I took this trip in April 2012 with the pretrip to Venice and had a fantastic time. Many of us on the same departure LOVED being based in one place for longer periods with daytrips from our base. The hilltowns in Tuscany and Umbria each have a unique history and special sights to see like the Basilica of St Francis in Assisi and the town "square" in Siena where the annual horse races are held. The country side with vineyards and olive groves are Italy as you may have imagined it from postcards and coffee table books...just beautiful. Sorrento on the Amalfi coast was perfect for those who enjoy exploring a town on their free time. Although our lovely PD didn't recommend it to us, as it wasn't considered "local" in the truest sense, our group enjoyed more than one meal at the Foreigner's Club in Sorrento during our meals on our own. It has a stunning view of the bay and the menu caters to Grand Circle travelers with a discounted price menu.The food and service were very good.
Whatever you do...enjoy Italy and this particular trip...you are in for a treat! Wishing you a wonderful travel experience.