Experience Italy's magnificent cities 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.
We meet at our dedicated Departure Office in St Pancras, before travelling by Eurostar to Paris, then onwards to Milan, where we overnight. On Day 2 we enjoy a fascinating guided tour of Milan, including the spectacular Duomo and the Teatro alla Scala. We also visit the Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie, where we see Leonardo da Vinci's famous painting of the Last Supper. The rest of your day is then free to continue exploring Milan at leisure.
Today we travel by high-speed rail to Rome, and then walk to the Massimo D'Azeglio Hotel, our base for three nights. On Day 4 we are joined by a local guide for a visit to Vatican City. Our tour of the tiny principality includes the captivating Vatican museums and the wonderful Sistine Chapel, with superb frescoes painted by Renaissance artists including Michelangelo and Botticelli. One of the most breathtaking sights in Rome is found inside St Peter's Basilica, which has the largest interior of any church in the world. Following the tour, you can spend more time in the Vatican, or continue exploring Rome at leisure.
Today we take a guided tour of the 'Eternal City', exploring some of the many fantastic sights and monuments in this remarkable city. We visit the fascinating Roman Forum, the centre of Roman public life for centuries, see the Colosseum, the largest amphitheatre ever built in the Roman Empire, and admire the Trevi Fountain, Rome's world famous Baroque masterpiece.
This afternoon you are free to savor the sights and sounds of Rome's seductive beauty at leisure. Be sure to explore the Pantheon, the former Roman temple once built upon an earlier temple commissioned by Marcus Agrippa, and the Castel Sant'Angelo, known as the Mausoleum of Hadrian.
You may also want to head to the city outskirts during your free time to explore the famous Seven Hills of Rome, overlooking the city. Most notable of the seven in the Palatine Hill, where Romulus, of Romulus and Remus, is said to have founded the city in 753BC.
This morning we travel to the beautiful city of Florence, the Renaissance capital of the world. We spend three nights here at the 4-Star Starhotels Michelangelo, located next to the station and close to the city's historic attractions. This afternoon we enjoy a guided tour of the city's many treasures, including the Duomo with its iconic red-tiled dome and the Ponte Vecchio - a 14th century bridge that is home to 43 jewellers' shops. Tonight we enjoy dinner at a local restaurant.
Today you are free to explore Florence at leisure. Much of the beauty of the city is found indoors, with a fifth of the world's Renaissance art on display in Florence, including 1,700 masterpieces in the famous Uffizi Gallery.
Known as 'the heart of the Renaissance', this world famous gallery features art by Botticelli, Giotto, Cimabue, Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and Raffaello, to name some of the most famous. Otherwise, the Giardino Bardini, or 'Bardini Gardens' are a pleasure to visit. Perhaps enjoy a picnic and a stroll here during your free day.
You may also want to visit the Galleria dell'Accademia di Firenze, a smaller art gallery than the Uffizi but still home to a large collection of paintings and sculptures by Florentine artists. The 18th century museum is best known as the home of Michelangelo's 'David', perhaps the most celebrated mid-scale sculpture today.
Today we travel by rail (Standard Class) across the wonderful, rustic countryside of Tuscany, where rolling vine-covered hillsides stretch as far as the eye can see and acres of olive groves and row upon row of cypress, walnut and bay trees surround the railway lines. We pass remote farmhouses and isolated villages as we head to Pisa, the city famous for its leaning tower. In Pisa we enjoy a guided tour that includes the city's incredible Field of Miracles. Here we see the iconic Leaning Tower, and the marvellous white marble Duomo, one of the finest examples of Romanesque architecture, with sublime Moorish mosaics.
Later we continue to the beautiful city of Lucca - a place of true beauty that has managed to escape the tourist crowds; one of Italy's best kept secrets. The heart of the city is filled with charming piazzas, small community churches and fabulous art galleries, linked together by narrow cobbled streets and intricate passageways, and we have time to explore the city at leisure. Splendid Renaissance architecture mingles with historic buildings from the Middle Ages, making the city a pleasure to explore on foot.
