For the ideal Italian vacation, you could take a cruise of Italy and leisurely sail the stunning Italian coastline. Exploring Rome to its fullest already takes three to five days—minimum! — but what if you find yourself with very limited vacation time?
Here are a couple of ways to see more of Italy if you only have about a week to spare.
First Time in Italy? Go for the Big Three!
Rome, Florence and Venice make up the Big Three, which are the cities you should never miss when you travel to Italy for the first time.
Why not start your vacation in Rome? Allot one day for the Vatican Tour which takes you to the Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s Basilica. The next day, explore the Colosseum, Palatine Hill, and the Ancient Roman Forum. Walk around the lovely neighborhood of Trastevere on your third day, then travel to Florence.
Although two days is hardly enough to see all of Florence, it can still give you a glimpse on how it became the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance. Do make sure you visit Accademia and the Uffizi to see Michelangelo’s David.
The romantic city of Venice gives your vacation a bittersweet end. Take a walking tour to St. Mark’s Square and marvel at the cathedral and its immense bell tower. Make your way to the Rialto Bridge for a great view of the Grand Canal, with sights along the way such as the Bridge of Sighs.
Discover the Two Faces of Italy: The Bustling North and The Laid-Back South
The differences between Northern and Southern Italy are very pronounced. The north is more industrialized and is characterized by busy city life, while the south has a more carefree atmosphere.
Spend the first half of your week admiring the snow-capped peaks of the Alps. Stay in Milan then go on day tours to Turin and Verona.
While Milan is mainly a frenzied city, you can discover obscure places that offer a peaceful respite. Must-see places here include the Milan Cathedral, Sforza Castle, and the La Scalla Theatre. For a majestic view of the city, head up to the walkway on the glass roof of Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II.
Turin is a short train ride from Milan and retained much of its history and charm. While you’re there, check out the Palazzo Reale, Palazzo Madama, Mole Antonelliana, Cathedral of San Giovanni Battista, and the Turin Egyptian museums.
You can also experience a look into the rich Roman and medieval past in Verona. Like Turin, it’s just a one-hour train ride from Milan. Have a glimpse of 13th century life inside Juliet’s House. Climb the Torre dei Lamberti for a panoramic view over the red rooftops of the city. Explore other places such as the Roman Amphitheatre, Arena di Verona, Scaliger Tombs, and Giardino dei Giusti.
Head over south and spend the rest of your week in Sicily. You get almost everything there—majestic mountains, rolling hills, crystal-clear waters, and impressive volcanoes.
Swim at the coast of Palermo or explore ruins in Solunto and Monte Jato. For an amazing view of Mount Etna, head to Taormina go. Check out the temples and castles in Syracuse for more of the country’s Greek roots. Agrigento is the perfect place to get some souvenirs like artisan goods made from terracotta and cast iron.