Julie Italy, Itinerary 17 Comments

For first timers to Italy, Rome, Florence and Venice typically top the “must-see” list. On this 10 day Italy itinerary, you have enough time to visit these three cities and add in another spectacular destination, the coastal towns of the Cinque Terre.

In this guide, we lay out a detailed Rome, Florence, Cinque Terre and Venice itinerary. We cover the best things to do, how to get around, where to stay and more, to help make your travel planning easier.

This is the guide, and the itinerary, that I wish we had when planning our first trip to Italy.

Let’s get started.

10 Day Italy Itinerary: Day 1

Arrive in Rome

Ideally, plan to arrive in Rome early in the morning, or even the night before, to make the most of this day. If you arrive in the morning on a red eye flight, this first day can be challenging. Drop your luggage off at your hotel and spend the afternoon sightseeing in Rome. I do not recommend making big plans today (no Vatican or Colosseum visits) because you might be exhausted.

Getting from Fiumicino Airport to Rome

If you arrive in Fiumicino Airport, you can get to the city center of Rome by bus, taxi, Uber, private transfer, and train. We use the Leonardo Express, a train that runs from the airport to the Termini station in Rome. Leonardo Express trains leave every 15 to 30 minutes, the journey takes 30 minutes, and it costs €17.90 per person. Purchase your ticket at the station and validate it before getting on the train.

You can also hire a private transfer here.

Borghese Gallery (Optional)

The Borghese contains one of the best collections of art in the world. Art by Bernini, Raphael, Caravaggio, and Titian are all on display. This is a must-see for art aficionados. If you arrive into Rome in the morning, you have enough time to visit the Borghese midday, before the afternoon stroll through the city center.

Borghese Gallery

Borghese Gallery | 10 Day Italy Itinerary

PRO TRAVEL TIP: You can only visit the Borghese Art Gallery with a reservation. Reservations can be made up to 3 months in advance. Reservations are made for two-hour time slots, starting at 9 am, and the last time slot is at 5 pm. If you are unable to purchase tickets on the official website, you can also check GetYourGuide.

Hours: 9 am – 7 pm
Closed Mondays
Cost: €13, +€2 reservation fee, prices can increase during special exhibits
Website: www.galleriaborghese.it
Getting Here: The closest metro station is Barberini on the A line (1.4 km, 17 minutes walking time). You can also get here by bus, taxi, and Uber.

After your visit to the Borghese, stroll through the gardens that surround the museum. They are beautiful!

Explore the Heart of Rome

Spend the afternoon walking through the heart of Rome. This short, easy walk is a great introduction to Rome. On this walk, you will see some of Rome’s most famous sites, such as the Spanish Steps, the Trevi Fountain, the Pantheon, and Piazza Navona.

10 day Italy Itinerary Spanish Steps

The Spanish Steps; shutterstock.com/Vladimir Sazonov

This walk is 2 miles long and takes about two hours. You will start at the Spanish Steps and end at Campo de Fiori. Below is a map of the walking route.

How to Use This Map: Click the tab in the top left hand corner of the map to view the layers (points of interest and the walking route). You can click the check marks to hide or show layers. If you click the icons on the map, you can get more information about each point of interest.
 
If you click the star next to the title of the map, this map will be added to your Google Maps account. To view it on your phone or computer, open Google Maps, click the menu button, go to “Your Places,” click Maps, and you will see this map on your list.

If you prefer to walk the streets of Rome with a guide, this afternoon walking tour includes the Spanish Steps, the Trevi Fountain, the Pantheon, and Piazza Navona. And this is another highly rated walking tour of the historic center of Rome that includes gelato or coffee.

The walking route starts at the Spanish Steps. If you visited the Borghese Gallery, it is a short walk to get here. From the Spanish Steps, you will walk to the Trevi Fountain, the Pantheon, stroll through lovely Piazza Navona, and end in Campo de Fiori. For more information on the walking route, and more photos, read our 2 Day Rome Itinerary.

10 day Italy Itinerary Piazza Navona

Piazza Navona; shutterstock.com/Nicola Forenza

For dinner, you can eat at one of the restaurants in Piazza Navona or Campo de Fiori. Or, if you are still doing great on time and energy, consider crossing the Tiber River to Trastevere, a neighborhood that is filled with great restaurants. We had a wonderful dinner at Carlo Menta.

Where to Stay

Tonight, stay in Rome. You will spend two nights in Rome on this 10 day Italy itinerary. For recommendations on where to stay, read our guide to Where to Stay in Rome.

Trastevere Rome

Trastevere | 10 Day Italy Itinerary


10 Day Italy Itinerary: Day 2

Colosseum and the Vatican

On this busy day, you will visit two of Rome’s most popular sights, the Colosseum and the Vatican. These can be visited in either order. My recommendation is to start at the Colosseum and end at Vatican City, so you can end the day with spectacular views over Rome from the dome of St. Peter’s Basilica.

With that being said, the best way to visit the Vatican Museum crowd free is to take an early morning tour, before it “officially” opens. These tours start around 7 am and are pricey. If you arrived yesterday on a red eye flight from the USA, it can be TOUGH to get up early enough to do this (the time change alone could make it feel like you are setting your alarm for some time around 1 am). But it is worth considering if visiting the Vatican without the crowds is important to you.

The Colosseum

Dating back to 80 AD, this is the largest amphitheater that was ever built at the time. It could hold up to 80,000 people, spectators who were drawn here to watch gladiatorial contests, executions, animal hunts, and re-enactments of famous battles. It is also one of the seven New Wonders of the World.

In 2019, this was the most popular tourist attraction in the world, with 7.6 million visitors.

