Vintage

Italian Vintage

3 to 13 May 2019
Italy

You are invited to join us on an exclusive rail-based holiday to northern Italy and the Italian Lakes. We spend 6 nights based in Turin and 3 nights in Venice.

The tour leader will be Angelina Pons who speaks fluent Italian, having lived in the country for several years. Should you have any queries about the itinerary or if you wish to have a chat with her about the trip, please feel free to e-mail him on angelina@ptg.co.uk.

Highlights

  • No-fly
  • Unspoilt and un-touristy
  • Based in historic cities of Turin and Venice. Also Strasbourg (for those on no fly)
  • Chapel of the Holy Shroud
  • Superga historic rack tramway
  • Lake Maggiore
  • Scenic rail journeys
Itinerary

Day 1 Saturday 3 May Flight departures from various UK airports to Turin or overland from London St Pancras Station in London at 09.22 with a single change of train in Paris. Turin, a fine Baroque city set in the foothills of the Alps, is our base for the first of our six nights.

Day 2 Sunday 4 May (B, D) In the morning we have a two hour guided city tour with a professional local guide. This will include the 15th century Renaissance cathedral and the Chapel of the Holy Shroud, home to possibly the world’s most famous holy relic – the Turin Shroud. We also visit the Royal Palace and the Mole Antonelliana tower which dominates the city’s skyline. The afternoon is free for your own exploration of the city, which includes many fascinating museums and art galleries. Train option: excursion by train to the Piedmont Railway Museum (Museo Ferroviario Piemontese) in Savigliano. The Museum has a collection of rare vehicles, some in working condition, witnessing an important part of Piedmont Region life and history, including some three-phases locomotors. We can see some vehicles moving inside the museum. In the evening we have a welcome meal in a local regional restaurant.

Day 3 Monday 5 May (B) Today we go by rail to the sea at Genova (Genoa), we travel southward across the end of the Po Valley (Pianura Padana) and enter the Apennine Mountains. On arrival in Genova we have a two hour guided tour of the city ending in the Ancient Port where there are many places for the lunch break. In the afternoon we go to the terminus of the narrow gauge railway (950 m/m) “Ferrovia Genova Casella” where we board a service train to Casella with a vintage coach built by Breda in 1929 reserved for us. Arriving in Casella a charter bus is waiting for to take us to Ronco Scrivia where we board a service train back to Torino on the first Italian main line built in 1853.

Day 4 Tuesday 6 May (B) Rail option: Travel on the GTT (ex SATTI) lines Torino – Ceres and Torino – Pont Canavese. Cultural option: A guided visit of the Reggia di Venaria (The King’s Palace). The Reggia is one of the finest examples of the majesty of 17th and 18th century architecture. We also visit the Gardens of the Reggia.

Day 5 Wednesday 7 May (B) This morning we travel to Superga on the historic rack tramway. Our 25 minute ride takes us high up to the Basilica church giving superb views of the city and the Alps from a point that La Corbusier defined as “the most delightful position in the world”. The Basilica was built by Juvarra in 1717-31. The beautiful yellow and white façade is dominated by a large portico designed like a classical Roman Temple. Rail option: before boarding the rack tramway we visit the small tram museum and the tram depot. After a break here we return by rack tram to Sassi and by a service tram back to the central square of “Piazza Castello”. Here there is plenty of time for lunch. In the afternoon there is a two hour tour of the city with an historic tram.

Day 6 Thursday 8 May (B, L) Today we head into the region known as “The Italian Lakes”. We travel by coach on the shore of Lake Maggiore. This is the second largest Italian lake after Lake Garda and is a long expanse of water nestling right against the mountains. The gently sloping shores are dotted with camellias, azaleas and verbena. Here we join a boat for a 4-hour cruise, with lunch included, to Locarno in Switzerland. After a break we catch the narrow gauge “Centovalli Railway” to Domodossola in Italy; a very scenic line as it crosses the mountains. Coach transfer from Domodossola to Torino (Turin).

Day 7 Friday 9 May (B) We leave Turin behind and travel east to our next base, at Venice. First we travel by high-speed train service to Milan. This is Italy’s centre of fashion, business and finance. It is a smart, wealthy city. We will have a guided tour of the city with a professional guide including a visit of the Duomo Cathedral – one of the largest Gothic churches in the world which took 500 years to build. It has a startling roof with 135 spires. We also visit the Castle which is actually more of a Renaissance palace, and the 18th century Scala Theatre, one of the world’s most prestigious opera houses. Lunch is available in one of the many city centre restaurants or cafes. The afternoon is free. Late afternoon we take a train onto Venice Mestre. Mestre is joined to Venice itself by a 6km railway line and is a more pleasant place to stay than the main city. Night in Venice Mestre.

