7 Days in Italy: 7 Ways to Spend a Week in Italy

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.

View of the Tuscan countryside from Montepulciano with the village on the left, one of the best stops when driving from Rome to Florence road trip

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. 

Small canal in Venice on a sunny day, lined by windows with flowerboxes

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.

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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!

2 Days in Rome: Couple Inside Colosseum

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!

Faraglioni of Capri as seen on a boat tour while visiting the Amalfi Coast area.

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!

How to Use an Eurail Train Pass: photo of river surrounded by fall foliage in Bolzano.

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.

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Rome

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.

View of the Roman Forum and Colosseum from tha Altare della Patria, one of the best viewpoints in Rome

Florence

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!

Kate Storm in a red dress sitting on a bridge overlooking the Ponte Vecchio in Florence. Florence is a fabulous place to spend 7 days in Italy!

Venice

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.

Photo of Venice's Grand Canal as taken from the Rialto Bridge, an iconic view to seek out during your week in Italy

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!

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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!

2 Weeks in Italy Itinerary: View of Florence Duomo

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.

Photo of skyline of Vernazza when approaching from Corniglia: making sure to see this view is one of our Cinque Terre tips!

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!

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Rome

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.

Couple standing in from of Colosseum, One Day in Rome -- Rome in a Day

Amalfi Coast

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.

Cliffs of Capri, Italy, with sea below

Pompeii

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.

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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.

Visiting Pompeii: Streets of Pompeii

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.

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Venice

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.

A photo of the front of a Venetian gondola in the foreground with the Grand Canal in the background--the absolute best views of Venice can be found from inside 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.

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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).

One Day in Milan Itinerary: Rooftop of Duomo

Lake Como

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.

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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.

View of Orvieto Duomo as seen from Torre del Moro

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.

Piazzas in Rome: Fountain in Piazza Navona

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.

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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.

4 Day Rome Itinerary: Campo de'Fiori

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.

Honeymoon in Tuscany: rooftops of Siena

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.

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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.

Small Tuscan country road lined by trees--roads like this are one of the benefits of taking epic day trips from Florence!

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!

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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!

Kate Storm and Jeremy Storm on a balcony overlooking Positano

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.

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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.

Kate Storm in a floral dress sitting on a garden wall overlooking the sea in Taormina Sicily

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.

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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.

Italy Bucket List: View of Orvieto

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!

Kate Storm looking toward San Marco Campanile from Scala Contarini del Bovolo, which is an excellent place to visit during 2 days in Venice

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.

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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!

View of Riomaggiore at Sunset, Cinque Terre in One Day

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!

Frecciarosa Train in Italy: Florence to Bologna Train

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 Safety Wing 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!).

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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.

4 photos of Italy: Capri, Palazzo Doria Pamphilj, Orvieto, Vernazza. Black text on a white background reads "How to spend a week in Italy"

About Kate Storm
Image of the author, Kate Storm

In May 2016, I left my suburban life in the USA and became a full-time traveler. Since then, I have visited 50+ countries on 5 continents and lived in Portugal, developing a special love of traveling in Europe (especially Italy) along the way. Today, along with my husband Jeremy and dog Ranger, I’m working toward my eventual goal of splitting my life between Europe and the USA.

55 thoughts on “7 Days in Italy: 7 Ways to Spend a Week in Italy”

  1. This was gold! I can’t tell you how much I appreciate the info. We had a tour cancel but decided to stay and plan our own week. Been scratching our heads on how to handle because as you pointed out, there is soooo much! We’ve been to Italy several times and have seen the major sights, but I haven’t tired of most of them yet and could easily go back and want to go back to several spots. But, as you pointed out, to do it right it’s best to find a base, or two and then add day trips. Thank you again for taking the time to share your thoughts and opinions, I think they’re spot on!!

