Italy Itinerary

best route to travel around europe

By Rick Steves

Introduction

Italy, a country rich in history, culture, and natural beauty, offers an abundance of attractions that can be overwhelming for travelers. With so much to see and do, it’s crucial to plan your itinerary wisely. In this article, I will share my top picks for where to go in Italy and provide a comprehensive three-week itinerary that will allow you to make the most of your time in this enchanting country.

The Best Three-Week Trip to Italy

To help you navigate through Italy and make the most of your three-week journey, I have curated a recommended itinerary based on the length of your trip and geographical proximity. It’s important to note that this itinerary excludes Sicily, which I have a separate recommendation for. However, if your trip is shorter or longer, feel free to adjust the plan according to your preferences and interests.

4 days: Rome, Florence

If you have only four days to spare, I recommend focusing on Rome and Florence. These two iconic cities offer a perfect blend of history, art, and cultural experiences.

6 days: Venice

For those who have six days, I suggest adding Venice to your itinerary. Known for its picturesque canals and romantic atmosphere, Venice is a must-visit destination.

8 days: Cinque Terre

With eight days, you can explore the stunning beauty of the Cinque Terre region. These five colorful fishing villages perched on the Italian Riviera will leave you in awe with their charm and scenic landscapes.

10 days: Siena

Extend your trip to ten days and include Siena in your itinerary. This medieval city in Tuscany is famous for its well-preserved historic center and vibrant culture.

13 days: Sorrento, Naples, Pompeii, Amalfi Coast

For a more comprehensive experience, allocate thirteen days to visit Sorrento, Naples, Pompeii, and the Amalfi Coast. Explore the ancient ruins of Pompeii, soak up the sun on the Amalfi Coast, and indulge in the culinary delights of Naples.

16 days: Milan, Lake Como (Varenna)

If you have sixteen days, I recommend adding Milan and Lake Como to your itinerary. Experience the cosmopolitan vibes of Milan and relax in the idyllic setting of Lake Como.

19 days: Padua, Volterra, Orvieto, and Civita di Bagnoregio

Extend your trip to nineteen days and include the charming towns of Padua, Volterra, Orvieto, and Civita di Bagnoregio. These off-the-beaten-path destinations offer a glimpse into the hidden treasures of Italy.

21 days: Dolomites or slow down

For the ultimate Italian adventure, allocate twenty-one days to explore the breathtaking Dolomites. Alternatively, you can slow down your pace and spend more time in the places you love the most.

Rick’s Recommended Three-Week Itinerary

Now that you have an overview of the recommended itinerary, here is a day-by-day breakdown of what your three-week trip to Italy could look like:

Day 1: Arrive in Milan (sleep in Milan)
Day 2: Milan to Lake Como (sleep in Varenna)
Day 3: Lake Como (sleep in Varenna)
Day 4: To the Dolomites via Verona (sleep in Bolzano or Castelrotto)
Day 5: Dolomites (sleep in Bolzano or Castelrotto)
Day 6: To Venice (sleep in Venice)
Day 7: Venice (sleep in Venice)
Day 8: To the Cinque Terre (sleep in Vernazza)
Day 9: Cinque Terre (sleep in Vernazza)
Day 10: To Florence via Pisa (sleep in Florence)
Day 11: Florence (sleep in Florence)
Day 12: Florence, late to Siena (sleep in Siena)
Day 13: Siena (sleep in Siena)
Day 14: To Assisi (sleep in Assisi)
Day 15: To Orvieto and Civita (sleep in Orvieto)
Day 16: To Sorrento via Naples (sleep in Sorrento)
Day 17: Capri (sleep in Sorrento)
Day 18: Amalfi Coast (sleep in Sorrento)
Day 19: Morning to Rome via Pompeii (sleep in Rome)
Day 20: Rome (sleep in Rome)
Day 21: Rome (sleep in Rome)
Day 22: Fly home

With Limited Time

If your time is limited, you may need to make some adjustments to the itinerary. Consider dropping the Dolomites or saving the Amalfi Coast for another trip. It’s important to focus on the destinations that align with your interests and priorities.

With More Time

If you have extra time to spare, I suggest adding an additional day to explore the vibrant cities of Florence or Rome. Alternatively, you can slow down your pace and spend more time in the countryside, exploring the charming hill towns that Italy has to offer. Before finalizing your plans, make sure to check the availability of public transportation options to ensure smooth travel between towns.

For more tips on timing your trip to Italy and a recommended itinerary focused on Tuscany, be sure to check out my additional resources.

Italy is a magical destination that captivates the hearts of travelers from around the world. Whether you have three weeks or just a few days, this country has something to offer everyone. So pack your bags, immerse yourself in the beauty of Italy, and create memories that will last a lifetime.

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