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 map: Rome, Florence, Cinque Terre & Venice
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.
Today is a low-key day. Spend the afternoon strolling through the historic heart of Rome with the option to add on a visit to the Borghese Gallery.
If you have a full day today (which gives you two full days in Rome), I recommend following our 2 day Rome itinerary, since that covers more places than what is listed in this itinerary.
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 and the journey takes 30 minutes. Purchase your ticket at the station and validate it before getting on the train.
You can also hire a private transfer here.
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.
This walk is 1.6 km/1 mile long and takes about two hours. You will start at the Spanish Steps and end at Piazza Navona. 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.
Piazza Navona; shutterstock.com/Nicola Forenza
For dinner, you can eat at one of the restaurants near Piazza Navona. 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.
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. You can visit the Borghese Gallery before or after the walk through the heart of Rome. Your timing will be influenced by your arrival time in Rome. It works better to visit the Borghese Gallery first and then spend the remainder of the day on the scenic walk through Rome.
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
Cost: €13, +€2 reservation fee, prices can increase during special exhibits
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!
Where to Stay in Rome
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.
10 Day Italy Itinerary: Day 2
The Vatican & the Colosseum
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 Vatican City and end the Colosseum. The Colosseum can only be visited on a time slot that is reserved in advance, so there is no rush to get here first thing in the morning.
However, the best way to skip the line into St. Peter’s Basilica is to go here first thing in the morning, or take a tour of Vatican City that skips the line into the basilica.
So, we recommend visiting the Vatican first and then the Colosseum, since this makes the best use of your time.
Morning: Vatican City
Vatican City is the smallest country in the world. In Vatican City, there are three big sites to visit: the Vatican Museums, the Sistine Chapel, and St. Peter’s Basilica.
There are several ways to visit Vatican City. You can take a guided tour or visit it independently. We have visited Vatican City independently and on a tour. Taking a tour is more expensive but has several advantages.
Taking a tour is much more educational, as a knowledgeable guide will teach you about important sights within the museums and concentrate on the most important things to see. Some tours take you right from the Sistine Chapel into St. Peter’s Basilica, which can save you an hour or longer. Yes, a tour is more expensive, but skipping that line is well worth the extra money.
Room of the Immaculate Conception in the Vatican Museums
The modern Bramante Staircase in the Vatican Museums
St. Peter’s Basilica | 10 Day Italy Itinerary
The view of Rome from the dome of St. Peter’s Basilica | 10 Day Italy Itinerary
Here are three different ways to spend your time at Vatican City this morning:
BEST OPTION: Early morning guided tour of Vatican City
The Vatican Museums open at 9 am. On an early morning tour, you enter at 8 am, which allows you to see part of the museums with very low crowds. Some tours will take you directly into St. Peter’s Basilica via the tunnel from the Sistine Chapel, which bypasses the enormous line to enter the cathedral.
An early morning tour is pricier (on average you will spend about € 80 to €135 per person), but it is an all-around better experience. We recommend this early morning tour (it is with the same tour company we used).
CHEAPER TOUR OPTION: Guided Tour of Vatican City
The early morning tours of Vatican City are expensive, since you are paying for early access. You can save some money and still take a guided tour by choosing a tour that starts at 9 am, which is opening time of the museums.
This tour gets nothing but stellar reviews and includes the Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel, and St. Peter’s Basilica.
CHEAPEST OPTION: On Your Own
At 8 am, go first to St. Peter’s Basilica. This early in the day, there should be little to no line to enter the cathedral. Once inside, do the dome climb first, then visit the rest of the cathedral (learn more about what to see and do in our Guide to Vatican City).
In advance (at least several weeks before your visit to Rome), book tickets for a 10 am entry into the Vatican Museums, and then tour the museums and Sistine Chapel on your own. The museums will be busy so be prepared for some crowds.
By putting St. Peter’s Basilica first, you get to skip the massive line to get through security. And since you have a timed entry ticket to enter the Vatican Museums, you get to bypass this ticket line. The key to making this work is getting to St. Peter’s Square early enough that there isn’t yet a line (8 am should be fine).
GUIDE TO VATICAN CITY: In our Guide to Vatican City, we cover hours, pricing, and helpful tips for your visit. You also have the option to add on the “secret rooms” of the Vatican, such as the Cabinet of Masks, and we cover these as well.
12:00 pm: Lunch
For lunch, we have three recommendations that are all within walking distance of St. Peter’s Square. You can either have a quick lunch or a longer, leisurely lunch.
