Italy is a country that’s easy to fall quickly in love with, and whether you love history, culture, food or beautiful scenery, there’s plenty for everyone to enjoy in this southern European country.
There’s a lot to see and a lot to do, and deciding on your 10 day Italy itinerary can be a challenge, and you won’t have time to experience everything that the country has to offer.
We’ve put together this great Italy itinerary that will take you through the highlights, but will still leave you wanting to return to see more. Even better, this is the exact itinerary from my first trip to Italy!
Our itinerary will let you experience some of the best highlights, taking you from the beautiful canals of Venice in the north to the Renaissance center of Florence, then onto the charming Umbrian town of Assisi, before traveling to the ancient capital Rome, south to Naples and finally, to the buried ruins of Pompeii.
Don’t leave home without: Lonely Planet Italy (Travel Guide)
10 Day Italy Itinerary
Venice – 2 Days
Your 10 days in Italy itinerary begins in Venice, one of the country’s most popular destinations and a city not to be missed. Venice is the city of canals, a place where there are no roads and the only way to navigate is on foot or by boat.
Venice has great connections to the rest of Italy, Europe and further afield, making this an excellent city to begin your trip, if you are flying into the country.
The narrow streets and canals can get busy, particularly in the peak summer season, but you’ll quickly understand why Venice has long drawn visitors from around the world.
Explore the Venetian history by visiting the grand Doge Palace, once one of the most important palaces in Europe, when the city was the maritime power in the Mediterranean.
Visit the Piazza di San Marco, where you can look out over the city from the tall, medieval era tower, before enjoying a gondola ride through the canals.
In the Venice Lagoon, you can escape the city by taking the ferry to the islands, or you can enjoy some relaxing time on the beach at Venice Lido.
Our top recommended tours in Venice:
- Venice Food Tour: Cicchetti and Wine
- Legendary Venice St. Mark’s Basilica and Doge’s Palace
- Venice Sightseeing Walking Tour with a Local Guide
- Venice Canal Cruise: 2-Hour Grand Canal and Secret Canals Small Group Tour by Boat
Florence – 2 Days
From Venice, it’s time to visit Florence, a city that’s world famous for its supreme Renaissance-era architecture and artwork. It’s a three-hour drive, or you can make use of the excellent high-speed rail network during your 10 day trip to Italy itinerary, and travel to Florence in comfort in just two hours.
Florence is home to the iconic Duomo, a cathedral which dominates the skyline and which offers excellent views over the city when you first arrive. Florence is the perfect city for history and culture lovers, as the many wonderful galleries and museums display some of the most famous works of art in Europe.
This was the birthplace of the Renaissance movement during the medieval era, and a visit to the Galleria dell’Accademia will bring you face to face with Michelangelo’s David, one of the most famous sculptures in the world.
There are beautiful piazzas to explore, you can learn about the powerful Medici family that left a lasting legacy in the city, and you can enjoy some great food and wine during your stay here.
Our top recommended tours in Florence:
- Small-Group Florence Food Walking Tour
- Small Group Florence City Stroll with Skip the Line David and Accademia
- Florence Electric Bike Tour with Farm and Wine Bar Visit
- Best of Florence: Walking Tour with Skip-the-Line to David and Uffizi Gallery
Tuscany – 2 Days
Florence is found in the heart of Tuscany, one of the most beautiful areas in Italy, and from the city, our itinerary will take you into the countryside to become acquainted with rural scenes, medieval villages and plenty of wineries.
For this part of our 10 day Italy itinerary, you can choose to use Florence as your base to explore the rest of Tuscany, by renting classic Vespa scooters and cruising through the hills, or you can spend the night in gorgeous Tuscan villas, surrounded by unbeatable nature and delicious, local cuisine.
If you’re wanting to spend extra days in other parts of Italy but still want to see the best of Tuscany, consider this full day trip from Florence.
Highlights include the Chianti Region, an area known for its high-quality wine production. You can visit the nearby city of Siena, another Renaissance hotbed that’s equally famous for its annual horse race, which takes place on the medieval streets.
