Trying to figure out exactly how to spend 7 days in Italy isn’t an easy task for one simple reason: with only a week in Italy, it’s virtually guaranteed you’ll need to leave some of your Italy bucket list items unchecked.
That being said, you can absolutely have an amazing trip to Italy in 7 days and walk away feeling like you’ve enjoyed a fantastic taste of the country (literally and figuratively!).
We’ve put together this guide to seeing Italy in a week to help you choose the best 7 day Italy itinerary for you, offer some guidance on your trip planning, and give a realistic overview of what spending a week in Italy can look like.
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Table of Contents
How to Structure a Week in Italy
There are essentially two ways to structure a 7 day Italy trip: move around 2-3 times and have a very fast-paced trip that covers a lot of ground, or choose a single base for a week and take day trips from there.
Both possibilities have benefits: for example, with a classic Italy itinerary that moves around frequently, you’ll likely cover a broader geographic region.
On the other hand, staying in one place for the week will be less exhausting, allow you to get to know one part of Italy a bit better, and allow you to spend more time exploring and less time in transit.
While there are near limitless ways to spend a week in Italy, we’ve outlined 7 Italy itinerary options below that are designed to appeal to first-time visitors to the country.
Four are typical moving-hotels-every-couple-days itineraries, and three are suggestions of popular bases in Italy and days trips you could take from them.
All make for fabulous weeklong Italy itineraries–if we had 7 days in Italy, we’d personally be excited about any one of these trips!
About Our Italy City Itineraries
We’ve intentionally kept this guide to spending a week in Italy fairly high-level, and avoid getting bogged down into too many details about how to spend time in a particular city (since at this stage of your planning, you’re probably not even sure how long that will be!).
When you are ready to plan your stays in certain destinations in detail, though, we have you covered!
Our Escape Clause has nearly 100 Italy blog posts available, including extremely detailed itineraries (and sometimes more than one itinerary!) for most of the destinations mentioned in this post, including Rome, Florence, Tuscany (outside of Florence), Venice, Milan, Cinque Terre, and the Amalfi Coast.
We’ve also written a few compare-and-contrast posts for popular destinations if you can’t fit them all in–for example, how to decide whether to visit Rome or Venice or choose between Rome and Florence (if you absolutely must, that is).
I’ve linked some examples in the above sentence and will include more links throughout this post, but if you’re curious about our coverage of a certain destination, you can also use the search bar in the top right-hand corner of the screen to see what we’ve published!
Traditional 7 Day Italy Itineraries
These four Italy itinerary options all move around every couple of days, giving you roughly 2 days per destination.
As a result, these are fairly exhausting itineraries–but with only 7 days in Italy, moving quickly is required if you want to cover a lot of ground!
Classic Italy Itinerary: Rome + Florence + Venice
This is, without a doubt, the most classic and popular of these 7 day Italy itinerary options.
Rome, Florence, and Venice are Italy’s most popular cities to visit, and with careful planning and the help of high-speed trains, you can sample all three with a week in Italy.
From wonders of Ancient Rome like the Colosseum, Roman Forum, and Pantheon to more recent additions like the Vatican Museums, Trevi Fountain, and winding cobblestone streets of Trastevere, exploring Rome is a captivating, engaging experience that we can’t recommend highly enough.
Rome is arguably our favorite city on the planet and the perfect place to kick off your trip to Italy.
The Cradle of the Renaissance is known for its phenomenal art, iconic Duomo, winding streets, and delicious food, is an absolute delight to explore as part of your Italy itinerary.
Be sure to check out the view from Piazzale Michelangelo, eat lots of gelato (it was invented in Florence, after all), and stroll across the Ponte Vecchio while you’re there.
Visiting Florence also includes access to the Tuscan countryside with its gorgeous vineyards, beautiful hilltop villages, and rolling hills–and even with only 7 days in Italy, you can squeeze in a quick day trip outside the city!
Exploring the city of canals, gondolas, and a seemingly endless maze of tiny streets and footbridges is a truly unforgettable experience, and a fabulous way to cap off your week in Italy.
While you’re there, stroll across the Rialto Bridge, glide along the canals in a gondola, admire the colorful houses of Burano, check out glass-blowing in Murano, and marvel at the beauty of the Doge’s Palace and St. Mark’s Basilica.
Countryside & Fishing Villages: Tuscany + Cinque Terre
Want to focus on two distinctly different parts of the country without traveling far?
Focusing on Tuscany and Cinque Terre will allow you to spend your 7 days in Italy in a combination of a fabulous city, small hilltop towns, and coastal fishing villages!
Florence + Day Trips
By narrowing your focus to just Tuscany and Cinque Terre, you can spend longer based in Florence–perhaps even five days, and really get to know the city in detail while also scheduling some day trips to nearby locations like San Gimignano, Siena, and Pisa.
Alternatively, you could base yourself for a couple of days in Florence and then stay in a smaller town or countryside Tuscan villa for a portion of your 7 days in Italy before moving on to Cinque Terre!
