• Lucca, Italy

    Rick Steves' Heart of Italy Tour, Day-by-Day

    Tight on time? This tour is Rick's personal "best of" distillation of our Best of Italy tour. This slideshow gives you a sneak peek at what's in store if you join us in 2018 for the Heart of Italy in 9 Days tour! (photo: Dominic Arizona Bonuccelli)

  • Four Rivers Fountain (Bernini), Piazza Navona, Rome, Italy

    Day 1: Welcome to Italy

    We'll have a get-acquainted meeting at 3 p.m. at our hotel in Rome. After an orientation walk through our neighborhood, we'll learn about the city's transportation system. Then we'll enjoy a fountain-splashing, dolce vita trek through the heart of Rome, soaking up the city's evening ambience at the classy Piazza Navona, Trevi Fountain, and the remarkably preserved, 2,000-year-old Pantheon before enjoying our first Italian dinner together at a favorite restaurant. (photo: Dominic Arizona Bonuccelli)

  • Day 2: The Vatican Museums

    Today we'll focus on Renaissance (Catholic) Rome. At the sprawling Vatican Museums we'll visit what seems like a limitless collection of treasures as you make your way to one of the world's most famous works of art: Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel. You'll have the rest of your day free to continue your modern-day pilgrimage at the greatest church in Christendom, the awe-inspiring St. Peter's Basilica, home to Michelangelo's sublime Pietà. Wander through this immense church, climb the dome if you're feeling energetic, and explore more of the Eternal City on your own. (photo: Dominic Arizona Bonuccelli)

  • Forum, Rome, Italy

    Day 3: Ancient Rome and the Heart of Tuscany

    We'll do some time-traveling this morning, as a local guide takes us on a walking tour through the ancient heart of Rome, telling us vivid tales of the larger-than-life Colosseum and the birthplace of Rome: the Forum. Then we'll leave the city and drive to Tuscany, ending our day in the hill town of Volterra, enjoying a Tuscan feast together at a favorite local restaurant. (photo: Dominic Arizona Bonuccelli)

  • Volterra, Italy

    Day 4: All Day in the Hill Town of Volterra

    This morning we'll take a walking tour with a local expert who will make Volterra's traditions and history come alive. We'll also visit an alabaster workshop and tour the Guarnacci Etruscan Museum, one of Italy's best places to learn about this mysterious pre-Roman civilization. Then you'll have time to poke around the ancient lanes on your own. We'll regroup later this afternoon to learn about and taste some of the region's famous wines, followed by dinner on your own. (photo: Rick Steves)

  • Day 5: Lucca and the Italian Riviera

    Today we'll head west, stopping in the charming and prosperous town of Lucca, hometown of Puccini. We'll take a walking tour of Lucca's elegant pedestrian streets with free time to explore its impressive outer walls on foot or by bike. Later this afternoon we'll complete our drive to our seaside getaway, nestled along the harbor-hugging villages of the Italian Riviera. You'll have plenty of free time to explore before we gather this evening for dinner at a local family restaurant. (photo: Dominic Arizona Bonuccelli)

  • Day 6: Exploring the Cinque Terre

    You'll take a "vacation from your vacation" today in our Mediterranean getaway. You may choose to hike the famous 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 or vino, and catching up on your journal at an outdoor café. (photo: Dominic Arizona Bonuccelli)

  • Day 7: Florence and David

    Today we'll drive straight to Florence and take a Renaissance walking tour of the city's historic center. We'll see and learn about Brunelleschi's magnificent cathedral dome, Ghiberti's Baptistery doors, and other creations that helped define this world-changing era. We'll end our tour at the Accademia Gallery to marvel at works of sculptural genius: Michelangelo's rough-hewn Prisoners and his greatest masterpiece, David. Then you'll be free to find a special trattoria for dinner on your own. (photo: Rick Steves)

  • Day 8: The Uffizi Gallery

    This morning we'll devote our time to the breathtaking Renaissance art of the Uffizi — home to the finest collection of Italian paintings anywhere — including masterpieces by Leonardo, Botticelli, Michelangelo, and more. The afternoon is yours to visit more of the city's art-filled churches and museums, or browse the colorful markets. As it's our final night together, we'll have a grand dinner to share travel memories and toast new friends. Salute! (photo: Dominic Arizona Bonuccelli)

  • Day 9: Arrivederci!

    Breakfast is provided, but there are no group activities today. It's a breeze to reach Florence's airport by taxi or train. Your guide will help you with any post-tour planning, leaving you well prepared for the road ahead. Grazie e ciao! (Dominic Arizona Bonuccelli)

    Learn more about the Heart of Italy in 9 Days tour