Pisa and the iconic leaning tower is just a one hour drive away from Florence, while the small, medieval village of San Gimignano, where you can enjoy the beauty of the countryside alongside an array of history, is just a short journey away as well.
Tuscany is one of the best places to get a taste for the country, and it takes prime position in our 10 day Italy itinerary, and really can’t be missed.
Our top recommended tours of Tuscany:
- Small-Group Wine Tasting Experience in the Tuscan Countryside
- Cooking Class and Lunch at a Tuscan Farmhouse with Local Market Tour
- Taste of Chianti: Tuscan Cheese, Wine and Lunch
Assisi – 1 Day
The next stop takes you two hours further south to the small town of Assisi, a destination often overlooked by travelers but makes a fantastic stop between Florence and Rome. Assisi is perhaps best known for being the home of St Francis of Assisi, one of the most revered saints in Italian history.
The most dramatic sight in town is the enormous basilica that’s dedicated to the saint, and it’s an important place of pilgrimage for many Christians. There’s a lot more to Assisi than this though, and for starters, you’ll be mesmerized by the charming setting and the abundance of culture that’s found here.
As well as the Christian history, you can explore the Roman, Pagan history at the ancient Temple of Minerva, which is several thousand years old and is still a place of religious importance – albeit now a Christian one.
You’ll also find plenty of medieval history, with several different castles to explore and plenty of winding, narrow streets in the older parts of the town. It’s a beautiful place that makes for a welcome change of pace to the large cities you’ll have been visiting at the start of your Italy itinerary.
Our top recommended tours in Assisi:
- Small Group Tour of Assisi
- Assisi Private Walking Tour
- Umbrian Regional and Traditional Cooking Class with Lunch in Assisi
Rome – 3 Days
From Assisi, it’s time to travel to the big city though, and next on your 10 day Italy itinerary will be the ancient capital of Rome. For anyone visiting Italy, the city can’t be ignored, particularly if it’s your first time in the country, and you’ll need several days here to truly begin to appreciate Rome.
Within the city, you can find 3,000 years of continuous history, where the ancient world collides with the modern. Few cities in the world have such a wealth of ruins and historic sites within their boundaries, but in Rome, you can see layer upon layer of architecture just walking down the road.
Visit the iconic Coliseum, where gladiator games were held by the Romans, before visiting the equally astounding ruins of the Roman Forum, where you can find the ancient heart of the city in all its crumbling glory.
It’s not just about the Roman era, however, as in Rome you can see the elegant Trevi Fountain, you can walk up the busy Spanish Steps and you can visit the round tower of the Castel Sant’Angelo.
Within the city, you can also find one of the world’s smallest countries, and you can cross the border to tour through the Vatican, to marvel at the Sistine Chapel, the basilicas and to see the grand square where the Pope gives speeches.
Our top recommended tours in Rome:
- Faster Than Skip-the-Line: Vatican, Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s Basilica Tour
- Skip the Line: Ancient Rome and Colosseum Half-Day Walking Tour
- Colosseum Underground with Arena Floor Access & Roman Forum Guided Tour
- Rome Super Saver: Colosseum & Forum Rome with Best of Rome Afternoon Walking Tour
Naples – Day Trip from Rome
From Rome, it’s time to catch the fast train for the 70-minute ride south to Naples, one of the oldest cities in Europe but one of the most underrated in Italy. While the city used to have a reputation for danger, today the historical center of Naples, with its UNESCO listed attractions, is re-emerging onto many a traveler’s Italy itinerary.
Located on the coast, the local harbor is a great feature of the city, while the iconic Castel Nuovo is always worth calling into. You can visit churches, basilicas, cathedrals and all without the huge crowds of Rome or any of the northern Italian cities.
Naples is home to some great authentic Italian cuisine, and you can dine in fresh seafood, enjoy gourmet pasta and try some of the best pizza in Italy. Naples is a real foodie heaven and one of the best places on our Italy itinerary to dine out all the time.
