Julie Italy, Itinerary 17 Comments

This southern Italy itinerary includes some of Italy’s most popular places to visit as well as some hidden gems.

Spend your first few days on the Amalfi Coast, visiting Sorrento, Capri, Pompeii, and several Amalfi Coast towns.

From here, visit Castelmezzano and Pietrapertosa. You may not have heard of these towns before, but they could be one of the most memorable places you visit on this itinerary. Thrill seekers will love ziplining from one town to the other.

From Castelmezzano, travel to photogenic Matera and then Alberobello, a town that looks like it belongs in the pages of a fairy tale. End your trip by visiting a few more towns in Puglia before heading home.

This itinerary is written as a 10-day road trip with two options to add on 3 more days to visit different areas of Puglia.

We have so many cool places to share with you. Let’s get started.

Places You Will Visit on This Itinerary:

  • Amalfi Coast
  • Capri
  • Sorrento
  • Pompeii
  • Paestum
  • Castelmezzano
  • Matera
  • Alberolbello
  • Polignano a Mare
  • More towns in Puglia

Southern Italy Itinerary Map | Southern Italy Itinerary

Southern Italy Itinerary map (map adapted from Google)

About this Southern Italy Itinerary

This itinerary can be done all year, but we think the best time to do it is in May, June, September, and October, when the weather is pleasant and crowds aren’t at peak levels.

During the summer months (July and August), southern Italy will be hot and the Amalfi Coast will be packed with tourists. Hotels and rental cars will also be more expensive during this time and you will face delays when traveling along the Amalfi Coast.

From late fall through early spring (November through mid-April), expect cloudier skies and an increased chance of rain. Many hotels and restaurants will be closed on the Amalfi Coast, in Matera, and in Puglia. You can still do this southern Italy itinerary at this time, but pack your umbrella and be prepared for slim pickings for hotels and restaurants.

For this itinerary, you will need to rent a car. It is challenging to get around Basilicata and Puglia without a car since public transportation is limited in this part of Italy.

This southern Italy itinerary is a point-to-point trip. It starts in Rome/Naples and ends in Bari. However, you can travel back to Rome/Naples if you find it is cheaper or easier to get a flight here. This travel time adds on about a half day to this itinerary.

Renting a Car for This Itinerary

The best way to get around southern Italy, with the exception of the Amalfi Coast, is by car. You can travel on your own schedule and get to towns that are difficult to get to by bus. It is possible to travel using a combination of buses and trains, but schedules are limited, and you will need to add extra travel time to this itinerary.

The best way to get around the Amalfi Coast depends on the time of year you will be doing this trip. In the summer (mid-June through late-September), the best way to get around the Amalfi Coast is by ferry. The roads on the Amalfi Coast during this time become a traffic nightmare. Plus, with the alternating license plate program, you will be limited to which days you can drive here.

If you are planning to visit the Amalfi Coast outside of the summer season, then it is much easier to get around by rental car.

In this itinerary, we will give suggestions on how to get around each day. But you will have a choice to make: pick up the rental car the first day of this itinerary (at the arrival airport) or pick it up in Sorrento just before driving to Castelmezzano.

If you pick up the rental car at your arrival airport, this is the more expensive option. You may not use the car much while on the Amalfi Coast, so you will be paying for the car to sit in a parking lot while you use the trains, ferries, buses, or private drivers.

If you pick up the car in Sorrento, you save several days of a rental car fee (which can really add up). I think this is the better option, unless you plan to fly out of your arrival airport. In this case, it could be cheaper to return the rental car to your starting point.

You will have to price out both of these options. Rental car fees change constantly so I can’t predict which one will be cheaper for your trip.

This southern Italy itinerary is written as a 10-day trip. At the end of the itinerary, we list two ways to extend your time in Puglia.

Positano Sunset | Southern Italy Itinerary


10 Day Southern Italy Itinerary

Southern Italy Itinerary Day 1

Getting to Sorrento & the Amalfi Coast

Your goal for today is to get to your hotel in Sorrento or on the Amalfi Coast.

You can fly into either Rome (Leonardo da Vinci – Fiumicino Airport) or Naples (Naples International Airport).

Flying into Naples

Naples International Airport is more convenient. It is closer to Sorrento and the Amalfi Coast so you will have less travel time today. However, you may not have the same number of flight options as you would from Rome, since Rome has a larger airport.

To get from Naples to Sorrento and the Amalfi Coast, you have a few options.

