Photo credit: Pixabay
Italy is a country packed with history, culinary and cultural diversity. You could spend a lifetime exploring every corner of Italy.
Should you go to Italy if you only have one precious week? Caitlin Saberon, a Trippy user from Canada and her friend, were on their way to Germany for a conference and wondered if they should spend a week in Italy before attending a conference. She asked:
Italy in a week is it possible?!
A friend and I are planning a week-long trip in May for Italy. We want to go to Naples, Florence, Milan, Rome, Venice, Verona but we must go to Celico (way south) to visit my friend’s family. We obviously cannot go to all these cities but we Rome and Venice are on the definite list. Student budget so the cheapest possible.
Where is the best city to fly into? Which cities do we HAVE to see and how long do we need to stay there. We are very overwhelmed and need some guidance to start off.
Trippy user, Steve DeNunzio had a similar question too.
From the questions, we know that Steve, Caitlin, and her friend want to visit the classics – Rome and Florence. Sergio Nogueira from Lisbon wrote:
If you do not want to rush keep it simple, Rome and Florence, traveling by train between the two, and if you’re going to drive around Florence Tuscany is beautiful.
A week may not allow them to have an immersive travel experience, but they’ll get a taste of Italy if they follow this itinerary, compiled from the input given by Trippy’s seasoned travelers:
Fly into Leonardo da Vinci International Airport and begin a four-day three-night tour in Rome. It’s best to stay in a hotel close to the historical and cultural attractions, restaurants, bars, and shops. I suggest a hotel located on Via Veneto, Trastevere or Termini (near the central train station). Preferably, choose a place you’d like to take strolls in the evenings and hang out in cafes, restaurants or bars after a long day of sightseeing. I stayed in the Termini neighborhood but would choose Via Veneto for my next visit.
Recommended guided tours when in Rome:
1. Visit ancient Roman sites such as Roman Forum, Circus Maximus, Imperial Palace, Colosseum, and Pantheon.
2. Spend a day visiting St. Peter’s Square, St. Peter’s Basilica, Sistine Chapel and the Vatican Museums in Vatican City.
Paul Smyth from London shared his experience:
The first time I went to Italy I spent a week in Rome and I came away feeling that I’d only just scratched the surface. I went back last year for our 25th anniversary. It was my 10th visit to Rome, and I still discovered many parts of the city I’d never been to.
My point is that you could spend a great week getting to know Rome or you could gloss over it and sweep through a number of other places. It depends on your personal view.
As it’s your 20th anniversary, one thing you should definitely do is book dinner at La Pergola restaurant. It’s the only 3 star Michelin restaurant in Rome. It’s location at the top of a hill looking down on Rome, and Vatican City is magical at night. Make sure to book an outside table on the terrace. It’s a splurge, but it will be a memorable one.
In Rome, I highly recommend taking organized walking tours. You’ll get to see all the main sights, and you will get the full history of them. A big bonus is that groups get into places like the Colosseum without having to queue.
Gery de Pierpont from Brussels suggested:
My only advice would be not to overdo it. If you come to Italy, the best thing you can do is to indulge. Choose a few sites you really want to go and visit in Rome, and for the rest, just relax and savor the intense quality of life, the wonderful light, the fragrances of history, the refined food, the typical hustle and bustle of the city, the unique wines, and coffees. Wander around, take a few unusual pictures, start sketching, listen to local music, write a poem…
Since Caitlin and her friend had to get to Celico, which is about a six-hour drive south of Rome, they may have to stay just one night in Rome and spend two nights in Celico. Meanwhile, Steve and his wife have a choice of enjoying four days of sightseeing in Rome or reserving a day to take a day trip to Pompeii, Naples and or Capri.
Jaclyn Rutigliano Lervolino from New York said:
Naples is wonderful, but there’s a ton more to do in that region. Pompeii, Sorrento, Capri, etc. I would save this region for another visit.
Trippy user, Jose S. Almeida Jr from Illinois, said:
We spent nine days over Labor Day weekend and only left our Rome base for a day trip to Pompei…that being said, we could have easily spent all nine days just wandering the streets of Rome and still come away with the feeling that we only scraped what Rome has to offer. Its a city where the major attractions do not disappoint.
Pompeii is a UNESCO-listed site, an ancient city frozen in time since Mount Vesuvius’ eruption in 79 AD. Naples is a city where you’ll get authentic Italian pizza and Capri is an island in the Tyrrhenian Sea famous for its deep blue sea.
It takes only one hour 29 minutes on the Trenitalia’s high-speed Alta Velocita (AV) from Rome to Florence. According to Italia Rail, there are 68 high-speed trains per day departing from Roma Termini, train station to Florence’s Santa Maria Novella station. Trenitalia’s high-speed Alta Velocita first train leaves Termini at 6:20 am and the last leaves at 8:50 pm.
Roberta Lagana from Italy wrote:
I can recommend you the city of Florence which deserves a visit because is the “cradle of Renaissance,” with so many important masterpieces and the most known museums all over the world. I’m from the South of Italy, but I haven’t suggested you this area because for me is better to see this when you’ve more time, to enjoy the special air of relax, lemons and oranges, and the amazing beaches we have!
You’ll have four days and three nights in Florence. Make Florence the hub to visit neighboring towns in the region or stay for two nights in the historical center of Florence and another night in the hills around Florence. It makes sense to stay within the historical center to visit all the sights in a day and leave the other days for day trips to Pisa, Siena, and Lucca.
To be right in the heart of Florence, Visit Florence suggests staying between Piazza di San Marco to the north, Piazza Santa Croce to the east, Ponce, and Arno to the south and Piazza di Santa Maria Novella to the west. I stayed near the central train station, which was just a five-minute walk from the Duomo.
Trippy user Brenda Burns suggested:
I would go north to Florence and then rent a car and meander through the hilltowns: Montalcino, Montepulciano, Pienza, and Siena. Drink wine and soak up the local color.
If driving is not an option, you can do the following:
1. To visit Pisa take the 49-minute train from Santa Maria Novella train station to Pisa. There are 45 trains per day departing from Santa Maria Novella station to Pisa Centrale. The first train leaves at 12:40 am and the last at 11:07 pm. You can walk or take the bus from Pisa Centrale to the Leaning Tower of Pisa.
3. Take a traditional cooking class in in the historic city of Lucca. Extra Virgin Cooking Classes offers small classes that include shopping in the markets. 43 trains depart daily from Santa Maria Novella train station to Lucca. It takes one hour and 16 minutes and costs around $10 per person (one way).
Florence is the center of Renaissance Art and the place to see the masterworks of Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Botticelli and Giotto. I suggest visiting Piazza della Signoria, Duomo and Bell Tower, Uffiza Gallery, Galleria dell’Accademia, Piazzale Michelangelo, Ponte Vecchio and San Lorenzo Market.
Rebecca Morgan from Mobile said:
If you’re up for a for a food adventure, I would recommend grabbing some Tartufo (truffle) gelato.
I would also recommend seeking out The David located at Gallery of The Academy, Florence. To avoid the 2-6 hour wait, I recommend booking tickets online for a guided tour (translated into English via headphones). Many sites sell combined tickets with the Uffizi.
After three nights in Florence, take a train back to Rome Termini train station. Leonardo Express provides non-stop train service from Termini Station on Platforms 23 and 24 to Leonardo da Vinci Fiumicino airport. A train departs every 15 minutes during peak hours and every 30 minutes during off-peak hours.