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Highlights of Italy Featuring Tuscany & Venice

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The Italian Riviera, the Amalfi Coast, Rome, Tuscany, and Pompeii: Italy’s most enticing destinations call to you on this grand rail tour of a country that reigns supreme in both history and scenery.

11 days From $3,495 per person
Travel among a group of like-minded travelers led by a professional tour manager
Special Offer

Book a qualifying 2023 escorted rail tour & save up to $300 per person. Book by October 7, 2022.

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2023 Tour code: GR-IVGA-23

About the tour

This once-in-a-lifetime journey focuses on the best elements of Italy, from Venice in the north to Amalfi in the south. The trip follows a roundtrip course that begins and ends in Rome. In between, time in Tuscany, the Italian Riviera, Venice, the Amalfi Coast, and Pompeii introduce colorful stories and unique local cultures that one must experience first-hand to believe. You have eleven adventure-filled days to soak in its ambiance, setting to the rails, streets, and waters to get a complete picture of Italy's offerings.

Begin with guided touring in Rome and visit the one and only Vatican City. From here, the adventure spreads into the countryside, taking on Tuscany one excellent locale at a time. Enjoy time in Florence, Montecatini Terme, Pisa, and Chianti. Guided tours pair with independent sightseeing time to offer a fantastic balance as you explore your surroundings. A day trip to Cinque Terre on the Italian Riviera is the perfect send-off from Tuscany, and from here, we head to the Floating City itself, Venice. Our journey continues with a rail journey from Venice to Naples and commences our journey along the Amalfi Coast. This part of the world is so beloved, and it is easy to see why as we make our way along the rugged seaboard to Naples and Sorrento. We also cruise the coast during our stay, traveling between Amalfi and Positano upon the water, the way it has been done for centuries. But the adventure doesn't end there; instead, relish a guided visit to Pompeii before heading back to Rome and touring the Roman Colosseum. What will you find as you discover one of the world's top vacation destinations?

Highlights

What’s included

Itinerary

Day 1 - Rome

A city equally known for its layered past and incredible cuisine, Rome is one of Italy's most beloved destinations and your starting point for a memorable 11-day expedition. As you arrive today, transfer on your own to your centrally located hotel, where you will meet your tour manager and fellow travelers. Delve into the arts, culture, and culinary scenes as you explore independently for the remainder of your day. Overnight Rome. 

Includes
  • Dinner
Day 2 – Discover Rome

Alongside an expert guide, get to know the city of Rome this morning on a guided tour. Discover gorgeous piazzas while traveling upon cobbled streets. Sites dating back to the ancient Romans, such as the Colosseum and Roman Forum, demand your attention, and the architecture at each turn astounds. Fountains, statues, and magnificent chapels are just some of the other attractions on this 3-hour tour. Following the excursion, you have a few hours to grab lunch or coffee at one of the local cafés.

This afternoon our explorations take us to Vatican City. This holy place is revered by art, religion, and architecture lovers alike. This afternoon, we arrive here and enjoy a guided tour through the Sistine Chapel and the Vatican Museums. The scale of the artifacts and artwork in these places is truly breathtaking. Enjoy skip-the-line service and the chance to see one of the world's most well-known frescos, "The Creation of Adam." The Pinecone Courtyard, Raphael's Rooms, and the Gallery of Maps are also featured. We return to Rome later today with the remainder of the evening at leisure. Overnight Rome.

Includes
  • Breakfast
Day 3 - To Tuscany by Train

Transfer to Rome's train station to board the morning train toward Tuscany. Our destination: Florence. The trip north takes under two hours to complete and drops us at the train station, surrounded by the beautiful buildings and ambiance unique to this city. Our time in Tuscany begins with a guided tour of Florence. Look upon landmarks both big and small, including the city's centerpiece, the Duomo. You may also see sites like Ponte Vecchio, Palazzo Vecchio, and Florence's numerous basilicas and religious establishments. Take some time following the tour to continue exploring this atmospheric destination on your own.

