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The Best Travel Itinerary for 10 Days in Italy
Planning a trip for 10 days in Italy is an amazing opportunity to experience the highlights and natural beauty of this incredible country. After visiting, many people decide to move to Italy or schedule more Italian vacations to delve deeper into the rich history and culture just waiting to be discovered.
The Best Ways to Travel in Italy
Getting there and back again will probably involve planes, trains, and automobiles. Depending on your budget, once you arrive in Italy, you can:
- Travel using the excellent Italian rail system, with train service to almost all of these destinations.
- Rent a car and drive yourself, for a leisurely experience and the opportunity to make spontaneous stops.
- Hire a private driver by the day to navigate traffic and help you reach your destinations without unplanned detours.
Of these choices, using the train is the least expensive option, a rental car is somewhere in the middle, and a private driver will be the most expensive but most flexible travel choice. You can mix and match these ways of travel to fit your personal budget and preferences for each full day of your trip.
Day 1: Arrive and Explore Rome
It is easy to fly into Rome and arrive early in the day. Spending your first day in Rome will be a fast-paced transition into Italian history and culture. Exploring the old center is a fantastic starting place. While there is more to Rome than you can see in a day, you will want to visit these highlights on day one:
- Trevi Fountain
- Spanish Steps
- Piazza Navona
- Sunset at Pincio
Places to Eat in Rome on Day One
Locals say you can’t go wrong with lunch at Antica Birreria Peroni for real Roman food, including a fish pizza made with the catch of the day. An excellent dinner option would be Spaghetteria L’Archetto, with a casual atmosphere and amazing authentic pastas made from fresh local produce.
Day 2: Visit Famous Destinations in Rome
On your second day in Rome, plan to arrive at your first destination at approximately 8:30 a.m. to avoid midday heat and crowds. Today, you will travel to these historic destinations:
- The Colosseum
- Roman Forum
- Roseto di Roma Capitale (The rose garden of Rome)
- Vatican City
- Vatican Museum
- The Sistine Chapel
- Peter’s Basilica
Places to Eat in Rome on Day Two
Have a light Italian breakfast at a coffee bar. Most Italians choose cappuccino and panini bread. Il Baretto is a local favorite that is close to the Colosseum. For lunch, plan on enjoying authentic ravioli di burrata or other fresh pasta at La Taverna dei Fori Imperiali.
For your evening meal, consider another local favorite, Cacio e Pepe. This pasta eatery features a famous spicy sauce, chicken cacciatore, and a much-loved chestnut meringue cake.
Day 3: Spend a Day in Florence
You can travel by an early train from Rome to Florence and still have most of the day to explore the birthplace of the Renaissance. This medieval city was once ruled by the Medici Family, and it is loved for its architecture, sculpture, and paintings. While in Florence, you should visit:
- Duomo Santa Maria del Fiore
- The Opera del Duomo
- Basilica of Santa Croce
- Ponte Vecchio Bridge
- Piazzale Michelangelo at sunset
Places to Eat in Florence on Day Three
Stop for lunch or snack at Cibreo, which also serves the same delicious coffee, lunch, and snacks at Hotel Helvetia & Bristol. For the evening meal, you may want to visit a modern pizza destination, the Pizzeria Giovanni Santarpia, which has won prestigious awards. Ask about the mozzarella carozza with anchovies, which locals rave about!
Day 4: Take a Day to Explore Tuscany
The rolling hills, lush vineyards, and picturesque rural towns of Tuscany deserve a day to themselves. If you have been using the train to this point, this is an area where you may want to rent a car or hire a driver. You can choose many rural cities as your destination, including:
- Montepulciano, for cobbled streets, ancient architecture, and quaint shops
- Montalcino, for wine tastings of the world-famous Brunello di Montalcino and local history
- Greve in Chianti, which is close to Florence and features artisan workshops and boutique shops
Where to Eat on Day Four in Tuscany
On this day of exploration in the Tuscan sun, you should eat where you find yourself and taste the authentic dishes of the region. You might find that the sausage, wine, and cheeses from the Antica Macelleria Falomi are all you need for lunch.
