The Classic 2-3 week Italian Trip

Apr 08, 2020
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Squeezing all the highlights of Italy into a 2-3 week itinerary is a challenge, but it's doable.

Start in Rome, where 4-5 days should see you pretty much absorb all the must-sees from this home to 2,000 years of incredible art, culture & architecture. By the time you've sauntered through the Roman Forum, the Colosseum and St Peter's you'll have plenty of time to just wander round the streets of Trastevere to sample the food and the living museum that is the Eternal City.

Where to Stay in Rome

Great Tours Around Rome

don't forget to....

...explore the Piazzas, especially the must see Piazza Navona & Campo de Fiori

...tick off the Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain & the Pantheon

...check out the underrated Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore

...have an open air meal in one of Trastevere's gorgeous piazzas (below)


Image by Catarina Belova, Shutterstock

A side trip (or day trip) to the south provides the perfect opportunity to experience two very unique highlights of any trip to Italy - the very reflective ruins of Pompeii, and Naples, the home of pizza. Or, if Roman ruins and Renaissance gardens are more your thing, a day trip to Tivoli takes in Hadrian's Villa and the sublime Villa d'Este.

Heading north, Florence provides a wonderful base to explore Tuscany & beyond. After 2 -3 days of indulging your Renaissance art fetishes in the many galleries and the Duomo, and wandering both sides of the Arno several times, head out into the countryside. Gothic Siena and medieval San Gimignano (below) are a great contrast to Florence, and open-air architectural masterpieces well worth a day of exploration.

Where to Stay in Florence

Great Tours around Florence & Tuscany

don't forget to....

...explore the Southern side of the Arno

...go shopping on the Ponte Vecchio

...visit as many of the amazing smaller churches in addition to the Duomo


Image by Lowell Monke, Shutterstock

If time permits, side trips to Pisa to check out its famous teetering landmark, and the Cinque Terre for the most amazing cliff-hugging towns, are well worth putting into the itinerary.

Back on the train again, with the heavenly lagoon city of Venice as the destination. Nothing quite prepares you for stepping out of the train station and spying the Grand Canal for the first time, and over the next 3-4 days it'll be the focus of your Venice adventure. Gelati and pigeons in the magnificent Piazza San Marco, numerous canal trips, churches galore (including the sumptuous Basilica di San Marco), more galleries...but, most of all, the chance just to soak up the sights and sounds of this incredible city. A trip out to Murano for its world-famous glass-blowing industry, and to Burano for riotously coloured villages completes your Venetian excursion.

Where to Stay in Venice

Best Venetian Tours

don't forget to....

...jump on a vaporetto and just cruise the canals for a few hours

...get yourself lost in the off-the beaten track neighbourhoods of San Polo

...visit the Ponte de Rialto in style in a gondola, maybe even take a lesson!


Image by Yasonya, Shutterstock

To round out the Italian experience, head to Milan for more art (including da Vinci's Last Supper), amazing fashion and shopping, and a Duomo that possibly leaves all the others in the shade. After a few days cruising round enjoying the churches, galleries and maybe a spot of opera at La Scala, it's time to make a break for the lakes, and live it up with the rich and famous on Lake Como (below).

Places to Stay in Milan

Best Tours of Milan

don't forget to....

...pre-book your tickets to go see The Last Supper

...check out the fashions and designers that Milan is famous for

...carefully select (and book a table) at one of Milan's many Michelin-starred restaurants


Image by Andrew Mayovskyy, Shutterstock

While this gives you a great and detailed insight into the very best of Italy, it's also just as likely to whet the appetite (of both the sightseeing and culinary varieties) for more trips and more off-the-beaten-track travel in the future.

Top Title Image by Zoom Team, Shutterstock