Tailormade tour Florence and Tuscany by rail tour Italy

10 nights /11 days

Zurich • Florence • Chianti

This rail and car touring holiday to Florence and Tuscany includes rail travel with an overnight stop in Zurich on the outward journey, then time to explore city of Florence before collecting a hire-car to travel to the Tuscan countryside and a stay in the Chianti region. Return by train with an overnight stop on the way back in northern Italy or Switzerland, and the final part of the journey by Eurostar.
Holiday price guide

Available year-round subject to the opening period of the hotels, from £2,770 per person.

Florence and Tuscany luxury rail-drive tailormade touring holiday


Overnight in either Zurich or Lausanne • Swiss Alps • Florence • Visit the Uffizi • Visit the Chapel of the Magi in Palazzo Medici Riccardi • Chianti wine route • Visit Siena or Arezzo

Day by day

Start your rail holiday by departing London on an early morning Eurostar to Paris. Following a change of station in Paris, you then continue to Zurich by TGV train which reaches 198 mph. Arrive early evening and spend one night here.

Spend the first part of the morning looking around, depending on how late you want to arrive in Florence, before boarding the Eurocity train to Milan. You change trains in Milan and continue to Florence by high-speed train arriving in the evening. On arrival in Florence you will be met at the station and transferred to your hotel for three nights.

You have two full days to explore Florence, the ancient capital of the Medicis and home to a wealth of Renaissance treasures. A visit to see Michelangelo’s David in the Accademia is high on the list of things to do in Florence, along with the majestic architecture of the Duomo and the beautiful work of the silversmiths that line the Ponte Vecchio. Be sure to visit the Chapel of the Magi in the Palazzo Medici Riccardi to marvel at the fresco by Benozzo Gozzoil. If you have special interests in Florence, then let us arrange a private guide for you.

Collect your hire-car and head south into the Chianti countryside. Your destination at Loro Ciuffena, north of Arezzo, is about 60 kms from Florence and we suggest you take a scenic route, driving out of the Arno valley into the start of Chianti following the Chianti wine route through the villages of Strada, Greve and Radda. There are also Tuscan villas and their gardens you could visit on the way. It’s worth stopping for lunch in Radda, before turning north-east to Loro Ciuffena, where you spend five nights.

From your base at Loro Ciuffena, you have numerous activities and excursion possibilities available to you. The small city of Arezzo is about 25 kms to the south and an absolute must to visit. It is an artistic and architectural gem with the painted vaulted ceilings of the cathedral, a 15th century fresco of Mary Magdalene by Piero della Francesca, the Basilica of San Francesco with more Piero frescoes and the Basilica of San Domenico with the 13th century Crucifix painted by Cimabue. There is also a Medici fortress. An antiques market is held here on the first Sunday of every month. We can arrange all sorts of authentic local cultural activities during your stay including cookery lessons, wine-tasting, visits to local artisan food producers of cheese and olive oil. In addition to swimming at the hotel, golf, cycling, hiking, tennis and horse-riding can be organised.

From Florence today you take the train back to Milan where you change for the journey northwards to Lausanne on the banks of Lake Geneva.You spend one night in Lausanne.

Lausanne to Paris takes about four hours by train so after an easy change in Paris you can be back in London by about 6pm.

Special offers for this holiday>

Thank you. We had an amazing holiday. Really appreciate the work put in to give us the trip of a lifetime!
Mrs H, Jan 2023

Holiday price guide Prices from £2,770 per person based on two sharing a double room including second class rail travel.
First class travel supplement from £570 per person.

Holiday Code ITRD02

Florence and Tuscany luxury rail-drive tailormade touring holiday

Special offers for this holiday>

Thank you. We had an amazing holiday. Really appreciate the work put in to give us the trip of a lifetime!
Mrs H, Jan 2023

Holiday price guide Prices from £2,770 per person based on two sharing a double room including second class rail travel.
First class travel supplement from £570 per person.

