If you’re visiting this Southern European nation for the first time, planning out the perfect 10-day Italy itinerary can seem like a completely overwhelming prospect. How on Earth do you cram in all there is to see in just a short amount of time?
Italy is an incredibly dynamic destination that has a lot to offer visitors and if it’s your first time to this beautiful country, you’re going to want to ensure you see all of the highlights. However, it’s essential that you don’t bite off more than you can chew and pack far too much into your itinerary, as well.
So if it’s your first trip to Italy and you don’t know where to start, the routes below are a great jumping-off point to planning out the itinerary of your dreams.
How Many Days in Italy?
When planning your first trip to the country, it’s likely that you’re wondering how many days to spend in Italy at all. That is a bit of a tricky thing to answer because, being such a large and diverse country with so much to offer, travellers could have a year or more here and still not check everything off of their boxes.
However, if you are visiting Italy for the first time and want to see the highlights, plan on planning out at least a 10-day itinerary. If you spend 10 days in Italy, you’re not going to be able to visit absolutely everywhere, but it will give you time to visit a number of different places, get to know a few iconic cities and go on a few day trips.
Obviously, if you have longer to spend, you will have more time to dig deeper and explore more. However, for a first trip to Italy itinerary, planning 10 days is really the sweet spot to be able to cover a lot of ground without feeling too overwhelmed.
Getting To & Around Italy
As one of the largest countries in Europe, it’s not difficult to get to Italy. There are airports in most major cities that connect the country to the rest of the continent and the bigger cities have large airports that serve countless international destinations.
The two largest airports in Italy are in Rome and Milan respectively, which is where the routes outlined below all originate. Arriving into Rome or Milan is straightforward from all across the globe and even from elsewhere in Italy.
Once in the country, you may be wondering how to get around. The 10-day itineraries outlined below can all be done via public transport and the train network in Italy is quite easy to navigate. Italy is blessed with an excellent train network that connects most of the country relatively effortlessly.
All the destinations in all of the routes are accessible using the train, bus or ferry. Keep in mind that once you have your route and time in Italy ironed out, it can be worth it to book transport in advance to get the best prices. You can book trains and buses here.
Though it isn’t necessary for any of the itineraries listed below, it can give you more flexibility to rent a car for your trip to Italy and treat these routes as a road trip. While you won’t need a car when exploring the cities, it can allow you to stop in places along the way in between destinations and give you more freedom when it comes to exploring.
If you decide you want to hire a car and drive in Italy, then we suggest browsing Rentalcars.com in order to find great deals across a number of different car hire companies.
Finally, you can consider travel insurance for your Italy trip. World Nomads offers flexible and simple travel insurance policies with coverage for more than 150 activities that you can buy or extend while on the road.
10 Days in Italy Itinerary: 3 Perfect Routes
The routes outlined below are ideal for a first-time trip to Italy and are great if you want to get a good feel for the country and see some of the iconic highlights. Obviously, Italy has so much more to offer than Venice, Florence and Rome and each region is unique in its own right.
If you’re on the hunt for something a bit more specific when visiting Italy, we have lots of regional itineraries that will certainly check the boxes. The regions of Italy are destinations in their own right and can be very fulfilling to explore.
Our Northern Italy itinerary has two different routes to guide you through the north of the country and include stops like Cinque Terre and Genoa that aren’t covered in any of the below routes. And if you want to visit the area around Florence and spend more time in Central Italy, check out our Tuscany itinerary.
If you want to spend more time on the seaside south of Venice, our Amalfi Coast itinerary should be helpful to you and if you really want to get off the beaten path, then make sure to check out our Puglia itinerary.
Finally, we have a great Sicily itinerary that outlines how to spend 10 days on the Mediterranean’s largest island.
This Rome-Florence-Venice itinerary is arguably the most classic and one of the best routes for those who want to see Italy and the top highlights for the first time. With ten days to explore all three cities, you will have enough time to really do them justice while also being able to go on a day trip or two.
Day 1 – Rome
Begin your 10 days in Italy in the Eternal City of Rome. Though this iconic metropolis hardly needs an introduction, this is a complex city that has many layers and is incredibly multifaceted.
This itinerary will have you spending a full 4 days in Rome. On the final day, you could either opt to explore more of the city or go on day trip to somewhere nearby.
