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  • Prato della Valle, Padua, Italy
    Prato della Valle in Padua
  • Basilica di San Vitale, Ravenna, Italy
    Ravenna's Basilica di San Vitale
  • Assisi, Italy
    Assisi
  • Truffle hunting in rural Umbria, Italy
    Truffle Hunting in Umbria
  • 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

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Village Italy in 14 Days Tour

from $4,195 per person + air

Single Supplement $675

See Dates & Prices

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

2022

What's Included

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

Here's what you'll see and do on our Village Italy tour:

  • Padua walking tour
  • Scrovegni Chapel
  • Padua's Anatomy Theater (when available)
  • Mosaics of Ravenna's San Vitale and Mausoleum of Galla Placidia
  • Assisi's Basilica of St. Francis
  • Truffle hunt
  • Deruta pottery demonstration
  • Wine tasting
  • Orvieto orientation walk
  • Orvieto Cathedral and Signorelli's frescoes
  • Etruscan Museum
  • Italian cooking class
  • Siena orientation walk
  • Tuscan hill town
  • Lucca walking tour
  • Olive oil tasting and lunch
  • Carrara marble quarry
  • Ligurian Coast cruise (weather permitting)
  • Orientation for "vacation" day on the Italian Riviera
  • Lake Orta cruise

Plus you'll get all this, too.

  • A small, friendly group of 24–28 people — half the size of most tour groups
  • Full-time services of a professional Rick Steves guide and local experts who will make the fascinating history, art, and culture of Italy come alive for you
  • All group transportation from Padua to Lake Orta
  • 13 nights' accommodations in memorable, centrally located hotels
  • All breakfasts and half your dinners
  • All tips for guides and driver
  • A tour kit including a guidebook (when available) and a moneybelt
  • Guaranteed tour price, locked in the moment you make your deposit
  • Tour alum discount of $50 for each tour you've taken prior to 2022
  • 50% discount on a consulting appointment with our in-house experts to assist with your pre- or post-tour travel plans
  • Flexibility should you need to transfer or cancel your tour

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

Group sightseeing events subject to change.

Itinerary

Day 1: Welcome to 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.

Light walking: 2–4 miles throughout the day on mostly level terrain. No bus. Sleep in Padua.

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.

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

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 the Byzantine San Vitale Basilica and Mausoleum of Galla Placidia. 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.

Moderate walking: 2–6 miles throughout the day with some hills and stairs. Bus: 5 hours. Sleep in Montefalco.

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).

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

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.

Moderate walking: 2–6 miles throughout the day with some hills and stairs. Bus: 3 hours. Sleep in Orvieto.

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. This afternoon, we'll hop aboard our bus to explore the back-door hill towns of Umbria. You'll have free time to revel in the traffic-free alleyways, astounding views, and hidden treasures that make village life so special. Then it's back to Orvieto for a free evening.

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

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 learn 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.

Light walking: 2–4 miles throughout the day on mostly level terrain. Bus: 3 hours. Sleep in the Tuscan countryside.

Day 8: Tranquil Tuscany

This morning we'll head out to Siena, arguably Tuscany's greatest hill town. After an orientation, you'll be free to explore Siena's treasures, including the Duomo and Campo, and linger over lunch. We'll enjoy the afternoon back at our country hotel, where you can hike along the farm paths, take pictures, or simply relax by the pool before dinner together.

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

Day 9: Tuscan 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. 

Moderate walking: 2–6 miles throughout the day with some hills and stairs. Bus: 3 hours. Sleep in Lucca.

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.

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

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.

Light walking: 2–4 miles throughout the day on mostly level terrain. Boat: 2 hours. Bus: 2 hours. Sleep in Levanto.

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.

Light to strenuous walking (your choice). No bus. Sleep in Levanto.

Day 13: Lago d'Orta

We'll make our way 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! 

Light to strenuous walking (your choice). Boat: 1 hour. Bus: 4 hours. Sleep in Orta San Giulio.

Day 14: Tour Over After Breakfast

Breakfast is provided, but there are no group activities today. Milan's closest airport, Malpensa, is 45 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

Jacquie

Galt, CA

Tour: 10/19/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our second Rick Steves Tour and it was just as amazing as the first. Ann our tour guide, Kiersten her assistant and our bus driver Ezio were a dream team. We were given lots of hands on experiences, toured many unbelievable sites and told more information than I will ever retain. The food and wine on this tour was just delicious. I can understand why some call it the food and wine tour. I did find a few of the hotels we stayed in a little iffy but maybe just not my style.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My "WOW" moment lasted a few hours actually. Climbing up to the ultimate back door hill town, Civita di Bagnoregio."

Amelia

Fort Worth, TX

Tour: 10/19/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Thanks to Rick Steves and Ann, the Italian villages we visited found their way into my heart. I felt as if I had been introduced to the real Italy, and I was absolutely charmed. More below ...

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Italy's cathedrals' exterior embellishments and interior mosaics, inlaid marble, and enormous frescoes – labor-intensive creations of a multitude of artists and artisans – are one wow after another. My personal wow, though, is the country itself, its character, and its culture: the narrow passageways they call streets, squares where people really do gather, little layered villages tucked into mountainsides, Italians' devoted preservation of ancient treasures, and an anti-squirrel-cage lifestyle."

Kirsten

Mountain View, CA

Tour: 10/19/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Great overall experience. My partner and I were somewhat hesitant to do an organized tour, but the reviews of the tours were overwhelmingly positive, and neither of us, both in new jobs, had the bandwidth to plan the logistics of a trip on our own. The tour description spoke to both of us, and we ended up loving the whole experience, from our wonderful, humorous guide to our fellow traveling companions. Our lodgings were unique and special, and we loved the planned activities and sights.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"After truffle hunting, sitting down to dinner in a modern restaurant outside Assisi with a beautiful sunset in front of us, with the estate's 13th century chapel to our right. Just an amazing moment."