    Reply
  2. I appreciate the great suggestions. What do you think of Rome and Bologna for bases? I have seen a lot of Italy and of course can’t get enough but I haven’t been to Bologna. Maybe Ravenna for a day trip (from Bologna), a full day in Bologna and then back to Rome. We are starting in Rome and fly to Paris on the 7th day.

    Reply
    • Sounds fantastic! We adore both cities, and they’re very different. If you wanted to squeeze in another very famous city, you could even visit Florence as a day trip from either place.

      Reply
  3. So glad I found this, it’s super helpful! What would you recommend for a 6 day trip, end of October, flying in and out of Rome. I have seen a lot of Rome but my little brother hasn’t, and he has done a lot of Florence and Siena, San Gimignano but I haven’t.

    Ideally, I’d like to have 2 bases, Rome and somewhere else? I appreciate any suggestions (I’ve also never been to Italy in the Fall)

    Reply
    • You’re in for a treat! Italy in the fall is my favorite.

      In October I’d say you can’t beat Tuscany as a second base (though there is a risk of rain). If you want somewhere neither of you has been, basing yourselves in Montepulciano or Lucca could be great.

      Alternatively, if you want somewhere new to you both, the Amalfi Coast area won’t be beach weather anymore, but the views and hikes will still be sublime and the weather likely reasonable. Exploring Pompeii is much more pleasant in October than July, too!

      Reply
    • Other than the beach destinations, the world is your oyster in Italy in January as long as you’re prepared to bundle up and enjoy the gray weather!

      In January, I’d probably prioritize cities, as the weather likely won’t be the best–but the restaurants and museums are stunning year-round, and great places to warm up.

      Reply
  4. Hi, visiting Italy for the first time and I might be able to do so for only 7 days. For a first-timer, which itinerary would you recommend? Is Rome a must? I’m also interested in seeing Lago di Garda. But I have no idea where or how to start!

    Reply
    • For a first-timer, I’m partial to a classic Rome + Florence and Tuscany or Venice + Rome or Florence itinerary. But it’s all down to individual preference–there are a million “right” ways to spend your first week in Italy.

      Rome is probably my favorite city in the world, so I highly recommend it, but nowhere is a must if it doesn’t personally excite you!

      Lake Garda is a bit out of the way of many first-timer itineraries, but it’s easily combined with a trip to Verona, which is a stunning and potentially underrated city itself. Verona + Lake Garda + Milan or Venice could make a wonderful itinerary.

      Reply
    • So many! Not sure how close you’re looking for, but Portofino is about a 1.5-hour drive up the coast and Genoa is a bit past that.

      Florence is 3-4 hours by train, less by car. And Lucca and Pisa are even closer than that!

      Of course, if you want lots of beach time and hiking, you could also easily spend a whole week in Cinque Terre and have an amazing, slow-paced trip. 🙂

      Reply
  5. Hello,

    Love the blog. We are doing a cruise out of Venice (going to Greece and Croatia), but want to add an extra week for exploring. This is helpful. We want to see as much as we can, but not over extend ourselves either. We cannot decide if we should split our stay or arrive early / depart late and do it all at once. We have never been to Italy. I like your homebase idea. Any insight is appreciated!

    Reply
    • What a fantastic trip!

      I’d say that whether or not to split it up depends on how far you’re coming from (jet lag can be terrible the first couple of days if you’re coming from North America). A full week at the front will be more leisurely, splitting it up will be busier but you’ll still have a great time.

      Personally, I’d probably be inclined to stay in Italy 5 days at the front of the trip and 2 on the way back–not quite a 50/50 split, but enough that you’re not in a complete rush to leave after your cruise.

      For home bases, I certainly love Venice enough to stay there for a week! But if you’d like somewhere less crowded, Verona and Bologna are excellent options that you can easily reach from Venice by train.

      Reply
  6. Wife and I are looking at visiting in early May. We’d love to base in Rome and day trip to the Amalfi coast if possible. What do you think of using Verona as the second base and day tripping to Venice and the Italian Alps from there?

