10 days in Italy, itinerary for first time visitors

From historical Roman monuments, incredible canals that snake their way through medieval bridges, whizzing vespas, grand coliseums, and Baroque churches – Italy is as diverse as it gets. From the colorful village-covered islands, soaring mountains, gorgeous piazzas and historical forums – you’ll find everything you can possibly want in Italy. The country is dotted with treasures, and every nook and cranny holds the promise of the unveiling of a new secret attraction. Spending ten days in Italy is a great way to get a gist of what the country can offer – from Rome to Florence to Venice. The itinenray starts and ends in Rome, but you’ll get enough time to explore the country in ten days. Here’s an itinerary to help you plan your trip and see all the main attractions that Italy has to offer.

A 10-day Italy itinerary

Rome – Florence – Tuscany – Cinque Terre – Venice

things to do in Rome in 5 days- Colosseum
Colosseum

Italy itinerary – Day 1 Arrive in Rome

How to get from and to the airport of Rome

Rome has two airports, Fiumicino and Ciampino.

From/to Fiumicino airport:

Fiumicino airport is only 26 km away from Rome.

Train:

The Leonardo Express is a direct train that connects Fiumicino airport and Termini Station in Rome in 30 minutes. Tickets costs 14 euros each way. Remember to validate your ticket in the machine before entering the train. Tickets are valid for 90 minutes.

Regional FL1 Train connects the airport with other stations in Rome (not Termini) like Tiburtina. From there you can take the metro to the city centre. Tickets costs 8 euros. You will need another ticket for the metro (1,50 euros) Remember to validate your ticket in the machine before entering the train. Tickets are valid for 90 minutes.

Shuttle Bus:

The cheapest way to travel between Fiumicino airport and the Rome’s city centre is by a shuttle bus that makes 2 stops in the centre (Termini Station and Piazza Cavour near the Vatican). Journey time 55 minutes depending on traffic.

Tickets costs 6 € one way and you can buy them online.

Book your shuttle bus from and to Fiumicino airport here.

Taxi:

You will find taxi stands ouside all the airport terminals. Always use the official taxi services and do not take offers from drivers inside the terminal. There is a fix price of 48 € each way.

Private Transfer:

The easiest and most comfortable way to get to the city centre is by a private transfer service like Blacklane Airport Transfer Service. You can book your transfer online before your departure and a driver will be waiting for you at the arrivals. He will take your luggage in the luxury car and drive you comfortably to your destination.

Book your trip Now

From/to Ciampino airport:

Shuttle Bus:

The cheapest way to travel between Ciampino airport and the Rome’s city centre is by a shuttle bus that makes a stop to Termini Station. Journey time 40 minutes depending on traffic.

Tickets costs 5 € one way and you can buy them online.

Book your shuttle bus from and to Ciampino airport here.

Private Transfer:

The easiest and most comfortable way to get to the city centre is by a private transfer service like Blacklane Airport Transfer Service. You can book your transfer online before your departure and a driver will be waiting for you at the arrivals. He will take your luggage in the luxury car and drive you comfortably to your destination.

Book your trip Now

Your first day will be your arrival in Rome and I recommend settling down in the hotel, unpacking and relaxing a little bit before you embark on your mission of exploration around Italy. Settle in your hotel, and then spend a little bit of time exploring the neighborhood…After all, nothing is better than getting lost in a quintessential Italian neighborhood!

Where to stay in Rome

Royal Rooms – Via Del Corso

You could stay at Royal Rooms which is about 201m away from Via Margutta and enjoys all types of amenities – from shopping, nearby plazas, cafes and things to do, along with amenities like a bidet, shower, hairdresser and much more.

Check out the latest prices and more details at Hotels.com or Booking.com

Palazzo Medusa

Located just outside Palazzo Medusa, this property is one of the best in Rome and is a lot of people’s top pick there. Not only do you get a large TV, bathroom, hairdryer and more, you also get to enjoy a wonderful gastronomic experience, bike rental, and super comfy beds!

Check out the latest prices and more details at Hotels.com or Booking.com

Navona Colors Hotel

The thing about Navona is that it sells well and it sells fast. It’s an incredible choice for travelers – there is the food, the city walks around, and bike rental. But there’s also the unbeatable location of being 192 m from Piazza Navona. You’ll thoroughly enjoy the Baroque architecture of the hotel.

