One of the most visited countries in Europe, Italy is on every traveller’s bucket list. It is a country with so much history, art, and fabulous food to offer every visitor that you can spend a lifetime experiencing the Italian charm. But when you have limited time to spare and an itch to soak in Italy’s popular sights, you can use my itinerary that I used on my week-long visit to the country.
While I agree one week is not enough time to finish all the things to do in Italy, trust me when I say that it is better than no time at all! You can use this itinerary as is or take tips for your Italy trip planner to see the familiar highlights of three cities that are well-connected by an efficient rail network.
Three Days to Experience Rich Italian History in Florence
I started my trip to Italy from Florence, a beautiful city full of art, history, Renaissance architecture, and romantic cobbled streets. Florence is the capital of the Tuscan region of Italy and is popular for world-class museums, fabulous food, and amazing wine. Iconic sites in the city include the grand Ponte Vecchio, a medieval bridge over the Arno River, the Uffizi Museum, and the magnificent Duomo, a cathedral known for its towering Renaissance dome.
If you have time after being awestruck by the stained glass windows, then climb to the top of the Gothic cathedral for a fee. Or better still, stroll across the Arno to Piazzale Michelangelo overlooking the city. It is the perfect place for a bird’s eye view of the entire city with the Duomo’s dome as the most prominent sight. The best thing about the popular attractions in the city is they are all at a walking distance. And while you walk the cobblestone streets of Florence, you might end up discovering a hidden gem of an eatery.
A Daytrip to Indulge in Roman Architecture
On any one of the days you’re in Florence, take a morning train to Rome, a must-visit as per every Italy itinerary planner. To get the flavour of the eternal city, explore the Colosseum and the Forum first. Book the tickets in advance as the queue for tickets can get overwhelming. The Colosseum is one of the most-visited historical sites in the world and attracts visitors from around the world. I hadn’t booked advanced tickets, so I chose not to go inside the Colosseum and walked to the other popular places instead.
For a self-guided tour of the city, walk down to the Pantheon, the Spanish Steps, and the nearby Fontana della Barcaccia, a boat-shaped fountain, and the famous Trevi Fountain for the magnificent architecture and the stunning blue water. Whenever you’re tired from all the walking, stop at one of the many gelato shops and treat yourself to this creamy Italian ice-cream in a flavour of your choice. Return to Florence by a night train.
Two Days to Explore the Alleys and Canals of Venice
Take a morning train to Venice from Florence. Turquoise blue canals on either side of the railway line will welcome you into one of the world’s most iconic cities at the end of the approximately two-hour train ride. Drop your luggage in your hotel and head to the heart of the city on a vaporetto, or water bus, via the Grand Canal, the greatest water thoroughfare in the world. Start your sightseeing trip at the Basilica di San Marca at Piazza San Marco before heading to Doge’s Palace. The the second day, visit the Rialto Bridge. Based on your level of interest in art, visit Gallerie dell’Accademia and the Peggy Guggenheim Collection.
Spend a Day in Milan to Bid Adieu to Italy
All it takes is a scenic 2hr 10 min train ride from Venice to reach Milan. Any Italy travel planner would agree that if there’s only one thing you want to see in Milan, it has to be the Duomo di Milano. This magnificent cathedral is the symbol of Milan and one that will take your breath away. Besides being a place of worship, it is an artistic monument with an intricately carved marble façade, beautiful spires, and an equally beautiful interior with centuries-old works of art and gothic architecture.
The list of must-visits in Italy is never-ending. But to be able to see even a portion of it is a dream come true. Such are the wonderful treasures and local colours of the country that you would want to keep visiting Italy whenever you can to uncover a new mystery every time.