It’s not surprising that 10 days in Italy are not enough to explore the country. But it can be quite enough to have a taste of it, and a delicious one. Find out how to plan a perfect 10-day Italy itinerary and enjoy every bit of it.
While probably a 2-week Italy itinerary gives you more room to dig deeper and go off the beaten path, also ten days are a good start to experience the country’s dolce vita, eat its delicious food, visit important historic sites and soak in its immortal art masterpieces. To learn about the country and organize your trip, you can refer to our comprehensive Italy travel guide, while if you would rather delegate the burden of the logistics to an expert guide, you can book one of the best private tours to Italy.
Three 10-Day Italy Itineraries
These itinerary ideas are tailored to different types of travelers. If it’s your first trip to Italy, then itinerary #1 is for you because it’s all about exploring classic destinations like Rome, Florence and Venice.
The second itinerary will take you to beautiful places in central Italy, while in the third one, you will explore the north, including the Dolomites of Trentino Alto Adige.
All these itineraries can be done by train or by car. Probably the first one is the easiest to run by train as it mainly includes the biggest cities, while the others include also destinations that you can only reach by car. In case you are driving, for each itinerary, I provide a map with all the destinations and the directions to get there.
Italy 10-Day Itinerary #1 – The Classics For First-Time Visitors
If it’s your first 10-day trip to Italy, you can’t skip the classic highlights of Rome, Florence, and Venice. To explore them all in-depth you would need a longer holiday, but with what you have, you can still see enough to appreciate what each destination has to offer.
Classic Italy Itinerary – Easy Map
Step-By-Step Rome-Florence-Venice Classic Itinerary
Day 1 – Arrive in Rome
Whether you arrive in the morning or in the evening, the first day is to settle in your hotel and get familiar with your whereabouts. If you arrive in the morning, you can plan half a day of sightseeing and a relaxing evening in a traditional trattoria for a hearty Roman meal.
As the first day in Rome and of your 10-day Italy itinerary will likely be half a day, I suggest you take a walk in the Centro Storico and visit all the beautiful piazzas such as the Spanish Steps, Piazza Navona, the Pantheon, where you can get in if still open.
Day 2 & 3 – Explore Rome
Day 1 – Ancient Rome & Trastevere
I would kick off your second day in Rome to explore the vestiges of imperial times such as the Colosseum and the Roman Forum. If you have some time left, visit also the fascinating Baths of Caracalla not far from the Colosseum. After so much sightseeing, you might want to relax. I suggest you do this in the Trastevere neighborhood, which is also a must in your Rome bucket list.
Here, you can take a lovely evening walk, duck into local attractions such as Santa Maria in Trastevere Basilica, Santa Cecilia in Trastevere Basilica, and Villa Farnesina for Raphael’s frescoes. In Trastevere, you can also enjoy a traditional meal in restaurants such as Da Enzo al 29 or a delicious pizza at Pizzeria Seu Illuminati, or a great gelato from Otaleg, Fiordiluna or Fatamorgana.
Day 2 – Vatican
Start your second day in Rome early morning at the Vatican Museums. Here, the queue is always long. If you want to make your entrance faster, you can either book your skip-the-line ticket online or book a private tour that includes the Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel.
After the Vatican Museums, head to St. Peter’s Square and visit the gorgeous basilica. The entrance is free and although you will find a queue, it goes pretty fast through the metal detector. Inside, you will stay for about an hour. If you feel you can squeeze it in, go down the crypt of the popes, it’s also free.
For the second part of the last day in Rome, you can either head to the city center to see Piazza Navona, the Pantheon and the Spanish Steps if you couldn’t do it on the first evening, or head to the lovely Jewish Quarter that offers some of the best traditional foods in Rome.
Where to stay in Rome:
- High-end: Portrait Roma – Lungarno Collection.
- Mid-range: The Liberty Boutique Hotel.
- Budget: Vatica B&B Roma.
Day 4, 5 & 6 – Visit Florence and Tuscany
While you are in Tuscany, I suggest 2 days in Florence and one day out to explore the region. There are several day trips from Florence you can easily take by train to visit only one city such as Pisa, Siena or Lucca. Or you can also visit more areas including the countryside and more than one town either by renting your own car or booking a Tuscany tour.