This afternoon, we continue by motorcoach to Montecatini Terme in the Tuscan countryside. Beloved as a spa destination since the 16th century, Montecatini Terme is a destination whose history rivals its beauty. You may wish to take a dip in the town's thermal waters during free time this afternoon or wander through town, sampling gelato and baked goods while looking upon medieval buildings and charming squares. Overnight Montecatini Terme.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 4 - Pisa & Castello di Verrazzano

Enjoy a leisurely morning to soak in your surroundings ahead of our train journey from Montecatini Terme to Pisa near the Ligurian Sea coast. Pisa is renowned for its iconic Leaning Tower; however, there is much more to discover. We meet a local guide for a walking tour through the city on arrival. Pisa is split into four historic districts, each brimming with delightful sights and Gothic architecture. Walk past sites like the medieval cathedral and the giant marble Battistero di San Giovanni. Our tour may also include strolls through the city's main piazzas, including Piazza dei Cavalieri and Piazza dei Miracoli. You are free to continue your sightseeing independently following the tour.

We continue deeper into Tuscany this afternoon by coach to the town of Chianti, home to Castello Verrazzano. This property has been in use since the 10th century and is a wonderful place to sample regional wine and bask in the region's offerings. We arrive at the castle in time for a tour and a wine tasting before dinner. Except for extensive restoration efforts in 1958, the castle and its grounds have remained virtually unchanged since 1170. Our tour of this incredible property includes time in the well-manicured gardens and the wine cellars. The tasting highlights the vineyard's organic wine selections, including whites, reds, and rosés. We enjoy dinner at the onsite restaurant, Hosteria, and savor locally sourced ingredients that illustrate the flavors of Tuscany. We return to Montecatini Terme by coach tonight. Overnight Montecatini Terme.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 5 - Cinque Terre

Set your sights on sparkling blue seas and colorful seaside villages as we visit Cinque Terre in the Italian Riviera. The Cinque Terre is a group of five quaint fishing villages perched high up on the cliffs: Corniglia, Manarola, Monterosso, Riomaggiore, and Vernazza. Their multi-hued buildings seem to stack upon one another, and their histories run just as deeply as their beauty. Perhaps the unique factor surrounding these villages is their accessibility. The only way to reach these destinations was by ancient footpaths along the cliffs and by boat through the bay for many years. However, in the 1870s, the railway arrived and made traipsing between villages more convenient than ever. We begin today's journey riding a local train from Montecatini Terme to Monterosso, switching trains halfway in Vernazza. Once we arrive in the Riviera, the day is yours to ferry-hop between Monterosso, Vernazza, and  Manarola, each of which boasts awe-inspiring ocean views and centuries of history. This evening, we return to Montecatini Terme by coach. Overnight Montecatini Terme. 

Includes
  • Breakfast
Day 6 - Florence to Venice by Train

Look upon the elegant buildings and lush surroundings of Montecatini Terme as we venture toward Florence's train station by coach. Today's journey aboard Italy's rail network takes us across the country, past places like Bologna, Ferrera, and Padua, to the Floating City itself, Venice. With a location abutting the Adriatic Sea and a story that spans over 1,600 years, Venice has long been one of the most recognized cities in Italy. Its buildings, many of which are 800-plus years old, are spread amongst 118 small islands in the Venetian Lagoon. Even today, traversing this amazing city is best done by boat in its extensive canal system or on foot, crossing bridge after ornate bridge. We arrive this afternoon and are transferred to our hotel on Murano Island within the Venice Lagoon just this way - by boat.  Once you have settled in, your evening is at leisure. Perhaps set out for dinner at one of the city's restaurants and enjoy some locally caught seafood. There are so many picturesque sites, including the Bridge of Sighs, Rialto Bridge, and St. Mark's Square, that you are sure to find a beautiful backdrop for your explorations. Overnight Venice.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 7 - Walking Tour of Venice

Find yourself immersed in the rich offerings of Venice as the group embarks on a walking tour of the city alongside an expert guide. This excursion highlights Venice's most beloved sights while providing stories and little-known facts as you explore. The scale of the buildings, especially when considering most are built on a foundation of 1,000-year-old sunken logs, is sure to impress. As we walk through the city, notice the varied features of the footbridges, and watch as traditional gondolas pass through the canals. Highlights of our tour may include Scuola Grande di San Rocco, Campo Santa Margherita Square, the Marco Polo House, the Grand Canal or Doge's Palace. We conclude our tour in St. Mark's Square at the entrance to St. Mark's Basilica, where we enjoy priority entry. The basilica dates to the mid-800s, though the present form that we admire today began construction in 1063. During our tour, notice the influence of multiple architectural styles, including Greek and Byzantine, and lose yourself in the details that include intricate marble work, statues, mosaics, and frescoes.

