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Top to Toe of Italy

You are viewing the 2024 itinerary. Select your departure year
16 days From £4,495 per person
4.1 stars(20 reviews)
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Discover ancient and cultural cities, beautiful hillside villages, dramatic coastline and natural wonders as you explore from the top to the toe of Italy

Mobility Rating 4

2024 Tour code: TTG24

About the tour

From the foothills of the Alps to the Mediterranean island of Sicily, uncover the best of Italy 'from top to toe' on this incredible adventure.

Travelling the length of the country, we delve into the history and culture of Italy's remarkable towns and cities on guided tours, including Venice, Florence and Rome.

Bask in the beauty of the Amalfi Coast on a cruise from Sorrento to the picture-perfect Amalfi and Positano. Marvel at the remains of ancient Pompeii and travel by train past the lava fields of Mount Etna - Europe's most active volcano.

Savour the delicious flavours of Italian cuisine during a farm-to-fork lunch of regional produce at an Sorrentine 'agriturismo', a pizza-making experience and a tasting of crispy and creamy Sicilian cannolo.

Unforgettable experiences

Guided tours of Italy’s great cities
Guided tours of Italy’s great cities
Discover the best sights of the country’s great cities on engaging and expertly guided tours of Venice, Florence, Rome, Siena, Lucca, Pisa and Taormina.
Cruise round the dazzling Amalfi Coast
Cruise round the dazzling Amalfi Coast
Experience one of Italy’s most desirable and dramatic stretches of coastline on a relaxing boat trip from Sorrento to the stunning towns of Amalfi and Positano.
Stay in delightful Sorrento and learn how to make pizza
Stay in delightful Sorrento and learn how to make pizza
Unwind in the laid-back coastal town of Sorrento, nestled between the azure Bay of Naples and hillsides of fragrant lemon orchards, and enjoy a hands-on pizza-making lesson with a master pizzaiolo.
Tour the remarkable remains of ancient Pompeii
Tour the remarkable remains of ancient Pompeii
Uncover a city captured in time by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79AD. On a guided tour, wander its ancient streets, past temples, baths, theatres, shops and markets – all remarkably preserved by volcanic ash.
View Mount Etna and ride on the Circumetnea Train
View Mount Etna and ride on the Circumetnea Train
Explore the craters and surreal landscape of the most active volcano in Europe and admire the lava fields on a train ride on the most scenic stretch of a charming narrow-gauge railway round Mount Etna.
Indulge in a farm-to-table meal at an agriturismo
Indulge in a farm-to-table meal at an agriturismo
Agriturismo – farms with accommodation and restaurants – are a staple of rural Italian communities. Experience fresh and delicious Sorrentine food as we enjoy a lunch and limoncello tasting at an agriturismo on the Sorrento Peninsula.

What’s included


Day 1 – London to vibrant Stuttgart

We meet at London St Pancras International, where we take the Eurostar service to Paris. Travelling in style in spacious Standard Premier Class, we're served a light meal at our seats. Changing trains in the French capital, we continue by First Class rail to Stuttgart. Dashing through the vine-carpeted Champagne region on our way, we enter Germany and arrive in lively Stuttgart in the early evening.

Famed as the birthplace of the automobile, Stuttgart is home to both Porsche and Mercedes-Benz. Our hotel for the night is near the main train station, a short distance from the Palace Garden and the sprawling Baroque New Palace, which once housed Württemberg's dukes and kings. After checking in, we head out for our first group dinner together at a local restaurant.

  • Dinner
  • Eurostar Meal
Day 2 – Across the Brenner Pass to enchanting Venice

An incredible journey awaits after breakfast today. Walking the short distance to Stuttgart station, we board a morning train to Munich in First Class. Passing through Ulm, look out for its striking minster - the tallest church building in the world.

In Munich, we switch to the direct train to Venice. This astonishing route crosses Austria, revealing incredible scenery along the Inn Valley to Innsbruck. From here, the route climbs on the approach to the Brenner Pass which connects Austria to Italy. Spiralling round a valley, the elevation increases as we admire panoramas of pyramidal peaks, hilltop fortresses and alpine meadows dotted with charming chalets.

