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Once-in-a-lifetime Italy - Orient Express, Venice, Lake Como, Florence, Amalfi Coast and Rome

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What's Included

  • A night on the Orient Express luxury train
  • Luxury accommodation throughout
  • Privately guided tours
  • Private transfers and first class rail travel
  • Full support from your Travel Concierge before, during and after your trip
Use this itinerary to inspire your bespoke journey

At a glance

Embark upon this exquisitely luxurious 20 day tour to see Italy’s evocative highlights in the most glamorous of styles, with exclusive private tours and only the finest hotels.

Begin with a night in London before boarding the legendary Orient Express across France and through the snow-capped Alps to Venice. A ‘must do’ trip for many, this elegant journey invokes the spirit of a bygone era with incredible attention to detail – and this is just the start.

Enjoy three nights in Venice, one of the world’s most romantic cities, exploring its maze of canals and seeing St Mark’s Square, the Doge’s Palace and Rialto Bridge. Naturally they’ll be a gondola ride, but you will also get to see inside a private palace on the Grand Canal and visit quieter, authentically Venetian islands out in the lagoon such as Burano and Torcello, with lunch at a Michelin star winning restaurant surrounded by vineyards on Mazzorbo.

Travel west via a winery to the shores of Lake Como, whose sparkling waters and surrounding Rhaetian Alps make for one of Italy’s prettiest destinations. Here, take a day to relax and a private boat tour to see the fairytale villas and towns that dot the lake’s edge.

Then it’s on to Milan for a night of opera at world renowned La Scala before continuing south to Florence, the birthplace of the Renaissance. As well as walking its enchanting streets between great masterpieces of art and architecture, you venture out of the city to visit Pisa and spend a day drinking in the rolling hills, terracotta towns and fine chiantis of Tuscany.

Onwards down the boot, via the extraordinarily well preserved ruins of Pompeii, to the Amalfi Coast, for four nights in one of the most dramatic and glamorous spots in Italy. Take a private tour to the candy coloured towns strung along the Amalfi Drive, each more charming than the last, and head out to the isle of Capri for a day trip aboard a private boat.

Your last destination is Rome, the eternal city, a fitting finale to your three weeks. Wander through millennia of history, stretching back through the Renaissance to the glorious monuments of Imperial Rome, get exclusive access to the Vatican City and experience the Papal Audience.

Example Trip Itinerary

Days 1-2

London

Flights & Transfers

Transfer

Airside meet and greet at Heathrow airport

Transfer

Private transfer to your hotel in London

Accommodation in London

One night in London One night in London

London is one of the most exhilarating and diverse cities in the world. This thriving metropolis has a rich history evident at every street corner and yet it continues to innovate, reinvent itself and lead the world.

Flights & Transfers

Transfer

Private transfer to London Victoria station

Days 2-3

Venice Simplon-Orient Express

Venice Simplon-Orient-Express London to Venice (2D1N) Venice Simplon-Orient-Express London to Venice (2D1N)

Journey in classic style from London on a luxurious overnight trip to Venice. From the vintage carriages and liveried stewards to the refined cuisine and fine wines, this classic rail trip is timelessly romantic.

On the morning of the first day, board the beautiful Belmond British Pullman train at London Victoria station. Sit back and enjoy brunch served with a Bellini as you steam through the Kentish countryside to the coast.

After crossing the Channel board the legendary Venice Simplon-Orient-Express train and enjoy a delicious four-course dinner, prepared by skilled French chefs. After dinner retire to your cabin, which has now been transformed into a cosy bedroom.

Venice Simplon-Orient-Express London to Venice (2D1N): Day Two Venice Simplon-Orient-Express London to Venice (2D1N): Day Two

Awake to the magnificent mountain and countryside scenery as breakfast is served in your cabin, then spend the morning relaxing in your cabin or in the Bar Car chatting to fellow guests.

Lunch is a leisurely three-course affair served in another one of the beautiful restaurant cars and a relaxing afternoon is punctuated by tea. All too soon it is time to prepare to disembark as the train crosses the Venetian Lagoon and pulls into Santa Lucia station.

Flights & Transfers

Transfer

Private boat transfer to your hotel in Venice

Days 3-6

Venice

Accommodation in Venice

Three nights in Venice Three nights in Venice

Sat within a shallow lagoon between the mouths of Po and Piave rivers, Venice is formed of 118 islands formed by some 170 canals connected by over 400 bridges. The entire city is considered a World Heritage Site, an extraordinary architectural masterpiece in which even the smallest building may contain works by some of the Europe's greatest artists.

Iconic attractions on the main Rialto islands are evocative by name alone - Piazza San Marco, the Rialto Bridge, Doge’s Palace, Saint Mark’s Basilica and the Grand Canal - a unique collection of brooding Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque architecture. Days can be spent discovering tucked away galleries, museums and palazzos. Away from the crowds, other islands are where traditional Venetian culture still runs deep.