Check out the latest prices and more details at Hotels.com or Booking.com

Piazza Del Gesu Luxury Suites

This is where comfort and slide go hand in hand, and the hotel itself has a hard to compete with location. Located directly on the Piazza Navona, this hotel is a 5 minute walk away from history – the Pantheon… You’ll also enjoy free city views, free WI-FI, furnishings, and everything you need.

Check out the latest prices and more details at Hotels.com or Booking.com

An afternoon stroll to Piazza Navona

Head over to the Piazza Navona, a gorgeous piazza peppered with Baroque palaces, shops, cafes and lavish fountains. The piazza has an unmistakable 17th century vibe and you can check out the Egyptian obelisk, the different fountains!

Head over to Piazza di Spagna

Piazza di Spagna is known for its charming vibe that takes over you with its drenched-in-golden-hues buildings, romantic steps and iconic fountains. Add to this an unstoppable bustling vibe and you’ve got yourself an enchanting place to be in.

Fontana di Trevi

Whether you have 10 days in Italy or two, the Fontana di Trevi is one of Italy’s iconic symbols. Despite the fact that you will be elbowing your way through hoards of tourists, the view of the magical fountains with its Baroque art, sculptures and figures is enough to make you fall in love.

The Trevi fountain
The Trevi fountain

Piazza del Popolo

Eccentric, harmonious and quite enchanting – the Piazza del Popolo is an effortless blend of Egyptian, Spanish and Italian architecture all mixed together. You’ll find orientalist influences throughout the piazza juxtaposed with the remains of a Roman church.


Italy itinerary – Day 2 Rome – Florence

On your second day out of the ten day Italy itinerary you’ll be heading to Florence, one of the most quintessentially beautiful European cities. Head over to Rome’s Termini Station so you can take the train to Florence. Of course, the earlier you book your ticket, the better the price is going to end up being!

Take the fast train from Roma Termini to Firenze S M Novella which takes an hour and 30 minutes. For more information: http://www.trenitalia.com/tcom-en

Where to stay in Florence

Tourist House Battistero

This 15th-century structure now serves as a beautiful hotel located near the Ponte Vecchio and the famous Scudieri café. The rooms give you a wonderful view of the city’s iconic buildings.

Check out the latest prices and more details at Hotels.com or Booking.com

C-Hotels Ambasciatori

This 4-star hotel is located near many local popular attractions. It’s a very modern and chic hotel in the midst of all the history surrounding it.

Check out the latest prices and more details at Hotels.com or Booking.com

Plaza Hotel Lucchesi

This elegant 4-star hotel was built in 1860 and is located near the Arno River. This hotel gives you a fantastic view over the city.

Check out the latest prices and more details at Hotels.com or Booking.com

C-Hotels Joy

Located near the Santa Maria Novella, this hotel mixes both modern and traditional elements together. It’s also located near the train station which can help make traveling around the city easier.

Check out the latest prices and more details at Hotels.com or Booking.com

After you arrive at Florence, take an hour to settle in the hotel, maybe have something to eat and then get ready to explore the city with unparalleled charm and beauty.

Duomo Complex

The Duomo complex soars magnificently over the city with its Renaissance dome dominating the skyline, ready to allure you in everyway. It is one of the biggest churches in the world and the mixture of Renaissance and Gothic architecture along with the intricate marble spires and statues is enough to keep you amused for a while!

Tip: There is a dress code to enter the church. Women must wear clothes covering their knees and their elbows. Men must wear long trousers.

Tip: The queues to enter the Duomo and to climb the Cupola are long and you might have to wait for hours to enter. A great way to skip the lines is by taking a guided tour or if you are using the Firenze Card (The Firenze Card works like a three-day fast pass to your favorite attractions. This is a great option for visitors trying to pack as much sightseeing into a Florence vacation as it lets them skip the long queue lines at most of the most popular sites. It is a great buy if you are staying in Firenze for 3 days).