Expect BIG crowds at the Colosseum. For the best experience, book your tickets in advance or join a skip-the-line tour, in order to avoid spending your valuable time in line.

Italy itinerary Roman Colosseum

shutterstock.com/Viacheslav Lopatin

How to Have the Best Experience at the Colosseum

Lines tend to be long to get into the Colosseum, even first thing in the morning.

For the best experience, purchase your entrance ticket in advance. It costs an extra €2 per ticket for the online reservation fee, but this is worth it to avoid standing in long lines.

If tickets are sold out for your dates of travel, I recommend joining a skip-the-line tour of the Colosseum. You will spend a little more money than purchasing your tickets directly from the Colosseum website, but you will save a lot of time. 

If lines are long and you do not have advance tickets or you do not want to join a skip-the-line tour, you have two options that might cut down on your waiting time: go first to the Roman Forum (you can get a combo-ticket to later skip the Colosseum ticket lines), or get in line at the Colosseum for the audio-guide. If you purchase the audio-guide, I read that you get to bypass the main ticket lines. If even you don’t plan on using the audio guide, it might be worth paying for it if lines are very long.

Inside the Colosseum

Inside the Colosseum | 10 Day Italy Itinerary

What to Do on a Visit to the Colosseum

On your visit to the Colosseum, you can either wander through it on your own, take the audio guided tour, or join a guided tour (this should be booked in advance). Most visits last 1 to 3 hours.

You can buy an “add-on” ticket that gets you access to the underground and the third level of the Colosseum. It costs an additional €8 and includes a 1.5-hour tour.

To buy your tickets in advance and learn more about the “add-on” ticket, visit the official Colosseum ticket office website here. 

To get the most out of your visit, you can take a tour to areas not included on the regular ticket. Visit the Arena, the Underground (where the animals were kept), and the third tier of the Colosseum. This tour also includes the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill. 

Hours: Hours vary by season. Click here to get hours for your dates of visit.
Cost: €16 (+ €2 online reservation fee) for the combo-ticket that gets you in to the Roman Forum, Palatine Hill, and the Colosseum; there is also a Full Experience ticket that also includes a visit to the Colosseum arena and underground area for €22
Website: Get updated hours and pricing here.
Getting Here: The closest metro stop is Colosseo. When you exit the metro station, the Colosseum will be right in front of you.

Roma Pass: If you have the Roma Pass, you must make your reservation to visit the Colosseum in advance. There is a €2 reservation fee. Click here for more information.

The Roman Forum and Palatine Hill

The Roman Forum is the historical center of Rome. This is ancient Rome, a complex of government buildings, temples, and marketplaces from 2000 years ago.

Palatine Hill is one of the seven hills of Rome. It sits next to the Roman Forum. There are several archaeological sites here and you get a nice view over the Roman Forum.

Rome Florence Cinque Terre Venice photo

shutterstock.com/S. Borisov

There are several entrances into the Roman Forum. The Palatine Hill entrance on Via di San Gregorio usually has the shortest line. Enter here, and later, exit at the gate nearest the Colosseum.

If you like the idea of visiting the Colosseum and Roman Forum with an experienced guide, this highly rated tour includes access to the Colosseum, Roman Forum and Palatine Hill.

Lunch

Just a short walk from the Roman Forum is La Prezzemolina. This highly rated restaurant serves Italian street food and pizza at budget-friendly prices. For coffee, gelato, and pastries with a view of the Colosseum, go to Caffè Roma.

Vatican City

Vatican City is the smallest country in the world. There are three big sights to visit here: the Vatican Museums, the Sistine Chapel, and St. Peter’s Basilica.

The lines to enter the Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel are enormous…up to 3 hour waits on the busiest days. Mid-mornings tend to be the busiest time to tour the Vatican. In the afternoon, crowds tend to lessen, at least a little bit. To avoid the worst of the crowds, the best times to visit Vatican City are first thing in the morning and just before closing time.

10 Day Italy Itinerary with Vatican

The Vatican | 10 Day Italy Itinerary

How to Avoid Long Lines at the Vatican

Book Your Tickets in Advance. Here is the link to the official Vatican Museums website to book your tickets in advance. If you purchase your tickets online in advance, you will skip the ticket line to enter the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel, which can literally save you up to 3 hours on the busiest of days. These tickets go on sale 60 days in advance and tickets sell out very quickly. If tickets are sold out for your dates of travel, I recommend purchasing your tickets through GetYourGuide or joining a skip-the-line tour to avoid waiting in line.

Note: You still may have to wait in the security line, but this tends to be much shorter than the ticket line.

Join a Skip-the-Line Tour. There are numerous skip-the-line tours that include the Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel, such as this highly rated tour. 

Early Morning Vatican Tour. As I mentioned earlier, this is the best way to visit Vatican City crowd free. This is a pricier option, but if you want to visit the Vatican without the crowds, this is a great tour. Starting bright and early at 7:30 am, you get to visit the Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel before they officially open to the public. On this itinerary, visit the Colosseum in the afternoon if you choose to do this tour.

Visiting the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel

Reserve your tickets for early afternoon (1 pm or 2 pm). Start at the Vatican Museums and then visit Sistine Chapel.

Cost: €17, €4 online reservation fee
Hours: Monday through Saturday 9 am – 6 pm; last entry at 4 pm
Closed Sundays, except the last Sunday of the month (9 am – 2 pm, free)
Purchase your tickets online (up to 60 days in advance): biglietteriamusei.vatican.va
Dress Code: Men: no shorts. Women: no bare shoulders and no shorts or skirt shorter than knee length
Getting Here: To get here, take the metro, line A, to the Ottaviano or Cipro stations.

