Robin, I was on the RS My Way Italy tour in Oct 2013 and then on the guided RS Sicily tour in May 2014. Both were excellent. The My Way tour is basically all free time, other than your time traveling from town to town, and a couple times some activity planned as a stop on the road, even then generally up to you what you do at that stop. The "escort" is an experienced guide who is available to provide suggestions and guidance re sites, restaurants, etc. if individual tour members want some. On my tour, when we arrived in a town the escort would sometimes say "I know a good restaurant here and am going there at 7 pm, any of you are welcome to come along if you like," and some of us did. The My Way tour is great for people who like to visit prime sites on their own, or buy a group tour in major cities, or spend their time in nearby towns, cooking classes, strolling aimlessly, painting or whatever. The group dynamic is not as close, and you save some money from not having guided sightseeing, site admissions or group meals included (other than all breakfasts). The guided tour has a busy schedule of planned visits and activities, but also quite a bit of free time built in, the online itinerary basically indicates how much and when. You can create more free time if you want to skip group activities, as long as that does not interfere with the travel schedule. The guide's knowledge and enthusiastic personality, the group meals and activities, and the camaraderie of the group are all highlights of the trip, I have found. You pay some more for that. All in all, I now favor the guided tours, especially when traveling solo. While in both cases I have continued my trip to other places in Italy following the tours. I also now favor guided tours to traveling solo independently, although independent travel certainly gives you more freedom to choose the places you want to visit. Hope that helps.