Ciao e Benvenuto! Hello and welcome to one of the most incredible countries in Europe, if not the world – Italy. This spectacular Mediterranean country offers everything from ancient history, pristine beaches and coastlines, museums and culture, and some of the best Italian food and wine under the sun. Planning an Italian trip can be overwhelming- where to go, how long to stay, and what to see? Here is a detailed 10 day Italy Itinerary that will help you plan your trip.
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If you’re planning a trip to Italy, here are the best places to see, do, eat, and experience. Any amount of time spent in the country will be amazing, but if you have a 10 day trip to Italy in mind, here’s a helpful guide to get started with your trip planning. You can add or subtract days to suit your schedule, customizing the trip to suit. Also, remember to account for travel time between cities and towns- although public transportation in Italy is easily accessible and usually efficient, delays are not uncommon.
Here’s our 10 day Italy itinerary to help you get started with your trip planning. If you’re overwhelmed by Italy itineraries, 10 days is the perfect amount of time to get a feel for the country, yet still, leave some places to come back to next time!
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Planning Your 10 day Italy itinerary
Day 1: Rome
Your Italian adventure begins in Rome- whether you’re arrived by plane, train, or car, Rome is Italy’s capital and offers the most transportation options, especially if you’re arriving internationally. However, it’s not only a good starting point from a convenience perspective, rather, it also provides the perfect introduction to Italian culture and history. This ancient and monumental city has been continuously occupied since its founding in 753 BC, a timeline so vast that it’s almost hard to imagine.
On your first day, especially if it’s your first trip to Italy, take the time to explore the city by foot- walking through Rome is a great way to soak up the culture and atmosphere, and it should be number one on any Italy itinerary. Do watch out for mopeds though- even on the most narrow of cobblestone roads, there’s nowhere where mopeds and motorbikes aren’t likely to be driven.
If you’re a bit unsure about getting lost when you’ve just arrived, a free walking tour can be a great way to get a feel for the city. On a walking tour with companies such as New Rome Free Tour or Rome Free Walking Tour, a guide leads you around, providing informative commentary and history about the city- you then pay the guide what you believe the tour was worth. It’s a great way to experience a guided tour of the city on a budget.
Or, if you prefer to explore on your own, pick up a map of the City of Rome and get exploring! You can easily view some of the city’s highlights on a relaxed afternoon stroll, including the Trevi Fountain, the Pantheon, the Spanish Steps, and the Villa Borghese. Sample some gelato to cool off as you enjoy your walk- the best Italy vacations include plenty of time for eating! From coffee to pasta to fine dining, Italian cuisine is best experienced at a leisurely pace.
Day 2: Rome Italy Itinerary
The Vatican, a country within a city, is home to the Roman Catholic Church and some of the greatest artistic treasures in the world. There is so much to see and experience within the Vatican, so try and allocate a full day so you have time for it all.
Highlights of the Vatican include St Peter’s Basilica, the Sistine Chapel and the Vatican Museums, the ornately and colorfully dressed Swiss Guards, St Peter’s Square, and the Vatican Necropolis.
The museums and galleries of the Vatican are hugely popular- if you haven’t booked tickets in advance, or aren’t with a guide, arrive early and be prepared for crowds. However, entry is worth the wait as the Vatican contains some of the best sculptures and art in the world.
In the Vatican, along with all Catholic Churches in Italy, appropriate dress is required – shoulders and knees should be covered.
Day 3: Rome
On your third day in Rome, spend the morning checking out one of the city’s iconic attractions – the Colosseum. Built in 70-80 AD, this huge amphitheater was home to Gladiator battles, entertainment, often violent, and spectacles and shows of all sorts. A guided tour is one of the best ways to beat the crowds and fully appreciate the history and architecture of the structure.
In the afternoon, take the time to visit one of the city’s many museums, galleries, or churches. This might include the Roman Forum, the Borghese Gallery, or the Appian Way. Three days in Rome is only the tip of the iceberg- hopefully this will be the first of many trips to Italy, so you’ll have more left to see when you return next time!
If you’re renting a car and following this Italy itinerary, 10 days of travel might not necessarily mean 10 days of car rental. Rome is extremely crowded, with limited parking, and most of the attractions are best explored on foot or by public transportation. You might consider picking up a rental car after you’re done with Rome since you’re not likely to be driving in the city.
Day 4: Siena
Siena, a spectacular medieval Tuscan town, makes for a great stopping point on the way from Rome to Florence. It’s charming, easy to walk around in a day, and offers a lot to see. The city’s central meeting point, the Piazza del Campo, is a striking and unique plaza, made from terracotta brick in the 14th century, complete with a tall lookout tower. The tower, known as the Torre del Mangia, can also be climbed and offers impressive views of the city below.
The architecture of the Piazza is incredible and you may find it hard to pull yourself away to see the rest of the city. Also make time to visit the Duomo di Siena, the city’s impressive cathedral.
The food and wine in the city is amazing, so consider a leisurely lunch, leaving time to also wander through the many shops, grocers, and cobblestoned streets of the city.
Day 5: Florence and Tuscany
Florence, one of the great Renaissance cities, has much to be discovered. Dive into the city’s fine arts collection at the Uffizi or Galleria dell’Accademia, home to Michelangelo’s famous sculpture of David. As with the Vatican, the galleries of Florence are extremely popular, so consider purchasing tickets in advance.