You can drive (if you pick up your rental car from the airport), hire a driver to get you to your hotel, take the ferry, or take the Campania Express or Circumvesuviana Train to Sorrento. If you plan to stay on the Amalfi Coast (for example, at Positano), the best way to get there is to drive, hire a driver, or take the train to Sorrento and from Sorrento, take the bus, hire a driver, or take the ferry.

Travel time from Naples to Sorrento is about an hour and fifteen minutes. Travel time from Naples to Positano can be as quick as an hour and fifteen minutes (by private driver or by car) or as long as two to three hours (Campania Express train + bus, ferry, or driver).

For more information about how to get from Naples to the Amalfi Coast, read our guide about How to Get to the Amalfi Coast.

Flying into Rome

From where we live in the USA, it is much easier for us to find direct flights to Rome versus Naples. However, you will have additional travel time to get to Sorrento and the Amalfi Coast.

From Rome, take the train to Naples. Travel time by train ranges from one to three hours, depending on the speed of the train.

Then follow our instructions above about traveling from Naples to Sorrento and the Amalfi Coast, or read our guide about How to Get to the Amalfi Coast.

Where to Stay in Sorrento | Southern Italy Itinerary


Where to Stay: Sorrento or the Amalfi Coast?

On this itinerary, you will spend 4 nights in this region. Towns to consider include Sorrento, Positano, and Amalfi. There are many other towns to stay in on the Amalfi Coast, but they can be challenging to get to using public transportation. I personally think it is best to choose between Sorrento and Positano. We have stayed in both and both have advantages and disadvantages.

We cover where to stay in great detail in our guide Where to Stay on the Amalfi Coast, but here is a quick overview.

Sorrento is the most convenient town. It’s larger size, ferry port, and train station makes it a breeze to day trip around the Amalfi Coast. Plus, when you are ready to pick up your rental car at the end of this section of the itinerary, you can do so in Sorrento.

Positano, which is located on the Amalfi Coast, is a gorgeous place to stay. We loved it here, but it is more challenging to day trip to places like Capri and Pompeii. It’s also more expensive than Sorrento. If you choose to stay in Positano, rent your car at your arrival airport (you will not be able to rent a car in Positano).

You will stay in Sorrento/Positano for four nights.

Note: We have not included any time in Naples on this itinerary. From our experiences in Naples and the towns in southern Italy, we think your time is better spent in the smaller towns than visiting Naples. However, you can easily add a day to this itinerary and use that time to explore Naples.

Information to Help You Plan Your Trip:

Southern Italy Itinerary Day 2

Pompeii & Sorrento

In the morning, visit Pompeii. In the afternoon, you have the option to add on Mt. Vesuvius or you can spend the afternoon visiting Sorrento.


In 79 AD, the city of Pompeii was buried in ash following the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius. The city was later excavated and is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Touring Pompeii is one of the most popular things to do on a visit to Italy.

Pompeii Italy | Southern Italy Itinerary


It takes 2 to 4 hours to tour Pompeii, depending on your interests. You can simply wander around on your own, but you won’t get much out of it, unless you have a guide of some sort (either a book or a person). We followed the guide in Rick Steves’ Guide Book, which was sufficient, but I think we would have gotten more out of our visit if we took a guided tour.

For pricing, hours, and to purchase your tickets in advance, visit the official Pompeii website.

How to Get to Pompeii: From Sorrento, take the Campania Express train or Circumvesuviana to Pompeii (Pompeii Scavi station), or drive here if you have a rental car. It takes about 40 minutes to travel by train from Sorrento to Pompeii. From Positano, hire a driver or use your rental car, if you have one (be aware of the alternating license plate rule in the summer).

Tours of Pompeii

Here are a few tours of Pompeii, some of which include your transportation from Sorrento.



Mount Vesuvius (Optional)

After visiting Pompeii, you have the option to add on Mount Vesuvius.

Mount Vesuvius is an active volcano on the mainland of Italy. It last erupted in 1944. In 79 AD, the eruption destroyed Pompeii, Herculaneum, Stabiae, and Oplontis.

From the train station in Pompeii, you can take a bus or a shuttle to Mount Vesuvius and then you can walk the Great Cono trail around the crater. Plan on spending two hours on Mount Vesuvius.

To visit Mount Vesuvius, purchase your ticket online in advance (and if you will have a car, purchase your parking pass online in advance). Tickets cannot be purchased upon arrival and the cell service on Vesuvius isn’t reliable enough to purchase tickets online upon arrival. Furthermore, they only sell 50 tickets for each 10-minute time slot. While this might sound like a lot, they do sell out.

