I have had the privilege to visit Italy a few times and each time I leave wanting to go back again. I love exploring the country, taking in the sites and of course, the food. I have to admit, I am a bit biased in my admiration for Italy as my mom was born in a little seaside town just south of Rome. This past trip I spent 2 weeks traveling around Italy with a friend from college. We visited Venice, Cinque Terre, Rome, the Amalfi Coast and Naples. I hope this post is a helpful travel guide for visiting Italy.
Planning the Trip to Italy
We spent about a month planning out our route, sites to see and accommodations to make sure we were hitting everything we wanted to see and do. Our trip fell during late July and August which meant it was hotter and more crowded than was ideal. Pro tip: visit in the offseason if you can to avoid higher costs and a lot of tourists. I would also recommend checking out what Rick Steves has to say and his travel guide for visiting Italy. Rick Steves Italy 2018
3 Days in Venice
Venice was our arrival destination and the first stop on our adventure.
Day 1: Arrived in Venice in the morning. We dropped our luggage at our hotel and took the water taxi around the Grand Canal to get our bearings.
Day 2: After some much-needed rest to adjust to the time change, we started out for a full-day around St. Mark’s Square. We toured the Basilica di San Marco and Doge’s Palace. After touring the palace, we made our way around to the side to see the Bridge of Sighs.
Day 3: Spent time getting off at different spots along the water taxi route to explore some of the side streets and get off the beaten path. We walked up the Rialto Bridge which had vendors selling hand-made items and souvenirs. We also visited the small island of Lido.
From Venice, we made our way across to the other coast by train to spend time in Cinque Terre.
Pro Tip: If you have a scheduled departure date, go ahead and book your train tickets leaving the day you arrive to make sure you get seats.
2 days in Cinque Terre
Day 1: Arrived in La Spezia, the largest city nearby Cinque Terre. We spent the day prepping for our hike the next day.
Day 2: Was an early wake-up call to catch the train Corniglia to start our hike (the paths between the first 2 towns were closed due to rockslides). We hiked through Corniglia, Manarola and ended in Riomaggiore. It was a strenuous hike, but the views were incredible.
From Cinque Terre, we took the train to Rome.
3 Days in Rome
Honestly, you could spend two weeks in Rome alone and still have things to see. We crammed a lot into the 3 days we were there.
Day 1: Started early at the Colosseum with an audio tour. From there we made our way through the Roman Forum and the Pantheon.
Day 2: Got in line before St. Peter’s Basilica opened to tour the church. After that, we went to view the Sistine Chapel and rounded out the night at the Trevi Fountain (which was under construction at the time).
Day 3: Visited Piazza Navona where vendors were set up displaying their artwork. We walked over to the Spanish steps which were covered with people. We enjoyed some pastries and gelato before dinner.
After Rome, we made our way further down Italy, to spend some relaxation time on the Amalfi Coast.
3 Days on the Amalfi Coast
The Amalfi Coast was a highlight of the trip. The views were incredible and the beaches were pristine.
Day 1 & 2: Touring the Amalfi coastal towns. We started in Sorrento and spent time in Positano and Amalfi. Each town was unique and beautiful in its own way.
Day 3: An all-day boat cruise to the island of Capri—snorkeling and swimming in the famous blue grotto.
By train, we took the short trip to finish the tour of Italy in Naples.
2 Days in Naples
Naples was our last stop and also our base to visit Pompeii.
Day 1: We spent some time exploring Naples and enjoying the pizza 😊
Day 2: We got an early start and took the train to Pompeii to get a head start on the heat and the crowds. We spent the full day touring the ancient city.
Pro Tip(s): Take a guided tour of Pompeii or follow Rick Steve’s tour in his Italy travel book to really understand the history. It can be easy to get turned around in Pompeii and it gets eerie as dusk sets in. Also, there isn’t a lot of shade, so prepare adequately on hot days.
We got to see so much on this trip. I hope this travel guide for visiting Italy comes in handy. It was the perfect itinerary that allowed us to experience the must-see attractions and the dolce vita. What are your favorite destinations in Italy?