Our top recommended tours in Naples:
- Naples Street Food and Sightseeing Tour
- Naples City Walking Tour
- Naples Food Walking Tour
- Naples Walking and Sightseeing Tour with Local Guide
Pompeii – Day Trip from Rome
Naples, as well as being a historic destination in its own right, is also a great place from which to explore the ruins of the Roman city of Pompeii. In AD79, Mount Vesuvius, which overshadows the region, erupted, burying the affluent city of Pompeii in ash.
People were caught in the eruption and few had time to escape, meaning that the city was strangely preserved, and now offers a unique insight into daily Roman life. Traveling to Pompeii from Naples is easy, with plenty of tour buses and companies running guides tours to the ruins.
It’s just as easy to simply catch the local train, however, which departs every half hour from the central station in Naples and drops passengers just outside the entrance.
At Pompeii, you can explore one of the largest archaeological sites in the world, as the sprawling city has been excavated over the years to reveal some remarkable finds.
Here you can find grand Roman villas painted with elegant, artistic mosaics and frescoes, which are all incredibly well preserved, as well humble houses owned by the poor, who were trapped as Mount Vesuvius exploded above them. It’s one of the best Roman sites in Italy, and it’s not to be missed on your 10 day Italy itinerary.
Our top recommended tours of Pompeii:
- Skip-the-line Small-Group Pompeii Tour with Local Guide
- The Best of Pompeii Small-group Tour-Unveiling The Buried City
- Pompeii Full-day Tour Including all Highlights and Newly Opened Houses
- Pompeii Small Group tour with an Archaeologist
Recommended Multi-Day Tours
- G Adventures Local Living Italy Tuscany- If you’ve ever wanted to forge a deeper bond with a destination, this is your chance. Centerd in San Gimignano, this Local Living adventure places you in the heart of central Tuscany. You’re free to explore the town, visit vineyards, discover medieval highlights, or embrace your inner artist wandering the Tuscan countryside. If you’re looking for a deeper dive into Italian cities, there’ll be day trips to visit Siena and Florence. You’ll share the main accommodation with like-minded travelers and a CEO there to point you in the right direction. Prepare to fall in love with Italy.
- G Adventures Wellness Italy– If serenity has a palpable form, surely it can be found under the Tuscan sun. This seven-day tour of Italy will have you second-guessing your departure date from the moment you land in Rome. After a morning yoga session and a leisurely day on the grounds of Palatine Hill and the Colosseum, your path will take you to lush landscapes of Tuscany. There, you’ll have ample time to saunter through welcoming villages, taste exceptional local food and wine, and cycle your way through the Tuscan hills. A dip in healing thermal waters will leave a rejuvenating warmth radiating through both body and mind long past your final stop in Florence.
- Best of Italy Summer (Start and end in Rome! With the in-depth cultural tour Best of Italy Summer, you have a 13 day tour package taking you through Rome, Italy and 12 other destinations in Italy. Best of Italy Summer includes meals and more.)
- Taste Of Italy (Start and end in Rome! With the discovery tour Taste Of Italy – 8 Days, you have a 8 day tour package taking you through Rome, Italy and 9 other destinations in Italy. Taste Of Italy – 8 Days includes accommodation as well as an expert guide, meals, transport and more.)
- The Italian Dream (Start and end in Rome! With the coach/bus tour The Italian Dream, you have a 8 day tour package taking you through Rome, Italy and 7 other destinations in Italy. The Italian Dream includes accommodation in a hotel as well as an expert guide, meals, transport and more.)
More on Italy:
- The Perfect Tuscany Road Trip Itinerary
- 15 Easy & Amazing Day Trips From Venice
- 3 Days in Rome: Things To Do in Rome
- 10 Best Day Trips from Rome Worth Taking
- Rome to Pompeii: The Best Way to Make it Happen
- 3 Days in Florence: What to do in Florence
- Best Day Trips from Florence: Our Top Recommendations
- 5 of the Best Places to Visit in Italy