Spend your first day exploring some of the highlights of the Italian capital in the historical centre. Take in sites like the Trevi Fountain, the Spanish Steps and the Pantheon. You can do this independently or take a guided walking tour.
Then, spend an afternoon exploring the dynamic Trastevere neighbourhood and taking in the sites here or enjoying a food tour. End your day by watching the Giardini Degli Aranci on Aventine Hill – one of the 7 hills that Rome was built upon.
Where to Stay in Rome
Domus Palatina – This mid-range hotel is a great place to base yourself in the Eternal City. Perfectly located to explore all Rome has to offer, they have a range of clean and comfortable rooms available and breakfast is included each morning. Click here to check availability
Barberini Dream – Those looking for an upmarket stay in Rome will love this swish hotel located near the Trevi fountain. They have a range of lovely rooms on offer and countless amenities to ensure you have a fantastic time in the Italian capital. Click here to check availability
Trianon Borgo Pio Aparthotel – If you’d like to experience Rome like a local and have your own flat, then this aparthotel is a good choice. Well-located close to the Vatican, there are a range of apartments to choose from and breakfast is available daily. Click here to check availability
The RomeHello Hostel – Budget and solo travellers will love this highly-rated hostel in the Italian capital. They have both dorms and private rooms available, an excellent location and a good atmosphere for those looking to meet others on their trip. Click here to check availability
Not quite what you’re looking for? Click here to browse other options in Rome!
Day 2 – Rome
Your second day in Rome is still dedicated to taking in some of the most iconic spots in the city – and, likely, the most notable landmark in the city.
Start your day at the Colosseum – a visit here obviously cannot be missed when travelling to Italy for the first time.
Spend a couple of hours exploring the Colosseum before heading over to the Roman Forum and learning all about this historic place, as well. Tickets can be purchased online in advance or you can book a guided tour.
Then end your day by exploring the nearby Monti neighbourhood. There are lots of great restaurants and bars here for you to relax and enjoy a delicious aperitif.
Day 3 – Rome
Day 3 in Rome is dedicated to exploring the Vatican and the sites that lie within here. Of course, everyone knows St Peter’s Basilica and the Sistine Chapel. You can book tickets in advance online here or organise a guided tour if you prefer.
Keep in mind that visiting these places, along with the Vatican Museums, will take you most of the day considering just how much there is to take in.
So after spending the majority of the day in the Vatican and admiring all of the incredible history, antiquities and artwork, take the time to spend your evening wandering around the Testaccio neighbourhood. There are some great restaurants to eat at and some cool markets to explore, as well.
Day 4 – Rome
On your final day in Rome, you have a couple of options. If you want to get a bit off the typical tourist trail that gets you away from the typical sites of the historical centre, the Colosseum and the Vatican that you’ve already seen, then spend your day exploring Villa Borghese and the Appian Way.
This will give you a lovely, relaxing day in Rome while also being able to still take in a bit of history and culture of this incredible city.
The other option would be to go on a day trip. There are a number of options, but one of the best choices would be to head to the hill town of Orvieto.
Located in the Umbria region, this is a great place to escape to if you want to get out of the city and see a bit more of Italy while on this Rome-Florence-Venice route.
Day 5 – Florence
After spending four days exploring the capital of Italy, it’s time to hop on the train and head north to the capital Tuscany – beautiful Florence. As one of the most iconic cities in Italy, Florence has a lot to offer visitors – especially if you’re interested in art, museums and the Renaissance.
Spend your first day in Florence taking in the highlights of the city. Start your day by exploring the Santa Maria del Fiore – Florence’s cathedral often referred to simply as the Duomo. This iconic red dome is a pervasive part of the city’s skyline. It is possible to organise a guided tour here.
Spend your afternoon exploring some other Florence highlights, including the San Lorenzo Market and, of course, the Uffizi Gallery – home to some of the world’s most well-known works of art. You can buy tickets here or book a guided tour here.