James

Glenview, IL

Tour: 10/19/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Enjoyed the experience of all of Italy - it's people, history, landscape, culture, art, language, cobblestone streets, and last but not least, the food and wine. Ann did an excellent job of connecting all the dots during our tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"See comments above."

Victoria

Bellingham, WA

Tour: 10/19/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my first Rick Steve's trip and my first time traveling to Europe. Every day on the tour was a fantastic journey filled with history, adventure, amazing food, interesting stories, beautiful buildings and scenery, friendly people, and the most incredible tour guide I could have ever imagined. The bus driver was also really nice, sometimes funny, and a great singer! My head was spinning from all of the wonderful places we visited and there was always something fun to do.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It's so hard to pick just one "wow" moment especially since I have never seen such old historical buildings and relics that have survived so many years. I was overwhelmed. So here are some of my favorites because I cannot pick just one: Etruscan Museum - I could have spent hours there and Roberto the guide was so knowledgeable and humorous. He really made it interesting. Every meal we had on the tour was so very special. thank you"

Alfred

Galt, CA

Tour: 10/19/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our second Rick Steves Tour. It was a fabulous experience! Our tour guide, Ann, was exceptional. Our tour assistant, Kiersten\, was very friendly and helpful. Our bus driver, Ezio, was over the top professional and very friendly and a valued part of the team. Initially, prior to the tour, looking at the meals provided, I was somewhat concerned that we would have to fend for ourselves a good part of the time. This was not the case. We were always eating! ( and drinking )

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It is hard to choose. The boat ride to Levanto, because the weather was quite bad. The view (and then hike to and from) Civita di Bagnoregno."

Dennis

Burlington, WI

Tour: 10/19/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Quite pleased with the agenda. We saw parts of Italy that we had not seen before.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Etruscan museum tour guide."

Mary

Springfield, IL

Tour: 10/19/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

After traveling "with" Rick Steves several times, I have high expectations for the tour guides, the sights, the local guides, the small convenient hotels, the food and drink, and just the total travel experience. This trip was no exception. I saw and did things I would not have experienced if I had been on my own. Many times I did not feel like observing Italian culture but instead felt I was experiencing the Italian culture by being a part of everyday life.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were so many. The Mosaics at Ravina were so impressive."

Martha

Centennial, CO

Tour: 10/16/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was a great tour and gave me the knowledge I was looking for regarding Italy's smaller towns and rural areas.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"While I was wowed by the Ravenna mosaics, for me the joy of this tour is getting to know the culture and people of Italy. I loved the passion and charm of the Italians. The old men who didn't speak English but who could train a dog to find truffles. The man who could throw a pot faster than I can get one out of my cupboard. Transplanted Anna in Siena who brought us into her neighborhood. There are so many more that I will remember."

Greg

Frisco, TX

Tour: 10/16/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my 7th Rick Steves tour and my first trip to Italy. It was fantastic. Village Italy was enjoyable and educational in so many ways. There were so many opportunities to learn about the Etruscans, the Romans, the city-states, the small republics, the Byzantine influence, religion and churches, wine and wineries, truffles and truffle hunting and olives and the olive harvest. Sarah was a great host and guide. The local guides and the museum guides were also amazing.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were many wow moments but the two upscale B&Bs we stayed at were the icing on the cake, providing unexpected value, enjoyment and relaxation."

Michael

San Francisco, CA

Tour: 10/16/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Without at doubt, the best tour/trip of the kind we've ever done. I keep telling people that it was like a mini-semester abroad. We learned so much, had so much fun, made so many good memories, that we weren't home more than a couple of weeks before we signed up to do Southern Italy next year. Sarah Corfield was the absolute BEST! Give that lady a raise! She and our driver Mauro, always dapper, always there, always a safe driver....teamed up to give us the best of times on that bus.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Too many to choose. I loved the hands-on stuff like the cooking lessons, the detailed explanations from the many local tour guides, most of whom seemed to come right out of Central Casting. And the fact that Sarah seemed to know all of them well certainly seemed to help. The two-night stays in each of the hotels (and they were all well-chosen) was much appreciated, too. And we learned so much on the bus just listening to Sarah prep us for the next village or city. Just a great time!!!!"

William

Chicago, IL

Tour: 10/16/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was the 2d RSteves tour I'd been on (Spain your Way in Fall 2016 being the 1st). We also used the Italy 2015 book when we'd visited that country in Fall of 2015, but we were not on a tour. This was an extremely satisfying experience. The group of 22 (including my husband and myself) demonstrated "unit cohesion" early on, which has a huge impact on how the remainder of the tour logistics shake out. Everyone was on time (even Sarah, our guide, made note of this).

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hard to pick just one. I adore Assisi; Siena was awesome; and prepping lunch w/ Stefano at the artisinal farm was awesome."

David

Chicago, IL

Tour: 10/16/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was a delightful travel experience. I had feared a two week tour might be too long but every day was filled glorious views, amazing meals, fun conversations, surprises, and opportunities to learn about the Italian culture, people, and history. Every city and village we visited had something unique to offer and I treasured getting to see each of them! The tour group was delightful and we made many new friends from all over the US. Our guide, Sarah, made the whole experience go smoothly.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Visiting Civita di Bagnoregio. I know this is not one of Rick's favorite villages but we were lucky Sarah chose it for our group. It was a delightful experience to get a preview across the valley of the bridge to Civita, then to walk through Bagnoregio, and finally to traverse the bridge. The views were gorgeous and the people we met in Civita (all apparently residents of Bagnoregio who work in Civita) were delightful. Sarah treated us to our first taste of a ricotta gelato. So delicious!"

