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!