The official website provides opening times, costs, the link to purchase your entry ticket, the link to purchase your parking pass, directions to the parking areas, how to get there via a combination of train + taxi or train + bus, etc.


Spend the remainder of the day in Sorrento. Top experiences include visiting Marina Grande, spending some time at a beach club, shopping, trying limoncello, and having dinner. Get the full list of things to do and restaurant recommendations in our Guide to Sorrento.

Marina Grande Sorrento | Southern Italy Itinerary

Marina Grande

For dinner, we recommend Enjoy Restaurant (great local food), Fauno Bar, and our favorite spot, Ristorante Lorelei (a Michelin-starred restaurant with gorgeous sunset views of Sorrento).

Tonight, stay in Sorrento or Positano.

Southern Italy Itinerary Day 3

Amalfi Coast Day Trip

Spend the day visiting the towns along the Amalfi Coast.




Amalfi Italy


There are numerous ways to plan your day trip to the Amalfi Coast towns. You can join a tour, hire a driver to take you to a few towns, cruise along the Amalfi Coast by ferry or private boat, or use the bus to hop from town to town.

For budget travelers, the bus is the most economical option. But you need to have patience, as buses rarely run on schedule, are often crowded, and get stuck in traffic jams along Amalfi Drive. It’s better to take the ferry. You’ll spend a little more money, but you’ll avoid the traffic and get to see the Amalfi Coast from the sea, which is beautiful.

Hiring a driver for the day is another popular way to visit the Amalfi Coast. This has the advantages of being able to travel on your own schedule and visit the places you want to go. However, you still run the risk of getting stuck in traffic jams on Amalfi Drive, particularly the months of July and August.

The most expensive way to day trip to the Amalfi Coast is to hire a private boat. However, it is an awesome experience. Not only do you get to avoid the traffic on the roads, but you can also relax on the boat, sip on prosecco, enjoy the views, and zip up and down the Amalfi Coast faster than any car, bus, or ferry. We rented a private boat for the day during our stay in Positano and it is one of our favorite experiences in Italy.

For more information on all of these modes of transportation, take a look at our article How to Get Around the Amalfi Coast.

Finally, taking a tour is another popular way to day trip to the Amalfi Coast. These range from small group boat tours to tours that include both a drive on the Amalfi Coast and a quick boat ride, like this very highly rated tour. Joining a tour takes out the hassle of arranging transportation and deciding where to go.



And where should you go on a day trip to the Amalfi Coast? We recommend Positano, Amalfi, and Ravello, three of the most beautiful towns on the Amalfi Coast. These can all be visited in one day by private driver or by bus.

For more information on what to do, read our article Best Things to Do on the Amalfi Coast.

Tonight, stay in Sorrento or Positano.

Southern Italy Itinerary Day 4


Capri is easily accessible from Sorrento and Positano by ferry. This is a popular day trip destination from both towns and popular things to do here include taking a boat tour around Capri, visiting the Blue Grotto, riding the chair lift to the top of Monte Solaro, and spending some time in Capri town.

Capri | Southern Italy Itinerary


 Capri Italy

The view from Monte Solaro


Blue Grotto | Southern Italy Itinerary

Blue Grotto

A trip to Capri will take a full day. We recommend booking your ferry tickets in advance or joining a tour of some sort.

It is very easy to tour Capri on your own, and we share how to do this in our article How to Plan Your Capri Day Trip and 10 Best Things to Do in Capri.

Tonight, stay in Sorrento or Positano.

Southern Italy Itinerary Day 5

Paestum & Castelmezzano

It’s time to bid farewell to the Amalfi Coast…but in my opinion, the best places are still to come.

Today, you will drive to the region of Basilicata and you have the option to add on Paestum, another important archaeological site in Italy. Tonight, you will sleep in Castelmezzano.

Morning: Paestum

Paestum is one of the best places in Italy to see Greek ruins. Home to three ancient Greek temples dating back to 450 BC, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is often an overlooked destination in Italy.

Paestum Italy | Southern Italy Itinerary


The ancient city of Paestum sits just to the south of Salerno and the Amalfi Coast. A visit here typically lasts two to three hours. The main things to see are the Temple of Neptune, the Temple of Hera, and the Roman Forum. Purchase a guidebook that is for sale at ticket booth to get the most out of your visit. For a longer list of things to do, photos, and information on how to plan your visit, refer to our Paestum Travel Guide.