Most Tuscan towns have a town square, surrounded by local eateries and shops. Take a chance on a busy cafe or ask a local where to find the best foods of the region and local delicacies that tourists don’t usually try.
Day 5: Dive Deeper or Take a Day Trip
It is Day five of your ten-day Italy itinerary, and you have many options in the region. You could choose to:
- Spend a second day in Florence, exploring the Uffizi Gallery, Boboli Gardens, and the San Lorenzo Market.
- Visit more wineries and historic medieval towns in the Tuscan countryside.
- Take a day trip to the Amalfi Coast to enjoy stunning rocky beaches and cliffside villages.
Places to Eat on Day Five
If you spend a second day in Florence, you might be in the mood for a home-style meal at the Trattoria la Casalinga, where you can get lunch or dinner near the Church of Santo Spirito any day except Sunday. Locals enjoy the Mom-and-Pop atmosphere and wholesome foods made from grilled meat, fish, and local fresh produce.
If you head for the Amalfi Coast, be sure to stop at Pasticceria Pansa for famous Italian pastries. This pastry shop has been thriving since 1830 because of their delectable delizia di lemone and sfogliatelle, which was invented in the town of Conca dei Marini nearby.
Day 6 and 7: Savor the Cinque Terre
Taking a morning train from Florence on Day 6, you can be in Cinque Terre in a few hours. You will pass through Pisa and can stop there by train if you wish, but you will probably be in a hurry to reach the Cinque Terre or Five Towns.
No cars are allowed, so plan to travel by train. While you are in the Northern Italian Riviera, you will want to visit all five villages in these two days:
Where to Eat on Day Six and Seven
Along the way, make a reservation for the freshest seafood dining at Trattoria dal Billy and enjoy the sunset along the Mediterranean while you feast on fresh-caught fish. Each village will have small restaurants and cafes to explore. If you are hiking between the towns, you will surely be hungry for more local cuisine!
Day 8: Vacation at Lake Como
There is no doubt that seeing Italy in 10 days is a very busy schedule. Taking a day to travel north to Lake Como or Lake Maggiore will treat you to a beautiful scenic drive to quaint bed and breakfasts and family restaurants. Here you can relax and:
- Drive around the lake to shop and stop at scenic overlooks.
- Visit the city of Como or the romantic village of Bellagio for local shops and eateries.
- Tour the Basilica of San Giacomo and the Gardens at Villa Melzi.
- Take a ferry or hire a boat and spend the day on the beautiful waters.
Dining on Day Eight at Lake Como
In the city of Como, enjoy an amazing lunch salad at La Vita e Bella. For a romantic and memorable four-course meal featuring authentic Northern Italian Mediterranean flavors, try the Antica Trattoria in Mezzegra.
Day 9 and 10: Two Days in Beautiful Venice
Travel by train to Venice on day nine, with a transfer in Milan or Florence. Most Italy vacations include some time in the floating city, to wrap up with its historic and world renowned beauty. Depending on your flight time home on day ten, you can fit in these final gems:
- Grand Canal Tour
- Bridge of Sighs
- Doge’s Palace
- Mark’s Basilica
- La Piazza
- Rialto Market
Where to Eat in Venice on Day Nine and Ten
In many areas of Italy, but especially on the square in Venice, you will be asked to pay an additional price to sit and eat, in addition to the cost of your meal. This is normal but often an unpleasant surprise to tourists.
One of the best ways to eat in Venice is to take a food tour, and there are many to choose from like the Cicchetti and wine tour. With any of these fun food tours, you will be led by a local guide and meet others on a Venice culinary adventure.
You Might Want to Stay in Italy Forever
No matter how amazing your trip to Italy turns out to be, you will have to leave when your travel visa expires. If you decide to stay longer, you can apply for Italian citizenship or residency. Many people qualify for dual Italian citizenship based on bloodline or by marriage. It is quite possible you could live in Italy full time if you choose to do so.
To learn more about applying for Italian citizenship based on ancestry, contact us at the Italian American Citizenship Assistance Program. We have helped many Americans reach their goal of full Italian citizenship, allowing them to live, work, study, or retire in Italy.