This collection of five Ligurian fishing villages has captured the hearts of Italy travelers for generations: come here to stroll along the rocky coastline, go sunbathing in Monterosso al Mare, eat delicious pesto and seafood, admire the viewpoints above Vernazza, and watch the sun go down over Manarola.
City & Sea Itinerary: Rome + Amalfi Coast + Pompeii
In this third option for spending a week in Italy, you’ll visit Rome and then veer south instead of north (as in the first option), making your way to one of the most famous and stunning coastlines in the world, which is conveniently located right next door to one of the most famous archaeological sites in the world!
Like the classic Italy itinerary option, this trip will start in the Eternal City, exploring the Colosseum, Roman Forum, Trevi Fountain, and Vatican City.
Be sure to leave time to sample Rome’s fantastic cuisine along the way: in our totally biased opinion, you can’t go wrong eating carbonara nearly every day that you’re in Rome.
The stunningly beautiful Amalfi Coast is a feast for the eyes: while you’re here, explore famous Positano, hit the water in a rented boat, admire views from Ravello, hike the Path of the Gods, and take a day trip to fabulous Capri.
I’m listing Pompeii separately here because it’s such a huge tourist destination in its own right, but if you’d like to avoid changing hotels an additional time during your 7 days in Italy, you can visit Pompeii as a day trip from the Amalfi Coast itself–otherwise, it’s very easy to access while staying in Sorrento or Naples.
Regardless of where you stay, though, there’s no doubt that strolling the streets of Pompeii is an incredibly moving and fascinating experience to have during your week in Italy. We had high expectations before visiting, but Pompeii was truly even more impressive than we imagined.
Venice + Milan + Lake Como
Prefer to focus on the north? This 7 day Italy itinerary takes you from canals, to the taste of a beautiful city, to Italy’s most famous lake.
Start your 7 days in Italy in Venice, strolling across the Rialto Bridge, marveling at St. Mark’s Basilica, and gliding along Venice’s famous canals in a gondola.
Milan (or Verona, or Bologna)
The most typical next second stop on this 7 day Italy itinerary is Milan, Italy’s fashion capital, the location of Da Vinci’s The Last Supper, and the home of one of the most iconic Duomos in Italy.
It’s a fabulous option–but depending on your taste, this itinerary could also work by substituting Milan for Bologna (perfect for foodies) and Verona (perfect for those looking for an incredibly picturesque city with fewer crowds than Venice or Milan).
Glamorous, gorgeous Lake Como is, by far, the most popular lake to visit in Italy–and how can it not be, given how easily accessible it is by train, how stunningly beautiful the lake itself is, and how lovely the mountains are surrounding it?
Wander the streets of Bellagio, admire the beauty of Villa Carlotta, relax on a boat tour of the lake, visit charming Isola Comacina, and head out on an incredibly picturesque hike.
Deep Dives: Choose a Base + Build Your Own Week in Italy Itinerary
The options for spending 7 days in Italy outlined below take a bit of a different approach than the more traditional trip plans above, but in our opinion, can make for incredibly rewarding trips.
Do you want to spend less time (and money) changing cities? Do you hate unpacking and repacking? Do you love the idea of getting to know “your” neighborhood in a city for more than a couple of days?
If so, spending a week in Italy all based in one city might be for you!
Spending your entire trip to Italy in one spot when you no doubt have a huge list of things you’d like to see may seem counterintuitive, but it can also be incredibly rewarding–and with the help of 2-3 day trips during your trip, you can still see a decent variety of places in Italy in a week.
A Week in Rome + Beyond
I mentioned above that Rome is probably our favorite city in the world, so of course it’s our top suggestion for where to base yourself for a week in Italy!
Not only is Rome big and complex enough that a lifetime wouldn’t be long enough to uncover all of the phenomenal things to do in Rome, but it also makes a fantastic base for exploring central Italy.
Fun Day Trips from Rome
We have a full guide to day trips from Rome, but for a quick round-up, if you’re looking for incredible day trips from Rome, Florence is a fabulous and reliable option.
Tivoli is popular for gardens and history, Naples is great for seeing a very different Italian city than Rome, and Orvieto is a fabulous hilltop Umbrian town that is within easy reach.
If you’re willing to make a long day of it, you can even take an Amalfi Coast day trip from Rome–it’s not ideal, but with only 7 days in Italy, it’s a great way to make the most of your time.
For a beach that’s within much easier reach, Sperlonga offers great swimming during the summer months.
A Week in Tuscany + Beyond
There are two ways to structure spending a week in one place in Tuscany: you can either base yourself in a city like Florence or Siena and take day trips from there, or you can rent a villa in the countryside for a very different kind of week in Tuscany.
We’ve personally structured trips to Tuscany both ways and love them both for different reasons–we’d recommend Florence for city lovers who don’t want to drive much, and the countryside for travelers who are searching for peace, quiet, and possibly a vineyard to overlook while sipping their coffee in the morning.
Fun Day Trips from Florence
We have a full guide to the best day trips from Florence, but for some top picks, San Gimignano and Montepulciano rank among our favorites for classic Tuscan villages.
