Tailormade tour Venice, Florence and Rome by train tour Italy

11 nights /12 days

Overnight train Paris to Venice • Overnight train Milan to Paris • Eurostar London to Paris return • Venice • Florence • Rome

This rail holiday to the three great Italian cities of Venice, Florence and Rome transports you by train from London to Venice, in between the three cities and then back to London. Timings allow you to choose arrival and departures from the cities to maximise your stay in each one. We have included three luxurious and traditional 5-star city centre hotels, reflecting the character of each city. We can book opera tickets, entrances and private guides on request.
Holiday price guide

Available year-round subject to the opening period of the hotels, from about £3,090 per person.

Luxury rail tailormade holiday to Venice, Florence and Rome

Highlights

Overnight train Paris to Venice • Overnight train Milan to Paris • Eurostar London to Paris return • Venice • Visit the islands of Murano and Burano • Visit the Guggenheim • Florence • Visit the Chapel of the Magi • Visit the Boboli gardens • Rome • Visit the Forum and the catacombs • Stroll in the gardens of the Villa Borghese

Day by day

You begin your rail touring holiday to Venice, Florence and Rome by travelling out on an afternoon Eurostar service from London St Pancras to Paris Gare du Nord. Following a change of station in Paris continue by Thello sleeper train overnight to Venice. We recommend the two bed sleeper compartments on the Thello train. There is a washbasin in the compartments and shared toilets in each carriage.

The sleeper train arrives at Venice Santa Lucia station at about 09.30 hrs, and then you are met and transferred by private water taxi to your hotel. If you would like us to arrange an early check-in, we can do so for you, but there is usually a charge for it if you want it to be guaranteed. Spend the rest of the day starting your exploration of Venice.

You have two full days in Venice. More than a city, Venice “La Serenissima” is an enchantress. Take the time to discover her winding streets, canals, quiet squares and lively waterfronts. To make the most of your time in Venice, it’s worth dividing the city into areas or themes. The obvious place to start is at St Mark’s Square, best appreciated whilst sipping a Venetian coffee at Florian’s. St Mark’s Basilica, the Doge’s Palace and the Campanile can all be visited. The magnificent churches of Venice are worth seeking out: Santa Maria della Salute, Ss Giovanni e Paolo, and Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari (with works by Titian), Santa Maria dei Miracoli and the Gesuiti. The Jewish quarter can be found just off the Strada Nova to the north of the city and gives you a rare insight into the history of the Jewish community in Venice. There is a clutch of art galleries to be enjoyed including the Ca’ Pesaro, the Ca’ d’Oro, the Galleria dell’Accademia, the Scuola di San Rocco and for modern art, the Peggy Guggenheim Collection. The streets of Venice also contain a treasure trove of tiny artisan shops selling glassware, masks, lace and silk, and shoes. To absorb the magic of Venice from the water, treat yourself to a ride in a gondola. Across the lagoon, and reached by vaporetto, are the islands of Burano, home to lace-making and fishermen, and Murano, where master craftsmen offer demonstrations of glass-making before you enter their shops.

A private water taxi will take you to Venice Santa Lucia station for your train to Florence. We will discuss timings with you as the journey is only about two hours. Once in Florence at Santa Maria Novella station, a private car will transfer you to your hotel. Spend the rest of the day exploring Florence and trying the local cuisine.

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. In addition to the obvious of the Accademia and the Uffizi (a must for the Botticellis), visit the Bargello and the Chapel of the Magi in the Palazzo Medici Riccardi to marvel at the fresco by Benozzo Gozzoil. As well as the Duomo, there are many other, smaller churches of architectural and artistic significance including San Marco, with some fine works by Fra Angelico, Orsanmichele, Santa Maria Novella, Santa Croce and San Lorenzo. On the ‘other’ side of the Arno are the Boboli gardens and well worth a stroll, and you’ll find shay paths and teashops. Florence is home to numerous artisan workshops and handcrafted leather, jewellery and paper goods are available throughout the city. For a panoramic view of the city, its rooftops and the valley of the River Arno, take a bus or taxi to Fiesole, perched on the hill above the city. If you have special interests in Florence, then let us arrange a private guide for you or let us book you seats at the opera or a concert.

We will discuss timings with you as the journey from Florence to Rome is only about two hours, and a private car will take you from your hotel to the station in Florence and meet you at Rome Termini station to take you to your centrally located hotel in Rome.

Rome is the capital city of Italy and as the capital city of the Roman Empire was widely regarded as the birth place of western civilization. The city has a unique atmosphere of any in Italy, due to its huge wealth of sites to see, dating back not just from the Roman era, but from mediaeval and Renaissance periods as well and you could spend a lifetime visiting all the historical and architectural sites the city has to offer. Most visitors come to Rome to see the foundations of the Roman Empire in the form of the Colosseum, The Forum and the Circus Maximus, to name but a few. However, visitors nearly always allow time for a visit to the Vatican Museum and the Basilica of St Peter, even if they choose not to visit any other non-Roman historical sites! The variety of places to visit in Rome can be overwhelming and it is best to plan in advance what you wish to see within the time you have and stick to it, rather than planning whilst you are there. The historic centre is perfectly manageable on foot as it is in fact quite compact although there is an underground system too. Other places worth including in your itinerary of Rome are the Campo de’Fiori food market, the Pantheon and the Piazza Navona, home to Bernini’s Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi. Afternoon tea is worth taking in the Caffe delle Arti inside the Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna, with a shady terrace in fine weather.