Venice Campanile Tower and Doge's Palace
Highlights of Venice walking tour Highlights of Venice walking tour

As you wander through Venice's winding streets and waterways, you'll learn all about the city's history and development. A masterpiece of Gothic architecture, the Doge's Palace is just as impressive inside with works by Titian, Veronese, Tintiretto, Vittoria and Tiepolo adorning the walls. Your historical walking tour will also take in a visit to the shimmering, mosaic-filled St. Mark's Basilica, the mightiest of Venetian monuments. Its architecture, a mixture of Byzantine, Roman and Venetian, is the work of artists and craftsmen from all over the world.

You'll also visit the lively market on and around the Rialto Bridge, where sellers hawk their mountains of colourful fruit and veg and shimmering seafood.

Gondola ride Gondola ride

No visit to Venice would be complete without experiencing it. Travel like a Venetian on a gondola down the city’s iconic canals. It gives you a very special point of view and it is from the water that Venice offers its most spectacular side.

Venice in a day Venice in a day

Start your day with a private cruise along the Grand Canal, and admire this beautiful city from a different angle. Your guide will point out the important sights, explaining the history and significance behind them as you travel along the waterways. Visit the noble floor of a private palace on the Grand Canal complete with original furnishings, fabrics and chandeliers and admire the magnificent secret Italian garden.

You will then take a walk through the Dorsoduro district, near the Accademia, passing the church of San Sebastiano where Veronese, one of Venice’s most famous Renaissance painters, is buried. You’ll then visit Venice’s famous islands of Burano, known for its colourful houses, and Torcello, the first island in the lagoon to be inhabited. Torcello is home to a beautiful cathedral with mosaics dating back to the 1100s, and the Locanda Cipriani where Ernest Hemingway stayed while writing ‘Farewell to Arms’.

venissa-restaurant-romantic-dinner
Dine at Venissa Ristorante Dine at Venissa Ristorante

Enjoy a meal of fresh local produce at the Michelin star winning Venissa Ristorante on the quiet island of Mazzorbo, surrounded by the estate's vegetable gardens and vines.

Private transfer to Lake Como via the Valpolicella wine region Private transfer to Lake Como via the Valpolicella wine region

This hilly, agricultural and marble-quarrying region is famous for its wine production, a practice that has existed since the time of the ancient Greeks. A variety of wines are produced here, including a Recioto dessert wine and Amarone, both made from dried grapes. Several light and fragrant styles are also produced here. You'll visit a local winery to learn all about the processes and techniques used in the production, and enjoy a tasting.

Days 6-9

Lake Como

Accommodation in Lake Como

lake-como-italy
Three nights by Lake Como Three nights by Lake Como

Lake Como has been a popular retreat since the time of the Roman Empire, and its popularity shows no signs of waning. Shaped like an inverted ‘Y’, the lake is long and slender and one of Europe’s deepest. Surrounded by the Rhaetian Alps and close to the border with Switzerland, its enviable position means few fail to be charmed by its beauty. Picturesque towns, grand villas and beautiful gardens are scattered around the lake and exploring them is easy thanks to the ferry service.

Boat tour of Lake Como Boat tour of Lake Como

The sparkling waters of Lake Como and the surrounding Rheatian Alps make this one of Italy’s prettiest destinations. Take to the water and enjoy a boat tour of the lake that lets you appreciate its beauty from the best angle. The lake is flanked by beautiful villas and small villages with ancient stone bell towers. You’ll see the small wooden island of Comacina as well as the characteristic bell tower of Santa Maria Maddalena, before proceeding to Bellagio, known as the pearl of the lake, where you can walk along its narrow streets.

Flights & Transfers

Transfer

Private transfer from Lake Como to Milan

Days 9-10

Milan

Accommodation in Milan

One night in Milan One night in Milan

An arbiter of international style, Milan is Italy’s financial and industrial heart, a thoroughly modern European city with a great history not far under the surface. Whether shopping, seeing da Vinci’s Last Supper, dining or out discovering hip canal-side bars, Milan is a city with an overlooked charm hiding just beneath the chic surface.

Privately guided tour of Milan Privately guided tour of Milan

This dynamic city is know the world over for its glamour and you'll enjoy a tour which lets you explore its gems. The cathedral is the fourth largest in the world and is a spectacular example of Gothic architecture. The Milanese are known for their style, and you'll visit the beautiful Galleria Vittorio Emanuele, one of the world's oldest shopping malls. Together with Via Montenapoleone and Via della Spiga, it is considered one of the most important areas for shoppers.

The Dominican convent adjoining the church of Santa Maria delle Grazie houses one of the most important masterpieces in the world, Leonardo da Vinci's Last Supper. Only a small number of people are admitted at a time to help protect the fresco from further damage.

