Italy is one of those places that most of us have dreamed about visiting since a young age. It has the food, the history, the culture, the language, I mean c’mon, Italy has a little of something for everyone to enjoy.
With such an enticing ambiance and never-ending history that differs from the north to the south end of the country, it wouldn’t do you any justice to pick just one city to explore. That is why I recommend this little travel guide for your one week stay in Italy, from me to you <3.
First, I would choose to visit these three cities; Rome, Florence and Venice in that order or vice versa. The main reason being, that they all offer something a little different, giving you some diversity and the feel for real Italian culture. Another important note is that they are all very easy to commute to one another in short amount of time requiring little cash.
Second, choose to fly into either Rome or Venice and fly out of the other being that they are both at opposite ends of the country and Florence is right smack in between. This will make it easy to travel from one end to the other without back tracking.
Third, if you are going with one or more people, I would book accommodations through www.airbnb.com rather than a hotel agency. This is for several reasons; one, because it’s cheaper, and two because you can find real cool places that offer the true Italian feel while giving you some extra perks that hotels cant, like multiple bedrooms, a terrace, and your own kitchen.
If you are going alone I recommend booking a hostel hands down. Italy can be mind-blowingly expensive and hostels are a cheap and fun alternative to traveling leaving you and your wallet stress free. For the best hostels I recommend looking at www.hostelworld.com where you can find a wide range of hostels with ratings and reviews.
Fourth, and most important step in my opinion, is transportation. Do not book anything through a tour or a tour bus because you will get ripped off. The best way to travel from city to city is BlaBlaCar at www.blablacar.com . This is by far the best way to travel because it’s fun and very cheap. It is a carpool app that is verified and secure. People post when they are driving to particular cities and they want people to ride along with them for company and some extra cash. Also, many times traveling by car is not only cheaper than bus or train but much faster as well. This is my number one preferred choice of travel.
If you cannot find availability on BlaBlaCar I suggest train as your next choice at www.Italiarail.com and search for the train ride that works best for you.
Fifth, if at all possible I recommend NOT going in the months of July-September. Those are the hottest and busiest months in Italy (most of Europe for that matter). All the heat and huge crowds can really put a damper on your travels when you are walking for hours and trying to soak in some history. It also takes away from the overall experience.
Now that we have all that out of the way, how long should you spend in each city and what should you see and do?!
I just got back from Italy myself, and I found that one week was just enough time to see each of these three Italian cities; Rome, Florence and Venice. The thing is, as gorgeous as some of these cities are, most don’t need more than a day or two to explore. With just a week vacation it would be a total bummer to miss out on anything, so hopefully my short little tid bit can help you plan your trip.
We all have our different travel styles that vary from place to place, but many people visit Italy for the history which involves TONS of museums. I however, would rather stab myself with a fork than sit in a museum all day (I know, what is wrong with me?). I am the type of traveler that prefers experience, you know the free stuff; Nature, people watching, mingling with locals, getting lost, and tons of food and wine.
I don’t spend much of my traveling in art galleries, museums, or tours because its just not my cup of tea, its not how I roll and I don’t enjoy it, so if you are the type of traveler that enjoys those things be sure to do some extra searching in addition to my list to make sure you get your desired Italy fix. With that being said, my recommendations are as follows;
Rome: 3 nights
Rome is huge and is filled with stuff to do. So much to do in such little time, that’s why I recommend three nights in this enchanting city. Most of it could be done just by strolling through the city streets and getting lost but some things require some hard core walking and planning. My fave stops were, the Pantheon, Trevi fountain, Vatican City, Via Appia Road, Piazza Venezia and of course the Coliseum.
When going to the coliseum, remember to book your tickets early because it can be more expensive at the door and it gets very busy.
Vatican City needs to be very well planned. When I went I ended up waiting outside in the blazing heat for almost three hours and ended up in worlds longest most boring slash gorgeous and totally worth seeing museum and of all time. Buy your tickets early online and beware that the city closes early on some days and on most Sundays. Just make sure to really take a look at the calendar days and buy your tickets to avoid and trouble.
Trevi fountain and Pantheon, Piazza Venezia, Via Appia Road are all free attractions and well worth a visit. I also recommend seeing the Trivi fountain at night because that is when it is most beautifully lit up.
Also take a look at some of Rome’s most famous and beautiful parks; Villa Borghese and Villa Doria Pamphili.
Florence: 2 nights
Florence is gorgeous but the city is small and can be seen comfortable in two days. If you like seeing museums book them ahead of time and plan accordingly. Otherwise if you are like me, just enjoy strolling and getting lost through the city and check out the architecture. My fave things to do in Florence are; Hike up piazza Michael Angelo for the sunset where you can enjoy a picnic with some live music overlooking the best view of the city, walk through the streets and snap some photos of the Duomo bridge and its beauty and eat some amazing and pasta! The best restaurant in my opinion is Osteria del Cinghiale Bianco. The food is amazing and cheap and the staff is very fun and friendly.
Venice: 2 nights
Venice is enchanting, however, aside from all its beauty there is not much to do in Venice that will take up more than two days. Walk around the beautiful city day and night, and get lost. Be sure to look up on the Venetian carnival history and maybe look for a show to see where they dress up in carnival attire.
Don’t miss Venice’s Burano and Murano Islands! Many people forget that these islands exist but they are a huge part of Venetian history and should not be missed. They are a short boat ride away and offer a completely different and more colorful look to Venetian architecture.
Well there you have it! I hope you can make some good use out of this quick little guide for your one week vacation to Italy. Cheers! Xo