Where to Stay in Florence
Hotel Bellavista – This mid-range hotel makes the perfect base in Florence. Located within easy reach of the city’s top attractions, they have a number of great rooms to choose from and an excellent breakfast available each morning. Click here to check availability
25hours Hotel – Travellers with a bit more money to spend will love this luxury hotel in the Tuscan capital. They have a number of lovely rooms on offer, perfect for couples after a romantic getaway. There is also an on-site restaurant and bar and breakfast is available in the mornings. Click here to check availability
Ostello Bello Firenze – This is a great option for those looking for the savings and social atmosphere of a hostel. They have a number of dorms and private rooms on offer and a great location for exploring all Florence has to offer. Click here to check availability
Not quite what you’re looking for? Click here to browse other options in Florence
Day 6 – Florence
Day 2 in Florence inevitably has you exploring some more museums and taking in some more incredible Rennaissance art. Start your day at the San Marco Museum where you can spend some time admiring the beautiful frescoes in this former monastery.
Next, make your way to the Accademia Gallery – home to Michaelangelo’s David. This is undoubtedly a popular spot to visit so make sure to book your tickets well in advance to your trip to ensure you get a time to see it. You can also book a guided tour.
Finish your day in Florence at Palazzo Medici and the lovely Basilica di Santa Croce.
Day 7 – Pisa, Siena or Lucca
Your third day should be dedicated to exploring a town in the surrounding Tuscany region on a day trip from Florence.
There are a seemingly infinite number of places to choose from, however, the most popular would likely be to the town of Pisa. Famous for its iconic leaning tower, Pisa is easy to reach from the Tuscan capital and makes for a perfect day trip. You can book an organised tour here.
Alternatively, you could opt to go on a day trip to the beautiful hill town of Lucca, which is located within easy reach (just hop on a train!) from Florence. Take the time to wander around the picturesque Old Town, walk along the city walls and relax in the city’s many gardens. This organised tour includes both Lucca and Pisa.
Or you could visit the stunning city of Siena. Reachable from Florence in just over an hour, this city is very much worth visiting if you want to explore a bit of Tuscany beyond the capital. There are lots of things to see and do here and it makes for an excellent day trip should you choose it. This full-day tour includes both Siena and Pisa.
Day 8 – Venice
The final destination on this classic 10-day itinerary is the iconic city of Venice. Known for its canals and piazzas, Venice is the perfect place to visit on your first trip to this beautiful country.
Your first day should be spent taking in all of the highlights of this city. Start your day at the Rialto Bridge and gaze over the canals – watching the boats come by. Then, make your way over to the Piazza San Marco — St Mark’s Square — and take it this iconic place.
Here you can visit the San Marco Basilica, the Doge Palace and the Museo Correr – you can book tickets here.
Where to Stay in Venice
Ca’ Angeli – Located in the San Polo neighbourhood, this is an excellent choice for those looking for a great place to stay while visiting Venice. They have a range of lovely rooms on offer, an unbeatable location and a great breakfast available daily. Click here to check availability
Riva del Vin Boutique Hotel – Situated just off the iconic Rialto Bridge, this is an excellent choice for those who want some luxury while visiting Venice. They have a number of chic, romantic rooms available, an on-site bar and breakfast on offer in the mornings. Click here to check availability
Combo Venezia – If you’re travelling on a tight budget or solo, you’ll love this small, locally-run hostel in the Cannaregio neighbourhood. Offering both dorms and private rooms, they also have good self-catering facilities and great common areas. Click here to check availability
Not quite what you’re looking for? Click here to browse more Venice hotels!
Day 9 – Venice
On your second day in Venice, take the time to explore deeper and maybe head to some other neighbourhoods of the city away from the crowds surrounding Piazza San Marco.
Spend your morning wandering around the lovely San Polo neighbourhood and getting a more local feel for the city. Next, head over to the cool Dorsoduro neighbourhood that has a number of cool museums to visit filled with beautiful and historic artwork.
End your day in the Cannaregio neighbourhood and enjoy some of the cool bars and restaurants that are well off the beaten tourist path. In a city that is as visited and struggling with overtourism as Venice, it can be important to spread your patronage outside of the historic centre.
Day 10 – Verona, Lake Garda, Prosecco or Burano
Spend the final day of this 10-day Italy itinerary on a day trip from Venice to explore a bit more of the gorgeous Veneto region. If you don’t want to venture too far, consider heading to the island of Burano just off the coast of Venice proper. There are many island tours available in Venice.
