

Tour: 10/01/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We loved Anne our guide. The pacing was great nand loved that we had both structured parts of the tour (especially in churches and historical locations) and free time to explore the towns on our own. Very well put together.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I have to pick ONE!!! Admiring Assisi from the grounds of Montefalco while sipping wine."

Larry

Castro Valley, CA

Tour: 10/01/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our first trip to Europe. Overall it was a great introduction to Italy and European travel.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Our stay in Orvieto was my favorite part of the tour. I liked mingling with people, especially at the market. Of course, I loved the polenta in Lake Orta."

Zephron

Gig Harbor, WA

Tour: 10/01/16

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

good itinerary / excellent tour leader / overall outstanding accommodations / a down day in the middle of the tour to "vacation" would enhance the experience

Favorite "WOW" moment

"frescos in library in Siena"

Carolyn

Orinda, CA

Tour: 10/01/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The choices made for this tour were great:guide, travel time, towns, extras, hotels, couldn't have been better. Being so close to Italians and to my surprise[INVALID]many riding bicycles/ even old folks like me with little noisy scooters and traffic. The panorama landscapes on a super bus and driver were magnificent and far above viewing on television. Roaming the narrow, winding streets,finding Italian treasures when opening my tiny crammed suitcase at home a joy,

Favorite "WOW" moment

"How to choose: The Etruscan museum and living history The cooking experience Wine and olive tasting"

Ann

Olympia, WA

Tour: 10/01/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This trip was a dream come true for me. The tour was well organized our guide Ann was always ready to make any necessary adjustments. I loved our passionate and well informed local guides as we were inspired and informed about their home towns. The group meals were great and the stops that involved art, wine or food were great. Our group was fun and we enjoyed running into each other on our free time as we explored our own interests. I was grateful that we didn't spend time in big cities.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"So many to choose from, but maybe it was the dinner in Orvieto when four of us laughed hysterically over the conversation at a nearby table. Some California tourists were trying to order their dinner and the waiter would not let them order a certain wine because it would not pair with what they were ordering. He refused. He said they must change the food or the wine. They couldn't believe that he wouldn't give them what they ordered. We felt so smug having just gone to our nearby wine tasting."

Linda

Castro Valley, CA

Tour: 10/01/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Learning from experts, experiencing such exquisite food, the camaraderie of the group, hotels in the heart of the towns were all stellar. We ate on our own in Orvieto at trattoria dell'Orso with another couple and our phrase book! Thoroughly learned enjoyed 1-2 things in each town, Felt we had barely enough time though in some of the towns. Arriving at 4 or 5 really felt like spending one day in the town instead of 2. Would go on a tour again! Was our first experience traveling inEurope.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Learning from Cecilia Dinner at Primavera in Levanto Walking inLevanto...to Bonasolla"

Karen

Edmonds, WA

Tour: 10/01/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I loved it! Our guide Anne Long was a perfect combination of an American/Italian who could understand where we came from, and translate our experience perfectly into a better understanding of the people, culture, and what we were seeing. I did a France tour over 10 years ago with the Rick Steves company, and enjoyed it immensely, but especially appreciated the variety of experiences each day this time. The quality of places we stayed, meals, and activities was greater on this tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were so many! The local guides were so passionate and knowledgeable, I learned so much! The wine tasting, olive oil tasting, truffle hunting,and cooking class provided super meals, but also a much greater understanding of why it is so important to their culture. The boat trip from Portovenere up the Cinque Terre gave a wonderful introduction to a special day on our own to explore. The cathedrals and explanations of the art were spectacular, and added to an already amazing experience."

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.