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Italian Explorer

(23 reviews)

Discover the historic beauty of Italy

11 days From £1,799 per person

2020 Tour code: 20ITS

About the tour

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


Days 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.

Please Note: For departure 20ITS01 you will overnight in Strasbourg

  • Day 1 - Dinner
  • Day 2 - Breakfast, Dinner
Trevi Fountain, Rome
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.

  • Breakfast
Rome Colosseum
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.

  • Breakfast
Rome at Leisure
Days 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.

  • Day 5 - Breakfast, Dinner
  • Day 6 - Breakfast
Florence Ponte Vecchio
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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Breakfast
Venice Gondolas
Days 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.

Please Note: For departures 20ITS02 & 20ITS03 you will overnight in Strasbourg

  • Day 10 - Breakfast, Dinner
  • Day 11 - Breakfast

Additional information

Please note

Please note that while every departure of this tour features the same excursions, they may not necessarily be in the order listed above.

Departure times

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.

Mobility information

Due to the nature of our tours they are generally unsuitable for those with restricted mobility. If you’d like to discuss any particular holiday with us in this respect, then please don’t hesitate to call us.


Grand Hotel Francia & Quirinale, Montecatini Terme

Grand Hotel Francia & Quirinale, Montecatini Terme

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The Guardian hotel, Rome

The Guardian hotel, Rome

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96% of travellers would recommend this tour

Based on 23 verified reviews

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Miss J Walker

Submitted 18/10/2018

The holiday overall with the scenery was lovely . Although the journey from one place to another was long at times and the days long in travelling the scenery made up to it but I do think it could be explained more in the brouchures.


Submitted 28/09/2018

Wonderful locations, friendly group, great weather and excellent train journeys.

Mrs S Evans

Submitted 27/09/2018

The journey to Rome was extremely long and when we arrived at around 9.30pm there should have been a bus to take us to the hotel. The bus was not there and Steve, the tour manager, could not get hold of them, so he suggested that those who were up to it, walk with him to the hotel and those who couldn’t manage it take a taxi. By the time we got to the hotel it was gone 10. Steve then rang the restaurant where we were meant to eat and they had changed location. He arranged for the Smooth Hotel to give us a meal. This was one course and limited choice, but much appreciated as by the time we checked in and were served it was around 10.45pm. After such a long day, I feel our meal should have been arranged for the Snooth Hotel anyway, as we had been travelling since early morning and were all exhausted and would have been regardless of delays etc. The hotel in Venice was way below expectations. The rooms were in dire need of updating. So much so that I was reluctant to spend any time in it. The breakfast was the worst by far we’d had anywhere.


Submitted 08/06/2018

Thoroughly enjoyable. The trains were clean, comfortable and on time! (Network Rail eat your heart out!). The biggest headache was getting through customs at St Pancras! The hotels were all different but each had its own charm and rooms were clean, comfortable if at times a little small. The two overnight stops were a bonus.

Sukiefrom Rail Discoveries
Thank you for your kind comments, we're so glad you enjoyed your holiday to Italy. (We also think the British transport system could learn a lot from its European neighbours!)

Mr A Slater

Submitted 31/05/2018

Started baldly, St Pancras check in for Eurostar was a nightmare. Staff completely unable to cope with number of travellers. AVOID IF AT ALL POSSIBLE. A little too exhausting both in the walking tours and train journeys. Transfers between station and hotel were too long on foot with a case.


Submitted 13/04/2018

Very well organised. First time with this company and I was impressed with our tour manager. Trains through Europe were very comfortable. Local guides introduced us to the towns we visited: Rome Florence and Venice. Hotels were very good with one exception. Overall good value for money.

Escorted Holidays by Rail: Europe, UK & Cruise 2020

Escorted Holidays by Rail: Europe, UK & Cruise 2020

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Italian Explorer

Discover the historic beauty of Italy


Luke Simpson
Helen Laverack
Lynne Broadley
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