7 Days in Italy Itinerary
Italy is gliding down the Grand Canal in Venice, under the Rialto Bridge and onward to the enigmatic St. Mark’s Square. Italy is staring in awe at Michelangelo’s masterpiece David or the heavenly Sistine Chapel in Vatican City. Italy is imagining the gladiators and wild beasts fighting to the death in the mighty Colosseum. Italy is delicious foods and wines, beautiful landscapes, and intriguing history, art and romance. With just 7 days in Italy, the following itinerary will give visitors a taste of what Italy has to offer.
1 Week Italy Itinerary:
Day 1 and 2: Venice
Day 4 and 5: Florence
Day 6 and 7: Rome
And if you don’t want to organize this tour yourself, you can even book a tour that covers almost the same itinerary as this trip:
7 Days in Italy: Venice (2 nights)
Flying into Marco Polo Airport, take the bus or water taxi into Venice. The city is made up of over 118 islands in the Adriatic Sea separated by canals and connected by over 400 bridges. Venice was one of the richest and most powerful cities throughout much of its history, and today is best known for tourism and the hordes of visitors who come to see its architectural, historical and artistic wonders.
A good start is to buy a 24 or 48-hour Vaporetto Pass. This pass will get you anywhere on the main islands of Venice as well as outlying islands like Murano, Burano, and Torcello. With your luggage in tow, your first stop will be the Accademia stop. Depart the Vaporetto, take the first left and the first right, and the Hotel Ca ‘Pisani is just ahead on your right. Leave your luggage, grab a snack at La Rivista, the hotel restaurant, and head back to the Vaporetto stop. Board and head east on the Grand Canal and get off at the St. Mark’s stop. If it tickles your fancy, on the way to St. Mark’s Square grab a Peach Bellini at Harry’s Bar.
Because you are a smart tourist, you have already booked admittance to St. Mark’s Basilica. You arrive at your designated time in the very short line near the front doors, while others stand in long lines (sometimes up to 2 hours). No photography is allowed, so cherish the time you have in person to admire the miraculous mosaics and architecture of the Basilica.
Next door is the Doge Palace. If you did not get tickets in advance, make a bout face, walk to the far end of the square, and go up the stairs to the Correr Museum counter, and buy a ticket that is good for the museum as well as the Doge Palace.
On the second day, take the Vaporetto to the two most famous islands around Venice: Murano and Burano. Murano, known for its glassworks, and Burano, which is known for its lace and brightly colored houses. Spend the morning walking these less crowded islands and browse for glassworks, lace, and enjoy the beautiful neighborhoods lining the canals.
Have a nice leisurely lunch, and return to Venice. Spend some time wandering the streets of Venice, exploring its many nooks and crannies. Check out the Rialto Bridge, churches, museums, the casino, and the fish and produce markets. And don’t forget to stop by one of the local bars for Cicchetti and an Aperol Spritz.
Where to Stay in Venice
Ca ‘Pisani is a beautifully restored art-deco hotel located around the corner from the Accademia Vaporetto stop. Although out of the hustle and bustle of busier areas of Venice, Ca ‘Pisani is only a short walk or Vaporetto ride to St. Marks, the Rialto Bridge and other popular sites in Venice. The spacious rooms are elegant and tastefully decorated, with comfortable beds, modern bathrooms, and air conditioning for those hot summer days. Guests can enjoy a drink on the rooftop terrace overlooking the rooftops of Venice, and the staff is very warm, personable and accommodating. Dorsoduro 979, Venice, VE, 30123
Where to Eat in Venice
Ca ‘Pisani’s restaurant, the cozy La Rivista, served the best breakfast buffet we experienced in our week in Italy. In addition to the gorgeous breakfast, La Rivista has a small but delightful lunch and dinner menu that includes tasty seafood, pasta, cheeses and other dishes. Try the insalata del pescatore or the pasta fresca alla laguna, and of course, leave room for some of the wonderful Tiramisu or chocolate mousse.
