Oh, Italy. Land of pasta, pizza, and some of the best artists in the world. I loved almost everything about my week in Italy with my Grandma and think we had a near perfect itinerary. In 8 days(7 if we exclude our travel-only arrival day), we explored 3 major cities. Our Italy Itinerary included time spent in Naples, Rome, and Florence. We went almost nonstop during our trip, but it was so worth it. In just one week in Italy we explored so much and I have been dying to get back ever since. The itinerary we followed can be easily altered to meet your trip’s needs!
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Day 1: Arrive in Rome and Take Train to Florence
For me, day 1 didn’t count as part of our week because it was mostly taken up by travel. By the time we landed in Rome and made our way to Florence via train, my Grandma and I checked into our hotel and then went to explore and find some dinner. I immediately fell in love with Florence that first night. I love how the city is organized around a bunch of small piazzas. There is always something fun going on and there are thousands of amazing restaurants.
We found a wonderful place to grab dinner where we could sit outside and enjoy our meal. In terms of accomodations, we stayed across the river from most of the sites at the Home in Florence B&B. We got a great price and it was a great place to stay. If I could do it again thought, I would stay a bit closer to the Cathedral and all the major attractions on that side of the river.
Day 2: Explore Florence and Day Trip to Pisa
Our first full-day in Florence started bright and early. We quickly made our way to the famous Florence Cathedral. I had studied the cathedral in my college humanities class and was beyond excited to see it in person. One important thing to remember is that as a Catholic church, you need to have your knees and shoulders are covered for your visit! Be sure to keep this in mind when packing for your European adventure, especially in the summer time!
After exploring the cathedral, we did an afternoon trip to Pisa! We were torn between a winery tour and seeing Pisa, but we opted for Pisa because I really wanted to see the Leaning Tower and the beautiful cathedral there as well. Therefore, we made the trek out of Florence, through the beautiful Tuscan countryside and into the city of Pisa. I loved Pisa and wish I could have spent more than the afternoon there. The city is small, but cute and the Tower is as cool in person as in photos. Also, the surrounding area is beautiful and I would love the chance to go back and explore the countryside outside the city. If I could go back, I would try to add a couple days to my trip to have time to explore Pisa and Tuscany more thoroughly.
Day 3: Galleries, Museums, and Train to Naples
We packed so much into day 3 that it was almost a blur. We started our morning early with a trip to the Galleria dell’Accademia. Home to Michelangelo’s David, the Accademia is full of breathtaking sculptures and paintings from Renaissance masters. The statue of David is even more incredible in person than I can even explain. If you are even a little bit interested in art, you have to make your way to the Accademia.
From the Accademia, we made our way over to the Uffizi Gallery. With pieces by Da Vinci, Michelangelo, Botticelli and even Rembrandt, the Uffizi is an art lover’s paradise. I wish we had budgeted more time for this amazing gallery because I easily could have spent the entire day wandering the halls. All too soon we had to grab our stuff and head to the train station! Our late afternoon train got us into Naples in time to check into our amazing hotel, the MGallery Palazzo Caracciolo. Of the hotels we stayed in on our trip, this was my favorite. It has a beautiful interior courtyard and the rooms are beautiful and extremely comfortable. I highly recommend it!
Day 4: Ferry to Capri and Boat Tour of the Island
We may have been staying in Naples, but I was more interested in the amazing areas surrounding Naples. Our first day, we hopped the ferry to the Island of Capri and I was captivated by its beauty. For our day in Capri, we opted for a boat tour around the island. We saw the mega-yachts of celebrities and millionaires that are parked off the island. We saw the natural beauty of the Mediterranean as if meets the island at the Blue Grotto and overall we just had an amazing time. Capri is an easy day trip from Naples and is definitely worth the trip if you find yourself in southern Italy.
