Italy Itinerary

10 Days in Italy: 3 Amazing Itineraries

Julie Italy, Itinerary, San Marino 314 Comments

Italy is a country that is on many travelers’ wish list. And why not? Italy has it all: fabulous cuisine, gorgeous cities, towering mountains and beautiful beaches, and ancient historical sites. Throw in some gelato and wine and you have the perfect ingredients for a memorable 10-day holiday in Europe.

For first timers to Italy, Rome, Florence, and Venice usually make the “must-see” list. With ten days, you have just enough time to visit these three cities and add in a quick visit to a nearby destination. How to do this is spelled out in our “Classic” itinerary.

But for those who want different ideas of how to spend your time in Italy, we have two more recommendations for you.

With 10 days in Italy, you have just enough time to get a taste of this country. Don’t try to see it all at once. Italy is better visited at a slower pace, so you can sample the food, wander the streets, and get the full experience.

With these itineraries, we tried to strike a balance between visiting a handful of cities and moving slowly enough to have the best experience.

10 Days in Italy: 3 Itineraries

#1 The Classic

Our classic itinerary includes Rome, Florence, and Venice, with two days in the Cinque Terre.

Rome, Florence, Cinque Terre & Venice

  • Day 1: Arrive in Rome
  • Day 2: Rome
  • Day 3: Florence
  • Day 4: Florence/Tuscany
  • Day 5: Tuscany
  • Day 6: Cinque Terre
  • Day 7: Cinque Terre
  • Day 8: Venice
  • Day 9: Venice
  • Day 10: Fly home

IMPORTANT!! We get a lot of comments and emails about how to add one or two more destinations to this itinerary. We know that it is tempting to squeeze as much in as possible, but we do not recommend adding more to this itinerary. This is already a very busy schedule. If you add on another city, you will get to “see” a lot, but you will end up spending most of your time in Italy on the train. If anything, consider adding more time to Rome before adding on another destination.


Day 1 & 2: Rome

Rome

The first day in Rome can be challenging if you arrive on a red-eye flight. Do your best to get adjusted to the time change, visit a few sites in the afternoon, and consider going to bed a little early.

With less than two full days in Rome, you will not be able to see everything, but some of the must-see sites include the Colosseum, the Pantheon, the Borghese art gallery, and a tour of the Vatican. Stroll through Piazza Navona and consider having dinner in the Trastevere neighborhood.


Read more: 2 Days in Rome: The Perfect Itinerary


Day 3, 4 & 5: Florence and Tuscany

Travel by train to Florence. This journey takes just 1.5 hours, so if you leave early in the morning you will have most of the day in Florence.

Florence

On this itinerary, you have three days in Florence and Tuscany. Florence needs at least one full day to see the main sites. You should also spend one full day in Tuscany. There are numerous hill towns to visit as well as Siena, one of our favorite spots in Italy. You have to decide how to spend the third day: more time in gorgeous Florence or another day in Tuscany, visiting the small towns and vineyards.

To get around Tuscany, we recommend hiring a driver. This allows you to sit back and enjoy the views and the wine without the hassles of parking and navigating between the towns. If you are more independent, you can rent a car (this is what we did after our terrible experience with the public bus system in Italy). We do not recommend the bus. On more than one occasion, the bus failed to show up, leaving us stranded on the side of the road. This not only happened in Tuscany but also Sorrento and Amalfi.


Read more: One Perfect Day in Siena


Day 6 & 7: Cinque Terre

Manarola

On the morning of day 6, take the train from Florence to the Cinque Terre. It takes between 1.5 to 3 hours to get to the Cinque Terre. Direct trains take less time but there are many more options that have a transfer in Pisa. You can take a few hours to visit Pisa on the way to the Cinque Terre, but you would be missing out on some valuable time in the Cinque Terre.

If you are booking a train to the Cinque Terre, you will arrive in La Spezia and then take the local train to one the five towns of the Cinque Terre. It takes just 9 minutes to travel from La Spezia to the first town, Riomaggiore, and trains run very frequently.

