Italian Explorer 2020

Overview

Explore the heart of classical Italy, discover the ancient imperial relics of Rome, the wealth of artistic treasures of Florence and the striking Leaning Tower of Pisa, as well as the Floating City of Venice.

What's Included:

  • Fully escorted by a UK Tour Manager from start to finish
  • Exclusive meeting point at our St Pancras Departure Office
  • All rail and coach travel throughout your tour
  • 10 nights' hotel accommodation with breakfast each day
  • 5 dinners including 2 at local restaurants in Venice and Florence
  • Guided walking tour of Rome with a local guide
  • City tour of Florence with a local guide
  • Excursion to Pisa and Lucca, with free time to explore in both cities
  • Sightseeing tour of Venice with a local guide

Full Itinerary

Day 1 & 2: To Rome

Depart by Eurostar to Paris and join the onward train to Mulhouse where you stay for one night. On Day 2 continue to Rome. Includes: Day 1 - Dinner & Day 2 - Breakfast, Dinner

Day 3: Sightseeing in Rome

Discover the wonders of ancient Rome on a guided walking tour, starting at the mighty Colosseum. Truly one of the icons of the ancient and modern world, the Roman Colosseum is one of the jewels in the crown of Italy's vast array of famous monuments. Just as popular today as it ever was in antiquity, the magnificent structure is an incredible sight to see up close, and still contains original pathways, corridors and entrance ways used by gladiators to enter the arena. Continue to the Roman Forum, a former civic centre of Roman public life which is now one of the focal points of Roman tourism. You also see the masterful Trevi Fountain, a favourite among tourists and Romans alike. Your tour ends at Piazza Navonna, and you spend the rest of the day at leisure. Includes: Breakfast

Day 4: Rome at Leisure

Make the most of a free day to continue exploring the city. Perhaps visit the Pantheon, the world's largest reinforced concrete dome, which still holds this title even 2,000 years after it was built. A temple to ancient gods, the Pantheon is utterly stunning to behold thanks to its remarkable central dome, geometrically-patterned marble floor and vast portico built from stone quarried in Egypt. Alternatively, you could visit Vatican City, the smallest recognised independent state in the world and the seat of the Pope. Breathe in magnificent St Paul's Square and admire the basilica - the magnum opus of Renaissance architecture and one of the largest churches in the world. You may also like to visit the Sistine Chapel, home to Michelangelo's world-famous fresco. The Borgia apartments are also a highlight of any visit to the Vatican. Designed for Pope Alexander VI, the rooms are exquisitely decorated and fascinating to stroll through. Includes: Breakfast

Day 5 & 6: Florence and Montecatini Terme

Travel by high-speed train to Florence. Its stunning narrow streets and squares, including the Piazza della Signoria - the people-watching centre of Florence - are only part of the city's charm. Venture indoors and you will find one fifth of the world's Renaissance art, which is kept and displayed is museums, galleries and churches around the city. Here you enjoy a guided walking tour of the city's main sights, including the 14th-century Ponte Vecchio Bridge, and the magnificent Duomo with its distinctive red-tiled dome. Later, transfer to picturesque Montecatini Terme and check into your hotel for 3 nights. On Day 6, explore this elegant Tuscan spa town famous for its natural spa waters at leisure. Tourists flock to Montecatini Terme to visit these thermal baths that offer a range of spa treatments - massages, mud baths, saunas, and beauty treatments. There are 9 thermal centres in the extensive thermal park. The architecture of the spas are open-air Art Nouveau style. On a hill atop the town is the medieval village of Montecatini Alto. It is accessible by funicular railway which has been operating since the end of 19th century. Includes: Day 5 - Breakfast, Dinner & Day 6 - Breakfast

Day 7: Pisa and Lucca

Today's full-day excursion by rail heads firstly to Pisa. Here stands the world famous Leaning Tower, which began to lean as soon as it was built and was used by Galileo to study gravity. You can also see the marvellous white marble Duomo. The cathedral is a superb example of Romanesque architecture, often overlooked by tourists who flock to see the tower. This afternoon, continue to the delightful walled city of Lucca, where you can discover a range of ancient ruins and pretty medieval buildings. Within its impressive city walls, Lucca's narrow cobbled streets and handsome tree-lined avenues lead to a succession of historic buildings dating from all periods since the city's origins as a Roman colony, around 180 BC. Includes: Breakfast

Day 8: By rail to Venice

Travel by high-speed train to Venice today, and check in to the 3-Star Hotel Belle Epoque in Venice for two nights. Later, enjoy a tour of the floating city's sights including St Mark's Square and the Basilica. Includes: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 9: At Leisure

You are at leisure to explore the magic of the Floating City of Venice today. Perhaps take a gondola ride along the aptly named Grand Canal, the main artery of crystal blue that runs through the heart of this refined city. Sit in awe as your gondola bobs up and down from the wake of passing speed boats and you pass under the fabulous Rialto Bridge, a stunning 16th century construction. Alternatively, you might enjoy a stroll around the grand city, where local bars and restaurants offer delicious 'cicchetti', a Venetian form of tapas featuring fresh seafood, perfect to be enjoyed with a bubbly glass of Prosecco. Includes: Breakfast

Day 10 & 11: To Turin and Home

Today you travel by high speed rail to Turin, for an overnight stay. On Day 11 you bid a fond farewell to the glories of Italy, beginning your journey home by high-speed TGV to Paris then returning to the UK by Eurostar, where your tour concludes on arrival. Includes: Day 10 - Breakfast, Dinner & Day 11 - Breakfast

Hand Picked By

Heather Muir

For a holiday where the journey is part of the experience, I thoroughly recommend a holiday by rail. From the iconic worldwide railways, to perhaps the lesser known ones, these holidays are beginning to prove more popular than ever.

Heather Muir

Additional Information

  • Date: Various departure dates in June 2020, September 2020 & October 2020
  • Board Basis: Mixed meal plan
  • Duration: 10 nights
  • Departure Airport: St Pancras International
  • Guide Price: From £1,749pp
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