Italy is such an epic destination that who wouldn’t want to see it? With breathtaking nature, history-packed cities, delicious food from North to South, it really gets complicated when you only have 10 days in Italy.
I’ve seen so many people trying to fit it all in their Italy 10 days itinerary. Making a marathon and trying to take down most of the Italy bucket list destinations in only 10 days in Italy.
However, let e tell you a secret: I’ve been traveling to Italy for the past years, have lived there for a while, worked in Rome for 2 whole months. And I still haven’t seen everything!
There’s no wonder why Italy is one of the top-rated travel destinations in the world. There’s so much to see and do!
But when you really want to feel the authentic vibes, plan for an Italy 10 days itinerary that will allow you to see less, but understand more.
I’ve seen the North, the Center, and the South, and I’m here to help you choose your perfect Italy in 10 days itinerary.
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Italy 10 days itinerary
When is the best time to plan for your 10 days in Italy itinerary
I’ve been to Italy almost during all seasons, and I would always choose to go back during the shoulder season. That is, during the transitioning seasons: from March to June, and from September to November.
You can, of course, visit Italy anytime but my tip is to avoid getting there during summer if you can. Summer gets hot, crowded, and expensive. And who wants to see Italy like that?
Option 1 – Rome – Florence ( Tuscany – Cinque Terre) – Milan (and Lake Como)
I would go for this option especially when visiting Italy for the first time. Here is where you’ll experience true Italy and see some of the most popular destinations.
I will go through all the list with activities, the best area to stay, getting from one place to the other, and much more. However, I encourage you to check out also this Ultimate Italy Tour organized by GAdventures or the Best of Italy by Intrepid Travel. I personally always go for such a tour that would help me win time, money in most of the cases since they have already established partnerships and make use of economies of scale, and make some economy on stress.
Destination & activities
Where to stay
Colosseum & Forum Tour, Vatican city, and Sistine Chappel
Walk around Rome's old town, take a food tour
Travel to Florence, Ufizzi, Palazzo Vecchio, Duomo
Day trip to Cinque Terre
Day trip to San Gimigliano, Siena, and Chianti & Wine tasting
Michelangelo's David & other Florence attractions
Travel to Milan, Duomo di Milano, Sforzesco Castle, Galleria Vittorie Emanuelle
Day trip to Lake Como
Bye Bye Italy!
Days 1 – 3 Rome
I know, only 3 days in Rome is such a short time for everything the city has to offer. I’ve stayed in Rome for 2 months and I still have things I haven’t yet seen or done. Oh, and I’ve gone back 3 times ever since.
Besides, Rome is packed with historic sites and has so much potential for day trips.
But when you only have 10 days in Italy and want to see as much as possible, 3 days in Rome might just be a great option.
PRO TIP: Since time is short, I recomment booking as much as you can online ahead of time. You will understand what I mean when you’ll see the huge lines at all the major tourist attractions in Italy. And who wants to waste time (and sometimes money) waiting in line, right? Imagine how many more places you could see in those minutes wasted that add up. Or you could splurge on a gelato, or great Italian meal.
Getting from Rome Fiumicino airport to your hotel
Rome has in fact 2 airports, Fiumicino and Ciampino. Chances are you will be landing on Fiumicino airport, but I’ll guide you in both cases.
Fiumicino Airport to Rome
That might be a fast and easy way of getting to Rome Termini train station or any of the other train stations in Rome. However, you will need to take a taxi or public transportation to get you to your hotel.
The train linking the airport to the city is called Leonardo Express and the journey is around 30 minutes. There’s also the regional train slower option, that costs less and stops in every train station in between, thus taking more time to get you from one place to the other.
Just make sure to book the correct ticket, don’t mistake the train, and validate your ticket before taking the train.
Another great option to travel between Fiumicino Airport and Rome is by taking a bus that will leave you at the Roma Termini train station. The bus option is usually cheaper but also depends a lot on the traffic.
As always, the taxi is the most expensive option, with a fixed price of 48 EUR one-way. However, when choosing a taxi you won’t have to worry about finding the hotel or struggling with the luggage on Rome’s cobblestone streets.
By Private transfer
A lot of people usually choose a private transfer, and we go for that as well because it is the easiest hassle-free option of arriving in a city you’ve never been to before.