St. Peter’s Basilica

St. Peter’s Basilica is the largest church in the world. It is also considered to be the most renowned work of Renaissance architecture.

St Peters Basilica

Inside St. Peter’s Basilica | 10 Day Italy Itinerary

St. Peter’s Basilica is a separate visit from the Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel. Like the Vatican Museums, lines can be long to enter the Basilica, although they tend to be shorter.

To skip the line to enter St. Peter’s Basilica, consider taking a tour. This guided tour also includes the dome climb. And this tour includes the dome, a visit to St. Peter’s tomb, and a visit to the underground grottoes.

To get here from the Vatican Museums, you will have to exit the Vatican Museums and walk 20 minutes to St. Peter’s Basilica. There is a short-cut from the Sistine Chapel to St. Peter’s Basilica, but this is reserved for tour groups (another great reason to join a tour!).

It is free to enter St. Peter’s Basilica. However, to climb to the top of the Dome, there is a fee:

  • Climb 551 steps to the top of the dome: €8
  • Take the elevator to the terrace, climb 320 steps to the top: €10

Is it worth it? Absolutely. Here is the view from the dome of St. Peter’s Basilica.

10 Day Italy Itinerary with Rome

View from St. Peter’s Basilica | 10 Day Italy Itinerary

Cost: Free; €8 – €10 to climb the dome
Hours of the Basilica: April to September 7 am – 7 pm; October to March 7 am – 6:30 pm
Hours of the Dome: April to September 7:30 am – 6:30 pm; October through March 7:30 am – 5 pm
Dress Code: Men: no shorts. Women: no bare shoulders and no shorts or skirt shorter than knee length

Evening

For a scenic sunset spot, visit Belvedere del Gianicolo for sweeping views of Rome (we got here by taxi). End the day with dinner.

Italy Travel Guide


10 Day Italy Itinerary: Day 3

Florence

In the morning, check out of your hotel and make your way to the Rome Termini Station.

There are several trains per hour that connect Rome to Florence. These range from cheaper, slower, regional trains that might require a connection, to direct, faster trains. Travel times range from one and a half hours up to almost 4 hours.

In my opinion, the cost savings aren’t worth the longer travel times for the regional trains. Depending on the time of year you will be traveling, it might just be €15 more to take the high-speed Frecciarossa train to Florence.

I recommend booking your tickets in advance and choosing a time that gets you into Florence no later than mid-morning.

Trains arrive in Florence at the Florence Santa Maria Novella Station. To get to your hotel, you can walk, take the bus, hire a taxi, or use Uber.

Afternoon in Florence

Florence is packed with world class art museums, shopping, and numerous domes and towers to climb for breathtaking views of the city. On this 10 day Italy itinerary, you have this afternoon and tomorrow to visit Florence. Like Rome, it will be a bit of a whirlwind.

If you have an extra day or two to add to this itinerary, Florence would be a great place to add it. Doing so gives you the time to either slow down and savor Florence, or spend more time day tripping to the hill towns in Tuscany.

Rome Florence Cinque Terre Venice Trip

Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore | 10 Day Italy Itinerary

Visit the Duomo and Climb the Dome

The Duomo, also called Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore, is the centerpiece of Florence. The entire cathedral complex has multiple parts to it: the nave, Brunelleschi’s Dome, Giotto’s Bell Tower, and the Baptistery. It’s a great place to start your tour of Florence.

Climbing the 463 steps to the top of dome is one of Florence’s best experiences. Along the way you will have marvelous views of the interior of the Duomo. These paintings are the “Last Judgement” frescoes showing heaven and hell. They are very graphic and Tyler and Kara were mesmerized by these, in particular the creepy portrayal of hell.

How to Visit the Florence Duomo

Inside the Duomo | 10 Day Italy Itinerary

 

From the top of the Dome, enjoy one of the best views of Florence.

Florence Duomo View

PRO TRAVEL TIP: Reservations are mandatory to climb the dome. Without a time slot you will be unable to climb the dome. These time slots tend to sell out days in advance. As soon as you know your dates of travel, I recommend booking your time slot to climb the dome. If time slots are sold out for your dates of travel, you can also purchase an entry ticket here. 

Cost: €20
Hours: Monday through Friday 8:15 am to 7:45 pm; Saturday 8:15 am to 5:30 pm; Sunday 12:45 pm to 5:30 pm
Website: Get updated hours here.

Visit the Baptistery

The Baptistery is one of the oldest buildings in Florence. It stands in Piazza del Duomo across from the Duomo. The giant bronze doors with relief sculptures are the main attraction but go inside to see the beautiful mosaics on the inside of the cupola.

Florence Baptistery

Baptistery | 10 Day Italy Itinerary

Cost: €5
Hours: Weekdays: 8:15 am – 10:15 am, 11:15 am – 6:30 pm; Saturday 8:15 am – 6:30 pm; Sunday 8:15 am – 1:30 pm
Website: Hours can change at any time, click here to double check the hours on the day you plan to visit

Enjoy the View from Giotto’s Bell Tower

Giotto’s Bell Tower, also called the Campanile, is the tall tower attached to the Duomo. For an awesome view of Florence, and a chance to look down on the dome, climb the 414 steps to the top.

Best Florence View

The Duomo | 10 Day Italy Itinerary

Cost: €15
Hours: 8:15 am – 7:30 pm

Ponte Vecchio & Piazzale Michelangelo

In the late afternoon, stroll across Ponte Vecchio. This medieval stone bridge spans the Arno River. For centuries, shops have lined the sides of the bridge.

