Plan the perfect Italy itenerary with this handy guide. 

When it comes to exploring the beautiful continent of Europe, each traveler has their own philosophy and approach. Some wanderlust travelers prefer to explore Europe all in one go. However, if you ask this seasoned traveler, one of the best ways to experience Europe is to do it one country at a time. There are way too many gems in Europe. It is only fair that you explore each country one at a time. This way, you genuinely get to delve into the culture and atmosphere that is unique to that country. This particular rule of exploration has never been more applicable than with the country of Italy. Today, we have got everything you need in order to explore Italy properly. We are going to take an in depth look at what makes a great Italy itinerary. We will go over everything do you need to do in Italy. More importantly, we have also included an explanation of how much time you should spend in each city as well. 

Why Should You Organize an Italy Itinerary? 

Italy is one of those gems that you know exists, but you don’t realize know how amazing it truly is. From top to bottom, there is a charm oozing through every nook and cranny of Italy. What we love about this country is that there is a little something for every type of traveler here. There are the beaches down south if you want a tropical getaway. And there are plenty of major cities in the heart of Italy are perfect if you enjoy that type of buzzing atmosphere. Finally, if you like a little calm, Italy has that too. There are plenty of rugged villages that litter the coastline and are perfect if you are looking for an escape to relax in. In today’s article, we are going to go over some of the top locations that you should include on your Italy itinerary list. Let’s get started!

One of the best ways to travel is with a plan in mind. Having a plan in mind helps you explore Italy (and really any country) with some peace of mind. For starters, if you are traveling on a budget, having a plan will help you reign in things. This will allow you to always know where you stand financially. Not only that but adding some rhyme and reason to your travel will allow you to experience everything that you want to. You do not have to worry about missing out on any of the things you want to experience. For this Italy itinerary, one of the best ways to work through the country is by starting at the top and working your way down to Italy’s boot.

1. Milan

Italy Itinerary - Milan

Milan is one of the most iconic cities that you absolutely must include on your itinerary list. From viewing some fabulous art to going to the incredible shopping district, Milan has got it all.  

For starters, when you are here, you should be sure not to forget to check out the iconic Milan Cathedral. This incredibly massive Gothic cathedral is home to some of the most impressive artwork that is Italy has to offer. Speaking of artwork, be sure to make your way to this next exhibit. This exhibit is one of history’s most popular paintings, the Last Supper. This 15th century mural painted by Leonardo Da Vinci can be found in the Santa Maria delle Grazie. If you include Milan on your Italy itinerary, then you can not leave the city without visit this beautifully iconic painting.  

Lastly, get some retail therapy and by shopping down the Via Monte Napoleone strip. This strip is perhaps one of Europe’s most expensive, upscale Italian streets. You can find all of the world’s top fashion houses and high-end boutiques located here.

How Many Days Should You Spend Here? 

With all that Milan has to offer, you can easily spend a week here. However, if you are crunched on time, then one or two days should give you enough time to enjoy all the architecture, art, and shopping that Milan has to offer. If shopping is not such a high priority here no worries. A day should be more than enough time to enjoy all that Milan has to offer.

2. Venice

Italy Itinerary - Venice

Once you have gotten your fill of the luxury and art that Milan has to offer, your next stop on your Italy itinerary should be Venice. The beauty is that Venice is a short train ride away from Milan. Spend half a day traveling to get right on track with your Italy itinerary.

In Venice, you can look forward to getting lost in the magic that only Venice has to offer. Get lost in the Beautiful canals that are so unique to Venice. When you are not relaxing on a gondola, then the alleyways and streets that surround the canals have so much more to offer. Pop into some of Italy’s most beautiful Churches and be prepared to be blown away. There is plenty of culture including beautiful art that is just waiting here for you.

Speaking of art, be sure to take advantage of exploring the many museums that are housed in Venice. Some of the top museums to explore include the famous Doge’s Palace. This palace is home to some rich history that will take you a whole afternoon to explore. 

Squeezing time to visit the Museo correr is also a must. Be prepared to be captivated by the beauty of the stunning ballrooms that give way to even more magnificent rooms. The Galleria dell’Accademia is another popular hotspot that visitors can not miss. There is plenty of art that will transport you to the Glory days of Venice.  For the ultimate list of things to do in Venice, click here.

 How Many Days Should You Spend Here? 

The unique thing about Venice is that all the time in the world would not be enough for you to explore this magical City. However, all good things can not last forever. If you did have to put a timestamp on it, then three days will work on your Italy itinerary. Three days is just enough time to interact with the culture here. Not only that, but you will get plenty of time to all exploring all the museums this city has to offer.