Day 8 Saturday 10 May (B) We take the train for the short 10 minute ride into Venice. Venice is truly a unique city, which survives against the odds, built on a series of low mud banks amid the tidal waters of the Adriatic, and regularly subject to floods. In the morning we will have a two hour guided tour of the city centre with a professional guide. We will visit the San Marco Basilica; this is Venice’s most famous landmark and one of the greatest buildings in Europe. After the lunch break we have a boat tour out to the islands of the lagoon. On Murano Island we can see the famous coloured glassware, on Burano the laceware and on Torcello (the oldest inhabited island of the lagoon) its 7th century cathedral. We return by our boat to Venice and then by train to Venice-Mestre.

Day 9 Sunday 11 May (B,D) Today we have the option of a free day in Venice or to join an excursion to Trieste on the border with Slovenia. We take the local train service to Trieste; a journey of just under two hours. Trieste is an atmospheric city with a long, bustling harbour lined with handsome buildings. A professional guide will meet us with a charter bus. Here we take the funicular up into the Opicina hills. The funicular is unique in that the tram section is supplemented by a cable section where the tram cars are connected to two buffer wagons and then connected to the cable. The only one of its type in Europe. In the late afternoon we return by train to Venice-Mestre. Enthusiasts can do a longer, different line via Gorizia, Udine and Treviso. In the evening we have a farewell meal in a local restaurant.

Day 10 Monday 12 May (B) For those returning by air we have road transport to Venice airport for the 11:30 flight back to London Gatwick arriving 12:45. The “no fly” group returning by rail depart at 8:32 with an ES City train to Milan where we change to an EC train to Basel in Switzerland and then onward by rail to Strasbourg (arr 17:09). Overnight in Strasbourg.

Day 11 Tuesday 13 May (B) A free day for your own exploration of Strasbourg. Tear your gaze away from that mesmerising Gothic cathedral for just a minute and you’ll be roaming the old town’s twisting alleys lined with crooked half-timbered houses à la Grimm; feasting in the cosiest of winstubs (Alsatian taverns) by the canals in Petite France. Overnight in Strasbourg.

Day 12 Wednesday 14 May (B) Leaving Strasbourg we travel to Paris. From Paris we catch the Eurostar service back to London St Pancras.

We can also book you extra nights at the hotel in Venice should you wish to stay on to see more of this city. If the majority of people opt for overland travel via the Eurostar then our tour manager will accompany this group from London.

Hotels (TBC)

Hotel Majestic Starhotel, Turin (6 nights)
Hotel Best Western Plus Hotel Bologna, Venice Mestre (3 nights)
Le Grand Hotel, Strasbourg (2 nights – no fly option)

Flights

BA2578 13:15 London Gatwick to Turin (arr 16.15)
BA2583 11:30 Venice to London Gatwick (arr 12.45)

Indirect flights available from Manchester with Lufthansa
Direct flights from Venice to Manchester

No Fly

09:22 St Pancras to Paris Nord (Eurostar)
14:19 Paris Gare de Lyon to Turin Porta Susa arriving 20:18 (19:18 BST)

08:32 Venice Mestre to Milan
11:23 Milan to Basel
15:51 Basel to Strasbourg (arr 17:09)

12:19 Strasbourg to Paris Est. (800m walk to Paris Nord)
15:10 Paris Nord to London St Pancras (arr 16:40)

Place(s) available
Holiday prices per person
  • Full 10 holiday including flight from London Gatwick: £1,950
  • Full 12 day holiday overland from St Pancras: £2,250
  • Own travel to Turin and back from Venice: £1,750

Options

  • Single room Supplement: £280 (9 nights), £375 (11 nights)
  • A supplement might apply to flights from airports other than London Gatwick
  • * with flight price might increase for late bookings

Deposit

  • £600 with flights, £300 joining in Italy

Price Includes

  • All travel and excursions as outlined in the itinerary
  • Good quality en-suite accommodation
  • Meals as shown in the itinerary: B = breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner
  • Services of our Tour Manager. Holiday is escorted in Italy
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