Here are some recommended tours of the Duomo:

Duomo Guided Tour & Reserved Cupola Access

Guided Tour of the Duomo Including the Rooftop and View the Terraces

Piazza del' Duomo in Florence
Piazza del’ Duomo in Florence

Piazza del Republica

Head over to what was the ancient forum of the original Roman settlement. You’ll find reflections of the old Roman military encampment, you’ll get to revel in the neoclassical pieces, relish some delicious coffee by outdoor cafes or explore the different basilicas.

Fontana del Porcellino

This square is famous mostly for one thing – its Wild Boar statue. If you have 10 days in Italy, you definitely have time to the bronze boar and take pictures! Legend has it that the boar enjoys magic powers…

Il porcellino Florence
Il porcellino Florence

Piazza della Signoria

If you have an hour in Florence, then spend it in Piazza della Signoria. A striking square that dominates Florence, this square is peppered with gorgeous statues that hold mythical legends, and tourists flock to see the Neptune Fountain, the Uffizi Gallery, and copies of Michelangelo statues.

Ponte Vecchio

What is Italy without its picturesque, postcard worthy bridges? Florence itself is a painting that has come to life, but the Ponte Vecchio is exactly what you’d expect to see in a postcard. A charming, simple bridge that holds thousands of years of history, the bridge remains unchanged since the Roman crossing.

visiter Florence en 2 jours
Ponte Vecchio

Basilica di Santa Croce

Marble intertwined with a neo-Gothic façade and Franciscan architecture – the Basilica is quite simply a work of art. The church is mostly known for the tombs of Galileo Galilei, Michelangelo and Ghiberti along with some incredible frescoes by Giotto! The Basilica was recently closed because of an accident.

Italy itinerary – Day 3 Explore Florence

Your journey to Florence in the 10 day Italy itinerary is  still not over. On the third day, you’ll get to explore the art and cultural side of Florence.

Galleria dell’Accademia

An unparalleled collection of Florentine paintings that span from the 13th until the 18th century, this gallery contains frescoes that were supposed to have decorated Michelangelo’s tomb, along with breath-taking statues, frescoes and sculptures.

Tip: There are usually long queues for the Accademia. To save time you can either buy a timed entrance ticket beforehand or book a guided tour.

Here are some suggestions:

Timed Entrance Ticket to the Accademia

Skip the Long Queue with a Guided Tour of the Accademia

Uffizi

Uffizi’s collection is incredibly vast, rich and diverse, so you might need to free yourself for a few hours so you can fully enjoy the grandeur of the gallery. There are over 45 halls with artwork spread amongst them, so a visit to this prominent museum would include Renaissance art, paintings by Michelangelo, controversial pieces and more.

Tip: The queues for the Uffizi are long. To save time you can either buy a timed entrance ticket beforehand or book a guided tour.

Here are some great options:

Timed Entrance Ticket to the Uffizi

Skip the long queue with a guided tour of the Uffizi

If you are planning to visit both the Uffizi and the Accademia you might be interested in these:

See the Uffizi and Accademia in One Morning with a skip the line guided tour

See the Uffizi in the morning and the Accademia in the afternoon with this skip the line guided tour

Palazzo Pitti

The Palazzo Pitti is the largest museum in Florence, and despite the fact that you’ll be visiting it right after Uffizi, you’ll still want to explore all what it has to offer. This is where you’ll get to explore the most exclusive forms of Renaissance art.

Watch the sunset from Piazza Michelangelo

The Piazzale Michelangelo is world renowned for the stunning vistas its offers of Florence and the surroundings. In the morning, you get to see the major attractions and at night you get to see the flickering lights of Florence. The best view if of course, the sunset view where you even have the chance of seeing monks sing and chant right before the sun sets.

admiring the view from Piazzele Michelangelo
admiring the view from Piazzele Michelangelo

Italy itinerary – Day 4 Tuscany Villages or Cinque Terre

One of my favorite things about Italy is how compact the entire country is, and taking day trips from one city to another is as easy as taking the metro from one attraction to the other. On your fourth day out of your ten days in Italy, I recommend that you take a day trip to either San Gimignano, Siena Chianti together or to Lucca and Pisa.