3. Cinque Terre

Italy Itinerary - Cinque Terre

Another one of the hot spots to include on your Italy itinerary is the stretch of land called Cinque Terre. Get ready to experience Italy in a way that not many have before. Thanks to the booming popularity of wanderlust Instagrammers, Cinque Terre has been one of those destinations that have slowly been gaining traction.

The northwestern coastline of Italy is home to a chain of five fishing villages that are simply out of this world. These fishing villages feature a stunning collection of colored houses that paint the coastline in a beautiful rainbow. Each village is connected by a train that will get you to where you need to go. However, one of the best ways to go from village to village is by way of the walking trail. The walking trail gives you sights of the coastline that are simply jaw-dropping. You can stroll through modest lemon groves and citrus trees that ooze with Italian charm. Another way to get from village to village is by way of boat. There are several fishermen as well as a ferry that will take you from one village to another. This method of transportation is wonderful in the fact that you get to see the villages from the oceanside. =

Lastly, one of the best things to do in Cinque Terre is to experience the Italian coastal culture in its true authenticity. Mingle with the locals and dine on some of the best seaside meals that you have ever tasted in this well hidden destination,

 How Many Days Should You Spend Here? 

When it comes to spending time spent in Cinque Terre, it really depends on who you are and what you are looking for. If you are looking for the ultimate relaxation, then spending three days in Cinque Terre is enough time to soak in all the beauty. Three days is an ample amount of time that will offer you the opportunity to visit all the villages. If you are an outdoor enthusiast, then this is more than enough time to explore the trail that connects each village to the other as well.

After having spent one day exploring the outdoors, you can dedicate the whole of the next day to enjoying the villages themselves. Stroll through the cobblestone streets and winding staircases and get lost in the inevitable charm. Lastly, do not forget to spend some time splashing in the water. Relaxing by the seaside and lounging around is easily one of the best things to do in Cinque Terre.

4. Florence 

Italy Itinerary - Florence

Once you have made your way through the charming city of Venice, Florence should be next on your Italy itinerary list. Florence is one of the top cities that deserves a spot on any Italy itinerary checklist for so many reasons. For starters, Florence is one of Italy’s most popular cities. Hundreds and thousands of tourists flock here each year and for good reason. The history that is riddled in Florence is something that is too valuable to ignore.

Start your exploration of Florence by visiting the iconic statue of David. The statue of David is housed in the Galleria dell’Accademia and is fairly easy to navigate through. First, you will have to get through the long entrance line. Once you do that, you can look forward to enjoying some of the most notable statues that Italian history has to offer. The bonus is that crowds are controlled so you never have to worry about waiting to see the exhibits once inside.

Other prominent locations that you must visit in Florence include the Uffizi Gallery and the coveted Duomo. These iconic locations are as beautiful to explore on the outside as they are in inside. Stroll through the streets of Florence and soaked in the vibrant culture that surrounds you. And of course, do not forget to sample the delectable gelatos that are on every single street corner. You truly have not had a gelato until you have had it in Florence. (Venice, your gelatos are a close second). For the ultimate guide of things to do in Florence, click here.

 How Many Days Should You Spend Here? 

When it comes to the city of Florence, the same can be said about not having enough time. If you are an art lover, then you will usually want to spend a couple of days here. Two days is typically enough time to be able to visit most of the museums. It is also roughly enough time to enjoy the streets and the authentic restaurants that Florence has to offer.

If you are totally on a time crunch, then one day is just barely enough to explore Florence on foot. However, you will miss out on some prominent locations that will simply be impossible to visit. If you plan on including Florence in your Italy itinerary, then scratch out three days of your travels to enjoy this fabulous city.

5. Make a Pit Stop in Pisa

Italy Itinerary - Pit Stop in Pisa

When it comes to postcards of Italy, one of the popular images that should come to mind is the iconic Leaning Tower of Pizza. On your Italy itinerary, it is an absolute must that you include a trip to Pisa. However, besides the Leaning Tower of Pisa itself, you might not necessarily see a reason to stay here for that long. The great thing about the quaint little town of Pisa is the fact that it is so closely nestled to Florence. A short train ride from Florence is all you need to get to this iconic destination.

 How Many Days Should You Spend Here? 

When it comes to how much time to spend in Pisa, there really is no question as to how much time to set aside. Compared to all the other hot spots of Italy, the town of Pisa is not necessarily jam-packed with things to do. Because of this, spending a day here is typically more than enough. For some, stopping in the town of Pisa might be a great way to spend a long afternoon before continuing your travels on to your next destination.