Some of the highlights I recommend not to miss in Florence for first-time visitors are:
- The Santa Maria del Fiore complex. The number 1 attraction in Florence where you can see Santa Maria del Fiore cathedral, climb Brunelleschi’s dome and Giotto’s bell tower, and duck into the stunning Baptistery of St. John.
- The Uffizi Gallery. Art lovers can’t possibly miss the Uffizi Gallery and soak in thousands of masterpieces from the most famous Italian and international artists such as Leonardo Da Vinci, Botticelli, Giotto, Cimabue, Caravaggio, Bernini and more.
- The Accademia Gallery with Michelangelo’s David. See the gorgeous David sculpture in the museum with the highest number of Michelangelo’s artwork in the world.
- Palazzo Pitti and the Boboli Gardens. Large mansion of the Pitti family later acquired by the Medicis. You can visit the different areas of the palace and then also the beautiful Boboli Gardens.
- Piazza della Signoria and Palazzo Vecchio. Formerly Palazzo della Signoria named after the Signoria di Firenze, the ruling body in Florence, this is the city’s town hall and an important place to visit right beside the Uffizi Gallery.
- Mercato Centrale. Try regional Tuscan and other Italian dishes in the charming and crowded central market.
- San Lorenzo Basilica. The basilica of the Medici family with a historical library, a rich treasure museum, and close to the tombs of the powerful Florence dynasty.
Where to stay in Florence:
Day 7 – Hike the Cinque Terre
Before heading far north, stop in the Liguria region for one day to hike in the Cinque Terre. These are five scenic villages perched on hilltops that plunge directly on the Mediterranean Sea.
The Cinque Terre is a favorite day trip from Florence, but if you like hiking and the season is pleasant, I suggest staying at least one night here. You can easily reach the Cinque Terre by train from Florence and move from town to town either with the local train or directly on foot.
The towns are Vernazza, Monterosso sul Mare, Riomaggiore, Manarola and Corniglia.
Where to stay in the Cinque Terre:
- High-end: Park Hotel Argento in Levanto.
- Mid-range: Oasi Hotel in Levanto.
- Budget: Locanda Ca Dei Duxi in Riomaggiore.
Day 8 & 9 – Explore Venice
How to miss the beauty and romance of Venice? If it’s your first trip, even if you have only 10 days in Italy, the beautiful city on the lagoon is a must. Venice deserves much more than two days, but if your holiday can only allow you 10 days in Italy, you can optimize your time to visit as much as you can.
You can save much time if you book some skip-the-line ticket or some private tours that gather several places in a few hours. Some of the highlights not to miss are:
- Palazzo Ducale. Doge’s Palace is one of the main highlights in Venice, gorgeous to visit inside and an important historical palace.
- Piazza San Marco. Famous all over the world for its beauty, it’s one of the most important piazzas in Italy.
- San Marco Basilica. St. Mark Basilica is the iconic cathedral in Venice with gilded domes.
- Bridge of Sighs. A must in Venice, while its name sounds pretty romantic, the history behind it is sad as it was the bridge where the prisoners walked on their way to the harsh local jails.
- Jewish Quarter. A traditional and historic quarter that’s absolutely a must in Venice for first-timers.
Where to stay in Venice:
Day 10 – Fly out from Milan
Milan is the last leg of your 10-day trip to Italy and ideally where you will take your flight home as it has a large international airport, Malpensa. You are not going to have much time, but spending one day in Milan is enough to visit the highlights in the city center and around the famous Duomo.
Some of the places I suggest not to miss even in a short time are:
- Milan Duomo. Gorgeous Gothic-style cathedral that you can visit inside and on its rooftop terraces.
- Galleria Vittorio Emanuele. The city’s parlour, stop here for a nice coffee and some window shopping.
- The Last Supper. Here you need to book to be admitted and you should do it quite in advance to find a spot. This magnificent mural painting by Leonardo Da Vinci is a must-see in Milan.
- Castello Sforzesco. The residence of the powerful Sforza family, you can decide to visit this castle inside where they host several museums and exhibitions, or its large courtyard (free of charge) if you are short in time.
Where to stay in Milan:
- High-end: Château Monfort – Relais & Châteaux.
- Mid-range: Best Western Plus Hotel Galle.