The Cinque Terre is magical. Five picture perfect towns perched along the Mediterranean coastline just waiting to be explored. You can spend a full day hiking between them or use the train to hop between towns.


Read More:  Hiking the Cinque Terre and The Cinque Terre for Budget Travelers


Day 8 & 9: Venice

Take the train from the Cinque Terre (La Spezia) to Venice. There are no direct trains. Most trains transfer in either Milan or Florence. The quickest journey takes 4 hours but some can take over 6 hours. For your day of travel, book the shortest, most convenient train in the morning, so you have the afternoon to spend in Venice.

Venice

One day in Venice is really all you need to see the main highlights. Spend the extra time by cruising out to Murano and Burano or simply wandering the canals some more.


Read more: 20 Photos that will make you want to visit Venice

Where to Day in Venice: Best Neighborhoods and Hotels for Your Budget


Day 10

Begin your travels home. Or, for those with more time, continue onto your next destination.


#2 Rome, Florence & the Amalfi Coast

Venice and the Cinque Terre did not make this itinerary, but what you are getting is a drive along the stunning Amalfi Coast, a day trip out the beautiful island of Capri, a visit to Pompeii, and an extra day in Rome.

Rome, Amalfi Coast, Florence & Tuscany

  • Day 1: Arrive in Rome
  • Day 2: Rome
  • Day 3: Rome
  • Day 4: Sorrento and Pompeii
  • Day 5: Capri
  • Day 6: Amalfi Coast
  • Day 7: Florence
  • Day 8: Florence
  • Day 9: Tuscany
  • Day 10: Fly home

Day 1, 2 & 3: Rome

On this itinerary you have one extra day in Rome. This gives you plenty of time to explore this city. Even so, it will be a very busy three days.

Trastevere Neighborhood

Trastevere

Day 4: Pompeii and Sorrento

Today, you will visit Pompeii in transit between Rome and Sorrento. This is relatively easy to do. From Rome, take the train to Naples (70 minutes). Once in Naples you will transfer to the Circumvesuviana train. You can purchase tickets right before boarding the Circumvesuviana train so there is no need to buy them in advance. It takes 36 minutes to travel from Naples to Pompeii (get off at the Pompeii Scavi station).

Pro Travel Tip: The Circumvesuviana train is a local train (similar to riding the subway in New York City) and it can be hot and crowded, especially during the summer months. It’s not as nice as the faster trains in Italy, but is a convenient, budget friendly option for getting to Pompeii and Sorrento. Always beware of pickpockets while using trains and other public transportation in Italy. If you want to skip out on this “budget friendly experience,” you can hire a private driver in Naples instead of taking the Circumvesuviana.

While touring Pompeii, you can store your luggage in the luggage storage facility on the lower level of the Pompeii Scavi station.

10 days in Italy

After touring Pompeii, pick up your luggage and then take the Circumvesuviana train to Sorrento. Most likely you are arriving in the mid to late afternoon. After checking into your hotel (your home base for 3 nights), stroll along the marina, have dinner, and try the limoncello…it’s delicious!


For more information on how to visit Pompeii and travel to Sorrento, Capri and the Amalfi Coast, read these posts:

How to Visit Pompeii when Traveling from Rome to Sorrento

How to Travel from Rome to Sorrento, Capri & the Amalfi Coast


Sorrento and Mt. Vesuvius

Vesuvius Sunset

Day 5: Capri

Capri is just 20 minutes away from Sorrento by boat. Once in Capri, take a boat tour around the island, enjoy the breathtaking view from Mount Solaro, and explore the Grand Marina. You can even go hiking if you like.

Capri


Read more: Is a Visit to the Blue Grotto Worth It?


Day 6: Amalfi Coast

Amalfi Coast

From Sorrento, take a day trip to the Amalfi Coast. This is described as one of the most scenic drives in the world. Along the way, visit the towns of Positano, Amalfi, and Ravello.

Positano

Tim Rivenbark

The best way to get around is by private driver. Parking can be a huge hassle (avoid self-driving the Amalfi Coast during peak season) and using the public bus system can be a nightmare (been there, done that, and we had a miserable experience).


