If you have read my 7 days in Northern Italy itinerary (and I hope you did) you know I’m very good at planning trips in Italy. Thus, here goes my one week in Southern Italy Itinerary.
Italy is amazing. The narrow streets, colorful houses, delicious food, and strong coffee. Take that and add in incredible beaches and Caribean-like water, and you know you are in South Italy.
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Before we start, here is some useful information worth having for your trip, no matter where you choose to go in the end.
Discover Cars is a great aggregator that will help you find and book the best option for renting a car during your trip, helping you save up to 70% on your car rental. They have a pretty good Cancellation policy that would give you options in case your flight or travel plans change. You will most probably need a car to get to most of these places, especially if you want to keep a schedule. Get your offers here!
Travel insurance – If there’s one thing we learned in recent times, is that we don’t want to make travel plans without insurance. My go-to travel insurance is Safetywing – it works like a subscription, you can use it within or outside the US, and it offers flexibility. You can sign up even if your journey has started, children under 10 are included for free, and much more. Get the best deal for your travel insurance here!
Southern Italy vacation 1-week Itinerary – Option 1
First stop: 2 nights in Alberobello
Land in Bari and jump right in the car and make your way to Alberobello, where I would book the 2 nights in a Trullo. Or choose to stay by the sea in one of the old chic authentic Italian towns Puglia has on display.
No matter where you choose to stay in Puglia, the region will steal your heart and leave you wanting more. At least that’s what I felt about it.
Get your guide on what to wear in Italy in spring!
If you have read my 7 days in Northern Italy itinerary, you know that I totally recommend doing it by train, because trains are very well organized, cheap when booked in advance, and very efficient in Northern Italy.
Southern Italy on the other hand, is another story. The best way of making the most out of your trip is to rent a car and spend the rest of your one-week Southern Italy itinerary driving around Puglia and its beautiful villages.
During the time spent in Alberobello (or Martina Franca/Locorotondo if you are looking for cheaper Trullo housing), head to Polignano a Mare for the most perfect views over the deep blue sea, Ostuni for the narrow white streets, Monopoli for its Baroque beauty on the shore of the Adriatic Sea.
Head even more to the South and explore the Gargano Peninsula, one of the most scenic yet hidden destinations in Italy. At least for tourists from outside of the country.
Most of this area is a National park, with unspoiled destinations, and blue water which will give destinations like the Maldives a run for their money.
The last stop while driving towards the next location on your South Italy itinerary in 1 week should be in Matera, with its impressive cave-like houses.
Get inspired by my stunning 4 days in Puglia
Where to stay in Alberobello/Puglia
As I’ve said, staying in a Trullo house would be something else when visiting Puglia, but at the end of the day there are so many incredible accommodation options around you’ll have a hard choice to make.
But here are a few of my recommendations, based on feedback received from people who have tested them:
- Masseria Le Cerase – a traditional white house with a stunning pool, perfectly located for daily trips to the sea or Alberobello, Polignano a Mare, or Ostuni. Book your stay here!
- Masseria Alchimia – enjoy the most authentic and fresh Italian breakfast, only a few kilometers away from Polignano a Mare, in a stylish and immaculate location. Check out the rooms here!
- Hotel Don Ferrante – who wouldn’t want to experience staying right in the walls of Monopoli? This 10-room boutique hotel will not only charm you with its design but also with the rooftop terrace and pool overlooking the blue. See when they’re available here!
- Trullieu Guesthouse Alberobello – even though the Trullo guesthouse is located extremely close to Alberobello’s center, it is still hidden from all the noise and fuss. And it also has a free close-by parking space. Book your stay in a trullo here!
Second stop: 3 nights on the Amalfi Coast
Read also: 30+ Italian gifts for Italy lovers
Where to stay on the Amalfi Coast
When we think about the Amalfi Coast, the accommodation options are endless, and you should always choose a place with a view. Because what a view that is!
Here are only a few options to consider:
- Alcione Residence – a family-run hotel with a great location and stunning views, AC in all their rooms. Make sure to book way in advance, because they have only a few rooms. Check when they are available here!
- Villa Magia – bright airy rooms, perfect for a special occasion such as spending your honeymoon in Italy. Breakfast is made by the house chef and can be delivered on your balcony so that you can enjoy it with a stunning view. Book your stay here!
Last stop: 2 Nights in Sorrento
You could choose Naples, but after having spent some 4 days in the Southern Italian town, I would rather go back to Sorrento and book a stay there.
Why have I included Sorrento as the last stop in my one-week in Southern Italy itinerary?
First of all because of its beautiful coquette streets, balconies with amazing views starting to look a lot like the rest of the Amalfi Coast.
Naples, on the other hand, is a bit hard to take in. Filthy hectic streets, run-down buildings, delicious food, and historic buildings all stand together.
Another reason for choosing Sorrento as an overnight stay is the fact that you can get plenty of boat tours to Capri Island or Ischia island. Skip the ferry lines, forget about time wasted on searching for things to do in Ischia, and take advantage of the easy cancellation process when booking online.