Take the remainder of the day to sightsee independently. You may wish to peruse the offerings of the Rialto Market, where fresh fish and produce abound. There are also many places throughout the city to purchase authentic Venetian masks - the perfect souvenir. Overnight Venice.

Includes
  • Breakfast
Day 8 - Naples & Sorrento

From one coast to another, today's journey takes us from Venice to Naples by train, following a southerly route that showcases the limitless wonders of Italy's interior as we pass through cities and villages and vast expanses of the Italian countryside. We arrive in Naples, the gateway to the Amalfi Coast, ahead of lunch and are met by a coach at the station. Our first taste of the region comes at Agriturismo Galatea. This expansive farm has provided the Naples region with olive oil, lemons, succulent meats and cheeses, and more for over four generations. Lunch is served as we arrive at this little slice of Italian heaven. After, we are treated to tastings of fresh mozzarella cheese and limoncello made with indulgent Sorrento lemons. Take some time to walk around the farm's impressive grounds and see just how expansive its offerings are before we complete our day's travels and head to Sorrento. We check into our hotel with the rest of the day free to get acquainted with this seaside destination. Admire the views from the rocky coast or dip your toes into the water on one of the small local beaches. Old Town is breathtaking, with its narrow, winding roads and colorful buildings. You may also select to join an optional excursion to Capri (payable locally). Overnight Sorrento. 

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch
Day 9 - Cruise Along the Amalfi Coast

Crystalline blue water, endless sunshine, and some of the most magnificent vistas you could ever imagine lie ahead today as we explore the picturesque Amalfi Coast. Our coach greets us at the hotel this morning and transfers us to the port in Massa Lubrense, where we board a boat and cruise along the coast, soaking in the scenery and the ambiance as we move between destinations. We first visit Amalfi and enjoy two hours to soak in its beauty independently. Lounge on the beach or admire the contrast of the white buildings against the vibrant green mountain foliage and the brilliant light blue water. There is a 9th-century cathedral in the center of town and tons of shops and eateries tucked within historic buildings.

Next, we cruise to Positano, a titan of the Amalfi Coast and one of its best-known destinations. As we arrive at the port, look up at the buildings, climbing layer upon layer toward the sky like a living birthday cake. Colorful stucco homes sit alongside steep and narrow streets. You have an hour here to stroll along the pebbled beach and pop in and out of the numerous boutique shops. There are plenty of lookout points throughout the city to enjoy the scenery. We cruise back to Massa Lubrense and drive back to Sorrento. This even enjoy a pizza-making night in a local cookery school. Overnight Sorrento.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 10 - Guided Tour of Pompeii / Rome’s Colosseum

Preserved remains, and layers of history are yours to discover as we embark on a guided tour of Pompeii this morning. Alongside an expert guide, begin to unveil the secrets and lives of people in 79 A.D. before it all came to an immediate halt with the eruption of Mount Vesuvius. Our two-hour excursion showcases the homes, bathhouses, religious establishments, and government buildings of Pompeii. As we walk, listen to stories from our guide and enjoy an up-close look at ruins preserved with incredible detail, thanks to the ash that rained upon the city with the volcano's eruption.

From Pompeii, we continue to Naples' train station and board a train bound for Rome. The trip takes just over three hours to complete, allowing us a last look at the Italian villages and countryside as we travel north back into the mecca of the ancient world, Rome. As our train pulls into the station, we join a guide in visiting the Colosseum, a structure built nearly 2,000 years ago as a place for gathering and entertainment. Gladiators fought to the death here, both against each other and wild beasts, like lions. During our tour, look upon the 50,000 seats, the battlefield in the center of the arena, and the tunnels. We continue to our hotel and toast to a trip well spent at our farewell dinner today. Overnight Rome.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 11 - Tour Conclusion

Your Italian adventure concludes this morning. You may transfer to Rome's international airport at your leisure for your return flight home.

Includes
  • Breakfast

Additional information

Departure times

Departure times vary based on selected rail vacation. This information will be provided in your final documents. For more information please speak with your rail specialist.

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 vacation with us in this respect, then please don’t hesitate to call us.

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