Ciampino Airport to Rome
Ciampino Airport is a smaller airport really close to the city center. However, chances are you’ll be landing here if you travel from Europe, and if you choose a low-cost company.
The train costs only 3 EUR and will take you to Rome Termini Station in less than 35 minutes. Also, it is useful to know that the train runs between 05:20 and 23:30. Check out train tickets here!
By Shuttle bus
The shuttle bus is 5 EUR one-way, will take roughly 50 minutes and I usually book your ticket ahead of time on Terravision.eu
By Taxi or private transfer
Both options are more expensive but still more reliable.
When taking a taxi from the airport, make sure it is an official car so you don’t get tricked.
Things to do and see in 3 days in Rome
- The Colosseum and Fori Imperiali – history at your footsteps! I remember seeing the Colosseum while I was working in Rome, and having to wait in line for ages because I didn’t have the skip the line ticket. My friends who were visiting for a weekend had it and were more inspired than me. However you choose to see them, these 2 neighboring attractions are a must in Rome.
- Vatican City and Musei Vaticani – I’ve been to the Vatican so many times and every visit was breathtaking. I remember we waited in line to climb St. Peter’s Tower and how narrow the last part was. Certainly not for the ones suffering from claustrophobia. And you cannot leave without seeing the famous Sistine Chappel. Book your skip-the-line ticket here!
- Castel Sant Angelo – only a few steps away from the Vatican and across the river from the famous Trastevere neighborhood.
- Walk along in Rome’s Old Town and take some pictures with the Trevi Fountain, listen to a local singer in Piazza Navona, be wow-ed by the impressive Pantheon.
- Don’t miss Piazza di Spagna and Piazza del Popolo which are next to each other. And since you’re there, do some shopping on via del Corso
- Take a food tour in Rome and taste some of the most delicious delicacies in the world.
Other Rome attractions & activities
No matter if you choose to spend more time in Rome, or want to change some of my previous suggestions, there are of cors plenty of other things to do and see in Rome.
- Stroll through Villa Borghese Park and visit the stunning Villa I’ve fallen for while admiring famous artwork by Raphael, Titian, Caravaggio, and Rubens – book your skip-the-line tour here!
- Head to the Palatine Hill and learn about Rome’s earliest settlement. See the house of Livia, the Baths of Septimius Severus, and get transported back in time.
- When night falls, head to the Piazza dei Cavalieri di Malta and look through the door’s keyhole and prepare to be stunned. That’s maybe one of the most romantic places in one of the most romantic towns in the world.
- Take a walk in the Giardino degli Aranci (Savello Park) especially beautiful during spring which offers a stunning panoramic view over Rome.
- Go on a bike tour to the Catacombes and Via Appia Antica
- Don’t forget about the Baths of Caracalla or the Terme di Diocletian – two perfect attractions for the Ancient Rome passionate.
With all this, you can easily spend one full week in Rome.
These are two of the greatest skip-the-line options I see as necessary to book ahead of time:
Where to stay in Rome
The best area to stay in Rome, especially when you only have a few days in the city, is in the central part of town. However, I would always choose the Termini Station area to be close to the train, or the part closest to the Vatican. The two are always the more affordable options, and still within walking distance to most of the popular attractions or the underground.
Days 4 – 7 Florence
Getting from Rome to Florence is easy and cand take anywhere from 1h30 to 4 hours. Of course, the faster train is always more expensive, but I always book in advance online to take advantage of the great prices and better offers.
What to do in Florence
Florence is one of the most beautiful towns in the world, a place you should have on your bucket list. Moreover, it is perfectly located so that you can take advantage of the Tuscany countryside, and even take a day trip from Florence to Cinque Terre.
On your first and last days in Florence, you’ll have plenty of time to visit the Florence Duomo and climb up to the top of the cupola from where you will have a perfect view over Florence, Palazzo Vecchio, Ufizzi Art Gallery, Michelangelo’s David in the Accademia Gallery, eat a bistecca alla Fiorentina.
As I’ve said it for Rome, Florence is a popular city, and when you want to make the best out of your Italy 10 days itinerary make sure to book your skip-the-line tickets ahead of time. You could save on hours of waiting in queues, and can always take advantage of the mobile-friendly payment and easy cancellation if something changes with your itinerary.
