Tuscany & Venice
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From Montecatini, explore the incredible countryside and rich artistic legacy of Tuscany. Take in its muchloved cities and hidden treasures before heading to the iconic, timeless floating City of Venice.
Meet your Tour Manager at Rail Discoveries' dedicated Departure Office in London St Pancras before heading off on the Eurostar to Paris. On arrival, continue by high-speed TGV to Chambéry for the night. Travel to Turin on Day 2. Here you change trains for Florence, before a short coach journey to Montecatini for four nights at the 4* Hotel Francia e Quirinale.
Return to Florence for a guided walking tour. The birthplace of the Renaissance, Florence nestles in a valley surrounded by hills and is split neatly into north and south by the River Arno.
During the tour, see the vast Duomo with its distinctive orange-tiled dome, a landmark of the city, and the unique Ponte Vecchio Bridge, the emblematic symbol of the city. Thanks to a royal decree in 1598, the bridge is now home exclusively to 43 glittering jewellery shops.
You are then free to explore the Tuscan capital at leisure. A popular option is the Uffizi Gallery. This world-famous art museum contains many original Renaissance masterpieces by artists including Botticelli, Giotto, Titian, Caravaggio, Michelangelo, da Vinci and Raffaello.
You have the chance to discover the pretty town of Montecatini today. Perhaps take the funicular railway to Montecatini Alto. The oldest part of the town is situated a few hundred metres above the 'newer' town below, and from here you can admire superb views across the rolling hills of the Tuscan countryside. You can also admire the pretty, centuries-old townhouses. Otherwise, the 18th century Tettuccio Terme spa is well worth a visit.
Today's excursion is by rail to Lucca, Tuscany's hidden gem, a truly wonderful place that has managed to escape the tourist crowds. This walled city encloses fabulous Roman and medieval buildings; during free time here you can explore its intricate network of narrow cobbled streets, or get a different view by strolling along the ancient ramparts.
Later, continue to Pisa. Here you take a guided tour of the delightful Old Town and the attractive Field of Miracles, where you can see some fantastic examples of Romanesque architecture, such as the ornate white marble Duomo and Baptistry, along with buildings of a more Gothic or Renaissance style. The city's most famous attraction is of course the world renowned Leaning Tower, and there is plenty of time to enjoy this architectural anomaly on your tour.
Take a short coach transfer to Florence station where you catch the high speed train to Venice, the marvellous floating city of shimmering waterways, elaborate bridges and ornate palaces. The city is set in a unique lagoon - an incredible environment that enjoys UNESCO World Heritage status.
After checking into your hotel, the Hotel Belle Arti, enjoy a walking tour of Venice this afternoon. From St Mark's Square, undoubtedly one of the world's most beautiful open spaces, the tour takes you around the narrow winding streets, and small squares to visit some of Venice's main sights. During the tour you will learn all about this city's rich history from your informed local guide.
Enjoy a full day at leisure to explore iconic Venice; with so much to see in this unique city you are spoilt for choice. Perhaps take the opportunity to climb the Campanile di San Marco, which offers incredible bird's eye vistas over the buildings clustered around the centre and the shimmering lagoons further out. Otherwise, you could take an enchanting gondola ride on the famous network of canals, or explore using Venice's water-bound public transport network - the vaporetti.
Should you wish to venture a little further afield, perhaps cross the lagoon to discover the smaller inhabited islands. Murano, which is famous for its skilfully produced glass, is well worth a visit, as is Burano - characterised by its famous pastel painted houses which line the canal.
Leave Venice and travel by high-speed rail to charming Turin, one of northern Italy's lesserknown highlights. Turin is known for its array of coffee shops, Renaissance cathedral, and the world-famous Fiat factory with a race track on the roof. The city is also famed for its chocolate. Often referred to as the 'European capital of chocolate', Turin is the perfect place to indulge your sweet tooth with a visit to one of the many chocolatiers or artisan chocolate makers. Be sure to try 'gianduiotto', a delicious velvety chocolate made with Piedmont hazelnuts. You spend tonight in the city.
From Turin, take the high-speed rail service to Paris for the journey back to London, where your tour concludes.
Provisional departure and return times, where available, can be found together with dates and prices by clicking on the 'Prices & Availability' button. We will write to you around 10 weeks before your departure date with the precise meeting times for your tour group.
Enhancing your tour
Please note: This tour may be suitable for reduced mobility passengers, please call for further information.
A spectacular tour featuring Italy's most romantic cities