    Reply
    • In a pinch, it’s possible to day trip to the Amalfi Coast from Rome, but we highly recommend booking a tour (and know that it makes for a very long day).

      Verona makes a beautiful base, you can definitely have a lot of fun with that! I’d plan to get to Venice very early and/or stay until after the bulk of the crowds go home to see it at its best.

      As for the Alps, it’s definitely possible to visit on a day trip but you’ll be very rushed and limited in how much you can see! I’d pick 1-2 places that are your top choices and dig deep into the logistics of getting there and back in a day before deciding.

      Bolzano is one of the biggest cities in the Dolomites for example, and it’s easy enough to reach for a day trip via train, but once you get there, you’re still a funicular ride away from feeling completely in the mountains, if that makes sense.

      Reply
    • Alberobello is striking but fairly small and probably not big enough for a full week! If you want to spend a week in Puglia, I’d plan an itinerary that includes Alberobello and a couple of the other coastal towns, basing yourself out of 1-2 places. You can also take a day trip to Matera in that amount of time!

      Reply
  7. Hi-
    My boyfriend and I are planning a trip to Italy mid- July. It is the first time for both of us. We would be leaving here on a sunday and arriving there on a monday and leaving back to new york the following Monday. What do you suggest for two first timers in mid- july?

    Reply
    • Hi Jessica!

      It all depends on what you want, but be prepared for heat and crowds in mid-summer (definitely pre-book tickets to popular places like the Colosseum).

      If you’re looking for the classic Italy first-timers itinerary, Rome/Florence/Venice is always a blast regardless of what time. However, you will definitely be hot.

      Other popular first-time itineraries for a week could include Rome + the Amalfi Coast, Florence/Tuscany + Cinque Terre, or Milan + Lake Como + Venice.

      Reply
    • This is a gold find! Thank you very much. Just wanted your opinion about a 7 days trip end of the year (24-1st Jan) do you think that time will be too cold and would you recommend Florence + cinque Terree or Milan+boldega.. really appreciate your help

      Reply
      • It’ll definitely be a bit chilly–you’ll want a winter coat–but I sure wouldn’t turn down a January trip to Italy, especially in the cities.

        Personally, of the options you listed, I’d choose Florence + Bologna. 🙂

        Reply
  8. Hi!
    Visiting Italy for the first time with a friend for 7 days and def wanna do the Rome/Florence/Venice itinerary but not sure how to split up the base. Was thinking of staying in Florence for the first 3 days then Rome for the last 2 days (flight is early in the morning on the 7th day).

    What are your thoughts?

    Reply
    • Hi Milana!

      It completely depends on where your priorities lie. Be prepared for a whirlwind but exciting week!

      If you’re open to it, I’d consider changing hotels one more time and spending one night in Venice–Venice is so much nicer outside of day-tripping hours!

      Whatever you decide, definitely book your train tickets ASAP, as you’ll want to take advantage of the high-speed trains to give you maximum sightseeing time and the prices go up as the date of travel gets closer.

      Reply
  9. Hi!

    I will visit Italy in late June (early July) next year for approximately ten days. Rome is a must; so are Naples and Pompeii. However, I still want to go to Florence to see the Renaissance art and then head north to Milan (where I will return to NYC.) I also must stop by Cremona–it’s the violin capital of the world. I have no problem taking train rides and looking at the countryside 🙂

    Here’s a breakdown of my allocation system for the aforementioned places: 2 days in Rome, 1 day exploring the Castelli Romani, 1 day in Naples, 1 day in Pompeii, 2 days in Florence (with a day trip to Pisa, wine, and San Gimignano on the second day), and 2 days in Milan (with a day trip to Cremona on the second day.)

    Finally, the primary reasons for this trip are violins, art, history, food, wine, and the countryside. Do the places I listed suit these interests from your perspective? What do you think I could omit from this itinerary/most overrated? Additionally, since I will be arriving in Milan-what order should this itinerary be in?