6. Visit Rome

Italy Itinerary - Rome

One of the highlights of any Italy itinerary is the coveted trip to Rome. Rome is easily one of the best destinations not just in Italy but in the entire world. This is mainly due to its invaluable collection of historic landmarks. For starters, there is the ever-popular Colosseum. Visitors can easily spend an entire day being captivated by the Colosseum. You can’t just have to observe this historic landmark from the outside either. You have to actually go inside the Colosseum to explore it as well. In fact, if you plan on visiting Rome (which why wouldn’t you?) then it is a must that you go inside the Colosseum as well. 

Other popular landmarks to explore in Rome are the Iconic Roman ruins. Start by taking a stroll through the Roman forum. The excavated heart of the Roman Empire will truly blow your mind away. If you come during the springtime, you will get the opportunity to enjoy the beautiful Chinese Wisteria that is in full bloom here.

Next, get lost in the streets of Rome and soak in the vibrant culture of local life. Part of your exploration should include a pit stop to the iconic Trevi Fountain. The Trevi Fountain is easily one of the most iconic fountains in all of Italy. Be sure to bring along a coin so that you can make a wish to last you a lifetime.

 How Many Days Should You Spend Here? 

When it comes to the amount of time you will need to spend in Rome, it’s easily one of those cities where there is no such thing as too much time. You could easily spend a week here and still not have enough time to explore it all. However, if you did have to put a time stamp on it, then two or three days should be enough time to really appreciate the city.

Not only will you have enough time to see all the famous museums and landmarks here, but you will get enough time to soak in the culture and atmosphere around you as well. If you are on a time crunch, Rome is still doable in a day. However, you do want to make it a point to stay at least two days here. Two days will allow you the opportunity to see everything you need to see without feeling rushed. While in Rome, be sure you make plenty of room not only in your travels but in your belly as well. Rome is known for some of the tastiest pasta dishes in all of Italy.

7. Visit the Vatican City

Italy Itinerary - Vatican City

While you are in Rome, it only makes sense to visit the Vatican as well. The Vatican is a staple location because of its religious symbolism that it has had around the world. Not only that, but the history here makes it a staple destination in the life of any traveler. The cool thing about the Vatican City is that you do not have to be a worshipper to visit here. There is plenty for you to do that is not centered around the Catholic religion.

For starters, there is the iconic Saint Peter’s Basilica.  Saint Peter’s Basilica offers a large square that is simply perfect for relaxing and enjoying the day in. Soak in the beautiful atmosphere that surrounds you alongside the stunning architecture which is simply exquisite. Once you have had enough time to enjoy the outside, it is time to enter and explore the inside. St. Peter’s Basilica is perhaps one of the most beautiful places of worship. Once you enter, you will be in a for a treat that is simply beautiful and mesmerizing all at once.

Other top locations to visit in the Vatican City is the Vatican Museum. The Vatican museum is the prime location for Renaissance art. From historic paintings to Renaissance sculptures, the art that is housed here is simply stunning. Of course, you can not visit the Vatican Museum without visiting the exceptional Sistine Chapel. It is in the iconic Sistine Chapel where you find the works of prominent artists such as Michelangelo. His worldwide famous painting, The Last Judgement, is housed here and is simply an attraction you can not miss. Any visitor who sees this fresco firsthand will create a memory that will stay with them for years to come.  Without a doubt, this is something that should be not left out of your Italy itinerary.

How Many Days Should You Spend Here? 

Visiting the Vatican City will easily eat up an entire day. Because of this, a day should be enough to explore the Vatican City from top to bottom. The cool thing about the Vatican City is it’s a fairly small area that does not require much travel. In fact, you can explore the whole city by foot in just under an hour. However, with the Sistine Chapel and museums in tow, you will want to set aside an ample amount of time. If you start your day off really early and then end it fairly late, you will be able to explore all that the Vatican City has to offer all in one outing.

8. Explore Pompeii

Italy Itinerary - Pompeii

Continue your exploration of history by including Pompeii in your Italy itinerary. When it comes to popular destinations in Italy, Pompeii is one of the first locations that should come to mind. The iconic statues and historic landmarks here are enough to get any history buff excited. This ancient city was once buried by an eruption of Mount Vesuvius. However, over the years, historic landmarks here have resurfaced to display the spectacular ancient history that Italy is so well known for.

Some of the top locations to visit in Pompeii include the city’s amphitheater that is as remarkable as it is beautiful. For history buffs who have an appreciation of religion, planning a visit to the Sanctuary of the Madonna of the Rosary is an experience that you will not forget.

How Many Days Should You Spend Here? 

