Bella Italia. A Mediterranean dream whose popularity has endured amongst visitors for centuries, Italy should be front and center on any discerning tourist’s bucket list.
The boot-shaped European nation is the home of legendary cities, world-famous art, enriching culture, and of course, some of the best food and drink in the world. That’s why each year, almost 100 million visitors touch down in Italy looking for their next big adventure – and find it!
And if you’ve only got seven days to see the best of the country, I’m here to show you how to do it, with my one-week “Intro to Italy” itinerary that will have you discover three of the country’s most iconic destinations!
But first, let’s break down a few of the most frequently asked questions about traveling in Italy!
How to Get Around Italy
Italy, being one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations for such a long time, has had many years to streamline ways that visitors to the country get around, and as a result, touring Italy is a breeze.
You can rent a car and see Italy for yourself (although Italy is renowned for its crazy drivers!), jump on a local bus (or a tourist-centered hop-on hop-off bus), see Italy from the back of a Vespa, or even take ferries and cruises around its many coastal hotspots.
However, in my opinion, there is no better way to get around Italy than by train. Traveling in Italy by train eliminates the stress of airports and of flying from city to city, the Italian train system is easy to navigate (many Italians speak English or are multilingual), Italy’s trains are exceptionally comfortable, and you can snag some seriously cheap fares.
But best of all, you will be treated to the stunning scenery that makes Italy so beloved. I use Omio for booking my train journeys as it’s super user-friendly and will show you all of your options!
Pro Travel Tip: If you book your tickets in advance (ideally 2-3 weeks before your ticket) for Italian train tickets, prices will be a lot cheaper!
What Is The Best Italy SIM Card For Tourists?
There’s a huge range of Italy SIM cards for foreign visitors to purchase that will minimize data use or roaming charges while abroad.
While Iliad is a cost-effective Italy SIM with cheap rates, but most visitors to the country go for the carriers TIM or Vodafone, which both offer exceptional coverage. It’s super easy to get your tourist SIM card at the airport and will make your life a lot easier when traveling around Europe.
If you’re on an extended Europe vacation, I’d recommend buying a European SIM card that gives you coverage everywhere.
Is 7 Days Enough in Italy?
If you’re pressed for time and only have a week to see some of Italy’s world-famous highlights, it’s better than nothing! The following itinerary that I’ve put together details how to see the best of Italy in just seven days (while limiting time in transit to make the most of your week), including stunning world cities like Rome, Florence, and Venice – and some of the magnificent landscapes in between!
A week in Italy will give you a taste of what this magnificent country has to offer and will be sure to inspire you to return again and again.
Is Italy Very Expensive?
Western Europe, where Italy is located, is generally more expensive than Eastern Europe or other more budget-friendly regions of the world. However, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t ways to travel around this iconic country on a shoestring, while still enjoying a high-quality vacation.
Many guesthouses and hostels offer very comfortable lodgings for a fraction of the cost of more high-end hotels, particularly in city centers. Traveling via train around Italy is another great way to keep your travel budget in check – saving more Euros for pasta carbonara and late-night Negronis.
Also, traveling during the shoulder seasons (avoiding peak-time summer) can be a huge money-saving tip!
One Week Intro To Italy Itinerary
Now that I’ve answered some of your most burning questions about traveling in Italy, let’s dive into my one-week Italy itinerary! This is perfect for first-time visitors who want to get a small taste of what makes this country so magnificent!
- Rome (3 Days)
- Florence (2 Days)
- Venice (2 Days)
Starting your week in the nation’s capital, Rome, is a great way to kickstart your Italian odyssey – and absolutely lives up to the hype! I used to live in Rome, and it’ll always hold a special place in my heart.
3 Days in Rome
The “Eternal City”, renowned for being the heart of the Roman Empire and the birthplace of many conveniences we take for granted today, has it all. Your senses will be heightened around every corner of this captivating world city. Rome has managed to retain much of its ancient charm, while still being fully modern in its tourist industry and the comfort visitors can expect.