In the evening, go to Piazzale Michelangelo, the best place to watch the sunset in Florence. You can also have an apertif or glass of wine at one of the rooftop bars in Florence.

Things to Do in Florence Italy

Piazzale Michelangelo | 10 Day Italy Itinerary

Where to Stay

On this 10 day Italy itinerary, you will spend three nights in Florence. Here are a few hotel recommendations.

Luxury: Portrait Firenze – Lungarno Collection. Do you want a breathtaking view of Ponte Vecchio from your hotel room? With spacious rooms and attentive staff, this is one of the most luxurious places to stay in Florence.

Mid-Range: B&B La Terazza Sul Duomo. It’s hard to beat this location since you can have a view of the Duomo from your room. Rooms are large and comfortable and breakfast can be served in your room. As a bonus, you get to enjoy views over Florence from the terrace on top of the hotel. If we visit Florence again, I’d love to stay here!

Budget: Hotel Ungherese. We stayed at this 2-star hotel during our visit to Florence. Looking at online photos, it looks as if the rooms have been renovated since our visit. Hotel Ungherese is located 1 km from the heart of Florence. It’s a 25-minute walk or a 10-minute bus ride to get to the main sites. If you are looking for a nice hotel at a reasonable price, this is one to check out.

For more information on Florence, including advice on whether or not the Firenze Card is worth it, read our article 10 Things to Do on Your First Visit to Florence.


10 Day Italy Itinerary: Day 4

Florence

Accademia Gallery

Start your day at the Accademia Gallery. At this gallery you get to see the statue of David, one of the most famous works of art in the world. This is another place where lines can be legendary so we recommend reserving your ticket in advance or joining a skip-the-line tour.

Statue of David

Accademia Gallery | 10 Day Italy Itinerary

Cost: €12 + €4 online reservation fee; included on the Firenze Card
Hours: 9:00 am – 6:45 pm; closed Mondays
Website: Get more information and the link to purchase your tickets in advance on the official website. 

San Lorenzo Market & Mercato Centrale

From Accademia Gallery, walk to San Lorenzo Market (8 minute walk). This outdoor market is a great place to shop for pottery, leather goods, and souvenirs. Then go inside of Mercato Centrale. This is a great place to gather food for a picnic lunch.

Florence Market

Mercato Centrale | 10 Day Italy Itinerary

Palazzo Vecchio

Stroll through the historic heart of Florence to Palazzo Vecchio (1 km, about 15 minutes).

The Palazzo Vecchio is the town hall of Florence. Go inside to tour the museum, take a tour of the Roman Ruins, or, you can do our favorite activity, climb the tower.

This is one of my favorite views of Florence. From the top of the tower, enjoy panoramic views over the city. This is one of the best spots to get a great photo of the Duomo.

Rome Florence Venice Itinerary

Florence | 10 Day Italy Itinerary

Bonus: Palazzo Vecchio is located in Piazza della Signoria. In this square you can visit the Loggia dei Lanzi, an open-air sculpture gallery of Renaissance art.

Cost: Museum €12.50, Tower €12.50, combined €17.50; included on the Firenze Card
Hours for the Tower: April 1 to September 30: 9 am –7 pm; October 1 to March 31: 9 am – 7 pm; on Thursdays closing time is 2 pm; last admission is one hour before closing
More Information: Visit the official website for updated hours, tours, and to purchase your tickets 

The Uffizi Museum

This world famous art museum contains works of art by Renaissance artists Leonardo da Vinci, Botticelli, Michelangelo, and many more.

Inside the Uffizi 10 day Italy Itinerary

Uffizi Gallery | 10 Day Italy Itinerary

 

Ponte Vecchio

View of Ponte Vecchio from the Uffizi Museum | 10 Day Italy Itinerary

PRO TRAVEL TIP: Lines can be long to enter the Uffizi. Skip the line by reserving your ticket in advance or using the Firenze Card to skip the ticket line. If time slots are sold out for your travel dates, you can purchase an entry ticket here or join a skip the line tour.

Cost: €20 March 1 to October 31; €12 November 1 to February 28; included on the Firenze Card
Hours: 8:15 am – 6:30 pm; closed Monday

Boboli Gardens (Optional)

If you are still doing well on time, stroll across Ponte Vecchio to Boboli Gardens. Once here, you can tour Pitti Palace, see more sculptures, and get another wonderful view of Florence.

Cost: €6 for Boboli Gardens; €10 for Pitti Palace; included on the Firenze Card
Hours: Boboli Gardens opens at 8:15 am; closing time varies depending upon the season; Pitti Palace is open Tuesday through Sunday from 8:15 pm to 6:30 pm
Website: Visit the official website for updated hours and pricing for Boboli Gardens and the Pitti Palace. Reservations are required on Saturdays and public holidays.

Evening

End your day drinks at a rooftop bar and dinner in Florence.


10 Day Italy Itinerary: Day 5

Tuscany Day Trip

Today, day trip into Tuscany. There are several ways to do this. You can book a tour, hire a driver, rent a car and set out on your own, or visit one or two towns by bus.

Montalcino Italy

Montalcino, Italy | 10 Day Italy Itinerary

 

10 Day Italy Itinerary with Tuscany

San Gimignano | 10 Day Italy Itinerary

We toured Tuscany by bus and by rental car. The bus was a nightmare, at least when we did it in 2014. At several locations, the buses failed to show up, leaving us (and many other travelers) stranded at the bus stations for hours. Renting a car for the day is more expensive, but we had a lot more freedom and we could visit towns that buses do not travel to.

Traveling by a small group tour is a nice way to go. For a little more money, hiring a driver is a great way to tour Tuscany.

