Put it as you might: one week or 7 days in Italy still makes for the perfect vacation in my view.
No matter how many times I go back (and I have to admit I do, at least once every year, twice if I’m lucky – and this year is one of that kind of lucky years when apart from red Bologna, I’ll be seeing Puglia and the Amalfi Coast), I still can’t help but fall in love with Italy with every new encounter.
Whenever I visit, I normally spend just a long weekend, linking a few holidays to the weekend. But if I were to have one full week, that is 7 days in Italy here is what my perfect Northern itinerary would be.
7 days in Italy – the Northern itinerary
First stop: 2 nights in Venice
No itinerary in Northern Italy should not leave unvisited one of the most iconic and romantic places there is – Venice.
Even though two nights in Venice are not quite enough, my Northern Italy itinerary would include just that.
Spend the time getting lost on the many canals (allow yourself to step away from the touristic paths, and step into the real Venice), wake up early and visit the Dodge’s Palace, take a picture on the Ponte dei Sospini, enter San Marco Basilica, go at Libreria Acqua Alta, spend a fortune on a gondola ride, take home a painted carnival mask as souvenir, and do not miss the most colorful village with its Instagram perfect houses – Burano.
Second stop: 1 night in Genoa
After two romantic days in Venice, hop on the fast train (le frecce = the arrows) and head directly to Genoa.
I’m not including Milan in my 7 days in Italy itinerary because I have never been a Milan fan. Sorry! I just like Genoa better.
Extra tip: if you book the train way in advance on the Trenitalia website, you can get really great prices and get from Venice to Genoa in a few hours.
One night and one day in Genoa should be enough (if you don’t want to explore Liguria and its beautiful small villages) for one to see two of the beautiful palaces – Palazzo del Principe and Palazzo Reale, walk to the old port and maybe go in the Genoa Aquarium, climb the hill and take the whole city in from Spianata Castelletto, and maybe take a taxi up to Boccadasse.
Make sure to try the focaccia Genovese and Genovese pesto. You won’t find it better anywhere else!
Third stop: 2 nights in Cinque Terre
Only 2 nights? Well, that’s all we have on this trip, unfortunately.
I would easily spend 7 full days in Cinque Terre, but with the itinerary on hand, we only have 2 days. And trust me, if you only want to see the 5 small villages ( linked by a train , take a boat ride on the coast, have breakfast at Nessum Dorma, eat some of the best misto fritto there is for dinner at one of the Michelin stars restaurants, see the sunset over Riomaggiore and look at the beautiful buildings under the sunset light, 2 days are enough.
You won’t have time to trek the narrow roads hanging on the edge of the sea, linking the villages, but that would be a reason to come back here, right?
Fourth stop: 2 nights in Florence
I have visited Florence while I was in Rome for a few months and I can easily say that the Ponte Vecchio is one of the most romantic (and thus crowded) places in Italy.
In two days you will 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, and go wine tasting since you are in Tuscany.
And that’s it, one perfect 7 days in Italy itinerary that will take you through some of the most iconic places in the country of love, gelato, and wine.
How to travel for 7 days in Italy trip
I would totally do it by train.
Trains in Northern Italy are fast and efficient. And when you book way in advance, you can get a decent price without having to worry about parking or narrow streets.