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This le to the biggest travel planning mistake that most people make in Italy: They try to see too many things in too short a time. We hate to be the bearers of bad news but overloading your itinerary is a recipe for stress. We understand why you do it and we sympathize, but let us repeat: rushing your Italian vacation is a surefire way to ruin it.
Luckily, the solution is easier than you think: narrow down your focus and divide your time accordingly. The rhythm of any trip to Italy, that is, how long you spend seeing what you came to see and experiencing what you came to experience, is just as important as what you see and experience.
In fact, you could simply book a trip to Rome and spend two weeks hanging out there without ever getting bored. After many years of traveling in Italy and interacting with other travelers, we have honed the rhythm of these itineraries to perfection. Feel free to crib them as is, or use them as a base to create your own custom itinerary.
Italy has more major tourist cities than most countries. Of course, the capital is a must, but cities like Florence and Venice are big draws and, honestly, must-sees. It gives a great overview of the most historically ificant parts of the country. As a bonus, it will also help you plan where to focus your sightseeing during your return trip to Italy.
Sample Itinerary: The Major Cities trip is a great introduction to Italy for those who want to see the most famous art and architecture in the country. To avoid packing in too much, we budget a minimum of two weeks to travel Italy.
If you have anything less than that you should take a more leisurely trip see below. One week: Cut a city. Rome and Florence have the most to offer the majority of visitors to Italy so they should probably remain on your itinerary. Choosing between Venice and Milan depends on the time of year and what you are looking for. However, it is also packed with tourists in the high season. If going in the summer we would recommend Milan. On the other hand, an autumn or winter trip to Italy would have us favoring Venice. Seriously, one is enough. The history, sights and feel of the city can hardly be seen with less time.
Venice can be visited in a day trip, and many people do it that way, but they miss out on the fantastic nightlife, the feel of Venice with fewer tourists, and the beauty of the city by night. Take the next day to visit the Venetian islands of Burano and Murano.
Or, if you think you might feel overwhelmed by the Italian train system, why not opt for easy-to-use ItaliaRail? For more on getting from one city to another check out our guide to traveling by train in Italy. A regional trip is perfect for those who have already visited the major Italian cities in a trip to Italy and want to really take some time in one area to experience it like a local.
Though you can choose any region that interests you, Tuscany is probably the most popular region in which to base yourself. It offers a great mix of history, culture, cuisine and natural beauty with the added bonus of being close to transport hubs like Rome and Florence. If your Italy trip takes you farther afield you can apply these same time frames to any region but you will need to choose your own destinations. Try a few nights in Florence with a day trip to Pisa and a separate day trip to the walled-in city of Lucca.
Then, pack your bags and head into the countryside to the red-brick town of Siena. Two weeks: Florence: 4 full days. From Florence, take a day trip to Lucca and schedule about a half day for Pisa, with the rest of the day spent in Florence.
Siena: 2 days in the city, with a further 8 days using it as your base to travel to other areas of Tuscany. This leaves you with 1 day of extra travel time and one day to return to your favorite town or simply take a well-deserved rest. One week: Cut a day from Florence or cut two of the towns farthest from your Outdoorsy gay Castellina in Chianti friendly for friends. Take a bit more time to explore the towns you do see. Take 2 full days to see the city, then take a day trip to Siena and another to any other city on the list near Florence, such as Pisa, Lucca or San Gimignano.
You can easily visit one town per day, and sometimes even more than one! Your best time saver here is a clear plan about which towns are near to each other and a really good train schedule or GPS. Explore possible destinations with our articles on the top towns of Tuscany, round one and round two. Also, your base will feel more like home. A thematic trip to Italy is a unique way for you to connect with your destination. Not only will you see towns that you may not have visited otherwise, but following your theme is sure to create lifelong memories and unique experiences in each place you visit.
The theme is up to you. One of the most common themes for Italian trips is food. Head to Naples to try traditional Neapolitan pizza and sample their tradition-infused coffee culture. From there, move on to Emilia Romagna, potentially the most famous region for food in all of Italy. Any Italian will tell you that food should be enjoyed at a leisurely pace and a few meals in a given destination is always better than just one. You would be surprised how many things there are to try in each place you visit if you just take the time to look. We have dozens of food articles for specific destinations on our blog, but search books, blogs and documentaries as well.
We all want to see everything, but rushing from destination to destination only adds stress and takes away from your overall experience. I discovered your blog while researching for our tentative trip to Italy this June. We have already been to Rome and Venice. I wanted to know how feasible it is to combine Florence, a bit of Tuscany and the Amalfi Coast in one trip. We could fly in and out of Milanso probably a couple of days there as well. How many days would it take to do it comfortably. We are thinking 2 weeks but we could stretch it a little. From Florence to Sorrento it should take you just a bit over 2 hours.
Still, we suggest counting travel days as half days when budgeting your time! This way you could spend 3 days in Milan, 3 days in Florence, choose one or two towns in the Tuscan countryside for another 2 or 3 days, then spend the rest of the time down along the Amalfi Coast. Get the most of your time with guided tours. First timer here, very helpful thoughts.
Why is it I have this pre conceived notion that the theft in the bigger cities is rampant I have heard too many stories.
I lived in northern Italy for four years and have visited often since. The tourist attractions are great. All fantastic because I had the time. If you have limited time just walk! Walk the city streets and the neighborhoods and piazzas. The best times in my experience were just walking the small villages.
Me and my husband 30s are travelling to Venice on Aug 15 We will be staying there for 2 days. Can you please let me know what all can be visited on Aug 15th saw St. Marks Basilica and other places is closed. Will shops and eat-outs be opened? We are not much into history. Can you suggest places where we can hang around? Most major attractions will be closed, but there will be a few restaurants open to serve the people celebrating the holiday and Outdoorsy gay Castellina in Chianti friendly for friends the tourists as well!
We suggest taking the day to stroll the city as much as possible and get lost down the hundreds of alleyways and over the beautiful bridges. Have a great trip! We were there 4 years ago around this time in August. We did Venice on a day trip from Florence. It was hot! I mean F hot! Very little refuge from the heat in Venice if you are walking around. There were restaurants and shops open but what they call air conditioning is not to the standards of us Americans. I loved Venice but this was peak tourist season. When I go again and I want to go again, I will go in the spring or late fall.
Your blog is really helping me plan my trip so thank you! I am really struggling to narrow down the places I want to visit. Can you also help with the travel times between the places, how long should I set aside for travelling? Thank You. We suggest sticking to places relatively nearby, and giving yourself plenty of time to explore the big cities filled with history and art, such as Rome and Florence. Another trick, is to see the city with the help of expert local guides! Perhaps our tours in RomeFlorence and Venice can help you get the most out the time you dedicate to each.
That way with just one short day trip you can tour Pompeii and relax on your private drive along the coast. Hope to see you there! I am planning to visit Italy this year. I was planning for a two weeks trip and after reading this article I change my plans, I should make 1 month trip to see Italy to its full?!!?
Replanning it is! Hi I will be travelling to Italy in July for 10 nights. I will be flying in and out of Milan. I have 2 tentative plans. Need your help in deciding between the two.
I am missing Venice here. Now in the second itenary Amalfi and Sorrento will be replaced Venice. Need your suggestions. Still, we know it can be hard to decide. Tours can help you to make the most out of the time that you do have, however.Outdoorsy gay Castellina in Chianti friendly for friends
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