- Budget: 43 Station Hotel.
Variation for this Italy 10-day itinerary
If you arrive in Rome in the morning and you can spend your first day sightseeing, you can stay only 2 days in Rome and head south to Naples first to visit also Pompeii. For a first trip to Italy, this is very much recommended, but if you stay at least two days in Naples, you will also need to cut one day in Tuscany.
You can take the train from Naples to Florence (about 3 hours) and spend two days in Florence before heading to the Cinque Terre, or also one day in Florence and in the Tuscan countryside or in another town.
Italy 10-Day Itinerary #2 – Central and Northern Italy From Rome
The Tuscany countryside, the hidden gems of the Umbria region and the delicious and hearty food of Bologna are the stars of our second itinerary idea for ten days in Italy. This trip is best for who has visited already Italy’s classics or if you are a fan of more quiet and less crowded destinations.
Central and Northern Italy Itinerary – Easy Map
Step-By-Step Central And Northern Italy 10-Day Itinerary
Day 1, 2 & 3 – Arrive and explore Rome
Like for the first itinerary, you arrive in Rome and then you have two extra days to explore the city. If it’s not your first time, you can stray further from the historic center and visit neighborhoods like Testaccio and Ostiense, both of them former working-class districts with a fascinating modern history and plenty of things to see and great restaurants to try.
Day 4 & 5 – Explore the Umbria region
Umbria is worth visiting both for its countryside dotted with soft-rolling hills and some of its famous cities, including its picturesque capital.
As the first stop from Rome, I suggest at least one day in Perugia, where you can also stay overnight before driving off the next day to Assisi. Some of the places to visit in Perugia are:
- Palazzo dei Priori. Important medieval building that hosts the Umbria National Gallery where you can view masterpieces of local artists such as Pinturicchio, il Perugino, Beato Angelico, Piero della Francesca and Benozzo Gozzoli.
- Historic town. Wander Perugia city center and its highlights such as Piazza Italia, Corso Vannucci and the stunning Piazza IV Novembre with the 12-century Fontana Maggiore fountain in the middle.
- San Lorenzo Cathedral. A must in Perugia, this important cathedral is also in Piazza IV Novembre.
- Arco Etrusco. Called Etruscan Arch, this is one of the monumental gates of the ancient Etruscan walls later restored by the Romans.
Where to stay in Perugia:
Hometown of St. Francis, Assisi is an important tourist draw in the region, so I suggest you carve some time to pay a visit. You can visit Assisi in one day, so it can be a perfect day trip from Perugia. These are some of the highlights in Assisi:
- San Francesco Basilica. The most important church in Assisi, this 13th-century Basilica is a must and the very first place to visit.
- Santa Maria degli Angeli in Porziuncola Basilica. The second most important church linked to St. Francis in Assisi, it’s located a bit far from the city center but a must as it’s where the saint died in the 13th century.
- Temple of Minerva. A perfectly preserved temple from the 1 century BC that was used for multiple purposes such as prison, residence, workshops, and finally adapted into a Catholic church.
- Santa Chiara Basilica. The church where St. Clare of Assisi, noble local woman and one of the first followers of St Francis, is buried.
- San Rufino Basilica. Church with a Roman cistern that was used to baptize St. Francis and St. Clare.
Day 6 & 7 – Explore the Tuscany region
If you have been to Florence, in this itinerary you can skip it all together and enjoy the Tuscan countryside, its world-class Chianti wine region, its medieval towns such as San Gimignano, Siena or Lucca, and its wonderful hot springs.
Since you are skipping the big cities, I highly recommend you pick your hotel or agriturismo near any of the Tuscan springs such as San Giovanni Terme Resort or Agriturismo Villa Buoninsegna, or in the Chianti region such as Relais Vignale & Spa and Palazzo Leopoldo Dimora Storica & Spa, and from there drive to the other places.
Some highlights in Tuscany are:
- Siena. Beautiful walled medieval town with a gorgeous cathedral and rooftop city view.
- Chianti region. Famous for its wines and wine tasting tours, Chianti is also a great place to explore quaint towns and fairy castles.
- Val D’Orcia. The untouched landscape of this piece of the Tuscan countryside clothed with sunflower and wheat fields is dreamy.
