Tailormade tour Venice, Florence and Rome fly-rail tour Italy

9 nights/10 days

Venice • Florence • Rome

The cities of Venice, Florence and Rome hold a unique place in everyone’s heart and mind whether you’ve visited them before or never at all. This touring holiday combines Venice, Florence and Rome with train travel in between, flying into Venice and back from Rome.
Holiday price guide

Available year-round from about £2,420 per person.

Luxury fly-rail tailormade touring holiday to Venice, Florence and Rome

From the magical beauty of Venice, with its bobbing gondolas, Byzantine and Gothic architecture, and winding waterways, you move south to the Renaissance treasures of artistic and cultural Florence at the heart of Tuscany. Then, this touring holiday by train takes you to its grand finale in the Italian capital, Rome, with its outstanding monuments and historical sites that capture the history of Italy and Europe from the Roman Empire to the present day. Our selection of hand-picked hotels mirrors the elegant, artistic, and stylish cities included in your tour, each offering a central location, a charming environment and comfortable accommodation.

Highlights

Venice • Optional gondola ride • Visit the Guggenheim • Take a coffee at Florian’s in St Mark’s Square • Visit St Mark’s Basilica • Florence • Visit the Accademia and David • Visit the Chapel of the Magi frescoed by Benozzo Gozzoli • Visit the Uffizi • Take a trip out to Fiesole • Rome • Visit St Peter’s • Visit the Forum and the Coliseum • Visit the Spanish Steps

Day by day

Upon arrival in Venice you are transferred by private water taxi from the airport to your hotel (to the nearest water taxi stop). You then have two full days in Venice to explore. Venice is comprised of 117 islands and 150 canals, making it something of a maze to navigate, and making it almost impossible to uncover every treasure on one stay. To begin your exploration, we would suggest a gondola ride along the Grand Canal. From the water, you can take in the views of the beautiful palaces that line the canals and decide which direction to explore further on foot. One of the best ways to get a flavour of a city as complex as Venice is to experience the local lifestyle first-hand. To do this, we recommend visiting the Erberia and Pescheria markets, which sit just on one side of the Rialto Bridge. This hustle and bustle of noise and colour will draw you straight into Venetian life, while also giving you an insight into the quality of the local produce. The seafood, in particular, will be at the centre of your culinary experience of Veneto. For a taste of the city’s famous architecture, it is essential to spend time navigating, by foot and by boat, some of its narrowest, most higgledy-piggledy streets. But do not neglect the architectural greats such as the San Giorgio Maggoire, designed by Palladio himself. More of Venice’s artistic heritage can be found in the Chiesi dei Frari, home of the works of Titian and Bellini, as well as the tomb of the neoclassical sculptor, Canova. The work of Il Furioso, or Tintoretto, can be found in the Scuola Grande di San Rocco. The tombs of 25 doges are held in the Basilica dei Santi Giovanni e Paulo. However, arguably the most unmissable experience is the opportunity to witness an 18th century interior modelled on the style of the height of Venetian design, housed in the Ca’ Rezzonico. Pay a visit to one of the most important art museums in Italy, the Guggenheim, housed inside the 18th century Palazzo Venier dei Leoni. Travel further out to the island of Torcello, eerily silent compared to busy Venice, to see the Byzantine Duomo, and the 16th century ghetto. Alternatively, visit the lesser-known island of Burano to see the vibrant colours of the houses.

When planning your train times, it’s important to allow for as much time either still in Venice or for when you arrive in Florence. The train journey is 2 hours and 10 minutes and there are trains every hour. The train journey takes you first through the Parco Regionale dei Colli Euganei, and then on through Bologna, where you may wish to break your journey. As the capital of the Emilia-Romagna, Bologna is rich in important Italian history. Perhaps stop for lunch under the golden-stone colonnades of Piazza Maggiore, or take the climb up the leaning Asinelli Tower. The journey continues south to Florence, the cradle of the Italian Renaissance. Check-in to your centrally located hotel and then explore. Observe the notable works of art in the Uffizi and Bargello museums, as well as the smaller works held in the many churches. Florence’s monastery houses a beautiful collection of Florentine paintings. For the tour de force of Florence’s vast artistic collection, however, pay a visit to the Accademia, where Michelangelo’s original ‘David’ is on display. Though there is plenty within Florence to satisfy the two full days you have here, a short distance out of the city, reached by public bus or taxi, is the hill-top town of Fiesole. In the evening perhaps dine at the double Michelin-starred Enoteca Pinchiorri.