For hours and pricing, visit the official website.

How to Get to Paestum: From Sorrento and Positano, it takes about 2 hours to drive to Paestum. It’s faster to drive out to Pompeii and take E45 for a portion of the drive, rather than risk getting stick in traffic along the Amalfi Coast (even from Positano).


Before leaving Paestum, grab a bite to eat. The most convenient places are at the cafes right outside of the archaeological park. You can also drive into town to have lunch.


In the afternoon, drive from Paestum to Castelmezzano (135 km, 2 hours).

Check into your hotel and spend the evening exploring the town. Castelmezzano is tiny and it doesn’t take long to walk from one side to the other.

For dinner, we recommend Al Becco della Civetta (a Michelin-starred restaurant with great views of the town).

Castelmezzano Italy | Southern Italy Itinerary


Where to Stay in Castelmezzano

You will spend one night in Castelmezzano. Here are a few recommended hotels and B&B’s:

La Casa Nel Verde. This is where we stayed and we chose it because it was the highest rated property on Booking.com during our visit. We had the apartment with mountain view, so we had a small kitchen and plenty of space. Our apartment was spotless, quiet, and very comfortable. It is a 5-minute drive from Castelmezzano.

La Gradinata B&B. This B&B also gets exceptional reviews. It is located on Via Roma, in Castelmezzano, so it has a great location if you prefer to stay in town. Rooms can accommodate two people and breakfast is included.

Casa delle Stelle. Rent a whole house and have a beautiful view of Castelmezzano. This one bedroom home has a kitchen and a balcony with a stunning view of Castelmezzano. It is beautiful inside, with stone walls and skylights in the ceiling.

Southern Italy Itinerary Day 6

Castelmezzano, Pietrapertosa & Matera

Today, spend your time exploring Castelmezzano and Pietrapertosa and in the afternoon drive to Matera.

Castelmezzano & Pietrapertosa

Castelmezzano and Pietrapertosa are two small villages that sit side by side in Basilicata, Italy. Both of them are beautiful to visit and fun to explore. But what makes them even more exciting is the fact that you can get from one to the other on a zipline.

In fact, one of the best things to do in Castelmezzano is to zipline to Pietrapertosa and then zipline back to Castelmezzano. We have been ziplining numerous times around the world and this is a good one! This zipline, also called Volo dell’Angelo (the Angel’s Flight), is one of southern Italy’s most thrilling experiences.

The zipline experience takes about 2 hours and we cover it in detail in our Guide to Castelmezzano and Pietrapertosa.

If you start the zipline experience from Castelmezzano around 10:30 am, you will finish around 12:30 pm. Have lunch at Trattoria al Vecchio Scarpone or Peperusko, spend a little more time exploring Castelmezzano, and then drive to Matera.

Volo dell Angelo Zipline

A view of the zipline between Castelmezzano and Pietrapertosa


Angels Flight Castelmezzano

Tim on the zipline with Castelmezzano in the background


Castelmezzano Italy Photo

Castelmezzano and Pietrapertosa in the distance

Drive to Matera

From Castelmezzano, it takes an hour and fifteen minutes to drive to Matera (85 km). Check into your hotel, spend the evening strolling through Matera’s picturesque streets, have drinks with a view at Crialoss Bistrot (make your reservation in advance), and then have dinner in one of Matera’s fabulous restaurants.

Our favorite restaurants in Matera are Vitantonio Lombardo (one of the best Michelin-starred restaurants we have tried), Regiacorte (beautiful restaurant with some tables that overlook the Rock Church), and Il Rusticone (one of the best cheap eats in Matera).

Matera | Southern Italy Itinerary

Matera at sunset

Where to Stay in Matera

You will stay in Matera for two nights. Here are a few recommended hotels. You can see a longer list at the end of our article Best Things to Do in Matera.

LUXURY CAVE HOTEL: Quarry Resort. This is where we stayed in Matera. The Quarry Resort is located in Sassi di Matera and looks out over Murgia Materana Park. Some rooms are cave rooms and some rooms are traditional hotel rooms. From the Quarry Lounge Restaurant Terrace, you can have a cocktail and snacks as you look out over the ravine and the Rock Church (non-hotel guests can do this too).

UPSCALE CAVE HOTEL: La Dimora Delle 3 Zie. Getting exceptional reviews, this cave hotel is located in the heart of Sassi di Matera. Some rooms can accommodate up to four people, so this is a good choice for families.

