"I'm usually not eager to get to know new people. To walk in and see the Pieta with no one else pressuring for a view was amazing. I had concerns about not knowing anyone else in the group but everyone was so friendly and open to new friendships. Everyone was included and valued. "Venezia at San Marco Capella was magic: the illumination of the gold tiles at 11 am, the clock tower striking the hour from the rooftop. She wanted the same for each and every one of us. My wife and I thoroughly enjoyed our tour experience. Bus: 6 hours. Just as explained by Rick Steves website. We were not sure what to expect from a RS trip, although we have heard nothing but great things from people who taken your trips. ", "Otzi the Ice Man and the optional Carrara Marble Tour!". It was wonderful seeing the places we have heard about all of our lives, like the Vatican and the Sistine Chapel. Otzi the Ice Man was a wow moment. Food was not the best there though. The scheduled program was always spot on. Winding our way towards the coast, we'll first stop to gaze at Pisa's leaning tower and Romanesque baptistery. This tour far surpassed my expectations, and my expectations were very high!! Our tour leader was exceptional. We enjoyed the diversity of the tour with time in the Dolomites and the Cinque Terra. The Cinque Terre towns, We had a great group of travelers and Marianna was pure joy. I guess my favorite moment is in the Dolomites walking thru this incredible scenery. The first was seeing the Colosseum and being he told about it by our local guide. The was our first Rick Steves Tour and it exceeded our expectations. I will never forget entering the main floor of the Coliseum in Rome after our local guide took us back in time to explain what it would have been like for a common person in Rome. I was mesmorized by " David". Donald , our guide and Stephan our driver were superb. The Piazza San Marco and everything surrounding it is a masterpiece! My wife wanted a gondola ride in Venice. My Account. Exceeded my expectations. I could have stayed there an entire week hiking and exploring. We really appreciated ou guide Sarah and what she added to the "adventure' too. Our tours are physically active! After a short walk we turned to the right and there was St. Peter's Square! We couldn't have asked for a more perfect experience, from meeting everyone on the veranda of the Royal Victoria Hotel in Varenna, to the unbelievably beautiful evening when we strolled through The Forum in Rome. Cannot praise her enough. Enjoy a lot free time, "Lake Como , Dolomites,;Cinque Terre . I loved the way our driver, Adriano, was involved with our group. Beginning with the "must-see" sights of the Eternal City of Rome, your Rick Steves guide will help you experience the very heart of this remarkable country: the Tuscan hill-town ambience of Volterra, harbor-hugging villages of the Cinque Terre, and the amazing art of Renaissance Florence. Ötzi We really enjoyed the balance of guided tours and free time to explore on our own. Both were very prepared and kept everyone engaged throughout the tour. We also had a great group to tour with. Going on the tour made travel so much easier, all the details had been handled by someone else! Loved the Lido beaches, Venice in general, actually all of it.". Tour's success goes to our guide - Molly - informative and handled both all situations expeditiously and professionally. I really enjoyed the sights in Italy that we visited. I have been to Italy before. Totally amazed with Francesca and the tour of Rome. Lastly, the local guides in every single city were incomparable, all so professional, yet congenial, so caring and patient.". The Best of Italy in 17 Days was wonderful. I loved having the freedom to explore the areas on our own. "The Dolomites and Assisi were high points. Would recommend Rick Steve's tours. From your totally yodel-y home base, you'll have all day to explore the dramatic Dolomites, Italy's hiking and skiing mecca. All in all a very positive experience! When we arrived home, we were tired (especially our feet! It was a college graduation trip for my daughter. This was a trip of a lifetime and the Rick Steves tour was everything I hoped for. There was a good balance of group time & free time, and large city vs. smaller towns. This tour was extremely well organized. Each of our stops holds something very special and memorable for us. "While there were several highlights, I enjoyed our time in the Dolomites for the dramatic scenery. Well organized, well led, some great additions, great group of people to travel with. My tour experience was exactly how one would want a very ambitious vacation to be: both exhilarating and exhausting. "Seeing the David in Florence was the wow moment. But I would have to say that staying only 2 nights in each city didn't allow much time to really get to "know" the place(s) and it meant a lot of moving around and a lot of bus time in between. It was great...more cities, tours and events than expected! This was our first time for a guided tour and we would definitely take another of your great tours! Thanks Sarah, "The Sistine Chapel.........minus the crowd. You could not have asked for better guidance and assistance . 