Descending the Alps via Bolzano and Verona, we head east to our glistening destination, arriving in the early evening. We take a private boat to our 4-Star hotel on the island of Murano. Away from the crowds of Venice, this picturesque group of islands connected by canals is renowned for its glass production and showcases traditional Venetian architecture with a more laid-back atmosphere.

We gather in our hotel restaurant for a three-course dinner this evening.

  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 3 – Touring the ‘Floating City’ of Venice

This morning we discover Venice on a guided tour. An intricate network of lagoons and canals makes this one of the most unique cities in the world, which, along with its romantic heritage, means the city has enchanted visitors for centuries.

We enjoy the charming backstreets, viewing the church where composer Antoni Vivaldi was born, before marvelling at the Bridge of Sighs and arriving in St Mark's Square. This has been the heart and soul of Venice for hundreds of years and its jaw-dropping beauty has inspired many artists, most notably Canaletto. It is here, that we view the stunning St Mark's Basilica and the towering campanile of the Doge's Palace, as well as Caffè Florian, a coffee house that first opened in 1720.

This afternoon, we are free to explore independently and may opt to enter the basilica or Doge's Palace. Venice lends itself to idle wandering, and possibly the best way to enjoy its charms is to let yourself get lost in the myriad of winding alleys and twisting lanes that make up the historic centre, discovering how it got its nickname of 'La Serenissima' (the Serene One). There's a host of incredible art and architecture to discover before perhaps settling down in a quaint restaurant to enjoy some of the country's finest seafood. Experience it like a local by ordering some cicchetti, Venetian tapas, and a glass of one of the city's signature drinks - prosecco, Aperol spritz or bellini.

  • Breakfast
Day 4 – Arrival in Renaissance Florence

A private boat transfer takes us to the railway station this morning to travel by First Class rail to Florence. After checking in to our central and stylishly decorated 4-Star hotel on the elegant Via Tornabuoni, there is time to relax before we embark on an engaging guided tour of this fascinating city.

Along the way, we view some of city's remarkable treasures, including the impressive, red-tiled dome of Florence Cathedral and the ornate free-standing campanile tower designed by Giotto. The dome and tower dominate Florence's skyline but seeing the detail of the polychromatic exterior up close is an incredible delight.

We move on to the medieval centre of this stunning city, viewing the fortified 13th-century Palazzo Vecchio and the decorative Loggia dei Lanzi in the Piazza della Signoria, before concluding our tour at the famous 14th-century Ponte Vecchio. This medieval bridge over the Arno river is lined with shops that, centuries ago, would have been butchers shops and tanneries.

This evening we gather to enjoy a dinner in this gorgeous and historic city.

  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 5 – The traditional Tuscan city of Siena

Today we travel by local rail to medieval Siena, a charismatic Tuscan city where a labyrinth of narrow streets opens out on to charming piazzas. We discover Siena's most popular destinations on a guided tour. The Duomo here is one of Italy's most magnificent, boasting statues by Donatello and Michelangelo, as well as an elaborate mosaic floor. The city's most famous sight, however, is the incredible Piazza del Campo - a grand, shell-shaped piazza that's regarded as one of the continent's best medieval squares. This is the site of the world-famous Palio horse races, an extraordinary event which the city has celebrated since the 17th century, now held twice a year in July and August. Overlooking the square is the Palazzo Pubblico and the mighty Torre del Mangia, a 285ft tower constructed between 1325 and 1348.

There is free time in the afternoon before we journey back to Florence by rail. You could sample some of the cured meats and cheeses that are popular here. Maybe opt for Siena's best-loved cheese, Pecorino, or finocchiona, a delicious local salami made with fennel.

You have a free evening in Florence to explore the city's labyrinthine streets and pretty piazzas before perhaps choosing to eat at a trattoria, sampling traditional Florentine steak with a food-friendly Sangiovese red wine.

  • Breakfast
Day 6 – Exploring Pisa and the walled city of Lucca

We travel by local rail to Pisa this morning to discover the sights of this historically important city on a guided tour. On entering the 'Field of Miracles' through the Porto Nuevo, we view the striking Romanesque cathedral which glows in white marble, the circular Baptistry, and the iconic Leaning Tower of Pisa. This popular tourist attraction has been standing at a slant since it was being built in the 12th century.