MID-RANGE CAVE HOTEL: B&B Al Convento. This bed and breakfast gets near perfect reviews on Booking.com. Prior guests rave about the breakfast, the location, and the helpful staff. If you are a family, check out the Junior Suite with private pool.

BUDGET: Ostello dei Sassi. This property gets decent reviews but it is a good option for those who don’t want to spend a lot of money on a hotel in Matera. It is located in the Castelnuovo district, which is just outside Sassi di Matera.

Italy Travel Guide

Southern Italy Itinerary Day 7


On this itinerary, you have one full day to explore Matera. For a full list of things to do, take a look at our article Best Things to Do in Matera.

There are many different ways to plan your time in Matera, but here is a sample itinerary that covers many of the best places to visit.

Morning: Murgia Materana Park. Hike across the ravine and explore the caves and cave churches. You get one of the best views of Matera from this park. After this short hike, visit the Rock Church (Saint Mary of Idris).

Matera Basilicata Italy | Southern Italy Itinerary

The view of Matera from Murgia Materana Park


Matera Rock Church

Matera Rock Church

Midday: Lunch. For lunch we recommend Il Rusticone (fantastic pizza and sandwiches) or Uacciardidd (amazing local food at low prices in a non-touristy setting).

Afternoon: Visit a cave house, explore the streets of Matera, and visit the Matera Cathedral. Have drinks with a view at Crialoss Bistrot or the Quarry Resort Lounge and then have dinner.

Tonight, sleep in Matera.

Best Views of Matera Italy

The Matera Cathedral and Sassi di Matera (the old town)


Crialoss | Southern Italy Itinerary

Crialoss Bistrot

Southern Italy Itinerary Day 8


In the morning, drive to Alberobello (70 km, just over one hour of driving). Once you get here, the best place to park is Parcheggio Via Indipendenza.

Alberobello is famous for its trulli, small round buildings with conical roofs made of stone.

This town is very small and a half of a day is really all that you need to see the highlights. You will have most of a day here, which means that you can thoroughly explore Alberobello.

Spend your time visiting the two sections of Alberobello, Rione Monti and Rione Aia Piccola, do a little shopping, visit several rooftop terraces for views of the town, and have a bite to eat.

Alberobello | Southern Italy Itinerary


 Rooftop View Alberobello

Rooftop view of Alberobello


Alberobello at Night | Southern Italy Itinerary

Alberobello at night


Best Hotels Alberobello

Our room at Chiancole Trulli Experience

Where to Stay in Alberobello

The best place to stay in Alberobello is a trullo. It’s a very unique experience, sleeping in one of these cozy stone buildings, and there are quite a few to choose from.

We had a fantastic experience at Chiancole Trulli Experience, but we also recommend Trulli D’Angio, Romantic Trulli (located in Rione Monti and just a short walk to a lot of great restaurants), Trulli Resort Aia Piccola (a 3-bedroom apartment that is a great pick for families), and La Mandorla Luxury Trullo (a gorgeous, luxury trullo with hot tub).

You will spend two nights in Alberobello.

Southern Italy Itinerary Day 9

Puglia Day Trip

Today you will day trip to towns near Alberobello. The towns in Puglia are relatively small so it is possible to visit two or three on a day trip from Alberobello.

Here are two day trip options from Alberobello.

Polignano al Mare

Polignano al Mare is located on the coast, just a 30-minute drive from Alberobello. If you have seen photos of Puglia, most likely you have seen Polignano al Mare. It is famous for its coastal cliffs and beaches.

Polignano a Mare | Southern Italy Itinerary

Grotta Palazzese


Puglia Italy

Lama Monachile beach in Polignano a Mare

Take a boat tour to see the cliffs and sea caves, stroll through the town, spend some time on the beach, and dine in a cave. Grotta Palazzese is a famous restaurant in a cave. It’s expensive and gets mixed reviews, but we loved having lunch here.

You can spend most of the day at Polignano al Mare or combine it with nearby Monopoli or Locorotondo (a short drive from Alberobello).

Locorotondo, Cisternino & Ostuni

This trio of towns makes a great day trip from Alberobello.

Start in Locorotondo, which is just a 15-minute drive from Alberobello. Spend an hour strolling through the streets of this small, white-washed town.

Locorotondo Puglia


Next, drive 30 minutes to Ostuni. Spend the middle part of the day exploring this beautiful town. It is a great place to have lunch and do a little shopping. We had a wonderful lunch at Osteria Piazzetta Cattedral.