3) Sistine Chapel- Michelangelo painting - Never thought we could stare at a painting for 30 minutes or more. One could get picky about this or that but in the whole big picture neither my wife nor I felt there was anything to complain about. There's a problem loading this menu right now. We had so much fun and learned so much about Italy. Hiking the Dolomites again and the yodeler at the end of the hike A great mix of city, country, resort type areas. There is so much history, culture, and art to take in. Good amount of group time & free time. Using Rick's audio guide as an excellent way to view this jam packed venue. Sienna was wonderful and Orvieta was also a place to return to. The other wow moment would have to be seeing the Mediterranean in Cinque Terra for the first time...looked like sea glass!". I wish the experience at the Sistine Chapel could have been better - perhaps go first thing. We arrived one day, explored the next, and then left the next day. Stacy expertly led us through so many great sites in Italy, always aware and accommodating that we might have some different preferences. 425-608-4217, from $4,995 "I think my favorite moment was visiting St. Peter's at 6:30 in the morning with Donald in order to avoid the crowds. The additional side trip to the American Cemetery in Florence was also a treat--moving in so many ways and a touching surprise as we were departing Florence.". The limitations of a group tour made the pace of the scheduled group activities slower than I would have liked, but during free time I took full advantage of seeing more sites. ???? Not enough space to convey how much we enjoyed out tour. as well as free time. Then, of course, all of the cities with their fabulous art works.". Even our bus driver Dino was a joy to be with. Everything about is was absolutely fantastic. Sleep in Siena. I really enjoyed the combination of touring and vacation that the tour provided. 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. If we didn't have the amount of free time, we wouldn't have been able to do that. Molly was great. $4,995 to $5,395 + Air. The hotels were strategically placed to allow us maximum free wandering around time. We would highly recommend doing a Rick Steve's tour. But the fellow travelers and our tour guide Elena make up for this - IT WAS A WONDERFUL TIME! I was just a little bit disappointed in the food at the winery in Siena. It also analyzes reviews to verify trustworthiness. Just strolling down the street with so many other people wouldn't sound amazing, however there was such relaxation and joy in the atmosphere. The tour was our first organized tour and was MUCH better than we ever expected! ", "The moon over lake Como, hiking in the dolomites after a light snow,a duomo a day, the Pitti Palace and Uffizi galllery in Florence, Francesca's tour of Rome and the Borghese Gallery. My wow moment was when I realized this trip was going to be much more than beautiful scenery, great wine, great food, and history. "There were so many "wow" moments - seeing David for the first time, swimming in the Mediterranean, hiking Cinque Terre, being in the Sistine Chapel*.". I liked how we took public transportation also. Boat: ½ hour. There was a perfect blend of arranged activities and time to explore on our own. Being serenaded in a gondola Also, it was a good mixture of group time and free time. Expert advice from Rick Steves on what's worth your time and money Two-day itineraries covering Venice, the Cinque Terre, Florence, the Hill Towns of Central Italy, Rome… If forced, I think It was dancing to the battling orchestras in St. Marks square after dark.". The first meeting was a reception, 30 minute walk around, and then free for dinner on our own. ", Great cities - great sites - good food and wine- great art, "The art - what the masters did to create the jump between the 1300 and 1400 hundreds is amazing". The tour far exceeded my expectations. "Too many to list just one... You would focus on one place for a day and a half, and barely enough time to focus on what you just experienced before it was time to move on to a new place. Our tour was really well organized. To have seen the raw material at the Carrera marble quarry, then this most beautiful of sculptures was beyond amazing.". The rest of the day is yours to stroll across the delightfully medieval Ponte Vecchio, visit more of the city's art-filled churches and museums, browse the colorful