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Top to Toe of Italy

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3.7 stars(9 reviews)
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Discover ancient cities, hillside villages and dramatic coastline.

You are viewing the 2022 itinerary. Select your departure year
20212022
16 days From £3,895 per person

2022 Tour code: TTG22

About the tour

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.

Highlights

What’s included

Itinerary

Day 1 - London and 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.

Includes
  • Dinner
  • Eurostar Meal
Day 2 – Venice

Enjoy a morning to explore Turin, a stylish city that boasts airy city squares, verdant parks and broad boulevards of Renaissance architecture. Leaving Turin in the afternoon, we continue to the 'Floating City' of Venice, where we spend two nights. An intricate network of lagoons and canals makes Venice one of the most unique cities in the world, and this, along with its romantic heritage, means Venice has enchanted visitors for centuries.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 3 - Venice

We discover Venice on a guided tour, seeing St Mark's Basilica, the heart and soul of the city for centuries, and the grand Doge's Palace, before a free afternoon. Venice lends itself to idle wandering, and possibly the best way to enjoy its captivating charms is to let yourself get lost in the myriad of winding alleys and twisting lanes that make up the city centre. There's a host of incredible art and architecture to discover, before settling down in a quaint restaurant to enjoy some of the country's freshest seafood. Experience it like a local by ordering some cicchetti, Venetian tapas, and a glass of the city's signature drink, prosecco.

Includes
  • Breakfast
Day 4 - Florence

Saying goodbye to Venice, we join the train to Florence, where we spend three nights. 'The jewel of the Renaissance' is a city of many treasures. Picturesque, narrow streets and handsome squares, including the Piazza della Signoria - the people-watching centre of Florence - are only part of the city's charm. Much of the beauty of the city is found indoors, with one fifth of the world's Renaissance art kept and displayed in Florence's museums, galleries, churches and palaces. This afternoon's tour includes the Ponte Vecchio and the Duomo, before some free time, perhaps to explore one of the art galleries.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 5 - Siena

We visit the traditionally Tuscan city of Siena. The medieval city is remarkably well preserved and boasts a mix of narrow streets, pretty open spaces and magnificent buildings focused around the Piazza del Campo, a grand shell-shaped piazza. We take a guided tour of the charismatic city that includes the spectacular Duomo. Built from alternating strips of black and white marble, the striped cathedral is one of Italy's greatest, and houses artworks and statues by Donatello, Bernini and Michelangelo, as well as a unique and elaborate mosaic floor.

Includes
  • Breakfast
Day 6 - Pisa and Lucca

We travel by rail to Pisa, where we have a fascinating guided tour of its main sights at the Field of Miracles. We see the Romanesque Duomo, a striking white marble building, and the world-famous Leaning Tower, one of Europe's most iconic structures. We continue to the ancient city of Lucca, where you're free to explore at your own pace. You could take a stroll or a bike ride along the city's medieval walls, or perhaps visit the Guinigi Tower, known for the oak tree growing through its top.

Includes
  • Breakfast
Day 7 - Rome

We travel by rail to the 'Eternal City' of Rome, Italy's buzzing capital. From the remains of the ancient Roman Empire, including the structurally impressive pantheon, the Roman Forum and of course, the famous and inspirational Colosseum, to the Baroque detail of the Trevi Fountain, Italy's capital city is a treasure trove of culture and history. The modern-day has still made its mark, however, and there's a wonderful café culture in the city alongside fantastic bars and shops. We check into our hotel for the next three nights.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 8 – Rome

We discover the landmarks that have shaped the city of Rome on an insightful guided tour of its most famous sights. We step back in time at the dramatic ruins of the Colosseum, where citizens would watch mighty gladiators fight, as well as the Roman Forum, the hub of daily life in ancient Rome. We also take in the magnificent Baroque Trevi Fountain, a wonderfully detail sculpture set in a tiny square. Your afternoon is free to continue exploring. Perhaps visit the Pantheon and its domed roof - a masterpiece of human engineering that has seen surprisingly little change in 2,000 years.

Includes
  • Breakfast
Day 9 – Rome

Enjoy a free day to take in Rome at your own pace. A city of world-class history, architecture and art, there's plenty on offer here. You could visit the Vatican City, behind the walls of which sits a wealth of art, architecture and culture, including priceless masterpieces by the likes of Da Vinci, Raphael, and Michelangelo, as well as the extraordinary Sistine Chapel - one of the world's greatest Renaissance treasures. Or, you could take it easy and enjoy an authentic cappuccino or espresso and sweet pastry amid Rome's vibrant street life.