    *My travel plans are not finalized yet, so I will be open to your input 🙂

    Sincerely, Timothy (P.S. Sorry for the bombardment of questions, what are your thoughts on living in a pensione, AirBnB, religious monastery, or hotel? Which is the best in terms of price and convenience to the city center?)

    Reply
    • Hi Timothy,

      Those are a lot of wonderful destinations. 🙂

      I know little to nothing about violins except that they sound beautiful, so the only advice I can offer there is to mention that the Gallerie dell’Accademia in Florence, where the statue of David is located, also has a beautiful collection of historic musical instruments that you will likely want to check out.

      As for your schedule, I do think that it’s far too packed and you’ll have a better time if you eliminate a couple of destiantions. No one ever wants this advice, but it’s really the only option other than extending your trip.

      It’ll take the better part of a day to travel between some of your destinations, so rather than having a day in Naples and a day in Pompeii, for example, you’ll be looking more at an afternoon in Naples and a day trip to Pompeii from there.

      I’ve never been to Cremona, but it sounds like it’s a must for you, so certainly keep that.

      Nothing on your list is overrated (that’s what makes planning Italy trips so difficult!), but Naples and Pompeii are definitely the odd destinations out geographically. I’d strongly consider trimming those and spending more time in Rome, Florence/Tuscany, and Lombardy. There is plenty of everything you’re looking for there!

      As for where to stay, there’s really no hard-and-fast answer, as it varies based on destination, season, etc. We’ve stayed in every option you mentioned except monasteries and tend to pick either a hotel or apartment based on how long we’re staying and our needs at the time. In your case, I’d prioritize a central location above most things, as you’ll be moving around quite a bit.

      Hope you have a wonderful time in Italy!

      Reply
  10. Hi, Kate!
    Thanks for the reply.

    Due to technical issues, the “reply” button would bring me back to all the other comments. On a happy note, I modified my trip to Italy to two weeks instead of ten days. Do you think the itinerary is possible? If not, I’m planning to omit Naples and Pompeii (internally crying!) and supplement them with Venice and some small towns (Italian countryside.)

    In your opinion, do the interests I wrote in my last comment suit Northern Italy or Southern Italy better?
    *I will be arriving and departing from Milan Malpensa (MXP) 🙂

    Sincerely, Timothy (P.S. From where would you start this itinerary from? Here’s my opinion, I’ll head south from Milan to Rome. Then, I’ll head north to Florence. After that, I will head to Bologna. North to Vence, and finally east to Milan.)

    Reply
    • Hi, Timothy!

      2 weeks does make it more feasible. You’ll still be very tired at the end, but it’s more doable. I’d recommend taking one of your extra days and adding it to Florence/Tuscany as well. Where you begin isn’t too important, but starting with the longest journey is a solid choice.

      I do recommend booking your high-speed train tickets between the major cities at least a few weeks in advance for this, both because they can be pricey last minute and because making sure you get the fastest routes will be important.

      As for whether the food, history, wine, art, and countryside (leaving out violins because you undoubtedly know more than I do on that) are better in Northern vs Southern Italy… that’s a painful choice!

      Both have absolutely fantastic options, though they are very different. Milan and Naples both have legendary food, for example, but do you want to eat risotto or pizza? Basically, every subject is a choice between 2 good things.

      The clearest divide for your interests, I’d say, is art. Central Italy (where both Rome and Florence are) and Northern Italy are home to some of the most globally famous art in the world. Southern Italy also has incredibly interesting art, but for a Renaissance or Baroque art buff on their first trip to Italy, Florence, Rome, etc. are hard to miss.

      Reply
      • Hi, Kate!

