With so many beautiful places to visit in Italy, you will no doubt want to plan a trip to Italy at some point. If you are a love of Italy like myself then my Rome, Florence and Venice itinerary below should be right up your alley. Touring Italy’s popular and beautiful cities, which are also among my favourites.
I love exploring Italy by train, the amazing part about it is that it is so much cheaper to explore by train than to do a similar itinerary of the UK and Ireland. Whether you are visiting Italy from the UK or USA you can certainly start this itinerary from Venice, or Florence(more like Pisa because of proximity to the airport) or Rome as this one does and then take to the cheap trains.
- 1 The Perfect Trip To Rome Florence And Venice Italy
- 2 What to see in Rome? What are the places of interest and places to visit?
- 3 What to see in Florence in 3 days?
- 4 How to finish the Italian itinerary if not in the beautiful Venice?
- 5 Style Of Travel And Options For Package Tours In Italy
The Perfect Trip To Rome Florence And Venice Italy
You can travel by flight between some of the cities but I find it pointless as you lose so much time having to arrive at the airport 1-2 hours before departure then the going though passport control or security is too much hassle when you can just check the trains or coach times and prices between the cities and jump on the best one quickly.
With this Italy itinerary of Rome, Florence, Venice partly because most people if coming from further afield, Rome is an easy international airport for most to start from. From there on I highly recommend using the train in Italy as its easy, cheap and one of the best ways to travel around Italy. If you are on a super tight budget their are options for coach services like Flixbus which are cheap and travel between many of the cities in Italy. With prices as little as 5 Euros, its an absolute steal!
Without further ado, my tips starting with Rome…
What to see in Rome? What are the places of interest and places to visit?
The Italy itinerary that starts with 3 days in Rome and 1 day in the historic and spectacular Pompeii. And then on to discover Florence and the beautiful Venice. Your eyes and your heart will be captivated by these amazing cities in Italy!
There is no tourist in the world who has not visited, or dreams of visiting, the Capital of Italy. Rome is a city rich in history, culture and archaeological remains unique in the world, for this reason it is a destination for visits by curious people from all over the world
Limiting the list of things to do in Rome to just 10 entries is almost unthinkable. The eternal city offers so much, besides the most famous attractions and monuments, that it seems almost an insult, but not always those who pass through the eternal city have too much time to see everything. It is therefore necessary to do a selection of must-see places in Rome.
A timeless classic, an inevitable stop on every visit to Rome that can be defined as such. It is said that when the Colosseum falls, the eternal city will also fall, taking the whole world with it. Its original name is Flavian Amphitheater and it was the scene of fierce battles between gladiators and beasts, but also a scenario for simulations of naval battles. The Colosseum is still today one of the symbols of Rome, recognized throughout the world.
Another symbol of Rome, it is presented to the public adorned with a majestic dome and the famous colonnade.
Legend has it that right here, when Romulus died, an eagle grabbed him and carried him up to the sky. As its name indicates (Pan = Tutti and Theon = divinity) the building is a monument dedicated to all the deities, built by the emperor Hadrian between 118 and 125 AD. From a pagan temple it was converted into a Christian basilica in 609, dedicated to Santa Maria ad Martyres. In 1870 it became a resting place for the sovereigns of Italy, including Vittorio Emanuele II, Umberto I and Margherita di Savoia. Buried at the Pantheon is also the great artist Raffaello Sanzio.
Altar of the Fatherland
Also known as the Vittoriano, it is a monument built to celebrate King Vittorio Emanuele II, the one who carried out the unification of Italy. During fascism’ years it was often the scene of the regime’s demonstrations: today it has become a symbol not only of national identity, but also of artistic and cultural identity.
This is where one of my favourite fountains in Italy is located. A place where you can relax sitting at a bar table, surrounded by baroque sculptures and architecture. Piazza Navona is one of the most popular squares for tourists and Roman citizens and is located where the ancient stadium of Domitian once stood. Here, in fact, thanks to the oval shape of the space, games and sporting events were organized until the nineteenth century.
At the square it is also possible to admire a work by Bernini, the Fountain of the Four Rivers, or the Ganges, the Danube, the Rio della Plata and the Nile. Each is represented by a giant positioned on a pyramidal rock on which there is also a Roman obelisk.