The wonderful thing about Pompeii is the fact that it is nestled right in between Naples and the Amalfi Coast. This location not only makes it easily accessible, but you do not have to go out of your way to get to it. Especially if you plan on traveling down to the south. The pristine location of Pompeii coupled with its relatively small size makes it a fairly easy city to explore. If you are planning a trip here, then you can not go wrong by dedicating a whole day here. If you start off your day early and end it late, then you should be able to see all that Pompeii has to offer.

9. Explore the Amalfi Coast

Italy Itinerary - Amalfi Coast

Once you are finished exploring all the history that Pompeii has to offer, it’s time to make your way down south to the iconic Amalfi Coast. The Amalfi Coast is perhaps one of the most beautiful coasts in the world. When it comes to this location, the Amalfi Coast is essentially Cinque Terre on steroids.

If you are a Wanderlust Traveler, then the Amalfi coast is a great place to stop by. From the endless amount of travel to the picture perfect beauty that is virtually everywhere you go. The Amalfi Coast it’s certainly one of the top highlights on any Italy itinerary.

To start off your travels in Amalfi Coast, you will want to figure out which town you want to call home. There are a number of towns on the Amalfi Coast to stay at. Each town offers its own unique charm that differs from the other. One of the best towns to stay in is the popular Positano. Positano is perhaps the most iconic Amalfi Coast town because of its sprawling beauty. There are colorful houses perched on steep cliffs that are simply breathtaking along. Along with that, there are an equal number of beaches that make Positano a prominent location to relax in. To plan your perfect Amalfi Coast itenerary, click here.

How Many Days Should You Spend Here? 

The number of days you stay in the Amalfi Coast really depends on what you want to do here. For example, if you plan on strolling the streets and soaking in the culture, then you will want to scratch out about at least two days. If you want to explore the many different towns of the Amalfi Coast, then two or three days will be enough.

One of the best ways to experience the Amalfi Coast is by starting in the town of Sorrento and working your way down to the town of Salerno. This will allow you to see the many different cities that call the Amalfi Coast has to offer. Not only that, but you will get to experience the beauty in a range of different settings as well.

Tips for Traveling Through Italy

As mentioned at the start of this article, planning your Italy itinerary can be the difference between having a fabulous vacation and not. Here are some of our top tips and tricks to keep in mind when it comes to your Italy itinerary travel plans.

1. How to Get from City to City 

When it when it comes to traveling around Italy, your first step is to figure out the mode of transportation that best works for you. If you are like being in control of getting around when you travel, then renting a car might be for you. When you rent out a car, you will have the ability to go where you want when you want. However, like most travelers, renting out a car can bring with it its own set of problems.

Many Travelers who have planned out the perfect Italy itinerary (including myself) can vouch for the reliability of public transportation in Italy. One of the most popular ways to get around Italy is through the train system. The train system not only allows you to travel around. But it gives you a piece of mind that you do not get when you rent out a car. You do not have to worry about having to learn the rules of the road in a foreign country.

Along with that, for the most part, one part of your Italy itinerary might be quite a distance from another part of your Italy itinerary. Instead of staying awake during travel time, you can use this time to nap instead. This will save you time in the long run. That way, when you do get to your destination you spend more time exploring than you do sleeping.

2. Always Pack Lightly

If you are planning the perfect Italy itinerary, then chances are you will be traveling around a lot. Make it easy on yourself by packing lightly. Ditch the funky travel suitcase an opt for a convenient travel bag instead. Along with that, make sure to bring a sturdy travel tote bag with you for when you go out to explore the city. A good rule of thumb to keep in mind is to pack one of everything you need. For example, forget about packing both sweaters, bring along your most reliable sweater instead. Ditch bringing along multiple pants and bring a pair that can convert into shorts instead. When you pack lightly and when you pack smart, you make travel from one location to another that much easier for yourself.

3. Your Italy itinerary might change, it’s O.K.

Most if not all adventures will not go according to plan. When you are crafting your Italy itinerary, you need to be prepared for this. While it can be nerve racking for some, know that a change of plans is not always a bad thing. If your plans do end up having to change, embrace the change with joy. After all, part of any great travel is dealing with the unexpected.

Final Thoughts

Traveling through the beautiful country of Italy is easily one of the best countries any traveler could ask to explore. If you plan on taking a trip to Italy,  make sure to craft your Italy itinerary with care. Map out the destinations that you want to visit and the landmarks that you want to see. Once you have figured that out, you can put together an Italy itinerary that will be one for the books.

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Nadia El-Yaouti is a mother, English language arts middle school teacher, writer, and photographer. She lives in Central Virginia with her husband and two little girls. Although she considers herself a workaholic, Nadia’s greatest pride is being a mom. When she’s not juggling work, you can be sure to find her traveling the world with her little family.

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