Here are some great options:
On the days in between, plan for:
- A day trip to the Cinque Terre from Florence
- Feel the real Tuscany and plan some wine tasting with a day trip to San Gimigliano, Siena, and Chianti.
Where to stay in Florence
I guess that no matter where you stay in Florence, as long as you choose a location close to the city center, you cannot go wrong. Florence is not a huge city, thus finding such a place shouldn’t be hard.
Of course, staying close to the Ponte Vecchio might get pricy, but look a bit further and you’ll find great options.
Days 8 – 10 Milan and Lake Como
Getting from Florence to Milan by train could be anywhere around 1h15 min up to 6 hours. Again, make sure to book your ticket ahead of time in order to get the best price for the quickest ride.
What to do in Milan
To be honest, Milan has never been such a huge tourist destination in my point of view. However, visiting a few attractions within the city, and planning for a day trip to Lake Como is worth including it to your Italy 10 days itinerary.
Here are some of the most important Milan attractions to see on your first day in Milan:
- Milan Cathedral – the most iconic landmark in Milan, truly impressive architecture, and a rooftop located in the Piazza del Duomo. Book your Duomo with terrace ticket!
- Grand Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II – impressive architecture, opulence at its best! Come here for shopping or at least window shopping.
- Castello Sforzesco – a 15th-century castle located in the middle of some luscious gardens.
- La Scala Opera – apart from the impressive architecture, fewer Opera houses have hosted as many famous singers.
- Take a walk in Naviglio Grande
On your second day in Milan, take a day trip to Lake Como, Belaggio and Varenna. You won’t regret it! This is one of the most fairy tale destinations in Italy, especially when you visit during spring and catch the wisteria in bloom. Lombardy region is packed with stunning views and worth visiting!
Where to stay in Milan
Choose between San Lorenzo, the most romantic neighborhood; Brera, the best for sightseeing in Milan; Navigli, the best for nightlife.
Option 2 – Rome – Naples (Procida, Ischia) – Sorrento (Pompeii) – Amalfi Coast
During this second option for an Italy 10 days itinerary, you’ll get to see some of the most beautiful places in the peninsula.
While Goethe said “Vedi Napoli e poi muori” meaning that once you’ve seen Naples’ beauty you can die because there’s nothing better in the world, I still think that Sorrento and the Amalfi Coast are far more beautiful.
But since you’re there, why not see and live it all? Especially if you’ve been obsessed as I’ve been by the “My Brilliant Friend” trilogy.
Even though seeing Rome on your own is easy, traveling around to Naples, Sorrento, and especially on the Amalfi Coast where roads are narrow and winding could prove to be challenging. That’s why I suggest either booking a tour, or booking transfers ahead of time.
I’ve tried to drive the Amalfi Coast last summer, and decided that’s not for me! Besides, you’re on vacation and you should relax and enjoy the view. Not worry about finding a parking space, or not seeing the beauty the coast is.
The first time I’ve seen Amalfi I’ve booked a ticket for a hop-on-hop-off bus from Sorrento, but that’s too short and you must stay overnight.
Intrepid has a perfect 8-days Rome to Amalfi vacation taking you through most of my destinations. Check it out here!
GAdventures has also a shorter 7-days Naples and Amalfi Coast trip under their Local Living Italy category. Check it out here!
Destination & activities
Where to stay
Colosseum & Forum Tour, Vatican city, and Sistine Chappel
Walk around Rome's old town, take a food tour
Explore Naples & make your Pizza
Day trip to Ischia and Capri / Procida
Take an epic trip to Pompeii and Vesuviu
See the most beautiful place on Erath: The Amalfi Coast
Take a boat ride along the coast, exlore Ravello, and much more
Bye Bye Italy!
Day 1 – 3 Rome
Follow the same steps as stated in the first itinerary option.
Day 4 – 6 Naples
Naples is one place that sure gave me mixed feelings. I’ve spent more days exploring it and got to see the shabby streets, the stunning views, but also the more posh areas of town. You can choose to skip it, but I urge you to include it as part of your 10 days in Italy.