The Vatican Museums
In this place important and precious works of antiquity are preserved, from the Greek and Roman periods, such as the Lacoonte, the Apoxyomenos and the Apollo del Belvedere, but also examples of Egyptian and Etruscan art. The Vatican Museums are universally known as one of the richest and most splendid museum complexes in the world and also include a Pinacoteca, with works by Raphael, Caravaggio and Leonardo da Vinci.
One cannot fail to mention the famous Sistine Chapel, the result of Michelangelo’s genius, who welcomes over 20,000 visitors every day.
Also Read: Tips For Visiting The Vatican City
Saint Peter’s Basilica
In any image of the city skyline stands the dome of St. Peter’s Basilica, designed by Michelangelo, as well as its spectacular colonnaded portico of the square in front, made by Bernini instead.
The building represents not only one of the most wonderful and important examples of Italian architecture, but it is also one of the symbolic places of Christianity. The Basilica also houses masterpieces of rare beauty created by the most important artists of the Roman Renaissance and Baroque, such as the Pietà by Michelangelo, the Cattedra di S. Pietro and the Baldacchino by Bernini.
Piazza di Spagna
Another unmissable stop in the capital, Piazza di Spagna and the Trinità dei Monti stairway represent a unique background in the world for fashion shows and famous movie scenes. Among the celebrities who have crossed their lives with this place, we remember, for example, Giuseppe Balsamo known as Cagliostro.
Alchemist and esotericist, he stayed at one of the inns overlooking the square. It is said that he was arrested right on this square, but a more curious legend tells of the ghost of his wife, who apparently still roams in the area. It was she who denounced her husband to the Holy Office!
The Trevi Fountain
To find it, it is sufficient to be able to distinguish the rushing noise of the water among the noises of the city. After having travelled through a maze of narrow streets you reach the Trevi Fountain, which is just as you imagine it: sumptuous, crowded, representative of the Dolce Vita. Throw yourself a coin and make a wish!
One of the most instagrammable places in Rome, we suggest you go in the evening hours so as not to find too many people.
But Italian itinerary did not end here, discover the beautiful, historic Pompeii.
From Rome, it is possible to reach Pompeii in different ways: train, car, shuttle bus organized by city tours.
My advice is to choose the means of transport you prefer, although it is always a pleasure to participate in an organized tour. This way you don’t have to worry about navigating transportation and things to do. You explore the highlights and have someone else worry about how to get there, around and back.
What to see in Pompeii in one day
You can choose between two options:
- Devote an entire day to the Pompeii excavations.
- Make a regenerating stop for an aperitif after visiting the Villa of the Mysteries and the Sanctuary of the Virgin of the Rosary.
The Pompeii excavations, here are some things to see inside.
Just a few tips for you: to avoid the queue, buy the admission ticket online and remember to print it, wear comfortable shoes and bring with you sandwich, water, smartphone for photos, summer sunscreen and winter umbrella. There is so much to see and you have to walk.
The most important things to see in Pompeii are:
- The Forum and the Temple of Apollo
- The Amphitheater
- House of the Faun
- Teatro Grande
Some useful information:
When: from November 1st to March 31st: every day from 8:30 am to 5:00 pm, with last entry at 3:30 pm. From April 1st to October 31st: every day from 8:30 am to 7:30 pm, with last entry at 6:00 pm.
Closed: 1 January, 1 May, 25 December.
How much: € 13, reduced € 7.50. The ticket for access to the sites of Pompeii, Herculaneum, Oplonti, Stabia, Boscoreale (valid for 3 days) costs € 22 full, € 12 reduced. Free admission for EU citizens under 18 or over 65.
After having seen the beautiful Pompeii and having taken so many photos, you will be incredulous going to take the train to Florence.
From Rome to Florence, there are several train solutions that you can consider:
– the Freccia Rossa train
– the Regional Fast train
The Rome to Florence train costs around 35 euros for a Freccia Rossa ticket and 21 for a regional ticket. You can buy it from the TrenItalia site. Note that some of the fast trains from Rome to Florence may require advance booking but not always. Particularly the early morning ones. Again for the best way to travel from Rome to Florence, also check out Omio linked above which will give you options for trains, coaches and flights so you can go for the best option for your budget and schedule.