Alternatively, you could visit lovely Verona. Famed for being the setting of Romeo and Juliet, there is also an impressive Roman theatre to see here, as well. It is also possible to book a guided day tour.
Not far from Verona lies beautiful Lake Garda. Italy’s largest lake makes for a great day trip destination – or you could spend a couple of days exploring here! This organised tour goes to both Verona and Garda.
Finally, if you’re a wine fan, head to the Prosecco region to sample some of Veneto’s famous sparkling wine. This makes for a fantastic stop if you’re after a romantic day trip. You can book an organised trip here.
Rome-Naples-Amalfi Coast Itinerary
If you’re not fussed with Venice or Florence and want your first trip to Italy to be filled with sunshine, warm weather and the seaside, then this Rome-Naples-Amalfi Coast itinerary is the perfect route for you.
Spending 10 days winding around Rome and Southern Italy is the perfect way to spend your first time to this incredible country.
Day 1-4 – Rome
All roads lead to Rome and this 10-day Italy trip is no different. Begin your trip with 4 days in the Italian capital as few first-timers to Italy want to skip this iconic destination. Follow the outline in the Rome-Florence-Venice itinerary above to figure out how to spend your four days in Rome.
Day 5 – Naples
From Rome, on your fifth day, it’s time to head south to the beautiful, chaotic city of Naples as no Rome to Amalfi Coast itinerary is complete without giving this city a visit. Home to the classic Neopolitan pizza, Naples has a lot to offer visitors even if it comes with a bit of a gritty reputation.
Spend your first day in Naples getting to know this interesting city (and maybe eating a bit of delicious pizza!). Wander around Piazza del Plebescito, visit the Castel Dell’Ovo and explore the beautiful Naples Harbour area.
There’s a lot to take in here and Naples is such an exciting city, so make you’ve packed the right shoes for a day of sightseeing!
Where to Stay in Naples
Hotel Il Convento – This hotel is a great option for mid-rang visitors in Naples. Situated in the historic Spanish Quarter, it has the perfect location for exploring all this dynamic city has to offer. There are a range of rooms available and breakfast is on offer each morning. Click here to check availability
Relais Della Porta – If you’re after luxury while in Naples, then this hotel is an excellent choice. Located within easy reach of all the city’s top attractions, there are a number of rooms on offer and plenty of amenities to ensure your stay is a great one. Click here to check availability
Duomo Platinum Apartments – These apartments are an excellent choice if you’d like to have your own space while in Naples. There are a number of different flats to choose from and they are well-located for exploring all of the city’s top highlights. Click here to check availability
Tric Trac Hostel – Situated in the Piazza Santa Maria la Nova in Naples’ historic centre, this hostel is perfect for those travelling solo or on a budget. They have both dorm and private rooms available and fantastic common areas that make it easy to meet other travellers! Click here to check availability
Not quite what you’re looking for? Click here to browse more Naples hotels!
Day 6 – Naples
On your second day in Naples, you have a couple of options open to you. First off, you could spend the day seeing some of the sites you didn’t make it to the previous day and getting to know the city a little bit more. You could enjoy a day wandering the famous Spaccanapoli street or exploring the Spanish Quarter.
Alternatively, you could opt to take a day trip from the city and explore some iconic, historic areas. The archaeological site of Pompeii is a very popular day trip from the city and within easy reach of Naples.
Another great option is to visit Mount Vesuvius, the volcano that looms over Naples and is still active today. You can book this full-day tour to visit both Pompeii & Vesuvius.
Day 7 – Sorrento
After spending two days in Naples, it’s time to head just a bit further south to the incredible and beautiful Amalfi Coast, where you’ll be spending the final days of your itinerary. The first stop in this area should be the lovely city of Sorrento.
Though not technically a part of the Amalfi Coast, it’s still very much worth exploring this lovely town as it is the gateway to the region. Home to iconic dishes like gnocchi alla sorrentina and limoncello, Sorrento is an incredibly beautiful and romantic place to explore while visiting this area.
When visiting this coastal region, it can be hard to know where to stay on the Amalfi Coast, but towns like Sorrento, Positano or Amalfi all make good bases depending on what you’re after.
