Compiling a travel itinerary can be tiresome. Which cities to visit during the trip? How to best move between them? What popular sites are worth your time and how much time exactly? So many questions! Don’t despair – we are here to help! Why not use our ready-made itineraries? Every now and then we will publish tourist routes for different countries, which you can easily re-use and adapt to your needs!
Italy is a country that will baffle you with the number of options to consider when planning your trip. There is SO MUCH to see that you won’t even know where to start laying out your plans. We have decided to make your life, dear reader, easier and compiled a comprehensive travel itinerary for your Italian trip. You’ll need only to follow it closely and enjoy!
We’ll go on and assume that you arrive in Milan. There are three airports in Milan, with connections to all of Europe and beyond. Go on and check the tickets here. It’s up to you to decide where you want to stay and if you want to eat out or rent an apartment and cook. It’s Italy, so both options will be delicious! Use our accommodation guide to help you chose!
Days 1-2: Arrival, Milan
Arrive in Milan, rest a little bit, and enjoy an evening stroll through the city center! Enjoy your way through the old town from the cathedral to Sforza Castle and then turn left to check out the famous Needle, Thread, and Knot monument, celebrating Milan’s role in the fashion industry. End the day with a meal and some drinks in Navigli district – Milan’s famous party quarter!
If you’re in Milan for shopping, you probably don’t need our advice for your second day here – stores are everywhere! We especially recommend the area along Via Buenos Aires and in Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II. And if you want to grab a deal, make sure that you include one of the huge outlets in the outskirts of the cities into your travel itinerary. For those who are not into shopping, we have a more extended guide of other attractions of Milan.
In case you prefer adding some culture to your trip, spend the morning enjoying the stained glass of Milan Cathedral (the Duomo) – it’s breathtaking! There’s roof access to the cathedral (tickets), and instead of being crammed inside a tiny tower, the tourists can have a stroll over the whole roof! All this space around will make you feel euphoric and a little dizzy!
If you want to see Leonardo’s “The Last Supper” after lunch, make sure you book the tickets in advance here – it’s impossible to just walk in! Or if you’ve had enough culture for a day, take a stroll in the parks surrounding Sforza Castle (Castello Sforzesco). And in case you just happen to have a black tie outfit in your suitcase, you can spend the evening in the famous la Scala opera house (tickets)!
P.S. For those who can spare even more time for their Italian trip, Milan is a great gateway for exploring Liguria region. Here‘s our guide to it.
Days 3 – 4: Verona
Take a train along the picturesque outskirts of Italian Alps to Verona, the city of doomed love and gorgeous old architecture. Put Castel Vecchio Bridge to the very beginning of your travel itinerary, then stroll through the narrow streets to the city center and climb Torre dei Lamberti on Piazza delle Erbe (“Market’s square”) for an unforgettable view (tickets)! Close to the square, at Via Cappello no. 23, is the famous Juliet’s balcony. It’s a huge tourist attraction, and there is also Juliet’s statue with a shining boob that everybody finds necessary to touch. They say it makes a wish come true. Well, if your wish was touching Juliet’s chest… Don’t queue to make a photo with her unless you’re really patient and don’t mind the crowds, otherwise, it can drive you crazy. The old city is full of cozy little dining places, and not it’s time to go find your ideal venue!
On your second day, consider visiting Verona Arena, an old Roman amphitheater in Piazza Bra, where operas and sometimes concerts are given (tickets). Nearby there are a lot of cozy little cafes and a good shopping area. Another interesting site to visit is Juliet’s tomb just outside the old town.
Day 5: Garda lake
Now the time has come to get out of the cities for a bit. Even if you are not a huge nature enthusiast, Garda lake should definitely be on your travel itinerary! It’s the largest lake in Italy and it’s easily accessible from Verona. We recommend taking a bus from Verona train station to Sirmione, a little town on the southern shore of Garda. You will spend around 6 euros and one hour of your life to arrive there. Book a room in advance if you plan to stay overnight! It’s a popular holiday destination, especially in June and July, so it can be full.
