This rail holiday takes you on a journey to discover rolling hills dotted with olive and cypress trees, hill top towns with golden stone houses and working vineyards as you travel southwards through Europe to the rolling landscape of Tuscany. Tuscany is the perfect destination for a rail holiday because in addition to the obvious attractions of the scenery of Chianti and the art cities of Florence and Siena, you can also explore the less well-known regions south of Siena. We recommend that you travel by Eurostar to Paris before taking an overnight Thello sleeper to Milan and then transferring onto a train to Florence. An alternative option would be to travel via Munich, staying in a comfortable hotel before passing through the spectacular Gotthard Pass on your way to Tuscany. Once in Florence, collect your hire car then spend 7 nights at the Borgo San Felice near Castelnuevo Berardenga. You can return by the sleeper train, or talk to us for more options such as day time services through Switzerland. Click here to download a pdf with full details of some of our rail holidays to Italy.DAY BY DAY ITINERARYDay oneYou begin your rail holiday by travelling out on an afternoon Eurostar service from London St Pancras to Paris Gare de Nord. Following a change of station in Paris continue the rail journey by Thello sleeper train to Milan, where you change trains and then carry on to Florence where you arrive at around 9am. We recommend the two bed sleeper compartments on the Thello train as the most comfortable option. There is a washbasin in the compartments and shared toilets in each carriage.Day twoYou arrive in Milan early morning and continue on to Florence where you arrive at about 9am. Collect your hire car and drive to your hotel, the Borgo San Felice near Castelnuovo Berardenga, where you stay for 7 nights.OPTION 2 – VIA MUNICHDay oneAlternatively you can begin your rail holiday by leaving London on a morning Eurostar to Brussels. You change trains here and board the Thalys service that takes you across the Belgian-German border at Aachen. You change trains again in Cologne and head south through the towns of Mannheim and Stuttgart before arriving into Munich around 8.30pm. You check in to your hotel in Munich, and spend one night here.Day twoThe next leg of your train journey takes you through the heart of the stunning Austrian Alps. You head south from the Bavarian capital and cross the border into Austria at Kufstein. The railway guides you through high mountain scenery before dropping down through the Brenner Pass, from where you can admire the Dolomites, and onwards through Verona to Bologna. You change trains here and arrive into Florence at 5.30pm. Collect your hire car from Florence train station and drive to the Hotel Borgo San Felice, your home for the next seven nights.Day three to eightSpend 6 days exploring the Chianti region and the fascinating art cities of Tuscany. From your base at the Borgo San Felice you are well based to explore more of the lesser-known parts of Tuscany. Take the opportunity to discover the patchwork vineyards of Montalcino, the spas of Montecatini and Saturnia and the islands of Elba and Giglio. However you choose to spend your time in Tuscany, you will be inspired by the beauty of your surroundings and the way of life which is quintessentially Italian.Day nineReturn your hire car to Florence where you catch an evening train to Milan, before boarding the Thello sleeper train back to Paris at around 11pm. Day tenYou arrive into Paris Lyon at about 9.30am, and after changing stations you then take the Eurostar back to London where you arrive at lunchtime. We can arrange for you to catch a later Eurostar service if you prefer, perhaps giving you time to enjoy lunch in the famous Train Bleu restaurant.PRICESFrom £2,100 per person for first class rail travel.From £1,980 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 EurostarDouble sleeper compartment on Thello sleeper train7 nights’ bed and breakfast in a Deluxe Room at Hotel Borgo San FeliceCategory A car hire for the duration of your stay in Tuscany.What’s not included?Meals other than breakfast at the hotelAny services not mentioned aboveDatesThis 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.
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 Borgo San Felice - near Castelnuovo Berardenga – 5 starSan 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 detail on Hotel Borgo San Felice OPTION: Eden Hotel Wolff – Munich – 4 starThe Eden Hotel Wolff has been one of the leading names in Munich since its foundation in 1890. The Art Noveau building is ideally located opposite Munich Central rail station, making it the perfect stopover point from which to explore the city. The hotel has 210 rooms and suites on offer to guests in a variety of designs from classical through to elegant modern or Alpine stylings, whilst the hotel's restaurant the Peter & Wolff prides itself on the use of seasonal products from the regions suppliers in its menus.
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CapitalRome AirportThere 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.CurrencyEuro (£1 = Euro 1.30) SizeItaly is roughly 650 miles long, but only about 100 miles wide Population60 million Average temperatureItaly'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.
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