Pisa is within a half-hour train ride and an easy bucket list item to hit, and Cinque Terre, while a bit of a stretch, can easily be done with the help of a tour.
Venice, while not ideally done as a day trip, is also an option–so if you want to base yourself in Florence for the entire length of your 7 days in Italy but still squeeze in a gondola ride, that’s definitely an option.
A Week in the Amalfi Coast + Beyond
Do your dreams of Italy include dramatic coastline, long boat rides, and glamourous villages–maybe with a side of ancient history thrown in?
If so, you can’t beat the iconic Amalfi Coast!
Fun Day Trips from the Amalfi Coast
The Amalfi Coast area makes a fabulous launching pad to touring the surrounding region–from here, you can take day trips to Capri, Pompeii, and even Naples, among many others.
The only catch is that the Amalfi Coast itself is a tad isolated, as no trains run there and it’s a difficult road to drive. If you want to take several day trips during your time in Campania, you may prefer staying in Sorrento than on the Amalfi Coast itself.
If your Amalfi Coast dreams are more focused on sunbathing, cocktails, and boat rides, though, you may prefer to stay right on the coast!
Want to enjoy a beach week in Italy without splurging on the Amalfi Coast?
If so, consider a week in Puglia or a week in Sicily! While not as swanky as the Amalfi Coast, both offer absolutely stunning beaches, beautiful small towns, interesting history, and fabulous food, at a fraction of the price of spending a week on the Amalfi Coast.
Want to save just a little money while still sticking near the Amalfi Coast? You can save a bit on lodging by staying in Sorrento or Salerno, or step off the beaten path and spend a week on the island of Ischia or Procida.
Tips for Spending 7 Days in Italy
Don’t overcommit to destinations.
I really want to emphasize this as much as possible, if only because I know personally how insanely tempting it is to try to squeeze 5 or 6 destinations into a week in Italy: the slower you go, the better.
I would recommend spending the night in an absolute maximum of three places over 7 days in Italy–two places with a day trip for variety would be even better.
There are a lot of one week Italy itinerary outlines out there that suggest that you can visit 4+ places in a week–and while you technically can, of course, we absolutely don’t recommend it.
The unfortunate reality is that if you try to move hotels nearly every day, you’ll end up spending a large portion of your week in Italy on trains, locating your next place to stay, checking in and out of hotels, and lugging your suitcases around historical centers instead of enjoying all the beauty that Italy has to offer.
With only 7 days in Italy, try to stick to a smaller geographic area if possible.
With the exception of the first Italy itinerary listed in this post (which is the most popular/classic choice), all of these ideas for spending a week in Italy strive to limit how far you travel from place to place.
That will save you considerable time and headache in changing destinations, and quite honestly, any one of the regions of Italy covered here hold enough treasures to captivate you for at least a week!
Take advantage of day trips.
With only a week in Italy, day trips are a lifesaver when it comes to squeezing in an extra destination–trust me, there’s a good chance you’ll see more of a nearby city by taking an early train there, exploring for the day, and heading back on one of the last trains at night than by arriving around midday, losing time by checking into a hotel, exploring for an evening, and then having to pack up and check out of your hotel the next day.
Generally, the best way to change cities on these Italy itinerary options is via train.
Italy’s train system is very comprehensive, especially between major cities and in the central and northern parts of the country.
More likely than not, it’ll be the best way to travel between each city during your 7 days in Italy!
Book (some) train tickets in advance.
We go into this in a bit more detail in our travel tips for Italy post, but essentially, if you’re planning on taking the high-speed train (aka fast train) between any two cities (which you likely will, especially for day trips), you’ll want to book your train tickets in advance, as the prices are dynamic and will go up over time.
For the slower, regional trains–like taking the commuter rail between Florence and Pisa, for example–the prices are set and there’s no reason to book in advance.
We recommend shopping for high-speed train tickets on Omio, which will search multiple companies for the best combination of price, train time, and travel duration (it can vary dramatically depending on which exact trains you take, if there are layovers, etc, so check carefully!).
Shop train tickets for your week in Italy today!
What to Pack for a Week in Italy
Travel Insurance — We don’t ever suggest traveling without travel insurance–anything can happen, and this is definitely a case of better safe than sorry. We use and recommend World Nomads for trips to Italy.
Travel Adaptors for Italy — If you’re coming from outside of Europe, you’ll definitely need adaptors for your electronics.
Pacsafe — We can’t recommend our Pacsafe enough: this travel safe is affordable, sturdy, easy to pack, and will help keep your valuables safe in your hotel room (not that you should need to worry much about theft in Italy, but it’s better to be safe than sorry!).
Comfortable Day Bag — We currently use Pacsafe’s sleek anti-theft backpack and love it, but if you don’t want to shell out the cash for this trip, that’s totally understandable. Just aim for something comfortable to wear, not flashy, and medium-sized–we used a Northface Jester backpack for years and loved it as well.
Money Belt — This is up to you: we no longer use one, but if you’re more comfortable having your passports on your person in Italy, you can consider bringing one. We used to use this one and had no complaints. These days, we prefer just to leave valuables in our Pacsafe during the day.