        Thanks for the reply. I am considering departing from Bologna instead of Milan due to the cheaper fares. I won’t have to retake the path I took to get to Rome–if it makes any sense. On that note, can I get off the train and go back on? For example, let’s say that I’m going to Rome from Florence. Would it be possible, per sé, to stop by at Orvieto or other small towns along the train line and then board back? In other words, in Italy, is there such a thing as “unlimited” train rides? Are there any passes or something like that? This is because my itinerary includes stops in Cremona, Parma, etc. 🙂

        Additionally, is it possible to squeeze a day for the Amalfi coast or Cinque Terre? I know–I love to squeeze as many places as possible!!!

        Thanks for helping me plan this trip. I deeply appreciate your insight!!!

        Reply
        • For train tickets, you can’t get on and off–you’ll need to book separate tickets for each leg of the journey you take, as the tickets are tied to your start and finish.

          An Eurail pass would solve that problem for you, but comes with its own complications (some routes require advance reservations) and they often don’t translate into saving money. In your shoes I’d likely just buy tickets for each journey.

          I definitely wouldn’t recommend extending your itinerary any further, but yes technically you could do an Amalfi Coast day trip from Naples or Cinque Terre from Tuscany. If you do choose to, I’d definitely recommend booking an organized tour for that!

          Reply
  11. Hi Kate,
    I found your advice is really helpful to others and hope I may have your advices for my first and unplaned visit in Italy shortly from 20 Sept 2022, in about a week (Im from Viet Nam).
    I havent booked any tour, accommodation yet. I want to stay 1-2 places in Italy (Venice is a must), alone in a week, then join with my friends in Hungary later on.
    Please help me with below issues:
    1. Where must visit?
    2. Any recomendation about hotel/home stay with normal prices?
    3. How can travel within a city? is it convenient with a bike or a motor?
    4. How to go to another city?
    5. How to get bus from Italy to Hungary?
    6. Any further advice would be appreciated

    Many thanks and have a good day
    Emma

    Reply
    • Hi Emma!

      I’m so glad you find our site helpful! 🙂

      By train, so much of Italy is reachable from Venice for your second destination that it depends on what you’re looking for. Verona, Florence, and Bologna would be places I would look at.

      We have suggested hotels on our all of city-specific guides, including lots on Venice! Here’s our most popular Venice post: https://www.ourescapeclause.com/2-days-in-venice-itinerary/

      Within Venice, you can mostly travel via foot or water taxi. Other cities you may want to use buses or metros, depending on where you are. Not many visitors rent scooters in Italy the way they do in Vietnam, but it is possible.

      Going between major cities, trains are generally easiest, but buses can be less expensive.

      Between Italy and Hungary, though, you’ll want to fly. Lots of budget airlines fly from major Italian cities to Budapest, so you should be good there!

      And yes, there is plenty of wifi in Italy! 🙂

      Hope you have a wonderful trip!

      Reply
  12. Hi Kate,
    Me Emma (VN) again.
    I have to work online abit during the visit.
    Is wifi is avaible in Italy or how can I get wifi – portable transmitter?

    Thanks,
    Emma

    Reply
  13. Kate
    This is a wonderful blog. We are spending a week in Italy for thanksgiving 2022. We have 6 full days plus travel days. Based on your blog we are leaning Rome + Florence. Venice is a close third but we had to drop it. Would you have any recommendations of a better itinerary given the time of the year.

    Reply
  14. Hi there, thanks for the great recommendations! My situation perhaps is different than most.

    I will be taking my then 17 yr old son on a trip to Italy. This was our compromise destination. He’s a big ww2 buff and there are two iconic museums in the Rome area that we will go to. Then we want to see some classics in Rome butttt I want countryside, rolling hills, quaint villages and wine. We can spend 7-9 nights. Based on what I read – maybe one change in homemade, Rome and Florence? The other thing is we will be coming on Good Friday 2024. I’m wondering if Rome for Easter will be epic site to see or if it will just be pure chaos and we should start the trip at destination 2 and then finish in Rome.
    Thanks for any input!