This morning we leave Florence by high-speed rail, travelling in First Class to the floating city of Venice. On arrival, we transfer to our hotel for three nights, the La Gare Hotel Venezia on the island of Murano. There is time for you to start your exploration before dinner tonight.
On Day 10 we enjoy a guided tour in the heart of Venice, beginning in St Mark's Square, which is dominated by the magnificent Basilica di San Marco and the venerable Palazzo Ducale, or Doge's Palace. This afternoon you are free to soak up the atmosphere of this romantic city. For a bird's eye view of the city, take the opportunity to climb the Campanile de San Marco, which offers incredible vistas over the buildings clustered around the centre and the shimmering lagoons further out.
On Day 11 you are free to continue exploring Venice at your own pace. Take an enchanting gondola ride on the canals or explore using Venice's water-bound public transport network - the Vaporetti.
Today we travel to Turin for the night. On Day 13 we travel to Paris, by high-speed TGV, before taking the Eurostar service to London.
For this tour, we recommend arriving to, and departing from, London Gatwick or London Heathrow airport (LGW or LHR). London Gatwick is approximately 30 miles from your start and end point, and London Heathrow is approximately 19 miles from your start and end point.
It is your responsibility to check and fulfil the passport, visa, health and immigration requirements applicable to your itinerary. We do not accept any responsibility if you cannot travel, or incur any other loss because you have not complied with any passport, visa, immigration requirements or health formalities. You agree to reimburse us in relation to any fines or other losses which we incur as a result of your failure to comply with any passport, visa, immigration requirements or health formalities.
Provisional departure and return times, where available, can be found together with our dates and prices by clicking on the 'Prices & Availability' button. We write to all booked customers approximately 10 weeks prior to the start of their tour to advise the exact departure and return time for their particular group.
An escorted experience and travel during your tour
Comfortable accommodation in your destination
Delicious meals included
Exciting excursions and free time to explore
of travellers would recommend this tour
based on 7 verified reviews
I will never need to travel with another company again. Great Rail Journeys are 5 star in every respect. Fantastic tour.
We didn’t waste a single moment! We made new friends. Had lots of laughs!
Thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience,well organised and well looked after by Rosie Edwards,also our fellow travellers.The tour guides were also a great asset to the whole experience.Weather helped as well!!!!
The first day was quite a long slog. We travelled from our home to London the day before and although we anticipated a long first day it was much tougher than we'd anticipated. Travelled from London to Paris and onto Milan leaving at arring at the hotel at 10.30pm. However from the srcond day with the exception of some early rises the tour itself was very good. The balance between your own time and guided tours was perfect. All the local guides were very knowledgeable. The hotels seemed to get better as the tour progressed with the hotel in Rome being very good and the staff very helpful with booking tickets to the Opera. However the best was in Venice on the island of Murano where we had a lovely room and a courtyard to sit and relax in, in the evening after dinner. I have to say we covered some miles on foot during the tour but it was all well worth it. So much to see and do in all the places we visited. The days we had in Venice were very good, completely different to the rest of the tour. Our tour manager worked tirelessly to ensure everything was spot on and after an initial issue it certainly was. My only critiscism of the tour is that it is advertised as 1st Class travel but we didnt experience this. Although the trains were generally clean, comfortable and punctual although a scramble to get on. Made so many new friends as well....
I filled in the survey as the trip ended!
Well organised. Relaxing. Visited exceptional cities and had guided tour in each along with days to experience places by oneself.
Superbly organised trip with comfortable transport and first class hotels
The hotels were all good , the tour guides informative, the free time was just right. The tour manager was helpful polite and always ready to manage any problems
Very well organised, with an excellent tour manager and good hotels.
The outbound journey was unfortunate - SNCF to answer for that one - thereafter it all went very well indeed. The hotels were generally good even if some did not offer lunch or dinner; the slight exception was the hotel in Florence which was too far from both the Station and the city centre. We saw as much as we expected and enjoyed it very much.
Experience Italy's magnificent cities by rail