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 £4,165 per person.

Luxury rail tailormade holiday to Venice, Florence and Rome

This 11-night holiday by train to the iconic Italian cities of Venice, Florence and Rome transports you by overnight sleeper train from Paris to Venice where you spend three nights. Venice, la Serenissima, captivates and enchants with its gentle rhythm created by the lapping waters of the canals, its antiquated architecture and magnificent churches. You continue your journey by train to Florence, just two hours’ away, where you again have three nights. Florence is both a mediaeval and a vibrant city, flourishing in artisan trades as well as mighty works of art. Rome, the ancient capital of Italy, is your next destination and just two hours by train. From your centrally-located hotel it is easy to explore both the ancient and Baroque wonders of this city steeped in character, style and charm. At the end of your stay in Rome you return by train to Milan to board the Thello sleeper train back to Paris, and on by Eurostar to London. There are various alternative travel options, depending on the time you have available and your budget. One option is to travel to Paris by Eurostar and to spend the night in Paris, before taking a day-time train the next morning to Venice with a change in Turin or Milan. It does mean a late arrival in Venice but involves a scenic day-time train journey across France, the Alps and northern Italy. A second option is to break the journey from Paris to Venice in Switzerland, perhaps in Lausanne on Lake Geneva or in Zurich. If you stay overnight in either of these cities you can be in Venice by early evening, with a change of trains in Milan. The third option is to stop in Switzerland on the way back from Rome to London. Many other possible combinations exist. Speak to our travel consultants who will be able to advise on all options. The highlights below include our suggestions for optional visits as well as places included in the itinerary.

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 £4,165 per person based on two people sharing a double room including second class rail travel. Supplement about £250 per person for first class rail travel.

Holiday Code ITBR04

Luxury rail tailormade holiday to Venice, Florence and Rome

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 £4,165 per person based on two people sharing a double room including second class rail travel. Supplement about £250 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 Ca'Sagredo in Venice
● 3 nights’ bed and breakfast in a Double room at the Hotel Helvetia and Bristol in Florence
● 3 nights’ bed and breakfast in a Superior room at the Hotel Inghilterra 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

Luxury rail tailormade holiday to Venice, Florence and Rome

About Florence

An Expressions tailor-made holiday to Florence is one of the ‘must see’ places of all art lovers. Florence is the centre of the Renaissance movement and the Uffizi Gallery houses a phenomenal collection of painting from this era, as does the Accademia, home to Michelangelo’s statue of David. However, it is the atmosphere of the city which is overwhelmingly Renaissance as everywhere you turn there is yet another reminder of the period either artistic or architectural and this creates a superb museum like ambience to the historic centre. All the sites are easily reached on foot from the Ponte Vecchio to the Church of Santa Maria Novella, to the Accademia, to the Duomo and it is by visiting on foot that you can soak up the amazing atmosphere of the city.

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

About Rome

An Expressions tailor-made holiday to Rome is a trip to the capital city of Italy and, as the capital city of the Roman Empire, a place which was widely regarded as the birth place of western civilisation. 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 Romanum 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 over whelming 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. However, there is a comprehensive metro system that runs around the historic centre, rather than through it (for obvious reasons), with its intersection at the main Rome Termini station. The two lines of the metro are easy to navigate and can be a swift and inexpensive way of reaching monuments or museums which are further away from each other.

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

About Venice

An Expressions tailor-made holiday to Venice is the chance to visit an enchanting and historical city. Venice, or ‘La Serenissima’ as it has been known for centuries, is truly unique and must be visited at least once in a lifetime. It is essentially a floating museum and was the main centre of trade for the north of Italy from the 13th century right through until the 17th century. The Venetian Republic was one of the richest in Europe and was presided over by the Doge who was elected by the Council of Ten, or the most powerful members of the governing families. The art and architecture that can be seen throughout the city is really a tribute to centuries of patronage and wealth. The Venetian lagoon also has numerous other islands, inhabited and uninhabited which used to grow crops and produce to feed Venice itself and which also used to house some of the cities’ industries such as glass making and lace making.

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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