Bologna by First Class rail
Prices from £1,295 per person
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Adorned with terracotta medieval buildings and porticoes at virtually every turn, delightful Bologna also boasts a rich culinary heritage – and is home to some of the finest restaurants in Italy.
This lively city is packed with attractions including the sprawling Piazza Maggiore, the Fountain of Neptune and the imposing Basilica di San Petronio. Enjoy exploring all that this historic city in Northern Italy has to offer on this exciting 6 night / 7 day holiday by First Class rail, which also includes stays in dynamic Turin and the classically Swiss city of Basel.
|Holiday Options and Prices||Low Season – November to February||High Season – March to October|
|Via Turin and Basel (featured itinerary)||from £1,295 per person||from £1,495 per person|
Day 1 – London to Turin by First Class rail
Start your holiday at the impressive London St Pancras International station, with its magnificent arched glass roof. Take the time to admire this wonderful building, then sit back and relax as you travel by Eurostar to Paris at speeds of up to 186mph. Enjoy the light meal and drinks served on board in Standard Premier Class (1st class for leisure travellers). On arrival at Paris Gare du Nord you are transferred by taxi to the Gare de Lyon, to continue your journey by high-speed train through France to Turin in Italy. From here, you can make your own way by taxi or public transport (payable locally) to your hotel for tonight, the welcoming, highly-rated Grand Hotel Sitea (5 star).
Day 2 – Turin to Bologna
Enjoy a morning to explore Turin. Perhaps take a stroll under the intricate arcades to Piazza Castello, surrounded by majestic buildings, or maybe discover the celebrated Egyptian Museum and the magnificent cathedral. The latter is a famous pilgrimage site, as it was the original home of the renowned Shroud of Turin.
Later you leave this bustling city by train, travelling in First Class to beautiful Bologna. Sit back and watch the world go by as you travel through the contrasting Italian landscapes. On arrival at Bologna Centrale station make your own way to your hotel for the next four nights, the elegant Art Hotel Commercianti (4 star), located in the historical centre of the city.
Days 3-5 – Exploring Bologna
You have three full days to discover the wonders of Bologna. The city’s claim to fame are its ancient “two towers”, Asinelli Tower and Garisenda Tower and it is also famous for its cuisine. It is now regarded as one of the most attractive cities in Italy, being full of character and is considered second only to Venice in beauty by many Italians. It certainly has one of the largest and best preserved historic centres among Italian cities.
Its architecture is noted for its palette of terracotta reds, burnt oranges, and warm yellows, hence the name of Bologna la rossa (Bologna the red). The extensive town centre, characterised by miles of attractive covered walkways, known as “porticos,” is one of the best-preserved in Europe. Bologna is the seat of the oldest university in continental Europe, founded in 1088. A significant portion of its population consists of away-from-home university students. The beautiful city centre in Bologna is well preserved and maintained, and is a credit to the city’s policy of preservation. With unified architecture and marbled pavements, this charming Emilian city is well pedestrianised and easily explored on foot. In the heart of Bologna are the city’s two main squares, the Piazza del Nettuno and the Piazza Maggiore, the latter of which is where you will find the official tourist information centres.
Day 6 – Bologna to Basel
Today you leave Bologna and join the train back to Milan. Relax in your comfortable First Class seat as the landscape of central Italy unfurls before you. At Milan Centrale station you change trains for the wonderfully scenic journey along the Gotthard route into Switzerland. The line transports you through picturesque scenery, climbing to the foot of the snow-capped Alps and through the Gotthard Base Tunnel, the world’s longest tunnel and a marvellous feat of engineering, which opened fully in December 2016. You then emerge and continue past sparkling Lake Lucerne before arriving in the charming city of Basel for an overnight stay at the family-run GAIA Hotel (4 star) close to the station.
After settling in, take the opportunity to explore this traditionally Swiss city. The main attractions are located around the Old Town (Vieille Ville), on the southerly bank in Greater Basel (Grossbasel) and on the northerly side of Little Basel (Kleinbasel). You might like to sightsee on a leisurely cruise along the River Rhine, which meanders through the very heart of the city and is lined with endless interesting attractions. Perhaps visit the town hall, concert hall or the theatre or take a trip to the university botanical gardens or the zoological gardens with its huge monkey house, where a group of Western lowland gorillas reside, together with chimpanzees and orangutans.
Day 7 – Homeward bound
Today you begin your journey home as you join the high-speed train back to Paris. In the French capital, your private taxi transfer takes you to the Gare du Nord and the last leg of your journey. Here you join the Eurostar and let the train take the strain as you stretch out and savour the light meal and drinks included in your Standard Premier service. At 186mph the landscape is a blur at times, though memories abide as you return to London St. Pancras International and the final leg of your journey home.