Italy 1-Week Itinerary: Venice, Florence, Siena, Rome

by Jessica on July 19, 2011

by | July 19th, 2011  

Here’s one popular option for a one-week itinerary in Italy – the “holy trinity” of Venice, Florence, and Rome plus one overnight in Siena (rather than a Siena day-trip from Florence).

Itinerary Assumptions

There are a couple things that need to happen in order for you to make this itinerary work.

  1. 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.
  2. 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 with a particular affinity toward Tuscany, as it includes Florence, Pisa, and Siena. It can also be good for off-season visits when the weather may not be ideal, since there aren’t any beach locations included. This route hits lots of art- and museum-related places, so it’s appealing to people who want to see many of Italy’s world-famous museums and artworks.

Flights

You’ll fly into Venice (VCE) and out of Rome (FCO).

Quick search for flights to Venice:

Transportation


This itinerary is easy to do on public transportation (train and bus). If you want to tweak this itinerary slightly you could stay an extra day in Florence and skip Siena, using your extra day to rent a car and explore the back roads of Tuscany.

1-Week Italy Itinerary

Venice

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. On day two, you can continue exploring the islands, or take a half-day trip – the other islands in the lagoon (Murano, Burano, and Torcello) can be visited easily by vaporetto, or you can take the train to nearby Verona for the morning. You’ll take an evening train from Venice to Florence to get a head-start on the Renaissance capital. (If you’ve been lucky to get into Venice on Saturday morning rather than Sunday morning, you’ve got a bit more time to explore – which means you could include both the lagoon islands and Verona, or just enjoy more laid-back strolling through Venice itself.)

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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.

Florence

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. On your second day in Florence, you can visit more of the city’s great museums and churches, and if you need that quintessential leaning tower photo you can take a half-day-trip to Pisa in the morning. Take an afternoon bus from Florence to Siena. Choose a hotel right in the city center – you aren’t in town for very long, and you’ll miss out on the most charming aspects of Siena if you’re not in the historic part.

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Siena

1 hotel night
Quick search for hotels in Siena:

Siena empties out dramatically as day-trippers leave, so although you can do it as a day-trip from Florence it’s often more magical if you spend the night (as you did last night), so you’re apt to see a quieter and even more charming city the evening you arrive. Try to squeeze in a passeggiata in the Campo, preferably with a gelato in hand. The next morning, visit Siena’s main attractions (especially the Duomo) and just enjoy wandering through the gorgeous alleyways. You can take an afternoon train from Siena to Rome (about 3-3.5 hours, with one change) or take a SENA/Eurolines bus (about 3.5 hours, departing every other hour). Settle into your Rome hotel and, if you’re nearby, go take a walk to find one of the major outdoor monuments all lit up.

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Rome

3 hotel nights
Quick search for hotels in Rome:

Your two days in Rome should include a half-day spent in Vatican City and a nearly-full day spent exploring the Ancient Rome sights (Forum, Colosseum, Pantheon, etc.). There are countless other things you could do to fill your remaining time in Rome, including several world-class museums or simply wandering through the pretty Trastevere or Monti neighborhoods. 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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photo by dsearls


{ 10 comments }

Amy L. January 13, 2012 at 2:08 pm
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This may be a silly question. If it is, please excuse my ignorance since my upcoming trip to Italy will be my first trip out of the US (except for the Bahamas but that doesn’t count). What do you do with your luggage in between the time that you check out of the hotel and the time you catch the evening train from Venice to Florence as suggested above. I can’t imagine that it would be enjoyable to lug your luggage around the city even if it is just an overfilled backpack.