Travel from Rome to Naples by private transfer, or by train. The commute time shouldn’t be more than 3 hours and can be as less as 1h45 by train.
What to do in Naples
Naples is unlike anything you’ve seen before if you’ve only been to the Northern part of Italy. I took my mother for the first time in Italy here and she loved it. However, for me, it took some adjustment to it all. 10 days in Italy should take you to the place where pizza was created, and art and history collide.
- We’ve seen the Chiostri di Santa Chiara – and I’m only sad I wasn’t into Instagram back then, because this is one of the most Instagram perfect places you’ll find. The inside garden of this Gothic Basilica is lined with blossoming orange trees and colorful majolica tiles. The entrance fee is only 6 EUR, so totally worth it.
- We got lost on Via San Gregorio Armeno and was wowed by the huge variety of fish and other local products on display.
- Castel Dell’Ovo – rising out of the Sea on a small island, this place is hard to miss.
- Took a walk on Lungomare, and admired the sea, Mount Vesuvius in the distance, and the posh area of Naples.
- Castel Sant’Elmo – we climbed through the hilly suburbs and made our way to the top where Castel Sant’Elmo is overlooking Naples from above. This is a trip you must take if only for the stunning view. Another option is to take the funicular when you don’t want to climb on foot.
- Take a street food tour and taste some of the greatest Napoletana dishes. Book your tour here!
- Learn how to make your own Napoletana pizza during a 2-hour workshop. Book your workshop here!
On your second day in Naples, head over to Pompeii, Herculaneum, and Mount Vesuvius and spend some time learning about the area’s rich history.
Here are a few great tour options from Naples you should consider booking ahead of your trip:
On the third day in Naples, don’t miss out on the chance to see one of the most colorful islands – Procida. Another great option is a day trip to Ischia and Capri islands.
I must tell you a secret: after reading the books, I’ve watched the “My Brilliant Friend” Netflix series just for the views from Ischia. So I wouldn’t miss a trip to that area for anything in the world!
For Procida, you can book a ferry here.
For a day trip to Ischia and Capri, book your trip here.
Where to stay in Naples
When visiting Naples for the first time, book a room in the Historic Center (Centro Storico). That way, you’ll be close to everything there is to see, and will easily travel around as well.
We chose to stay close to the Naples train station, which might be just the perfect place for your first-time visit. But I must admit I chose it because of the price, and the fact that we wanted to take also other trips from there.
Day 7 – Sorrento
Sorrento is magical, and I suggest spending a day in Sorrento relaxing by the sea.
Another option is to spend 2 days in Sorrento and take the Procida and Ischia island trip from here. Also, you might want to check ou the gelato making class in Sorrento. We all know Italians make the best gelato so why not learn their secrets?
Where to stay in Sorrento
- Monica B & B in Sorrento – set up high on the hills above Sorrento, peaceful and quiet. Fresh breakfast, breathtaking views, they provide a shuttle to/from the main city area to the villa every couple of hours.
- Grand Hotel Aminta – great all Italian traditional food, beautiful pool, incredible views, and a convenient shuttle bus.
- Hotel Palazzo Guardati – incredibly central location, with a rooftop pool and killer views.
Days 8 – 10 – Amalfi Coast
Maybe the most beautiful places in the world, the Amalfi Coast is a must on everyone’s Italy bucket list!
Read my comprehensive Amalfi Coast guide here and plan your ultimate trip on the Amalfi Coast. Find out where to stay on the Amalfi Coast, what to do on the Amalfi Coast, and so much more!
Italy travel resources
- Have less time to spend in Italy but still want to live it up? Spend one day in Genoa on your way to the Cinque Terre. Or stop for one day in Rome on your way to some other amazing destination. Or do it differently, but however, take a Cinque Terre day trip.
- Take the perfect pictures for your forever memories in these Instagram spots in Positano.
- How many days are just enough for seeing Venice and living it to the fullest? I’ve been there 3 times already and I think I have just the answer you are looking for, along with all the great things you shouldn’t miss in Venice.
- See a lot more with these fabulous day trips from Genoa.
- Spend an incredible 7 days in Northern Italy itinerary and see all the destinations you’ve ever dreamt of.
PIN FOR LATER!