Where to Stay on the Amalfi Coast
Hotel Leone – Located in Sorrento, this mid-range hotel is a great option for those looking for a great base on the Amalfi Coast. They have a number of rooms available and there is even a delightful swimming pool and bar on site. Click here to check availability
Albergo Miramare – Those looking for a luxury stay will love this plush hotel located in Positano. They have a number of luxe rooms with incredible sea views, a perfect location and countless amenities to ensure you have the perfect stay. Click here to check availability
Amalfitano Apartments – If you’d like to have your own space on the Amalfi coast, these apartments located in the town of Amalfi are a great option. There are a number of different flats to choose from (including some with a sea view!) that can suit however large a party you’re travelling with. Click here to check availability
Not quite what you’re looking for? Click here to browse more Amalfi Coast hotels!
Day 8 – Positano
Spend your second day on the Amalfi Coast exploring the town of Positano. This is one of the most famous towns in the region and it is for good reason — it’s absolutely beautiful. Filled with charming winding streets, incredible views and lovely beaches, you’re sure to love spending time here.
You can spend your day in Positano simply lounging on the beach and taking in the lovely scenery of this charming town or you could opt to go on the Path of the Gods hike. The latter option is a 7km hike and boasts incredible views over the area and is truly breathtaking if you’re feeling like getting active.
Day 9 – Capri
On your second-to-last day in Italy, it’s time to leave the mainland and take a day trip to the island of Capri. Easy to reach from either Sorrento or Positano, Capri has a lot to offer visitors and makes for the perfect day trip when exploring the Amalfi Coast. This full-day tour is a good option if you want to go with a guide.
When visiting Capri, you cannot miss a trip to the beautiful Blue Grotto, accessible only by tour boat. Known for its enticing blue water, it’s absolutely gorgeous and one of the most popular places to visit on Capri.
Of course, you should also make sure that you take the time to explore the towns of Capri and Anacapri along with the lovely sites on Marina Piccola Bay. The latter spot is the mythical location where Odysseus was taken in by the songs of the sirens in Homer’s Odyssey.
Day 10 – Amalfi
End these 10 days in Italy in the beautiful town of Amalfi. The eponymous town of this iconic coast, Amalfi is a lovely place to round out your trip to Italy. Like the other lovely towns in the region, take the time to simply get lost in the small, winding streets and soak up the sunshine on the beach.
There are plenty of fun things to see and do in Amalfi and it is the perfect place to have a relaxing final day in Italy.
If you’re interested in exploring Northern Italy and Tuscany and would like to leave Rome for another time, then this route through Milan, Florence, Bologna and Venice is an excellent choice for your first trip to Italy.
Day 1 – Milan
Begin these 10 days in Italy in the country’s northern metropolis, Milan. Begin your time in this city by exploring perhaps its most iconic landmark – the Duomo di Milano or the Milan Cathedral. This incredible building is multifaceted and it can take a couple of hours to experience it to its full extent. You can pre-book tickets here.
After spending time at the Duomo, wander over to the nearby Royal Palace and take in the history Afterwards, visit other sites like the Museo de Novecento, the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, the noteworthy Teatro la Scala and plenty more.
Milan may be a big city, but the top sites are within easy reach of each other and it makes it easy to cover a lot of ground in only a few days.
Where to Stay in Milan
Lancaster Hotel – This mid-range hotel makes the perfect base for exploring all Milan has to offer. Centrally located within walking distance of the city’s top attractions, they have a range of great rooms to choose from and breakfast included for guests each morning. Click here to check availability
Castello Guest House Milano – Travellers looking for luxury will love this swanky guesthouse in the centre of the city. Well-located for exploring the highlights of Milan within a stone’s throw, they have countless lovely rooms on offer and plenty of other amenities to enjoy, as well. Click here to check availability
Queen Hostel – Budget and solo travellers will love this centrally-located hostel. Well situated for exploring the best Milan has to offer, it is one of the highest-rated hostels in the city and they offer both dorms and private rooms. Click here to check availability
Not quite what you’re looking for? Click here to browse more Milan hotels!
Day 2 – Milan
The second day of this Milan-Florence-Venice itinerary will still be spent in Milan itself as there is a lot more to see and do in this incredible city!
Start your day exploring the history (and maybe the crypts) of the Basilica di Sant’Ambrogio. After that, head over the Chiesa di Santa Maria Delle Grazie. This church is home to Leonardo Da Vinci’s famed Last Supper painting and is something not to be missed when visiting Milan.
