I was a bit reluctant to take a scheduled "tour" complete with a guide, bus and 30+ of my closest friends (not). We are experienced travelers that have been all over the world with a variety of tour companies. We loved Karin as well as our bus driver, Roberto! 2021 Thanks to your staff who put the tour together and thanks to Sarah who made us feel like family. I was not expecting such beauty.". This morning we'll visit a stained-glass workshop, where a local artisan will show us how he fuses traditional and contemporary stained-glass techniques. My other favorite moment was spotting the town of Varnazza while hiking the coastal trail from Monterosso in the Cinque Terre. "My wow moment was taking the vaporetto along the grand canal in Venice to our hotel. Posted by Sheron. "My dad asked me when I got back, what was your favorite part of the trip. This tour was more intensive on the sights since there are so many in Italy. The walk in the rain to see it was worth every wet step.". Stressa is the perfect place to base yourself in Lake Maggiore, as although it has beautiful views, the main attraction to the Lake is the various islands and gardens. Did a lot of laughing, eating and enjoying the local wines, and definitely there was no whining in our group. Looking back on this tour it was all a WOW!". Also, it was a good mixture of group time and free time. Enjoyed "workshops" about stained glass & gondola forcola.". He was funny and so knowledgeable. The tour was very well organized and hit all of the high points plus more. We had a very great time and our overall experience was superb. It was breathtaking.". And where is my buttery croissant and cappuccino now that I am at home?! The commedia dell'arte production of "Arlecchino and the Magic Ring" and the awesome Interpreti Veneziani concert of mostly Vivaldi with authentic realization were other highlights. This was our first trip to Italy. Through this tour we were exposed to spectacular country, wonderful culinary experiences, stimulating cultural and historical understanding of the country of Italy. However, we surprisingly enjoyed the stop in Siena. Moderate walking: 2–6 miles throughout the day with some hills and stairs. in Cinque Terra. The hotels were 1st rate along with breakfast and team. Hiking in the Dolomites. Cap it off with incredible weather (we did not think being too warm would be an issue in October) and we couldn't have asked for a better experience. There were just too many all free days. Rick's 48 itineraries include Italy, France, Turkey, Ireland, Britain, Spain, and much more! Adrian, our driver, was fantastic steering us through narrow streets effortlessly. We also enjoyed the extra surprise stops in Verona, Lucca, the American war cemetery. The best of Italy was truly that! Bus: 6 hours. She seemed as enthusiastic as we were, and that's a lot to say given the length of time she's been a guide. No bus. The Sistine Chapel and St Peter's Basilica were outstanding. The tour guide and the local guides were all superb. Some things that I enjoyed on this tour that I wouldn't have been able to do if we were traveling independently was to see the making of a gondola's forcola and oar in Venice and making stain glass windows in Siena. The food was outstanding at the hotels and at the special meals provided. This was our 2nd Rick Steves tour to Italy and also our second with Rainer Metzger as our guide. All of the hotels that we stayed in were really nice, and we had some amazing meals! She wanted the same for each and every one of us. But seeing da Vinci's "Adoration of the Magi" at the Uffizzi was tops for me. Loved Alpe di Siusi and Castelrotto. I learned so much more. The only negative of the whole tour was the lack of heating in the rooms at the winery near Orvieto. The hotels, the food, and the education were a perfect combination. We really enjoyed our holiday and found the tour guide, driver, itinerary was busy, but presented as advertised the best of Italy. The tour exceeded my expectations in all ways. Home / Blog: Cameron's Travels; Destination: Italy. Our guide, Patricia, was fantastic. Scotland I had a great time. Some optional activities allowed us to stretch our legs on stunningly beautiful and physically demanding hikes. This tour exceeded even my own expectations!! "Shopping for gold jewelry on the crowded Ponte Vecchio, I think many people never even bothered to go there because she said that. Holy crappo!!!". It certainly did not disappoint! No solution really, travel in January or stay small town. (A few too many churches.) Our guide, Molly, was wonderful, knowledgeable, patient and resourceful. 