We had a quick lunch at Alice Pizza, dining on pizza by the slice. It’s great if you are on a budget or are saving your money for dinner. Two restaurants we have not tried but sound amazing are Borghiciana Pastificio Artiginale and Scialla the Original Streetfood.
1:00 pm: Travel to the Colosseum
After lunch, travel to the Colosseum. You can either take a taxi or use the metro.
1:30 pm: The Colosseum
You can tour the Colosseum on your own or with a guide. Purchasing tickets in advance and touring it on your own is the cheapest option, and something to consider since you just took a pricey early morning tour of the Vatican.
However, if you want to get the most out of your visit, consider joining a tour. We have visited the Colosseum twice, on our own and with a guide, and got a lot more out of our visit with a guide.
For more information about the Arena Floor, the Underground, and what there is to do at the Colosseum, read our article How to Visit the Colosseum. It also has lots of helpful tips for your visit.
The Colosseum | 10 Day Italy Itinerary
Inside the Colosseum | 10 Day Italy Itinerary
How to Visit the Colosseum
On your visit to the Colosseum, you can either wander through it on your own, take the audio guide tour, or join a guided tour. Most visits last 1 to 3 hours.
You must purchase your entrance ticket in advance (you cannot just show up and get in line for a ticket). It costs an extra €2 per ticket for the online reservation fee.
If online tickets are sold out for your dates of travel, I recommend joining a guided tour of the Colosseum. You will spend a little more money than purchasing your tickets directly from the Colosseum website, but at least you will get to visit the Colosseum.
Hours: Hours vary by season. Click here to get hours for your dates of visit.
Cost: €16 (+ €2 online reservation fee) for the standard 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 €24
Website: Get updated hours and pricing and purchase your ticket here.
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.
Getting Here: The closest metro stop is Colosseo. When you exit the metro station, the Colosseum will be right in front of you.
For more information, including ticket types, how to book your tickets, things to do at the Colosseum, plus many more photos, check out our guide on How to Visit the Colosseum.
3:00 pm: Roman Forum & Palatine Hill
The Roman Forum and Palatine Hill are a short walk from the Colosseum. They are both included on your entrance ticket into the Colosseum.
The Roman Forum is ancient Rome, a complex of government buildings, temples, and marketplaces from 2000 years ago. Notable things to see in the Roman Forum include the Via Sacra, the Temple of Venus, the Temple of Romulus (the bronze doors date back to 309 AD), the Temple of Antonius and Faustina and its “hanging door,” the Temple of Vesta, the Temple of Saturn, the Arch of Septimius Severus, and the Temple of Julius Caesar.
Palatine Hill sits next to the Roman Forum. It is a complex of archaeological excavations, the remains of temples and palaces, and a museum. During the time of the Roman Republic, many imperial palaces were built here, including palaces for Augustus, Tiberius, and Domitian.
While on Palatine Hill, make sure you visit Terrazza Belvedere del Palatino for a bird’s eye view of the Roman Forum and the Colosseum. It’s one of the best views in Rome. Here is the view:
The view from Palatine Hill | 10 Day Italy Itinerary
5:00 pm: Altar of the Fatherland
The Altar of the Fatherland, also called Altare della Patria, the Victor Emmanuel II Monument, or simply the “wedding cake,” is one of the most recognizable landmarks in Rome.
For free, you can climb the series of staircases to the upper terrace and café. For the best view, ride the elevator (€12 in 2022) to the top of the monument for panoramic views of Rome. From here, you can see all of Rome’s major landmarks, including the Colosseum, St. Peter’s Basilica, Palatine Hill, and the Roman Forum.
On top of the Altar of the Fatherland | 10 Day Italy Itinerary
The view from the Altar of the Fatherland
6:00 pm: Aperitif at Oro Bistrot
Oro Bistrot is a rooftop terrace that has a spectacular view of the Altar of the Fatherland and the Trajan Forum. They open mid-afternoon and you can have a drink here and then move on or stay for dinner (dinner does not start until 7 pm). Make a reservation in advance for drinks and dinner.
The view from Oro Bistrot at sunset | 10 Day Italy Itinerary
10 Day Italy Itinerary: Day 3
Travel to 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, or hire a taxi.
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.
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, the Baptistery, a museum, and Santa Reparata. It’s a great place to start your tour of Florence.
In our Guide to the Florence Cathedral, we cover all of the sites of the Duomo complex, ticket types, how to reserve your dome climb, and how to plan your time.
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.
The Last Judgement frescoes on the dome | 10 Day Italy Itinerary
From the top of the Dome, enjoy one of the best views of Florence.
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: €30; this includes the entire Duomo complex, including the Baptistery and Giotto’s Bell Tower (mentioned next)
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.
