World Mosquito Day: how to avoid a mosquito bite
By Katie Shaw
23 August 2018
World Mosquito Day, observed annually on August 20th each year, is a commemoration and celebration of the groundbreaking scientific discovery in 1897.Read more
From the restful beauty of Lake Como on a summer's day to the colourful costumes and excited buzz of Venice's winter carnival, Italy is a destination for all seasons and all visitors
Great Rail Journeys invites you to join us on an unforgettable rail tour of one of the most romantic, beautiful, culturally-rich and gastronomically exciting countries in Europe. Italy flaunts its history and heritage at every turn, and offers something to surprise or inspire every guest.
Exploring Italy by train is by far and away the easiest and most comfortable way to see this historic country thanks to an extensive rail network that offers fast and reliable services to the majority of Italy's most desireable destinations. Plus, of course, many of Italy's railways afford a relaxing opportunity to admire Italy's wonderful landscapes.
We've created a collection of Italian rail holidays that cater for every taste, whether your preference is to admire the architecture that has made cities such as Rome famous, or you wish to escape to the beautiful Italian lakes.
From the restful beauty of Lake Como on a summer's day to the colourful costumes and excited buzz of Venice's winter carnival, Italy is a destination for all seasons and all visitors, and a joy to explore by rail.
Experience the very essence of Italy as we discover stylish Milan, the Eternal City of Rome, the tiny yet powerful Vatican City, graceful Renaissance Florence, the labyrinthine port of grand Venice, and iconic Pisa with its unmistakable Leaning Tower, with comfortable rail travel and 4-Star hotels throughout.… see more
13 days from £2,995 ppView tour details >
Colourful villages cling to the dramatic coastline of the Italian Riviera, with the glittering Mediterranean forming picture-postcard vistas in every direction, and glamorous yachts clamouring for attention alongside quaint fishing boats in idyllic harbours.… see more
10 days from £1,795 ppView tour details >
Immerse yourself in culture on the unspoilt 'heel' of Italy, a rugged, rural and breathtakingly beautiful area. We tour the ancient city of Rome before travelling through the olive groves, vineyards and almond trees of a region referred to as 'the breadbasket of Italy' on a wonderful adventure exploring Puglia & Basilicata.… see more
13 days from £2,395 ppView tour details >
Picturesque, peaceful and perfectly placed for our visits to Verona and Venice, the lakeside town of Desenzano forms the ideal base for a wonderful holiday with a delightful setting on the shores of tranquil Lake Garda - one of Italy's best-loved lakes.… see more
10 days from £1,395 ppView tour details >
Known as the 'Pearl of the Lake', picture-perfect Sirmione is perched on a peninsula on the southern shore of Lake Garda. On this exceptional tour we visit Mantova, the Sigurtá Gardens, and iconic Venice, for a guided tour of this incredible 'Floating City.'… see more
10 days from £1,695 ppView tour details >
Soak up the sights of Tuscany, on a charming rail holiday in the heart of the Italian countryside. Sample fine wines, explore Renaissance Florence, see the famous Leaning Tower of Pisa and discover Leonardo da Vinci's picturesque birthplace.… see more
10 days from £2,545 ppView tour details >
Of course, it's perfectly possible to do both if you desire, as our comprehensive 'Top to Toe' rail tour of Italy charts an unforgettable course from Turin in the north east to the Sicilian city of Catania, which resides in the shadow of Mount Etna. Italy is like an inexhaustible all-you-can-eat buffet of the most exquisite dishes; it's only when your appetite for remarkable sights and experiences has been sated by Rome's Colosseum, Vatican City, the Sistine Chapel, Piza's legendary Leaning Tower, Venice's canals, and masterpieces by Da Vinci, Michelangelo and Boticelli that you realise that these are merely the appetisers.
Each of our many and varied rail tours in Italy offers an exciting itinerary of guided tours and excursions designed to offer a broad introduction to the many treasure that this enchanting country holds.
It is our aim to provide an experience of Italy that is rewarding, pleasurable and memorable whilst offering the best possible value for money. The cost of your Italian rail holiday includes all train and other travel costs, hotel accommodation, an extensive programme of sightseeing trips and activities and a selection of meals.
We appreciate that the standard of accommodation is an important factor in your enjoyment of any Italian rail tour, and so we only use hotels that benefit our guests with a convenient location and provide excellent value, facilities and comfort. By choice we often select reputable family-run hotels which extend our guests a greater degree of personal service and a more relaxing environment.
For your further comfort and reassurance, each of our rail tours of Italy is escorted by a professional and friendly Tour Manager who can address any issues or queries you may have and provide information and assistance for the duration of your trip.
Historically, Italy can justifiably claim to be the seat of Western civilization thanks to the rise of the Roman Empire which, at its height, encompassed large regions of Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Educated and cultured, the Romans influenced every society they conquered, leaving a rich legacy of written and spoken language, architecture, legal principles and inventions including thermal heating, sewage systems and a formula for cement that is little changed today. The European Renaissance, a cultural movement that lasted from the fourteenth to the seventeenth century is said to have originated in Florence. Some of Italy's greatest and most famous works of literature, architecture and art were produced during this period and can still be seen by our guests today in locations such as Florence's Cathedral and Uffizi Gallery, Saint Peter's Basilica in Rome, and the Basilica di Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan, where Leonardo da Vinci's famous mural, The Last Supper, is located.
Italy's cuisine needs little introduction; most guests on our rail tours will be familiar with classic Italian creations such as pizza, spaghetti Bolognese, salami and minestrone soup. As with other countries, however, Italy's food varies greatly between regions which have different traditions and styles of cookery. In general terms, Italian cuisine stems from the simple combination of fresh and flavoursome produce to create colourful dishes that preserve the identity of individual ingredients yet harmonise flavours perfectly. Pasta, polenta and risotto rice are staples of Italian cuisine and to these a variety of meats, fish, vegetables, herbs and sauces can be added to create simple yet utterly delicious meals. These can be accompanied by Italy's famous and excellent wines which include the white Pinot Grigiot, and the red Chianti.
Thanks to a Mediterranean climate, Italy largely enjoys hot, sunny summers and mild, wet winters where snowfall is relatively rare with the exception of mountainous regions such as the Italian Alps and the Dolomites. Inland summer temperatures usually average between 28 and 33°C (82 and 91°F), whilst sea breezes lower the temperature slightly along Italy's coasts. Early autumn brings brief thunderstorms but temperatures remain warm and rainfall is short-lived.
Helping you plan your holiday to Italy