- San Gimignano. A picturesque medieval town famous for its many towers.
- Hot springs and thermal baths. Some of the best thermal baths in Tuscany are Bagni San Filippo, Terme di Montepulciano, Terme di Chianciano, Rapolano Terme and San Casciano dei Bagni.
Day 8 & 9 – Visit Bologna
Not always included in the first trip to Italy, Bologna does deserve at least one or two days. In this Italy itinerary, we suggest two days in the area and you can choose to either stay two days in Bologna or one day in the city and one on a day trip to the beautiful Ravenna, home to eight UNESCO heritage sites.
Some of Bologna top things to see and do:
- Try traditional food. Lasagne, tortellini, tagliatelle, ragù sauce, mortadella cold cut. All this goodness is from this region and in Bologna, you can really tuck into some pretty delicious (and heavy!) dishes.
- Piazza Maggiore. The religious and secular pulsing heart of the city, Piazza Maggiore is famous for its Neptune Fountain surrounded by historical buildings.
- San Petronio Basilica. The most important church in Bologna, 14th-century San Petronio Basilica is located in Piazza Maggiore and is the last Gothic masterpiece made in Italy.
- Santo Stefano Basilica. This is a complex of sacred buildings made of churches, a cloister, a museum, and a courtyard.
- Torre degli Asinelli and Garisenda. These are the main two towers in tower-clothed Bologna. The only one that you can visit inside is 12th-century Torre Degli Asinelli, which is also the tallest.
- Archiginnasio. If you have some time left, head to the beautiful Archiginnasio, the former building of Bologna university, the world’s oldest.
Where to stay in Bologna:
Day 10 – Fly out from Milan
This is the last stop of your 10 days in Italy and while I recommend staying longer, also a day or half a day can be enough to see the major highlights, especially if limited to the city center. Just like for itinerary #1, some of the places to visit in Milan in a short time are the imposing Duomo, the elegant Vittorio Emanuele Gallery, the Sforza Castle, and, if you managed to plan and book in advance, Leonardo Da Vinci’s The Last Supper.
Italy 10-Day Itinerary #3 – Northern Italy
Nature-lovers, hikers, mountain bikers as well as history buffs will love this 10-day trip to northern Italy. Visiting regions such as Lombardy with Milan, Piedmont with two days in Turin, Trentino Alto Adige and Veneto with Verona and possibly Venice is the recipe for a perfect blend of all sorts of Italian experiences. Trying delicious food, hiking the Dolomites and discovering the local history are only some of the things to do in northern Italy in ten days.
Northern Italy Itinerary – Easy Map
Step-By-Step Northern Italy 10-Day Itinerary
Day 1 – Arrive in Milan
Milan’s Malpensa is the busiest international airport in northern Italy and the one with the highest number of flights and airlines. Whether you are coming from the EU or another Continent, your flight will likely land in Malpensa or sometimes Linate, the other Milan airport.
Day 2 – Explore Milan
If you arrived in the morning, on the first day you would have ideally started to look around the most famous highlights. Apart from historical highlights, this trendy northern Italian city treats its visitors with a huge offer of restaurants and great window shopping.
In 2 days in Milan, you can also cruise along the Navigli canals, perfect spot for a nice dinner or aperitif, and take a tour to the Scala Opera House.
Day 3 & 4 – Head to Turin
A trip to northern Italy can’t miss a stop in Turin, the beautiful first capital of unified Italy. There are so many things to do in Turin that I suggest staying for more than two days, but if that’s all you can afford, you can maximize your time to visit the most important sites.
Some of the places to visit in two days in Turin:
- Palazzo Reale. Located in Piazza Castello, Turin’s Royal Palace is the well-preserved former residence of the Savoy family.
- Palazzo Madama. Built in Roman times, Palazzo Madama was used as the residence for the ladies of the Savoy family.
- Duomo di San Giovanni. This is Turin’s cathedral where the Holy Shroud is kept.
- Museo Egizio. The best Egyptian museum in Italy, second only the one in Cairo to explore ancient Egyptian history and culture.
- Mole Antonelliana. A rich cinema museum in Turin’s tallest building from where you can have a 360-degree view of the city.
Where to stay in Turin:
- High-end: Royal Palace Hotel & Spa.