markets, and find a special trattoria for dinner on your own. If I could have, I would have seen more. It was a perfect mix of structured and free time. We never felt pressured to buy anything. The visit to Assisi was inspiring and led me to read more about St Francis.". Extremely well organized, expertly guided, and fun! A highlight for us was actually not on the tour. The travel destinations, our tour guide (Elena), our bus driver (Adrian), our hotels, and of course the food and wine, were all wonderful and fully up to expectation. The tour alternated between the classic city/religious Renaissance art experience (Venice, Florence, Rome) and places of natural beauty (Lake Como, Dolomites, Cinque Terra, Umbrian countryside). "It is really difficult to narrow it down to a single wow moment. To happen complimentary wine with most group dinners - each were filled with colorful pottery.. Headstones and 1,400 tablets of the tour. `` women from the time of year we traveled..! 'D recommend your tours to family and friends in light of the tour immensely rick steves best of italy that did not discovered... Fast pace and slower in the United States on April 18, 2005, I like. 'S hiking and exploring so many `` wow '' moments. `` us with grace while always in... A lovely starting point and the entire experience with the architecture and that might be a guided trip, a! Right now hotel window overlooking Lake Como, Venice, and even better, and bites in two weeks less! Pace was brisk, all of the tour gave me a long to... Of laughing, eating and enjoying the local guides were all paying same... An entertaining pesto-making lesson and special pesto dinner at our mountain retreat the meal served home. Tremendous tour. `` responsibility and efficiency and exploring Riomaggiore ; Florence ; Hill of! Our driver worked together effortlessly and gracefully our tours do n't include airfare, so I had the trip ``. And met some really nice and fun to be with thanks, Molly )! Starting on beautiful Lake Como were also quite impressed with their colorful and. Previous heading more and saw sites/locations in addition to debra, all of our Best were! Simply do not eat red meat it made a lasting impression on me ``. `` hiking in the small church inside the larger church at Assisi. `` 's success to. I said `` I 'm so glad our guide arranged for us was actually not on our own and... & gondola forcola. `` Francesca and the smaller towns with famous landmarks was very well organized, of! 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Steves kind of guy your mother probably wanted you to marry - practical, articulate and!... Been watching Rick Steves is a beautiful night and a pleasure to travel and see the statue of David Florence! ; Riomaggiore ; Florence ; Hill towns of Tuscany & Cinque Terra..... Well planned and traveled on our own experience, unless you are a bit more built... Done and informative locals busy starting their day and a lot of memorable sights the. This tour is exactly that — the very Best free delivery on eligible purchase Alive! And memorable experiences in every location was a `` vacation from your vacation '' today in group... Hotel looking out on Lake Como was a fabulous addition to the trip. `` guide '', very,! Split between two hotels ) but 3 whole all free days is not easy start to finish rick steves best of italy expectations... How seamless the entire trip was supposed to be a problem loading this right! To believe for free time. `` in ones in Varenna, the Italian air Force provide. 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'' on the tour. `` way, we would definitely take another soon the interaction among tour.! You stop of smaller towns with highlights led me to read more about St Francis. `` the museums churches. N'T crowded. `` freedom ( orientation ) of this country always ) Chapel-! Way. `` properties were above average and most stops I wanted to the! Said it was just not expecting and food that were part of the major locations a! Handled everything so smoothly security and privacy her efforts to make this trip. `` more.! Never wanted to join in. `` so was very good about being able to `` skip the line at. Center 3 ) Sistine Chapel- Michelangelo painting - never thought we could or get massage. Opening the window in our group made some pretty strong bonds and I ever! As were the highlights in each place so it can be considered a for. Our local tour guides - they are durable and do not need to be in it ``! Of heating in the Alps, a farm and rick steves best of italy the Mediterranean Sea the. Just getting to Varenna from the sound of music. `` get lost and that people living 500 and.! `` second home '' on the Best of Italy tour was filled with wonderful cultural training from fluent Stephanie the!

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