Dale

Eugene, OR

Tour: 10/16/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It lived up to my expectations. The entire trip was seamless with no hiccups. Sarah really brought home the culture and in a manner an American could relate to. I was pleased with the contrast that each region had also the up and up and up and downs of the hill towns really struck us with what early Italians had to do survive. My fellow travelers were all great and mostly repeaters. Everybody understood the need to make the most of the trip. A really great experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The city tour in Padova when Christina, our guide, related her family's experiences in WWII trying to save the frescoes in her local church. It really brought home war. Also for me, stopping at the American Cemetery brought back memories of Vietnam and the friends I lost, and seeing 1st hand the price we pay for freedom. So many crosses..."

Paula

Oxford, OH

Tour: 10/14/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Trina was so well informed, organized, and personable. She went out of her her way to make sure everyone was accomodated. I really enjoyed her hints about local foods and wine as well as points of interest in each of the places we visited. My husband and I appreciated the free time to explore on our own, but this particular tour benfited from a group of people who really meshed. I especially enjoyed wine tasting, the truffle hunt, the olive oil producing farm, the villa in Tuscany...everything.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Not 1 bit many - the anatomy theater, preserved saints in tombs, going underground to see layers of history, the wine cellars at the winery, Donatello's John the Baptist statue (in Sienna?), Lake Orta....rolling cou tryside in Tuscany, hill towns, St. Patrick's Well in Orvieto."

BJ

Spokane Valley, WA

Tour: 10/14/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Trina was just the very best guide EVER! She gave us global, local, and hour by hour excellent information regarding our tour from Paduva to Milan. This trip was our best trip ever thanks to you and your team. Your team over delivered, on every step of the tour. We will be booking something in and around Portugal soon.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Every day was a "WOW" moment! The first Wow was the United States Memorial Cemetary visit, still choking up a bit over the impact we had during WW-2! The second best was the Truffle hunt and the meal following the hunt!"

Carol

North Dighton, MA

Tour: 10/14/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Have never been on a tour before, so I have nothing to compare it to. But for my first visit to Italy, it was an extremely comfortable and easy way to go. I did not have to do the research or make any arrangements. It was great. The tour guide was exceptionally knowledgeable and kind.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"This is just me, but the rural landscapes........."

Kate

Arlington, VA

Tour: 10/14/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Always have a great time with Rick Steves tours. As usual, a terrific group of people and great guides as well as fun and di erse itineraries.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Wow! was sunrise in Corniglia in the Cinque Terre. In spite of high seas threatening to cancel our boat ride and a pending train strike our intrepid guide, Trina, told us how to beat the train strike by catching the first train of the day before the strike. Seven of us headed out before breakfast and climbed the 400+ steps to Corniglia to watch the sunrise from there. What an adventure! What a great group!"

Melissa

Camano Island, WA

Tour: 10/14/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Our recent trip with Rick Steve's was our first and will not be our last. It's almost difficult to put it all in words. How do you express so much in 500 words. I'll summarize, the best parts food, friends and wine followed by art and history. The small Italian Village your was the perfect way for us to start off with Rick Steve's. My husband and I travel extensively on our own. My husband is an A+ prepped of our trips so we are used to the prep work needed to have a great experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favorite wow moment was when our guide gave us the day off and we took a portion of our group on an early morning adventure to see the towns of Cinque Terre via train ( there was a train strike happening that day from 9 am to 9pm) and adverse weather had the boats cancelled. We took our group of 7 people early to the train station and had calculated all the routes to return to our home city by 9am. We watched the sunrise perched high above the ocean with our group of travelers!"

Harriet

Knoxville, TN

Tour: 10/14/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

A great tour, with fun folks and the best guide! It was great seeing a part of Italy that was new to me. The local guides were all superb and so knowledgeable. Learning about the history and culture of these smaller towns made us appreciate them even more. It is wonderful to travel with people who truly love to travel, to learn new things, and to become travelers instead of just tourists.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I was overwhelmed by the beautiful churches in each small town. The architecture and history of each church set the tone for each city. I expect huge churches in the big cities; i never expected that in these small towns!"

Bruce

Pleasanton, CA

Tour: 10/14/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had a wonderful, memorable time. The tour showcased beautiful (rural) Italy and immersed us into its rich history, culture, food & gracious people. Although we visited many hilltop towns, it never felt rushed. The folks in our tour group were terrific, and we very much enjoyed their company & conversations. Our tour guide Trina, and driver Pierre, were awesome!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The fabulous views of Levanto on the hiking trail to Monterosso, & Isola di San Giulio from our hotel balcony in Lake Orta. The food and wine were also simply amazing."

Karen

Buhler, KS

Tour: 10/14/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was such a wonderful taste of, what I feel like, was the real Italy - the heart of Italy. Don't ever stop giving the people this opportunity. IT'S SO WONDERFUL!!!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Well everything about TRINA was a wow moment! There were so many highlights - it's hard to recap them --- The Veterans' Cemetery, for sure! Discovering the Italian printer used for saving the Jewish people! (and the museum) - Assisi Olive tasting and processing Orvieto Pinocchio chocolates - THE BEST Lucca shopping & opera The wine cellar The cooking class C.T. Boat ride Lake Orta"

Tim

Aptos, CA

Tour: 10/12/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

A marvelous experience. All of the venues were interesting, the weather was ideal, and David our guide was knowledgeable and thoughtful.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"So many, hard to choose. David's knowledge of his hometown, Orvieto, made that very interesting, including the description of the Roman siege. The cathedrals in Siena and Lucca were beautiful. On a personal note, I enjoyed being invited onstage to accompany David at one of our group dinners. He provided the blues harp!"

Donna

Fleming Island, FL

Tour: 10/12/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was a fantastic experience from beginning to end, and our tour guide, David was exceptional. Being a first time Rick Steves tour member, yet having experienced Europe several times before, I can't imagine traveling any other way from this point on!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Tuscan countryside and Inn were definitely my wow moment! I think the private get together in Orvieto with David and his band was fantastic. This was the reason I wanted to travel the Rick Steves way, to feel a sense of immersion in the culture that no other travel has ever made me feel. I also loved the quiet and (almost) deserted streets at night in the small villages. My husband and I were able to wander the back alleys and imagine what it must have been like a thousand years ago."

