Experience Italy from Venice to Sicily by train
About the Tour
From its ancient and classical cities to its hillside villages and dramatic coastline, Italy offers something for all visitors. On this incredible adventure we travel the length of this attractive country, taking in iconic sights such as Venice, the Leaning Tower of Pisa and Pompeii, and lesser-known places like Tuscan Siena.
- First Class rail travel (unless otherwise described)
- Scenic rail excursion on the Circumetnea train
- Hotel accommodations for 14 nights
- 24 meals including 15 breakfasts, 8 dinners, and 1 traditional agriturismo lunch
- City tours of Venice, Florence, Siena, Rome, and Taormina
- Sightseeing tour of Pisa including the Leaning Tower
- Guided tour of Pompeii
- Orientation tour of Sorrento and Limoncello tasting
- Excursions to Lucca and the Amalfi Coast
- Guided tour of Pompeii and excursion to Mount Etna
- Services of a professional Tour Manager
Day 1 – Venice
Meet your group and Tour Manager at the 4-Star Hotel Papadopoli in Venice for a two night stay. (D)
Day 2 - Venice sightseeing
With its unique cityscape and rich heritage as head of the Byzantine Empire, Venice has enchanted visitors for centuries. Today we enjoy a guided tour, seeing landmarks such as St Mark's Basilica and the dazzling Doge's Palace. The afternoon is free for you to explore; perhaps take a tour of La Fenice Theater. This opera house, with its ornate stuccoes and furnishings, is a joy to discover. (B)
Day 3 - Florence
Leaving Venice, we join the high speed train to Florence for three nights at the 4-Star Hotel de la Ville. This afternoon we take a guided tour of the Renaissance city, including the Ponte Vecchio and the Duomo with its red-tiled dome. Afterward, you are free; why not head to Piazzale Michelangelo to enjoy the stunning view over the city? Later we enjoy a meal in a local restaurant. (B, D)
Day 4 - Siena
Today we visit the typically Tuscan city of Siena. The city's well preserved center is interlinked by a web of narrow streets that lead to the Campo, a grand shell-shaped piazza. We take a guided tour of this charismatic city, including the Duomo, built from strips of black and white marble. (B)
Day 5 - Pisa and Lucca
We take the train (Standard Class) to Pisa today, where we have a guided tour of its sights in the Field of Miracles. Here we see the Romanesque Duomo and the world-famous Leaning Tower, one of Europe's most iconic buildings. In the afternoon we visit Lucca - a delightful city that has escaped the tourist crowds. You are free here to explore the walled city's medieval core and ramparts and to maybe visit the Guinigi Tower, known for the oak tree growing from its top. (B)
Day 6 - Rome
Today, after a morning at leisure in Florence, we travel by high-speed rail to the 'Eternal City' of Rome, Italy's attractive capital, where we spend three nights at the 5-Star NH Collection Roma Palazzo Cinquecento. (B, D)
Days 7-8 - Exploring Rome
Today, we take a guided tour, by coach and on foot, past the landmarks that have shaped this mesmerizing city over thousands of years. We pass the Colosseum where Roman citizens would watch the brutal blood sports which often showcased gladiators and wild beasts for the joy of the crowd, and we see the Roman Forum, which played a vital role in Roman public life, which is now iconic as a monument of Imperial Rome and her once vast empire. We also take in the magnificent Baroque Trevi Fountain, a wonderfully detailed sculpture set in a tiny square.
Your afternoon and the next day is free for you to continue exploring Rome. The city's impressive array of architecture charts the passage of time as clearly as anywhere in Europe, with distinctive medieval, Renaissance and Baroque attractions. Perhaps visit the Pantheon and its domed roof, which is a masterpiece of human engineering, in fact, the entire building has seen surprisingly little change in 2,000 years. (Day 7 – B, Day 8 – B)
Day 9 - On to Sorrento
We travel by high-speed train to Naples, then continue by coach to Sorrento. This beautiful coastal town sits perched on a towering cliff in its own mini bay within the larger Bay of Naples, and we spend three nights at the 4-Star Hilton Sorrento Palace. We pause en-route to visit an agriturismo, where we enjoy a sumptuous lunch, followed by a tasting of limoncello, a popular local lemon liqueur derived from the plentiful lemon orchards that surround Sorrento. Once in Sorrento we take an orientation tour; the narrow cobbled streets feature an exciting fusion of palace buildings and quaint old churches. (B, L)
Day 10 - The Amalfi Coast
Today, we enjoy a boat trip along the turquoise waters of the Amalfi Coast, taking in views of the rugged coastline and Positano, an unspoiled traditional village perched on the mountainside, where the pretty pastel houses seemingly tumble into the turquoise sea. After arriving in Amalfi, you have some time at leisure. Amalfi has been untouched by major developments and its layout on a steep terrain has preserved much of its historic charm. Perhaps visit the cathedral, or admire the other fine sights of this former maritime republic. Return to Sorrento where we enjoy an authentic pizza making experience this evening. (B, D)
Days 11-13 - Pompeii and Mount Etna
This morning we travel by Standard Class rail to Pompeii for a tour of this Roman city, whose residents were famously preserved by volcanic ash. On Day 12 we transfer to Salerno for a scenic railroad journey, followed by a ferry across to Sicily.