When there – go swimming! Water in Garda is amazingly clean and refreshing. The lake is surrounded by mountains, so you will have a swim with a stunning view! Then have a stroll through the tiny old town of Sirmione, visit Scaliger castle there and of course taste the seafood!
If you don’t feel like staying there for two days, just take a bus back to Verona in the evening and get ready for the next destination! If you have time, a detour from here into the depths of Trentino-Alto-Adige region would be a nice idea too!
Day 6: Florence
Take a fast train (tickets) from Verona to Florence, and in less than two hours the heart of Renaissance will welcome you! After check-in, head to the main Florence attraction – Santa Maria del Fiore, a marble-decorated giant under a huge dome engineered by Filippo Brunelleschi. Consider buying a ticket to all of the cathedral (baptistry, dome, bell tower) online to skip the queues. Don’t forget to check out the famous golden doors of the Baptisterium (not the copy on the actual baptistery, but the original in the cathedral museum).
Seen the cathedral from every angle? You’ve earned an ice-cream! Italian ice-cream is one of the best in the world, so make sure you try a new flavor every day! Or just stick to your favorite one, that’s what I usually do. Refreshed, go to Piazza della Signoria to see David and a lot of other sculptures. You can climb the tower of the town hall – Palazzo Vecchio – here, but what for, if you’ve already been at the Duomo? Save your legs for the evening!
Then pass through the Uffizi courtyard and cross Arno river over the Ponte Vecchio bridge. Piazza del Carmine is a quiet and cheap place for a dinner, so feel free to add it to your travel itinerary. But make sure you don’t stay too long – there’s somewhere we need you to be at sunset! This somewhere is Michelangelo hill, where all the iconic photos of Florence are taken from. It’s simply magical at sunset!
Day 7: Uffizi gallery and a trip to Pisa
Devote your morning to one of the most famous museums in the world – Uffizi gallery. With its fine collection of early and high Renaissance paintings, it’s a real treat and a test to your legs! Again, it’s a really good idea to buy a ticket in advance to skip the queues. Don’t forget to go out on a veranda of a roof cafe in the middle of your route through the museum – Palazzo Vecchio tower is really close!
You’ll probably get fed up with art by the midday, so we suggest taking a breath of fresh air on the top of the Leaning Tower of Pisa in the afternoon! Trains go there from Florence every half an hour and take less than an hour. Stroll through the historic center of Pisa with its small streets until you reach the imposing Cathedral area in the North. The climb to the tower costs crazy 18 euros per person, but it does tickle your sense of equilibrium. Well, let’s just hope they’ll use the money to not let it fall! There’s not much more to see in Pisa except the cathedral, so take your time exploring it! After you’ve finished get – you guessed! – an ice cream and take a train back to Florence.
Day 8: Rome
You can take the same fast train to Rome if you want to reach it in about an hour. After check-in, head to the city center to explore the famous sights of Parthenon, Piazza Navona, and Trevis fountain. Again, don’t forget about ice-cream and a nice Italian dinner! A great place to see the sunset is the steps of Vittorio Emmanuele monument or the steps of the nearby church.
Day 9: Roman Rome
Start the day with a visit to Colosseum, the huge iconic remnant of Roman times. The ticket includes both Colosseum and Forum entrance, so there will be no lack of prehistoric ruins today! For best photos, buy a ticket in advance here and arrive at opening time, while most tourists are still in bed. After Colosseum, take your time strolling through Forum and Palatine hill, trying to guess the former splendor in sometimes not very telling ruins. They dig up new stuff every year, though, and some of the latest reconstructions are splendid! The ticket grants you only one entrance, so don’t forget to have lunch before going inside, or even better – pack sandwiches!
If you exit Forum area through Palatine entrance, you’ll be really close to the huge Circus Maximus. You can stroll along it imagining carriages swirling around you as in old times. Head to the Tiber river, and you’ll see Santa Maria in Cosmedin – the church housing the famous Bocca della Verità (“the Mouth of Truth”). If you want to do the Gregory Peck thing and put your hand inside, you’ll have to queue and pay a small fee, though.
Now cross the river and enter the cozy and sleepy streets of Trastevere – a great place for a dinner by the way! And the sportier tourist may want to climb to Piazza Garibaldi for a sunset!
