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Two Days in Florence Itinerary: San Lorenzo Market

2 Weeks in Italy: The Perfect 14 Day Itinerary for First Time Visitors

Italy

Italy is one of those countries that we just can’t quit.

After three visits there, including a six-week stint this fall, our desire to return to Italy just keeps growing: there will always be more villages to explore, natural beauty to marvel at, and, of course, pasta and wine to enjoy.

For first time visitors, 2 weeks in Italy is the perfect amount of time to hit the country’s most famous and classic spots, see which ones you love, and (if you’re anything like us) fall head-over-heels in love with the country to the point that you’ll leave planning your next trip back.

Since this 2 week Italy itinerary is focused on first-time visitors, we won’t be straying off the beaten path much here. These first 14 days in Italy will be all about the classics–follow this trip and you’ll be spending a lot of time watching postcards come to life!

3 Days in Venice in November: Small Canal

2 Weeks in Italy

Rome: 2 Days

The Highlights of Rome

Rome’s highlights rank among the most famous sights in the world: who hasn’t dreamed of seeing the Colosseum in person, of walking across St. Peter’s Square, and of admiring the masterpiece that is the Sistine Chapel?

Two days in Rome will give you plenty of time to see the best of what Rome has to offer, while also leaving plenty of time in your 2 weeks in Italy itinerary for all of the other destinations along the way!

Read Next: 2 Days in Rome: Your Complete Itinerary

Things to Consider in Rome

Rome has two major downsides as a tourist: crowds and heat.

You can beat the bulk of both by traveling in the shoulder season (we went in the fall and loved it), and/or waking up extra early to enjoy the city before everyone else gets out of bed. For example, some of the best photos of the Trevi Fountain I have seen were taken around dawn!

Where We Stayed in Rome:

La Cornice Guesthouse — We loved this little guesthouse! It was extremely clean and comfortable, and VERY affordable for Rome.

La Cornice is set slightly outside the main tourist areas, but an easy 5-minute walk to the metro and 20-minute ride got us to the Colosseum and other major sights.

Our favorite part of La Cornice? Eating a nearby Joseph Ristorante for lunch, which we ate at several times on recommendation from the clerk at La Cornice. Just a 5 minute walk away, their lunch special offered a choice of about 10 main courses plus bread, wine, and one of several desserts for 8 Euros/person–it’s hard to beat that! The food wasn’t anything fancy, but it was very tasty and an amazing deal for the price.

We loved our time at La Cornice Guesthouse (and its reasonable cost in notoriously pricey Rome), and we would definitely stay here again.

2 Days in Rome: Trevi Fountain

2 Days in Rome: Couple Inside Colosseum

2 Days in Rome: Vatican Museums Spiral Staircase

Cinque Terre: 2 Days

The Highlights of Cinque Terre

No first trip to Italy would be complete without a visit to this beautiful coastline!

After leaving Rome, head north to Cinque Terre for coastal views, hiking, adorable fishing villages, and plenty of fresh seafood.

Since five of the Cinque Terre villages are easily connected by train (or ferry during the summer!), feel free to stay in whichever one appeals the most, or even in nearby Levanto to save a tiny bit of cash.

Things to Consider in Cinque Terre

While it would be tempting to bring a car to Cinque Terre to have access to your own transportation and a more direct way to get to Cinque Terre from Rome and to Florence after your visit, the roads do not make for an easy drive.

Parking can also be a challenge around the villages–if possible, we’d recommend relying on the train or Cinque Terre’s famous trail to get between the villages.

Keep an eye on closures to both the trains and the trails between the villages, however. Strikes can happen, shutting down the train (happened to us in May 2016!), and the trails can sometimes be washed out and therefore closed.

2 Weeks in Italy Itinerary: Overlooking Monterosso al Mare

2 Weeks in Italy Itinerary: Beach at Monterosso al Mare

Florence/Tuscany: 3 Days

Highlights of Tuscany

Tuscany is one of our favorite regions in Italy–and not just because we could spend a lifetime eating and drinking there (though we could). The towns are beautiful and distinct, Florence is a dream of a city, the history is interesting, and the golden tinge to the light that you see in pictures of Tuscany isn’t photoshop–it just really looks like that.