Your train journey this morning is south through southern Tuscany and into Umbria. Pass Orvieto, a small town built on the flat summit of a volcanic butt riddled with the remaining tunnels of an underground civilisation. Enter Latium and arrive in Italy’s capital. Spend your two full days here navigating the historically rich streets of Rome, exploring world-famous landmarks such as the Colosseum, the Pantheon, the Vatican City, the Forum dedicated to various Roman Emperors, the numerous ancient temples, and the atmospheric Roman baths, specifically the Baths of Caracalla. The many wonders of Rome speak for themselves; yet, their situation in amongst such a lively, living, breathing, modern society must be experienced first-hand. For a historical experience less travelled by tourists, visit the Church of San Clemente behind the Colosseum. This small church may not appear much to the eye, but it was built on top of one of the first Christian Basilicas, which was, in turn, built on top of the Temple of Mithras, which dates from the time of Augustus. Exiting the church, a perfectly preserved Roman alleyway exists alongside it. Of course, visit St. Peter’s Basilica, and the Sistine Chapel to see the exquisite paintings of Michelangelo. Inside the Vatican Museums sits an incredible collection of fantastic artistic works, from famous paintings to sculpture. Cross the Tiber on the lovely Bridge of Ponte Sant’Angelo, which will take you to the imposing Castel Sant’Angelo. Later, wander up the Aventine Hill. For something a little off-the-beaten-track, locate the Via Appia Antica, which used to link Rome to Brindisi, and explore the catacombs. The Catacomb of San Callisto is the most rewarding, with its 20km of underground tunnels that stretch out under the bustling city.

Aim to spend as much of your final day in Rome as possible, exploring more squares, gardens or museums or just browsing the designer shops on the Via Condotti and the Via Borgognona, before returning to London.

Holiday price guide From about £2,420 per person based on two people sharing a double or twin room.

Holiday Code ITFR01

Luxury fly-rail tailormade touring holiday to Venice, Florence and Rome

Upon arrival in Venice you are transferred by private water taxi from the airport to your hotel (to the nearest water taxi stop). You then have two full days in Venice to explore. Venice is comprised of 117 islands and 150 canals, making it something of a maze to navigate, and making it almost impossible to uncover every treasure on one stay. To begin your exploration, we would suggest a gondola ride along the Grand Canal. From the water, you can take in the views of the beautiful palaces that line the canals and decide which direction to explore further on foot. One of the best ways to get a flavour of a city as complex as Venice is to experience the local lifestyle first-hand. To do this, we recommend visiting the Erberia and Pescheria markets, which sit just on one side of the Rialto Bridge. This hustle and bustle of noise and colour will draw you straight into Venetian life, while also giving you an insight into the quality of the local produce. The seafood, in particular, will be at the centre of your culinary experience of Veneto. For a taste of the city’s famous architecture, it is essential to spend time navigating, by foot and by boat, some of its narrowest, most higgledy-piggledy streets. But do not neglect the architectural greats such as the San Giorgio Maggoire, designed by Palladio himself. More of Venice’s artistic heritage can be found in the Chiesi dei Frari, home of the works of Titian and Bellini, as well as the tomb of the neoclassical sculptor, Canova. The work of Il Furioso, or Tintoretto, can be found in the Scuola Grande di San Rocco. The tombs of 25 doges are held in the Basilica dei Santi Giovanni e Paulo. However, arguably the most unmissable experience is the opportunity to witness an 18th century interior modelled on the style of the height of Venetian design, housed in the Ca’ Rezzonico. Pay a visit to one of the most important art museums in Italy, the Guggenheim, housed inside the 18th century Palazzo Venier dei Leoni. Travel further out to the island of Torcello, eerily silent compared to busy Venice, to see the Byzantine Duomo, and the 16th century ghetto. Alternatively, visit the lesser-known island of Burano to see the vibrant colours of the houses.

