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Honeymoons and weddings abroad are tailor-made by Expressions Holidays. Contact us for a range of honeymoon and wedding destinations around the world and an amazing choice of honeymoons from island-hopping to visiting cultural sites.
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Experiences
  

With Authentic Experiences from Expressions Holidays you enter a world of genuine holiday and travel experiences within the framework of one of our tailor-made holidays, be its significance culture, gastronomy, wine appreciation, wildlife, sports or special occasions.
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Expressions Spas opens a world of tailor-made spa holidays that allows you to choose according to region, type of treatment desired, product type and recommends for your party type, whether it be for couples, singles or perhaps mothers and daughters travelling together.
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Expressions Families affords you an amazing choice of sophisticated resorts ideally suited to families in selected destinations worldwide. You can also choose according to required facilities in resort and we suggest holidays for families with grandparents and single parent families too.
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holidays
  

Expressions Holidays offers you tailor-made rail holidays and journeys by train, including luxury trains, scenic journeys and classic rail tours.
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Tailor-made journeys and tours for individuals and small groups to selected destinations around the world from Burma to Italy, from Vietnam to India.
  • Exploring Southern Tuscany by train

    Hotel Bernini Palace, Florence

    Hotel Borgo San Felice

    Hotel Borgo San Felice

    Hotel Borgo San Felice

    Il Falconiere

    Il Falconiere

    Castello del Nero

    Castello del Nero

    Exploring Southern Tuscany by train

    Travelling to by train to Tuscany is an attractive option with a number of different routes from the UK to Florence and back. Once in Tuscany, we recommend a short break in Florence itself before collecting a hire-car to explore and make the most of the region.
    The most direct train route involves an overnight sleeper from Paris to Florence, thus enabling the entire journey to be made with just one change. However, a popular alternative for your rail holiday is to take in the beautiful scenery along the way and use daytime trains. One route in particular takes in the Gotthard Pass via Zurich or another goes via the Simplon Pass, staying overnight in Lausanne. We can advise on the most suitable rail journey option for your requirements. This suggested itinerary is based on daytime trains via Zurich and the Gotthard Pass on the outbound journey, with the Thello overnight sleeper service via Paris on the return. Once in Italy, this holiday tours some of our favourite Tuscan hotels by car. Driving distances are always manageable; allowing you to explore the beauty of Tuscany’s rolling hills, villages and vineyards at a suitable leisurely pace.
    Click here to download a pdf with full details of some of our rail holidays to Italy.

    DAY BY DAY ITINERARY
    OPTION 1: VIA GOTTHARD PASS AND ZURICH
    Day one

    Start your rail holiday by departing London at about 8.30am on the Eurostar to Paris. Following a change of station in Paris, you then continue to Zurich on the high speed TGV train which reaches 198 mph. You arrive in Zurich at about 6.30pm and spend one night at the Hotel Ambassador a l'Opera.
    Day two
    Leave Zurich at around 11.30am and travel by Eurocity train through the Alps along the Gotthard pass. After passing through the Gotthard tunnel, you descend towards Italy and on to Milan Centrale station. Make a simple platform change in Milan and continue to Florence by high-speed train arriving just before 6pm. On arrival in Florence you will be met at the station by your chauffeur and taken to your hotel. Spend one night in Florence at the Bernini Palace.
    OPTION 2: VIA SIMPLON PASS AND LAUSANNE
    Day one

    Start your rail holiday by departing London at midday on the Eurostar to Paris. Following a change of station in Paris, you then continue to Lausanne by TGV train which reaches 198 mph.
    Arrive in Lausanne at about 7.30pm and spend one night at the Hotel Angleterre et Residence.
    Day two
    Spend the morning looking around Lausanne before boarding the Eurocity train to Milan around 2pm. The train follows the course of the Rhone before passing through the stunning Simplon Pass and along the coast of Lake Maggiore on its way to Milan. You change trains and continue to Florence by high-speed train arriving just before 8pm. On arrival in Florence you will met at the station and transferred to your hotel. Spend one night in Florence at the Bernini Palace.