While there’s no such thing as too much time in Tuscany, 3 days in Tuscany will give you a chance to explore the best of Florence in about 1.5-2 days, and also give you time to visit at least one other Tuscan city.

Pisa is a popular choice that is close to Florence, but unless you’re truly dying to see the leaning tower, we’d recommend Volterra, San Gimignano, Lucca, or Siena instead.

Read Next: 2 Days in Florence: The Ultimate Itinerary

Things to Consider in Tuscany

Three days in Tuscany gives you a couple of options as far as lodging: you can either stay in Florence the whole time and take day trips out, you can stay in a smaller city the whole time and simply take a day trip to Florence, or you can split it up–two nights in one city, and one in another.

Personally, we’d recommend sticking with one place to stay–this itinerary is already fast-paced, there’s no reason to take up extra time moving hotels.

We’ve visited Tuscany both ways: by staying in Florence and commuting out, and by staying near Lucca and commuting into Florence for a day trip. You truly can’t go wrong with either option–I’d stay in Florence if you’re more of a city person, and in a surrounding Tuscan town if you’re more interested in the countryside.

If you stay in the countryside, you will definitely want to rent a car for this portion of the trip.

Two Days in Florence Itinerary: Mercato Centrale

Where We Stayed in Florence:

Airbnb Apartment in the Heart of Florence — We based ourselves in Florence for our month in Tuscany, and it would be impossible to beat the location of this apartment! It was less than a 10 minute walk to the Ponte Vecchio, the Duomo, the Ufizzi, and many other sites in Florence. There was a little street noise at night, especially on the weekends, but it was worth it to us! The apartment is very small, but fully stocked–we cooked most nights we were there. We would not hesitate to stay here again while in Florence!

Never used Airbnb before? Sign up with our link for a discount on your first stay!

If we were in Florence for a shorter visit, we would likely stay in a hotel.

Here are a couple Florence hotels that are similar to what we usually stay in (budget-to-mid-priced, in a solid-to-excellent location, well reviewed, and with wifi) that we would strongly consider staying in on a return visit:

Bargello Guest House (9.1 rating on Booking.com) — Located in the heart of Florence, this property is only a short (read: less than 5-minute) walk away from some of Florence’s highlights like the Palazzo Vecchio. Staying here, you’ll be within easy walking distance of the best of what Florence has to offer.

Ghirlandaio Firenze Guesthouse (9.0 rating on Booking.com) — Housed in a 19th century building, this guesthouse is tucked away a bit further from the action than the other–which in Florence means that you’re still just a 15-minute walk from the Duomo!

Two Days in Florence Itinerary: View from Bell Tower

Romantic Things to Do in Tuscany: Tuscan streets in rain

2 Weeks in Italy Itinerary: Arezzo, Tuscany

Venice: 2 Days

Highlights of Venice

Canals, canals, and more canals: Venice is simply a ridiculously beautiful place, and we loved every second of our time there.

Definitely make sure that you climb St. Marco’s Bell Tower for an amazing view of the city, check out Libreria Acqua Alta (one of our favorite bookstores in the world!), walk across the Rialto Bridge, and spend ridiculous amounts of time wandering aimlessly around the small streets and lesser-known canals–that is truly Venice at its best.

If you have good weather while in Venice, also consider a day trip out to the island of Murano or Burano for another view on Venetian life!

Read Next: 3 Days in Venice in November: Was it Worth it?

Things to Consider in Venice

Especially if you’re visiting during the summer, Venice will be both crowded and expensive. It’s still absolutely worth it to go, but like in Rome, consider early wake up calls to get the most out of your experience. Some of our best memories of Venice are of walking through the city before the shops had even started opening–and we got some of our best photos then, too.

Keep in mind that if you want to take an iconic gondola ride, you’ll be paying a pretty penny–about $100 USD/gondola worth. We opted to skip the gondola ride and simply ride a waterbus through the Grand Canal for about $8 USD/person, which was more than enough time on the water for us.

