15 February 2016, 00:00
New: Great Italian Cities by Rail
• Travel first-class on high-speed trains to the heart of Milan, Florence and Rome
• Tour includes a 4 night stay in Rome
Join a classic tour with a twist on Saga’s new Great Italian Cities by Rail escorted tour of cultural Milan, Florence and Rome.
Guests travel first-class on smart Italo high-speed trains and travel at up to 360 kilometres an hour in quiet Prima (first-class) compartments with air-conditioning and reclining leather seats. The trains take guests to the heart of the three great cities to admire must-see attractions and indulge in Italy’s wonderful cuisine!
The holiday starts with a flight to Milan where guests stay at the Hotel D'Este (4Q) for two nights. It is close to the metro and plenty of time is built in for independent exploration or joining tours to the flamboyant Duomo and 19th century Galleria, a glass-domed shopping arcade; the Monumental Cemetery, an open-air 'museum' of artistic tombs and the Navigli area, one of Milan's 'hidden gems' and less frequently visited by tourists, where canals are lined with small shops, bars and places to eat.
Next, the tour continues by train to Florence with a four-night stay in the city centre Grand Hotel Mediterraneo (4Q), near the bank of the River Arno. A panoramic walking tour of the main sights precedes a relaxing dinner in the hotel's neighbouring 'Outside Bistrot' restaurant.
An optional 'foodie tour' visits the covered Mercato Centrale which sells everything from fruit and vegetables to meat and fish plus artisan shops featuring bread to buffalo mozzarella, coffee and chocolate. The tour continues with a walk through the city to discover more gourmet food stores and other shopping temptations!
Another optional tour goes further afield to the historic cities of Siena and San Gimignano, with lunch included at a local trattoria.
A visit to the Florence’s Uffizzi Gallery is included in the holiday price. It is Italy’s greatest art gallery and home to masterpieces by Botticelli, Caravaggio, Michelangelo and Titian. On this high note, guests bid farewell to the city when dining in the hotel’s Le Bistrot restaurant.
The last rail journey is to Rome where guests stay in the Grand Hotel Palatino (4Q) which is within easy walking distance of the historic centre. Tours include strolling through the village-like Rione Monti quarter to see some of the less well-known but beautiful architectural treasures such as the basilica of San Pietro in Vincoli.
The next day offers an escape to the countryside with an optional excursion to the historic town of Castel Gandolfo. Here, the cool wooded hills were a popular place for aristocratic families to build their summer homes and the town is dominated by the Papal Palace, built on the remains of the Roman Emperor Domitian's villa.
Back in the city, guests can take an optional full-day’s walking tour of Rome with entrance included to the Colosseum, the Forum and the Palatine. On the following morning a half-day tour explores some of Rome's baroque masterpieces; the Spanish Steps in Piazza di Spagna, the palaces of Piazza Navona and the Trevi Fountain – where throwing a coin into fountain ensures a return to the city!
For details call free on 0800 300 500 or visit saga.co.uk/italy
10 nights from £1,299, departing London Heathrow on September 7 and 14, October 26, November 9, December 7, 2016 and January 25, 2017
Price includes return flights and transfers, airport taxes, 10 nights in hotels, 16 meals (10 breakfasts, 1 lunch and 5 dinners), scenic first-class train journeys through Italy, porterage, tour manager, excursions (some optional with an additional charge), optional travel insurance and additional cancellation rights or a discount if passenger has own insurance.
Editors: Saga Holidays is the winner of 16 Gold British Travel Awards 2015 including Best for Escorted Adventures, Best for Special Interests, Best Holiday Company to Western Europe, East & South East Europe. Saga Holidays offer a variety of Long-Haul, European and UK destinations, exclusively available for people aged 50 and over. All Saga holidays include welcome drink, porterage of luggage and cancellation cover. VIP door to door travel service is also included on all long haul holidays and now on selected European escorted tours.
Saga is a leading provider of products and services primarily tailored for customers over the age of 50 in the UK. The Saga brand has been carefully developed over the past 60 years to become one of the most recognised and trusted brands among UK consumers aged over 50. Saga is synonymous in the UK with the over 50s market and is recognised for its high quality products and services. These include cruises and holidays, home and motor insurance, savings and share dealing and the UK’s award winning Saga Magazine.