Linda

Burnaby, BC

Tour: 10/12/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My expectations were exceeded.I assumed a small bus would take us and our guide would not be so personable. For me , the tour was expensive with the exchange rate but I feel that I had good value for the money.The itinerary was well chosen with interesting activities.These activities I could not likely be given on my own without doing a ton of research first.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I really enjoyed our trip to the olive farm. Tasting the fresh oil and having a lovely lunch. Pressing the oil was very interesting. Another was the marble quarries at Carrara.....a jaw dropping scene of white marble.The mosaics at Ravenna were beautiful."

Mary

Burnaby, BC

Tour: 10/12/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I loved the Hill towns we visited in Italy, the information and interesting stories told to us by our Tour Guide, David.(about the region, history, food, wine) I loved the group experiences (cooking lesson,visit to a winery, olive oil mill, group dinners etc.) and our stay at the Belvedere Inn in Chianti because it was esthetically beautiful and there were areas to congregate before and after dinner as a group (outside on the patio and in the bar/lounge area.)There was nowhere else to go!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I think it would have to be getting a train pass in Cinque Terra and arriving in Riomaggiore (sp?) early in the morning before the Cruise Ships and hiking up the hill on a gorgeous sunny October day and seeing the beautiful vistas of the coastal landscape and turquoise water! And walking the trails while taking in the breathtaking views."

Pan-fey

Rolling Hills, CA

Tour: 10/12/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

David took excellent care of his tour members in terms of his supreme organizational and logistic skills, attentiveness, efficiency, historical and cultural knowledge, and inclusiveness. He was intuitive and tuned into the pulse and mood of the group to adjust the itinerary and pace as he saw fit to achieve the best tour experience for us. He threw in lots of extras (including a private musical performance by his band), which made this trip so much more fun and enjoyable compared to others.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Villa Pambuffetti - sunset welcome drinks, quaint lodging Borgo Garibaldi Civita di Bagnoregio Orvieto - Duomo architecture and art work, St. Patrick's Well, visited vineyard Siena Duomo Liberia Vernazza Lake Orta San Giulio in rain Anytime when there were few or no tourists around! Wonderful included group meals with delish local cuisines and fine companies"

John

Seattle, WA

Tour: 10/12/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Great tour, good pace and very interesting area. As usual there is sufficient free time.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Visit to Oevieto"

Cornelius

Sugar Land, TX

Tour: 10/12/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Both of us had a great time. We were first time Rick Steves Tours participants. I personally was somewhat pessimistic before the tour but I'm happy to report that my expectations were greatly exceeded. My fellow tour participants were very nice people and easy to get along with. The itinerary allowed us to see and do a lot, I'm personally convinced that there is no way I could have done half as much if I had been planning the trip on my own. It was great to let someone else do the driving.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I think the mosaics in Ravenna, and especially the mausoleum of Galla Pacidia, were most breathtaking."

Anthony

Meredith, NH

Tour: 10/12/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

If I had been asked what my expectations were before my trip my answer would have paled in comparison to actual experience. The attention to detail, the local feel and experience of the variety of accommodations and stops along the way could not have been better. This trip surpassed my expectations in every aspect and set a new bar for any other organized trip in the future that I'm not certain anyone but a Rick Steve trip could come close to meeting.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"In a word "David". Our guide was not a guide but a caring host whose love for his country, its people and history not only of the country but each region infected the entire group. David was my "WOW"."

Gino

Springfield, OR

Tour: 10/07/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Comfortable pace, informative and appreciated amount of independent time

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Cooking lesson"

Bobbie

Carlsbad, CA

Tour: 10/07/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was structured very well. Lots of churches in the first part of the tour but tapered off nicely. As I told my husband, "it is where the Pope lives for gosh sakes" :)

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Mausoleum of Galla Placidia. The mosaics were amazing!"

Denise

Carlsbad, CA

Tour: 10/07/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Great tour! My first time in Italy and I saw so much I had to go back to my travel journal to remember everything! Nina, the tour guide, was informative, fun, and approachable. The tour was busy, but well paced. I appreciated the availability of free time to explore. The accommodations and meals were very good.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Too many experiences to choose just one. But the scenery was amazing - picture postcard views at every turn of the head!"

Patricia

Oceanside, CA

Tour: 10/07/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my first European vacation, and it was fantastic. Nina was a wonderful guide, and I look forward to many other adventures with this tour group.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The explanations of the churches, and how the paintings explained religious beliefs, because at that time, many were illiterate."

Timothy

Gaston, OR

Tour: 10/07/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Absolutely great trip. Perfect balance of structured and free time. Pace was perfect.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Having a gelato and walking along the walking path in Levanto."

Anthony

Seattle, WA

Tour: 10/07/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour exceeded expectations. We have been working towards an Italy trip for a few years, and Rick Steves did not disappoint.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Coming up the trail from Vernazza on the Cinque Terre and encountering the most beautiful morning view I have ever seen."

Farida

Seattle, WA

Tour: 10/07/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Within two weeks, we had a rich, varied tour of hill towns in Italy, led by the dynamic, thoughtful, knowledgeable Nina. We got to stay in small, family run hotels, experience local cuisine of different regions, explore the terrains of Umbria and Tuscany, and more. Highlights included the agriturismo lunch, the olive oil tasting, and the relaxing down time in San Leonino.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It was a dream of mine to hike Cinque Terre and gaze out over the expansive blue of the water meeting the sky."

