Experience Italy's magnificent cities by rail
Experience the very essence of Italy as we discover the Eternal City of Rome, Vatican City, Renaissance Florence, labyrinthine Venice, and iconic Pisa with its unmistakable Leaning Tower
Meet at our St Pancras Departure Office for the Eurostar to Paris, continuing to Lyon where we overnight. On Day 2, we journey to Milan, changing trains for Rome (Standard Class). Known as the 'Eternal City', Rome is an endless treasure trove of historic, cultural and artistic delights. We check into our hotel for 3 nights, the 4-Star Hotel Massimo d'Azeglio, in the heart of the city.
Enjoy a guided tour of Rome today, which introduces us to its most revered sights. See the Colosseum, the largest amphitheatre ever built in the Roman Empire, the Roman Forum, the centre of Roman public life for centuries, and Trevi Fountain, a world-famous Baroque masterpiece. Pause en-route for ice cream at charming Giolitti, the oldest gelateria in the city, which dates back to the late 1800s. Purportedly a favourite of Pope John Paul II, Giolittai is also famous as the ice cream parlour which Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck visit in the 1953 film 'Roman Holiday'. The rest of your day is at leisure in Rome.
We venture off the beaten track today to see some of Rome's lesser known gems. First, discover the whimsical architecture of the Quartiere Coppedè district, an unexpected delight tucked away from Rome's more famous streets. A combination of historic architectural styles compete for attention here, and the dizzying blend of Baroque, ancient Greek, Art Nouveau and medieval structures give the neighbourhood a magical, otherworldly quality. Continue to the Basilica of Santo Stefano Rotondo, Hungary's 'national church' in Rome, dedicated to both Christian martyr St Stephen, and Stephen I, the first king of Hungary. This is one of Rome's most unique churches; dramatic frescoes line the circular walls of the interior, each depicting the death of a different martyr, which lends an eerie effect to the undoubtedly beautiful structure. Our final visit is to bohemian Trastevere, an authentic Roman neighbourhood known for its incredible food, which we sample during lunch at a local restaurant.
This afternoon is free. Perhaps visit the Vatican City? The tiny principality includes captivating museums and the famous Sistine Chapel, with superb frescoes painted by Renaissance artists including Michelangelo and Botticelli.
Today we travel by rail to the beautiful city of Florence, the Renaissance capital of the world, where we spend 3 nights. This afternoon, enjoy a guided tour of the city's 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, enjoy dinner at a local restaurant.
Today you are free to explore Florence under your own steam. 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' have a typical Tuscan feel, and are a pleasure to visit.
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 Standard Class to the floating city of Venice. On arrival, we transfer to our hotel for three nights, the Hyatt Centric Murano Venice Hotel on the island of Murano. There is time for you to start your exploration before dinner tonight.
On Day 9 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 10 you are at leisure to further 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. Or, you could choose to take an enchanting gondola ride through Venice's iconic labyrinth of waterways. On the evening of Day 10 we head into the heart of Venice for a farewell meal in a splendid Venetian palace - a truly remarkable end to our adventures in Italy.
We leave Venice, travelling by rail to Turin. On Day 12, continue to Paris by rail, where we join the Eurostar for London.
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
NEW FOR 2020: Inclusive Luggage Transfer
This tour may be suitable for reduced mobility passengers, please call for further information.
of travellers would recommend this tour
based on 25 verified reviews
I will never need to travel with another company again. Great Rail Journeys are 5 star in every respect. Fantastic holiday.
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 holiday 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 holiday 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