Italy has been drawing lovers of history, food, wine, and culture from around the world for thousands of years. And it’s easy to see why…From romantic crumbling ruins and friendly hosts to specialty pastas and some of the world’s most acclaimed art, Italy is a feast for the senses. The very best 10 day Italy itinerary invites visitors to sample a little bit of everything.
- 10 Days in Italy
- Day 1: Rome
- Day 2: Rome
- Day 3: Perugia
- Day 4: Assisi
- Day 5: Siena
- Day 6: Florence
- Day 7: Lucca and Pisa
- Day 7 Alternative: Cinque Terre
- Day 8 and 9: Lake Como
- Day 10: Return Flight via Milan
- Your 10 Day Italian Itinerary Is a Wrap
10 Days in Italy
The best 10 day Italy itinerary begins with arrival in Rome (two days), moves to beautiful Umbria (two days total in Perugia and Assisi), explores Tuscany (three days in Florence, Siena, Lucca and Pisa/Cinque Terre), and wraps up in scenic Lake Como (two days) before a return flight out of Milan.
Let your Italy vacation begin!
Reserve a Rental Car Ahead of Time
This Italy itinerary is essentially a road trip! So be sure to reserve your rental car ahead of time. While you can rent at Rome’s airport, the easier plan would be to skip driving in Rome, picking it up on Day 3 when you head to Perugia.
Check price and availability on rental cars here.
Day 1: Rome
Your Italy itinerary for 10 days begins in Rome, due to easy availability of international flights here. In fact, there are two international airports in Rome.
The goal: Arrive in the morning to save the afternoon of day 1 for exploring Rome.
While it takes at least three days to hit the highlights in Rome, you can still see plenty in just two days on your whirlwind tour of Italy.
Dedicate your afternoon and evening to discovering the old center. Highlights include: Trevi Fountain, Pantheon, Piazza Navona, Spanish Steps, and Sunset at Pincio.
Pincio hill is on the west side of the Villa Borghese. Live music and dramatic archicteure make a romantic backdrop for the perfect first evening in Rome.
Make the most out of your time here by sampling real Roman fare. For lunch, try Anticia Birreria Peroni, a historic affordable eatery that is loved by locals.
But get here on the early side (Noon or 1 pm) to beat the crowds. Fish pizzas are a speciality here. (Fruitti di mare can include scampi, mussels or squid. Typically, no cheese is included.) Since the fish is caught fresh daily, the quality is top notch.
For dinner, head to a “spaghetteria.” Spaghetteria L’Archetto. features real Roman food, with plenty of delicious pasta options—from pasta made out of zucchini to pasta with chili peppers— in a casual atmosphere.
Day 2: Rome
Start your second day in Rome the Italian way, at a local bar with a capucino and perhaps a small panini. Il Baretto, makes a great choice as it’s not far from your first stop: the Colosseum.
Be sure to arrive early at the Colosseum, no later than 8:30 am to avoid the heat of mid-day and skip the crowds. To maximize your time on your fast tour of Rome, purchasing skip-the-line tickets ahead of time is essential.
Get Skip-the-Line Tickets for Rome Now
If there was ever a time you’d hope to skip the line, it’s while visiting Rome’s Colosseum. You’ll be so happy you purchased tickets ahead of time online instead of standing in a snaking line in the hot sun! I promise.
This skip-the-line ticket includes admission to the Colosseum, Palatine Hill, and the Roman Forum.
Check skip-the-line ticket prices and availability here.
Assume that you need the whole morning to explore the Colosseum and Roman Forum. Rome’s Colosseum is the largest amphitheater ever built and could hold up to 80,000 spectators for its famous gladiator contests. You won’t want to miss it!
The Forum is a rectangular plaza which was the center of daily life in Rome, also serving as a central market place during Roman times. It’s been called the most celebrated meeting place in the world throughout history.
Since your time in Rome is limited, don’t spend it waiting in line to see these famous sites which can be mobbed with tourists. (See gray box above.)
For lunch, head to La Taverna dei Fori Imperiali. Try the ravioli di burrata, ravioli filled with rich burrata cheese and vegetables. It’s just the lunch you need to keep up your walking stamina for the rest of the day.
After lunch—and just before your next stop at Vatican City—be sure to stop by the rose garden of Rome: Roseto di Roma Capitale. If you are a garden lover, this is a must-do activity.
It’s the perfect off-the-beaten path activity and respite from the hustle and bustle of the city. Take a few moments to smell the gorgeous blooming roses and recharge for your visit to Vatican City.
Vatican City is located just outside the old center. Even if you’re not Christian, it’s a mesmerizing place to visit. Must-see highlights include: The Sistine Chapel, Vatican Museum, and St. Peter’s Basilica.