Opera at La Scala Opera at La Scala

The Teatro alla Scala was founded under the auspices of the Empress Maria Theresa of Austria, to replace the Royal Ducal Theatre which was destroyed by a fire. Designed by the great neoclassical architect Giuseppe Piermarini, La Scala opened in the summer of 1778 and has been hosting world-class opera and ballet ever since.

Flights & Transfers

Transfer

Private transfer to Milan train station

Transfer

Train from Milan to Florence

Transfer

Private transfer to your hotel in Florence

Days 10-13

Florence

Accommodation in Florence

Three nights in Florence Three nights in Florence

Surrounded by rolling Tuscan hills, the beautiful city of Florence is one of Europe's most enchanting and historically influential cities. If anywhere in the world can claim to have shaped modern Western consciousness, it is Florence's grand piazzas and palazzos.

The world's greatest Renaissance artworks and sculpture can be found at every turn in the historical centre, an area that can be traversed on foot in under an hour but would infinitely longer to properly explore.

Florence walking tour - Santa Maria del Fiore, Academia Gallery and Medici Palace Florence walking tour - Santa Maria del Fiore, Academia Gallery and Medici Palace

Explore Florence’s Renaissance past with this guided walking tour of the city's historic centre. Begin with the church of Santa Maria del Fiore – the famous Duomo - to view Brunelleschi’s magnificent dome. Nearby you’ll see the Campanile of Giotto (bell tower) and the Ghiberti’s enchanting ‘Gates of Paradise’, door to the Baptistry. A short walk next takes you to the Medici Palace, from where the powerful dynasty ruled over the Golden Age of Florence. You'll also visit the Academia Gallery, home to Michelangelo's ‘David’, one of the finest sculptures ever created.

Tour of Pisa Tour of Pisa

You're sure to have seen it in plenty of books, and now you can learn all about the city of Pisa and its famous leaning tower. The tower itself is the belfry for a magnificent cathedral complex with a baptistry and walled cemetery, and you'll hear what inspired the artists and architects of this cathedral square, known as the 'Field of Miracles'. Inside this square sits the tower, and you'll wind your way to the top, feeling the 'lean' as you ascend.

Explore the Chianti region Explore the Chianti region

Today discover the beautiful Chianti region with a private driver at your disposal. Learn about some of the most excellent Italian wines, or perhaps simply explore the beautiful of Tuscany countryside and its scattered Medieval towns.

Siena city tour Siena city tour

Your tour starts at the Piazza del Duomo with the spectacular Romanesque and Gothic cathedral. The square is surrounded by the Santa Maria della Scala Hospital, the Archbishop's Palace, the unfinished Duomo, Opera del Duomo museum, the crypt and the baptistry. You'll then reach the Piazza del Campo, a unique shell-shaped area which was paved with bricks in the 14th century. Be sure to look out for the different animals and symbols that represent the city's 17 contradas; giraffes, dragons, owl, unicorns and caterpillars all appear on the outside of buildings and competition between them is fierce during the Palio horse race which happens twice a year.

Flights & Transfers

Transfer

Private transfer to Florence’s train station

Transfer

Train from Florence to Naples

 
Private tour of Pompeii Private tour of Pompeii

To visit Pompeii is as close as you can get to travelling in a time machine back to ancient Rome. In August of 79 AD, Vesuvius had been rumbling for some days and it is estimated that a large part of the population of 20,000 had been evacuated; those that were left were as if suspended in time, as the plaster casts made of the bodies that were found shows. Excavation started in the 18th century and continues to this day.

You will get to walk Roman streets, look into bars, stroll into Patrician villas, complete with frescoes and mosaics, there is even a mosaic doormat, saying ‘beware of the dog’. Graffiti (an Italian word) is written on some of the walls, reflecting a forthcoming election. When you see the baths, the central heating systems and the gentle fountains in the courtyards of the villas, you really feel it wouldn’t be too much of a hardship to live there.

Flights & Transfers

Transfer

Private transfer to your hotel on the Amalfi Coast

Days 13-17

The Amalfi Coast

Accommodation in The Amalfi Coast

Four nights on the Amalfi Coast Four nights on the Amalfi Coast

Draped along the cliffs on the southern side of the Sorrento Peninsula, between Salerno and the city of Sorrento, the Amalfi Coast is one of the most dramatic and glamorous spots in Italy. Between the two, Positano, Amalfi and Ravello’s candy coloured buildings spill their way down into blue bays.

The peninsular combines affluent sophistication with a honest simplicity, where super yachts and gurgling Italian sports cars next sit amidst an unchanging rural way of life. The food gloriously reflects this and some of Europe’s finest restaurants can be found here, thriving on fresh local produce, whilst the rustic Neapolitan food found everywhere here to many epitomizes Italian cuisine. The views and food are perhaps the main draw here, but there is a rich history to explore too, hidden beaches to discover and pristine trails in the Lattari Mountains to climb.