If you have your heart set on a gondola ride, though, be sure to budget for it!

Where We Stayed in Venice:

Hotel Casa Boccassini — This cute hotel easily met our needs in Venice! The room was simple but clean, and the shared bathroom a fair trade in exchange for their competitive prices in a great location. The bathroom was clean and we had a sink in our room, both of which always make shared bathroom situations much easier. The courtyard of the hotel was beautiful!

The hotel was a simple and beautiful 10-minute walk from the Rialto Bridge, and just a 5 minute walk to the airport water bus. We would definitely stay here again!

3 Days in Venice in November: Canal View

3 Days in Venice in November: Venice from San Marco Bell Tower

3 Days in Venice in November: Rialto Bridge Gondola

More time in Italy?

Italy has an endless amount of places to see, and no 2 weeks in Italy could dream of covering the whole country.

If you find yourself with more time in Italy, consider heading to the South Tyrol region to experience the Dolomites (also known as the Italian Alps). You could also head to Lake Como and stop off at Milan along the way.

Bologna, which is known as one of Italy’s great foodie cities, is another wonderful choice, and also includes the option of a day trip to the microstate of San Marino.

South of Rome, you could head to the incredible Amalfi Coast, and stop off for a day along the way to eat pizza in Naples.

Even with all that, you’re still barely scratching the surface of Italy (and of course every single one of the destinations included on this 2 week Italy itinerary could easily take up more time as well)–but that’s ultimately a good thing. There is always a reason to come back.

Read Next: 8 Romantic Things to Do in Tuscany

2 Weeks in Italy Itinerary: San Gimignano, Tuscany

Getting Around Italy

Trains rule on-the-ground travel in Italy: if you’re not going to rent a car, it’s likely you’ll be getting around Italy by train.

Every train we have taken in Italy has been comfortable and pleasant, but keep in mind that strikes can sometimes interfere with travel.

We definitely recommend booking your train tickets in advance–they do go up in price as the departure time gets closer.

For longer distances, you can also consider flights. Discount airlines operate throughout Italy–look for flights to and from Rome, Pisa, Bologna, Milan, and Venice.

2 Weeks in Italy Itinerary

When to Visit Italy

There’s no such thing as a bad time to spend 2 weeks in Italy–but some seasons are definitely more convenient to travel in than others.

Summer is the most popular season and will bring warm weather, lots of sunshine, and lots of tourists. Prices will be at their highest, but the beaches will be at their best–if you’re hoping to swim at Cinque Terre, you’ll want to plan a summer trip.

Winter is the offseason and will bring colder temperatures, rain, and gray skies. Prices will be at their lowest, and crowds will be as small as they ever get. The Christmas season can bring some increased crowds (particularly in Rome), but also the benefit of experiencing Christmas decor and markets.

Personally, our favorite times to travel to Italy are the spring and the fall: the crowds are less than in the summer, spring brings beautiful blooms, and fall brings the olive harvest (after tasting fresh olive oil in Tuscany this past year, I don’t know how we ever lived without it).

The weather is a bit riskier during the spring and fall than during the summer, but we have never had much of an issue with it–the occasional rainy or cool day is worth it to us for the tradeoff of not being hot and crowded

2 Weeks in Italy Itinerary

30 Comments Write a comment

30 Comments

  • Lisa January 13, 2018

    I’m in Veneto, and so am biased about what I write about Italy. You covered some great places like CInque Terre and beautiful Toscana. I totally agree about heading to see the Alps, the Dolomiti is a must too. Beautiful photos to accompany the post too!

    • Kate Storm January 15, 2018

      Thanks, Lisa! We’re hoping to make it back to see even more of Italy in 2018–maybe we’ll make it to Veneto this time!

  • Jenn and Ed Coleman January 13, 2018

    Italy, why can’t I quit you… I have been reading about how dreary Italy can be in the winters. I think you are right that fall would be the best time to visit. I loved how clear all of your photography was.

    • Kate Storm January 15, 2018

      Thanks, guys! I know what you mean–we can’t quit Italy, either.