    Day three
    Collect your hire car and drive out of Florence through the Chianti countryside to Borgo San Felice near Castelnuovo Berardenga. The drive is about 55 miles and takes around an hour and a half. Spend two nights at Borgo San Felice enjoying the surroundings of vineyards, gently rolling hills and the turrets of Siena in the distance.
    Day four
    Enjoy a day at leisure at the Borgo San Felice to explore with your hire car. The hotel is well placed to explore the local area, home of the Chianti Classico wine, and the hotel’s wine shop also sells the San Felice wine, boasting seventeen different kinds of red, white and vin santo.
    Day five
    Drive to Relais Il Falconiere near to Cortona and Lake Trasimeno. It takes a little over an hour to cover the 42 miles. Spend two nights at Relais Il Falconiere. There are just 22 rooms at this beautiful hotel which has a Michelin star restaurant and is surrounded by vineyards.
    Day six
    At leisure at Relais Il Falconiere to explore with your hire car. A highlight of any stay at this hotel is the exceptional cuisine at the elegant restaurant. The hotel also has its own vineyard and wine tasting tours are available.
    Day seven
    Drive to Castello del Nero for your final night in Italy. The journey takes around an hour and a half and is 70 miles. Castello del Nero is a luxury five star boutique hotel converted from an ancient fortified manor house, with a magnificent spa facility. Cookery courses are also available here for those who wish to try their hand at traditional Tuscan recipes.
    Day eight
    Depart Castello del Nero and drive back to Florence about thirty minutes away to return your hire car. Board the train from Florence to Milan at 9pm and then change onto the Thello sleeper service to Paris.
    Day nine
    You arrive into Paris Lyon just after 10am and after an easy change of stations in Paris, complete your rail journey by travelling on the Eurostar back to the UK, arriving at lunchtime.

    PRICES
    From £2,290 per person for first class rail travel.
    From £2,020 per person for second class rail travel.
    Prices based on two sharing a double or twin room.
    What’s included?
    First or second class travel on all trains (as above) including Eurostar
    Double sleeper compartment on Thello sleeper train
    At the hotels:
    1 night's bed and breakfast in a Standard Double at Hotel Ambassador a l'Opera in Zurich
    1 night's bed and breakfast in a Standard Double at Bernini Palace in Florence
    2 night's bed and breakfast in a Standard Double at Borgo San Felice in Chianti
    2 night's bed and breakfast in a Standard Double at Relais Il Falconiere near Cortona
    1 night's bed and breakfast in a Standard Double at Castello del Nero near Florence
    Category B car hire for the duration of your stay in Tuscany.
    What’s not included?
    Meals other than breakfast at the hotels
    Transfers in Zurich and Paris.
    Early check in or late check outs at hotels – though we can arrange this on request.
    Supplements for alternative route options
    Any services not mentioned above
    Dates
    This rail holiday can be arranged throughout the year. Timings can vary depending on the month and day of the week.

    For more information regarding rail services to and within Italy, view our train guide.

    Southern tuscany by rail map

    Hotels featured in this touring itinerary

    Below is some information regarding each of the hotels featured in this touring itinerary. Alternative hotels are available in some destinations - please contact us for full details.

    Hotel Ambassador a l’Opera – Zurich – 4 star
    The Hotel Ambassador a l'Opera is a historic boutique hotel located opposite Zurich's Opera House, set just back from the lakeside. This is a highly luxurious and unique option for a one or two night stay in central Zurich. The hotel has just 45 rooms and is renowned for its gourmet restaurant which is just as popular with locals as hotel guests.
    See more details on Hotel Ambassador a l’Opera.