When planning your train times, it’s important to allow for as much time either still in Venice or for when you arrive in Florence. The train journey is 2 hours and 10 minutes and there are trains every hour. The train journey takes you first through the Parco Regionale dei Colli Euganei, and then on through Bologna, where you may wish to break your journey. As the capital of the Emilia-Romagna, Bologna is rich in important Italian history. Perhaps stop for lunch under the golden-stone colonnades of Piazza Maggiore, or take the climb up the leaning Asinelli Tower. The journey continues south to Florence, the cradle of the Italian Renaissance. Check-in to your centrally located hotel and then explore. Observe the notable works of art in the Uffizi and Bargello museums, as well as the smaller works held in the many churches. Florence’s monastery houses a beautiful collection of Florentine paintings. For the tour de force of Florence’s vast artistic collection, however, pay a visit to the Accademia, where Michelangelo’s original ‘David’ is on display. Though there is plenty within Florence to satisfy the two full days you have here, a short distance out of the city, reached by public bus or taxi, is the hill-top town of Fiesole. In the evening perhaps dine at the double Michelin-starred Enoteca Pinchiorri.

Your train journey this morning is south through southern Tuscany and into Umbria. Pass Orvieto, a small town built on the flat summit of a volcanic butt riddled with the remaining tunnels of an underground civilisation. Enter Latium and arrive in Italy’s capital. Spend your two full days here navigating the historically rich streets of Rome, exploring world-famous landmarks such as the Colosseum, the Pantheon, the Vatican City, the Forum dedicated to various Roman Emperors, the numerous ancient temples, and the atmospheric Roman baths, specifically the Baths of Caracalla. The many wonders of Rome speak for themselves; yet, their situation in amongst such a lively, living, breathing, modern society must be experienced first-hand. For a historical experience less travelled by tourists, visit the Church of San Clemente behind the Colosseum. This small church may not appear much to the eye, but it was built on top of one of the first Christian Basilicas, which was, in turn, built on top of the Temple of Mithras, which dates from the time of Augustus. Exiting the church, a perfectly preserved Roman alleyway exists alongside it. Of course, visit St. Peter’s Basilica, and the Sistine Chapel to see the exquisite paintings of Michelangelo. Inside the Vatican Museums sits an incredible collection of fantastic artistic works, from famous paintings to sculpture. Cross the Tiber on the lovely Bridge of Ponte Sant’Angelo, which will take you to the imposing Castel Sant’Angelo. Later, wander up the Aventine Hill. For something a little off-the-beaten-track, locate the Via Appia Antica, which used to link Rome to Brindisi, and explore the catacombs. The Catacomb of San Callisto is the most rewarding, with its 20km of underground tunnels that stretch out under the bustling city.

Aim to spend as much of your final day in Rome as possible, exploring more squares, gardens or museums or just browsing the designer shops on the Via Condotti and the Via Borgognona, before returning to London.

Holiday price guide From about £2,420 per person based on two people sharing a double or twin room.

Holiday Code ITFR01

Our prices include ● Scheduled flight with British Airways from London to Venice, returning from Rome to London
● First class rail travel from Venice to Florence and from Florence to Rome
● Three nights’ bed and breakfast in a Classic room at the Hotel Bisanzio in Venice
● Three nights’ bed and breakfast in a Classic room at the Hotel Helvetia and Bristol in Florence
● Three nights’ bed and breakfast in a Classic room at the Hotel d'Inghilterra in Rome
● Water taxi transfer Venice airport to hotel, hotel to Venice station
● Private car transfer from Rome hotel to Rome airport

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 Florence or from Rome station to Rome hotel (these can be booked at a supplement)

Additional information Travelling times for this touring holiday by train
Venice to Florence about 2 hours
Florence to Rome about 2 hours

Luxury fly-rail tailormade touring 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 fly-rail tailormade touring 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 fly-rail tailormade touring 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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