    Reply
    • Hi Rebecca,

      One base in Rome and the other in Florence would definitely work (don’t miss the Boboli Gardens for those countryside views, there are some great ones looking away from Florence).

      However, if you’re more drawn to the countryside than Florence as a city, you could also base yourself in a smaller place. Siena and Lucca are both cities, but smaller than Florence.

      Or, if you’re willing to drive, a place like Montepulciano would be a great option for exploring the Tuscan countryside by car.

      As far as Easter weekend goes, it would definitely be interesting to be in Rome then and see the parade, etc. If that appeals to you it would definitely be crowded but memorable!

      Regardless, though, it will be important that you book ahead for those dates, both in Rome and anywhere else. In much of Europe, Easter is a secular holiday as well as a religious one, and crowds and prices get crazy at all the popular vacation spots.

      Think of Easter weekend as a combination of Christmas weekend and American Spring Break. It’s absolutely not a reason to stay at home, but book your hotels well in advance, and if you’re driving, know that parking may be a bit more competitive than usual in some places.

      Reply
  15. Thank you for a very informative and helpful guide. My wife and I have booked air fares to Rome for January 4 arriving at 5.20pm. Returning to Manchester Jan 13 departing 1.25 pm. We would like see as much as possible of Rome and would also like to visit Florence. We would appreciate your feedback for an itinerary and whether we should be visiting any other cities or regions. Thank you John

    Reply
  16. Hi Kate!

    My fiance and I are planning on going to Italy for our honeymoon next April, and I have just spent the last few hours reading a ton of your Italy blog posts – I am so happy to have found your blog! It is going to be so helpful for planning!!

    Neither of us have ever been to Italy, so we would love to hit Rome + Florence (possibly base here) + Venice for sure, and take some day trips in the Tuscany region. We want to go for at least two weeks (possibly three!). We’d also love to spend a few days on the coast (I am torn between the Almafi Coast or Cinque Terre). I don’t want to move around too much since it is our honeymoon. Any recommendations for a trip of that length? 🙂 Thanks so much!

    – Cate

    Reply
    • Hi Cate!

      Congratulations on your wedding! And great name you have. 😉

      In my very biased opinion, you guys are planning one of the best honeymoons on the planet, you’ll have a great time!

      Our recommended 2 week Italy itinerary sounds like exactly what you’re looking for–it covers all of those areas (except the Amalfi Coast, though you can certainly add it in with 2.5-3 weeks if you like): https://www.ourescapeclause.com/2-weeks-in-italy-itinerary/

      The reason I recommend Cinque Terre over the Amalfi Coast for an itinerary like yours is two-fold: first, geography, it means moving around less. And second, Cinque Terre is fairly compact whereas the Amalfi Coast is larger, a bit tougher to navigate, and generally more of a standalone destination in its own right.

      Both are fantastic, of course, but unless you really want to see it and/or are planning on dedicating close to a week to the whole Amalfi Coast/Naples/Pompeii experience, Cinque Terre is definitely the simpler option!

      As for Florence, basing there and taking day trips around Tuscany makes for a fantastic trip leg, I wouldn’t hesitate to do that at all!

      Happy planning! 🙂

      Reply
  17. Hi Kate,

    I must comment on what a fantastic journey and guidance here you have given to all of us, kudos to you guys!

    I am looking at doing my first visit to Italy in a couple of weeks from now. Looking at following your Rome + Vatican city + Venice + lake como and possibly Milan for a day.

    What do you suggest? Me and my wife are both first timers to Europe and to Italy and will be commuting via trains mostly. Do we keep changing bases regularly?

    If you may please advise.

    Thank you so much,

    Yazan

    Reply
    • Thanks so much, Yazan!

      If you’re only visiting for a week, I’d consider trimming one of those destinations. If you have closer to a week and a half, you can cover them all easily.

      All of those places are well-connected by train, so that will be easy enough.

