We're well on our way to filling the thousand Rick Steves tour departures we have planned for 2023. And I'm determined that we'll have a well-trained guide team to assure each of our tour members the trip of a lifetime.
That's why, in a couple days, I'm flying to Rome on a special mission: to personally help train our newest class of Rick Steves tour guides. I'll be meeting up with 20 bright, talented, and eager tour guides from all over Europe, excited to travel and learn together. Of course, they're already excellent guides with plenty of experience — that's why we've chosen them. But I want them to be excellent "Rick Steves guides" — and there is a difference!
Last year, I did a similar "guides training tour" and it was a huge success. For the rest of their careers, these guides will have had an actual tour experience as participants in a Rick Steves-led tour to draw from and be inspired by. These guides understand vividly what makes our tours so right for the right travelers. They completed successful tours this year, their tour members loved them, and that's why we're doing it again with a new class of guides this year.
Our route follows one of our most popular tour itineraries: the Heart of Italy in 9 Days tour. As we learned last year with stops in a big, bustling city (Rome), a dreamy hill town (Volterra), a stretch of the Italian Riviera (the Cinque Terre), and an art capital (Florence) — this itinerary provides a wonderful mix of teaching experiences, and just the right "classroom" for graduating the kind of guides that keep our tour members coming back for more.
We'll fill each day with hands-on lessons, exercises, and workshops, from crafting a smart daily schedule, to expertly leading city walks, to earning a group's attention when picking up the microphone. We need to get this just right because we're the luckiest teachers in the world: Our classrooms are the historic and cultural wonders of Europe and our students are the curious and eager-to-learn travelers who fill our tours.
In this month's Tour News, learn more about our Heart of Italy itinerary with a colorful day-by-day slideshow and, for double the Italian fun, hop aboard a slideshow of our Best of Italy in 17 Days tour. We'll also share a few raves from happy Heart of Italy and Best of Italy tour members, an interview with Italy guide Karin Kibby, and a virtual tour of Italian life in Florence's Otrarno neighborhood.
In a couple weeks, I'll fly home from this tour knowing that a new class of Rick Steves guides have bonded and learned together and are well on their way to joining the ranks of the rest of our wonderful guides. It's a huge responsibility to meet the high expectations of those who sign up on a Rick Steves tour, and we're determined to make those travel dreams come true.