Italy and United Kingdom
Explore by Rail
History and luxury coincide on this two-week private journey through Italy and London, connected by a night on the iconic Belmond Venice Simplon-Orient-Express luxury train. Explore a wealth of archaeological sites and immerse yourself in the art of northern Italy, explore the history of London, and soak in the countryside outside the city.
A 19th-century villa on the outskirts of the historic city center serves as home base in the inspiring city of Florence. Private tours with a historian reveal some of Florence’s greatest art and architectural treasures. Visit the Cattedrale de Santa Maria del Fiore, commonly referred to as the Duomo for the dome designed by Brunelleschi. At the Accademia Gallery museum, admire a host of sculptures by Michelangelo including the David—the greatest of Michelangelo’s masterpieces—and a large collection of paintings by Florentine artists. Explore the expansive collection at the Uffizi, the Palazzo Pitti, and the Boboli Gardens.
Named a “creative city of music” by UNESCO, the medieval jewel of Bologna lies 40 minutes north of Florence by train. Renowned as the city of towers and home to the world’s longest arcades, a highlight of your time here is a walking tour to see many of Bologna’s top sites. On your agenda are the archaeological excavations of Sala Borsa in Piazza Nettuno; the Comunale Palace and its prestigious collection of paintings, sculptures, and furniture from the 17th and 18th centuries; the Basilica of Saint Petronius, the most important and imposing church in Bologna; and the University of Bologna, established in 1088 AD. Just outside of Bologna, visit the most important private vintage Maserati collection in the world. Spend an afternoon in Ravenna with a private archaeologist. Once the capital city of the Western Roman Empire, Ravenna is known for its well-preserved late Roman and Byzantine architecture and its eight UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Continue your journey of the history, art, and architecture of Italy in Milan with a private art historian exploring Leonardo Da Vinci’s immense impact throughout the city. At the refectory of the Convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie, visit Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper and learn how the masterpiece has influenced Western culture.
In Verona, board the iconic Venice Simplon-Orient-Express and settle in for a night of glamour on board the historic carriages. A journey on the storied luxury train is one of the world’s finest travel experiences. Watch the scenery from Verona to London unfold from the plush sofas in your cabin. While you are at dinner, a steward transforms your cabin into a cozy bedroom. Enjoy dinner in one of the three art deco dining carriages and sip on crisp champagne in the bar car, where you can never be overdressed. At Folkstone, you’ll transfer to the British Pullman for the final part of your rail journey.
The capital city of England is the crown jewel of the United Kingdom, with iconic landmarks and historic sites including Buckingham Palace, the Houses of Parliament at Westminster, and the infamous Tower of London. Explore the highlights with a private guide.Conclude your journey at the luxurious country house of Heckfield Place, set on 400 acres of private ground just over an hour outside of London. From there, you are able to explore the estate and walk in the footsteps of Jane Austen, visiting the places she frequented and immortalized in her writing. You also have a chance to tour Highclere Castle—the real Downton Abbey, and home to the Earl and Countess of Carnarvon.