Also Read: Best Places To Stay In Rome
What to see in Florence in 3 days?
Day 1 in Florence
If you take the high-speed train from Rome to Florence in the morning you could be in Florence before the afternoon. The second city on the 10 day itinerary of Rome, Florence Venice. The itinerary begins in Piazza del Duomo, the heart of Florence. Here stands the magnificent Cathedral, or Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, with the famous dome by Brunelleschi, the Baptistery with the wonderful Porta del Paradiso by Ghiberti and the Campanile di Giotto, from which you can enjoy an incredible view of the city. For additional inspiration, I share a one day Florence itinerary on the blog.
If you have enough time, it is worthwhile to visit them all, otherwise, you could choose to see the inside of the Cathedral and the Dome, limiting yourself to see the other monuments from the outside.
Continue towards Via dei Calzaiuoli to reach the beautiful Piazza della Signoria, for centuries at the center of Florence’s political life. Here the imposing Palazzo Vecchio, the current seat of the town council and civic museum. To the right of Palazzo Vecchio you can admire the fascinating Loggia dei Lanzi, where some famous statues are placed, such as the Perseus by Benvenuto Cellini.
In Piazza della Signoria there is the Fontana del Nettuno dell’Ammannati and the equestrian monument of Cosimo I by Giambologna. Along the way, in Via Calzaiuoli, you will recognize the Church of Orsanimichele, with its particular architectural structure and the statues that adorn its facade, works by great artists such as Donatello, Ghiberti and Verrocchio.
A few steps from Palazzo Vecchio you will find the Uffizi Gallery, one of the most visited and known Italian museums, known for its vast collection of Renaissance works by artists such as Botticelli, Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and Raffaello, just to name a few of the most famous.
If you intend to visit the Uffizi, especially if you have little time, I definitely recommend booking museum admission tickets in advance, which will allow you to avoid wasting precious time in the long lines at the museum entrance. Consider spending at least 2 hours in the Uffizi Gallery, but even better, visit the museum on a guided tour to not miss the most important masterpieces.
The Ponte Vecchio is one of the symbols of Florence, halfway between the Uffizi Gallery and Palazzo Vecchio (joined by the wonderful Vasari Corridor that passes right above the heads of the tourists overlooking the bridge).
Also Read: Things To Do In Florence In Winter
Day 2 in Florence
The second day of Florence itinerary begins in Piazza Santa Maria Novella, recently renovated, overlooked by one of the most beautiful churches in Florence: the Church of Santa Maria Novella. The facade of the church is in white and green marble and was designed by Leon Battista Alberti, while the splendid Tornabuoni Chapel (not to be missed!) Was frescoed by Ghirlandaio.
In Piazza San Lorenzo, if you wish, you can make a brief visit to the Church of San Lorenzo or in the majestic Medici Chapels, where the members of the Medici family were buried and where you will find a beautiful marble statue of Michelangelo, placed in the New Sacristy.
The Academy Gallery is among the most loved and visited museums. Here the original marble statue of Michelangelo’s David was placed. A copy of the work is in front of Palazzo Vecchio, yet another in Piazzale Michelangelo but seeing the original is something else! If you want to come and visit the museum, I advise you to book the ticket in advance.
If you want to spend a day in Pisa, I recommend you to take a fast regional train and book it on the Trenitalia.it website in advance.
What to see in Pisa in one day
While the title of the post mentions 3 cities, with Pisa being so close to Florence, you can easily and quickly change this Italian itinerary to be a Rome, Florence, Pisa and Venice itinerary. If short on time you can keep it but why miss an opportunity to check out the Leaning Tower of Pisa!
Once out of the station, Piazza Vittorio Emanuele is immediately visible, the administrative fulcrum of the city, where a series of historic buildings overlook this almost amphitheatric square and the perimeter almost completely characterized by arcades full of shops and walkable.
From here you walk towards Corso Italia, the most famous street in Pisa, crowded with all kinds of shops, the ideal walk for all shopping lovers.