If you’ve never been to Rome, you’ll have oodles of world-famous landmarks to tick off your itinerary. And the best thing about Rome is that so much of your exploration can be done on foot! The city is a joy to wander around, and if your feet get tired, the city has an easy-to-navigate metro system that has stops near all major attractions.
However, to recap the highlights…
Day 1: Roman Landmarks With A Tale To Tell
Wake up! You’re in Rome and I hope you’ve packed some comfortable walking shoes!
On your first day, you will want to see for yourself the city’s many historic fountains, including tourist magnet The Trevi Fountain. Throw a coin in over your shoulder and make a wish!
Next, explore the magnificent Pantheon, climb the Spanish Steps and enjoy a piping hot Italian coffee in one of the city’s sprawling public squares, such as the Piazza Navona or the Piazza Del Popolo. Rome is a giant treasure trove of discoveries, and everywhere you look, you’ll see something grand that has a long and storied tale to tell.
Rome is bustling with tourists in summer so expect queues if you want to get close to most attractions. The cooler months in Rome have milder weather than in many European cities, and with fewer crowds an off-season trip is also worth considering.
Of course, every day in Italy should allow for numerous stop-offs to sample the cuisine the nation is known across the globe for. Rome has some of the most historic “gelaterias” in the country, and its gelato – and the sheer range of lip-smacking flavors available – is impossible to say no to.
Day 2: A “Colossal” Adventure
Your second day in Rome should be reserved for exploring the landmark to beat all landmarks – The Colosseum!
This almost two-thousand-year-old Roman amphitheater is a marvel of ancient architecture and is notorious for being the site of the deaths of half a million gladiators and slaves. This is an important still-standing monument, and taking a tour of the Colosseum is a fascinating, yet sobering, experience.
The Roman Forum is right next to the Colosseum, and many tickets to either encompass entry to both landmarks. This Ancient Roman marketplace is a sprawling open-air museum of relics and archaeological fascinations, and many pivotal moments in history happened right here.
After you’ve loaded up on history at these epic sites, why not spend the afternoon indulging in some first-class Italian shopping? Rome has something for everyone, from iconic shopping streets like the Via Del Corso to tiny laneway flea markets, to one-off Italian boutiques dripping in style.
Day 3: Art And Architecture At Its Finest
Your final day in Rome saves arguably the best for last – a visit to the Vatican! This city-state – technically its own country – is in the heart of Rome, and where you’ll head to see St Peter’s Basilica, St Peter’s Square, and The Vatican Museums, which encompass some of the world’s most priceless artistic works. Most famously, Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel ceiling masterpiece. It is truly awe-inspiring, and you’ll spend hours exploring everything The Vatican has to offer.
Located near The Vatican is the formidable Castel Sant’Angelo, a Roman castle that dates back to 139AD and that visitors today can, luckily for us, still tour.
You’ve now seen the best of Rome and it’s time to board the train to your next destination… Florence!
2 Days in Florence
Rome offers seamless, direct connections to Florence, which take just 90 minutes. Your train from Rome to Florence will take you through some of the most picturesque countryside, and the most charming towns, of Tuscany.
Once you arrive in Florence, the capital of the region, you’ll be walking in the footsteps of giants from throughout history. This artistic city is the beating heart of the Italian art world, and was once home to masters such as Da Vinci and Michelangelo.
I have a detailed two-day Florence itinerary on my blog, so for more details and recommendations, check it out! There’s so much to see and do in Florence, so get a good night’s sleep in one of the city’s many accommodation offerings!
I lived in Florence for 1.5 years and it’s another place that I’ll always cherish – and 48 hours in the city is actually plenty of time to explore it’s charming streets, markets, and iconic landmarks
Day 4: Explore The Endless Beauty Of Florence
Your first day in Florence should be spent simply wandering. There’s few cities in the world that are as enjoyable to explore on foot, or that are as easy to get around. It’s a lot more compact than Rome!
The Florence city center is brimming with amazing sights just a hop, skip, and jump away from each other. This includes the stunning Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore (“The Duomo”), the Basilica of Santa Croce, and the many ancient bridges that cross the Arno River, including the Ponte Vecchio. Florence was once a base for the Italian upper crust, including the powerful Medici Family, and the city is home to many regal buildings and palaces that you can still visit today, including the Pitti Palace and the Palazzo Vecchio.
