This was an excellent tour, with many interesting side trips. The group itself was a nice blend - from teens to seventy-somethings (we brought our 2 teenagers and they were very happy to be among the dozen teens in our group - a rarity, according to our tour guide). The sight-seeing was intense, we were up at 6 or 6:30 every morning and out of the hotel by 8am.
As noted in "Cons", be aware that the optional excursions are pricey, the food not very good, and the tour guide, I'm sure gets a commission. For instance: in Venice the optional dinner would have cost our family of 4 more than 200 euros (for a meal, which, in the words of a fellow traveler, "was so bad, it was comical"). We decided to dine on our own at the top-notch Ristorante da Raffaele, paid less money and had an excellent meal canal-side with gondolier entertainment. Another example was the Gondola Serenade. For the 4 of us, the cost was 152 euros. Had we hired a gondola independently, the cost would have been 80 euros (granted, that does not include the serenade, but our group had 5 gondolas and only one had the musicians). I was definitely put out by the tour guides' hard sell tactics of the optional excursions - she told us that outside of the group we risked poor quality, frozen foods, we might get sick from the foods we were served and we would probably be cheated - PUH-LEAZE!! I am also pretty sure that Globus gets a little something from their "recommended" shops (leather, jewelry and glass).
Ok, that said...there were many pros to this trip. The Roman Highlights optional tour was definitely a "must". Again, the dinner was not great, but our local guide was awesome, adding interest and humor to our history lesson. The tour of the Verrazzano Castle was both interesting and a blast (wine tasting really "lubed up" the group. Sadly, due to unexpectedly heavy traffic, we only had 1 hour in Pisa (not even enough time for an official tour). The long bus rides were broken up by visits to charming medieval-style villages (San Gimingnano and Orvieto were my favorites). Assisi was a one night stay that I wished was longer - the terrace on the San Francesco hotel was a beautiful place to share a "digestivo" and watch the sunset.
I would be remiss if I did not mention the most amazing bus driver, Rocco...props, Rocco! This man maneuvered a huge tour bus through the city and mountains like it was a "smart car".
This was an amazing tour, and I would choose Safar Travel again (keeping in mind that optional excursions are truly "optional". We met many wonderful families as we shared the exploration of the Italian history and culture.