Also Read: How To Get To Pisa From Florence
After passing Piazza del Carmine and Piazza della Pera, we come to the famous Logge dei Banchi at the entrance to the Ponte di Mezzo on the Arno river (the one where the famous Gioco del Ponte is played), a characteristic and impressive loggia erected on a project by Buontalenti during the first years of the seventeenth century and used to house the market of wool and silk (hence the name banks – stalls).
We head towards Lungarno Galilei: the lungarni of Pisa, or those roads that line the Arno river, are renowned both among the inhabitants and tourists of Pisa: meeting points and gathering for the former with bars, restaurants and pubs, and pleasant and suggestive walk for the latter, which here can admire the urban architecture of the city and the historical imprint of the buildings – also of medieval origin, then reworked over the years – and of the buildings that constitute, in a certain sense, the fulcrum artistic.
On the Lungarno Galilei, after the Palazzo Lanfranchi, we find the Church of San Sepolcro with its curious octagonal plan, born with the purpose of church, refuge, hospital and convent and dedicated to the Templars.
About ten minutes further on, we are in Piazza dei Miracoli, passing through Via Santa Maria, a side street of the aforementioned square, where there are two of the most renowned faculties of the University of Pisa: the Faculty of Foreign Languages and Literature and the School for Interpreters and Translators.
And it is just a stone’s throw from the school that opens on Via Santa Maria the glimpse of the beautiful Piazza dei Miracoli, the one that everyone knows about the Leaning Tower, although it hosts other buildings of historical and artistic interest to which it owes its name: the Baptistery , the Duomo and the Camposanto (to represent the cycle of life – birth, life, death).
The Duomo of Pisa is a splendid example of Pisan Romanesque whose facade is in grey and white marble, decorated with polychrome marble unlike the interior, where black and white marbles prevail. Its bell tower (the famous Tower), one of the most famous in the world, about 50 meters high has a characteristic slope that can be defined without a shadow of a doubt unique in the world, due to a subsidence of the land already detected at the time of its construction.
Being in front of the Tower of Pisa is something really exciting! When I visit Pisa I love standing in front of the Tower to admire it. Can you imagine how the square would look if the tower were not inclined? I believe that it would lose part of its unique charm.
The tower, closed to the public a few years ago, has been reopened and it is therefore possible to climb to the top to visit it and look out from one of its many small windows.
How to finish the Italian itinerary if not in the beautiful Venice?
From Florence to Venice you can find many transport options, my advice is to opt for the train because you won’t find a parking space by car. There are intercity trains, the journey takes 4 hours. You can also take the fast train, FRECCIA ROSSA, the journey takes 2 hours and the cost is 43 euros.
Let’s find out what to see in Venice in 3 days
If you really can’t give up the car, avoid the garages in Piazzale Roma, which are very expensive, and leave your car in parking lots outside Venice, for example those in Porto Marghera or those in Mestre. If you arrive in Venice by train, you will get off at the Santa Lucia station.
Also Read: How To Get To Venice From Verona
With the bus, you’ll find yourself in Piazzale Roma. From here it crosses the Calatrava bridge, one of the last architectural works of Venice, to find yourself in front of the train station. A little further on, the Scalzi bridge.
Your Venice tour has already begun: in just a few steps you have crossed 2 of the 4 bridges that cross the Grand Canal (you will see the Accademia and Rialto in the coming days). Following the signs for San Marco or Rialto, you will find yourself walking through the typical Venetian streets and you will arrive in the historic center of Venice in half an hour scarce.
We advise you to always keep your mobile phone handy for orientation. Better yet … Ask the Venetians for help who, at first sight, might seem gruff, but they will be delighted to help you. On the other hand, Venice is a maze of narrow streets in which getting lost is the simplest thing. And to be honest, the secret, perhaps, is just that.
Also Read: Best Areas To Stay In Venice
Piazza San Marco, the Basilica and Palazzo Ducale
After filling your stomach, it’s time to get ready for an afternoon of art, history and culture.
The stage in this case is called Piazza San Marco, the city lounge overlooked by some of the most beautiful Venetian buildings, such as the Basilica, the Bell Tower, the Clock Tower and the Doge’s Palace.
A visit to the Basilica and Palazzo Ducale is a must: a couple of hours should be enough for a quick tour, something more for a more in-depth visit. Better to go to the Basilica in the afternoon so you avoid the crowds of groups and schools.