 


10 Day Italy Itinerary: Day 6

Cinque Terre

Morning: Travel to the Cinque Terre

In the morning, travel by train from Florence to the Cinque Terre. From Florence, it takes between an hour and a half and three hours to get to the Cinque Terre. The train arrives in La Spezia or Monterosso, where you will then get on the local train that links all five towns of the Cinque Terre.

For train schedules, pricing, and to purchase your tickets, visit italiarail.com. 

Optional: Pisa

If you want to see the Leaning Tower of Pisa, it is easy to add on to today’s itinerary. Take the train from Florence to Pisa, store your luggage in the luggage storage center in the Pisa train station, and spend a few hours visiting Pisa. Retrieve your luggage and then take a second train to the Cinque Terre.

Leaning Tower of Pisa 10 day Italy Itinerary

Leaning Tower of Pisa | 10 Day Italy Itinerary

Get all of the details on how to do this in our article Day Trip to the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

Cinque Terre

The Cinque Terre is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of Italy’s most photogenic destinations. Five colorful towns are perched on the dramatic coastline of Italy. Each town offers something a little bit different than the others, and part of the fun of visiting the Cinque Terre is picking your favorite one.

Once in the Cinque Terre, check into your hotel. Spend the rest of the day exploring the town where you are staying. For a great sunset spot, visit Riomaggiore and walk down to the waterfront.

10 Day Italy Itinerary Cinque Terre

Riomaggiore | 10 Day Italy Itinerary

Where to Stay

For two nights, stay in one of the five towns of the Cinque Terre or in La Spezia.

La Spezia sits just to the south of the Cinque Terre. It lacks the charm that you get by staying in the Cinque Terre, but hotels tend to be cheaper. To get to Riomaggiore, the southernmost town in the Cinque Terre, it is just a 9 minute train ride. Another advantage of staying in La Spezia is less time on the train on day 8, when you travel to Venice, since most trains from the Cinque Terre go through La Spezia.


10 Day Italy Itinerary: Day 7

Cinque Terre

Today, tour the Cinque Terre. You can tour the Cinque Terre by train, bus, boat, or by foot.

Hiking from town to town is one of the best ways to experience the Cinque Terre. Exploring each of the towns is wonderful, but some of the best views of the Cinque Terre come from the hiking trails. And since the train also connects all five towns, you don’t need to hike the entire distance. You can mix it up, alternating between using the trains and the hiking trails to get between the towns.

If you choose to hike the entire distance, it is 11 km one way and takes about 5 hours, not including time to explore each town.

In order to hike the trail, you have to purchase a ticket. There are various options for this, but the ticket is absolutely necessary. At every town we had to pass a checkpoint and show our tickets. We purchased the Treno Cinque Terre Card, which gave us unlimited trips on the trains for the day and access to the hiking trails. 

If the idea of hiking from town to town does not sound like your idea of fun, you can purchase a train ticket and use the train to hop from town to town. You can also take a guided tour from La Spezia where you visit several of the towns with an experienced guide or a private tour where you can customize your itinerary.  

Best Italy Itinerary

Vernazza | 10 Day Italy Itinerary

 Monterosso al Mar Italy

Monterosso al Mar | 10 Day Italy Itinerary

 

Italy Itinerary with Cinque Terre

Manarola | 10 Day Italy Itinerary

For more information about visiting the Cinque Terre, read Hiking the Cinque Terre: What You Need to Know and The Cinque Terre for Budget Travelers.


10 Day Italy Itinerary: Day 8

Travel to Venice

There are no direct trains from the Cinque Terre to Venice. You will have to transfer at least one or two times, depending on where you stay in the Cinque Terre.

If you stayed in one of these Cinque Terre towns (Manarola, Vernazza, Corniglia, or Riomaggiore) you will first have to travel to La Spezia or Monterosso. From La Spezia and Monterosso, you will then travel through Florence, Milan, Genova, Bologna, or another Italian city, with 1 to 2 transfers. The quickest journey is 4 hours but it can take up to 7 hours to get to Venice. I found quicker routes from La Spezia than from Monterosso.

For example, if you are staying in Riomaggiore, you will take the local train to La Spezia. From La Spezia, you will take a regional or high-speed train to Milan or Florence, then transfer to a train to Venice.

Ideally, schedule the earliest train that you can with the quickest travel time, in order to maximize your time in Venice. Book a train that arrives at the Venezia Santa Lucia station, which is in the city center of Venice. If you book a ticket to the Venezia Mestre station, which is on the mainland, you will have to take a bus or train to the city center.

Get train schedules, fares, and book your train tickets on italiarail.com. 

IMPORTANT! Beginning summer 2022, visitors will have to make a reservation in advance and pay a fee, in order to visit Venice. The details are still being worked out. But it is something to consider, and keep an eye on, if you plan to visit Venice in 2022.

Milan (Optional)

On this 10 day Italy itinerary, you have this afternoon and tomorrow in Venice, unless you can add more time. If you don’t mind giving up this afternoon in Venice, you can spend a few hours in Milan, as you travel from the Cinque Terre to Venice.

10 Day Italy Itinerary with Milan

We did this and it worked very well. We took an early morning train to Milan, spent several hours in Milan, and then took an afternoon train to Venice.

There are two main places to visit in Milan if you just have a few hours. Visit the Duomo and walk on the rooftop and see Da Vinci’s Last Supper at the convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie. For full details on how to do this, read our guide on how to plan a day trip to Milan.

Afternoon and Evening in Venice

If you skipped Milan, you will arrive in Venice midday. Check into your hotel and spend the afternoon and evening exploring the city.