- Mid-range: NH Torino Santo Stefano.
- Budget: Blunotte Torino – Piazza Castello.
Day 5 & 6 – Explore Venice + Verona day trip
From Turin, you can take a train to Venice. Usually, you will need one or two train changes for this route, and depending on which combination you choose, it can take between 3 and a half to up to 6 hours.
If you have never visited the city, you should stay at least two days in Venice and from here take a day trip to Verona. Like I mentioned in itinerary #1, some of the highlights in Venice are Piazza San Marco, Doge’s Palace, San Marco Square and Cathedral, and the Bridge of Sighs.
An easy day trip from Venice is to the beautiful Verona. Like most of the Italian big cities, also here there are many things to see, but if you are short in time, one day in Verona is enough to appreciate its most famous highlights such as the Arena, Romeo and Juliet’s houses, Piazza delle Erbe, and San Zeno Maggiore church.
Since you are short in time, you can visit Verona on your way to Trento, instead of going back to Venice. This applies whether you are driving or traveling with the train. In this case, you can leave your luggage at the Verona Porta Nuova luggage deposit for the day.
Day 7 – Visit Trento
The capital of the Trentino Alto Adige region, Trento can be your base for several day trips. There are many things to do in Trento, but since you are in Italy for only ten days and visiting more than one region, you can explore the city in one day and see other places in Trentino.
Some of the top places to visit in Trento are:
- Castello del Buonconsiglio. The former residence of the local Prince-Bishops, this is the most important castle in Trento and in the whole Trentino region.
- Duomo di Trento. 13th-century cathedral devoted to San Vigilio built on top of an earl-Christian basilica.
- MUSE. The Natural Science Museum of Trento is very famous and well-organized. Divided in floors, each studying a different topic, and everywhere you will find interactive stations that kids will love.
- Santa Maria Maggiore Church. The important church where they gathered to prepare for the Council of Trento in the 16th century.
Where to stay in Trento:
Day 8 – Take a day trip to Bolzano
While it’s a great city for your holiday, you can see much in only one day in Bolzano. This is why I suggest you plan it as a day trip from Trento instead of changing hotel again.
Bolzano is a German-speaking city and the main town of the Alto Adige sub-region. Very scenic because surrounded by the Dolomites, there are plenty of places to visit and delicious foods to try.
Some of the top things to do in Bolzano:
- Piazza Walther. Beautiful piazza in the city center named after a local poet.
- South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology. An absolute must, it hosts the Neolithic mummy called Ötzi the Iceman and a large exhibition about his life, clothes, and tools.
- Duomo di Bolzano. Gothic-style Bolzano’s cathedral will immediately stand out for its green roof.
Day 9 – Enjoy the Dolomites
From Trento, you can also arrange a fantastic day trip to the Dolomites in Trentino Alto Adige. You can visit the Dolomites from many cities in Trentino, but since you are based in Trento, you can take a day trip to the mountains from here.
If you are using public transport, you can inquire about routes and timetables at Trento’s main train station. In this case, you can probably visit only one place in a day, while if you are driving, you should be able to squeeze in at least two destinations. Below, you can find a little map pointing to the three Dolomites destinations.
Some of the top places in the Dolomites to reach from Trento are:
- Madonna di Campiglio. Very famous ski resort in the Brenta Dolomites, Madonna di Campiglio is a perfect place for hiking and enjoying gorgeous views in all seasons.
- Molveno Lake. Stunning lake surrounded by lush greenery, the town close to Molveno Lake is Andalo. If you visit in summer you can also swim or rent a boat in the lake.
- Val Di Fassa. Another favorite Dolomites destination in the region and a great viewpoint for the Marmolada peak.
Day 10 – Fly out from Milan
From Trento, you can take the train to Milan if you have some time and wish to explore the city. Otherwise, you can go directly to Malpensa airport from Trento with a change of train in Milano Centrale station. This way, you can stay in the Trentino region for longer or stop in some other places on your way back to Milan.
Variation for this Italy trip
If you have already been to Venice and are not interested in exploring more of it, you can skip it altogether and from Turin, head directly to Riva del Garda in the Lombardia region. You can stay here for one or two days before settling in Trento and get on with your trip.
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Rome-based travel writer, blogger and photographer.