Venice to Rome by Rail

enquire now 7 Days From NZD $3,010 pp twinshare
Small group
Terms & Conditions apply

Why book this trip?

Travel across Italy by train on a fast-paced adventure taking in the sights and delights of some of Italy’s most iconic cities. Stroll and sip a spritz alongside the canals of Venice, wander the food markets of Bologna, gaze out over the breath-taking beauty of Florence from Piazzale Michelangelo and people watch in the piazzas of Rome.

  • Venice – Climb San Giorgio Maggiore bell tower for a bird’s-eye view of the canals
  • Pisa – Marvel at the incredible leaning tower
  • Rome – Explore the ancient Colosseum and Roman Forum


DAY 1 – Join trip in the fabulous island city of Venice

The trip starts today in Venice, a city built on 118 islands linked by bridges and canals in the shallow Venetian lagoon. Once home to an empire, the city is now famous for its art, music and food culture; all of which we hope to experience during our stay.

Your trip Leader plans to meet everyone at the hotel for a welcome meeting today at 6pm and for those that wish, there is the chance to go out for dinner afterwards for your first taste of Venetian cuisine. There are no activities planned before the group meeting at 6pm tonight, so you can arrive any time before then. Should you miss the meeting, your Leader will inform you of any essential information as soon as you catch up.

If you would like to receive a complimentary airport transfer today, you’ll need to arrive into Venice Marco Polo Airport (VCE). The transfer will be by shared waterbus taxi and takes around 45 minutes with our hotel a further 5 minutes walk.

If your flight arrives earlier in the day and you wish to explore simply head out on foot and lose yourself among the canals and narrow passageways of the city as you soak in its unique atmosphere. With so much to see and do in Venice itself and the surrounding islands you could easily spend several days here. If this is your first visit we recommend arriving early and booking additional hotel nights before the trip starts.

DAY 2 – Venice walking tour including bird’s-eye view from San Giorgio Maggiore Bell Tower

We’ll waste no time this morning in getting to the know the city, heading out on a walking tour through the backstreets into Saint Mark’s Square, discovering the story of how the Venetians smuggled the body of Saint Mark to Venice which inspired the square and Saint Mark’s Basilica, the city’s most famous landmarks. Heading across the water by vaporetto water bus we head to the San Giorgio Maggiore Bell Tower for a bird’s-eye view of this simply fabulous city. Afterwards you are free to continue discovering the essence of this enchanting city at your own pace. There are two ways to explore – on foot, losing yourself among the myriad passageways and piazza, or by boat, catching the vaporetto that criss-cross along the canals or maybe even indulging in a gondola ride. We will provide you with a vaporetto day pass for you to use in your explorations. Take in famous sights such the Grand Canal, Rialto Bridge, Doge’s Palace, enjoy art and antiquities in world-class galleries and museums such as the Gallerie dell’Accademia, Peggy Guggenheim Collection and Palazzo Ducale. Browse the city’s artisanal shops – glassware produced on the nearby island of Murano, leatherware, paperware and of course papier mache carnivale masks. Along the way be sure to stop off at a local bar for an aperativo and cicchetti, delectable Venetian small plates consisting of bite sized snacks. Popular plates include salt cod on polenta, fried meatballs, octopus salad, mini panini alongside simpler items like olives or boiled eggs.

DAY 3 – Train to Bologna; optional arcade walk to Church of San Luca

We travel by train this morning to the historic city of Bologna, the capital of Emilia Romagna. The city is famous for its arched porticoes which make it possible to walk for long distances sheltered from the elements; there are over 45 kilometres of arcade in the greater city. Bologna is also renowned for its culinary traditions; the popular meat based sauce Bolognese comes from here and the production of cured pork meats such as prosciutto, mortadella and salami is an important part of the local food industry. Tortellini (filled pasta) served in broth, and mortadella, the original Bologna sausage, are among other local specialties.

The afternoon is left free to explore the city. For those who enjoy a walk, one option is to head out along the famous Portico di San Luca, a winding 666 vault arcade, almost four kilometres long, that links Bologna with the church of San Luca atop a 290 metre hill outside the city. An alternative vista over the red roofs of the city can be enjoyed from one of the ‘Due Torri’, two leaning medieval defensive towers, whose distinctive outline provides a popular symbol of Bologna.