Stroll through the canals, visit St. Mark’s Square, and climb the Campanile di San Marco (the bell tower) for fantastic 360° views of Venice. For hours and pricing of the bell tower, visit the official website. 

Rome Florence Venice Itinerary Photo

View from the Campanile | 10 Day Italy Itinerary

LEARN MORE ABOUT VENICE: 9 Must-Have Experiences in Venice

Where to Stay

On this 10 day Italy itinerary, you will spend two nights in Venice. For recommendations on where to stay, read our article Where to Stay in Venice: Best Neighborhoods and Hotels for Your Budget


10 Day Italy Itinerary: Day 9

Venice

Our favorite thing to do in Venice is to wander the canals, eat the food, and drink the coffee. But there are several wonderful sights to visit while you are here.

St. Mark’s Basilica

This cathedral dates back to the 9th century AD. Over the course of eight centuries, mosaics were added to the interior of the cathedral, as well as treasures from the Crusades. The Pala d’Oro is a Byzantine alter piece that is covered in gold and studded with almost 2,000 gems.

Lines can be very long to enter St. Mark’s Basilica. Early morning is the best time to visit, when crowds are lower, but you can also skip the lines by taking a tour. This highly rated tour includes a visit to St. Mark’s Basilica as well as Doge’s Palace.

St Marks Basilica 10 day Italy Itinerary

St Mark’s Basilica | 10 Day Italy Itinerary

 St Marks Basilica Photo

Doge’s Palace

The Doges’ Palace is a palace built in Venetian Gothic styles. For centuries, this building served as the residence for the Doge, the seat of the government, and a palace of justice. Now, it is a museum.

Again, expect large crowds of people and long ticket lines. You can tour the Palace on your own or book a guided tour.

As you tour Doge’s Palace, you will cross the Bridge of Sighs. From this window, prisoners on their way to execution would have one final view of the city.

Bridge of Sighs

Bridge of Sighs

Hours: 10 am to 6 pm, last admission at 5 pm
Cost: €25, audio guide €5
Website: Get updated pricing, learn about the Secret Itineraries tour, and book your tickets in advance on the official website. 
Tour of the Doge’s Palace: On this 3-hour walking tour, visit St. Mark’s Square, St. Mark’s Basilica, and Doge’s Palace with skip-the-line access and a knowledgeable guide.

For more information on how to plan your time, read our 1 Day in Venice Itinerary.

Afternoon: Cruise the Canals

In the afternoon, cruise the canals of Venice. There are several ways to do this.

By Gondola

Drifting through the canals of Venice in a gondola might seem very touristy, but we do it every time we are here and always have a great experience. Gondola rides typically last 30 to 60 minutes.

The city of Venice sets the rate at €80 per 40 minutes (€100 after 7 pm) but that doesn’t mean that’s the rate you will get. You will have to negotiate with your gondolier before you ride. Make sure you agree on the price and the length of time you will ride before you get in the gondola.

As you walk through Venice, you will see gondolas for hire at various points throughout the city.

Venice Gondola Ride 10 day Italy Itinerary

By Vaporetto

Traveling by Vaporetto is a cheaper way to get great views of Venice. It is a water bus that is used to travel from point to point but it also is a great way to cruise the Grand Canal without spending a fortune.

Take the No. 1 vaporetto (ACTV) Linea 1 from San Marco – San Zaccharia (St. Mark’s Square) to Piazzale Roma. During the ride, you will see Ponte dell’Accademia, the Rialto Bridge, and the beautiful buildings that line the Grand Canal. Since it is a water bus, you can get off whenever you see something of interest. And since it runs in both directions, so you can also ride it back to St. Mark’s Square.

Venice Grand Canal 10 day Italy Itinerary

View of the Grand Canal from Ponte dell’Accademia | 10 Day Italy Itinerary

By Tour

There are also several tours that combine a cruise the Lagoon with dinner or wine. This sunset cruise of the Lagoon includes a glass of Prosecco and takes 2 hours. This 3-hour cruise of the Lagoon includes dinner and wine and magical views of the city.


10 Day Italy Itinerary: Day 10

Fly Home

Today, fly home or continue on to your next destination.


How to Modify this Itinerary

With Less Time

If you have less than ten days, I recommend skipping the Cinque Terre. If you only have 7 days in Italy, here is a sample itinerary.

Day 1: Arrive in Rome
Day 2: Rome
Day 3: Travel to Florence
Day 4: Florence
Day 5: Morning in Florence, afternoon train to Venice
Day 6: Venice
Day 7: Fly home

With More Time

With more time, you can either add on days to Rome, Florence, the Cinque Terre, Venice, or Tuscany, or add on another destination.

My advice is to add more time to these cities, since this itinerary already moves very fast and there is a lot more to do in each of them, than what we cover in this 10 day Italy itinerary. Adding one more day to Rome is highly recommended if you can do it. Tuscany would also be a great spot to add more time.

If you want to go hiking in the Dolomites, add on a minimum of two days but you can stay as long as 10 days without running out of things to do (so far we have spent 12 days in the Dolomites and still have things we want to do). 

If you have two weeks for Italy, we have a detailed 14-day itinerary that is similar to this one, with the addition of Sorrento, Capri, the Amalfi Coast, and Pompeii.

Best Things to Do in Venice 10 day Italy Itinerary

Venice | 10 Day Italy Itinerary

How to Get Around Italy

To get from city to city, we recommend taking the train. Trains in Italy are fast, cheap, and very convenient. The train stations are located right in the city centers, so you can quickly and conveniently travel from city center to city center. Trains are faster, cheaper, and more environmentally friendly than cars.