Day 10: Catholic Rome
We’ll spend most of today outside Italy, although still in Rome! Crazy, I know. On to explore Vatican! For such a small country, it has a lot to offer, and will definitely become a highlight of your travel itinerary. As you’ve probably learned by this point, buying a ticket online is a really good idea if you value your time and nerves. The entrance to the museums are in the north wall, and that’s where we’ll start. Even a week is not enough to study each one of the Vatican exhibits in detail, so just follow the plan you’re given at the entrance. Don’t worry – it’s really difficult to miss the Sistine Chapel and the Stanzas, just follow the crowds!
After the museums, let’s go to the heart of the world’s Catholic community – St. Peter’s Basilica. Remember that you have to wear something covering your shoulders and knees, or the guards won’t let you in. In the cathedral, admire Michelangelo’s Pietà and other magnificent decorations. The most exciting part of visiting the cathedral is climbing the dome – it’s pretty demanding, but after conquering all these steps, you’ll be rewarded with one of the best bird’s eye views of Vatican and Rome!
Now head to Castel Sant’Angelo, which you can also explore and climb, and then across Ponte Sant’Angelo back to the city center. Today’s sunset can be welcomed on the viewpoint of the Villa Borghese park or on the Spanish steps!
Day 11: Naples
Head for the train station, and in a couple of hours you’re in Naples, the birthplace of Margherita, the capital of pizza and seafood and an obligatory part of every foodie’s Italian travel itinerary! Explore the narrow streets, beware of the bikes and forget about your calorie intake!
There is a lot to see, but two places we like most in Naples are Castel Sant’Elmo, situated on a hill with gorgeous views, and the catacombs! If you’re not squeamish, visit also Fontanelle cemetery where the old tradition of “adopting” skulls is still observed by some!
Day 12: Vesuvius and Pompeii
Today’s theme is the catastrophe of Vesuvius eruption in 79 A.D. The best place to see the effects of the tragedy is in Pompeii, where scenes of desperate flight are forever imprinted in stone. There is a train called Circumvesuviana, going from the main train station to all the historic locations, and it’s the most convenient way to get to the excavations.
From Pompeii, there are buses going to the top of Vesuvius. Some are on schedule, others will take you there and then pick you up in an hour and a half, which should be enough for everything. Some tours already include entrance to the volcano national park, which is 10 euros. Mind that the access to the volcano is restricted if the weather is bad! You probably won’t want to hang around there in pouring rain anyway:) It’s sometimes windy, so consider taking a jacket. And of course, if you’re sporty, you can attempt to climb the volcano on your own, but it takes several hours, so you should start early in the morning.
Day 13: Capri
You’ve seen and done so many amazing things, you’ve earned some quality rest! Why not take it in style on Capri, following in the steps of the rich of the past? Capri can be reached from Naples in less than an hour with a high-speed ferry. It starts from the main port of Napoli, you can find the schedule here. Of course, it makes more sense going there right in the morning, you will have the whole day for exploring the island!
The boat will arrive at Marina Grande, a beautiful bay area. To get to the main town (which is also called Capri), you can either take a funicular or the bus. We recommend taking a funicular, just to make sure that you get properly impressed by the stunning view of the island with its gorgeous white houses.
There are plenty things one can do on Capri. First, beaches – beautiful beaches with crystal blue water! Only keep in mind that nearly all of them are paid! Second, shopping – in case Milan hasn’t satisfied you. Capri is a luxurious island full of boutiques, but if you are not planning to spend a fortune here, watch your wallet! Third, check out the beautiful nature! Walking routes through the gardens full of the famous Capri lemons and flowers won’t leave you unimpressed. And finally, hike or take a lift to Monte Solare, the highest point of the island and enjoy wonderful panorama!
How does it look now? Hope you feel less overwhelmed with all these endless sightseeing possibilities in Italy! It’s a place where you can do a lot of things, but following our carefully created travel itinerary you can be sure you won’t miss the best attractions. Now pack your suitcases and go on an adventure!Written by Kate and Olya