San Gimignano

By going to San Gimignano, Siena Chianti you get to experience the true meaning of medieval towns, relish in vast wine regions and rolling hills and immerse yourself in quaint little Italian towns. By heading over to Lucca and Pisa, you get to see the stunning symbols of Italy and revel in the major touristic vibe of the cities.

Pisa - Best Day trips from Florence

Alternatively, you can make a day trip from Florence to the colourful villages of the Cinque Terre. You can reach the villages by train from Florence, learn more about it on my one day guide to Cinque Terre or by joining a guided tour. There are three options one that includes the villages of Cinque Terre and Portovenereanother that includes Pisa and the villages of the Cinque Terre and lastly one that includes only the villages of Cinque Terre. The choice is yours.

Vernazza - One day in Cinque Terre
Vernazza

Italy itinerary – Day 5  Florence to Venice

After going back to Florence, it’s time to head to the magical city of Venice – one of the most delightful cities in Europe and definitely one of the most unique. I recommend that you take the train from Santa Maria Novela station in Florence to Venezia Santa Lucia, and that you most definitely book early.

By booking early you get to enjoy lower prices and better rates. The whole journey will take about 2 hours and 5 minutes. For more information: http://www.trenitalia.com/tcom-en

Where to stay in Venice

Hotel Al Codega

This hotel has been rated as one of the best over and over again and it’s a great choice if you want to immerse yourself in a little bit of art and culture. This hotel has one of the best locations in Venice and also offers the normal amenities – heaters, flat-screen TV, and much more.

Check out the latest prices and more details at Hotels.com or Booking.com

Hotel Rio

Hotel Rio is right in the center of Venice, so of course you’re in extreme proximity to attractions like the Rialto Bridge and Venezia Santa Lucia Train Station. This is a perfect place to stay in if you’re in Venice to shop and the hotel has a satellite TV, WiFi, toiletries and a hairdryer.

Check out the latest prices and more details at Hotels.com or Booking.com

B&B Bloom Settimo Cielo

Romantically beautiful and architecturally impressive, this hotel is dubbed as one of the top picks of Venice. The hotel enjoys some of the best hotel architecture in Venice and you also get all the amenities you might need at a hotel. As for local location, the hotel is on Campiello Santo Stefano.

Check out the latest prices and more details at Booking.com

Hotel Ai Reali – Small Luxury Hotels of the World

Enjoying incredible Baroque and neoclassical architecture and adorned with marbles, this hotel is also another pick for Venice. Apart from the restaurant on site, the hotel is a 3-minute walk away from St. Mark’s Basilica and all rooms come with every amenity you may need.

Check out the latest prices and more details at Hotels.com or Booking.com

After you settle in the hotel, it’s time to get completely enamored by the city of Venice.

Piazza San Marco

Start your visit to Venice by visiting its bustling heart and one of Italy’s most well-known and iconic plazas. You’ll be in a plaza that dates hundreds of years ago with a typical Venetian atmosphere, brick towers, gorgeous buildings, and beautiful bridges.

Companile di San Marco

This tall brick bell tower soars over the Piazza majestically and the view from up there is even better as you get to enjoy gorgeous panoramas of the piazza.

Tip: Book your skip the line ticket in advance to avoid the long queues.

St Mark’s Cathedral

The basilica dates back hundrends of years ago and still stands in its magnificent glory. The façade is incredibly detailed with intricate designs and sumptuous designs and the interior is an ode to art with golden altars, mosaics, a treasury and a lot more.

Tip: To avoid the long queues book a skip the line guided tour to St Mark’s Cathedral and its treasures.

Doge’s Palace

After you’re done exploring the basilica, head over to the extravagant palace of Doge. A byzantine-style façade is complimented with thousands of paintings inside, lacy patterns, art sculptures and Venetian architecture. You’ll walk over the Bridge of Sighs and get lost in the Hall of the Great Council!

Tip: Another place with long queues in Venice. To avoid them you can either buy a priority admission ticket or book a skip the line guided tour to the palace.

If you are planning to visit both St. Mark’s Cathedral and the Doge’s Palace this skip the line 2 hour walking tour will save you both time and money.