To check train schedules and to book your trains online, Italiarail.com is the easiest website to use. Just be aware that they charge a €5 booking fee to use their website. You can avoid the €5 fee by using Trenitalia.com, but this website is more difficult to use.

In our experience, we have found it to be cheaper to book our tickets individually rather than purchasing a Eurail Pass.

Average Trip Costs

Here are some estimated costs per person (all prices are in USD during peak travel times):

Budget Hotel, double room with two people: $50 – $150
Mid-Range Hotel, double room with two people: $150 – $300
Luxury Hotel, double room with two people: $300+

Train Travel: To travel from city to city, train fares range from $20 to $60, depending on the distance traveled and the speed of the train. Regional trains can take twice the length of time to cover the same distance as a high-speed train, and cost half as much, but you will be sacrificing sightseeing time. I think it is best to cut costs by staying in a cheaper hotel or eating out less often, so you can take the faster train and have more time exploring the city.

Meals: Meals cost $10 to $30 per dish, depending on the restaurant. To save money, stay in a hotel that offers breakfast, put together picnic lunches, and skip the drinks at dinner.

Entrance Fees: On this itinerary, entrance fees average out to roughly $50 USD per day. That does not include tours, only entrance fees.

Miscellaneous: Factor in approximately $50 USD per day for miscellaneous fees, such as short taxi or Uber rides, souvenirs, etc.

More Information about Italy

ITINERARY: 10 Days in Italy: 3 Amazing Itineraries
ITINERARY: 14 Day Italy Itinerary: How to Spend 2 Weeks in Italy
ROME: 2 Days in Rome: The Perfect Itinerary for Your First Visit
ROME: Where to Stay in Rome: Best Hotels and Neighborhoods for Your Budget
FLORENCE: 10 Things to Do on Your First Visit to Florence
CINQUE TERRE: The Cinque Terre for Budget Travelers
VENICE: Where to Get the Best Views of Venice
VENICE: Where to Stay in Venice: Best Hotels and Neighborhoods for Your Budget
INSPIRATION: 20 Best Places to Visit in Italy

If you need more information about traveling to Italy, check out our Italy Travel Guide. It has lots of articles and advice to help you plan the perfect trip.

Designing Your Own Italy Itinerary?

This Italy itinerary is a great starting point for designing your own custom itinerary. For more tips and tricks to help you plan the perfect trip, consider reading this article:

7 Things to Know When Planning Your First Trip to Europe

For more great itineraries in Europe and around the world, visit our Travel Itineraries page.


If you have any questions about this 10 day Italy itinerary to Rome, Florence, Cinque Terre, and Venice, let us know in the comment section below.

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Comments 17

  1. Avatar for Sunny
    Sunny

    Hi this itinerary is pretty interesting.. I would like to know some options on how we can tweak this to make it kid friendly (I have two young daughters aged 10 &7) considering they would not like to trek or walk too much.. or will be bored from just visiting only historical / religious sites.. my plan is to do 10 days around March.

    1. Avatar for Julie Post
      Author
      Julie

      When we took Tyler and Kara to Italy, they were 9 and 11, so just a little bit older than your kids. They did get bored at the museums and religious sites but loved seeing places like the Colosseum. In March, I’m not sure what the Cinque Terre would be like. We just got home 2 days ago from the Amalfi Coast, and if the Cinque Terre is anything like the Amalfi Coast, many hotels and restaurants will still be closed in March (April is typically reopening time). You can still go, you will just have fewer choices, but also a lot fewer people.
       
      I recommend not changing Rome (there is enough there to keep kids interested) and in Florence limit how much time you spend in the museums. Tyler and Kara loved seeing David at Accademia but were bored at the Borghese (however, it is still worthwhile to visit). They loved climbing the steps of the Duomo cupola and going to the Galileo Museum. If you are concerned about the Cinque Terre, you could take it out and add in Lake Garda (we have more info coming soon), or Siena and visit the Tuscan hill towns (also more info coming soon on our website), and still visit Pisa, since it is recognizable by kids. And Venice is great so I’d keep all the time here.
       
      We tend to visit all the big sights and drag Tyler and Kara along, and they learned how to appreciate things they saw, or at least act like they do. If we took them to a “boring” museum, we balance it out with something fun before or after it. And if you can learn about 5 main things to see in the museum, you could set up a scavenger hunt for your kids, and it keeps them interested trying to find them. Some museums have guides for kids or you can do a little online research before you go and come up with a list. Hope this helps!
       
      Cheers, Julie

  2. Avatar for Jade
    1. Avatar for Julie Post
      Author
      Julie

      Yes, that is a very nice time to visit Italy. Some places will be a little bit chilly but crowds will be lower than late spring into summer. Just check the dates of Easter. I have heard that Italy gets very busy around Easter, but I think in late April you should be fine. Cheers, Julie

  3. Avatar for Jennifer
    Jennifer

    Hi, my husband and I are planning to do this itinerary this Christmas. Is the Cinque Terre still a good idea at that time of year?