Dennis

Seattle, WA

Tour: 10/07/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my first tour with Rick Steves and first as a walking tour, so I didn't know quite what to expect. What I discovered is that Italy is the most beautiful country I've ever seen and its people are the friendliest I've ever encountered. There were so many beautiful experiences in so many villages that I would never have known had it not been for this tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Watching the sunrise over the vineyards surrounding our hotel in the village of San Leonino. I'll remember that forever."

Anita

Springfield, OR

Tour: 10/07/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

The trip was great. I enjoyed exploring the small cities of Europe. Our group got along well and with only 20 people on the tour the bus was spacious. Everyone was on time or even early for all the group events. Mario our bus driver was amazing always calm and collected even though some of the streets were very narrow. I had already been to the major tourists sights in Italy so it was fun to be off the beaten path.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hard to land on one special wow moment there were so many of them. I really enjoyed the cooking class and the wine tasting. The beauty of the small hill side cities was breath taking."

Virginia

Albany, NY

Tour: 10/07/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was excellent. Nina was an excellent guide and Mario was an excellent bus driver

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I cannot single out any one thing"

Janna

Longmont, CO

Tour: 10/05/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour exceeded my expectations and was thoroughly lovely from the beginning to end. Our guide Deborah was delightful, our Driver Timmi made us all feel safe at all times and the diversity of the days made for a combination of lovely sites to see, foods and wines to experience, experiencing the culture and sharing good laughter with newly made friends and travel mates.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I knew you would ask this and I have struggled to find just one... from the spectacular mosaics in Ravenna, to the hillsides and mountain villages throughout Umbria to the Tuscan landscape and Cinque Terre to the lovely Lake Orta...it all was really breathtaking and so much fun... I want to go back!"

Jean

Traverse City, MI

Tour: 10/05/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

What a great 14 days! The people on our tour were friendly, curious, and easy to travel with. The pace of our tour was just about right...free time vs structured time. There was a lot of walking, but this kept the weight off from all the great food and wine, and gelato! The local field trips to the truffle farm, vineyard, ceramic "factory", marble quarry, and the olive oil family farm were excellent learning experiences! Breakfasts were okay, a bit disappointing. Groups dinners were fantastic!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"For me, having two days at a beautiful hotel in the countryside of Tuscany was my favorite part. Visually, the area was stunning, quiet, and laid back. I loved that place and would love to go back there!"

Maureen

Southaven, MS

Tour: 10/05/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my 8th tour with Rick Steve's tours. It lived up to my expectations of organization to maximize sites to explore. I enjoyed our guide Deborah's Orientation to each stop. The hotels were a nice combination of city and country locations. Group activities were delightful.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"How can I pick just one "wow" moment. The truffle hunt was a new experience for me. Loved watching the dogs on their hunt. The cooking class was fun, wine tasting !!!!! ,"

Drew

Southaven, MS

Tour: 10/05/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We loved our villages of Italy tour. We experienced things the ordinary tourist would not see. Our only complaint was the restaurant in Padua, Zories. The food was less than appealing and we were seated next to the kitchen and basically ignored. Debra was a first class guide and Timi was the best bus driver I have ever seen. The arrangements were impeccable. We never had to wait for our pickups at the various stops. Our in place guides were very informative and funny.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I cannot decide on one wow moment. The 6 experiences, truffle hunting, the wine tasting, the cooking class, the marble quarry and the olive oil cooperative and the ceramic factory are things I will never forget. As a bonus in Padua, we walked into a Ferrari car show with an amazing array of beautiful sports cars. And the right mix of Duomos. You might mention also the Puccini concert which I thoroughly enjoyed."

Steve

Davis, CA

Tour: 10/05/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

On the last day I walked down to Lake Orta for one last melancholy moment with a pit in my stomach wishing that the tour was not over. This was one of the most incredible travel experiences of my life. We are completely hooked on Rick Steve's tours, have already signed up for another tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I find it impossible to identify only one. One for me was visiting the winery in Tuscany (La Vellete) outside of Orvieto and seeing Cecilia, our guide from the Best of Rome tour from the previous year. Another was exploring Cinque Terre, especially the hike from Corniglia to Venazza. Civita di Bagnoregio was special too."

Arthur

Toronto, ON

Tour: 10/05/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our first tour with Rick Steve's and we were very pleased with the care diligence and skill the organization brought to every aspect of the experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The compatibility of the people on the tour. Everyone got along well and we all had a great time. We also learned a lot."

Linda

Toronto, ON

Tour: 10/05/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our first Rick Steve's tour and my husband and I were very pleasantly surprised at what a great experience it was. We were very well taken care of by Deborah, who clearly and engagingly told us everything we needed to know. There was never a moment of confusion or doubt about where to meet, when to meet, or what would come next. Deborah handled the details and arrangements so we'll that all we had to do was enjoy the experience. Our Gunetto bus driver Timi was superb. We felt very safe.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I loved the stay in Chianti at the vineyard. The truffle-hunting experience was great, as well as the delicious dinner that followed. I loved the chance to hike in the Cinque Terra area on our free day."

Michael

Fitchburg, WI

Tour: 10/05/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was excellent! I enjoyed the tour from stem to stern. It was as much a gastronomical tour as one of hill towns of Italy. Wine. Food. And an outstanding guide, Deborah.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Favorite "wow" moment was realizing how advanced the Etruscan civilization had advanced, before disappearing, or being absorbed, into the Roman culture."

Terry

Traverse City, MI

Tour: 10/05/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Our two weeks in Italy were exceptional and filled with sites we will never forget. Deborah our guide and Timmy our driver were outstanding in providing our whole group with excellent insights into the people, culture and sites, and in ensuring we kept to a timely yet relaxed schedule. Traveling, seeing and learning with all members of our group made it extra special!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There wasn't just one moment, but a few notable ones were seeing and learning about St Francis and Assisi, hunting for truffles, seeing the marble quarry and many hill top villages."