On Day 13 we visit Mount Etna, Europe's largest volcano. With its striking lava fields reaching out almost to the sea, Etna is one of Sicily's most compelling sights. We travel firstly to Rifugio di Sapienza located at 1920 meters, and the highest point accessible by road. After time here exploring this almost other-worldly landscape, we continue to Adrano to join the Circumetnea train, traveling around the mountain's base, taking in the villages as well as the breathtaking scenery. (Day 11 – B, D; Day 12 – B, D; Day 13 – B, D)
Days 14-15 - Taormina and return Home
We take a guided tour of Taormina's highlights today, including the spectacular Teatro Greco. This grand theatre was built during Roman times in a Greek style, and is immaculately preserved. Tonight we enjoy a farewell dinner at the hotel. On Day 15 make your way to Catania airport for your flight home. (Day 14 – B, D; Day 15 – B)
Hotel Papadopoli Venezia, Venice
The 4-Star Hotel Papadopoli Venezia in Venice is located in the historic center of the city, minutes from the Grand Canal. The hotel has a restaurant with an exotic Winter Garden, a café bar serving hot meals and cold snacks, and a library. Rooms are decorated in 18th-century Venetian style décor and are air-conditioned with a television, telephone, safe, minibar and hairdryer. Some rooms enjoy views over the Tolentini Canal or the Papadopoli Gardens. A dry cleaning/laundry service is available.
Hotel de la Ville, Florence
The 4-Star Hotel de la Ville boasts an excellent location on Florence's most fashionable street, Via Tornabuoni. Here, you will find all of the high fashion labels that Italy is most famous for, including Gucci and Bulgari. The hotel is also a short walk from the superb Florence Cathedral. The hotel amenities include American and Snack bars, as well as a clothes pressing service (payable locally). The excellent rooms are air-conditioned throughout and offer complimentary Wi-Fi, and a television.
NH Collection Rome Palazzo Cinquecento, Rome
This superb 5-Star hotel is situated in the very heart of Rome's historic center, just mere steps from the train station, making it the perfect base from which to explore. Discover the hotel's historic gardens, dating back to the 4th Century BC, and enjoy the breath-taking views of Rome from the roof terrace. There is a gym on-site, which is equipped with treadmills and bikes.
Hilton Sorrento Palace, Sorrento
The lovely whitewashed and 4-Star Hilton Sorrento Palace is our base whilst in Sorrento. Located on the outskirts of this historic town, this is the perfect base from which to conduct our explorations. This delightful hotel contains many excellent amenities, including both outdoor and indoor swimming pools, a citrus gardens, an infinity pool on the rooftop, and a fitness center. There are also 2 restaurants and a relaxing lounge. Each of the light and airy rooms come well equipped with a television, a minifridge, tea & coffee-making facilities, and Wi-Fi.
Hotel Diamond, Giardini Naxos
The 4-Star Superior Hotel Diamond is located in Giardini Naxos, just 300 meters from the beach, and a short journey to Taormina using the hotels' complimentary shuttle. The hotel features a wonderful pool area, refined public spaces, spa (payable locally), and excellent service. Rooms offer modern amenities and all feature balconies.
The Circumetnea Train
On our trips in Sicily, we have the chance to travel around the base of one of the world's tallest active volcanoes, Mount Etna. Here, we travel on the Circumetnea, a narrow gauge railroad, opened in 1898, that travels from Catania to Riposto, and offers spectacular scenes of the volcano. Mount Etna is one of the most active volcanoes in the world, and on occasion, it produces smoke rings, which are extremely rare. Mount Etna also features prominently in Greek mythology, as it was thought to be where Vulcan, the god of fire, kept his Smithy.
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