My wife and I just signed up for this tour last week. We heard and read many good things and would love to know your experiences and comments. This will by my 4th RS tour and my wife's 5th. How is the weather in October? As always the tour group members are so important in making a tour memorable.
We were fortunate enough to be able to enjoy this tour in May of 2015. I can't speak to the weather in October, but we couldn't have asked for better weather than when were were there. We did have a rainy morning in Matera, but other than that the weather couldn't have been better. We had made a trip to Italy on our own prior to this tour and were very pleased with the experience using RS guidebooks for planning our trip and making the best of our vacation time. We went with the thought that this was our dream vacation and would probably be our one and only visit to Europe. But before we landed back in the States we were already talking about a return trip (after all, we had tossed our coin in Trevi Fountain)! We had watched and dreamed along with RS on our public broadcasting station and decided that if we were only going to have "one more" visit to Europe, it should be with a RS tour. The Best of Italy tour fit our time constraints and we really wanted to see more of Italy. We couldn't have made a better choice! This tour showed us a different side of Italy than our first visit, and the tour afforded us experiences that wouldn't have been possible on our own. Our tour guide Ann was exceptional and I cannot praise her enough! Her knowledge, wit and organization can't be surpassed. You are right, the tour group members really set the tone and we were very fortunate to have a great easy going group to travel with. The thing that we really enjoyed about this particular tour was showing us towns of Italy that we would not likely chosen to visit on our own, and the travel from one town to the next was seamless thanks to being able to draw on RS wealth of experiences. From the resort town of Vieste (quiet before the season began) to the magical town of Matera with its layers of history, this trip has it all. Of course Rome is worthy of several visits, and Naples opens your eyes to a very busy town with its history existing with a modern world in mind. From a relaxing cruise along the Amalfi Coast with its beautiful scenes to the crazy busy streets of Rome and Naples, to a home cooked meal with a local family, this tour is wonderful! This is just the tip of the iceberg as to all that was included on our tour. I highly recommend it!! Have a wonderful time!
We signed up for this tour Sept 11-23rd just yesterday. We are so excited! We've been using Rick's guidebooks and watching his TV show and podcasting the radio show for years and never dreamed we would be going on one of his tours. We've done quite a bit of independent travel and been on 2 tours with other companies, and the time just seemed right to do this. Can't wait!!
Ah, this was one of my favorite tours! Such a variety of places to see and things to do and a lot of those most unusual. Loved everything about it and I bet you will, too. We went the very end of September into October and our weather was perfect. Not hot, not cold, no rain, but you know weather is always predictably unpredictable. Our tour group was the usual wonderful mix of ages, sexes, retired/still working, so many differing life experiences. One of the things I like best about a Rick Steves tour is meeting and befriending so many people from so many different walks of life. For me, this is always an experience in of itself! I know you'll enjoy this tour! Oh, and I think there is at least one tour scrapbook on the RS site from someone who took this tour. in 2016. Those are always nice (and fun!) to look at before you go and nice preparation for what you will be seeing and experiencing on your tour.
I hope you will post a trip report on your tour when you get back. My wife and I did the RS 17 Day Best of Italy Tour and just loved it. We found the Italians to be so friendly and there is so much history in Italy, I don't think you could go wrong. We hope to go on this tour in the future.