Diane

Bragg Creek, AB

Tour: 10/05/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my first Rick Steves tour experience. The structure was very helpful in affording me the opportunity to see so much and learn about the area while at the same time aharing the journey with wonderful fellow travellers. Each day offered opportunities for enjoying the places that we visited as well as learning about some of the history of the particular place that we were visiting.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"So much content in the tour that it's very difficult to single one out. The wide range of experiences (chuches to ceramic making to a cooking class, to a marble quarry make it difficult to choose one."

Pamela

New Boston, NH

Tour: 10/05/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I can't say enough positive things about this trip. It lived up to its description and more! This was the first "tour" of any kind I had ever taken and it exceeded all my expectations. Our guide was thoughtful, knowledgeable, and genuinely cared about the tour members. The bus rides were extremely comfortable and driven by a professional yet personable driver. The sights were saw were exceptional and never crowded with tourists. We actually felt like we were seeing Italy in a very personal way.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It is impossible to say. Everyday had a "wow" moment or two. If I was hard pressed I'd have to say our stay in the Tuscan region was my favorite as I felt like I was living in a painting. The countryside was beyond beautiful."

John

Marshall, NC

Tour: 10/05/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Everybody, who had taken the village Italy tour, had raved about it. Our high expectations were definitely met. We had some initial concerns when we found out original tour guide was switched out and Deborah was filling in. Deborah was excellent, our fellow tour members were experienced and fun travelers,and all the towns and villages were delightful. Each village and town had it's own unique character and offered a variety of educational and cultural experiences.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were many special moments. The nighttime views of Orvieto and Lake Orta. Swimming in the Ligurian Sea amongst the many Italian surfers at Levanto. A wonderful and simple group lunch at the Olive CoOp in Tuscany."

Barbara

Kent, WA

Tour: 09/30/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our group of Village Italy travelers was most compatible enthusiastically welcoming each new day's experiences together.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"On the second to the last evening of our tour while in Levanto, we sang, danced and laughed together. What great fun watching our tour guide, Anna and bus driver Stefano dance together. What a fabulous evening indeed!"

Don

Kent, WA

Tour: 09/30/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

After four (4) RSE tours, we continue to expect and then realize the extra insight, added experiences, and personal touches that come with such a group experience. Each guide is well versed in the history, culture, and cuisine for the area, and eager to do all possible to ensure that each one has a positive and memorable holiday. We were a bit disappointed in the accommodations this time, with less space (more cramped) compared to previous outings. A shower down the hall can be a good answer.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"On each tour we have taken, we made 20-some new friends within a few days, but NEVER so fast as this time. On our third night together, we were singing and acting out tunes from Sound of Music in a downstairs area of the main "lodge" in Montefalco. It was not totally fueled by alcohol, but that did help. There was such a willingness to be silly together -- it was wonderful."

Mary Ann

Dresher, PA

Tour: 09/30/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was our best trip ever! The people on our bus, the food, the places we visited and most importantly our guide, Anna! It was a delightful trip from day one. Anna took a picture of all of us on the trip. She went back to her room that night and all our wonderful faces and names were there. No excuse to forget names.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were so many. I would have to say staying at the hotel Belvedere di San Leonino. The views were magnificent. The relaxing feeling and warm welcome from the owners made this place special. The breakfast was the best and I loved the charming woodwork, pictures, furniture and overall feeling of the place. One day I just wanted to stay and not go to the activities of the day! I truly wanted to live in Italy."

James

Concord, NH

Tour: 09/30/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our first Rick Steves tour. it was both educational and entertaining. lots of walking and learning.Lots of fantastic food and wine.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I don't think I had a WOW moment, it was kind of a WOW 14 day sprint"

Michael

White Bear Lake, MN

Tour: 09/30/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was just the tour we were looking for at this time.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"This was my tenth Rick Steves' tour. I was impressed how quickly this group of travelers gelled into a family at our intro dinner."

Robert

Dresher, PA

Tour: 09/30/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our 7th Rick Steves Tour and 4th RS Tour in Italy. I can only offer superlatives regarding our fabulous guide, Anna. From our very first meeting she captured the group and stoked our enthusiasm for Village Italy. She is quite an actress!!! Anna helped bring our group together quickly by publishing pictures and names of all our group members in an e-mail after the first dinner together. I found this tour to perhaps be our best yet.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The view from Civita! It was hike but well worth the effort!"

Lynn

Walnut Creek, CA

Tour: 09/30/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

3rd Rick Steves Tour, it didn't disappoint! Great group of travelers, incredible tour & locations. Our wonderful guide (Anna) was an encyclopedia of knowledge. Group dinners were delicious and all (but one I think) included an abundance of wine! The activities were excellent, pottery studio, truffle hunting, olive oil/wine making and an Italian cooking lesson. My only complaint is the quality of rooms solo travelers get. Our rooms are not equal and should be, especially paying a supplement.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Visiting the Cinque Terre towns, they are as beautiful as all the photo's I've seen!"

Daniel

Gig Harbor Wa, WA

Tour: 09/30/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our first Rick Steves tour and it far exceeded our expectations from start to finish. It was among the best vacations we have ever taken.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The accommodations, other than Padua, far exceeded what I was expecting. Padua was ok and would be something I would book on my own sight unseen."

Beatrice

White Bear Lake, MN

Tour: 09/30/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Village Italy is a spectacular panorama of beautiful countryside, genuine hospitality, enthusiasm by our hosts sharing their Italy, amazing food, and personal experiences that made this my 10th RS tour at the top of my list! My rewarding experience of becoming a temporary local was in large part because of Anna, our guide, who went above and beyond for her band with such enthusiasm and energy that we all fell in love with her and her country!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"After a gorgeous day in Levanto and exploring Cinque Terre, cumulating in a spectacular sunset over the beach, our inn's host put on a fabulous banquet of Italian food fresh from the sea with perfectly paired apertiffs. It was a day that I thought was 'wow' all day. Then our guide, Anna, put on music for our Italian bus driver to learn a little American culture. We danced through 60's music to today! An incredible celebration of Italians and Americans together as one!"