Ostuni Italy



Ostuni Puglia


On the drive back to Alberobello, make a stop at Cisternino to stroll through the streets here.

End the day with dinner in Alberobello. Sleep in Alberobello.

Southern Italy Itinerary Day 10

Fly Home

Today you will fly home (or continue on to your next destination).

The most convenient airport is in Bari (the Bari Karol Wojtyla Airport). From Alberobello, it takes one hour to drive here.

If you cannot find convenient flights home from Bari, then you can return to Naples or Rome and fly home from here. From Alberobello, it takes 3 hours and fifteen minutes to drive to the Naples airport and five and a half hours to drive to the Rome airport.

If you have a morning or midday flight, consider driving to the airport on the evening of day 9 or adding an extra day to this itinerary for travel time.

Modifying this Southern Italy Itinerary

Doing This Itinerary in the Opposite Direction

If you want to start in Puglia and end in Naples/Rome, here’s how to do it.

Day 1: Arrive in Bari, drive to Alberobello
Day 2: Puglia day trip from Alberobello
Day 3: Visit Alberobello in the morning and afternoon, in the late afternoon drive to Matera
Day 4: Matera
Day 5: Drive to Castelmezzano, tour Castelmezzano and Pietrapertosa, sleep in Castelmezzano
Day 6: Drive to Paestum and continue to Sorrento/Positano
Day 7: Amalfi Coast
Day 8: Pompeii and Sorrento
Day 9: Capri day trip
Day 10: Travel to Naples/Rome and fly home

With More Time

If you have more than 10 days, you can add time to places already listed on this itinerary, such as another day in Matera, Sorrento, or Positano. You can also add a day to visit Naples. At the beginning of this trip, you can add 2 days in Rome.

If you want to extend your visit in Puglia, here are two options. Each one adds 3 days to this itinerary. You will be choosing between southern Puglia and northern Puglia.

Three Days in Puglia: Lecce and the Southern Coast of Puglia

With three additional days, you can add on southern Puglia. On day 10, rather than going to the Bari airport, drive to Lecce. Here is a sample itinerary.

Day 10: Drive to Lecce (1.5 hours) and spend the remainder of the day in Lecce
Day 11: Visit Gallipoli and Santa Maria di Leuca as a day trip from Lecce
Day 12: Visit Otranto, Torre Sant’Andrea, and the Cave of Poetry as a day trip from Lecce
Day 13: Drive to Bari and fly home

Torre Sant Andrea Puglia | Southern Italy Itinerary

Torre Sant’Andrea


Gallipoli Beach


Three Days in Puglia: Gargano Peninsula & Vieste

Alternatively, you can visit the Gargano Peninsula, which is in northern Puglia. On day 10, rather than going to the Bari Airport, drive to Vieste. Here is a sample itinerary.

Day 10: Drive from Alberobello to Vieste, visiting Trani and Monte Sant’Angelo on the drive (250 km, 4 hours of driving time)
Day 11: Vieste and a boat tour from Vieste
Day 12: Day trip to the Tremiti Islands, spend some time on the Gargano Peninsula beaches, and/or visit Peschici
Day 13: Drive to Bari and fly home

Trani Puglia



Vieste Italy | Southern Italy Itinerary




Gargano Peninsula

With Less Time

If you have less than 10 days, it gets very hard to shorten this itinerary. You can take a day from the Amalfi Coast to turn this into a 9 day itinerary. With even less time, skip Castelmezzano and go right to Matera.

How to Get Around Italy

For this southern Italy itinerary, you will get around by rental car and possibly by train, ferry, bus and/or private driver on the Amalfi Coast.

For information on renting a car, including rental car fees, drop fees, and things to know ahead of time, take a look at our article Important Things to Know Before Renting a Car in Europe.

To check train schedules and to book your trains online (this may only be necessary if you are taking the train from Rome to Naples), 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.

Average Trip Costs

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

Hotel Costs:

This is going to have quite the range. The Amalfi Coast can be very expensive but Basilicata and Puglia are much cheaper.

Hotel Costs for Sorrento and the Amalfi Coast

  • Budget Hotel, double room with two people: $75 to $150
  • Mid-Range Hotel, double room with two people: $150 to 600
  • Luxury Hotel, double room with two people: $600+

Note: Positano is the most expensive place to stay on this itinerary. Before making a decision to stay in Positano, check hotel prices and make sure you are OK with the increased travel times to get here and around the Amalfi Coast on the day trips.