Although a visit to the galleries can take all day, try to leave time for Florence’s markets and a stroll across the city’s famous Ponte Vecchio, a medieval bridge lined with shops.
Day 6: Florence and Tuscany
Use your second day in Florence to explore more of the city’s museums, or take a day trip out into the Tuscan countryside. Tuscany is famous the world over for its rolling hills, olive trees, and as the birthplace of the Italian renaissance. If Siena inspired you to see more of Tuscany, consider visiting San Gimignano, Lucca, or Pisa. If Italy in 10 days is starting to feel tiring, a relaxing afternoon under the Tuscan sun might rejuvenate you.
Day 7 Italy Itinerary: Milan
From Florence, head to Milan to experience another of Italy’s famous cities. Famous for fashion, art, and business, Milan has much to offer. It’s perhaps best known for the Duomo di Milano, one of the grandest and elaborate Gothic cathedrals in Italy, if not all of Europe. It can be extremely crowded in the summer months, so purchase tickets in advance or arrive early.
Art aficionados should plan to visit the Santa Maria delle Grazie, home to The Last Supper by da Vinci, one of his most well-known works. Advance bookings are needed for entry.
Another top attraction in Milan is the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II – it’s Italy’s oldest active shopping mall. However, even if you’re not here to shop, visit for the elaborate and unique architecture. Opened in 1877, the soaring ceilings, glass dome, and detailed mosaics are incredible to see first-hand. Make sure to enjoy some Northern Italian dishes.
Day 8: Lake Garda
Italy is known for its lakes, which attract visitors from across the world, especially in the summer months. Lake Garda is one of the best known of the Italian lakes, and it’s also the largest lake in Italy.
You can easily spend a week or more exploring all of the lakeside towns around Garda, but a day trip is a great introduction. Head to one of the lakefront towns, such as Sirmione, Riva del Garda, or Bardolino and take a cruise on the lake.
Explore the history of the area, such as Sirmione’s Scaligero Castle, enjoy a good meal, or go for a swim. Lake Garda is scenic, relaxing, and popular with both Italians and international visitors. There are so many great lakes around Italy if you have time visit the beautiful lakes in the Dolomites.
Day 9: Venice
Venice, the city of canals, is unlike anywhere else. There is so much to see and do in the city, but, like other parts of the world, Venice has been hit hard by over-tourism. If you can, try to help by supporting local businesses and locally owned hotels, visiting off the beaten path places, and recycling, using reusable water bottles, and consider visiting in the off-season if you can.
Start your stay in Venice by exploring the waterways of the city, either by gondola tour or by boat. A stroll through the Piazza San Marco and St Mark’s Basilica gives you an introduction to the city, and make time to enjoy a relaxed dinner, trying some of Venice’s fantastic cuisine.
Day 10 Italy Itinerary: Venice
The Rialto Bridge and markets are Venetian icons, and worth seeing, but do expect crowds. After you’ve visited, make time to explore one of Venice’s many fantastic museums and galleries – perhaps the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Gallerie dell’Accademia, or Palazzo Ducale, known as Doge’s Palace.
If you’re shorter on time, Italy in a week is still certainly achievable. You can still use the Italy trip planner above, but consider basing yourself in Rome for three days and Florence for four, as Florence makes a convenient base for day trips to places such as Siena, Pisa, or the Chianti wine region.
Additional Italy Vacation Ideas
In addition to the above, you might want to alter or add on destinations based on your interests. For example, history buffs might want to stay longer in Rome or Florence, or hikers or adventurers might want to add on a few days of hikes in Cinque Terre. Italy itineraries, like any travel plans, should be customized to ensure you’ll have enough time to see exactly what you want and skipping places that don’t interest you. There is so much to see and do in Italy, 10 days is just enough to get a feel for the country- consider extending your trip if you can
Here are a few suggestions to add on to your must-see Italy trip itinerary:
A series of five seaside towns, this region is known for its hiking trail, seafood, and spectacular views. The colorful hillside towns of Cinque Terra are great for photography as well.
This luxury island, with a beautifully rugged coastline, is perfect for relaxation, shopping, and beaches. It is also the place to visit for the famous Blue Grotto, a gorgeous sea cave with sparkling blue waters.
The town of Pompeii is, of course, famous for the tragedy of the eruption of Mt Vesuvius, which wiped out the town when it erupted in 79 AD. Pompeii was completely covered in ash, which helped to preserve much of the ancient town. A day trip is a popular way to learn more about the way of life in ancient Pompeii.
Travel in Italy
Italian travel is easy and efficient. Fluency in Italian is not required to get around, but, as always, knowing a few words is always helpful. If you don’t plan to rent a car, the best way to get around is via the Italian rail network. it is extremely thorough and even many smaller towns have their own railway station.
Train travel is scenic and a great way to see the countryside. You can purchase an Italian rail pass, but even if you don’t have one, train travel is affordable and easy to book. Although the trains generally run on time, delays are not uncommon, so try to allocate more time than you think is needed to ensure that you arrive on time. For exploring over 10 days, Italy by rail is probably your best option, as all cities on the itinerary can be reached by train.
Italy’s main airports connect the major cities to international destinations across Europe and beyond. If you’re renting a car, you can pick up at the airport and the country’s highway systems are modern and well looked after. As in your own country, always drive on smaller country roads with caution, especially after dark.
Did you find this Italy 10 days itinerary helpful? We’d love to hear what you think!
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