Rialto Bridge

The Rialto Bridge is definitely the iconic symbol of the city of Venice, with gorgeous canals that juxtapose the architecture of the bridge. Colorful stalls pepper the bridge, and attractions surround the entire area. It’s a place where you get to revel in the romanticism surrounding you.

Italy itinerary – Day 6 Explore Venice

Accademia Galleries

The thing about Italy is that it’s teeming with all types of art and Venice is no exception. Head over to the Accademia Galleries for incredible collections of Venetian art that date back to the fourteenth century and span all types of different artists and influences.

Take a tour around the Venetian Lagoon

The venetian lagoon boasts incredible scenery and history and it’s worth spending some time exploring the lagoon. Take a cruise between the Venetian islands where you’ll get to really take in the scenery, the simplicity of life, the traditions and the history and a lot more.

Find here more information and book a cruise to Murano, Burano and Torcello islands.

Burano island

Get lost in Venice

After you’re done with the tour, it’s worth exploring and getting lost in the quintessential winding alleys of Venice. Cobblestone streets, bridges, canals, and unique architecture will keep you wanting to go back for more.

Gondola Ride

Of course, your Venice experience would not be complete without the renowned canals that you can explore. Take a gondola ride to experience the true authenticity of a Venetian life, and float around Venice’s facades reflected unto the waters.

Find here more information and book a 30-minute gondola ride.

Italy itinerary – Day 7 Venice to Rome

Take the fast train from Venice to Rome, which will take you about 3 hours and 45 minutes. Make sure you book in advance for better rates!

After you arrive again in Rome, it’s time for you to enjoy the rest of what this vast and diverse city has to offer. First, settle in your hotel and them continue your journey through Rome.

Colosseum

This is most definitely one of the most attractions in all of Italy – the epitome of grand and the actual reflection of just how important and influential Rome was back then. Walking around the Colosseum to me was an incredible experience due to the fact that I was surrounded by over 2000 years of history.

Opening hours: Every day: 8:30am until one hour before sunset, 25 December and 1 January: closed

Tickets:

Combined ticket to visit the Colosseum, the Roman Forum and the Palatine:
Adults: 12€
European Union members (18 – 24): 7.50€
Children (ages less than 17) and seniors (over 65) members of the EU: free entrance

With my husband at the Colosseum
With my husband at the Colosseum

The Roman Forum

To really understand how powerful and influential Rome was back then, I visited the Roman Forum. It was the most important sight in all of Europe back then and you can see the faint reflection of temples, palaces, stalls and the signs that this was a bustling heart of the city.

Opening hours: Every day: 8:30am until one hour before sunset, 25 December and 1 January: closed

Tickets:

Combined ticket to visit the Colosseum, the Roman Forum and the Palatine:
Adults: 12€
European Union members (18 – 24): 7.50€
Children (ages less than 17) and seniors (over 65) members of the EU: free entrance

Tip: The Roman Forum and the Colosseum were incredible places to visit, and the most important monuments in Rome, so needless to say, the lines were massive. Luckily, we bought skip the line tickets that helped make our tour so much easier and convenient.

Find here more information about the skip the line tour to the Colosseum and Ancient Rome

The Pantheon

Needles to say, Rome is simply teeming with historical attractions and the best preserved out of all them is the Pantheon. The walls date back to 125 A.D, the oculus inside is incredibly impressive that even Da Vinci himself studied it and the dome with its designs stand out incredibly.

Opening hours: Mon – Sat: 9 am – 6.30 pm and Sun: 9 am –1 pm.

Pantheon - 5 days in Rome
Pantheon

Piazza Navona

After checking out the historical monuments, I headed over to the piazza for a cup of coffee and some food. It’s an outstanding experience to be sitting by a sidewalk café as the sensory overload of Rome takes over you as you sit there.

Italy itinerary – Day 8 Explore Rome

The Vatican City was and still continues to be one of the most impressive experiences I’ve had in my travels. You get to revel in an unparalleled sense of spirituality and transcended as you get lost in the churches, the galleries, the gardens and the paintings.

Vatican Museum

The Vatican Museum is unparalleled when it comes to the collection it offers and simply how huge it is. There are over 1400 rooms there that you can explore with artwork dating back almost 4000 years old.