Hotel Costs for Basilicata and Puglia

  • 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+

More Trip Costs

Train Travel: To travel from city to city, train fares range from $15 to $65, 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.

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.

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

Amalfi Coast Italy | Southern Italy Itinerary

The Amalfi Coast | Southern Italy Itinerary

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

More Italy Itineraries:

Here are a few more itineraries for Italy:

To see all of our articles about Italy, take a look at our Italy Travel Guide. For more great itineraries in Europe and around the world, visit our Travel Itineraries page.

The Best of Italy in One Big Trip

If you want to put together an epic trip through Italy where you visit both southern and northern Italy, including the popular spots in central Italy (Florence, Tuscany, Rome, etc.), then you can combine this southern Italy itinerary with the 10-day itinerary that includes Rome, Florence, Cinque Terre and Venice.

To do this, either start with the southern itinerary, drive to Rome, and then do the Rome, Florence, Venice itinerary. Or, start in Venice, then visit the Cinque Terre, Florence and Rome (doing that itinerary in the opposite direction) and continue with the southern Italy itinerary.

If you have any questions about how to do this, let me know in the comment section below. In our Rome, Florence, and Venice Itinerary, I list how to do it in the opposite direction.

If you have any questions about this southern Italy itinerary, let us know in the comment section below.

More Information for Your Trip to Italy

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.

AMALFI COAST: Pick out which towns you want to visit in our article about the best towns to visit on the Amalfi Coast. If you are active and adventurous, one of the best things to do on the Amalfi Coast is hike the Path of the Gods. Learn what it is like to visit Sorrento and the Amalfi Coast in October and November.

SORRENTO & CAPRI: Learn how to spend 3 days in Sorrento, get a list of the best things to do in Capri, learn how to plan your day trip to Capri, and find out whether or not the Blue Grotto is worth it.

PUGLIA: Read about 15 beautiful places to visit in Puglia and the best things to do in Alberobello. We also have a guide to the best things to do on the Gargano Peninsula, how to spend one day in Vieste, and about how to take a boat tour to visit the Gargano sea caves.

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.


Southern Italy Itinerary Matera Puglia


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Comments 17

  1. Avatar for Michele

    Hi Julie
    Thanks so much for all your help so far – it’s been so helpful for planning our itinerary in September/Oct. We are planning to fly to Bari (after Switzerland, Milan, Cinque Terra, Tuscany and Dolomites) . We have Locorotondo for 4 nights then Matera 2 nights and Castellmezzano 2 nights. In your opinion, if you had to go to only one, would the northern Puglia or southern Puglia region be your pick ? Not sure how much we’ll be able to do from Locorotondo in our few days so we may have to choose.
    Thanks again for your incredibly knowledgable and thorough website and your speedy replies.
    Cheers Michele

    1. Avatar for Julie Post

      During our time in Puglia, we spent I think 3 nights in Vieste, 2 in Alberobello, and 3 in Lecce. Puglia is great from top to bottom. Our favorite places, what I think are must-sees, are Alberobello, Polignano a Mare, Torre Sant Andrea, and Ostuni. We really enjoyed our time in Vieste, but it’s not an absolutely must-see. Lecce we were so-so about, and in fact, I have even written it up yet, which says something. We also liked Otranto and Gallipoli. So, our favorite spots are spread all over the place. Based on where you are staying, I don’t think it is worth driving all the way up to the Gargano Peninsula/Vieste. There are enough great places to visit around Locorotondo that you could concentrate on central Puglia (you should be able to do Alberobello, Polignano a Mare, Torre Sant Andrea, and Ostuni and maybe a few more places). Cheers, Julie

  2. Avatar for Lisa

    Hi Julie, love all your suggestions and so hard to narrow it down… we have 12 days to explore and fly into Naples and out of Rome… How much can we squeeze in? We are looking at Amalfi coast then following your guide over to Puglia (Castelmerzanno, Matera, Alberobello all sound amazing!!) then thinking we would fly to Florence? then down to Rome… does that sound even doable to you in 12 days?