Read more: Positano, Our Favorite Town on the Amalfi Coast


Day 7, 8 & 9: Florence and Tuscany

The morning of day 7 is spent traveling from Sorrento to Florence. You can take the Circumvesuviana train (1 hour, cheap) or take a private driver (1 hour, expensive) to the Naples train station (Napoli Centrale). From Naples it is a 3-hour train ride to Florence. It is a gorgeous journey, especially the final hour, as you travel through Tuscany.

Divide your time between Florence and the hill towns in Tuscany.

The view from San Gimignano

Tuscany

Day 10

Begin your travels home. Or, for those with more time, continue onto your next destination.


#3 Off-the-Beaten-Path

For those who don’t mind skipping some of the more popular cities, this itinerary includes several wonderful, off-the-beaten-path destinations. We love this itinerary because it includes some of our favorite spots in Italy. You even get to explore a hidden gem of Europe, San Marino.

For this itinerary you will need to rent a car. You can pick it up on day 1 at the Venice airport or on the morning of day 2 before leaving Venice.

Venice, Dolomites, Verona, San Marino & Tuscany

  • Day 1: Arrive in Venice
  • Day 2: Venice
  • Day 3: Dolomites
  • Day 4: Dolomites
  • Day 5: Verona
  • Day 6: San Marino
  • Day 7: Florence
  • Day 8: Tuscany
  • Day 9: Tuscany
  • Day 10: Fly home

Day 1 & 2: Venice

With one and a half to two days in Venice (depending on what time you arrive on day 1), you have just enough time to explore the best of Venice and visit Murano, Burano, and/or Lido Island.

Venice Photography

Day 3 & 4: Dolomites

The Dolomites are one of the most gorgeous spots in Italy that we have seen. This is hiking paradise. There are numerous trails, from short easy hikes to all day affairs. The views are spectacular, and you don’t have to be a hiker to enjoy a trip here.

Dolomites

In the Dolomites, the two most popular towns to base yourself are Bolzano and Cortina d’Ampezzo. It takes about 2.5 hours to get to either town from Venice. Later, when you transfer to Verona, it is a 2-hour drive from Bolzano and a 3.5-hour drive from Cortina d’Ampezzo. The drive from both locations is gorgeous. Most of the hikes we did were located near Cortina d’Ampezzo.


Read more: Hiking the Puez-Odle Altopiano


Day 5: Verona

Verona

Verona is gorgeous, similar to Venice except without the canals, the decay, and the huge numbers of tourists. This is another one of those cities that is perfect for getting lost in (and eating a lot of gelato). Enjoy this low-key day exploring this beautiful city.


Read more: Falling in Love with Verona


Day 6: San Marino

San Marino

In the morning drive to San Marino (3 hours, mostly on the highway). You will have the rest of the day to explore this gorgeous, underrated destination in Europe.


Read more: San Marino: Europe’s Most Underrated Destination?


Day 7, 8 & 9: Florence and Tuscany

Montalcino

Since you have a car, take your pick of where you want to stay in Tuscany. You can choose Florence, Siena, or any of the Tuscan hill towns, such as Montepulciano, Pienza, or San Gimignano, just to name a few. Or even stay in a villa for three nights. It just depends on what kind of experience you want to have.

We recommend one day in Florence and two days exploring Tuscany.

Day 10

Begin your travels home. Or, for those with more time, continue onto your next destination.


With More Time

With only ten days in Italy, it’s tempting to squeeze in as many destinations as possible. But sometimes the best experience is going slower and visiting fewer cities.

If you are lucky enough to have more than ten days, consider adding more time to Tuscany, Rome, or any of the destinations listed in this itinerary, rather than adding a quick visit to another city. I know that it is tempting to try to see as much as possible, but your holiday may be more enjoyable if you slow down a little bit.

If you have 14 days, you can visit Rome, Florence, Venice, the Amalfi Coast, and the Cinque Terre. Learn how to do it in our 14 Day Italy Itinerary.