As you gaze around you, it’s easy to understand where all of the worldwide tithings from Christians ended up over hundreds of years. No basilica anywhere else in the world is quite like this one with its vast spaces, ornate treasures, and iconic art and architecture…all bathed in gold.
If you’re up for sampling a bite or two of another Roman pasta specialty, swing by Cacio e Pepe. Here they serve a unique spicy pasta sauce. Patrons also rave about the chestnut meringue cake and chicken caciatore.
Do you have any energy left after your full day of sightseeing? Spend it wandering and people watching in Rome’s historic center.
Where to Stay in Rome
Option 1: Inn at the Roman Forum
This boutique inn is within walking distance of the Coliseum and Roman Forum. It’s cozy, modern, and has an amazing location.
Check price and availability at the Inn at the Roman Forum on booking.com here.
Option 2: Apartment by the Spanish Steps
You’ll feel like a local staying in this beautiful vacation rental. It’s walking distance to all the major sites.
Check price and availability at the Spanish Steps apartment on VRBO here.
Day 3: Perugia
The best way to see Italy means moving out of the major cities and tourist hot spots. Head to Perugia!
The drive from Rome to Perguia, capital of the Umbria Region, takes about two hours so it’s another day to rise early, since you’ll have just one day to explore here.
Perugia is built on a hilltop and is surrounded by valleys and mountains which makes it a scenic place to visit. In fact, it’s well known for its atmosphere and impressive monuments from the Middle Ages and Renaissance.
It’s also recognized for its gorgeous churches, historic buildings, fantastic museums, and great local restaurants. The surrounding countryside is bursting with great scenery and magnificent national parks…making it the perfect mix of historic and natural attractions.
Since you have just one day in Perugia, spend a morning wandering the city itself and then heading to Lake Trasimeno, one of the nearby national parks.
Spend your morning visiting Arco Etrusco (Etruscan Arch), the Piazza IV Novembre (main square), the Palazzo dei Priori (town hall and art museum), the Basilica di San Pietro and the Rocca Paolina fortress.
Then enjoy a leisurly lunch at Ristorante La Rosetta, situated in the middle of an atmospheric little square, the perfect spot for a feast. Order the ravioli…the homemade sauce is delightful.
After lunch, visit Lake Trasimeno, a fantastic national park just an hour away from Perugia. Try to arrive by 2 pm to ensure a relaxing half day at the lake. The mountains here are especially picturesque.
Tip: See the medieval village on the island in the middle of the lake.
With an extra day in your 10 day Italy itineary, considering spending it in this region at Giardini Carducci, Monte Tezio or Giardini Carducci, the other national parks nearby.
Where to stay in Perugia
Stay in a castle.
Castello Di Monterone is a 13th century castle high on a hill with a panoroamic terrace and fabulous on-site restaurant.
Check price and availability at Castello Di Monterone on booking.com here.
Day 4: Assisi
It’s just a 30 minute drive to Assisi from Perugiaso this makes a great day trip from Perugia. Assisi is a hill town that’s been visited by pilgrims since the 13th century. After all, St. Francis was born and buried in Assisi. But again, you don’t have to be religious to enjoy this charming town.
Assisi is one of the best places to visit in Italy because it is located in between the hills of Umbria and the forests of Monte Subasio. It’s one of the very most incredible medieval towns in Italy!
Assisi houses a lot of UNESCO World Heritage sites actually; in fact, the whole of Assisi is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The highlight: Basilica di San Francesco. This basilica has a huge collection of frescoes and paintings that outclass many museums.
With it’s narrow cobblestone streets opening into wide, beautiful squares, Assisi is a charming city that will surprise and delight at every turn.
In essence, it is an old pilgrimage site frequented by travelers who want to see Italy beyond Venice, Rome, and Florence. If you want to see a village as if you were walking in the Middle Ages, this is the place to explore.
Tip: Osteria Piazzetta dell’Erba is a gem that you don’t want to miss to sample traditional Umbrian dishes with their intense flavors. Try the agnello with friggitelli, amatriciana 2.0 and cacio e pepe. The gourmet pizza here will leave you breathless.
Where to Stay in Assisi
Stay at Assisium Agriturismo.
“Agriturismos” are Italy’s farm stay programs for tourists across the country. You stay in a lovely villa with breakfast and support locals while doing it.
Assisium Agriturismo is everybody’s favorite farm stay in Assisi. With easy to find, ample parking, and fabulous views, you may never want to leave.
Check price and availability at Assisium Agriturismo on booking.com here.
Day 5: Siena
It’s time to experience Tuscany! Florence and the Tuscany region are perhaps the most beautiful places you will visit on this Italy itinerary.