Holiday Code ITRD02

Our prices include ● Second-class travel on all trains, with standard class on Eurostar (first and standard premier can be booked at a supplement)
● Hire of a Group B car from day 5 to 10
● 1 night’s bed and breakfast in a Standard double at Hotel St Gotthard in Zurich
● 3 nights’ bed and breakfast in a Classic executive room at Hotel Brunelleschi or in a Classic room at the Bernini Palace in Florence
● 5 nights’ bed and breakfast in a Classic room at the Hotel Villa le Barone, or a Superior room at Villa Belpoggio, or a classic room at the Borgo San Felice in Tuscany
● 1 night’s bed and breakfast in a Classic double at Hotel Angleterre et Residence in Lausanne
● Private car transfer from Florence Santa Maria Novella station to the hotel
● Concierge service and Expressions Holidays regional helpful hints

Our prices do not include ● Early check-in or late check-out at any hotels (although we can arrange this on request at additional cost)
● Any other services not mentioned above, such as transfers and meals except breakfast at hotels
● Personal holiday insurance. This is essential and cover should be in place from when you book the holiday.
● Local tourist tax, usually between Euros 1 and 3 per person per night, and payable locally to the hotel
● Transfers in Paris and Zurich

Florence and Tuscany luxury rail-drive tailormade touring holiday

Expressions Holidays includes these hotels in this touring holiday as suggestions, but they can be substituted by others in the same region, if you have a preference to stay elsewhere.
Hotels included in this tour
Hotel St Gotthard

Hotel St Gotthard is a sophisticated 4-star hotel in an excellent central location. Haute cuisine and stylish, comfortable accommodation make this an excellent spot to recuperate after enjoying the cultural delights of Zurich.

Standard double room

Hotel Brunelleschi

The Hotel Brunelleschi is a luxury 4-star hotel, steeped in the history of Florence and yet offering contemporary comforts. The hotel is in the heart of the city just a few minutes' walk from the Duomo. Two restaurants (one with two Michelin stars) are on-site.

Classic executive double room

Hotel Bernini Palace

The Bernini Palace is an elegant, historic 5-star hotel in the heart of Florence. Sumptuous interiors and delicious cuisine make this hotel the perfect base from which to relax after exploring the wonders of the city.

Classic double room

Relais Villa Belpoggio Country house

Relais Villa Belpoggio is highly recommended for a charming ambience and high levels of service and comfort. Traditionally Tuscan both inside and out, this hotel also provides guests the opportunity to indulge in authentic Tuscan cuisine.

Superior room

Villa Le Barone 4-star hotel

Villa le Barone is an enchanting 4-star hotel in a beautiful rural location in the Chianti countryside. Exquisite gardens, delicious cuisine and excellent wine, alongside authentic, comfortable accommodation, afford guests an intimate, relaxing taste of Tuscany.

Classic room

Borgo San Felice 5-star hotel

The Borgo San Felice is a boutique 5-star hotel in Chianti country, ideal for exploring Italian vineyards and authentic Tuscan cuisine. Excellent spa facilities and fine dining restaurants afford guests a truly indulgent experience.

Classic room

Hotel Angleterre et Residence

Hotel Angleterre et Résidence is a charming, traditional, Swiss-style, 4-star hotel in a prime location. Delicious cuisine, exceptional service and immaculate grounds offer guests a truly relaxing and indulgent experience.

Classic room

Special offers

Call to make your booking and save an extra £50 per adult Call us instead of emailing us when you are thinking of booking a holiday and save an extra £50 per adult (in addition to any special offers that might be available). We want to talk to you to discuss your requirements and a phone call is usually the best way for you to define what you want enabling us to respond more accurately. We want to talk to you and you save an extra £50 per adult.

Thank you. We had an amazing holiday. Really appreciate the work put in to give us the trip of a lifetime!
Mrs H, Jan 2023

Holiday price guide Prices from £2,770 per person based on two sharing a double room including second class rail travel.
First class travel supplement from £570 per person.

Holiday Code ITRD02

Florence and Tuscany luxury rail-drive tailormade touring holiday

Highlights of Tuscany

Famous vineyards producing wines of Chianti Classico, Brunello di Montalcino, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano. Alabaster is produced in Volterra. Gold and silver are worked in Florence and the Ponte Vecchio is lined with jewellery shops. Marbled paper and stationery is a speciality of Florence. Ceramics and hand-painted majolica from raw terracotta from Impruneta to the glazed pottery of Siena are to be found throughout Tuscany. Lucca has traditionally produced silk and hand-woven fabrics. Leather goods including shoes, handbags and belts are to be found from market stalls to designer shops such as Gucci and Ferragamo. Interesting markets include the Mercato dell' Antiquariato which sells furniture from antiques to bric-a-brac in Arezzo on the first weekend of every month, in Pisa on the second weekend and in Lucca on the third weekend. The 'wild' Maremma is known for its long-horned white cattle and cowboys (butteri) and natural springs including Saturnia.