DAY 4 – Discover Bologna’s food markets. Train to Florence; walking tour around the city

Bologna’s food markets are a must for any food lover and we’ll head out first thing today to the medieval area called Quadrilatero where the street names; Drapperie, Pescherie, Orefici preserve their name from the old corporations that were here in the past. It’s here where you’ll taste some of the best street food in Italy and find everything from fresh fish and produce to local meats, cheeses, regional wines, homemade tortellini pasta, fresh Italian breads and all manner of other goods.

We then head by train to the fabulous city of Florence. The spiritual home of the Renaissance, Florence is considered by many to be one of the most beautiful cities in Italy. On arrival our leader will take us out on an orientation walk. Highlights include the Ponte Vecchio, the oldest and most famous bridge in Florence and the only one that was not demolished during the German retreat of 1944 and the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore with its giant dome that dominates the city skyline and the Piazza della Signoria.

Afterwards you are free to explore Florence at your own pace; maybe this will involve an espresso and people watching at one of the many alfresco cafes. As with Rome, some forward planning is best to make the most of your time. If you wish to visit the world famous Uffizi Gallery; home to Raphael, Michelangelo, Titian and Leonardo Da Vinci masterpieces it’s best to book in advance. The city’s major sights are all easily reached on foot. You may like to visit the Duomo with its magnificent pink, white and green marble facade and climb up its red-tiled dome that dominates the skyline of the city for your own bird’s-eye view. Or take a stroll along the banks of the River Arno. Palazzo Vecchio and Museo di San Marco and Galleria dell’Accademia (home to Michelangelo’s David) and just three of the many treasure troves of art that abound in this most enchanting of cities. Early evening is the perfect time to walk up to the Piazzale Michelangelo for a great view over the city.

DAY 5 – Visit to Pisa; see the incredible Leaning Tower

It’s around an hour by train to Pisa where your tour leader will take you on an orientation tour. The Campo dei Miracoli (Field of Dreams), of which the iconic Leaning Tower is but one part, also contains the Baptistery, Duomo and Camposanta, which between them make up a stunning collection of architectural delights.These, along with the churches and palazzi that make up the historic centre, all belong to a period from the 11th to 13th centuries when the city was one of the Mediterranean’s major maritime powers.

You can return to Florence at your leisure for further free time in the city.

DAY 6 – Fast train to Rome; guided visit to the Colosseum, Roman Forum and Palatine Hill

With a history spanning over two and half a thousand years, Rome is packed with iconic ancient sites, exhilarating architecture and artistic treasures. It’s the perfect place to experience la dolce vita lifestyle; picturesque piazzas, neighbourhood cafes and bars make for excellent people watching. With so much to see and do you could easily spend many days here, so if this is your first visit, we highly recommend booking additional hotel nights after the trip ends.

We’ll take our luggage to our hotel before heading out on a guided walking tour of Rome’s ancient sites. Our first stop is the iconic Colosseum, the largest amphitheatre in the world and symbol of the Roman Empire. Built by Flavian Emperor Vespasian, the mighty arena could hold between 50,000 and 80,000 spectators, all attracted by gladiatorial contests, mock sea battles and executions. Heading along the Via Sacra (Sacred Way) we arrive at the Roman Forum, the scene of public meetings and law courts, it was lined with shops and open-air markets and was the site of many of the city’s most imposing temples and monuments. Forty metres above the Forum, Palatine Hill is the most central of the Seven Hills of Rome and considered the birthplace of the city, having been inhabited since 1000 B.C.

The remainder of the afternoon is left free for you to continue exploring. Make sure to find the time to stop along the way to join the locals for an essential espresso at a street side cafe or perhaps indulging in a delicious gelato. If you wish to visit the Vatican, Rome’s most popular attraction, you should book tickets to the Museum tickets online in advance. Check the Vatican website ( for updated information on opening times. Tickets for the Vatican Museum can be booked online at: Please note that pre-booked tickets are not required if you just want to visit St Peter’s Basilica

DAY 7 – Trip ends in the Italian capital Rome

The trip ends after breakfast at our hotel in Rome.

There are no activities planned today, so you are free to depart at any time. If your flight is departing later in the day luggage storage facilities are available at our hotel. If you would like to receive a complimentary airport transfer today, you need to depart from Rome Fiumicino Airport (FCO) which is around 45 minutes to an hour from the city centre depending on traffic conditions.

Images courtesy of Explore Worldwide