    1. Avatar for Julie Post

      Hello Lisa. It would be better to add on Rome than Florence with 12 days. This itinerary takes 10 and it is really hard to eliminate one of these days. If you include Rome, you’ll do a loop, starting and ending in Rome. Even so, you may have little to no time in Rome, once you consider the day to arrive and fly home and the travel day from Bari to Rome (keep your rental car and drop it off and pick it up at the Rome airport…that might be cheaper than dropping it in Bari and taking a train to Rome). On day 10 of this itinerary, travel to Rome. That gives you 1 to 2 days in Rome before you fly home. Florence will add more travel time and it is generally much easier to get flights to Rome versus Florence. Cheers, Julie

  3. Avatar for Joanna

    Hi Julie! Thanks for putting this together it’s super helpful 🙂 I had a question regarding the driving, I’ve driven in Tuscany before and felt like it was fine. But driving in southern Italy seems to be a different beast…is it as bad as everyone says or is it mostly fine? We’re planning on following the itinerary mostly picking up the car from Sorrento!

    1. Avatar for Julie Post

      Driving in southern Italy is slightly different than Tuscany/central Italy. The roads are the same, more or less, but driving is different. It’s almost like drivers in southern Italy don’t pay attention as much to what is going on around them, merging without looking, crossing over the center line on a two way road, things like that. We had a few close calls for car accidents but nothing fortunately happened. I’ve also heard that car theft can be more of an issue. We left our luggage in our car on several days when we were visiting the towns and personally didn’t have any issues but I’ve heard stories from other travelers who had their cars broken into. Don’t let this discourage you, just be prepared to be very alert while driving and try not to leave luggage or bags within view if you leave your car unattended. Cheers, Julie

  4. Avatar for Jeff Haynes
    Jeff Haynes

    Planning to go to southern Italy in late July (yes, hot). My wife is very interested in the Trulli dwellings in Alberbello and likely spend more time there and surrounding small towns. She also wants to tack on Venice to this trip. I found a 2-night cruise from Bari to Zadar, Croatia, then Venice with a couple of excursions at each port. We could fly home from Venice after another day there. If that advisable? Other options to get north after 9-10 days in south? Prices for the cruise were reasonable.

    1. Avatar for Julie Post

      That sounds like a nice option plus you get to see some of Croatia. Another option would be to rent a car and drive to Venice or take a train(s) from Bari to Venice. You could price out the rental car and train and compare that to the cruise to make your decision. And then it would come down to preference of travel. Cheers, Julie

  5. Avatar for Eucivam
  6. Avatar for Ashley Byers
    Ashley Byers

    Hi. Your website was recommended by a friend. We are a family of 5 with young adult children. We have 10 days this summer and would like to visit Venice, Rome and Amalfi Coast. I would love to hear your thoughts on this. Is it doable or should we switch up locations?

    1. Avatar for Julie Post

      Hello Ashley. With 10 days, you can visit Rome, the Amalfi Coast and Venice, but Venice is out of the way so you’ll spend some extra time getting there. There’s nothing wrong with that but if you think you will return again to Italy in the future, you could save Venice for the second trip, and on this trip add on places closer to Rome and the Amalfi Coast. A good starting point is our Italy Itinerary that includes Rome, the Amalfi Coast, and Florence/Tuscany. You could follow this itinerary or swap Florence/Tuscany with Venice, but then day 7 becomes a big travel day (to get from Sorrento to Venice), but that still leaves you with 2 days in Venice, which is just enough time. Another option is to follow the first 6 days of that itinerary and then visit Matera and Castelmezzano, if that looks of interest to you. Another option is to follow that itinerary, add a day in Rome, and spend the remainder of the time on the Amalfi Coast, slowing it down a lot, which could make it easier with young children, since you aren’t hopping around so much. All are good options and which one you go with depends on how much you want to see and what places are high on your list. I hope this helps and let me know if you have more questions. Cheers, Julie

  7. Avatar for Ramy

    My wife and I did this trip from Naples to Bari with driving and we absolutely loved it. We followed it almost exactly as described above with the exception of spending a night in Polignano a Mare before flying out from Bari. Thanks so much for taking the time to make this and all the details included.

    1. Avatar for Julie Post
  8. Avatar for Oswin

    We visited Italy in May 23 and used your itinerary with a few modifications for Rome and the Amalfi coast including the day trip to Capri . It was very helpful.

    1. Avatar for Julie Post
  9. Avatar for Grace Hill
    Grace Hill

    Please send me information and pricing on your 10 day southern Italy road trip. I would like to leave June 13. This trip with me for two.

    1. Avatar for Julie Post

      Hello Grace. We don’t run tours. This itinerary is to be used to help people plan an independent trip to southern Italy. But you can share it with a travel agent and they could make the arrangements for you. Cheers, Julie

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