In the afternoon, we continue to the lovely walled city of Lucca, where you are free to explore the ancient ramparts and picturesque streets. The maze-like centre has a Duomo and other frescoed churches, striking piazzas - including the Piazza Anfiteatro, once a Roman amphitheatre - a botanical garden, art galleries, and a tranquil ornamental garden at Palazzo Pfanner, all inside the city walls. You can opt for lunch in a local trattoria, maybe trying a typical Luccese soup or the local filled pasta, tordelli.

This evening, you are free to continue exploring Florence, perhaps taking a stroll alongside the Arno river to experience the city at sunset.

  • Breakfast
Day 7 – A morning in Florence and arrival in Rome

With a morning at leisure, you might want to take in some of Florence's impressive galleries, churches and Medici palaces, which together display a fifth of the world's Renaissance art. If you're planning to visit the Uffizi gallery, it is important to book ahead. You may prefer to stroll across the river to the wonderful Boboli gardens, a peaceful green space with fantastic views of Florence. Alternatively, Mercato di San Lorenzo is the city's largest market with an abundance of fresh products, leather and local crafts, and an indoor and outdoor dining area.

In the early afternoon, we head to the train station for our journey to Rome in First Class. Arriving in Italy's dynamic capital this evening, we walk a short distance to our 5-Star hotel near the station where we stay for three nights.

With its long past, this influential city has a wealth of history, Renaissance art and ancient monuments to explore, although simply walking through Rome's atmospheric streets is a treat. This evening we enjoy a three-course dinner at our hotel.

  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 8 – Discovering La Dolce Vita in Rome

This morning we discover some of the spectacular sights of the 'Eternal City' on a captivating guided tour. We transfer by coach to the awe-inspiring Colosseum, Italy's most renowned classical site, where our tour begins. This immense structure is the largest ancient amphitheatre ever constructed and opened in 80AD and is believed to have been able to host around 50,000 spectators during gladiatorial contests.

The neighbouring Roman Forum was once the powerful governing centre of ancient Rome. This sprawling complex between the Capitoline and Palatine hills echoes with history as we learn about emperors such as Julius Caesar, Trajan and Vespasian who ruled the extensive Roman Empire from here. Ruined temples, robust arches and towering columns are spread across this vast expanse in a mind-blowing display of history.

We move on to the bustling Piazza Venezia, where the huge marble temple honouring Italy's first king dominates, and the Roman Pantheon, a stunning architectural masterpiece. At the fabulous Trevi Fountain, we stop for a morning coffee. Our tour ends in Piazza Navona - a lively square with a fabulous Baroque fountain and a border of ochre-hued buildings, cafés and restaurants - where you're free to soak up the atmosphere and experience Rome's beauty and unique style at your own pace for the whole of the afternoon and evening.

You could stroll through the vibrant streets or relax with a gelato in one of the city's squares. For dinner tonight, you might like to search out some delicious Roman specialities, such as carbonara.

  • Breakfast
Day 9 – Free day in the ‘Eternal City’

Today, is free for you to explore at your leisure. If you're keen to visit the Vatican, we recommend booking ahead online. The Holy See of the Roman Catholic Church draws nearly 10 million visitors to its museums each year. The large St Peter's Square exudes religious importance, with the focal point being the Papal St Peter's Basilica. A bewildering array of treasures are found inside the museums, and the biggest attraction is the Sistine Chapel. The interior is covered in Renaissance frescoes by Botticelli, Ghirlandaio and, most famously, Michelangelo.

Walking up the Spanish Steps to the Villa Borghese park, you can relax in landscaped gardens or see stunning art and sculpture in the Borghese Gallery. Built in the 17th century by the influential Italian noble family, the villa was constructed to house the Borghese family's art collections. Here, you can see masterpieces by the likes of Titian and Raphael.

Rome is blessed with a broad array of lively eating places, many of which offer alfresco seating. In the evening, maybe choose a trattoria to enjoy a plate of delicious pasta with a glass of wine, or watch the world go by from an outdoor café.

  • Breakfast
Day 10 – From Rome to Sorrento with ‘agriturismo’ lunch

This morning we travel by First Class rail to Naples, from where we continue by coach to a local agriturismo - a traditional farmhouse, established and run for four generations by the same family. Here, we're served a delicious lunch of fresh produce from the estate, including homemade limoncello and mozzarella. The terraces of this lovely farmhouse offer an oasis of peace and tranquility, surrounded by ancient olive groves, lemon orchards and vineyards.