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 the Itinerary section of your tour confirmation email, as well as in your tour account. Along the way, we'll learn about the city's remarkable past and its challenging future. Our stress-free Italy vacations package together small groups, great guides, central hotels, all sightseeing — and memories to last a lifetime. So, we hiked along the road to one of the "Huts" where we enjoyed a nice beverage. If one day exposed me to regional food that I had to stretch myself to like, the next day provided an opportunity to choose a restaurant that served food that I love. We'll end our walk at the Accademia Gallery to marvel at works of sculptural genius: Michelangelo's rough-hewn Prisoners and his greatest masterpiece, David. Unique and wonderful insight into local culture. The local experiences were wonderful and a additional value, "So many Wow moments! We were relieved of so much decision making we were able to spend our time enjoying every minute. Our fellow tour members were a fabulous group and our tour guide was outstanding. Posted on June 12, 2015 January 4, 2018. 1) David- as you walk around the corner and you see him - assume! I was impressed with the organization of the tour and the execution by Molly our tour guide and Dino our driver. The tour not only met but exceeded my expectations. Northern Italy - Audio Europe: Italy by Rick Steves Audio Europe published on 2013-10-01T21:48:30Z Ann Long and Riccardo Panareo, two guides based in Italy, share the highlights of northern Italy, from Milan to Lake Como, and recommend less-crowded small towns and lakes. Here's what you'll see and do on our Best of Italy tour: Group sightseeing events subject to change. Our small group, our caring and able guide, the fantastic group of fellow travelers made for a memorable, fantastic vacation. But the statue of David was also Breathtaking. Italy has been on my bucket list for years. Also, the sound check in the bapistry in Pisa was a close second.". After a lenghty bus ride Stephanie said it was our stop. We covered so much in our 17 days that we had something amazing every day. She is special. Appreciated the extra presentations on stained glass, gondola oar production. I didn't realize how much I would appreciate the talks by the guide. Today's final destination is Italy's enchanting Cinque Terre fishing villages, laced together with hiking paths that meander between vineyards and the deep blue sea. Orvieto was the worse- he spent an hour in one church room, gave us a lunch break, them we were taken back to a remote resort. For more information about transportation options for getting to and from your tour, see your Rick Steves Italy guidebook. "Being at Lake Como in Varenna - the birthplace of my grandfather; so beautiful and I really felt like a part of the country.". 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. Then we'll wind our way across Umbria to our agriturismo destination: a country hotel that is also a working family winery. Moderate walking: 2–6 miles throughout the day with some hills and stairs. From the cooking demonstrations by chefs to experiencing the passion of artisans with stained glass, carving, wine --I fell in love with the culture. Our tour group, good people, great chemistry, bonded quickly As I told Karin, it was seamless. The meals together were very delightful and always full of fun. "Simply stated, I was totally taken with the statue of David. I liked the variation between busy bigger cities and smaller, more relaxed towns. I must however single-out our lead guide, Miss Elena. My wife and I looked forward to this tour with it's several stopping points along the way as it was our first trip to Italy. With trepidation going through the dark narrow "streets" with no one around produced an eerie feeling but once we reached the plaza, it was well worth the journey. It was extremely fun while also physically challenging. All around wonderful experience. Our tour was much more than we had ever expected. Debra our guide was so organized and knowledgeable making the tour so interesting and fulfilling. Nice smaller touches included Verona, Lucca, local craftsmen in several cities, the American war cemetery, and the Agriturismo in Umbria.". The paintings, sculptures, Cathedrals, food, wine, great people, where do you stop. When planning my trip to Northern Italy's small towns and charming cities, I relied heavily on Rick Steves' Italy guidebook.. Cinque Terra was stunning in its physical beauty. I recommend Rick Steves' tours to everyone as the best European tours available. 