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Jessica January 17, 2012 at 6:37 pm
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There aren’t silly questions. Life & travel are about learning. :)

Usually you can leave your luggage with your hotel until you leave the city. Double check with them to make sure that they have a secure room (or a place at reception, if it’s always staffed) where you can leave your bags until you come collect them for your onward journey. The vast majority of hotels will allow baggage storage, sometimes limiting it to 24 hours. If you run into a rare hotel that doesn’t allow this, then you can check to see if the train station has a left luggage office where you can store your bags (for a fee) for the day before your evening train:
http://www.italylogue.com/planning-a-trip/luggage-storage-in-italy-train-stations.html

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Donna Curtis January 28, 2012 at 9:14 am
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Hi

Can anyone help with our trip to Italy. There are 10 girls going and we are staying in a villa in lucca.
Need help with an agenda . Want to go to Florence, Venice 1 nite and Rome 2 nights. Those are the main place, plus other day trips in the Tuscany area . Any input would be great

Thanks
Donna

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Jessica January 31, 2012 at 2:27 pm
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You didn’t say how long you’re planning to be in Italy, but since you’re commenting on the one-week itinerary I’m assuming it’s about a week? I’d suggest you read my tips on planning the perfect itinerary:
http://www.italylogue.com/planning-a-trip/how-to-create-the-perfect-italy-itinerary.html

Basing yourself in one spot – Lucca – and taking day trips is a great way to go, just make sure to look up transportation times between cities so you know how much of your day trip will be spent on the train.

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Regina February 23, 2012 at 7:44 am
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Hi Jessica,
First I want to tell you how wonderful and helpful I am finding your website. Not only does it have tons of useful and practical information, but it is easy to navigate, even for those of us who are not website wizards.
Now to my question. We are planing a trip to Italy which will start from Venice just before Easter. We will then start our travels leaving Venice on the evening of Thursday before Good Friday. I know it’s a tricky time, but we are visiting our daughter who is living in Trieste for the year and that’s when she has time off.
We will have 10 days, and would like to start off following your Venice- Florence- Cinque Terre and Rome, with couple of other places (yet to be decided) since we will have more time to spend before we go back to Venice for our flight home.
So given this scenario, where would you suggest we spend Easter weekend? Will Florence be too crowded to enjoy the festivities and see the sights? Will we be better off starting in Cinque Terre? Maybe a small town in Tuscany? We are trying to figure out how to lay this out so that we can make the best during our time in Florence (can we do this on Easter weekend or should we go there after Easter?). If Venice is not a good choice for Easter weekend, then where do you think we might go that would be more manageable, yet not be totally shut down for the Holiday?
We would appreciate any suggestions that you might have for us.
Thank you so much in advance,
Regina

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Jessica March 6, 2012 at 5:42 pm
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With 10 days, I think you would have a more relaxing vacation if you stuck to the Venice-Florence-Cinque Terre-Rome itinerary and just spent a bit more time in a couple of those cities (giving you time for a day trip if you want). As for Easter, Florence does a huge celebration, which could be fun – if a bit chaotic.

http://www.italylogue.com/planning-a-trip/easter-in-italy.html

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Kaira March 12, 2012 at 10:53 am
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Hi!
Thanks for sharing your experience and all this great information. Me and my husband are planning our honeymoon to Italy and it is our first time. It’s so overwhelming and confusing since we only have a week and there seems to be so much to see. Rome and Venice are definitely on our list. A friend recommended Capri over Florence? But Capri looks like a small town? What’s your suggestion for the must-see cities on our trip? Thanks in advance!

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Jessica March 13, 2012 at 9:11 am
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You can’t really compare Florence & Capri – they’re completely different kinds of destinations. Capri is, in fact, an island off the coast near Naples/Amalfi Coast – so if your trip is only a week and you’re already planning to visit Venice and Rome, I’d say trying to squeeze in the Amalfi Coast would be too much time spent in transit. I’d stick to places between Venice and Rome for this trip, to avoid spending too much of your trip in a train. Here are all the one-week itinerary options I’ve written about on this site: http://www.italylogue.com/planning-a-trip/1-week-italy-itinerary-options-planning-tips.html

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braden August 28, 2012 at 10:10 am
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What about. Lake como? Is it worth the travel?

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aisha November 16, 2012 at 11:35 am
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hi
thanks in advance, my husband and i are planning a family trip to venice with our children, and my sister and her family. what would you recommend.

aisha

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