Begin in Siena. It makes a natural next stop since it’s located between Perugia and Florence. Spend the night here before heading to Florence.
Siena is the perfect place to get a good impression of what the Middle Ages were like. The most unique spot here is the medieval square Piazza del Campo, one of the most celebrated medieval squares in all of Europe.
Once a marketplace in the 13th century, it’s been home to a bi-annual horse race since the 16th century…a race which is still a phenomenal spectacle today, held on July 2 and August 16. All of Siena markes these occasions with huge parades and other celebrations.
The incredible Duomo di Siena, Siena’s beautiful Gothic cathedral is located in a piazza just above the Piazza del Campo and must not be missed. The cathedral, which was originally designed in the 13th century was then added onto with plans for a major expansion in the 14th century but later abandoned.
It combines French Gothic, Tuscan Romanesque, and Classical architecture in a truly awe-inspiring testament to God. While busts of religious men line the walls, the floor is covered with 56 unique panels depicting stories and historical events.
Tip: Eat at Osteria Il Grattacielo in Siena, another locals’ favorite. It’s been serving up Tuscan traditional food since 1840!
Where to stay in Siena
Stay in Penthouse San Francesco in the city center.
Just steps from the historic center of Siena, this rooftop penthouse is a steal. Two expansive terraces invite you to sip a glass of wine with sunset views over the city.
Check price and availability at Penthouse San Francesco on VRBO here.
Day 6: Florence
After breakfast, you are ready to discover the jewel of Tuscany: Florence, or Firenze in Italian. In medieval times, Florence was Italy’s center of trade and finance. Plus, it’s recognized as the birthplace of the Renaissance…even called the “Athens of the Middle Ages.”
Once ruled by the powerful Medici family, Florence today welcomes tourists worldwide for its architecture, painting, and sculpture. In one day you can get a good impression of Florence. If you want to get to know the city well, you need two to three days in Florence.
Highlights of your time here include visiting the historic center, seeing Duomo Santa Maria del Fiore, visiting the Opera del Duomo, Basilica of Santa Croce, the famous Ponte Vecchio bridge, and taking in a sunset at Piazzale Michelangelo.
A cooking class is always a great idea in Florence, too.
Where to stay in Florence
Option 1: Stay steps from the Duomo.
Palazzo Vecchietti is a 16th century boutique hotel in the heart of Florence. Hotel suites here are spacious and beautiful. The rooftop garden is a great place for sunset cocktails as you listen to the bells chime across the city.
Check price and availability at Palazzo Vecchietti on booking.com here.
Option 2: Stay in a third floor tower house city center.
Enjoy four elegant rooms in your private Florence apartment in the heart of medieval Florence. Your romantic terrace overlooks the Duomo.
Check price and availability at the Tower House on VRBO here.
Day 7: Lucca and Pisa
Since Lucca is just one hour from Florence, plan a morning in this welcoming little city and then head to nearby Pisa for the afternoon.
Lucca is an old city with a beautiful historic center. Begin your morning here by tasting traditional pasteries at Pasticceria Taddeucci Then stroll through the beautiful squares and streets in this walkable little town.
Enjoy lunch (pizzas are memorable here) at Trattoria L’Angolo Tondo and then make your way to Pisa. It’s just a 30 minute drive away.
In Pisa, you can see the world-famous leaning Tower of Pisa, the huge cathedral, and the Baptistery. It’s so satisfying to see these famous monuments with your very own eyes.
The beautiful bell tower known as the Leaning Tower of Pisa has been increasing its lean since its construction in the 12th century! The soft ground unfortunately could not support its weight.
However, thanks to some remedial work in the late 20th century to reduce its lean, it’s still standing all these years later. The tower is located in one of the most beautiful squares in Italy. Plus—believe it or not—you can climb the leaning tower for a spectacular view of the city.
The Duomo of Santa Maria dell’Assunta is a perfect example of Roman-Pisan Gothic architecture and is completely made of white marble. It’s designed in the shape of a Latin cross with an interior constructed of black, white, and gray marble.
Once you have seen these impressive monuments, walk into the city of Pisa itself to explore further. Drive back to Florence to spend a second night and enjoy the city there in the evening.
Day 7 Alternative: Cinque Terre
If you’d rather see a bit of The Med while in Italy, spend Day 7 in Cinque Terre instead of Pisa and Lucca.
The Cinque Terre or “five towns” are a series of beautiful fishing villages nestled together on the northern Italian Riviera in Liguria. These villages, recognized as UNESCO World Heritage sites, include: Monteroso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore.