      I’d recommend one base in Rome to cover Rome/Vatican City, one base in either Milan or Lake Como (you can easily take a day trip from one to the other), and one base in Venice.

      Hope you guys have a wonderful trip!

      Reply
  18. Hello!

    Thanks for the suggestions!! I am thinking of going to Rome + Amalfi and Pompeii in April. How much time would you recommend spending in each city and what’s the best way to get to the Amalfi Coast from Rome? Would you recommend flying in to Rome and Flying out of Naples for that itinerary?

    Thanks a lot for your help 🙂

    Reply
    • Hi Alexa,

      With a week in Italy, I’d recommend spending 3-4 of those days in Rome!

      Pompeii can be done in a day (possibly with a visit to Mt. Vesuvius too if you like).

      As for the Amalfi Coast, it’ll be very much shoulder season there in April–you may be able to wear light layers and enjoy the sunshine, or you may be in jeans and sweaters (especially at night).

      For that reason, I’d recommend planning a day trip there too (a day trip from Naples can give you a taste of Positano + Amalfi + beautiful views) and budgeting more time somewhere else.

      But that being said, if you have your heart set on the Amalfi Coast, I’d choose one of those towns to base in and spend 2-3 days town hopping. Keep in mind that not everywhere will be open for the season, especially in smaller towns, but popular places like Positano won’t be deserted.

      To get there from Rome, I’d take the train to Naples (visit Pompeii from there), and then either take the ferry to the coast or book a transfer.

      No trains run to the Amalfi Coast, but you can take the train as far as Sorrento and then take a bus or ferry to the coast from there, too.

      Reply
  19. Hello Kate!

    Thanks for all your wonderful suggestions. I am booking a 2 week trip for me and my husband end of March / early April (will likely be ending during / soon after Easter which I know can be crazy crowded in Italy). We are planning to go to Dublin for a few days first, then fly and spend ~1 week in Italy. I was initially thinking of going to Cinque Terre for 3 nights/2 full days and then moving to Tuscany/ Florence for the remainder – either staying in Florence and doing day trips vs just staying in a villa in Tuscany vs splitting between both. My husband and I both like a more relaxing trip where we can really soak in the culture and be more spontaneous/ not spend all our time packing and repacking. Im nervous I am over committing / being to ambitious. What are your thoughts? Could we spend our whole Italy trip just in Cinque Terre (found a hotel in Monterosso we love) or would that be too many days there? Is 2 full days enough in CT? Is it reasonable to add in Florence or Tuscany. Or is that exhausting as well? Would you recommend just picking one – this would likely be the city we end our trip / fall on Easter weekend.

    Thanks for any advice!!!!

    Reply
    • Hi Bon,

      Sounds like so much fun! My first thought: definitely book your hotel(s) for over Easter week ASAP. The crowds and prices do get pretty crazy!

      Two full days in Cinque Terre should be plenty. Early April is a bit of a dice roll as far as that area goes–the views and hiking will be wonderful if you get lucky with the weather, but some places will still be closed for the off-season. Definitely don’t expect summer vibes! (There are some photos of me in jeans and long sleeve shirts in Cinque Terre floating around the website that were taken during a rainy week in mid-May).

      You can definitely get a nice taste of Tuscany in 3-4 days that won’t feel too rushed. I’d decide whether you’re more interested in Florence or the countryside and choose your base from there. If you do stay in Florence, planning a nearby day trip could give you a quick taste of a smaller town/vineyard views without repacking or adding too much travel time.