Best Time to go to Italy

Spring and fall are the best seasons to visit Italy. The weather is generally pleasant during this time.

Summer is peak season so expect huge crowds of people and more expensive accommodations. Italy can also be very busy during Easter week and around Christmas.

Italy Travel Guide

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?

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

7 Things to Know When Planning Your First Trip to Europe


Are you planning a trip to Italy? Comment below if you have any questions.

 

Going to Italy? Buy the Guide:


 

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Italy Itinerary 10 Days

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Comments 314

  1. I am traveling with my 13 and 11 year old to Italy this March. I love your blog and going to start to book things. This trip is out of my comfort zone just a bit. We are from a small town in Idaho. Do you suggest that we book are train tickets early or just at the stations? I also keep reading to buy all your tours and stuff early. I just want to be overly prepared. Thanks

    1. Post
      Author

      Yes, I recommend booking your train tickets in advance. That way, you get the train and time you want and it takes the stress out of travel. Once at the train station, you just have to find your train. It’s usually straightforward, but there will be staff at each station to help you out, should you need it. Cheers, Julie

  2. My boyfriend and I followed your 10 day itinerary almost down to a tee. It was super helpful, especially with transportation on the Circumvesuviana and around Amalfi. We LOVED Italy! Thank you so much! We will look at your posts our next trip.

    Thanks!

    Allison

    1. Post
      Author
  3. Great post! Mostly known, but it’s always when ideas are organised. What surprises is that no blog, article etc. mention the gypsies and the pick pocket menace. Apparently, all big cities are like that. No, I don’t agree. The 20 odd countries I have visited, including Barcelona, Prague and Paris (hotspot for pickpockets) my family and I moved around most comfortably. We didn’t have to wear hidden pouches for our passport, mobiles and cash in any of these cities. Never felt that we were being watched as potential targets. Italy is the only where we had to hide everything and be extra cautious. For a country which is so beautiful our enjoyment was really reduced being ‘aware’ and ‘careful’! The reason many people become victims of the so-called petty theft is because tourists don’t know, noone warns them. Yours is an established, famous blog. Please add this point too, so tourists knows what to expect. Thank you

  4. Hi Julie,
    My husband and I are going to Italy beginning of March next year. I booked our vacation through travelocity for 10 days in Rome. But we want to go to Venice and Florence but majority of the time stay in Rome. How would we do this especially since our hotel room is already booked in Rome. Are we able to do day trips?

    Thanks!
    Lauren

    1. Post
      Author

      Hello Lauren. Venice it too far away to day trip there from Rome (it’s at least 3.5 hours by train one way). You would need to spend one night in Venice, and this would give you two days to explore Venice. However, you can day trip to Florence by train from Rome…it takes just an hour and a half. So, you could day trip to Florence on two different days in order to see Florence. If you like the idea of visiting Tuscany, you could rent a car and drive in to Tuscany for the day. It would be a lot of driving but it might be worth it. Pompeii is also a great day trip destination from Rome. Cheers, Julie

  5. Julie.
    My husband and will be traveling to London and Ireland, in oct. leaving on October 7th.
    We have about 12 days left on our vacation, any ideas of other cities we can visit…will be in London for 3 days, then traveling to Ireland for four days the rest of the time we don’t know where to go…Any ideas ?..

    1. Post
      Author

      So, if I understand you correctly, you have 5 days to travel. You will be very close to Edinburgh, Scotland. You could spend 2 days in the city and 3 days day tripping or road tripping in Scotland. Paris, Amsterdam, and Barcelona are all great cities to base yourself in and to also take day trips from. You could go to Rome and day trip to Pompeii or Naples. Or go to Florence and day trip to Tuscany. You could also go to Munich and day trip to Bavaria. Lots of options to choose from! Cheers, Julie

  6. Hi,
    I will be arriving in Rome at the end of September and I will be visiting for 7 days. This will be my first time in Italy and my first time traveling solo in Europe. I didn’t realize that my hotel is not located close to downtown without a car or taxi. Any safety recommendations? Anything I should be concerned about?

