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Best of Venice, Florence & Rome May 30-June 8

Well I have just returned from my first Rick Steve's tour and thought I ought to write a report. We actually went 4 days early and went to Monterosso to relax and everything they say about the five towns is true, it was wonderful. On arriving at Venice the trip down the Grand Canal has to be one of the true marvels of travel, our hotel (La Fenice) was nice and quaint (pure backdoor), breakfasts were great and we were within easy walking distance to everything! I loved Venice! It is magical, our tour leader (Sara) was exceptional, she was knowledgeable, well organized and she brought alot of energy to the group that caused all 28 of us to bond within the first 24hrs. St. Marks Church and Square were beautiful, especially at night and Sara arranged for us to have a private gondola ride with music and a opera singer!!! The day trip to Burano was nice and relaxing. Next we were off to Florence and the pace picked up because there is so much to see and do, even though the art gallery's and the huge church were impressive the best part was the group dinner at a great local restaurant were the waiters interacted with us during the meal. Just wondering around Florence was my favorite activity. Leaving Florence Sara took us to a vinyard in Tuscay high on a hill overlooking a valley that defies description as to how beautiful it was, the owner taught us about growing grapes and making wine or olive oil, then his wife fed us a home made lunch that was incredible. (I will come back and spend several days at this vineyard sometime in the future!) Next up was Rome, we visited St. Peter's very early before any crowds when it was silent inside and the effect was amazing, definitely a moment I will never forget. Rome was fun due to the crowds and abundance of history that surrounds you, overall I wished I could have spent a week or two just in Rome because there is so much I didn't get to. The Trip was better than I hoped it would be due to the fact that we had a great trip leader and my fellow travelers were some of the nicest people I have ever traveled with. I think I have figured out the Rick Steve's formula: High Energy + Awesome Food + Great Trip Leaders
Don Seery

Posted by
9700 posts

Don, thanks for the terrific Trip Report!! And welcome to the world of Rick Steves tours. In my experience all of the tours are like this! (7 under my belt, #8 in August).

I'll bet it's your Sarah I've been following on FB. Love her blog and her pictures of this last trip were great.

So glad you had fun and I, too, agree about Rome.

Posted by
408 posts

What a great read. Sounds like the tour has changed a lot since we went in 2006. At that time we only went to the three cities no other stops. It was great & it was our first. RS tour #5 coming up this summer!

Posted by
958 posts

Don - so glad you had such a good time on your tour. It sounds like it was awesome. I too follow Sara on fb and enjoyed seeing pictures of your tour. Florence was one of our favorite cities on our tour. Rome was like that for us too, but we were tired and didn't give it the chance it deserves so maybe sometime in our future??? Thanks for making a trip report!