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 savour the sights and sounds of Rome's seductive beauty at leisure.
This morning we travel to the beautiful city of Florence, the Renaissance capital of the world. We spend three nights here at the NH Firenze Anglo American, 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. The beautiful gardens have a typical Tuscan feel, featuring azaleas, peonies and wisteria, which bloom in April and May. Perhaps enjoy a picnic and a stroll here during your free day.
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, or if you are returning by air this morning you'll transfer to Venice airport for the flight back to London. On Day 13 we travel to Paris, by high-speed TGV, before taking the Eurostar service to London.
We offer a Standard Class and First Class rail options for departures on this tour. You can find out which class each departure is by clicking on the information button in the pricing grid.
We also offer a fly home option. If you return by air your tour will end on Day 12 when you transfer to Venice airport for your flight to London. Please call for more details.
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 all travel arrangements
Comfortable accommodation in your destination
Delicious meals included
Exciting excursions and free time to explore
Enhancing your tour
of travellers would recommend this tour
based on 18 verified reviews
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.
overall itinerary was good with very interesting places to visit. Balance of free time etc was suitable. The train from Paris to Milan and return journey from Turin the toilets were a disgrace.
Would have liked a better hotel in Milan, and nice hotels with a swimming pool.
Well-paced and well-organised tour.
we had a great experience from start to finish everything exceeded our expectations and needs Rosie was absolutely fantastic nothing was to much trouble for her always about offering her help and advise which made our holiday all the more perfect
Excellent holiday enjoyed in the company of fun people, great places to visit in beautiful weather.
Everything was well organised and given good advice on where to go during free time, And the Welcoming Atmosphere within the group all helped make the holiday excellent overall
Had a lovely time on this Grand Tour of Italy. Weather was fantastic and the places we visited were great. For anyone considering this holiday I would stress that there is a lot of travelling involved, as you go from place to place every few days. If you are fine with that then I would recommend this holiday. Also be prepared for very long days at the start and end when going to and returning from Italy. The train journey to and from Paris and Italy can become a little tiresome. Most of the local guides we encountered at the various places were extremely knowledgeable and informative. Our tour manager made the trip very easy for everyone and was always willing to help out with any little problems. We are hoping to go on another trip with this company in the next couple of years.
Experience Italy's magnificent cities by rail