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Village Italy April 25 2020

We are booked for our third RS tour and very much looking forward to Village Italy. Its all about the history, sights, food and wine. We love the whole experience of travel, and meeting new friends. RS guides have always been fantastic and over the top making sure everyone is taken care of.

Anyone else on this trip?

Posted by
8413 posts

Not on your trip but have done this one and it is SUCH fun!

If you can, try to arrive in Padua at least one day ahead if not 2. I took this early in my RS tour "career", lol and didn't really "get" that most of the times the places where Rick's tours start are very interesting and deserve more time than the tour gives them. I spent time ahead in Venice and just went out to Padua on the day the tour started. I had not done much research so did not realize how much there was I wanted to see. In retrospect, I'd get reservations for Scrovegni Chapel on my own time because one visit (they only allow you to be in there for a very short time) is NOT enough! The Botanical Gardens are really interesting as well!

Transportation is slightly awkward at the end BUT the guide will start figuring out exit strategies for everyone half way in to the trip and will organize taxi transportation to the airport or in to Milan. They will match people together so you can share the ride cost. This worked so well! If you are taking a train elsewhere the guide will help you buy your ticket ahead (probably at Levanto) since there is no way to purchase a ticket at the train station closest to Orta San Giulio.

Posted by
4652 posts

Ditto what Pam says about arriving early. We went to Padua three days before the tour started, and never ran out of things to do. We got the Padova Pass, which provided entry to almost all the major sights (including the Scrovegni Chapel) as well as free public transportation in town.

We were glad to have the extra visit to the Scrovegni; visitors are limited to 15 or 20 minutes, which for most of us is not enough.

We also spent those first few days at a hotel that was not the tour hotel, although it's in the same neighborhood. It was somewhat less expensive, and just appealed to us. Most folks who go early stay at the tour hotel, though.

Posted by
8413 posts

Yes! to Jane's advice!

Also, if you have small binoculars take them for this trip. The Scrovegni plus the mosaics in Ravenna are popping in my mind as locations I'd have liked a closer look at things!

Posted by
2 posts

Thanks for the advice, we were planning to spend a night in Venice but now will head straight to Padua with binoculars😎

Posted by
853 posts

We have done 7 RS tours. Village Italy was our first. We spent 2 nights in Venice to unwind. Then train to Padua and stayed at the tour hotel. If you have never been to Venice, I suggest at least a few days there.

Have a Great Time!
Mimi

Posted by
208 posts

We did Villages in 2017 and thought it was great. The only issue was trying to remember the differences between all the churches and cathedrals visited (at least one per stop). The food was pretty good and history was very interesting. We got to Padua 2 days before the tour started and visited Venice both days. If you want to visit Venice prior to the trip, you may consider staying at the tour hotel, using it as a base. That way, you don’t have to change hotels, and the hotel will often let you keep the same room for the tour. The train from Padua to Venice takes only 20 minutes and runs less than 10 euro each way,. The hotels in Padua is much cheaper than hotels in Venice and probably make up for the train fare each way.

Posted by
3 posts

I have been on 5 RS trips (coming up on my 6th in September) and Village Italy is the best, especially if you love Italian food and wine. Something very romantic about this trip - too bad I was alone! Village Italy was so good I am thinking of doing it a second time - with my husband! Just Do It.

Posted by
4652 posts

Christina, VI is one of the few tours that I would happily repeat.

David & C., I think think a lot of the sights visited are selected by the guides. I remember very few churches and cathedrals on our VI tour. Orvieto is the only one that leaps to mind. Oh, and Ravenna for the mosaics, and Assisi.

Posted by
6 posts

Hi All,
We took the Village Italy Tour last May (2019) and absolutely loved it. This was our first Rick Steve's Tour and it was a great experience. We typically travel on our own as we have lived in Europe and love the planning and navigating, so were not sure how we would like the "organized" tour. Anna Piperato was our tour guide and she is amazing. I am sure all the tour guides are good but if you get her you are in for a treat. She is American but lives in Italy and of course, speaks fluent Italian. Her special insight into Sienna and the Palio is worth the whole trip.

I also want to mention a place we went to prior to meeting up with the group in Padua. We have been to Venice and find it very touristy so didn't want to go there. Instead, we spent 2 nights in Sirmione at the lovely Hotel Eden (was right on the lake and was beautiful - our lakeview hotel was 225 euros a night). Sirmione is a lovely town at the end of a peninsula on Lake Garda. There is lots to do there - there is a very neat castle, amazing and extensive ruins, a lovely park, thermal springs, lots of neat shopping, and great restaurants. Plus fun to bicycle along the peninsula. We then took a train from Desenzano del Garda/Sirmione - to Padua (Padova in Italian) which was very easy and was just an hour ride. It is not super touristy which we also like. Would actually have liked to spend another day there. But 2 nights worked.

Enjoy and Buon Viaggio!

https://www.sirmioneitaly.com/
https://www.hoteledensirmione.it/en/