You have the majority of your last day at leisure in Rome before the private car collects you to take you to the train station for a train to Milan. Perhaps allow time to break the journey for dinner in Milan before you board the sleeper that leaves Milan at about 23.00 hrs for Paris.

You arrive into Paris Lyon at about 9.30am, and after changing stations you then take the Eurostar back to London where you arrive at lunchtime.

Holiday price guide Price from £3,090 per person based on two people sharing a double room including second class rail travel. Supplement for Luxury hotel option £530 per person. Supplement £280 per person for first class rail travel.

Holiday Code ITBR04

Luxury rail tailormade holiday to Venice, Florence and Rome

Holiday price guide Price from £3,090 per person based on two people sharing a double room including second class rail travel. Supplement for Luxury hotel option £530 per person. Supplement £280 per person for first class rail travel.

Holiday Code ITBR04

Our prices include ● Second-class travel on all trains, with standard class on Eurostar (first and standard premier can be booked at a supplement)
● Double sleeper compartment on Thello sleeper train Paris to Milan, Milan to Paris overnight each way
● Private return water taxi transfers from Venice Santa Lucia station to the hotel
● Private return car transfers from Florence Santa Maria Novella station to the hotel
● Private return car transfers from Rome Termini station to the hotel
● 3 nights’ bed and breakfast in a Classic room at the Hotel Bisanzio in Venice
● 3 nights’ bed and breakfast in a Classic room at the Hotel Brunelleschi in Florence
● 3 nights’ bed and breakfast in a Classic room at the Hotel Mascagni in Rome
● 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

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

Holiday price guide Price from £3,090 per person based on two people sharing a double room including second class rail travel. Supplement for Luxury hotel option £530 per person. Supplement £280 per person for first class rail travel.

Holiday Code ITBR04

Luxury rail tailormade holiday to Venice, Florence and Rome

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!

Luxury rail tailormade holiday to Venice, Florence and Rome

Highlights of Rome

If the monuments, museums and historical sites become too overwhelming then Rome is also the perfect place for a spot of retail therapy, particularly shoes and clothes. The Apian way just outside the city is where a large proportion of the Roman catacombs are, as well as the baths of Caracalla. There are also numerous famous gardens in and around Rome namely the Borghese Gardens, The Gardens of Villa Doria Pamphili, Villa Torlonia, Villa Ada and the Park of Aqueducts.

Cultural highlights of Rome

The Colosseum, The Forum, The Pantheon, Circus Maximus, Domus Aurea, Trajan’s Market, The Vatican Museum, The Basilica of St Peter, The Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore, Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps, The Capitoline Museum, The Borghese Gallery.

Festivals in Rome

The Estate Romana is a festival which lasts throughout the summer months and encompasses many cultural activities including concerts and street performances. The Noantri Festival is at the beginning of July and has its roots in early Christianity. The statue of the Vergine del Carmine is carried through the streets of the Trastevere district of Rome and there is much feasting and merriment. There are numerous arts and antiques fairs which take place in the autumn in Rome and the city attracts a wide range of musicians and art collections throughout the year.

Gastronomy in Rome

The gastronomy of Rome is hearty but simple, based on numerous ways of cooking fresh vegetables, particularly artichokes and courgettes (zucchini), salt cod, hearty soups and meat sauces and various pasta shapes and tomato sauces, particularly using garlic and chilli. The most famous wines of the area are the Frascati wines, however the area to the south also produces excellent Cesanese wines.

Luxury rail tailormade holiday to Venice, Florence and Rome

Cultural highlights of Venice

St Mark’s Square, Doge’s Palace, Bridge of Sighs, The Grand Canal, Accademia, Museo Correr, Rialto Bridge, La Fenice theatre, The Church of the Redentore, The Church of Santa Maria della Salute.

Festivals in Venice

Venice’s most famous festival is the Carnevale in February, the actual dates of Carnevale vary from year to year, but it generally spans three to four weeks ending on Shrove Tuesday. Costumed and masked people parade around the streets of Venice and there are numerous private parties and dances, but the atmosphere on the final night of Carnevale itself is electric. Alternatively, there is the Regata Storica on the first Sunday in September, when boats and gondolas race against each other along the Grand Canal, or the Feast of the Redentore in mid-July to celebrate the end of the plague in the 16th century. A makeshift bridge is constructed to link the Giudecca island with the Dorsodouro island and there is a huge firework display.

Gastronomy in Venice

Venetian food is naturally fish and sea food orientated and popular dishes include the sweet and sour ‘sardee in saor’ or sardine salad, cuttlefish risotto with its black ink and ‘caparossoi a scota deo’, which are large clams cooked with lemon and pepper. Liver is also popular as are several sweet fried delicacies or ‘fritole’, popular particularly around festival time. This area is famous for its Prosecco and is the home of the ‘Bellini’ cocktail.

Travel around Venice

Gondola rides are always popular, but are expensive. The vaporetto and motoscafo services are good and will take you from A to B and are essential to reach the islands of Murano, Burano and Torcello in the lagoon unless you hire a private water taxi. The services can be disrupted at high tide or ‘Aqua Alta’, which usually occurs in the autumn, or if the lagoon is particularly choppy. To cross the Grand Canal the precarious ‘traghetti’ are like large Gondolas, but you are expected to stand up in order for the maximum number of passengers to board, so it is an art, as well as an experience to remember!

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