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Top to Toe of Italy

From Venice to Sicily by train

From $ per person


From its ancient cities to its hillside villages and dramatic coastline, Italy offers something for all visitors. On this incredible adventure we travel the length of the country, taking in iconic sights in Rome, Florence, Venice, Pisa and Pompeii, before making our way to the island of Sicily, home to Mount Etna.

The itinerary for your journey
Tour highlights

What’s included

Day 1 - London to Turin
Turin

We leave St Pancras after meeting at our exclusive Departure Office. Travelling on the Eurostar in Standard Premier Class, we enjoy a light meal and drinks on board as we travel to Paris. On arrival in the French capital, we change trains, and continue by high-speed rail to Turin, where we spend the night.

Day 2 - To Venice
Venice

Enjoy a morning to explore Turin, a stylish city that boasts airy city squares, verdant parks and broad boulevards of Renaissance architecture. Later, we continue by high-speed rail to Venice, the incredible 'floating city,' where we spend two nights at the 4-Star Hotel Papadopoli.

Day 3 - Venice
Venice

With its unique cityscape and rich heritage as head of the Byzantine Empire, Venice has enchanted visitors for centuries. Today we enjoy a guided tour, seeing landmarks such as St Mark's Basilica and the dazzling Doge's Palace.

The afternoon is free for you to explore; perhaps take a tour of La Fenice Theatre. This opera house, with its ornate stuccoes and furnishings, is a joy to discover.

Day 4 - Florence
Florence

Leaving Venice, we join the high speed train to Florence for three nights at the 4-Star Hotel de la Ville. This afternoon we take a guided tour of the Renaissance city, including the Ponte Vecchio and the Duomo with its red-tiled dome. Afterwards, you are free; why not head to Piazzale Michelangelo to enjoy the stunning view over the city? Later we enjoy a meal in a local restaurant.

Day 5 - Siena
Siena

Today we visit the typically Tuscan city of Siena. The city's well preserved centre is interlinked by a web of narrow streets that lead to the Campo, a grand shell-shaped piazza. We take a guided tour of this charismatic city, including the Duomo, built from strips of black and white marble.

Day 6 - Pisa and Lucca
Pisa

We take the train (Standard Class) to Pisa today, where we have a guided tour of its sights in the Field of Miracles. Here we see the Romanesque Duomo and the world-famous Leaning Tower, one of Europe's most iconic buildings. In the afternoon we visit Lucca - a delightful city that has escaped the tourist crowds. You are free here to explore the walled city's medieval core and ramparts, and to maybe visit the Guinigi Tower, known for the oak tree growing from its top.

Days 7-9 - Rome
Rome

We travel by rail to the 'Eternal City' of Rome, Italy's buzzing capital, for three nights.

On Day 8, we take a guided tour, by coach and on foot, past the landmarks that have shaped this mesmerising city over thousands of years. We pass the Colosseum where Roman citizens would watch the brutal blood sports which often showcased gladiators and wild beasts for the joy of the crowd, and we see the Roman Forum, which played a vital role in Roman public life, which is now iconic as a monument of Imperial Rome and her once vast empire. We also take in the magnificent Baroque Trevi Fountain, a wonderfully detailed sculpture set in a tiny square.

Your afternoon, and the next day is free for you to continue exploring Rome. The city's impressive array of architecture charts the passage of time as clearly as anywhere in Europe, with distinctive medieval, Renaissance and Baroque attractions. Perhaps visit the Pantheon and its domed roof, which is a masterpiece of human engineering, in fact, the entire building has seen surprisingly little change in 2,000 years.

Day 10 - Sorrento
Sorrento

We travel by high-speed train to Naples, then continue by coach to Sorrento. This beautiful coastal town sits perched on a towering cliff in its own mini bay within the larger Bay of Naples, and we spend three nights at the 4-Star Hilton Sorrento Palace. We pause en-route to visit an agriturismo, where we enjoy a sumptuous lunch, followed by a tasting of limoncello, a popular local lemon liqueur derived from the plentiful lemon orchards that surround Sorrento. Once in Sorrento we take an orientation tour; the narrow cobbled streets feature an exciting fusion of palace buildings and quaint old churches.

