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Heart of Italy 6/12 - 6/20/2015 New to RS

Well over a year of planning for a special Anniversary trip.

RS information recommendation for "first timer" made by a ski buddy who had wonderful experiences with RS in France. Initially thought the unaided "back door" approach might suit us best. But, the more we read, the more we felt that help with managing the details and logistics of a reasonable itinerary in chosen, Italy, would be best for our first experience.

We are about a month out. Thought to reach out to others who might be be on this particular tour. Those who have been on the Heart of Italy already- love to hear comments you feel might be helpful!

Very excited about this tour!

Blane and Cindi

Posted by
8247 posts

This was my first RS tour and the first trip back to Europe after many, many years! I had so much fun! I hope you are going in a few days early to Rome.

I really loved Volterra, do try to use some of your free time to see the Roman Theater which I found quite interesting. We ate in a wonderful organic vegetarian restaurant there, Bistrot Dioniso if that appeals to you. My brother and I are vegan so this was perfect for us.

What I really liked about this tour itinerary was the mix of big cities and smaller towns. A great variety!

Have a wonderful anniversary!

Posted by
9 posts

Pam, thank you for your comments, especially about Volterra. Have made a few notes. I too agree the mix of city and town was appealing for this tour. The mix of activity including history, art and physicality seemed about right. We will be new to Rome and Florence and there will be much to absorb. The taste of rural Tuscany and hiking Cinque Terra can only add balance.

Speaking of CT, I have read some interesting posts about huge holiday crowds. Also, rain and some sectional trail closures of late. Hopefully, by the time we get there mid June, we'll hit the "sweet spot", reasonably dry and functional!

Thanks again for sharing.

Posted by
8247 posts

I've been to CT in May and September. When I was there, you could definitely tell the difference when a cruise ship had docked nearby as the crowd diminished by late afternoon. You will be there mid-week so perhaps it will not be as bad as weekends.

Posted by
9 posts

Perfect! Sounds like the timing of our visit will be optimal in that case. Thanks!

Posted by
143 posts

I did this trip in May 2014 - great trip! I hope you can arrive a day or two early and visit the Borghese Gallery (reservation required).

Posted by
33 posts

We did this tour two years ago and it was wonderful. Our trip mates were all great fun and the bonding almost immediate. After the tour ended in Florence, we took the bus to Siena, stayed there for three days, then Orvieto for three and back to Rome for a couple of days. I'd second the notion of seeing the Borghese Gallery if at all possible.

Posted by
9 posts

Just a note of thanks for comments about the Borghese Gallery. Your enthusiasm and the guide books description made our decision to reserve tickets an easy one. We will arrive in Rome Thursday mid afternoon. Will spend some time with a relaxing dinner and do some walking that evening.

Have tickets for the Borghese in the 11- 2 slot Friday. Should give us plenty of time for breakfast and getting to the Gallery. After, need to get back to Hotel Sonya for the start of the tour by 3:00pm.

I am sure we will be "wowed" as others have. Some say take the tour from the start. Others say do the tour in reverse starting with upstairs. Any recommendations on strategy to maximize the experience?

Posted by
908 posts

I've taken an RS Rome tour but not HofI. Just want to concur that the Borghese is one of my favorite art galleries period. Bernini's work is a sight to behold. Our guide was part of tour so can't speak to doing it on your own/private guide, but you will enjoy. Have fun!

Posted by
9 posts

The Borghese did not seem to be included on the Heart of Italy itinerary we received from RS. That is why we secured tickets early. Many, beautiful pieces of art can more fully be appreciated with several viewings with time between. It will be opportune for us to visit for the first time, while we have the "window". We can always return at a future date. This will not be our last time visiting Italy nor Rome!

Will be driving to Montreal and flying to Rome in 3 days! Packed, re packed, re re packed and will post the final weigh-in. Going light... as per RS Rx.

Posted by
1000 posts

Don't forget to post a Trip Report when you get back so we all know how it went.
Enjoy.

Posted by
9 posts

Final weigh-in 15 for pack! Wife about same. Not bad!

Thanks so much for the well wishes. On way to Montreal... Then Italy!

Later...

Blane