    1. Avatar for Julie Post
      Author
      Julie

      It’s the off season, so I think crowds would be low, at least lower than the summer months. Sometimes at coastal towns like that, some restaurants and hotels will close in the winter, but I don’t know what happens at the Cinque Terre. There will be at least some hotels and restaurants open so you can still visit. Cheers, Julie

      1. Avatar for Dorothy
        Dorothy

        Hello Julie, this website is awesome.
        I am planning on visiting Northern italy September 2023. I’m planning on arriving in Milan and departing out of Rome.
        I will be spending a few days in these towns and order, Milan, Lake Como, Verona, Venice, Bologna, Florence, Cinque Terre. I am thinking of dividing my stay in Florence, so the train journey is not as long going from Cinque terre to Rome. I was planning on doing my Tuscany trips after Cinque terre before I go to Rome.
        Could you please advise

        1. Avatar for Julie Post
          Author
          Julie

          Hello Dorothy. It looks like you are planning a wonderful trip to Italy. Your order of cities looks good. You can visit Lake Como on a day trip from Milan. To visit Verona, you could either take the train there, store your luggage in the train station, tour the city, then take the train to Venice in the afternoon/evening. Or, take the train to Verona, tour the city, and spend one night in Verona, the following morning taking the train to Venice. It really depends on how much time you want to spend in Verona. For the Cinque Terre, it’s possible to do it as a day trip from Florence, but it’s a long day, and I think it’s best to spend at least one day and night here. You could look into taking a train from Bologna to the Cinque Terre, visit the 5Terre, then train to Florence. Visit Florence and do your Tuscany day trips. Then train from Florence to Rome. As I write this, I am actually sitting in Florence. Tim and I just toured a lot of Tuscany, with more stops planned in the upcoming days. We will be writing a lot more about Florence, Tuscany, and Rome this fall and winter, once home, so check back for more planning information. And if you have any more questions, please let me know. Cheers, Julie

  4. Avatar for S P Mukherjee
    S P Mukherjee

    Friends,
    My wife and I are thinking of a 10-day trip to Italy. The classic one appears to be suitable for us. We are senior citizens and hence, would like to keep our walking to minimum.
    Can you give us an idea of the costs involved for the Classic Tour sometime in May/June 2023?
    We will make our own arrangement for the flight ticket to and from Rome.
    Thanks and best wishes
    SPMukherjee
    Kolkata, INDIA

    1. Avatar for Julie Post
      Author
      Julie

      We don’t arrange tours, we publish these itineraries so you can use them to plan your trip. Feel free to share it with a travel agent. Your costs will depend on what level of travel you prefer (budget, mid-range, or luxury). But for two people on a mid-range budget, plan to spend $350 to $400 USD per day (per couple), not including transportation to get to Italy. Cheers, Julie

  5. Avatar for Giovana
    Giovana

    Hello,
    This is so helpful! Thank you for putting it together! We are planning our first trip to Europe and would like to include Paris and London in addition to Rome and Venice. We would have 14 days. Is there an itinerary for that?

    1. Avatar for Julie Post
      Author
      Julie

      No, we don’t have an itinerary for that, but it is something that I have been considering doing, so I’ll bump it up higher on my to-do list. You can do those 4 cities in 14 days. Here is a rough itinerary assuming that day 1 and day 14 are travel days (if not, you just have a little bit more time in the first and last cities): (1) arrive in London (2) London (3) London (4) London (5) early train to Paris, Paris in the afternoon (6) Paris (7) Paris (8) travel to Venice (9) Venice (10) Venice (11) early train to Rome, afternoon in Rome (12) Rome (13) Rome (14) travel home. This can easily be done in the opposite order. For the travel day from Paris to Venice, you can either do a series of trains or take a short flight. We have a 3 day in Paris itinerary and 5 days in London itinerary that can help you plan your time. Later today I will be publishing a 2 days in Venice itinerary that will be perfect for this itinerary. Have fun planning your trip!! Cheers, Julie

  6. Avatar for rebecca
    1. Avatar for Julie Post
      Author
      Julie

      We don’t have a downloadable version of this itinerary yet. However, you can save it as a PDF from your browser. Press CTRL + P (Command + P on a mac) and a prompt will come up to allow you to save it as a PDF. You can then print a copy of it. The website is not optimized for printing so it will be a lot of pages, but it’s the best we can offer right now. If you have any problems let me know. Have a great time in Italy! Cheers, Julie

  7. Avatar for Taylor
    Taylor

    For me, Fountain Di Trevi is one of the best things to see in Rome!
    P.S. For luck, you should throw a coin into it- they say you will come back to visit the fountain again if you do so 🙂

  8. Avatar for Tyler Reyno
    Tyler Reyno

    Hi! I’m super interested in booking this almost exact itinerary for an engagement trip for my partner and I (“#1 ‘The Classic'”), but I’m a bit of a noob here on this type of travel planning. Do you have any tips on where to start and how to approach this?

    [Would you say start with the flight booking and then work inwards? Would it be flight, then lodging, then train/inter-city travel, then thinking about daily activities?
    -Do you recommend AirBNB’s over hotels? Trains over other transport?
    -What is required for this type of international travel other than your passport (I’m Canadian)?

    Sorry for the lame outreach; this trip just means a lot to us and I’m super excited about that itinerary, so I’d like to do it the right way. Thanks for any feedback at all.

    1. Avatar for Julie Post
      Author
      Julie

      Hello Tyler. I recommend researching flight options first…the day of the week that you fly and also the time of year can have a big impact on pricing (generally, mid-week is a cheaper time to fly, but this may not be convenient if you are trying to include 2 weekends to take fewer vacation days from work). Once you have flights picked out, I recommend doing a quick search on hotel availability and pricing. If everything looks good, book your flights, then your hotels/AirBnB, then train tickets and attractions. We generally stay in hotels but a lot of people like AirBnB (hotels are just our personal preference). You will need a passport, and nowadays a COVID vaccination card. For Italy, they have a green card for COVID that shows your vaccination status. You will need to show this for hotels, restaurants, museums, etc. A quick Google search on this card will give you the details about it and how to obtain it.
       
      If you have any other questions, feel free to write in again. It’s a great trip and I hope you have a wonderful time!
       
      Cheers, Julie

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