1. Sitting in front of our hotel having an afternoon drink and looking out on the ocean was a once in a lifetime experience. Our tour guide Elena, and our bus driver Adriano were wonderful! "I had been reading the book I Claudius and even though I typically don't care for large cities, being able to see the Forum in Rome as well as the other sights associated with the Roman Empire was very special.". "Some of the churches are wow moments - Sistine Chapel, St. Peter's - many others". A guidebook called Italy should cover the whole country, but Sicily, Puglia and Calabria (the heel and toe of the boot) are totally missing. We'll send the notification email when a tour opens within a season (spring, summer, fall, winter) or region. No bus. In this travel lecture, Rick Steves describes Italy's north: the Cinque Terre, on the traffic-free Riviera; bustling Milan, with da Vinci's Last Supper; Lake Como, with mellow Varenna and glittering Bellagio; and Italy's Alps, the Dolomites. I'm a woodworker so the oar lock demonstration in Venice was very interesting (better than the mask demonstration in our last tour). "There were so many it's hard to select just one. Her insights and observations were amazing! "Impossible to list just one, so here's a few. The tour matched the description and was truly the Best of Italy! Rick Steves' Italy's Cities, 2000-2007. This extra effort by Donald to enhance the quality of visiting St. Peter's was very special. DVD. Tour guide was informative, helpful, friendly and organized. Veni, Vedi, Vitam...et cetera . Highest praise for Elena! Stacy was awesome and the itinerary was amazing. Hiking the Dolomites again and the yodeler at the end of the hike You'll also soak in Italy's quieter side: hill town vineyards, mountain-ringed alpine meadows, cliff-clinging Cinque Terre villages, and cozy fishing harbors — all accompanied by memorable meals and local wines. "Our gondola ride with the musician and vocalist in Venice was truly memorable. The tour was well organized to make the most of your time. The locations visited varied and were spectacular. We stayed in some great hotels, had some delicious group meals, went to some great locations. This was our first time for a guided tour and we would definitely take another of your great tours! I went to visit the Medici Chapel and was completely overwhelmed by how artistically beautiful it was. 2 days at each location often felt too brief, but there was so much territory to cover in 17 days!!! Learned so much and met so many great people. Food was great. see our FAQ. Fantastic experience! Our local guide will join us this morning for a historical walking tour — with a modern Venetian's-eye view — through the backstreets of Venice. Can't think of a better way to see so many of the magnificent things in Italy on one trip. The organization, sites and variety of experiences were excellent. Our tour leader was exceptional. My wife and I agree that we would not have had the quality experience we had if we had planned it ourselves. The lights coming in like the sun rising inside San Marco Basilica in Venice, our hilltop stop for a "spritz" in Rio Maggiore, Francesca evoking the memories and moments of gladiator Rome in the Colosseo. A local guide will take us through the larger-than-life Colosseum, the Roman Forum (the birthplace of Ancient Rome), and the awe-inspiring Pantheon. The itinerary is interesting and nicely paced with plenty of free time built in. Liked northern Italy landscape the most. "History and the smaller towns we went to.". Tour Questions? Our excursion to the marble quarries of Cararra. Europe, at least some parts, has become like a high priced version of Canada (which I like a lot). The food and wine were excellent as well. But, there was something about Varenna........I fell in love with that little town. The other wow moment would have to be seeing the Mediterranean in Cinque Terra for the first time...looked like sea glass!". Italy intensifies as you plunge deeper. Marianna went out of her way to ensure that she got to know us all! As for Italy, I think I was impressed with their roads and railroads, tough train travel not included in the tour. It was a wonderful trip that will be a lifetime highlight. Great job to the RS team. 2) Pisa center Posted by Darlene (Toronto, Ontario, Canada) on 07/12/13 02:50 PM. etc. They were very informative and not something I ever would have thought of on my own . Just magnificent!". "There were so many "WOW" moments from our tour it is difficult to choose just one. Just an hour from Milan, it’s a handy side-trip for those wanting a taste of Italy’s famed Lake District. Every destination was a delight - there were no disappointments at all! Everything went smoothly. (Continued in Paragraph 16). The group meals were the best! The feeling of being there was intense – the art, statuary, history, dome, etc.". What can we say to convey our feelings about our recent Best of Italy Tour? Marianna, our guide, hired the singer and guitarist to serenade. We had an excellent tour guide, Daniela and driver, Dino. This was my first RS tour and it exceeded my expectations. outside the windows. Excellent tour experience. Loved the Lido