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Continental Europe

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By Martha Chapman

First-Class Rail Vacations by Monograms: From north to south and heel to toe, Italy delivers ancient cities, seaside villages and rolling vineyards. It's home to the Roman Empire and birthplace to the Renaissance. A place where you can stand in the presence of Michelangelo's David and da Vinci's Last Supper. Italy is also home to more UNESCO World Heritage cultural sites than any other country on the globe. This is a place that needs to be explored, ventured through and seen.


To ensure they're getting the most out of their journey through Italy, Monograms delivers travellers to cities and villages on their itinerary via first-class, high-speed rail and offers them a local welcome in each destination with hand-picked centrally located hotels. Even better? Monograms – a sister company to award-winning tour operator Globus – is the only vacation provider that includes the on-site services of an expert Local Host who also arranges sightseeing in each destination and more.

For instance, when you want to see and experience the "big three," Monograms offers a 10-day Rome, Florence & Venice vacation (priced from $2,547 Cdn plus airfare). On this 9-day vacation, you arrive in Rome where a Monograms representative meet you and escorts you seamlessly from the airport to hotel where you meet your Local Host, who is there to provide insights and tips. Among many things, you will enjoy a half-day, included sightseeing excursion that includes Michelangelo's The Last Judgment in the Sistine Chapel, VIP entrance to the historic Colosseum, the Roman Forum and St. Peter's Square and Basilica – all accompanied by inside stories only the locals know. After three days in Rome, it's off to Florence via first-class, high-speed train. There, you will be escorted to the Academy of Fine Arts. With VIP access, you will skip the lines to see Michelangelo's David. Other activities include strolling through Cathedral Square, Piazza della Signoria and Santa Croce Square. After arriving in Venice via first-class train, and once again, receiving a Local Host greeting, Monograms has arranged a glassblowers' presentation plus VIP sightseeing in St. Mark's Square and Basilica a visit to the Doges' Palace and the Bridge of Sighs.

Other popular Monograms rail journeys throughout Italy include:
- 13-day Sorrento, Rome, Florence & Venice
- 13-day Rome, Florence, Venice & Lake Maggiore
- 7-day Rome & Venice
- 7-day Rome & Florence

Even better, three of Monograms 10 Italy itineraries are operated on a year round basis, giving travellers who love the affordability and fewer crowds to be found in off-season travel a memorable experience.

"As beautiful and welcoming as Italy is, it can be a bit overwhelming, especially if you are dealing with jetlag and don't speak the language," says Stéphanie Bishop, managing director of Monograms in Canada. "With our tested itineraries, you get a just-right amount of sightseeing and free time – and the invaluable services of our wonderful Local Hosts, not just as a welcoming face in the crowd, but also to help smooth out any wrinkles which might occur. Your job is simply to relax and enjoy your holiday."

For a truly authentic glimpse into the hassle-free pleasures of a Monograms vacation, the company has produced a short video to demonstrate the ease of travel with them, compared to being on your own.