Includes
  • Breakfast
Day 10 - Sorrento

Leaving ancient Rome, we take the train to Naples, where we continue to a local 'agriturismo' farm - a farm specialising in serving traditional food. We sit down in the rustic surroundings to enjoy a delicious meal, sampling handmade mozzarella and indulging in a tasting of limoncello, a zingy local lemon liquour, before we continue to Sorrento. This beautiful coastal town sits perched on a towering cliff in its own mini bay within the larger Bay of Naples and is surrounding by fragrant lemon orchards. We enjoy an orientation tour of the town before we check into our hotel for the next three nights.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch
Day 11 - The Amalfi Coast

We take to the waters with a scenic boat trip along the Amalfi Coast, admiring the famed stretch of coastline from a unique perspective. We first sail to Positano, an unspoilt village perched on the cliffside, where the pretty pastel houses seemingly tumble into the turquoise sea. Enjoy a little time to soak up its photo-worthy beauty before we continue to Amalfi, where you have free time to discover its historic charms. The town delights with its sun-kissed, café-lined piazzas and tiny beach, and after some time here, we return to Sorrento where we turn our hand to pizza making, learning the secrets to the revered Italian dish.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 12 – Pompeii

We travel by rail to the incredible preserved Roman city of Pompeii. The city spent the best part of two millennia buried by volcanic ash after the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD79, and was only discovered again in 1749. Today, the ancient city of Pompeii is still fantastically preserved, giving visitors an incredible insight into everyday life during the Roman Empire. We wander the city streets, popping into what would have once been thriving bathhouses, restaurants and shops as the ever-present peak of Mount Vesuvius dominates the background.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Days 13 – Sicily

Leaving the mainland of Italy behind, we travel to Sicily, just off the 'toe' of Italy's 'boot'. Crowned by mighty Mount Etna, the volcanic island is packed with history and boasts some stunning scenery. We check into our hotel in the seaside town of Giardini Naxos, where we spend three nights.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 14 – Mount Etna

We get to know Sicily's most famous sight today as we discover Mount Etna. Europe's largest volcano, Etna's striking lava fields reach out almost to the sea, a truly compelling sight. We to the highest point accessible by road, where there's some free time to explore the other-worldly landscape. Later, we enjoy a journey on the Circumetnea train, travelling around the mountain's base, taking in the nearby villages as well as the breathtaking scenery.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 15 – Taormina

We visit the nearby resort town of Taormina where we take a guided tour of its highlights. Chic Taormina is Sicily's most popular town, perched on a rocky cliff high above the azure ocean, and boasting some breathtaking views. Our guided tour includes a visit to the spectacular Teatro Greco. This grand theatre was built during Roman times in a Greek style and is immaculately preserved. From the theatre, there's incredible views across the bay and the rest of the island, all crowned by dramatic Mount Etna.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 16 – Taormina and London

Our holiday comes to an end today, as we transfer to Catania airport for our flight home.

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.

Includes
  • Breakfast

Additional information

Departure times

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.

Mobility information

Due to the nature of our tours they are generally unsuitable for those with restricted mobility. If you’d like to discuss any particular holiday with us in this respect, then please don’t hesitate to call us.

Hotels

Hotel de la Ville

Hotel de la Ville, Florence

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Giardini Naxos - Hotel Diamond

Hotel Diamond, Giardini Naxos

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NH Collection Rome Palazzo Cinquecento

NH Collection Rome Palazzo Cinquecento, Rome

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Hilton Sorrento Palace

Hilton Sorrento Palace, Sorrento

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Hotel Papadopoli Venezia, Venice

Hotel Papadopoli Venezia, Venice

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Trains

Eurostar
TGV
The Circumetnea Train

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Upgrades

Inclusive Luggage Upgrade
London Hotels
UK rail connections

Reviews

3.7 stars3.7 / 5 · 9 reviews

  1. 5 stars
    (2)
  2. 4 stars
    (3)
  3. 3 stars
    (3)
  4. 2 stars
    (1)
  5. 1 star
    (0)

Mr D Cunningham

5 stars

Submitted 21 Oct 2017

Outstanding tour manager; great local guides; two brilliant agriturismo visits (one near Siena, the other in Sorrento). Huge potential for things to go wrong during such a long, involved trip - nothing did go wrong for me.

Collected by Great Rail Journeys

Mr L Calverley

3 stars

Submitted 14 Oct 2017

We found boarding and alighting from trains with heavy luggage under time constraints and locating storage space for same to be quite an ordeal.

Collected by Great Rail Journeys

Mr A Denham

3 stars

Submitted 14 Oct 2017

The overall holiday was good but the hotel in Rome was really poor and the food on the evenings when we had joint meals in Rome and Sorrento harbour was abysmal. We really think joint meals should be stopped and travellers left to make their own arrangements.

Collected by Great Rail Journeys

Ms V Woodcock

4 stars

Submitted 14 Oct 2017

It was well organised and the tour guide was brilliant - efficient, caring, warm and fun....one to keep!

Collected by Great Rail Journeys

Mrs C Peak

3 stars

Submitted 14 Oct 2017

Some hotels not to usual standard

Collected by Great Rail Journeys

Mr R Walker

4 stars

Submitted 24 Jun 2017

Great holiday. link between accomodation, transport and formal evening meals needs looking at. Would rather have made own arrangements for meals,be more centrally located than be bussed at the end of the day.

Collected by Great Rail Journeys

Show all 9 reviews
Europe by Rail 2022

Europe by Rail 2022

The definitive guide to our 2022 summer rail holidays to a wide range of destinations in Europe. When ordering for postal delivery, you will only receive our collection of European holidays. If you are interested in UK holidays, these are available on the website.

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Top to Toe of Italy

Discover ancient cities, hillside villages and dramatic coastline.

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