    1. Post
      Author

      Without knowing exactly where you are staying, I can’t say for sure. However, we have always felt very safe wherever we have been in Europe, whether it was a city center, on the edge of town, in the countryside. You should be fine in Rome, even if you are not downtown. In Europe, usually the only thing you need to be concerned about is pickpocketing, and that can happen anywhere. We travel with Pacsafe brand bags. These have zippers that you can lock and RFID compartments and all kinds of great ways to help prevent theft/pickpocketing. Always keep your bag where you can see it, don’t wear a lot of jewelry, especially expensive jewelry, keep your camera in a bag other than when taking photos. On Subways and crowded, touristy spots are the places you need to be the most vigilant. We live in the US and always feel much safer when we are in Europe. Cheers, Julie

  7. Hello,

    My adult daughter and I are visiting Italy April 2020 for 7 days. Rome is our base as we fly in and out of Rome’s FCO airport. We hope to visit other areas in Italy (e.g. Florence, Naples, Amalfi Coast) and is asking you to help us with a 7-day itinerary (Monday-Sunday, fly home on Monday). We are first time visitors!
    Thanks
    Marcia

    1. Post
      Author

      Hello Marcia. First time to Italy, that’s very exciting! You should plan on 2 to 3 days in Rome. That leaves you with 4 to 5 days. We usually recommend 3 days for the Amalfi Coast/Naples/Sorrento area. That leaves you 1 to 2 more days. While it is possible to day trip to Florence from Rome, it would be a very long day, so I recommend spending at least one night here. You have do decide if you want more time in Rome or Florence. Here is a sample itinerary: 1- Rome; 2 – Rome; 3 – train through Naples to Sorrento; 4 – Amalfi Coast; 5 – Capri; 6 – train to Florence 7 – Florence; evening train back to Rome. Cheers, Julie

      1. Hello Julie,
        Thanks for the suggested itinerary. Having read more of your blogs, I am considering spending more of the time in Rome and Florence. Here is a probable itinerary: days 1 -3 Rome, day 4,-6 Florence ( leave Florence on evening train for Rome); day 7 Rome; fly home morning of day 8. What do you think of this plan? If I could add one more place to see what could this be?

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          Author

          Yes, I think this sounds great. If you added another place, Tuscany would make the most sense…you’re right there and it’s wonderful. The easiest way to visit it would be on a day trip from Florence. You can either join a tour, hire a driver, or rent a car for one to two days. It would take 1 to 2 hours to drive to some of the towns from Florence, but it’s a very pretty, easy drive. Siena, San Gimignano, Montalcino, and Montepulciano are all great options. Cheers, Julie

  8. Hi there. We are a family of three (1 son age 13yo) traveling to Italy in May 2020. We definitely want to see Rome and then I am torn between going north(Florence/NW(Cinque Terre)/really North Dolomites/Alps)or South towards Sorrento and Amalfi coast. We have 10 days flying out of NYC. We are first time visitors to Italy and don’t want a jam packed schedule. Can you point me in the right direction? Love all your info!
    TY!

    1. Post
      Author

      Hello Diane. Here are some things to think about. If you like art and museums, go to Florence, it’s amazing. And the Cinque Terre is a beautiful spot if you want to see the coastline and hike between the colorful towns. Go to the Dolomites if you like the outdoors and want to go hiking. Sorrento and the Amalfi Coast is a nice place in Italy to go to the beach, visit Capri, and even visit historical Pompeii. I recommend going through the articles we have on this website, as well as other info on the internet, to pick out the area that interests you the most. I wish I could narrow it down for you, but they are all good choices, it just comes down to what you and your family want to do. Cheers, Julie

  9. This blog has been so helpful in planning our trip!
    Have you ever had any issues booking hotels thru a third party company?
    I know they can have better rates than the hotel but I’m nervous about getting there and having an issue (specially with the language barrier).

    Thanks!

    1. Post
      Author

      We use Booking.com to make at least 90% of our hotel reservations. So far, we have never had an issue. I can’t speak for other 3rd party sites, but Booking.com has been fast, easy to use, and reliable. Cheers, Julie

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