    Bernini Palace – Florence – 4 star
    The Bernini Palace is an elegant and well-situated hotel, convenient for exploring central Florence. Boasting 74 elegantly-furnished rooms, it was originally a 15th-century palazzo built in classic Florentine style. Enjoy breakfast in the beautiful Sala Corsini whilst admiring its frescoed ceiling, and treat yourself to a drink or cocktail in the hotel’s bar. Close by, there are many cafes and restaurants to choose from for your evening meal.
    See more details on Bernini Palace

    Borgo San Felice – near Castelnuovo Berardenga – 4 star
    San Felice is a hamlet of medieval cottages that was converted almost in its entirety into a hotel. It enjoys a priceless location in the stunning countryside that surrounds Siena. There are a total of 53 rooms and suites scattered throughout the historic buildings of this luxury property. For dinner, you can choose from the gourmet cuisine of multi-starred chef Francesco Bracali in the Poggio Rosso restaurant, or sample the flavours of traditional Tuscan dishes at the Terrazza San Felice. The hotel is a member of Relais and Chateaux and is one of the most attractive hotels in Tuscany.
    See more details on Borgo San Felice

    Relais Il Falconiere – near Cortona – 4 star
    Once the home of the poet Antonio Guadagnoli, Il Falconiere is now a jewel of hospitality in the midst of the Tuscan countryside, surrounded by horse-chestnut and cypress trees. There are many well preserved features in this former 17th century palazzo, which offers up 22 individually decorated rooms alongside a Michelin star restaurant, wine resort and exclusive Spa. A testament to the love and hard work of the owners Silvia and Riccardo, this hotel is an enchanting property of rustic simplicity.
    See more details on Relais Il Falconiere

    Castello del Nero – Tavarnelle Val di Pesa, near Florence – 5 star
    This is luxurious boutique hotel located just to the south of Florence, is a magnificent 12th century castle with a wealth of original features that have been painstakingly restored. There are 32 rooms and 18 lavish suites of which no two are alike. What once were the castle’s stables have now been converted into the elegant dining room of La Torre restaurant, where the chef uses local produce to create delicious Tuscan cuisine and exquisite signature dishes. This is a great way to end your holiday – enjoying panoramic views from the heated outdoor pool.
    See more details on Castello del Nero

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  • Italy

    Find out more about Italy

    Italy FAST FACTS

    Capital
    Rome
    Airport
    There is a very good scattering of international airports in Italy, with the main ones being Venice, Pisa, Milan, Rome, Bologna, Naples, Genoa, Turin and Bari; on Sicily, Catania is served by several airlines from the UK and on Sardinia you fly to Cagliari or Olbia.
    Currency
    Euro (£1 = Euro 1.30)
    Size
    Italy is roughly 650 miles long, but only about 100 miles wide
    Population
    60 million
    Average temperature
    Italy's temperature varies dramatically, from about 4 degrees in Turin in winter to 33 degrees in Sicily in summer, with snow year-round on the summits of the Pyrenees and Alps
    National holidays in Italy
    Some tourist attractions as well as banks etc may close on the following days:
    1 January
    6 January (Epiphany)
    Easter Monday
    25 April (Liberation Day)
    1 May (Labour Day)
    15 August (Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary)
    1 November (All Saints)
    8 December (Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary)
    Christmas Day
    Boxing Day
    There are a number of local feast days that can affect conditions locally. In addition to the above days, museums are often closed on Mondays in Italy.

  • OUR HOLIDAYS

    • Rail holidays

      Rail holidays and train journeys, tailor-made.

    • Garden holidays

      Italian garden holidays and tours for individuals and small groups

    • Family holidays

      Visit our selection of tailor-made family holidays to selected hotels and resorts around the world.

    • Cookery holidays

      Tailor-made cookery holidays in Italy

    • Spa holidays

      Rejuvenating, relaxing, refreshing, good for the body and the soul; spa and well-being worldwide

    • Authentic experiences

      Our selection of authentic experience and special interest holidays.

    • Worldwide journeys

      Luxury tours for individuals around the world

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