  • Nicole Anderson January 14, 2018

    A great article for first timer to Italy. I have sent this to my partner and I hope he reads it, I have dreamed of coming to Italy since I was a young girl. My parents went to Italy and always spoke of Venice and Muranos Island and of course glassware. Your photos are spectacular.

    • Kate Storm January 15, 2018

      Hope you get to make that trip happen soon, Nicole! Italy is as amazing as advertised. 😀

  • Neha January 14, 2018

    Italy is such a cool destination and this is the perfect guide to plan a trip in two weeks. I have been to Rome once and your pictures of Trivi Fountain is amazing as during my visit it was mainly crowded. Did you explore the islands near Venice too ?

    • Kate Storm January 15, 2018

      No chance to go to the islands, sadly–the weather didn’t cooperate with us too well in Venice. Hopefully next time! We’d especially love to go to Burano.

  • Iulia January 14, 2018

    I was actually wondering where you were off next, after reading your Rome post 🙂 although not a big fan of Italy overall, I am a huge fan of Tuscany… I only got to spend 2 days in Florence a few years back, so it is definitely on my travel list! Love your pics!

    • Kate Storm January 15, 2018

      Florence is definitely worth a return visit–the food alone would be, in our opinion! 😉

  • Lottie January 14, 2018

    I visited Italy for the first time last year, travelling to Rome and it was magical. The amount of culture is unbelievable, I would love to travel to Florence or Naples next time!

    Lottie

    • Kate Storm January 15, 2018

      I hope you get that return trip, Lottie! Italy never gets dull, that’s for sure.

  • Aditi January 14, 2018

    Your pictures are really enticing. A trip to Italy would be incomplete without taking up a culinary class or 2 in Tuscany. Cinque Terre looks particularly interesting too. Will get back to you for travel-planning. 🙂 Cheers!!

    • Kate Storm January 15, 2018

      You’re totally right, Aditi–our cooking class in Tuscany was one of our highlights of our month there this year! Food in general is such a big part of traveling in Italy, it really adds something to the whole experience.

  • Dada January 15, 2018

    I agree with you that one cant get enough of Italy…and this time I really mean it! So much cosy villages and site to explore…and not to mention the food! I have been to Italy many times before living in the country next to so I think you have chosen a great destinations for a two weeks itinerary for a first-timer! I hope to visit the northern and souther part of Italy this summer!

    • Kate Storm January 15, 2018

      Oh, it must be so much fun to live in Italy! I’m sure it comes with its challenges as well, like any destination, but if we could pick somewhere to live for a year, Italy would be VERY high on the list!

  • Archana Singh January 15, 2018

    Eat, Pray, love put Italy on my map. And, I am so glad it did. I really enjoyed my time in Italy. And, without knowing I almost followed your first-time visitor itinerary. The country is so beautiful that one time is not enough. I am aching to go back. Maybe this year it will happen.

    • Kate Storm January 15, 2018

      Hope you get to go back, Archana! No such thing as too many trips to Italy, right?!

  • Ami January 19, 2018

    A nice itinerary that you have suggested. Did all these except for cinque Terre. Wish someone had advised me then to do that. I hope to go back to Italy again to see this. Cheers

    • Kate Storm January 19, 2018

      Agreed–we hope we get to go again soon, too! 🙂

  • James February 20, 2018

    Hi Kate,

    Curious, how did you decide the order of your destinations? We’re doing 15 days in Italy and flying into Rome. We’re trying to visit Venice, Florence, Cinque Terre, Tuscany then Amalfi Coast before returning to Rome for our flight home. Any advice on the best order?

    Thanks!

    • Kate Storm February 20, 2018

      Hi James!

      We actually put this itinerary together based on a couple of months worth of travel in Italy, so we didn’t follow these steps exactly in order (though we’ve visited all of these destinations, some more than once!).For your trip, assuming you’re flying out of Rome as well, I’d personally probably structure it as: Rome to Cinque Terre, Cinque Terre to Florence/Tuscany, Florence/Tuscany to Venice, and Venice to the Amalfi Coast (you’ll need to stop by Rome again) before returning home.

