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Top to Toe of Italy

You are viewing the 2024 itinerary. Select your departure year
15 days From $5,095 $4,895 per person
4.5 stars(10 reviews)

Experience Italy from Venice to Sicily by train

Travel among a group of like-minded travelers led by a professional tour manager
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Offer Ends June 30th: Save $200 per person on select Europe escorted vacations. Book now before tours sell out.

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Mobility Rating 4

2024 Tour code: TTG24

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.


What’s included


Day 1 – Venice

Meet your group and Tour Manager at your hotel in Venice for a two night stay.

  • Dinner
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.

  • Breakfast
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 to explore the city at your leisure. Why not head to Piazzale Michelangelo to enjoy the stunning view over the city? Later we enjoy a meal in a local restaurant.

  • Breakfast, Dinner
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.

  • Breakfast
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.

  • Breakfast
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.

  • Breakfast, Dinner
Days 7-8 - Exploring Rome

Today, we take a guided tour, 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 - Breakfast
  • Day 8 - Breakfast
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.

Please Note - For departure Jun 03, 2024 you will stay at the Michelangelo Hotel in Sorrento.

  • Breakfast, Lunch
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. 

  • Breakfast, Dinner
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 - Breakfast, Dinner
  • Day 12 - Breakfast
  • Day 13 - Breakfast
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 - Breakfast, Dinner
  • Day 15 - 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.


Hyatt Centric, Murano

Hyatt Centric, Murano

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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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The Circumetnea Train

Enhance your holiday


Extend your stay


4.5 stars4.5 / 5 · 10 reviews

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

Eloise De Beer

5 stars

Submitted 14 Oct 2023

We had a fabulous Tour Manager in Lydia. She was always available and approachable and friendly to all. We stayed in excellent hotels, tours, and great meals were included. There's only a couple things I'd change. We were too long on the Amalfi Coast, and wished we could spend some time exploring Sorrento on our own. My roommate and I paid for 2 extra nights in the first hotel, in Murano, and you would think at $269 per night, breakfast would be included.

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5 stars

Submitted 10 Oct 2023

Overall, this was a fabulous 15-day trip. Our tour manager, Lydia, is a top-notch facilitator and made sure our needs were met. The train connection from Pisa to Lucca was a bit too tight and a couple of folks had to hop on the next train, which wasn't as crowded. The itinerary timing could be adjusted here for future bookings. I highly recommend the Top to Toe of Italy tour.

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Louis Amblard

5 stars

Submitted 30 Sep 2023

It's was pretty well organized

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5 stars

Submitted 25 Sep 2023

This trip was fabulous. A great balance of tours and free time. The entire trip was seamless. No need to worry about luggage. Your manager was excellent!

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5 stars

Submitted 11 Jul 2023

Excellent tour. Touches on all favourite cities. Very well organized and hassle free. Perfect if you are looking for worry free holiday.

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2 stars

Submitted 10 Jun 2023

Bait and switch. It is advertised that we were going to Florence. At the last minute, the day before we left we were told we would not be. We spent 3 hours in Florence not 3 days. We were bussed to Siena where we spent 3 days at a lovely hotel in the middle of no where. So there was nothing we could do. Then we were bussed for ours to another destination. The train reservations were messed up and our group was scattered everywhere and we almost missed the our stop. We would have been better off to stay on the coach. On multiple occasions during the two weeks our hotels/ city was changed. A riding to the tour guide at the last minute. He would constantly trash great Rails, describing inadequacy of the management and staff. His job was to not make it my problem. We were credited multiple times with 50 dollars. And a meal for the changes. Unfortunately while this was a nice gesture, I would have preferred the trip advertised that we signed up for. We did not stay in Venice, we stayed on Murano. An hour boat ride in each direction yo get back and forth. We were told conventions pushed us out, and they rescheduled. I work in the planning conventions for my company. We contract with the hotels sometimes 18 months in advance. It was obvious reservations for our group weren’t made that far in advance. On one occasion a hotel did not even have our name on the roster. When requesting to upgrade to a room with a view, we were often told hotel was full. The hotels were almost empty, but not allowed to upgrade. Overall we saw some beautiful places, but the chaos from all the changes would make me not recommend this trip. Also I do believe our tour guide tried his best. But often he gave us information the night before at dinner that was changed in the morning. He also had a hearing problem and almost got himself killed. There was one incident where he lost 4 passengers in a busy train satiation. We spent a couple of hours on the buss waiting for current passengers and the tour guide to locate them. I have traveled with Great Rails before and it was amazing. This was advertised as a first class journey, it wasn’t. Buyer beware. I will not be traveling again with Great Rails.

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