A Grand Tour of Italy
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.
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, this is the best way to tour Italy.
Highlights and Inclusions
- First Class rail travel unless otherwise described (Standard Premier Class on Eurostar with a light meal and drinks)
- 11 nights' hotel accommodation
- 18 meals
- City tours of Rome and Florence
- Excursion to Lucca and Pisa
- Guided tour of Venice
- Parts of this tour make use of portable audio headsets on guided tours, allowing you to hear your guide clearly wherever in the group you are
- Transportation by deluxe motorcoach
- The services of a professional Tour Manager from start to finish
- Exclusive meeting point at our dedicated departure office in St Pancras
Days 1-2 - First Class Rail to Milan
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. (Day 1 - Eurostar meal, D; Day 2 - B, D)
Day 3 - Exploring Rome
Enjoy a guided tour of Rome today, which introduces us to its most revered sights. See the Colosseum, the largest amphitheater ever built in the Roman Empire, the Roman Forum, the center 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 Vacation'. The rest of your day is at leisure in Rome. (B)
Day 4 - Hidden 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. (B, L)
Day 5 - Discover Florence
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 jewelers' shops. Tonight, enjoy dinner at a local restaurant. (B, D)
Day 6 - At Leisure in Florence
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. (B)
Day 7 - Pisa & Lucca
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 railroad 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 marvelous 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. (B)
Days 8-10 - Venice
This morning we leave Florence by high-speed rail, traveling in Standard 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 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 center 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 center 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. (Day 8 - B, D, Day 9 - B, Day 10 - B, D)
Days 11-12 - To Turin & London
Today we travel to Turin for the night. On Day 12 we travel to Paris, by high-speed TGV, before taking the Eurostar service to London. (Day 11 - B, D, Day 12 - B, Eurostar meal)
Train and Hotel Accommodations
Starhotels Michelangelo, Florence
The 4-Star Starhotels Michelangelo, Florence is located close to the Santa Maria Novella Train Station, within walking distance of the city center, which lies just beyond the beautiful River Arno - allowing a pleasantly scenic stroll into the thriving heart of the city. Boasting an on-site restaurant that serves Tuscan specialties alongside international cuisine, the hotel also offers complimentary Wi-Fi throughout both public areas and guest rooms, along with air-conditioned bedrooms that each feature a television with satellite channels and a minibar.
Hotel Massimo D'Azeglio, Rome
The 4-Star Hotel Massimo D'Azeglio in Rome enjoys a fantastic location close to the Termini railway station and within walking distance of many of the city's main sights, including the Trevi Fountain, the Roman Forum and the Colosseum. Dating back to 1875, the hotel embodies late-century style and architecture. The lobby, bar and restaurant display an important collection of paintings and prints which reflect the hotel's history. The traditionally-furnished rooms are decorated in an Italian Baroque style and come with individually controlled air conditioning, a telephone, television, minibar, hairdryer, Wi-Fi and a safe.
LaGare Hotel, Murano
This 4-Star hotel is set within a former glass factory and is contemporary in design. The reception areas feature individually designed glass pieces from the famous glassmaker Venini, whilst the bedrooms are spacious, comfortable and are elegantly decorated in calming shades of cream and beige. Rooms feature air conditioning, ensuite, minibar, radio, Sky television and complimentary Wi-Fi.
Eurostar is the high-speed rail service directly linking the UK to France and Belgium via the Channel Tunnel. It started operating in 1994, providing convenient city center to city center services.
TGV: Train à Grande Vitesse, (high-speed train) is France's high-speed rail service.
Dates & Prices
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: Departs 13th September 2019 ($4,845), 4th October 2019 ($4,695)
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