      No matter what way you do it, you’re going to have a lot of travel time in there–you’re covering quite a bit of the country.Honestly, I’m tempted to say you should skip either Cinque Terre or the Amalfi Coast (the Amalfi Coast would make more sense to cut geographically, hence why it didn’t make this itinerary) and slow the pace a bit, but I know that’s much easier said than done–when you have a limited number of days, you want to see it all!

      Not sure how you’re planning on getting around, but I’d consider saving some time and flying from Venice back to Rome–budget airlines (including Ryanair) fly in/out of both those cities, and if you plan in advance, you may be able to get very low fares. Also consider booking any train tickets you need in advance–fares go up dramatically the closer your dates get.

      Hope you guys have an amazing trip! Italy is absolutely incredible. 🙂

  • AKSHAY March 5, 2018

    Hi Jeremy and Kate,
    Warm greetings from India. I discovered your blogsite recently and this is really amazing 🙂
    I wanted a favor from you guys, I will be travelling to Italy soon, for some office work in mid march. I will stay at Siena for 14 days. Can you please please please recommend me a travel plan or at least help me with details of rail travel?
    I intend to see Rome on one weekend, Venice and Milan on other weekend. I intend to travel Florence and Pisa during weekdays, when we get time off.
    I wish to hear from you guys…
    Love from India <3

    • Kate Storm March 7, 2018

      Hi, Akshay! That’s not a service that we offer, but I can say that we used Trenitalia for our train tickets and were very satisfied with them. I recommend booking as soon as you know your dates, because prices do get more expensive over time. I think seeing Venice and Milan in a single weekend will likely be too much–unless you’re dying to see Milan in particular, I’d recommend skipping it and heading right to Venice. Good luck!! Hope you have an incredible trip.

  • Christine Fieser March 6, 2018

    We leave for our first Italy trip next week! I am so excited! When we were first planning our trip we were trying to pack too much into 14 days. We settled on flying into Venice for two days, heading to Modena for two days, traveling to the Umbria region for 5 and ending in Rome where we fly out.

    • Kate Storm March 7, 2018

      Oh, that is so exciting! It’s definitely tempting to try to stuff too many destinations into too few days, but your trip sounds wonderful. I hope it helps you fall in love with Italy!!

  • Vicki K April 14, 2018

    Hello- We are traveling to Italy for first time in August 2018. Flying in to Venice and staying for 3 nights. Then to Florence for 4 nights, and on to Rome for 6. Flying back to US from Rome. Question– Should we decrease time in Rome to add 1-2 nights in Naples or Sorrento to see Amalfi Coast? We will do day trip from Rome –> Naples –> Pompeii, but just curious if we should try to squeeze in Amalfi Coast. Thank you!

    • Kate Storm April 14, 2018

      Hi Vicki! It’s hard to say without knowing your general travel style (how badly do you want to see the beach?), but our recommendation would be to stick with Rome for 6 nights, or to add on an additional night onto Florence and potentially use that as a day trip to Cinque Terre (you’ll need a car to do that, but it’s a shorter drive than Rome –> Sorrento). Good luck with your planning–your trip sounds fabulous!

      • Vicki K April 15, 2018

        Thanks so much Kate! The attraction to Amalfi Coast is b/c we have heard how beautiful it is- but it does does sound far for a day trip from Rome. I keep reading about Cinque Terre but we are not big hikers (knee issues…!). Would Cinque Terre be worth a day trip (train?) on the way to Florence from Venice? Thank you so much for your help! Vicki

        • Kate Storm April 19, 2018

          A day in Cinque Terre on the way to Florence, perhaps… but you’d need a whole day, and likely need to spend a night. There’s no direct train from Florence to Levanto (the larger village near the Cinque Terre villages), unfortunately, so traveling by train between the two without a car is harder than it appears looking at a map. Travel from Venice to Cinque Terre will likely take an entire day as well, but you could add one Cinque Terre day in between two travel days if you’d like! 🙂

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