Day 11 - The Amalfi Coast
Amalfi

Today, we enjoy a boat trip along the turquoise waters of the Amalfi Coast, taking in views of the rugged coastline and Positano, an unspoilt traditional village perched on the mountainside, where the pretty pastel houses seemingly tumble into the turquoise sea. After arriving in unspoilt Amalfi, where you have some time at leisure. Amalfi has been untouched by major developments and its layout on a steep terrain has preserved much of its historic charm. Perhaps visit the cathedral, or admire the other fine sights of this former maritime republic. Return to Sorrento where we enjoy an authentic pizza making experience this evening.

Days 12-14 - Pompeii and Sicily
Pompeii

This morning we travel by Standard Class rail to Pompeii for a tour of this Roman city, whose residents were famously preserved by volcanic ash. On Day 13 we transfer to Salerno for a scenic railway journey, followed by a ferry across to Sicily. 

On Day 14 we visit Mount Etna, Europe's largest volcano. With its striking lava fields reaching out almost to the sea, Etna is one of Sicily's most compelling sights. We travel firstly to Rifugio di Sapienza located at 1920 metres, and the highest point accessible by road. After time here exploring this almost other-worldly landscape, we continue to Adrano to join the Circumetnea train, travelling around the mountain's base, taking in the villages as well as the breathtaking scenery.

Days 15-16 - Taormina and London
Taormina

We take a guided tour of Taormina's highlights today, including the spectacular Teatro Greco. This grand theatre was built during Roman times in a Greek style, and is immaculately preserved. On Day 16 we transfer to Catania airport for our flight home, where your tour concludes on arrival in the UK.

Please note: you will need to take your luggage back to the UK with you on your flight, as opposed to it travelling via our luggage transfer service.

Departure Dates

All prices are per person and assume full occupancy of the room.
Please always refer to the website for up-to-date prices and availability.

Trains
Eurostar
Eurostar

The high speed Eurostar trains link St Pancras International in London with Paris and Lille in France as well as Brussels in Belgium.

Eurostar's Standard Class coaches feature two seats on either side of the central aisle, most of which is arranged in an 'airline' seating configuration with drop down tray tables. There are two tables for four per carriage. Passengers travelling in Eurostar Standard Class coaches can take advantage of the Bar-Buffet which sells a range of snacks, meals, hot and cold drinks - including Champagne!

The highest class of Eurostar travel available for leisure customers is Standard Premier Class. In your dedicated Standard Premier carriage you'll find a less dense seat configuration, meaning the seats are larger and you have ample space to relax and stretch out. As part of the service you'll enjoy complimentary drinks and refreshments, served at your seat by friendly, helpful waiting staff.

For the class of travel used on your chosen tour, please refer to the 'What's Included' section of the tour page.

TGV
TGV

Introduced in 1981, France's TGV (Train à Grande Vitesse) was the original European high-speed train. Linking Paris with Lyon, the new service revolutionised train travel and meant that travelling by air over medium and short distances was no longer seen as the best option, even for business travel.

The network has expanded rapidly and today these sleek, stylish trains offer links to over 60 destinations throughout France. Operated by SNCF, the French national rail operator, TGV trains travel over specially-constructed high speed lines. The trains can achieve speeds of up to 186mph (300km/h) on most long distance routes and 200mph (320km/h) on the new TGV Est line, which links Paris with Strasbourg, Luxembourg and Basel. With the exception of shorter journeys, TGVs almost always have an on-board buffet car, serving a selection of drinks and light refreshments.

The Circumetnea Train
The Circumetnea Train

On our trips in Sicily, we have the chance to travel around the base of one of the world's tallest active volcanoes, Mount Etna. Here, we travel on the Circumetnea, a narrow gauge railway, opened in 1898, that travels from Catania to Riposto, and offers spectacular scenes of the volcano. Mount Etna is one of the most active volcanoes in the world, and on occasion it produces smoke rings, which are extremely rare. Mount Etna also features prominently in Greek mythology, as it was thought to be where Vulcan, the god of fire, kept his Smithy.