Amalfi Coast tour Amalfi Coast tour

Discover the spectacular Amalfi Coast, situated like an amphitheatre among the mountains and the sea. Visit Ravello and the Villas Rufolo and Cimbrone, two sites not to be missed for their splendour and decorations. Both villas have amazingly beautiful gardens. You'll also take in the wonderful Positano, considered to be one of the most picturesque of all Italy's coastal resorts.

Capri day trip by private boat Capri day trip by private boat

Head out into the Gulf of Naples across to the beautiful island of Capri, a draw to visitors for thousands of years.

The tour will touch Li Galli Islands, the legendary home of the sirens who lured Ulysses to the islands with their enchanted singing. This is also an ideal place for snorkelling with its clear waters and underwater treasures. Tide permitting, you will approach the famous Blue Grotto where it will be possible to get inside using the local small boat.

Flights & Transfers

Transfer

Private transfer to Naples station

Transfer

Train from Naples to Rome

Transfer

Private transfer to your hotel in Rome

Days 17-20

Rome

Accommodation in Rome

rome-skyline-sunset
Three days in Rome Three days in Rome

Rome, Italy’s capital and largest city, needs little introduction. One of the most historied locations in the world, glorious reminders of Rome’s illustrious past, from ancient Roman wonders to Renaissance masterpieces, are all on show. That’s not to say that its cosmopolitan streets do not embrace the now; Rome is as exhilarating and forward thinking as ever.

Early-access Vatican City tour Early-access Vatican City tour

Arrive at 7am at the Vatican when the museums are still closed. You'll have the chance to enter with just a few others and enjoy an American breakfast. Then you are ready to start the tour of the museums with your personal guide. You will pass through room after room full of treasures, before the culmination of the visit, Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel, home to the conclave that elects Popes. The ceiling frescoes and Last Judgement on the altar wall are probably the most viewed paintings in the world.

From here, enter St Peter's Basilica, one of the largest churches in the world and a triumph of Renaissance architecture, the work of Bramante, Michelangelo, Carlo Maderno and Gian Lorenzo Bernini. Once inside, having got over the feelings of awe inspired by the sheer size and magnificence of it all, one of the first things you will see is Michelangelo's Pieta. Sculpted at the age of 23, it must be the most moving of all Michelangelo's sculptures; a mother gazing lovingly at her child as if seeing the baby she gave birth to but in fact the body of the 33-year-old Christ. Moving down the church, you will pass the statue of St Peter, whose bronze toes have been completely worn away by the millions of pilgrims who have stroked them and arrive at Bernini's Baldacchino (canopy), under the centre of the dome and behind this, the throne of St Peter.

Tour of Ancient Rome - The Forum, Palatine Hill and the Colosseum Tour of Ancient Rome - The Forum, Palatine Hill and the Colosseum

Discover the great Roman Forum, for centuries the centre of civic life as the site of triumphal processions, elections, public speeches and criminal trials. Then, along the Via Sacra (Sacred Way), head to the Palatine Hill, one of the most ancient parts of the city, where you’ll enjoy a breathtaking view of the Circus Maximus, an ancient Roman chariot racing stadium Last but not least, enter the magnificent Colosseum, considered one of the greatest works of Roman architecture and Roman engineering, and capable of seating up to 50,000 spectators.

Wednesday Papal Audience Wednesday Papal Audience

The Papal Audience is held on Wednesdays if the Pope is in Rome, giving pilgrims and visitors the chance to see the pontiff and receive the Papal Blessing or Apostolic Blessing from the successor of the Apostle Peter during their visit.

The Audience with the Pope consists of small teachings and readings mainly in Italian but also in English, French, German, Spanish, Polish, Portuguese. Your guide will help to find the best place for you to attend the Audience and enjoy this special moment.

Tour of Rome's private palaces Tour of Rome's private palaces

Rivalry between noble families has long been a part of Italy's history, each competing to build the highest tower or the most elaborate palace. Visit some of Rome's most impressive houses, starting at the Palazzo Colonna, home to the Colonna family for over 1000 years, who were considered the most important family in Rome. The visit takes in the private apartments of Princess Isabelle with the famous Grottesche by Pinturicchio, the glorious gallery, the State Apartments and the Throne Room. These contain works by Carraci (the bean eater), Guercino, Poussin, Tintoretto and Ribera, as well as priceless furniture. From here, continue to the Villa Medici with its spectacular 15th-century gardens, once the property of Cardinal de Medici and situated in the heart of Rome. It is now home to the French Academy.

Flights & Transfers

Transfer

Private transfer to Rome’s Fiumicino Airport

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