Italy By Rail

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Run by: Wexas Travel

Reference number: 145441

From: £2400.00

Holiday overview

With the 19th-century advent of rail travel, the famous Italian ‘Grand Tour’ was opened up and this is your chance to follow suit, travelling in First Class and enjoying included private transfers throughout. At each stop, you'll be treated to private walking tours, sampling everything from Milan’s imperious sophistication and Venice’s heady maze to Florence’s concentrated beauty and Rome’s illustrious past. You’ll end with some seaside living; pretty Sorrento and historic Naples sandwich a thorough examination of Pompeii’s archaeological drama.

Holiday itinerary

Days 1-2: UK/Milan

Begin your trip with airport lounge access before your flight to Milan. On arrival, you'll be met by a private driver who'll bring you to your central accommodation; an early 20th-century gem, its rooms are all mahogany furniture and white Carrara marble bathrooms. You’ll also be perfectly situated for the city’s attractions, explored on your second day’s private walking tour. You’ll centre on the Duomo’s golden statues, spectacular marble façade and over 100 spindling spires before a stop at the 18th-century Royal Opera House – one of the world’s finest theatres. There’s also time to visit the Galleria Umberto, the city’s premier shopping centre.

Stay: Doria Grand Hotel (Superior)

Day 3: Venice

Strike east with a First Class train ride to Venice. Though your route is flat – testified by the Roman-straight railroad – you’ll take in snow-capped glimpses of the Alps to the north. And, with your hotel idyllically set at the mouth of the Grand Canal, you'll be met on arrival and transferred via water taxi, a perfectly evocative introduction to this floating city. You’ll then have some free time to lose yourself among Venice’s rabbit warren of historic streets and twisting waterways.

Stay: Monaco & Grand Canal (Superior)

Day 4: Venice

Today you’ll be met in your hotel lobby by an expert guide who’ll take you on a private tour of Venice’s sights. The city centres around its Piazza San Marco – the principal public square. Highlights include its basilica’s 4,240 square metres of luminous gold mosaics, the Campanile brick bell tower and the soft arches of the Doge’s Palace. You'll even enjoy priority entry to the latter, beating the crowds to its artistic treasure trove. Your tour will end with a private gondola ride through labyrinthine canals, ducking under bridges, sidling past historic buildings and watching as floating traders ply their wares.

Stay: Monaco & Grand Canal (Superior)

Day 5: Florence

Your last atmospheric water transfer will bring you back to the city’s station. Travelling First Class, you’ll speed south through the Italian countryside to Florence. A private transfer will then see you to the excellent Hotel degli Orafi; set right on the River Arno, you’ll overlook the famous Ponte Vecchio bridge. As such, you'll be perfectly positioned to explore the city’s heritage; we highly recommend the short walk to the Piazzale Michelangelo. Passing through verdant gardens and historic streets, you’ll arrive at an open square on Florence’s southern hills, affording the best views of the city.

Day 6: Florence

Compact and packed full of sights, Florence is best explored on a private guided walk. Yours will begin with the city’s cathedral. Completed in 1436, it’s an awe-inspiring example of Gothic architecture, resplendent in polychromatic shades of green and pink. Its brick dome – the largest every constructed – still dominates the city’s skyline to this day. And, between the Repubblica and Signoria squares, you’ll be introduced to Florence’s historic meeting points, complete with palaces, sculptures and grand archways. However, your tour highlight will be included priority entry into the Uffizi Gallery. Skip the queues to marvel at Italy’s premier collection of Renaissance artwork.

Day 7: Rome

A private transfer will see you back to Firenze Station to catch the train south to Rome, again by First Class. Your next private transfer will bring you to your home for the next two nights – the 19th century Hotel Victoria. Situated just beside the Villa Borghese, you’ll be able to enjoy strolls through Rome’s favourite English gardens, taking in rich horticulture, relaxed piazzas and the neoclassical National Gallery of Modern Art. The historic villas and view from its Pincian Hill are a particular highlight.

Stay: Hotel Victoria (Superior)

Day 8: Rome

Today’s private walking tour will take in some of the city’s storied centrepieces. Of course, no trip to the Italian capital would be complete without visit to the Pantheon. Commissioned by Marcus Agrippa, it was completed in the 2nd century AD by the Emperor Hadrian. Today, its classical columns and arched dome stand as the best-preserved example of ancient Rome. Contrast its stern austerity to the more exuberant beauty of the Trevi Fountain, whose 18th-century construction saw everything from dramatic statues to grand friezes realised in Baroque extravagance. You’ll also make a stop at the Piazza Navona; its statues, Egyptian obelisk and highly detailed façades evidence a true Renaissance meeting point.

Stay: Hotel Victoria (Superior)

Day 9: Naples

Again bookending your First Class rail trip with private transfers, you’ll travel along the coast to arrive at your seaside hotel in Naples, overlooking the Castel dell’Ovo, an imposing fortification first built by Roger the Norman in the 12th century. In turn, nearby palaces and Baroque chapels inspire with vainglorious beauty, with Cappella Sansevero’s Cristo Velato particularly impressive. It’s a vision of the veiled Christ formed entirely from impossibly realistic marble carving. There’s also food for the belly as well as the soul, with some of the country’s finest pizzas, pastas and coffees to be found in Naples.

Stay: Grand Hotel Santa Lucia (Superior)

Day 10: Pompeii/Sorrento ...

This trip has no fixed departures but restrictions may apply - check operator website

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