Hotels
Hotel de la Ville, Florence
Hotel de la Ville

The 4-Star Hotel de la Ville boasts an excellent location on Florence's most fashionable street, Via Tornabuoni. Here, you will find all of the high fashion labels that Italy is most famous for, including Gucci and Bulgari. The hotel is also a short walk from the superb Florence Cathedral. The hotel amenities include American and Snack bars, as well as a clothes pressing service (payable locally). The excellent rooms are air-conditioned throughout, and offer complimentary Wi-Fi, and a television.

Hotel Diamond, Giardini Naxos
Giardini Naxos - Hotel Diamond

The 4-Star Hotel Diamond is located in Giardini Naxos, just 300 metres from the beach, and a short journey to Taormina using the hotels' complimentary shuttle. The hotel features a wonderful pool area, refined public spaces, spa (payable locally), and excellent service. Rooms offer modern amenities, and all feature balcony.

NH Collection Rome Palazzo Cinquecento, Rome
NH Collection Rome Palazzo Cinquecento

This superb 5* hotel is situated in the very heart of Rome's historic centre, just mere steps from the train station, making it the perfect base from which to explore.

Discover the hotel's historic gardens, dating back to the 4th Century BC, and enjoy the breath-taking views of Rome from the roof terrace. There is a gym on site, which is equipped with treadmills and bikes.

Hilton Sorrento Palace, Sorrento
Hilton Sorrento Palace

The lovely whitewashed and 4-Star Hilton Sorrento Palace is our base whilst in Sorrento. Located on the outskirts of this historic town, this is the perfect base from which to conduct our explorations. This delightful hotel contains many excellent amenities, including both outdoor and indoor swimming pools, a citrus gardens, an infinity pool on the rooftop, and a fitness centre. There are also 2 restaurants and a relaxing lounge. Each of the light and airy rooms come well equipped with a television, a minifridge, tea & coffee-making facilities, and Wi-Fi.

Hotel Papadopoli Venezia, Venice
Hotel Papadopoli Venezia, Venice

The 4-Star Hotel Papadopoli Venezia in Venice is located in the historic centre of the city, minutes from the Grand Canal. The hotel has a restaurant with an exotic Winter Garden, a café bar serving hot meals and cold snacks, and a library. Rooms are decorated in 18th century Venetian style décor and are air conditioned with a television, telephone, safe, minibar and hairdryer. Some rooms enjoy views over the Tolentini Canal or the Papadopoli Gardens. A dry cleaning/laundry service is available.

Upgrades

We offer a selection of upgrades and 'add-ons' designed to help you make the most of your holiday - and make it even easier!

Inclusive Luggage Upgrade
Baggage Upgrade

To arrange for a second suitcase to travel door to door, just let us know when you book. Prices start from £65 per bag (size and weight allowances may vary depending on airline polices)Please call for more details.

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London Hotels
London hotels

Spending a night in London before your tour can make such a difference to the first day of your holiday - you can arrive in the capital in good time, relaxed and ready to join your Tour Manager the next morning. You may even want to take in a show on the West End, or dine in one of London's famous restaurants. Perhaps on your return to London, you would like to break your journey with an overnight stay before continuing home.

We are able to book a wide range of hotels in central London or, for our holidays beginning with a flight, at Heathrow, Gatwick or Manchester Airport for the night before or after your holiday. The hotels listed below are some of the more popular hotels our customers book in Central London, others are available on request.

Hotel       Room Rate From Price 
The Ambassador Hotel      From £65 per person

Above prices are approximate, subject to availability, and per room per night based on two people sharing. If you require a quote for single occupancy at any of the hotels please contact us on 01904 734 805. 

UK rail connections
UK train tickets

Buying tickets for UK train services can be a tricky business - there are so many fares to choose from, each with different rules and restrictions. As you are connecting with an international departure, we strongly recommend that you book a fully flexible ticket to ensure that should the departure times for your holiday change, your rail ticket can allow for these changes.

We can book fully-flexible UK rail tickets from your local station to join your holiday whether this be a European holiday from St Pancras or a UK holiday. The prices are competitive and tickets are not restricted to a particular train or time of day, and in most cases offer you a free choice of routes.

For an up to date quote from your local station, please ask one of our Tour Advisors.

This page was printed from www.greatrail.com/au/tours/top-to-toe-of-italy/#TTG21 on 13 June 2021.
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