Spend the rest of your day taking in all of the sites you may have missed already and truly enjoying the atmosphere of this bustling Northern Italian city.
Day 3 – Lake Como
Day three sees you taking a Lake Como day trip from Milan. It only takes about an hour to get to the town of Varenna from central Milan and you will be transported to a completely different world. You can book a full-day tour here.
Though you could spend a few days in Lake Como, a day trip here is best concentrated hopping between the towns of Varenna, Bellagio and Menaggio.
All three are very well-connected via frequent ferries (and it only takes about 10 minutes to hop between them) meaning that having your own vehicle isn’t altogether necessary, either.
You could also opt to visit one of the lake’s many villas – generally, these opulent homes are full of exquisite art collections and vast gardens that can make a great tourist attraction.
Day 4-6 – Florence
From Milan, it’s time to hop on a train south and visit Florence. The capital of Tuscany has a lot to offer and make sure to spend two full days exploring the highlights. Then, on the final day, consider going on day trip to somewhere like Pisa, Lucca or Siena to get to know some smaller Tuscan cities a little bit better.
Day 7 – Bologna
From Florence, it’s time to head a bit further north again to the capital of the Emilia-Romagna region – Bologna. This city is known for being the gastronomic heart of Italy and the region itself is famous for all kinds of well-known culinary exports – such as ragu bolognese, prosciutto di parma, balsamic vinegar and Parmigiano Reggiano to name just a few.
Though it is a decently-sized city, you can see the highlights of Bologna in just one day. Spend your time wandering around Piazza Maggiore, see the Two Towers of Bologna (and even climb one for a view if you’re up for it) and stroll down Via Rizzoli.
If you want to try some of the city’s culinary specialities, Bologna is an excellent place to go on a food tour, as well, where you can learn all about the gastronomic culture of the city and the Emilia-Romagna region, in general.
Where to Stay in Bologna
B&B Chez Moi Lame 57 – This cute boutique B&B is perfect for those after a romantic escape to Bologna. They offer a handful of chic, quaint, clean and comfortable rooms on offer and there is a breakfast voucher given to guests daily to dine in a nearby local cafe. Click here to check availability
Hotel Metropolitan – If it’s luxury you’re after in Emilia-Romagna’s capital, then this plush hotel is the perfect option. They have an excellent location in the heart of Bologna, myriad chic rooms on offer and countless luxe amenities to ensure your stay is fantastic. Click here to check availability
Dopa Hostel – Budget and solo travellers will love this hip hostel located in the centre of Bologna. They have a range of both dorm beds and private rooms on offer, breakfast is included each morning and it’s a great place to meet other travellers. Click here to check availability
Not quite what you’re looking for? Click here to browse more Bologna hotels!
Day 8-10 – Venice
Finally, end this Milan-Florence-Venice itinerary in the iconic city of Venice. Like in the Rome-Florence-Venice route above, plan to spend at least two full days exploring the highlights and sites within the city of Venice itself.
Then, plan to spend your final day on a day trip in the Veneto region – somewhere like Burano, Verona, Lake Garda or to go Prosecco tasting in the region where it is made!
Planning your first trip to Italy can seem completely overwhelming when you factor in just how much there is to see and do in this beautiful country. Once you come to terms that there is no way you can cram everything into a 10-day trip, mapping out the ideal route isn’t a difficult task at all.
Are you planning a trip to Italy? Have any questions about these routes? Let us know in the comments!
Good day. Great information.
Any suggestions on a 3 week itinerary that starts and ends in Rome. Want to include Tuscany Region, Sicily and Amalfi Coast.
Thank you in advance.
Hi Tony, I think trying to spend time in Rome along with Tuscany, Sicily and the Amalfi Coast in just 3 weeks is going to be incredibly rushed. However, we do have dedicated itineraries for all 3 regions. You can find out Tuscany itinerary here (https://www.theworldwasherefirst.com/tuscany-itinerary/), our Amalfi Coast itinerary here (https://www.theworldwasherefirst.com/amalfi-coast-itinerary/) and our Sicily itinerary here (https://www.theworldwasherefirst.com/sicily-itinerary/). Hope you’re able to plan a great trip!