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Venice, Italy

Italy by Rail

15-day luxury rail journey from £1,730 pp incl. flights


Short description

The romance of Italy, matched by the most romantic means of travel


  • Link Italy’s city greats with included First Class rail travel
  • Travel in style with private transfers and stays in historic hotels
  • Bring each stop to life with included private walking tours
  • Punt through Venice’s canals on a gondola
  • Enjoy front-of-line entry to the Uffizi, Italy’s greatest art gallery

In Brief

  • 1 Night Turin
  • 1 Night Genoa
  • 1 Night Milano
  • 1 Night Verona
  • 2 Nights Venice
  • 1 Night Bologna
  • 2 Nights Florence
  • 1 Night Siena
  • 2 Nights Rome
  • 2 Nights Naples


Recommended for:
City | Food & wine | History & culture | Rail journey

From the Savoy palaces of Turin and Leonardo's Last Supper to the dubious drinking dens of Genoa and the pleasure palaces of Rome, the Grand Tour is part scholar's pilgrimage and part rite of passage. Offering a chance to view some of the world's greatest masterpieces and hear Vivaldi played on 18th century cellos, the trip is filled with the sights, sounds and tastes that have shaped European society for centuries, and all linked together by one of Italy's modern masterpieces - its railways.

Day by day itinerary

Day 1

Begin your trip with airport lounge access before your flight to Turin. Your hotel located in the heart of Risorgimento Turin, just off the Piazza San Carlo, take time to explore Turin and its extravagant architecture created by the Savoy princes, like the Medicis in Florence and Borghese in Rome, visit the Palazzo Reale designed by the landscaper of the Versailles gardens in Paris

Stay: Grand Hotel Sitea, Turin (Deluxe)

Meals: B

Day 2
Turin to Genoa

On arrival, enjoy a private transfer to your hotel, the Grand Hotel Savoia. This opulent 19th-century building is just moments from Genoa's historic downtown – or perhaps choose to relax in the fabulous spa before a pre-dinner drink on the rooftop terrace. It's the perfect prelude to a gourmet meal in the stunning al-fresco restaurant where you can indulge in everything from ultra-fresh seafood to traditional Italian fare.

Stay: Grand Hotel Savoia, Genoa (Deluxe)

Meals: B

Day 3
Genoa 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.

Meals: B

Day 4
Milan to Verona

Today, you’ll get your bearings with a walking tour, ambling along twisting laneways to stop at pretty piazzas. The Verona Arena is a special highlight. An astonishingly well-preserved Roman amphitheatre, it dates back to the 1st century and is still used as an opera venue to this day. There are plenty more Roman ruins to take in as well, along with a full spread of medieval churches and bridges. Of course, no trip to Verona would be complete with a visit to Juliet’s balcony.

Stay: NH Collection Palazzo Verona (Deluxe)

Meals: B

Day 5
Verona to 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: Ca’Sagredo, Venice (Deluxe)

Meals: B

Day 6

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: Ca’Sagredo, Venice (Deluxe)

Meals: B

Day 7
Venice to Bologna

Today you'll head out on two city tours of Bologna, perhaps most famous, though, are Bologna’s food markets, from Via Rizzoli’s cheese to Osteria del Sole's excellent wines, you will enjoy a food tour and tastings. In the afternoon a city tour will unveil medieval colonnades, theatres, and endless porticoes. Head to the Towers of Bologna, indulge at the cafes of the Piazza Maggiore, and explore the Gothic church and Neptune’s famous fountain. Then, return for an evening of culinary delights; we particularly like Trattoria Anna Maria for home-made pastas and Ristorante Pappagallo for creative takes on classic Italian dishes.

Stay: Hotel Corona d'Oro, Bologna (Deluxe)

Meals: B

Day 8
Bologna to 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.

Stay: Hotel Lungarno, Florence (Deluxe)

Meals: B

Day 9

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.

Stay: Hotel Lungarno, Florence (Deluxe)

Meals: B

Day 10
Florence to Siena

Today has been left free for you to explore the historic medieval city of Siena, which has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage site hosting such architectural treasures as the Piazza del Campo and the Siena Cathedral. Siena also has a rich tradition of arts and artists and many well known Renaissance pieces still remain in galleries or churches in Siena.

Stay: NH Hotel Siena (Superior)

Meals: B

Day 11
Siena to 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: Baglioni Hotel Regina, Rome (Deluxe)

Meals: B

Day 12

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: Baglioni Hotel Regina, Rome (Deluxe)

Meals: B

Day 13
Rome to 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, Naples (Superior)

Meals: B

Day 14

Skirting the base of Mt. Vesuvio, a private driver will see you to Pompeii. Famously buried underneath its volcanic neighbour’s 79 AD outburst, a walking tour will bring its stunningly preserved cobbled streets and ancient residences to life; it's the Roman Empire's premier archaeological site. Here, still-standing columns evidence ancient forums and entire 2nd century BC villas are dotted with mosaic tiles, a nod to the city’s impressive riches. 

Stay: Grand Hotel Santa Lucia, Naples (Superior)

Meals: B

Day 15

After breakfast, a final private transfer will see you to the airport for your flight home.

Meals: B



Any element of this itinerary can be adjusted to suit your needs. Just contact us to find out more.

Accommodation rating: Superior Deluxe

15-day luxury rail journey from £1,730 pp incl. flights

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