If you also decide to visit the Bell Tower and the Clock (the latter can only be visited on request), then put 4 good hours in the budget. Know that it will be a beautiful afternoon.
From Piazza San Marco you can decide to lose yourself in the maze of narrow streets that surround it and arrive, calmly, at the Rialto Bridge, where to close your first day in Venice.
Beyond the bridge, you will find yourself in the area of the Pescaria, the fish market: here, absolutely a must, an aperitif in one of the many cafes in the area. They are called bacari, typical Venetian taverns where you can stop to drink a “shade”, a glass of wine, and to taste some “cicheto”, snacks that are also typical of the local tradition (this can be meatballs, canapés with cod or with sardines, fried shrimp and so on).
Also Read: Guide To The Best Viewpoints In Venice
Spending the 2nd day in Venice
Get ready for a tour of the Venetian islands: Murano, Burano and Torcello. In reality, there would also be other islands to see, but for your 3 days in Venice, these are the ones we recommend.
Murano is the island of blown glass, famous and appreciated throughout the world for its glass production. If you are interested in the topic, you could take the time to visit a glass factory: there are many that organize demonstrations for tourists and enthusiasts.
Burano is the island of lace and, among the 3, is perhaps the most picturesque because of its colorful houses. To taste the buranelli, typical sweets made with flour, sugar, eggs and butter, also known as bussolà.
Finally, the island of Torcello, today practically uninhabited (it has only a dozen inhabitants), is the ideal destination if you are looking for something outside of the classic tourist itineraries. Here you will see the Devil’s Bridge and the throne of Attila, you can visit the local museum, which preserves archaeological finds found on the island, and the Basilica.
It’s up to you to decide whether to rely on an organized tour or opt for public transport and visit the islands with your times.
If you don’t feel like arranging, trust a tour: there are some that in 4 hours show you all three islands. If, on the other hand, you want to do things slowly and enjoy the wonders you will see without haste, we recommend using public transport: all the islands are easily reachable by vaporetto.
For the evening we recommend that you book a table at Il Refolo, a delightful restaurant in Campo San Giacomo dell’Orio, one of the quietest squares in Venice, in the Santa Croce area, right next to an old town church.
Also Read: How To Get Around In Venice
What to do on day 3 in Venice
For your last day in Venice we held one of the most bizarre monuments in the city: the Scala Contarini del Bovolo. It is an imposing spiral staircase (in Venetian dialect it is called bovolo), over 26 meters high, with 80 monolithic steps, from whose arches you can enjoy a breathtaking view of all of Venice, including the majestic San Marco domes. The remains of the ancient frescoes that decorated the interiors and exteriors of the tower are also striking.
Also Read: Top Tips For Saving Money In Venice
Style Of Travel And Options For Package Tours In Italy
I tend to book many of my travel separately as I like to have a little bit of control over my itinerary. This way I can book separate tours and day trips when I want them. For where to stay in Rome, Florence or and Venice, I have linked to some of the posts where I cover that in more detail. Otherwise, I always use my favourite hotel booking site to book my accommodation when I travel.
If you prefer to have everything done for you, there are options to have say, Rome and Venice tour packages or Rome Florence Venice package holidays. Many of them will handle accommodation, transportation and include some meals like breakfast. You wont have to worry about getting from Rome to Florence or Rome to Venice trains. All that is taken care of. Below are a couple of options for package tours to check out.
- Check out Viator’s multi-day tours around Italy.
- GAdventures offers tours from 7-10 day around Italy and Europe.
- Contiki runs a variety of tours for under 35s so you can explore Europes as well as find plenty of cheap holidays to Rome and Venice in addition to many other cities in Italy and Europe.
There you have it! I hope you enjoyed this tour between Rome – Florence and Venice! Of course, no Italy trip to Rome, Florence or Venice would be complete without a couple of detours to nearby towns and cities.
Love Italy? Also Read:
- What To Pack For Venice
- Essential Items For A European Trip
- What To Pack For Florence
- How To Save Money When Booking The Venice Taxi
- Lake Como Towns You Need To Visit
- Top Places To Visit In Verona
- A Weekend In Pisa
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