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Picking a tour of Italy

Hello,
My SIL, son and I are planning a trip to Italy this summer. WE are trying to decide between Heart of Italy in 9 days and Best of Rome, Venice and Florence. Has anyone been on both? If you've been on either what did you enjoy/dislike about the tour?
Also, what have you found is the most economical airline for flying to Italy (we are on the west coast) ?
Thanks for your tips and time.

Posted by
14157 posts

You probably mean Heart of Italy which is a 9-day tour. I have done that one but have not done the V/F/R one. I have been to Venice, Florence and Rome on other Rick Steves tours.

I think one of the main differences is that on the Heart of Italy you get out in to smaller cities like Volterra and a few hours stop in Lucca plus the smaller villages in the Cinque Terre. With the V/F/R tour you are concentrating on the big cities.

Posted by
32244 posts

As Pam mentioned, the Best of Italy is a 17 day tour, beginning in Varenna. That would be the "best" one (IMO) as it covers a nice blend of smaller towns as well as the larger cities (including "the big three").

Which tour to choose will depend whether you'd prefer to see just larger cities, or whether you'd like more of a mix. One way you could cover all the bases would be to take the Heart of Italy tour and then plan a few days on your own in Venice either before or after the tour. The HOI tour already covers Rome and Florence, so this way you get to cover all the areas from both tours. By the end of the tour, you'll be comfortable with getting about in Italy on your own.

Good luck with your decision!

Posted by
10 posts

Yes, Heart of Italy tour was what I meant. Was there any opportunities to take any cooking classes in that tour? Thanks for your input.

Posted by
14157 posts

Gosh, I just thought of something! In Cinque Terre, Mama, the owner of Hotel Pasquale where 1/2 the group stayed (the rest stayed in the Villa Steno, owned by their son) did do a Pesto making lesson! It was a lot of fun listening to her give the recipe (use 80 basil leaves, lol!!) and watching her grind up the basil leaves in a ~huge~ mortar and pestle. Then, of course, we ate the pesto! There was no hands' on but very, very enjoyable.

Posted by
9 posts

My husband and I debated about the same thing. Time wouldn't allow us to take the 17 day tour. We are leaving for the Best of VFR tour in 2 weeks! We ultimately decided on this trip because it was our first trip (of many to come) and we wanted to do the "big city/touristy - history thing". I'm already dreaming of my next visit to the smaller villages to learn more about the area where my family is from.

Posted by
10 posts

Kristen,
Will you please let me know how your trip is??
Enjoy your time in Italy!

Posted by
2644 posts

As to flights, post here again when you know your dates and cities. Depending on your nearest airport, there might be some budget options on Norwegian Air, stopping over in Oslo or Stockholm. If you're close to LA you'll have lots of legacy airlines flying over there so it's hard to guess on good flights without more information.

Posted by
10 posts

Looks like we'll likely do July 10-18 Heart of Italy starting in Rome (although we'll likely fligh into Bologna a July 6) flying out of Florence to/ from Seattle . Thanks for any tips!

Posted by
14157 posts

I think you will really enjoy this tour! But...really you can't go wrong with ~any~ RS tour!