Day 1- 5
Enjoy the pleasures of slow travel by starting your journey early at civilised train station King’s Cross St Pancras. In a couple of hours, you’ll be in Paris before crossing the city and boarding your train to Venice. Arrive in the evening at Venice Santa Lucia train station, where we will arrange a private water taxi to your hotel. The next four nights will see you getting under the skin of this beautiful city, seeing the sights but also getting off the well-worn track. We recommend stepping down intriguing side streets and wandering away from the main canals.
Of course, you will want to see the Venice’s gorgeous highlights too – like the Rialto Bridge and Bridge of Sighs plus St Mark’s Square with Doge’s Palace. When it comes to mealtimes, simply walk away from the crowds to discover simple trattorias offering delicious regional fare. Art aficionados should visit the Peggy Guggenheim Museum – also remember that unlike many other Italian cities, much of Venice’s art is still in its churches so visiting some of these such as Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari with Titian’s Assumption and sculptures by Bellini and Donatello, is a delight. Consider taking a vaporetto ride over to the Lido and hiring a bicycle or visiting the beach. Alternatively, visit the island of Murano and learn about the island’s thousand-year-old tradition of glassblowing.
Today you will take the train to Florence, travelling west from Venice passing through Padua before dropping south past Bologna. The train journey is just two hours, and you’ll arrive in Florence feeling relaxed and ready to explore your next Italian city. With four nights in Florence, you’ll have plenty of time to get to know this surprisingly compact city, finding perfect places for morning cappuccino, afternoon aperitivo and the ideal selfie spot. You’ll savour the city’s beautiful Romanesque and Renaissance buildings in the Piazza della Signoria, and despite the tourists you won’t fail to be impressed by the huge gothic cathedral and Ponte Vecchio. On a warm day, the Boboli Gardens of the Palazzo Pitti offer respite from the crowds as well as wonderful views over the city.
To help with crowds and queues, let us book advance tickets for you at the Uffizi and Accademia galleries. You won’t want to miss the Uffizi’s gems including Italy’s most celebrated artists from Giotto to Caravaggio while the Accademia is home to Michelangelo’s sculpture of David along with many other important sculptures and paintings. There are many smaller galleries and churches housing impressive artworks such as the church of Santa Maria del Carmine which contains notable 15th century frescoes by Masaccio.
Splendours of Rome
Onwards to Rome! You’ll enjoy another relaxed few hours onboard the train as you journey south from Florence to Rome speeding through the scenic Italian countryside of Tuscany. With four nights here in Rome, you will get to grips with this fascinating city whose history dates back more than two and a half thousand years. For your first day, why not let us organise a guided tour, so you can hear first-hand the history of the ancient sites. Explore the Forum and the Colosseum, as well as the Vatican City, Piazza Navona, the Trevi Fountain and Spanish Steps.
Once you’ve got your bearings you can start to enjoy Rome like a local, stopping for espresso at the bar or lingering in beautiful piazzas, watching daily life go by. Piazza Navona has the impressive Bernini Baroque Fountain of the Four Rivers and lively Campo dei Fiori has a packed daily market. Of course, art plays a large part to any visit to Florence – admire impressive art works by Raphael and Michelangelo at the Vatican, and enjoy visiting the Borghese Gallery which features important works by Bernini and Caravaggio among others. Enjoy your last day before you board your sleeper train back to Paris, Gare de Lyon, and before you know it, your Eurostar from Gare du Nord will whisk you back to King Cross, London.
No-Fly Italy A Rail of Three Cities
Sit back and enjoy the ride with cultural stops in Venice, Florence and Rome.
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