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Top to Toe of Italy

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3.9 stars(14 reviews)
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Small Group

Discover ancient cities, hillside villages and dramatic coastline as you explore from the top to the toe of Italy.

You are viewing the 2023 itinerary. Select your departure year
20222023
16 days From £3,995 per person

2023 Tour code: TTG23

About the tour

With its ancient cities, hillside villages and dramatic coastline, Italy offers something for all visitors. On this incredible adventure, we travel the length of the country, taking in the iconic sights of Rome, Florence, Venice, Pisa and Pompeii before making our way to the island of Sicily - home to volcanic Mount Etna.

Highlights

What’s included

Itinerary

Day 1 - London and Turin

We meet at London St Pancras and board the Eurostar to Paris. On arrival in the French capital, we change trains and continue to Turin, spending the night at a local hotel.

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 in the afternoon, we continue to the Floating City of Venice for two nights. 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.

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 thousands of years, and the grand Doge's Palace, before a free afternoon. 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. 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 the city's signature drink - Prosecco.

Includes
  • Breakfast
Day 4 - Florence

Saying goodbye to Venice, we join the train to Florence, where we spend the next 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 appeal. 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. Our afternoon tour includes the Ponte Vecchio bridge and the striking Duomo ahead of some free time.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 5 - Siena

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

Includes
  • Breakfast
Day 6 - Pisa and Lucca

Catching the train to Pisa, we enjoy a fascinating guided tour of the Field of Miracles. Here, 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 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 instantly recognisable Colosseum, to the Baroque detail of the Trevi Fountain, Italy's capital city is a treasure trove of culture and history. There's also a wonderful café culture to make the most of, alongside fantastic bars and shops. On arrival, we check into our hotel for three nights.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 8 – Rome

Discovering the landmarks which have shaped Rome on an insightful guided tour, 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 stop by the Trevi Fountain, a wonderfully detailed sculpture set in a tiny square where you can toss a coin into the waters to ensure your return. Your afternoon is free to continue exploring. Perhaps visit the Pantheon and its structurally impressive domed roof, hardly changed over the past 2,000 years.

Includes
  • Breakfast
Day 9 – Rome

Enjoy a free day to sightsee in Rome at your own pace. A city of world-class history, architecture and art, there's plenty on offer here. You could visit 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 while soaking in Rome's vibrant street life.

Includes
  • Breakfast
Day 10 - Sorrento

Travelling by rail to Naples, we continue to a local agriturismo - a farm specialising in authentic, seasonal food. We sit down amid rustic surroundings to enjoy a delicious meal, sampling handmade mozzarella and tasting limoncello, a zingy local lemon liqueur, before continuing 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 before checking into our hotel for a three-night stay.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch
Day 11 - The Amalfi Coast

We take to the waters for a scenic boat trip along the Amalfi Coast, admiring this famed stretch of coastline from a unique perspective. We sail to Positano, an unspoilt village perched on the cliffside where 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. Here, you have free time to discover its historic delights. The town boasts many sun-kissed, café-lined piazzas and a tiny beach, and after some free time, we return to Sorrento, turning our hand to pizza making as we learn the secrets to making this famous dish with an expert.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 12 – Pompeii

A train takes us to the incredible Roman city of Pompeii. A once bustling coastal destination, Pompeii spent the best part of two millennia buried by volcanic ash after the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD79. It was only discovered again in 1749 and, today, the ancient remains are still fantastically preserved, giving us an incredible insight into everyday life during the Roman Empire. We wander former city streets, popping into what would have once been thriving bathhouses, restaurants and shops, with the ever-present peak of Mount Vesuvius dominating the background.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Days 13 – Sicily

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

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 reach the highest point accessible by road, where there's some free time to explore the other-worldly landscapes. Later, we enjoy a journey on the Circumetnea train, travelling around the mountain's base as we pass nearby villages and some truly breathtaking scenery

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 15 – Taormina

We visit the nearby resort town of Taormina for a tour of its highlights. Chic Taormina is Sicily's most popular town, perched on a rocky cliff high above an azure ocean and boasting some jaw-dropping views. Our guided exploration includes time at the spectacular Teatro Greco. This grand theatre was built during Roman times in a Greek style and boasts cinematic scenes 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 and we transfer to the airport for our flight to London Gatwick.

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

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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Hyatt Centric Murano Venice, Murano

Hyatt Centric Murano Venice, Murano

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NH Collection Palazzo Gaddi Hotel, Florence

NH Collection Palazzo Gaddi, Florence

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Trains

Eurostar
TGV
The Circumetnea Train

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Upgrades

Inclusive Luggage Upgrade
London Hotels
UK rail connections

Reviews

3.9 stars3.9 / 5 · 14 reviews

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

Mrs Patricia atkins

4 stars

Submitted 1/Oct

Need to manage expectations and increase information prior to departure

Collected by Trustpilot

sircles.net

3 stars

Submitted 26/Sep

It was OKish

Collected by Trustpilot

peter

4 stars

Submitted 19/Jun

The tour was wonderful, seeing many beautiful cities of Italy, let down by Great Rail at the end for using a 3rd rate hotel.

Collected by Trustpilot

geoff hancock

5 stars

Submitted 6/Jun

All Brilliant

Collected by Trustpilot

C Huggett

5 stars

Submitted 6/Jun

From start to finish, an amazing experience. Excellent tour manager ensured the holiday went smoothly.

Collected by Trustpilot

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

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Top to Toe of Italy

Discover ancient cities, hillside villages and dramatic coastline as you explore from the top to the toe of Italy.

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