Cultural highlights of Tuscany

As birthplace of the Renaissance, Tuscany contains a wealth of treasures: Giotto`s Campanile and Brunelleschi`s Dome in Florence, the Tombs of Galileo and Michelangelo in Florence`s Santa Croce, Botticelli`s `Birth of Venus` and `Primavera` and the portraits of the Duke and Duchess of Urbino by Piero della Francesca in the Uffizi, Michelangelo`s `David` in the Accademia, the architecture of the Piazza della Signoria in Florence, `The Tuscan Maremma` painting by Giovanni Fattori in the Palazzo Pitti in Florence, the Piazza del Campo in Siena, `The Legend of the Cross` frescoes by Piero della Francesco in Arezzo, `The Creation` fresco by Bartolo di Fredi in the Collegiata in San Gimignano, Romanesque church of the Collegiata in San Quirico d`Orcia, 14th Century Fortezza of Montalcino, Renaissance masterpiece of the church of Madonna di San Biagio at Montepulciano, the abbey-church of Sant`Antimo, mediaeval Lucignano and the towers of San Gimignano, the Etruscan Museum in Cortona.  

Festivals in Tuscany

Many of Tuscany`s festivals resound with the flamboyance of the Renaissance and keep Tuscans and visitors alike in touch with the region`s rich history. Others are linked to Tuscany`s hearty traditions of eating and drinking. The most famous is Siena`s Palio which takes place on 2 July and 16 August each year. Others include the Sagra del Tordo (Festival of the Thrush) in Montalcino on the last Sunday in October when there is an archery contest and charcoal-grilled thrush are a delicacy. In Florence, Calcio in Costume (a football match played in mediaeval costume) takes place in June. Pisa has the Giocco del Ponte (Game of the Bridge), a mock battle in Renaissance dress also held in June. Viareggio celebrates Carnival on Shrove Tuesday with a huge display of flamboyant floats. In May and August Massa Marittima holds the Falcon Contest.  

Gastronomy in Tuscany

Simple country food is at the heart of Tuscan cooking. Regional dishes include Bruschetta (bread or ciabatta toasted and rubbed with garlic, olive oil and salt), Ribollita (bean, cabbage and bread soup), Pasta with hare or wild boar sauce, Porcini mushroom and truffle dishes, Bistecca all Fiorentina (thick cut of sirloin and fillet beef), Cantucci (almond and honey biscuits) served dipped in Vin Santo, Panforte (chocolate, nut and spice cake). Pecorino cheese made from sheep's milk. Local wines include the white Vernaccia di San Gimignano and the Bianco di Pitigliano. Famous reds include Chanti Classico, Brunello di Montalcino and the Vino Nobile di Montepulciano. Vin Santo made from semi-crushed grapes left for several months is an excellent dessert wine.

Florence and Tuscany luxury rail-drive tailormade touring holiday

Highlights of Florence

The markets in Florence are great for browsing for leather bags and shoes, but be prepared to haggle the price, as these markets are now really geared up for tourists and you can end up paying more than you need to. Fiesole can be reach by train or bus and has lovely views of the city. The Boboli gardens are an enchanting place to spend a few lazy hours and can be reached on foot over the other side of the River Arno from the main sites. Hire a car and visit Siena, Lucca, San Gimignano, Chianti, Montepulciano, Perugia and many more fascinating mediaeval towns nearby.

Cultural highlights of Florence

The Duomo, The Battistero, Uffizi Gallery, Accademia Gallery, the mausoleum of the Medici family in the Medici Chapel, Ponte Vecchio, Palazzo Pitti, The Piazza della Signoria.

Festivals in Florence

There are a wide range of fashion shows held in Florence in January, which can make finding hotel availability difficult during the show period. Otherwise, Florence holds any wonderful festivals throughout the year including the Scoppio del Carro or the explosion of the cart on Easter Sunday, which is really a firework display, but the atmosphere is tremendous. Calcio in Costume in June is a fun spectacle and a slightly different take on ‘Calcio’ or football! Alternatively, in September there is the Festa della Rificolana where children carrying candlelit lanterns converge on the Piazza della Santissima Annunziata to celebrate the eve of the birth of the Virgin Mary. The most notable festival in the area however, is of course the Palio in Siena, just south of Florence and easily reachable by train, which takes place in July and August. Early booking is essential.

Gastronomy in Florence

Florence is famous for its food, namely Bistecca alla Fiorentina and many grilled meats and game dishes, but of course it is the centre of the Chianti wine producing region and thereby has access to some of the most prestigious wines from Chianti and the hearty reds of Southern Tuscany. Olive oil is also in abundance here and is used with everything, from cooking to dipping and even tasting!

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