Love Italy....have been on the VFR tour and loved it. Spent time in Naples and Sorrento in the service a million years ago in the service, but have much more understanding of culture and wine now LOL. Trying to decide which tour to take....make your case and help me out....they both look amazing.
Of the 12 nights on the Southern Italy tour, you've already been to Rome, Naples and Sorrento: 2 nights each, 6 total, half the nights of the tour. So while there is still plenty to see in each of those places, you'd want to check how much overlap you're getting on your own prior experiences vs the tour itinerary.
You don't mention having been to any of the towns of the Village Italy tour, so that would be my "logic" for making a choice.
But then you can't go wrong, you'll be in Italy either way!!
Villages is amazing. You stay inside the walls of the old villages. It's a very food intensive tour (and it's all amazing). I'm told that around the RS offices, it's called the Food and Wine tour. lol This was the best tour I have taken (regardless of travel company) and I have taken many many European tours and been to Italy 6 times. I went to a concert in Lucca, strolled through a vineyard, picnicked on the walls of an old city, and saw Assisi in a way I have never been able to before. Rick arranged for the bus to take us to the top of the town and the guide walked us down through the upper neighborhood. We stopped in the piazza for lunch and then went on to tour the lower neighborhood. I had thought this would be a pass for me since I had been to Assisi three previous times, but I never knew there was an upper neighborhood or a Piazza.
We have been on both of these tours and enjoyed both very much. However our favorite is Villages. In fact we liked the Villages tour so much that we did it again last year. My vote goes to the Villages.
Like the first two comments above, I vote for Villages. You won't regret for sure.
They are both amazing tours. You need to decide what your focus is. The Village tour is full of wonderful experiential things and your seaside will be in the Cinque Terre. If you were wanting to re-connect with the Amalfi Coast and Naples, then you want to do the Southern Italy Tour. I would pick the Village Italy first for all the wine and food - the cooking class was awesome. I also loved exploring a part of Italy I knew nothing about - the Southern area. So, make a list of things that appeal to you on each of the tours and then decide which calls to you. (And then do the other one next year!) You'll love either of the tours! Happy Travels!
Do not struggle with a decision, do both!
Or one, one year and the other the next.
Life is short, eat dessert first!
If your VFR tour was recent I’d go for Village Italy. It was one of two RS tours (the other being Greece) we’d consider repeating. In fact, we may do it next summer as our daughter missed the last one. We are doing the Rome and Sicily tours next month. We’ve been to Rome several times but it’s been a decade or more. Southern Italy is on our bucket list as well.
We loved the Village Italy tour so much that we repeated it with friends...we loved South Italy as well,...and had amazing guides for both, but I think our hearts are in the northern villages. Take both..no regrets!
It is nice to hear the positive comments about the Village Italy tour. We are leaving today for Italy, and will start the VI tour on 4/22. We are staying at the tour hotel in Padua for four nights before the tour starts, and will be doing a day trip to Venice.
I have done the 17 Days Best of Italy tour and the 7 Days Best of Rome tour. While concentrating on smaller villages and the pleasures of food, wine and artisan workmanship is fantastic, I vote for Southern Italy. In fact, Southern Italy is high on my list. Reasons why include Rome, Naples, Pompeii, Paestum, then a trek across Italy to the Adriatic Sea, dipping into Puglia and Basilicata. Spending lots of time in Sorrento, Positano and the Amalfi Coast. A dream come true! Food, wine and Italian lifestyle will also be a focus on this tour. The Villages tour might get boring after awhile - please don't throw stones at me!
Southern Italy all the way!
I chose South Italy for my first RS tour because I want to see the Adriatic side of Italy. Then my sister-in-law joined me. The tour is perfect in that it ends in Naples so we will drive to Calabria to her grandparent’s ancestral village. We leave in 2 weeks.
I’m already thinking about Village Italy for my next tour.
I love the idea of doing both....looks like no one has any regrets about either....not sure that is helpful LOL. Will be interesting to see if more weigh in. I am no closer to deciding....want to do both....not enough time right now, or $ to do both, Best I can do is one every other year.... Thanks for those who have posted thus far.
When all else fails, why not a coin toss?
"Heads" is Village, "tails" is Southern, and on edge is both.
We did Heart of Italy in 9 days last year, and can't wait to go back to explore more of Italy. Originally we honed in on the Villages tour, but we compared the itineraries and watched the tour videos and chose Southern Italy. Yes, the first two nights are in Rome, but we will tour places we didn't on our last trip. And the tour leaves early on the third day heading to Hadrian's villa. We spent a day in Lucca and two nights in Cinque Terra last year and we'd like to return one day but first we'll areas we are totally unfamiliar with. I'd compare the itineraries with your own past experience - so you know which one to chose first - and do the other the following year. Keep on traveling'!
Thanks everyone....so guess we are leaning toward the Villages....we will see....they don't release the tours til August so I have a bit longer to deliberate!
We did the Village Italy tour in 2017, and it has become one of our favorites - of 12 tours (so far!) We're tentatively planning Southern Italy for 2020, but will wait until the tours for that year are announced before we decide.
The Village Italy tour sells out very quickly, and is among the tours announced relatively early. We paid our deposit in June last year for a 2019 departure.
Thanks again for all the comments. It looks like the Village tour is up now, but I am thinking that is for later...the pull of Sorrento is strong....waiting for the Southern Italy to be posted and see if the dates work out for us.
Thanks again to everyone who commented. Hard choices I know! Feel lucky just to go again.
The villages, one of my favorite tours.
Hi Steph. I have taken both tours, enjoyed them both and would heartily recommend either. That said, if I were to chose one over the other, I would still give the edge to SI, mostly because of the uniqueness of the places visited. It is like nowhere else in Italy. Although I have been to Italy several times, I had never been to the east or southern part of the country. It is unique, uncrowded (except for the Amalfi coast!) fascinating (Matera!) and oh, such an education about a part of Italy about which I had literally known nothing. It is also awesomely beautiful. I also fell in love with Naples on this tour. I loved the Villages tour also but I had visited many of the places the tour covered so while a great and memorable tour, I'm still giving the edge to Southern Italy. Best of all possible choices? As others have suggested, do both!