5 days in rome - Vatican

Sistine Chapel

This chapel offers great representations of most biblical scenes with Michelangelo’s frescoes dominating the entire interior.

Opening hours: Monday – Saturday: 9am6pm (Ticket office closes at 4pm).
Sunday: Closed except the last Sunday of each month: 9am2pm. (Ticket office closes at midday, 12:30pm).
1, 6 January, 11 February, 22 February, 19, 28 February, 29 June, 15 August, 1 November, 8, 26 December: closed

Tickets: Adults: 16€. Children (ages 6 – 18): 8€. Students (ages 19 – 26): 8€.
The entrance is free the last Sunday of every month.

St Peter’s Basilica

One of the biggest churches in the world is an edifice that is blessed with a lavish decoration offering an unforgettable experience.

Opening hours: October – March: 7am – 6:30pm, April – September: 7am – 7pm

Free entrance

Visiting the Vatican is an essential Rome experience, and it will be quite overwhelming! Before anything, you should know that the queues are huge. No matter how much you think you can wait, you can’t. The queues go on for seemingly forever, so I recommend a skip a line tour or an 8-am skip-the-line tour. Both times I’ve been there were with the skip the line guided tour, and it added to the overall comfort and convenience of my entire visit there.

If you’re not really into tours, you can wander on your own and skip the lines.

Climbing the Dome

After exploring the Basilica, you can reach the dome (either through an elevator or a 320-step climb), and get rewarded with the most breath-taking, gasp-deserving views in Rome. You’ll get panoramas of Rome, the buildings, the winding alleys, the plazas…This is when you realize the true grandeur you’re surrounded with.

Opening hours: The dome opens at 8am and closes one hour before the Basilica.

Tickets: Lift to the terrace plus 320 steps: 8€. Climbing 551 steps by foot: 6€.

Check out some great tours of the Vatican:

Skip the Line: Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel & St. Peter’s

Exclusive Early Morning Vatican Tour with Secret Rooms

Vatican Museums & Sistine Chapel Fast-Track Entry

View from the Dome

Castel San Angelo

You can also quickly check out the Castel San Angelo and take a look over the upper terrace with its beautiful views.
Opening hours: Tuesday – Sunday: 9 am – 7 pm

Tickets: Adults: 10,50€, EU citizens (aged 18 – 24): 7€

Book here a 3-hour guided tour of the Castle

Castel Sant Angelo - 5 days in Rome
Castel Sant Angelo

Vila Borghese

The Vila Borghese includes one of the world’s largest private art collections and you’ll find all types of artwork. From ones made by giants like Bernini and Raphael, to an entire Renaissance gallery.

I bought skip the line tickets that made the entire ordeal much easier since the lines were discouraging!

Find here more information about the Skip the Line: Borghese Gallery and Gardens Half-Day Tour.

Opening hours: Tuesday – Sunday: 8:30am7:30pm, Monday: closed

Tickets: Adults: 11 €, EU citizens (ages 18 – 25): 6,50 €, Youth (less than 18) and Seniors ((over 65): 2 €

After exploring the gallery, I spent some time amongst beautiful flowerbeds, fountains, and temples in Rome’s largest park – Villa Borghese

Italy itinerary – Day 9 Pompeii

As if Rome itself was not enough, you can almost end your 10 day trip to Italy with a bang. Take a journey back in time to the Mount Vesuvius where you can check out the lost city of Pompeii, breathtaking summit views or the different hidden secrets of the place. Above all of this, you’re met with the Bay of Naples, the ruins, frescoes, winding streets and a lot more.

Find here more information about the day trip to Pompeii

If you feel like your days have already been overwhelming enough, you can just get to explore the rest of Rome!

Italy itinerary – Day 10 Flight home

Sadly, your 10 day trip to Italy has come to an end but the 10 day itinerary can be mixed and matched however you like.

Spending 10 days in Italy barely scratches the surface of what Italy has to offer but it’s a great way to get an introduction to what the country is like. You get to see buzzing Rome, enchanting Venice and beautiful Florence, all while exploring cities nearby.

Planning a trip to Italy? You might be interested in:

Thinking of extending your trip to Italy? You might find these interesting.

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