This Is The Best Italy Itinerary For Your First Trip 

Create unforgettable memories with this itinerary exploring the rich culture and heritage of Italy.
Written By: Andrea Spallanzani
Reviewed by: Rick Orford
How & Why We Created This Article

This article has been written, reviewed, and fact-checked by Rick and I. We live in Italy and travel throughout the country to help you make the best choices for your trip. We wrote this piece to help you have the best trip possible on your next trip to Italy. Portions of this article have been written using assistive AI tools to help with tasks like research, spell-checking, grammar, and translation.

Last Updated March 22, 2024

In this article, you'll learn how:

  • Before your trip to Italy, decide on the specific places you want to visit. Italy has so much to offer, and it's impossible to see everything in one go. 
  • Keep in mind that traveling between cities in Italy can take longer than expected, especially if you're moving between major cities like Rome, Florence, and Venice. 
  • Some beautiful spots in Italy, like the Dolomites, Amalfi Coast, and Tuscan countryside, may not have reliable public transportation. Plan accordingly and be prepared for the possibility of needing a car or guided tours to access these areas

Have you traveled to Italy before? If so, you already understand how breathtaking this location is. Everything about this place is fantastic—the food, the wine, the history. You’re missing out if you haven’t visited Italy. Almost 70 million tourists are visiting Italy each year. It’s time to start making plans for your best Italy itinerary!

We’ve created a detailed journey for your upcoming vacation to Italy so you can see and enjoy all the popular tourist attractions. To be sure, this trip emulates what we do when we take our friends and family around Italy.

The following general advice for creating a tour in Italy will help you make sure that your trip runs smoothly and that you don’t wind up missing any significant sights along the way:

You can’t go everywhere

Unless you spend years in Italy, visiting every spot is impossible. Even people who live in Italy haven’t seen everything there is to see. So, before organizing a vacation to Italy, the most important thing to do is to limit the few sites you want to visit, such as the highlights, and construct a route based on those places. However, Italy has public transportation systems that make it easy to move around different locations, so can easily tour most of Italy on your own.

Manarola Cinque Terre

Travel time should be taken into account

Several people have been to Italy many times but forget to account for the travel time. If you plan on seeing the three major Italian cities of Rome, Florence, and Venice, you will need a lot of time. Long train rides between cities should be factored in.

Some places are difficult to get to

Some of Italy’s beautiful spots are stunning, but getting there could be difficult. To name a few examples, the Dolomites, the Amalfi Coast, and the Tuscan countryside do not receive adequate transportation services from trains and buses. Those locations are often only accessible via self-driving or guided tours. So, calculate how much time and money you will spend there.

Optimize your journey

Italy is a long and narrow country. Thus, the routes that travel from north to south or south to north are the finest. Moving in a single direction rather than back and forth from one side to the other is preferable to utilize your time effectively. It would be preferable to begin your trip in a city in the north or south and finish on the other side. Taking the route from Rome to Venice or vice versa, for instance. Unfortunately, due to the airlines, this is not always possible. Rome and Venice are about 330 miles away, so going back and forth is not recommended. 

Although you can tour Italy for 10 to 14 days, especially if it’s your first time, we designed the schedule to take 18 days since we’re delighted to spend more time. You can cut out a few stops if you only have a shorter amount of time. 

DayDestinationTravel MethodHighlights
Day 1RomeArrive at FiumicinoExplore Rome’s iconic sights
Day 2-5RomeExplore the cityVatican, Colosseum, Roman Forum
Day 6NaplesHigh-speed trainArrival in Naples, start exploring
Day 7NaplesVisit PompeiiExplore Pompeii and Herculaneum
Day 8NaplesAmalfi Coast tourDay trip to the Amalfi Coast
Day 9-12FlorenceHigh-speed trainDiscover Florence’s art and culture
Day 13FlorenceTuscany tourExplore the picturesque Tuscan countryside
Day 14FlorenceDay trip to PisaVisit the Leaning Tower of Pisa
Day 15VeniceHigh-speed trainArrival in Venice, start exploring
Day 16VeniceExplore the cityVisit Burano island, enjoy Venetian cuisine
Day 17VeniceReturn to RomeReturn to Rome by train
Day 18RomeLast-minute activitiesShopping or sightseeing, depending on flight time

Landing in Rome Fiumicino

airplane flying

Rome Fiumicino Airport is the most straightforward airport to fly into if you’re arriving from somewhere other than a European airport. You can board the Leonardo Express at Fiumicino and go directly to Termini Station in the city’s heart. And if you’re curious about what is the best place to visit in Italy for the first time, we believe that Rome is surely one of those places!

4 nights in Rome

In case you don’t know where to start your trip in Italy, we believe Rome is one the best options due to its location. We also believe that four nights is a reasonable amount of time to spend in Rome after your arrival because it is a large city with lots to offer such as beautiful places to stay and attractions to visit. Remember that you can also be a little jet-lagged; staying in the city will make it simpler to adjust your body clock. If you count the day of arrival, you will have two and a half days to explore Rome and see most sights. However, take your time exploring Rome since you will get an additional day and a half at the end of the journey. Also, Rome attracted over 35 million visitors in 2023 and it’s probably going to increase moving forward, so expect a crowd when you get there especially during peak seasons. 