Day 5: Day Trip to Pompeii and the Amalfi Coast
Through out amazing hotel, we were able to book a tour that included my must-see(Pompei) and my grandma’s(the Amalfi Coast). This was a full day adventure and it was incredible. We started at the ruins of the city of Pompei. The city was destroyed by an eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in AD 79 and the ruins are a haunting reminder of the power of Mother Nature. Be warned: the day we visited, temperatures reached to nearly 100 degrees Fahrenheit. If you are visiting in the summer months, be prepared for the heat and bring a reusable water bottle with you to stay hydrated.
From Pompei, our tour made its way through the mountains and to the beautiful villages of the Amalfi Coast. We first stopped in Ravello, a village set higher up in the mountains and away from the coast line. Ravello allows you to see sweeping views of the moutains and the coast as a whole. From there, we made our way down the coast stopping in Positano for lunch and then heading to the village of Amalfi for dinner. The Amalfi Coast is so insanely beautiful that I cannot even describe it. The colorful villas set into the mountain side and the picturesque blue waters of the Mediterranean make you want to pack up your life and move there.
Day 6: Train to Rome, the Spanish Steps , the Parthenon, and the Trevi Fountain
Train travel is my preferred mode of transportation because it is so relaxing, especially in Italy with the beautiful scenery. After a easy morning train trip, we arrived in Rome and checked into our Hotel, the Gabriella Hotel. The Hotel was perfect in terms of it’s cost and location, but was kind of average in other respects. If you are looking for a good budget-friendly option in the perfect location, the Gabriella Hotel is perfect for you. If you are looking for something a little bit nicer, I have also stayed at the Relais Orso Hotel and would highly recommend it. It has a great location and the rooms are cozy and the hotel is very nice!
My Grandma and I had both visited Rome previously, but she had not made it to the Parthenon the first time around. I wanted her to see this magnificent building so off we went to explore. From the Parthenon, we also made our way to the Spanish Steps and then over to the Trevi Fountain. The Fountain was undergoing restoration work, but luckily we had both been able to see it in full working order on our past trips. One thing I love about Rome is that it is a very walkable city. With my trusty Vibrams on my feet, we wandered all throughout the city that first afternoon before we finally stopped to grab dinner.
Day 7: Explore the Vatican
Our second day in Rome, we dedicated the entire day to exploring the Vatican Museums. My grandmother, a devout Catholic, hadn’t been able to go the first time she was in Rome and I was so excited to share the experience with her. More than simply a religious city-state in the middle of Rome, Vatican City is home to one of the most impressive collections of art in the world. Inside the walls of the city you can see such masterpieces as Rafael’s School of Athens and Michelangelo’s Pieta sculpture.
Of course, the crown jewel in the Vatican collection is the ceiling of the sistine chapel. Painted by Michelangelo, this multipanel renaissance masterpiece is one of the most impressive pieces of art I have ever witnessed. Pictures do not do it justice, which is okay because you aren’t allowed to take them anyways! Even if you are not religious, the visit to the Vatican is worth it if only to see the Sistine Chapel.
Day 8: Colosseum and Roman Forum
Our last day was dedicated to the site that Rome is best known for: The Colosseum. Built almost 2000 years ago as a gladiatorial combat stadium, the Colosseum is an architectural wonder. When I visited Rome the first time, we did not have time to go inside, but this time we made time for it. The sheer size of the Colosseum is beyond impressive when you think about how long ago it was built. It is also interesting to learn about the history of the combat that took place there and see how the structure has changed with time.
A great continuation of your day after the Colosseum, it’s really easy to explore the Roman Forum right after. Situated adjacent to the famed combat area, the Roman Forum is an ancient set of structures that would have made up the center of Roman life in the city’s early days. You can explore the old marketplace and the ruins of a number of structures. There is also an amazing unobstructed view of the Colosseum from one of the hills in the forum. I loved ended our time in Italy with these iconic sites, and we had just enough time for them both before our late evening flight out of Rome.
If you are fortunate enough to find yourself spending a week in Italy, I highly recommend following a similar itinerary to this. You can easily explore these 3 amazing cities in one week and if you have more time, there are so many activities you can add on! I hope you find my Italy Itinerary helpful!
From one Misguided Millennial to the World, can someone get me on a plane back to Italy?