Staff Review

Italy by Rail - Rome, Florence and Venice


30 Apr 2019

by The Kirker Team

Kirker Holidays

One of the trips that I have most enjoyed recently, was a ‘trilogy’ of Rome, Florence and Venice. These three cities are just perfect for a tailor-made holiday at any time of year – my trip in winter reminded me that the colder months offer great opportunities to see these cities in a very different way. They are just as beautiful and magical as on a summer’s day, but with a fraction of the tourist crowds. In each city the luxurious Baglioni hotels are the perfect places to stay and offer particularly excellent value for Kirker clients during the winter months.

My first stop is the historic city of Rome. On our arrival to the Baglioni Hotel Regina we had a light lunch including the delicious Cacio e Pepe, which is a famous (and delicious) local pasta speciality with cheese and black pepper. In the afternoon, we met with our guide at the hotel for a private tour of the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel. The Vatican is on every visitor’s wish list, but I really highly recommend to include a private guide - with a guided tour you not only skip the long queue, but you will also have a personal tour of the highlights, which is a great benefit on a short visit. I have visited the Vatican Museum before and I have to say that it is very easy to get lost amid the thousands of paintings, sculptures and frescos. Having a guide this time enhanced the experience vastly, and it was much more enjoyable and illuminating!

Italy has an excellent rail service between the major cities, and it is the perfect way to travel. Florence can be reached in just 90 minutes from Rome, and on our arrival into Santa Maria Novella station, beautiful sunshine welcomed us, perfect weather for ambling around with another local expert – again, a walking tour is essential in Florence. Every Sunday in Florence, Kirker organises a special subsidised walking tour at only £10 per person for a small group of Kirker clients, but ask if you prefer a private guide. All Kirker holidays to Florence also include a complimentary timed entrance ticket to the Uffizi Gallery, which is home to famous paintings by the great masters of the Renaissance, including Botticelli and Leonardo da Vinci. Visiting the museum with a private guide was the highlight of my stay in Florence. I stayed in the Hotel Relais Santa Croce which is a 17th century palazzo very close to the Arno and less than 15 minutes away from the Uffizi Gallery – with its own works of art all around the hotel, acquired from local artists and museums. In the spectacular first floor Sala della Musica the hotel regularly organises concerts, whilst the Guelfi e Ghibellini restaurant is well worth a visit even if you don’t stay here, with a menu of traditional Tuscan dishes with a contemporary twist – I had a delicious tiramisu infused with matcha.

Onwards to Venice, the city that was built on an archipelago of more than 100 islands, with more than 400 bridges and a maze of narrow streets and twisting canals. We stepped into our private water-taxi at Venice Santa Lucia station, which is just the perfect way to arrive in Venice, and had a delicious lunch at the Londra Palace including steamed mantis shrimp and yellow pumpkin risotto with glazed eel from Cornacchio. After lunch, we met with our private guide for a walking tour of Castello and Cannaregio including the Jewish quarter, which is still mainly frequented by Venetians. The day-trip masses seem to vanish during the winter months, and we were able to enjoy Venice without queues, in peace and tranquility. We stayed at the Baglioni Hotel Luna, which is located about 2 minutes’ walk from Piazza San Marco, and has an excellent gastronomic restaurant ‘Canova’ serving superb Venetian dishes. During your day walking around the city of Venice do stop at a local bar for a small glass of Italian wine offered with some tasty cicchetti, which are small tapas-style snacks – a true Venetian experience.

Speak to an expert - 020 7593 2288

Our expert reservations team regularly travel to a wide range of destinations to explore new cities, visit hotels and to research museums, galleries and restaurants so that we can offer the most up-to-date advice and recommendations.


Join our mailing list to receive the latest updates and travel inspiration.