Rome to Naples

Rome to Naples is around 140 miles away but traveling by high-speed rail only takes an hour and fifteen minutes. The train often runs about once every 30 minutes. You must reserve a seat in advance for this type of train. The ticket price usually ranges from €14 to €71. If you take the 9:15 train, you’ll be in Naples by 10:28, providing you virtually a full day to enjoy. The hotel is close to the railway station, so you can start visiting this great city after dropping your baggage there! We advise that you spend four nights in Naples.

Naples to Pompeii

If you schedule your day two in Naples around visiting Pompeii and Herculaneum, buy your tickets in advance. The lines at the ticket office can be pretty long, especially in the summertime. It is possible to visit both sites on the same day; however, it will be a long day, but it’s worth it! 

3rd day in Naples tour of the Amalfi Coast

You may take a day trip to the Amalfi Coast on your third day in Naples. Among the two options available, we recommend taking a bus tour or a boat cruise. During the summer, we enjoy doing this aboard a boat. Know that the boat tour is seasonal, happening only in the summer.

Positano Amalfi coast

Naples to Florence

It’s time to board the train for Florence the following morning. It takes around 3 hours to travel by high-speed train from Naples to Florence, and reservations are once more required. Every half hour, the train departs. If you board the 8:40 am train, lunchtime will be spent in Florence. Walking from Florence’s Santa Maria Novella train station to the Duomo takes only five minutes. You will have the entire day to explore the lovely city of Florence after lunch. We advise you to spend four nights in Florence. Not because it’s a big city, but rather because there is a ton of interesting stuff around.

Florence day 2

We recommend spending your second day in Florence discovering more of this stunning metropolis. The Uffizi Gallery has some of the world’s most renowned artworks, which you may view for yourself. Once again, we advise purchasing tickets in advance to avoid waiting in huge lines. The same holds true for David at the Galleria dell’Accademia; securing your tickets in advance is best to avoid disappointment.

Florence Day 3 

It might be a wonderful idea to visit Tuscany today and enjoy a tour. You can take a variety of tours throughout Tuscany. Some provide both wine and food tastings, while others offer cooking instruction. You can choose the one you like most.

Florence Day 4

Traveling to Pisa and seeing the renowned Leaning Tower is a fantastic day. Morning commuters can take a regional train, which travels for roughly 55 minutes. Reservations are not necessary because this is a regional service. Trains arrive and depart frequently. The Tower may be reached on foot in 20 minutes through the picturesque streets of Pisa from the Pisa Centrale train station. If you want to see the tower at night, when it is more peaceful, you can take a late train back to Florence.

Florence to Venice

The high-speed train takes only two hours and fifteen minutes from Florence to Venice. It runs roughly once each hour. Get off at Venezia Santa Lucia Station, which is right on the Grand Canal. Get on the train at 9:20 a.m. You’ll arrive in Venice in time for lunch. As is customary with fast trains, bookings are required in advance. From Santa Lucia, you may get a Vaporetto (Venice’s public transport) to just about any part of the city. The next day and the afternoon are free for you to discover this fantastic metropolis. Two nights in Venice is what we recommend.

Venice day 2

You are free to continue your sightseeing in the beautiful city of Venice. Don’t miss out on a trip to the enchanting island of Burano, accessible by Vaporetto. The incredibleness of this tiny island guarantees a memorable vacation. Don’t miss the most traditional Venetian food, which is different from the food of the rest of Italy, while you’re there.

Venice to Rome

It’s time to take the train back to Rome on the third day after arriving in Venice. Nearly four hours are spent on the train travel. This train travel is the longest on the entire schedule. You can take a morning train to spend more time in Rome or a train in the afternoon to spend more time in Venice because you are returning to Rome. Everything depends on you in this.

Last day in Rome

This is your last day in Rome, and what you do all depends on what time your flight out of Fiumicino is. If you catch an afternoon flight, you won’t have much to spend in Rome. If your flight is at night, you have a few more hours to spend in Rome and maybe do some last-minute shopping or sightseeing.

How much money do I need for 1 week in Italy?

A lot of people just don’t have enough time to spend more than 1 week in Italy, so we often receive the question “How much does a trip to Italy cost for a week?” The answer is, it depends since the cost can vary widely. Travelers likely spend anywhere from 800 to 2,000 euros depending on preferences and travel style. More budget-conscious travelers can find options for around 800-1,000 euros per week, often opting for hostels or simple hotels, public transportation, and preparing some meals themselves. On the higher end, those desiring more luxuries like upscale accommodations can expect to spend around 1,500-2,000+ euros. Most travelers fall somewhere in between.

Rome the Pantheon

We hope you found this article helpful on your trip to Italy. We wish all of our readers safe travels and hope that you have an amazing time traveling to Italy!