On an introductory walking tour, we get to know the alluring town of Sorrento, set in its own small bay within the vast Bay of Naples, perched on a natural terrace above dramatic cliffs that overlook the sea. The narrow, cobbled streets feature Renaissance palaces and Romanesque churches, and the town is surrounded by hillsides of fragrant lemon orchards.

Our hotel for the next three nights has delightful views across the town and bay towards Mount Vesuvius. This evening is free to relax or continue exploring further.

Please Note - For departure 02/06/2024 you will stay at the Michelangelo Hotel in Sorrento.

  • Breakfast, Lunch
Day 11 – Sparkling Amalfi Coast cruise and pizza-making experience

Today we discover the captivating Amalfi Coast from the glistening Tyrrhenian Sea. This scenic coastline is a UNESCO World Heritage Site which stretches along the Gulf of Salerno, south of the Sorrento Peninsula. We are transferred by coach to Sorrento port where we board our boat cruise. First, we sail to lovely Amalfi, the 'Jewel of the Amalfi Coast'. With free time this morning you could visit the stunning cathedral, Duomo di Sant'Andrea, which overlooks the town's main piazza. Around the square are cafés, gelateria and shady spots to rest and admire the striking cathedral above.

Our boat cruise continues to Positano, where sun-bleached pastel houses drape the rocky hillsides and, at the beach, fishermen haul their wooden boats, as they have for many decades. Here we are at leisure to soak up the atmosphere, wander the charming wisteria-veiled streets, and maybe enjoy lunch at a café or restaurant in the colourful harbour.

We return to Sorrento in the late afternoon with time to relax, or perhaps take a refreshing swim in one of the hotel's pools before setting out on an enjoyable excursion this evening. We're driven a short distance by coach to take part in a hands-on pizza-making experience at a local restaurant. Led by a master pizzaiolo, we discover the secrets to this revered Italian dish before sitting down to dine on our delicious creations, along with a glass of wine and a dessert.

  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 12 – Pompeii: A city captured in time

This morning we enjoy a highlight of our tour as we travel back in time to Pompeii, the city buried and preserved by volcanic ash from the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79AD. We travel by local train to this fascinating archaeological site for a memorable guided tour of the best-preserved Roman city in the world.

Our tour takes us through the remarkable intact streets of Pompeii, and we walk among the shops, impressive villas, baths, temples, and restaurants of this UNESCO World Heritage site. We also see its amphitheatre - the oldest in the world - and some of the city's extraordinary frescoes. With such a comprehendible layout and structure, we get a tangible understanding of daily life in an ancient city.

After retracing our journey by train back to our hotel, we head to the old town of Sorrento in the evening for dinner at a restaurant serving traditional local cuisine including pasta and seafood.

  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 13 – Travelling to Sicily by train

We leave Sorrento this morning and are transferred to the town of Salerno, from where we catch the train to Sicily in First Class. The route provides excellent views of the gleaming Tyrrhenian Sea as we travel the full length of the Calabrian coast. The unspoilt region of Calabria, known as the 'toe' of Italy, is a fertile land of olive groves and citrus trees with picturesque villages cascading down rolling hills towards the sea.

In Villa San Giovanni, the train is shunted on to a purpose-built ferry specially equipped with rails for a journey across the Strait of Messina. We can relax on board the ship and enjoy great views of Sicily ahead before we return to the train for the final leg of our journey by rail to Taormina.

Our hotel in nearby Giardini Naxos is an elegant beachfront hotel with a private beach, a pool and a wellness centre. The laid-back coastal town has a good choice of restaurants for you to try this evening, with local specialities including seafood such as swordfish, and the baked pasta dish 'ncasciata.

  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 14 – Exploring Mount Etna: Europe’s most active volcano

A highlight of our trip to Sicily awaits today as we visit the island's most iconic sight. An active volcano with a height of more than 10,000 feet and a circumference of around 93 miles, Mount Etna has captivated visitors for centuries.

We travel to Rifugio di Sapienza, the highest point of vehicular access on Mount Etna, where there is free time to view the Silvestri craters and the elemental volcanic scenery. With basalt rocks formed from drying lava flows strewn across the ashen surface, this almost lunar-like landscape is mind-blowing.