You’ll be full up on history and culture after your first day in Florence, so make sure to enjoy an al fresco local meal for dinner, capped off with a bottle of local Tuscan wine. Until tomorrow!
Day 5: A City Of Masterpieces
An early start is a must today, not only to beat the crowds but to cram in what your second day in Florence is all about – art! Your second day in Florence is best spent taking in some of the most famous art from throughout history at two of the city’s famous sites.
First up, head to the Uffizi Gallery, Italy’s answer to The Louvre. This gallery is home to Italy’s largest collections of artwork behind The Vatican Museums. The Uffizi Gallery houses over 2000 works of art over 100 rooms, and you can expect to see works by masters like Botticelli (his “Birth of Venus” calls the Uffizi home), Da Vinci, Rembrandt and Caravaggio. To name but a few.
I hope you’re not too full up on art yet, as the best is yet to come!
After your visit to the Uffizi, wander over to the Accademia, a museum that exists mostly to house the most famous sculpture in history… Michelangelo’s David! This Florence museum is also home to other sculptures by Michelangelo, and a visit here is a must.
I hope your time in Florence has been inspiring and educational, and now it’s time to jump on the train, relax and zoom towards your final destination – Venice!
2 Days in Venice
Trains from Florence to Venice depart throughout the day and night, and the journey is just 2-3 hours, depending on the service you choose. You’ll travel up through Bologna and other famous locations, into the Veneto region of northeastern Italy. Your train will pull up right into Venice’s Santa Lucia Station, which is situated right on the Grand Canal in the heart of town!
Venice is a unique city, one floating on a lagoon, and there’s nowhere in the world quite like it. Art, history, culture, and great food await you, so check into your accommodation and let the sounds of Venice’s canal currents send you to sleep!
Pro-Tip: If you’re traveling with a lot of luggage/ heavy suitcases, be sure to book accommodation near the train station to keep things simple. Walking around and getting lost in the canals is half the fun, so you don’t want to spend too much time location your accommodation.
Day 6: A Formidable Sinking City
Good Morning! It’s your second-last day in Italy, and you’ve woken up in a city that has inspired artists, writers, and leaders for thousands of years. Today, spend the day on the main island where most of Venice’s most heavily trafficked landmarks are. Did you know that Venice is actually comprised of 126 islands?!
Your day will be filled with visits to some of Venice’s most renowned locations, including St Mark’s Square, The Doge’s Palace, The Bridge of Sighs, The Grand Canal, The Rialto Bridge and the many cathedrals and museums that dot the Venetian landscape.
Of course, no visit to Venice is complete without a gondola ride along its many canals, being serenaded by a gondolier. These rides can be pricey, and it’s more enjoyable in the warmer months than in winter, when Florence can flood, but a gondola ride is still well worthwhile and a bit of fun!
Day 7: Experience The Colors Of Venice
Your final day in Italy, and your second day in Venice, should involve spending time on the other islands that call Venezia home, particularly the colorful locales of Murano and Burano. Famous for its brightly-painted buildings and rich traditions in glass making, this is where to pick up a one-off Italian souvenir that you’ll treasure forever. Venice has a fantastic network of water taxis and ferries to get you around the many local islands.
Afterwards, find a cozy, authentic trattoria, away from the tourist traps, and indulge in a final Italian meal to write home about. If you’re lucky, you’ll also get to take in a famous Venetian sunset, which illuminates the city’s colorful buildings and has been the inspiration for many artists throughout history. There’s nothing like it. Enjoy!
I hope that your week in Italy is everything you expected and more! While it will be one jam-packed week of sightseeing – it’ll be well worth it and will have you FALL IN LOVE with Italy just as much as I have!
Planning a trip to Europe?
My travel blog is filled with tons of helpful destination guides, things to do, and helpful itineraries that I guarantee will be helpful for your upcoming Europe trip. I’d love for you to take a look, and feel free to reach out with any questions.
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