      Reply
  20. Hello,

    Very helpful article.
    We – spouse, me and high school child planning trip to Italy.
    Fly into Rome from USA and reach May 27 night. 5 night stay in Rome which will give 4 full days.
    I have been told 1 day for Vatican city, 1 day for Colosseum and 1 day for Rome.
    4th day – plan to do Rome to Pompeii + Amalfi coast day trip v/s Rome to Amalfi coast day trip.
    Then go to Florence -so half day for traveling and 1 1/2 -2 days to see Florence. Day 5 and Day 6
    Plan to do Day trip from Florence to Cinque Terre (Tour) Day 7
    Plan to do day Trip – Tuscany (Tour) Day 8
    Plan to see Leaning tower of Pisa (1/2 day) and go to Venice which give 1/2 day in Venice (night 1) – Day 9 and another full day in Venice (night 2) – Day 10 or leave at night and go to Milan ( 2 1/2 hours by train and cheaper to stay in Milan then Lake Como) and do day trip from Milan to Lake Como (1 hour by train) – Day 11.
    Fly out from Milan on Day 12 later afternoon/evening after trying to get ticket to see Last Supper in the morning.
    Can I and should I make Rome as a base for any of the following – day trips to Florence, Pisa, Tuscany and Cinque Terre or better to stay in Florence itself.
    I know I can do day trip from Rome to Venice but 4 hours on train each way will take away most of the time hence not planning to do that.
    Will appreciate input and advise.

    Reply
    • Hi Rob,

      It definitely sounds like you guys are the types to pack as much sightseeing in as possible! Even still, though, I’d recommend trimming a couple of places.

      Visiting Pisa, then going to Venice (opposite directions from Florence), then hoping to sightsee in Venice at night… that day is a bit too packed. I’d recommend skipping Pisa unless it’s very high on your priority list.

      You can take a day trip to Florence from Rome if you’re not planning to stay there, but it makes for a busy day. Everything else on your list of potential day trips in your final question is much better accessed from Florence than Rome.

      Do keep in mind as you plan that the train distance itself is only part of the journey–Lake Como is technically only an hour away from Milan, true, but navigating to different villages, etc, definitely makes it a full day trip, unless you plan to just enjoy the views from Varenna.

      Last Supper tickets open 3 months in advance, so if you want to see it, mark your calendar now! There’s really no realistic way to get tickets the day of. You can often book a guided tour through a 3rd party like Get Your Guide 2-3 weeks in advance (which is how we booked tickets), but even those sell out during the summer. Here’s the official website if you want to try to get tickets ahead of time: https://cenacolovinciano.vivaticket.it/

      Hope you guys have a wonderful time!

      Reply
  21. Hi Kate,
    Thanks for the super-informative blog and answering all the questions – awesome!
    We’re planning a family trip in July with landing in Bologna (limited choice – we’re redeeming some miles..) but for the rest we are flexibe for 7+ days.
    We’re first-timers to Italy and I was thinking of the classic first-timer itinerary – Bologna/Florence (3 full days) to Rome (2 full days) to Venice (2 full days) + travel days. Two questions:
    (1) after landing in Bologna, can we look at being based in Bologna with day trips to Florence and Pisa or would you recommend staying overnight at Florence in which case we will need to split between Bologna and Florence?
    (2) which is better to fly out – Rome of Venice? Or doesn’t matter? We will have to plan either Bologna / Florence -> Rome -> Venice or Bologna / Florence -> Venice -> Rome. Any suggestions?
    Thanks in advance

    Reply
    • Hi Venx,

      Flying into Bologna will be very cool! Definitely a great spin on a first trip. 🙂

      Assuming you want to see all the typical sights in Florence, I’d definitely recommend staying there, but I’d reserve at least half a day for Bologna if you can. Definitely order the tagliatelle al ragu, and consider heading to the top of the Asinelli Tower as well! We have a guide to seeing Bologna in a day here: https://www.ourescapeclause.com/one-day-in-bologna-itinerary/

      As far as flying out of Rome vs Venice, it doesn’t matter much. Taking the water taxi to the Venice Airport is definitely more memorable than the train to Rome’s airport(s), but I’d let pricing and scheduling be your guide here.

      Once you do have your flight booked, I’d book the Rome-Venice high-speed train (whichever direction you need) as soon as you can, as those tickets can be pricey at the last minute.

      Reply

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