ITALY IN 10 DAYS
My short and sweet travel guide on how to see the best sights of Italy in 10 days.
I am a mother with 2 young kids so my husband and I rarely get to take a trip together. We love traveling but getting away for an extended length of time can be really tough. We’ve always wanted to see Italy so for our 5 year wedding anniversary, we decided to do it. I must admit, I am a crazy planner when it comes to traveling somewhere. I have a phobia of showing up to a new place and missing out on something because I failed to know about it. So for Italy, I spent hours in front of the computer researching Trip Advisor and flipping through my Fodors guide book trying to plan the best trip in a short amount of time. With so many places to go and things to see, Italy can be a bucket list trip.
Here is our 10 day Italian itinerary with overnight stops in Venice, Florence, Cinque Terre, Siena and Rome with a pit-stop in Pisa. Don’t forget about other cities like Milan, Naples and the Amalfi Coast. It’s just so hard to choose!
A few tips:
*On a short time frame, stay in the heart of the cities. Don’t waste time commuting in everyday to see the major attractions.
*Get good maps and ask for directions! Especially if you are driving.
*Fly to Venice and work your way down or to Rome and work your way up.
*On the first Sunday of every month, Italy offers free admission to all museums.
*If you can purchase your admissions tickets ahead of time it may save you a lot of waiting!
Day 1 & 2: VENICE (VENEZIA)
Venice is my absolute favourite city in Italy. We started our journey here and I don’t think you could pick a more unique and romantic place to stay. You will love getting lost in a maze of walkways and bridges as every time you turn a corner, you are greeted with a new sight.
*Basilica di San Marco
*a Gondola Ride
*Strolling through the neighbourhoods of San Marco and Dosoduro
*Pizza lunch at Antico Forno
Day 3 & 4: FLORENCE (FIRENZE)
Florence is easily the cultural centre of art history in Italy. Get here in a couple hours by taking a high speed train from Venice to Florence. The city is easily accessible by walking or biking and it’s easy to cover a lot of ground in one day. The Duomo is the heart of the city and an absolutely magnificent sight. Climb the windy stone staircase to the top if you aren’t too claustrophobic!
*Galleria dell’Accademia (home of Michelangelo’s David)
*Piazza della Signoria
*Gelato at Grom
Day 5 & 6: CINQUE TERRE
My husband and I decided to rent a car for 4 days to visit the Italian Riveria towns of Cinque Terre and then the Chianti Wine region town called Siena. Rental cars can easily be reserved ahead online. Although driving can be confusing, if you get a good map and directions ahead of time, this is a wonderful way to explore Italy.
You cannot beat the culture and beauty of Cinque Terre. I could have stayed much longer exploring these 5 coastal villages. Monterosso Al Mare is the larger town and offers more in the way of dining and lodging but all towns are worth thoroughly exploring.
For all the information you need on Cinque Terre, please visit my previous detailed blog post here.
Day 7: PISA
Pisa can be a pit-stop. We stopped here while driving from Cinque Terre to Siena. We found free street parking and spent an hour touring around the grassy piazza of the Leaning Tour of Pisa. It is a beautiful plaza that is worth a stop.
Day 7 & 8: SIENA
The Tuscany wine region is most easily accessible by car. I would highly recommend seeing this region by this mode of transportation as it is wonderful to have a bit of open freedom after touring some of the larger cities. Siena is a beautiful walled medieval city with fantastic surrounding views. If you don’t want to stay in town, I would suggest booking a villa in the countryside. If you’re looking for a different option than Siena, try the town of San Gimignano.
After spending our first day walking and sight seeing in Siena, we spent our second day touring around the Tuscan Chianti region in our rental car. This was the perfect way to relax and go at our own pace. Take your time lunching and wine tasting along your drive between Castellina , Radda and Gaiole in Chianti.
*Piazza Del Campo
*Duomo and Cripta
*Castello di Brolio (castle tour and wine tasting)
*La Prosciuterria – the most delicious meat and cheese boards from local produce.
*Ice Cream in the town of Castellina in Chianti
*Hotel Athena (the above photo of the countryside is the view from our room and they include parking!)
Day 9 & 10: ROME (ROMA)
Rome may be a little overwhelming after 8 full days of traveling. There is enough to do and see to fill your days here. The long lines and flocks of tourists may seem daunting but everything you see will be worth it, especially St. Peter’s Basilica.
After returning our car to Florence we took another high-speed train to Rome. Rome is one of the only Italian cities that has a subway system so use it when your legs need a rest. It also can connect you to the airport which is super convenient. There are “hop-on hop-off” bus tours too that take you to all the main attractions. This is a good option when traveling in those hot summer months.
*St. Peter’s Basilica
*The Vatican Museums including the Sistine Chapel
*Trattoria il Tettarello (we ate here both nights we loved it so much, best pizza ever!)
Whether you are blessed with more time in Italy or less, choose an itinerary that suits your needs. We definitely tried to cram as much as we could into our ten days but I didn’t want to miss any of the spectacular sights in these six cities (see, it’s my phobia!). It’s true I felt pretty exhausted on our journey home but my soul felt full.