There are a couple things that need to happen in order for you to make this itinerary work.
- It’s a work week’s worth of vacation time – five business days – but this itinerary is actually more like eight or nine days long. The assumption is that you’ll leave home on a Friday night or a Saturday, and not return home until the Sunday of the following week.
- You won’t be able to do all of this if you fly in and out of the same Italian city. A short itinerary means that if you’re trying to cover a lot of ground you need to make sure you’re not wasting your time back-tracking to get to an airport. For this trip, you’ll fly open-jaw – into one city and out of another.
Who Might Like This Trip
This Italy itinerary is a good option for first time visitors who want to see the major cities – Venice, Florence, and Rome – and can’t get enough of Ancient Rome. This itinerary incorporates a visit to Pompeii, one of Italy’s most-visited attractions, and there’s also a potential visit to another less-visited excavation site of an Ancient Roman city that’s quite close to Rome. The bonus is that site is also right next to the beach, so you can dip your toes in the water before you fly home.
You’ll fly into Venice (VCE) and out of Rome (FCO).
Quick search for flights to Venice:
You can do this whole trip using the Italian trains to get around, so you don’t need to rent a car.
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1-Week Italy Itinerary
1-2 hotel nights*
Quick search for hotels in Venice:
You’ll arrive at Venice Marco Polo Airport, likely in the morning. Get to your hotel, get situated, and go out to explore the city on foot. Visit St. Mark’s Basilica, the Doge’s Palace, and any other churches or museums on your must-see list, but otherwise just enjoy wandering through the islands. If you’ve arrived in Venice on a Saturday morning, you’ll have enough time in the city that you could do a half-day trip to explore the islands of the lagoon (Murano, Burano, and Torcello); if you’ve arrived on a Sunday morning, you may want to concentrate on just the islands of central Venice. You’ll take an evening train from Venice to Florence to get a head-start on the Renaissance capital.
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* If you’re able to take an overnight flight to Venice from home on Friday night, you’ll spend Saturday and Sunday nights in Venice. If you leave home on a Saturday morning, you’ll spend only Sunday night in Venice.
2 hotel nights
Quick search for hotels in Florence:
You’ll spend your first full day in Florence ticking off as many of the big sights as you can (on short trips it’s an even better idea to book museum visits ahead whenever possible), including the Uffizi, Accademia, Duomo and Bargello. Walk or take the bus up to the Piazzale Michelangelo in the early evening to see the sun set over the city. The next day, you can continue exploring Florence (there’s plenty to see!) or you can get up early and squeeze in a half-day visit to Pisa to get the quintessential photo everyone seems to require from Italy. You’ll then get on an early afternoon train for Rome, which takes less than two hours when you spring for the fast train.
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4 hotel nights
Quick search for hotels in Rome:
Once you get settled into your hotel in Rome, you’ll have a bit of time that evening to wander around and – depending on where your hotel is located – get a look at some of the city’s famous monuments all lit up during your before- or after-dinner stroll. Your first full day in Rome is a busy one, with Ancient Rome sights to see (Forum, Colosseum, Pantheon, etc.) and – if you can manage it – a visit to Vatican City (on a quick trip like this, it’s even easier to do this if you book a tour of the Vatican Museums in advance so you can skip the long wait in line). You’re cramming quite a bit into this day in anticipation of a couple day trips, so if you’re opting out of day trips you can spread it out a bit more. The next day is your Pompeii day trip, which – from Rome – is a long day. You can do it yourself, but it’s also possible to book a day tour from Rome to Pompeii to take logistical hassles out of the equation. On your final day, you can take another day trip to Ostia Antica and Ostia Lido, thereby getting yet another Roman ruin and a little beach time in before you leave, or you can stay in Rome and explore the city further. Enjoy a final gelato and a peek at some of the famous monuments before you go to bed on your second full day in Rome, and on your flight home the following day you can begin plotting your return trip.
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- Cheap Hotels in Rome
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photo by Averain