It’s a 2.5 hour train ride from Florence to Cinque Terre via La Spezia so it can be done as a day trip but you may also want to overnight here to have more time to spend in these beautiful villages. No cars are allowed in the Cinque Terre so definitely take the train.
Vernazza is the crown jewel of the villages with its gorgeous harbor, colorful beach umbrellas, and pastel washed buildings. Riomaggiore is also worth seeing.
Make a reservation at Trattoria dal Billy, specializing in the freshest of fish reeled in just outside the restaurant. Try the fish appetizers! The sunset views here from this restaurant at the edge of The Med are unforgettable.
With a full day in the Cinque Terre, be sure to stroll this beautiful coast. The Blue Trail is 11 km (.62 miles) that connects Riomaggiore to Monetrosso al Mare.
Some parts are easy to walk and other sections are steeper. Plan for about 5 hours to hike the whole thing…and more if you’d like to stop in each town along the way.
Day 8 and 9: Lake Como
It’s time to say Arrivederci to Florence to make the four hour drive north to beautiful Lake Como before your flight home from nearby Milan.
This is a great spot for a vacation from your vacation. Nearby Lake Maggiore makes another great alternative. (Visiting the Borromean Islands in the middle of the lake is a great thing to do in Stresa.)
There are many magnificent viewpoints to admire as you drive around this scenic lake. One advantage to spending time here is that it isn’t a mass tourism destination in the same way that Venice, Rome, and Florence are.
Because all villages are built up against the hills, there is no room for large resorts. Lake Como is still home to quaint bed and breakfasts and family-run restaurants, allowing you to experience Italy the way that it should be.
A road trip around Lake Como (170km) will take you about four hours…but plan to spend the whole day for plenty of stops and views at a leisurely place. The city of Como is one of the best places to go.
Spend your second day out on the water, either by ferry or by hiring a boat (approximately +/- €60 per hour including gas) dipping into some of the cute towns that frame the lake. Bellagio, for example, is a glamorous and romantic village jutting out onto a peninsula worth a few hours of your time.
Visit the Basilica of San Giacomo and the Gardens at Villa Melzi. Then head to the opposite side of the peninsula to explore the cute fishing village of Pescallo.
Tip: Antica Trattoria in Mezzegra makes the perfect finale for your final night in Italy. Enjoy a stunning and romantic four course meal that features the best of local Northern Italian Mediterranean cuisine.
If you find yourself in Como, stop in for stunning salads at La Vita e Bella.
Where to stay in Lake Como
Option 1: Stay at Hotel Florence in Bellagio
Just a 3 minute walk to the ferry port, Hotel Florence includes a sauna, hot tub, and a lovely on-site restaurant. It also includes a free daily breakfast.
Check price and availability at Hotel Florence on booking.com here.
Option 2: Stay in your own private vacation rental with stunning views.
What could be better than dinner on your own private terrace in a home overlooking Lake Como framed by the snow-capped mountains?
Check price and availability at private Bellagio home here.
Day 10: Return Flight via Milan
One of the best reasons to finish your 10 days in Italy at beautiful Lake Como is that it has the side benefit of being close to Milan.
From Lake Como, you can drive to Milan airport in about one hour. With more time, spend a day or an afternoon in Milan.
The Milan Cathedral—which took over 600 years to complete—is an incredible example of Italian Gothic architecture. It’s located in the very heart of the city for easy access.
Looking for designer gifts to take home? Swing into Grand Galleria Vittorio-Emanuelle II, one of the oldest—and upscale—malls in the world. With its glass paneled rooftop and ornate paneling, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped into an opera house.
Your 10 Day Italian Itinerary Is a Wrap
Hopefully, by now, you’ve experienced just enough of this magical country to ignite a lifelong Italian wanderlust. There is so much more to explore!
From Tuscany’s rolling hills and Rome’s bucket list sights to medieval Umbrian villages and the tranquil Lakes region in the north, Italy is a never ending exploration of beauty and delight.
Italy Travel Planning FAQ
- What is the best way to see Italy in 10 days?
Spend two days in Rome, two days in Umbria (Perugia and Assisi), three days in Tuscany (Florence, Siena, Lucca & Pisa or Cinque Terre) and two days at Lake Como before flying home out of Milan.
- How many days are enough in Italy?
To get an overview of the country, spend at least 10 days. With just a few days, choose two or three highlights. First-time visitors tends to head to Rome, Venice, and Tuscany.
- What is the best month to go to Italy?
Traveling to Italy in spring (April to June) and fall (mid-September to October) offer the best weather while still skirting the summer crowds.
This is a guest post. Cynthia and Alexander are adventure travel bloggers at Travel Your Memories. They travel the world and share all the tips to inspire and help you plan your trips.
Like this post? Pin it for later!