Lisa travels to Italy for the first time and jumps in at the deep end with Venice, Florence and Rome in just three nights, travelling on the new high-speed train service.
We flew from Manchester on an early morning flight to Venice and on arrival at Venice Marco Polo Airport we were met and transferred by car for the short distance to the pier to board our very exclusive and private water taxi to the mooring in front of the Hotel Londra Palace. There is simply no other way to arrive into Venice and we felt very special indeed!The main restaurant at the Londra Palace has lovely views overlooking Grand Canal and is in a great location near to St Mark’s Square. There are great dining options, with excellent cuisine and a great choice of wines to accompany meals. For a special occasion, you could have dinner on the veranda, which has fantastic views of Venice. I would highly recommend this.
After lunch we were met by our very own guide and we enjoyed a walking tour of Venice and a guided tour of the Doge’s Palace for approximately three hours. It was great to have a guide as we had many questions and they provided us with stories and information which made the visit so much more enjoyable, perfect for a short stay in Venice!Doge’s Palace is one of the most important buildings in Venice. Built in Venetian Gothic style, the palace was the residence of the Doge of Venice, the supreme authority of the Republic of Venice, opening as a museum in 1923.
We then visited another superb hotel in Venice, the Hotel Luna Baglioni, located in a perfect location, approximately 80 metres from St Mark’s Square, in the heart of Venice, overlooking San Giorgio Island and the basin of San Marco. The hotel has a private dock where you can arrive by water taxi, or gondola on a quieter and smaller canal. It is very grand and luxurious and has kept all its original Italian characteristics and charm. Meals are served in an elegant ballroom with impressive interiors and stunning views across the lagoon.
Today we left Venice, although it was a short stay I quickly understood why so many people fall in love with the city. It does get busy, especially in summer, so do consider visiting off-season too.The next leg of our journey was in Prima Class on Italo Trains from Venice to Florence. The journey takes approximately two hours and is a very comfortable service, with complimentary drinks and snacks being served. There is also free wi-fi. Travelling by train is a great way to take in the scenery en-route.
On arrival into Florence we had a guided walking tour visiting the famous Uffizi. The Uffizi is one of the most famous museums in the world due to the amount of unique artworks and masterpieces, the majority from the Renaissance period. It has paintings from great Italian artists such as Botticelli, Giotto, Cimabue, Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and Raffaello, to name just a few. It is a must-see destination for anyone visiting Florence and a guided tour is a must to get the most out of your visit and explore the museum properly. We can arrange pre-booked tickets and guides for you.
We also visited Ponte Vecchio. Ponte Vecchio is the oldest of six bridges in Florence and is one of the city’s best-known landmarks. It is a medieval stone bridge over the Arno River and there are numerous shops as you travel across, occupied by jewellers, art dealers and souvenir sellers.
Florence is a walking city, with everything within easy reach. I really enjoyed just wandering the streets, soaking up the atmosphere and watching the world go buy, Italian style.This evening we stayed at the Hotel Relais Santa Croce, a charming former palace and intimate hotel, perfectly located within walking distance of all of the main attractions, yet still on a quite street.
After an enoyable morning in Florence soaking up the Italian culture, we headed to Rome, again travelling in Prima Class on Italo Trains, which takes approximately one hour and 20 minutes.On arrival, we had a private transfer to our hotel, followed by a three-hour guided tour of the Vatican museums, which was fantastic, with our very own private guide. The Vatican museums have masterpieces of paintings, sculptures and other works of art collected by popes throughout the centuries. The museums include several monumental works of art, such as the Sistine Chapel, the Chapel of Beato Angelico, the Raphael Rooms and Loggia and the Borgia Apartment. Our guide told us amazing stories and facts of the museums and the history about the artworks, which made the tour very interesting. Again, this is something that must be pre-booked, and we can take care of this for you.
This evening we visited the Hotel Regina, which is located on the Via Veneto and is approximately a 15-minute walk to the main attractions and a short walking distance to the famous fashion street. It is a very stylish and fashionable hotel, with a mixture of Art Deco and classical furnishings.
Rome is a large city, however if you enjoy walking it can explored easily on foot. We enjoyed a three-hour walking tour of the city, visiting the most iconic places, and this really gave us a feel for the city, including the Trevi Fountain and the Spanish Steps. There is so much to see in Rome and it is great to be able to take everything in during a walking tour, especially if you only have a short time in the city. We also strolled through the fashion district and many quaint little streets, stopping for coffee at some of the many coffee shops throughout the city. Finally, we enjoyed lunch at the Hotel Bernini Bristol, which had the most amazing roof-top restaurant with fantastic views over Rome. It is one of the most fantastic restaurants with a view I have ever seen!
Alas, it was time to leave Italy. Our flight back to Manchester departed in the early evening, meaning we could make the most of our day in Rome, perfect for such a short break!This was my first time in Italy, and squeezing three cities into three nights was exciting and do-able, but I would recommend spending a little longer in each city if time permits. The new high-speed train service is efficient and the food… well just what you can expect from the Italians – Belissimo!To plan and book your holiday to Italy call us on 01543 258 631 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.