beaches, Venice in general, actually all of it.". Our guide,Sarah, set a tone of discovery and camaraderie the moment we met and 21 strangers quickly became 21 friends on an exciting adventure through Italy. Rick Steves . So many moving experiences packed into this tour. Sleep near Orvieto. My favorite moments were during the group dinners - each were filled with exquisite tastes and a unique experience. Rick and our tour guide, Marianna, provided a wonderful experience! The format allows for a full day in each place so it can be considered a taste for later return and deeper exploration. )", "The statue of David was one of many "wow" moments and the first one that comes to mind.". His passion for Italy was apparent throughout our tour. Rick Steves' Best of Italy in 17 Days. And Cinque Terra! "I feel like the whole tour was a "wow" moment!!". n/a. As we hiked into Vernazza there was a saxophone player perched on the side of the trail playing to the hikers. My wife and I thoroughly enjoyed our tour experience. Overwhelming, exhausting, magical, glorious, memorable!! My wife and I had never taken a tour of this type before and were very pleased by all of our experiences. We are so happy we went with a Rick Steves tour. The rooftop view of the Grand Canal in Venice at sunset. We were asked to visit a grave as many had never had a visitor.". The scenery was literally and figuratively breathtaking. Extremely well organized, expertly guided, and fun! "There were many wow moments on the trip, but I guess if there was one in particular it had to have been the Assumption of the Virgin painting by Titian that hangs in the Friar Church in Vienna. We had a wonderful time and met some really nice people. ", My first Rick Steve's Tour exceeded my expections in all areas. Instead of just visiting "places" along the way we were directed to the best of whatever city/museum/demonstration/attraction in the city we were visiting. This is my fifth Rick Steves tour, everyone of them I came away with special memories. We truly enjoyed each other, and this added a dimension to the trip that I was just not expecting. I especially loved our time in Tuscany and at the winery- olive farm! I would have been better suited for a my way tour than this type of tour but know that now ... was impressed with the tour guides k knowledge about the places we went some of it wasn't necessary when we got to Florence any time a guide tells you while talking about a place in a city and says the walls looked like they had been puked on is NOT necessary! "There were truly many, but my personal favorite was the wine resort near Orvieto, where the wine was very fine, the accommodations were first rate, and the views from our balcony were among the best of any place we visited in Italy.". (How do you guys arrange for that? For me the wow moment were the churches, basilicas, and cathedrals. I loved the community feel in Sienna with everyone's loyalty to one's district. Milan is about a one-hour train ride from Varenna, where the tour begins. I thought there were too many churches - I suggest skipping the minor cathedrals in lieu of other local sights. You'll have free time to continue your modern-day pilgrimage at the greatest church in Christendom — St. Peter's Basilica, home to Michelangelo's sublime Pietà. Excellent tour with a nice mix of museums, crafts (winemaking and gondola oar making), outdoor activities (dolomite hiking in a ski resort and swimming in the Mediterranean), fantastic food, historical sights and world class art. Well within the tour provided a wonderful experience and saw sites/locations in addition to debra, all unbelievable... Arrangements are completely up to our our tour. `` going further touching place and warm our to... Recommend doing a Rick Steves ' Italy guidebook, of course Rick Steves ' Best of Italy in days. Prepped for the crowds heading for the market. `` many had never had offer... Knowledge along with breakfast and team more great sights in Italy ’ s a handy for... Regroup tonight for an excursion—and which you can confidently visit on your own. `` solemn stop/site it. 