Mary Ellen

Orchard Park, NY

Tour: 09/30/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had a great tour guide, with knowledge, enthusiasm, and great energy. The spots selected for the tour were outstanding. The food was wonderful. And the accommodations were comfortable, in good locations, with helpful staff. This trip was all that I hoped for--and more! My husband agreed that this has been our most special vacation of all!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"This is a difficult task! Let me point out a couple. I loved hearing about the very distant past and seeing ruins (Etruscan and Roman). This is a huge interest of mine. In general, I loved seeing the unbelievable beauty of Umbria and Tuscany. It was really something that I was craving!"

Mark

Greenville, NC

Tour: 09/30/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The Village Italy 14 tour was fantastic! A perfect combination of structured tour time and time for individual exploration. Our guide Anna was extremely knowledgeable, well organized, and very patient. My wife and I loved nearly every aspect of the tour from the medieval masterpieces and beautiful countryside, to truffle hunting and wine tasting. Enjoyed traveling with and meeting many new friends. We highly recommend this tour!!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Too many to cover in 500 characters, but viewing the villages and landscape of the Cinque Terra from the Mediterranean Sea was definitely a "Wow" moment."

Sharron

Penticton, BC

Tour: 09/28/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Civita di Bagnoregio, Giotto's frescos, hiking between the Cinque Terre villages"

Dee

Cottage Grove, WI

Tour: 09/28/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our guides were fantastic! At the last minute our main guide had to be replaced due to a medical issue - but the assistant (Asa and Cristina) filled in and we never missed a beat!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Italian countryside from hill top views"

Jon

Wellesley, MA

Tour: 09/28/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My wife and I specifically wanted a non-big city tour and Village Italy was perfect!!! Each town we visited exuded the charm we were seeking while not compromising on culture, food or accommodations. In fact, the restaurants and the hotels were a perfect fit for a "village" tour. Most critically, our tour leader, Cristina, was a marvel and added significantly to our entire experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Two favorites. We had a chance to visit Civita di Bagnoregio, a village with 12 full time inhabitants which is perched on a hilltop which is literally dissolving into the valley below. Breathtaking experience! The boat ride along the coast of Cinque Terra was also unique and provided fabulous views of the shoreline and each of the villages."

Rebecca

Indiana, PA

Tour: 09/28/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Overall the tour was excellent. I enjoyed all the towns we visited and would have liked to stay longer in many of them. Our group was wonderful and nobody was ever late to meet at a scheduled time. Our bus driver Sergio was a wonderful, conscientious driver and I always felt safe riding with him. It was amazing how he could maneuver the bus in tight situations. Our tour guide and assistant tour guide were very knowledgeable.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I had 2 "WOW" moments: One was the Etruscan underground tour and museum in Orvieto and also the Etruscan Museum in Chianciano. The second was the Carrara Mable quarry and learning about the mining methods that were used up until the 1950's."

William

Indiana, PA

Tour: 09/28/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Orvieto underground caves and Etruscan Museum"

Steven

Portland, OR

Tour: 09/28/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Liked the "cultural" experiences like preparing our own lunch on an agri-tourism, learning about wine pairings with appropriate food. The true small town/village experience of our stay in Montefalco was very refreshing! Padova, Lucca, Siena Orvieto may be small cities, but they are certainly NOT the "villages" referenced in tour's title "Village Italy"

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Scrovegni chapel frescoes by Giotto and mosaics in Ravenna"

Michael

Vadnais Heights, MN

Tour: 09/23/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our third Rick Steves' tour and by far the best. It had a great balance of art, history and culture. The food was outstanding and the scenery was awe-inspiring. The trip was stimulating, physical, yet relaxing. The group was great and the leader was superb.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were too many! The mosaics at San Viale Basilica and Galla Placidia Mausaleum were astounding. The exposure to the Etruscan culture was new to us and so interesting. The other one would be the picnic on the wall at Orvieto."

Marigail

Seattle, WA

Tour: 09/23/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Grazie, Tricia for being an such an enthusiastic, knowledgeable, and caring tour leader (you are the best!); Mario for being a skilled driver on those winding and narrow roads and for sharing your family photos with us; and all of our fellow group travelers, who helped make everyday fun and interesting! As Tricia said at our first meeting, this was a tour for those who wanted to experience Italy and we certainly did!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The whole tour was a wow after wow! We experienced Italian culture, art and architecture, wonderful food and wine, and unique sights and villages. I especially enjoyed the truffle hunt, the Carrera marble tour, and all the group dinners. I was happy though there was some free time to explore more slowly on our own (or to nap)! The tour perfectly ended in Lake Orta. I wished we had scheduled more time there and advise others to do so."

Kevin

Sarasota, FL

Tour: 09/23/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Wonderful tour staying out of the big overcrowded cities! Cinque Terre was a bit crowded in my opinion but we were told that the big crowds had subsided by this late in the year (end of Sept.). Many beautiful areas were visited. Only one place could have been skipped... Civita Bagnorgio. It was a long hike up and down to and from a tiny village of nothing but hundreds of other tourists.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The visit to the ceramic factory in Deruta. Seeing the artisans at work and what their final product looked like was a wow for me."

Ruth

Sarasota, FL

Tour: 09/23/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Outstanding tour. It met all my expectations.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Visiting the Carrara Marble Quarry. It was very interesting to learn how marble is removed from a mountain."

Stephanie

Oakland, MI

Tour: 09/23/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our first tour, it turns out we were the only ones that haven't been on a RS tour before. I was excited that we had Trish, as I had read reviews about her on the forums. I really enjoyed her and Mario was an amazing driver and fun to get to know.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My wow moment was at the Hotel Belvedere. We had returned from an outing and I was in our room relaxing for a few minutes. I joined my husband outside for a cocktail. I found him sitting in the garden facetiming with our daughter Sarah. The iPad was propped up on the table and it almost appeared that she was joining us in Italy. The sun was just hitting that amazing golden hour. I was able to show her the sun setting over the tuscan hillside. It was literally a picture perfect moment."