Mosaic ceiling of the Baptistery | 10 Day Italy Itinerary
Replica of the Gates of Paradise doors of the Baptistery | 10 Day Italy Itinerary
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.
The Duomo | 10 Day Italy Itinerary
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.
Piazzale Michelangelo | 10 Day Italy Itinerary
Where to Stay in Florence
On this 10 day Italy itinerary, you will spend three nights in Florence. For recommendations on where to stay, take a look at our our Florence Hotel Guide. Take your pick from hotels with a view of the Duomo, budget hotels that get rave reviews, and the top hotels in the historic city center.
For more information on Florence, read our article 10 Things to Do on Your First Visit to Florence.
10 Day Italy Itinerary: Day 4
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.
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.
Mercato Centrale | 10 Day Italy Itinerary
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 Arnolfo 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.
The view from Palazzo Vecchio | 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.
Uffizi Gallery | 10 Day Italy Itinerary
View of Ponte Vecchio from the Uffizi Museum | 10 Day Italy Itinerary
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.
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.
For ideas on where to go and how to get around Tuscany, take a look at our article Best Day Trips from Florence.
Montalcino, Italy | 10 Day Italy Itineray
San Gimignano | 10 Day Italy Itinerary
Arezzo | 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
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.
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
Get all of the details on how to do this in our article Day Trip to the Leaning Tower of Pisa.
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.
Riomaggiore | 10 Day Italy Itinerary
Where to Stay in the Cinque Terre
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
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.
Vernazza | 10 Day Italy Itinerary
Monterosso al Mar | 10 Day Italy Itinerary
Manarola | 10 Day Italy Itinerary
10 Day Italy Itinerary: Day 8
Travel to Venice
Travel from the Cinque Terre to Milan and 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 sometime in 2023, 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.
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.
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 see Da Vinci’s The 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.
View from the Campanile | 10 Day Italy Itinerary
LEARN MORE ABOUT VENICE: Best Things to Do in Venice
Where to Stay in Venice
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
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.
Learn more about St. Mark’s Basilica, including how to skip the line and how to take a nighttime tour in our Guide to St. Mark’s Basilica.
St Mark’s Basilica | 10 Day Italy Itinerary
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
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.
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.
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.
View of the Grand Canal from Ponte dell’Accademia | 10 Day Italy Itinerary
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
Today, fly home or continue on to your next destination.
How to Modify this Itinerary
Doing this Itinerary in the Opposite Direction
This itinerary works just as well in the opposite direction. Here’s how to do it:
Day 1: Arrive in Venice, afternoon in Venice
Day 2: Venice
Day 3: Train to Cinque Terre with the option to spend a few hours in Milan
Day 4: Cinque Terre
Day 5: Morning train to Florence, afternoon in Florence
Day 6: Florence
Day 7: Tuscany day trip from Florence
Day 8: Morning train to Rome, afternoon in Rome
Day 9: Rome
Day 10: Fly home
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.
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 – $350
Luxury Hotel, double room with two people: $350+
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.
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:
More Italy Itineraries:
Here are a few more itineraries for Italy:
- 10 Days in Italy: 5 Amazing Itinerary Ideas
- 14 Days in Italy: Best Way to Spend Two Weeks in Italy
- Northern Italy Itinerary: Venice, Dolomites, Verona & Lake Como
- Southern Italy Itinerary: Amalfi Coast, Matera, Alberobello & Puglia
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.
More Information about Italy
VENICE: We cover the top experiences in Venice in our Venice Bucket List. Learn where to get the best views of Venice in our article 12 Beautiful Views of Venice. And to help you plan your time, take a look at our one day in Venice itinerary and two days in Venice itinerary.
ROME: For a list of the top experiences in Rome, read our article Best Things to Do in Rome. Learn how to put these together in our 2 Day Rome Itinerary, where to eat in our Rome Restaurant Guide, how to visit the Colosseum, and where to stay in our Rome Hotel Guide. And don’t miss our guide to the Best Rooftop Bars in Rome.
FLORENCE: For a list of things to do, take a look at our Florence Bucket List and learn how to plan your time with our 2 Day Florence Itinerary. We also have information about how to visit the Florence Cathedral, about the best rooftop bars in Florence, the best viewpoints in Florence, and where to stay in Florence.
BEST OF ITALY: In our guide to the Best Places to Visit in Italy, we list 25 beautiful destinations to consider for your next trip to Italy.
We have TONS more information about Italy in our Italy Travel Guide, including Rome, Florence, Venice, Tuscany, the Dolomites, the Amalfi Coast, the Cinque Terre, Basilicata, and Puglia.
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