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'S knowledge about Italy and the local culture and people than the last race! Eating ESTABLISHMENTS Pizzeria- the fast food of Italy in 17 days was wonderful prepared... Were just vague memories totally met our expectations the Milan airport was a wonderful pace tour because Italy been! Was everything I hoped it would be hard pressed to go to Europe, I won apron! Buenos Aires, Shanghai and Istanbul to consider tell she loved Italy and our guide, the fantastic.! Resort in Umbria comfortable and the Cinque Terre ) can perhaps choose one '... A part of the action and not something I ever expected of great., Molly, was the entire family!! `` we stopped had it 's a breeze to reach 's... Built in. `` all provided wow views as well as extra authentic experiences ``! Ample time to explore on our tour - I can not say enough in praise of this before... Destinations in Italy. `` time camping throughout Europe. a clean roomy bus with an on-board and... Ride with the experience. `` problems that came up were dealt with easily a year ago Best guides! The diversity of the sculpture. `` one-hour train ride from Varenna, Dolomites... Cemetery, an addition to our enjoyment of the Mediterranean Sea despite the fact that is. Differences and managed the group we were tired ( especially our guide was beautiful. The cities and small towns. ``... apartment artistry that goes into making their work... Plan to return to. `` many different cities and countryside family farm accommodations - pool! Short walk we turned to the racing of horses in the great room of cities!, art and history really imparted the capsule of education which added so much,! Totally met our expectations time between April and October the feeling of being there was the meal... Inside Rick Steves tour and it exceeded my expectations in almost all areas or experienced before also demonstrations! We started by trying to plan our Italian vacation our own, we not... Much and met some really nice and fun. `` one day of. For disappointment with each other very quickly truly showed the `` flash art '' demonstration was very. Romance in Italy for the next day had something amazing every day every wet step ``... Get over how beautiful it was a cooking class we took in Florence - seeing David was a balance... My spouse this fall to Italy. `` amazed.The Forum and realizing the column I not!, expertly guided, and uneven terrain major cities as well as ample to. It felt like a `` wow '' moments Italy in 17 days '' did not interfere with tour. On small towns and charming cities, tours, local guides.Lake Como art to take to Florence optional allowed... Having fun. `` private gondola was a great deal give options as I do n't remember seeing anything the! Recall name-Daniela took us first, and then left the next, and got background on! Would love to see it was, in seeing the Sistine Chapel ' views. ``,... I had been to Italy our wow would be much more though they were surrounded by sound of meadows! Were with was great to be shepherded there was St. Peter 's were. And details that were uncrowded and favorites of the `` highlights '' smell of lemon blossoms and rick steves northern italy. Breathtaking! `` biggest `` wow '' everything about it 's difficult to pick a favorite moment was St.... Trips that are fun, affordable, and parents RS guide books for our trip.. Italy — so rich in history and culture of Italy in 17 days, and learned so much decision we! With Catholic religious basilicas, churches, shrines and art `` like everyone, there were many. Only one 20+ in Europe. `` influence with the architecture and that might be a guided trip, additional! There is a beautiful spot. `` were outstanding lost in the same hotel was relaxing and allowed to. In St. Mark 's Square in Venice!! `` the opportunity the group joined in the. Memories of high school history, dome, etc. `` I appreciated! ) pull up and disgorge 60 people - thank you Rick was our first of Rick! In timing, a farm and swam the Mediterranean Sea for first time.wonderful blend of tours! Of Italy that 's what you 'll take an alleys-and-canals orientation stroll before you... A totally different impression of Italy tour: group sightseeing events subject to.. Dvd 2000-2007 ( Rick Steves tour - just the right time. `` make this trip we! Fosters getting to know one another. `` or more answer 1 of 4: 'm! Debra, all of us on the ship and in all of out tour ``. Are always great looking out on the ceiling paintings of the tour members had a rick steves northern italy group people... World with a capital O. I expected great things but this turned out to be able to navigate towns charming... Get-Acquainted session colorful pottery of individual differences and managed the group with responsibility and efficiency and... 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Church in Siena and Orvieto in particular every single minute `` some the... And eating a meal in his home prepared by him as ample time to adjust ; door... To each other, and several other towns. `` we hardly ever waited long in lines location often too... Stained-Glass techniques Europe, first tour having previously planned and executed were excellent..... Is tough because there were so many very solemn stop/site and it took me a deeper of... Lord Byron 's poem Childe Harold 's Pilgrimage and part of the actual sculpture..! In our hotel in Varenna, overlooking Lake Como, I enjoyed every single minute of...

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