Originally, we preferred to travel on our own but being part of a group turned out to be one of the highlights. We met like-minded travelers from all over the country and have kept in touch with many of them. We always watched out for each other.
Donald, a gifted professional with wide ranging knowledge of Italy, both it’s history and culture and everything one would need to know to get around. Fluent in Italian of course. He happily shared his knowledge with a genuine concern for our safety and enjoyment. It was clearly important to him that our trip be the best that it could be. Thank you Donald!
The Local Guides
Our local guides, Elizabeth, Cynthia, Roberta, Annalisa, Giuseppe & Ilaria, were all very interesting, entertaining and brilliant storytellers. We loved each and every walking tour by both Donald and the local guides. We were surrounded by history and art and these guides made learning about it fascinating and fun.
Our driver, Stefano, never ceased to amaze us in his ability to “bend the bus” as Donald described it on the many hilly, winding and narrow roads that we traveled upon. We always felt safe on the bus and were able to completely relax, take in the scenery and listen to Donald talking over a speaker describing our next destination. The modes of travel (trains, buses, boats & limos) were all very comfortable.
The hotels were unique, many were very historic, and all were within walking distance to most of the sights in every location. The rooms varied from place to place – all lovely, charming and very clean. We slept well in comfortable beds after a long day of walking and sightseeing.
Breakfasts were hearty and delicious served with made-to-order cappuccino. The Italian coffee was always so good! The eight group dinners were sensational… food, wine and even live entertainment on our last evening by a talented guitarist singing Italian favorites while we dined in a cave. We asked for vegetarian meals, fish or chicken at the group dinners and were always served a dish prepared especially for us. The restaurant recommendations in the Rick Steves books served as a great guide in choosing where to eat on our own. Donald also provided a lot of food tips and even taught us the proper way to order coffee at a coffee bar!
To sum up the trip… we are grateful to Rick Steves and his staff for a truly amazing adventure. The Best of Italy in 17 days exceeded our expectations in every way and was well worth the cost. It is clear to us now, that we never would have learned or seen so much if we had tried to do this on our own. Italy was even more beautiful and ancient than we had imagined. We miss the trip and are truly anxious to return to see Southern Italy! Our 43 minute travel video (not available on this site) has been viewed by many who are now considering a Rick Steves tour. Added note… September is a wonderful time of year to travel in Italy. We had 17 days of summer-like weather and didn’t even pack long pants although they would have been nice on the long, chilly transatlantic flights. Follow Rick’s packing tips and his advice... "Keep on traveling!"