Days 1-2 – To Rome
Meet at our St Pancras Departure Office for the Eurostar to
Paris, continuing to Lyon where we overnight. On Day
2, we journey to Milan, changing trains for Rome (Standard
Class). Known as the ‘Eternal City’, Rome is an endless treasure
trove of historic, cultural and artistic delights. We check into
our hotel for 3 nights, the 4-Star Hotel Massimo d’Azeglio, in the
heart of the city.
Day 3 – Exploring Rome
Enjoy a guided tour of Rome today, which introduces us to its
most revered sights. See the Colosseum, the largest amphitheatre
ever built in the Roman Empire, the Roman Forum, the centre of
Roman public life for centuries, and Trevi Fountain, a world-famous
Baroque masterpiece. Pause en-route for ice cream at charming
Giolitti, the oldest gelateria in the city, which dates back to the
late 1800s. Purportedly a favourite of Pope John Paul II, Giolittai
is also famous as the ice cream parlour which Audrey Hepburn and
Gregory Peck visit in the 1953 film ‘Roman Holiday’. The rest of
your day is at leisure in Rome.
Day 4 – Hidden Rome
We venture off the beaten track today to see some of Rome’s
lesser known gems. First, discover the whimsical architecture of
the Quartiere Copped district, an unexpected delight tucked away
from Rome’s more famous streets. A combination of historic
architectural styles compete for attention here, and the dizzying
blend of Baroque, ancient Greek, Art Nouveau and medieval
structures give the neighbourhood a magical, otherworldly quality.
Continue to the Basilica of Santo Stefano Rotondo, Hungary’s
‘national church’ in Rome, dedicated to both Christian martyr St
Stephen, and Stephen I, the first king of Hungary. This is one of
Rome’s most unique churches; dramatic frescoes line the circular
walls of the interior, each depicting the death of a different
martyr, which lends an eerie effect to the undoubtedly beautiful
structure. Our final visit is to bohemian Trastevere, an authentic
Roman neighbourhood known for its incredible food, which we sample
during lunch at a local restaurant.
This afternoon is free. Perhaps visit the Vatican City? The tiny
principality includes captivating museums and the famous Sistine
Chapel, with superb frescoes painted by Renaissance artists
including Michelangelo and Botticelli.
Day 5 – Discover Florence
Today we travel by rail to the beautiful city of Florence, the
Renaissance capital of the world, where we spend 3 nights. This
afternoon, enjoy a guided tour of the city’s treasures, including
the Duomo with its iconic red-tiled dome and the Ponte Vecchio a
14th-century bridge that is home to 43 jewellers’ shops. Tonight,
enjoy dinner at a local restaurant.
Day 6 – Florence at leisure
Today you are free to explore Florence under your own steam.
Much of the beauty of the city is found indoors, with a fifth of
the world’s Renaissance art on display in Florence, including 1,700
masterpieces in the famous Uffizi Gallery. Known as ‘the heart of
the Renaissance’, this world famous gallery features art by
Botticelli, Giotto, Cimabue, Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and
Raffaello, to name some of the most famous. Otherwise, the Giardino
Bardini, or ‘Bardini Gardens’ have a typical Tuscan feel, and are a
pleasure to visit.
Day 7 – Pisa and Lucca
Today we travel by rail (Standard Class) across the wonderful,
rustic countryside of Tuscany, where rolling vine-covered hillsides
stretch as far as the eye can see and acres of olive groves and row
upon row of cypress, walnut and bay trees surround the railway
lines. We pass remote farmhouses and isolated villages as we head
to Pisa, the city famous for its leaning tower. In Pisa we enjoy a
guided tour that includes the city’s incredible Field of Miracles.
Here we see the iconic Leaning Tower, and the marvellous white
marble Duomo, one of the finest examples of Romanesque
architecture, with sublime Moorish mosaics.
Later we continue to the beautiful city of Lucca – a place of
true beauty that has managed to escape the tourist crowds; one of
Italy’s best kept secrets. The heart of the city is filled with
charming piazzas, small community churches and fabulous art
galleries, linked together by narrow cobbled streets and intricate
passageways, and we have time to explore the city at leisure.
Splendid Renaissance architecture mingles with historic buildings
from the Middle Ages, making the city a pleasure to explore on
Days 8-10 – Venice
This morning we leave Florence by high-speed rail, travelling in
Standard Class to the floating city of Venice. On arrival, we
transfer to our hotel for three nights, the Hyatt
Centric Murano Venice Hotel on the island of Murano. There
is time for you to start your exploration before dinner
On Day 9 we enjoy a guided tour in the
heart of Venice, beginning in St Mark’s Square, which is dominated
by the magnificent Basilica di San Marco and the venerable Palazzo
Ducale, or Doge’s Palace. This afternoon you are free to soak up
the atmosphere of this romantic city. For a bird’s eye view of the
city, take the opportunity to climb the Campanile de San Marco,
which offers incredible vistas over the buildings clustered around
the centre and the shimmering lagoons further out.
On Day 10 you are at leisure to further
soak up the atmosphere of this romantic city. For a bird’s eye view
of the city, take the opportunity to climb the Campanile de San
Marco, which offers incredible vistas over the buildings clustered
around the centre and the shimmering lagoons further out. Or, you
could choose to take an enchanting gondola ride through Venice’s
iconic labyrinth of waterways. On the evening of Day 10 we head
into the heart of Venice for a farewell meal in a splendid Venetian
palace – a truly remarkable end to our adventures in Italy.
Days 11-12 – To Turin and London
We leave Venice, travelling by rail to Turin. On Day
12, continue to Paris by rail, where we join the Eurostar