Heart of Italy - Tuscany Country Side

We will be taking the Rick Steves' Heart of Italy Tour this year. Will the ride between Rome and Volterra let us see beautiful country settings of Tuscany or should we schedule a private driver during our free time in Volterra? Any other must see and do for this tour??

Posted by Patty
Steilacoom, WA, USA
304 posts

You do travel through some of the Tuscan countryside before you hit the motorway. If that's high on your list, then maybe a driver. That said, we were so busy enjoying Volterra that we wouldn't have wanted to miss a minute of the town. do you start in Florence? Several people in our group did an extra day or two in Venice before the tour. I wish we'd done that. We loved every minute of this tour.

Posted by Michelle
Franklin, KY, USA
4 posts

Patty, this year the same tour is starting in Rome. So it may be a consideration when we finish the tour in Florence. I don't want to miss a thing or rush to do to much !!

Posted by David
Florence, AL, USA
1960 posts

We just loved Volterra when we were there 11 months ago. And San Gimignano is also just a short distance away. The area is not mountainous, but it's very hilly. And the roads are relatively crooked.
It's most often green and lush countryside, with olive groves and grape orchids everywhere throughout the region.

Posted by Jeff
Richmond, Ky, USA
226 posts

There are some beautiful drives through the Crete senese. Most are available only if you have your own car. On the good side, the view up the A1 is fantastic as well. Wherever you are, just enjoy it all, and try to absorb everything. We are returning for our 5th trip in May, and our excitement is probably higher now, than for our first trip. This time we know what we are looking forward to. If you have a chance to drive through southern Tuscany on your way to the north, you will not be disappointed! If not, There is always next time!! Most of all enjoy where you are!!
Ciao! Jeff

Posted by Patty
Steilacoom, WA, USA
304 posts

Is this your first RS tour? This was our first and we were a bit "deer in the headlights". I think we might have enjoyed the direction you're taking more. We didn't climb St.Peter's in Rome, but did take the elevator to the top of the Victor Emmanuel Monument for a fabulous view. How exciting to be in the Sistine Chapel after the recent events. Volterra sits at the top of a hill, and you have a chance for some amazing views out over the countryside. If we did it again, we would have taken the opportunity to ship some of the wine from the wine tasting home. Their Brunellos were wonderful. We thought the shopping in Florence was better than in Rome. There was a street market close to the hotel that was great for scarves. I wish we'd gotten more gelato in Florence and gone to the Pitti Palace. I also wish I had paid more attention to which meals we were doing on our own, especially dinners, and had some ideas ahead of time. The guide was great at giving selections, but I could have done more research on my own.