This afternoon we get a different view of Mount Etna as we continue to Adrano by coach to join the Circumetnea Railway on part of the route, to Randazzo. This is the most scenic stretch of the charming narrow-gauge railway that travels round the base of Mount Etna. On the journey, we get to see the surrounding lava fields from new perspectives, often encroaching on towns.

We return to our hotel and you have a free evening to spend as you please.

  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 15 – Taormina tour and cannolo tasting

This morning we transfer by coach to the historic town of Taormina, where we have a two-hour guided tour of this delightful town. The amazing Greek theatre is believed to date from around the third century BC. Dug out of Mount Taurus, this vast venue could seat upwards of 5,000 spectators who would gather to watch Greek tragedies or comedies and, during the later Roman period, gladiators. While the amphitheatre is impressive in its own right, it also offers beautiful views of the Ionian Sea and Mount Etna.

Our tour concludes at a local cake shop or 'pasticceria', where we are treated to a sweet taste of Sicily - a cannolo. Meaning 'little tube', these delicious crisp pastries are filled with creamy ricotta and are the island's most famous dessert.

Afterwards, there is the option for you to extend your stay in Taormina and return the short distance to Giardini Naxos independently. In the evening, we gather in the hotel restaurant for a three-course dinner, our final meal in Italy together.

  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 16 – Homeward bound

We bid farewell to Giardini Naxos and Italy this morning as we transfer by coach to Catania airport for our flight back to London Gatwick.

Departing characterful Sicily, we look back on the many highlights of our holiday from the top of Italy to the toe. From the serenity of Venice to the bustle of Rome and the elegance of Tuscan towns to the laid-back Sorrento Peninsula, Italy is a fascinating country with an astoundingly rich and varied past that has developed into the captivating and enchanting nation we have enjoyed on this fantastic adventure.

On arrival in London, we say goodbye to our fellow travellers who have shared our unforgettable experiences of incredible Italy.

  • 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.


NH Collection Palazzo Gaddi Hotel, Florence

NH Collection Palazzo Gaddi, Florence

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RG Naxos Hotel, Giardini Naxos

RG Naxos Hotel, 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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Michelangelo Hotel

Michelangelo Hotel, Sorrento

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NH Collection

NH Collection Murano Villa

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Hyatt Centric Murano Venice, Murano

Hyatt Centric Murano Venice, Murano

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The Circumetnea Train

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London Hotels
UK rail connections
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4.1 stars4.1 / 5 · 20 reviews

  1. 5 stars
  2. 4 stars
  3. 3 stars
  4. 2 stars
  5. 1 star

Mr Noble

5 stars

Submitted 28 Oct 2023

The hotels and travelling logistics was excellent and well planned. Communication prior to the holiday was good. The cities we visited and day excursions were well organised. Our tour guide was excellent always at hand to answer questions of iron out little snags. If any negative the organised evening meals were of poor quality, but overall it was a five star holiday.

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David Williams

5 stars

Submitted 09 Oct 2023

Well organised, excellent hotels, excellent team leadership and fellow travellers.

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D Togwell

5 stars

Submitted 20 May 2023

Absolutely fabulous ! Itinerary Guide Etc Dave & Gail

Collected by Trustpilot


5 stars

Submitted 17 May 2023

An excellent tour visiting many of Italy's spectacular sights. Travelling by train ensures that you don't miss anything. We had a brilliant Tour Manager who made sure that everything went to plan and the hotels were of a high standard and in very good locations.

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J Summerell

3 stars

Submitted 29 Oct 2022

The majority of the included meals were of a very poor quality so we found local restaurants to eat at instead. Admission to historic sites in Rome not included or cableway on mount Etna long queues if you wished to purchase admission yourselves Hotel in Sicily impersonal and in need of refurbishment, the included meals were also terrible Service from headquarters in York lacking in attention to detail but the tour manager was excellent and overcame many problems. However most hotels were well located for access to city centres. Rectify the above comments and easy 4 to 5 star rating

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J Red

5 stars

Submitted 12 Oct 2022

We had a great time travelling from top to toe in Italy. The holiday was fast paced but each destination was worth the visit. We had excellent tour guides, excellent hotels in good locations and a superb tour manager who was well organised and well informed.

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