Moreover, getting from Sorrento to Pompeii is also easy, both on your own and even more so on a guided tour. Book it online in advance and don’t worry about wasting precious time out of your one week in Southern Italy looking for tours or buses.
Where to stay in Sorrento
- Grand Hotel Aminta – great all Italian traditional food, beautiful pool, incredible views, and a convenient shuttle bus. Book your room here!
- Hotel Palazzo Guardati – incredibly central location, with a rooftop pool and killer views. Check it out here!
Southern Italy itinerary 7 days – option 2
First stop: 2 nights in Rome
The second option is to start your Southern Italy itinerary in the Eternal City. I know 2 nights and 3 days in Rome might not seem a lot, but when you only have 7 days in Italy and you want to scratch the surface, you can fit plenty into your trip.
A vital tip to take into consideration in order to make the best out of your Italy itinerary is to try as much as possible to book your tours and tickets in advance. This way, you will go directly, skip the line and see the Musei Vaticani, Villa Borgese, Colosseo, and all the other attractions you have on your mind.
Another thing to have in mind when booking your stay in Rome is the area for your accommodation. You’ll want to be close to public transportation, yet close to the train station not to waste time on your commute to your next stop on your Southern Italy itinerary.
While I usually say I prefer traveling by train in the Northern part of Italy, and by car in the Southern part, for this second option of my Southern Italy itinerary I’ll stick to a train, boat, and bus combination.
That’s why you’ll want to book your hotel close to the Termini train station. It might not be the perfect area in Rome, but it is convenient also because you’ll get the train directly from the airport to here.
So make the best out of your 2 days in Rome: see the Castel Sant’Angelo, move just a few steps away and visit the Vatican and its Sistine Chappel, stroll your way to Piazza di Spagna and take a picture on the Spanish Steps, eat an ice cream close to the Trevi Fountain, and go inside the Pantheon.
Once you have seen the Colosseum, Roman Forum & Palatine Hill Tour, you’ll be ready to move forward on your Italy 7 days active itinerary. We want to see it all, right?
Second stop: 2 nights in Sorrento
I know Naples is closer to Rome than Sorrento is. But Sorrento is so much lovelier. And it is closer to some of the places you’ll want to see in the region: Pompeii & Mount Vesuvio, Herculaneum, and Sorrento itself. This will pretty much fill your schedule for the 3 days you have to spend in the area.
When I was there a few years back, I chose to stay in Naples and did everything from there. I must admit that seeing how lovely Sorrento is, I ended up regretting I didn’t choose that as our location. So learn from my mistakes, and build your trip from here.
Hey, you can even go to Naples for half a day. It is only less than one hour by train away.
Or better yet, take the ferry and go and see one of the most beautiful islands in Italy: Procida Island.
The third stop: 3 nights on the Amalfi Coast
I chose the best for last because you’ll get to rest in Paradise. I have a soft spot in my heart when it comes to the Amalfi Coast, and all my Southern Italy trips must pass through this Italian coastline.
No matter where you choose to stay on the Amalfi Coast, chances are you are in for some breathtaking views and amazing day trips. Just check out the options listed above in the first option for my South Italy itinerary in 1 week.
Southern Italy travel itinerary – option 3
First Stop: 2 nights in Alberobello
This 3rd option of the Southern Italy itinerary in 7 days will be packed with sightseeing and lots of kilometers. I also suggest renting a car for this one and making your way from Bari airport down South.
Don’t leave Puglia behind without seeing the trulli in Alberobello, the grotto restaurant in Polignano a Mare, the charming little town of Monopoli, and the crystal clear blue water in that part of Italy.
Second stop: 1 night Matera
Please don’t make a mistake and spend one night in Matera. Seeing the unique town light up might just be one experience you won’t get to live in again.
Third stop: 1 night in Reggio Calabria
The real South, Reggio Calabria is a hub linking the peninsula to Sicily. Because that’s where you’re going next.
If you don’t want to spend time here, go directly to Catania and start your Sicily adventure. But if however, if you do want to take it easy, just explore this hidden gem. I guarantee there won’t be many other tourists around.
Fourth stop: 3 nights in Catania, Sicily
I know only 3 days in Sicily is bearly enough, but you will still get to see the Eastern part of the island. And that’s still something.
If I could choose only one or two of these places, I wouldn’t miss Taormina and Syracuse. And if you have more time to spare, go all the way to Palermo and let yourself be seduced by the pretty small town of Cefalu less than one hour away.
Tours of Southern Italy
If you would rather book a tour of Southern Italy and forget all about planning the vacation and itinerary, here are a few options to have in mind:
- Highlights of the Amalfi Coast – spend 8 days exploring one of the most beautiful areas in Italy. See more here!
- Sicilian Secrets – the complete tour of Sicily. See more here!
- Highlights of Southern Italy & Sicily – See more here!
- Apulia Discovery – 6 days in one of my favorite destinations, Puglia. See more here!
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.
- Check out the ultimate Italy 10 days itinerary and plan your trip with these 2 options.
- 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.