Skip

Richardson, TX

Tour: 09/21/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

David

Seattle, WA

Tour: 09/16/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

As our first tour I loved the fact that all transportation, accommodation and tips was taken care of.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were 3- The wine sampling lunch, the cooking lesson lunch and the olive oil lunch. Great experiences. Of course the truffle experience cannot be left out!"

Patricia

Irvine, CA

Tour: 09/16/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Cristina is an amazing tour guide and a great person. Her genuine interest in people and commitment to providing a great experience are palpable. Ben was great (although his presence was limited to the front end of the trip) and provided a US influenced set of experiences to share. Ezio was an excellent driver, punctual and friendly; he provided local charm. The tour group was typical of the top notch caliber of travelers that you get on Rick Steves guided tours.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Having taken the Best of Italy in 17 Days trip in the past, my favorite moments were the ones that I hadn't experienced before. I loved our approach and climb to Civit di Bagnoregio, the Srovegni Chapel in Padova, walking the ramparts of Lucca and staying in the smaller towns of San Leonino and Monte Falco. This trip allowed me to re-visit Orvieto at my leisure (not just a day trip) and without incessant bone chilling rain. I was also able to visit all five villages of Cinque Terre."

Vivienne

Newcastle, WA

Tour: 09/16/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We expected a lot before the tour but it exceeded all expections. Our tour guides Cristina and Ben, who was with us for a week, were just amazing. The bus was very comfortable with wifi, driven safely by a very obliging Ezio and the places we visited, activities that were organized for us and local guides for specific areas, were so enjoyable and gave us insight into the country that we would never have had had we visited on our own.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It is very hard to choose as there was one 'wow' moment after the next. I think probably my two favorites would be visiting the truffle farm and seeing the dogs coming back with the truffles and then the wine tasting and wonderful meal at the villa in Le Velette."

Jacqueline

Rio Rancho, NM

Tour: 09/09/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

I very much enjoyed our tour guide,and guru, Trina She did a fantastic job shepherding us from place to place. Sergio, our bus driver,added to our overall enjoyment of the trip. He was a fantastic bus driver, able to maneuver the giant bus into the tiniest parking spots...impressive. We saw some amazing sites in the "villages of northern Italy". Some of the favorites were the Orvieto trip, Scrovegni Chapel, Ravenna Mosaics, day trip to Siena.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Staying at the Belvedere and looking out on the hills of Chianti! Like heaven! Also enjoyed the truffle hunt and truffle dinner. Levanto dinner was awesome but hotel was a bit spartan compared to other accommodations."

Stephen

Edmonds, WA

Tour: 09/09/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our 2nd Rick Steves tour and it was just wonderful. We definitely will go on as many more Rick Steves tours and we can.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It's really hard to pick just one that stands our more than all the rest. Three of the most impressive were the mosaics in Ravenna, the amazing artwork at the Duomo and Duomo Museum in Siena, and hiking the coastline from Levanto to Monterosso and then on to Vernazza."

Mary

Ellicott City, MD

Tour: 09/09/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Mark

Atlanta, GA

Tour: 09/07/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My overall experience was fantastic.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Everyday I experienced at least 1 "wow" moment. These include truffle hunting & a tasty truffle-focused dinner; the Signorelli's frescos (with Deborah's explanations) and the brilliant ceilings in Orvieto; learning about the state of small farmers, the cooking lessons & feasting on the results in Tuscany; riding bikes on the wall & climbing a tower in Lucca; the boat trip with amazing views of Cinque Terre; seeing & learning about quarrying marble; & the picturesque & peaceful Lake Orta."

Marlene

Atlanta, GA

Tour: 09/07/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Every time we've taken a Rick Steves trip, we say it was the best yet. Trip #5--Village Italy in 14 days--was no exception. There were so many highlights: truffle hunting, pottery making, stained glass, wine tasting, cooking an organic Tuscan lunch, biking the ancient walls of Lucca, exploring the labryinth of caves beneath Orvietto, the Etruscan Museum, and magnificent art cathedrals and basilica. Our guide, Deborah, was fantastic as were the local guides.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Truffle hunting and then sampling the truffles in a four or five course dinner. Who knew that truffle-hunting dogs would give up those precious morsels once found for meat-filled dried tortellini? Only in Italy!"

Robert

New Baltimore, MI

Tour: 09/07/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour was a wonderful experience with each day bringing new adventures, laughs and amazing moments.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Everyday was amazing with new memories and wonderful historical information as we journeyed through beautiful country sides."

Kimberly

Dublin, CA

Tour: 09/02/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour exceeded my expectations! I have been to Italy several times on my own. I've never been drawn to organized tours. My friend invited me along & it was such a pleasure. I learned so much about the places we visit. I really enjoyed the small villages. Schlepping luggage was very difficult for many of the tour. There were a lot of older folks. I know Rick wants to keep this tour for travelers, not tourists, but it would be nice to not have to do that sometimes.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I loved the small villages. There were many wow moments. Ravenna & the mosaics, the excursions, Lake Orta! The sunrise in chianti & montefalco. The scenery. Civita! So many wows! Our Guide Trish was fantastic & it was lovely to have Lisa assisting. She was great! Both molto simpatico!"

When To Go & Weather

Any time between April and October is a good time to take a Village Italy tour. However, the months of April, May, September, and October are best for offering good weather, lighter crowds, and the full range of tourist fun.

Italy / Milan


Italy / Venice

Venice Weather


Italy / Florence

Florence Weather

Hotels & Flights

Tour Hotels

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

Flights

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

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

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

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