A few minutes west of the Academia, Al Vecio Marangon is a cozy bar tucked away on Calle de la Toletta in Dorsoduro. You can’t go wrong with a delicious mixed Cicchetti plate, cannelloni with spinach and ricotta, or their great lasagna, Al Vecio Marangon is a wonderful choice for an intimate dining experience slightly off the beaten path.
7 Days in Italy: Monterosso – Cinque Terre Italy (1 night)
Leaving Venice from the Santa Lucia Station, take the train westward to Monterosso, the northernmost of the five villages of picturesque Cinque Terre on the Ligurian Sea.
Each village is connected by a short train ride. For those more physically inclined, walk the scenic Sentiero Azzurro (Blue Path) along the cliffs hugging the rocky coastline and admire the scenic views. Some parts of the path have been closed because of storm damage, so be sure to check out current conditions before you depart.
Another great way to explore Cinque Terre is by boat. Spoil yourself and treat yourself to a lunch cruise to admire the stunning cliff-side towns.
Where to stay in Cinque Terre: Hotel La Spiaggia
Right on the beach, this 19-room hotel has sea views and a great location near the train station and Ristorante Miky, a very popular restaurant in Monterosso. Walk out your front door and in minutes you are on the beach, surrounded by blue water and rocky cliffs. The hotel serves a great breakfast buffet, has free parking, and air conditioning for those hot summer days. Get the room with the large terrace if it’s available. Via Fegina 98, 19016 Monterosso al Mare
Where to Eat in Cinque Terre
Ristorante Miky offers an elegant, refined dining experience. This family-run establishment is one of the most popular in Monterosso, as evidenced by the line of people waiting to get inside. Sara and her dedicated team have created one of the most memorable dining experiences in Cinque Terre at Ristorante Miky, with stylish décor, outstanding food and wines, and warm, professional service.
Favorite dishes include a fabulous baked sea bass with scalloped potatoes, an outstanding seafood risotto, mixed grilled seafood, homemade pasta, and a variety of anchovy dishes. Not only is the food delicious, but several dishes are served with a theatrical flair. Waiters put on a show as they debone and serve a delicious sea bass, or present a flaming pasta dish to diners. Via Fegina 104, 19016.
7 Days in Italy: Florence (2 nights)
A visit to Italy would not be complete without a trip to Florence, the capital of Tuscany and home to some of the world’s greatest architecture, art, and cuisine. See Brunelleschi’s red terra cotta Duomo, Michelangelo’s magnificent David in the Accademia, and the collections of masters like Botticelli and da Vinci in the Uffizi.
Walk down via de Dante, the birthplace of the great poet and home of the Dante Museum. Stroll past the Palazzo Vecchio through Piazza della Signoria, cross the Ponte Vecchio to the Pitti Palace and the beautiful Boboli Gardens. Continue east along the Arno River to Michelangelo Piazza, and enjoy the grand view of Florence below.
Browse the many street vendors with their wide selection of leather goods, scarves, jewelry and other wares. And don’t forget to check out the selection of meats, fish, cheeses and produce at the fascinating Mercato Centrale.
Florence is after Rome and Venice one of the most popular destinations in Italy, so we highly recommend you book “Skip the Line Tickets” for the main attractions in advance.
Where to Stay in Florence
In a perfect location in the center of Florence alongside the Duomo, A Florence View B&B is a great affordable choice to enjoy all that this wonderful metropolitan city has to offer. Units are clean and roomy, with comfortable beds and antique furniture. The included personalized breakfast is wonderful, and the owners are very helpful in assisting visitors with advice on local restaurants, attractions, directions and other tips. Piazza di San Giovanni 2, 50123.
For additional recommendations, please take a look at our Editor’s recommendations for where to stay in Florence.
Where to Eat in Florence
Foody Farm is a new restaurant on the Florence scene that has quickly become popular with locals and tourists alike. A few minutes from the Duomo, Foody Farm has an interesting mix of traditional Italian dishes (like a delicious Strozzapreti Pasta with Sausage) along with tasty burgers, Asian inspired pastas, and fresh made to order salads. In addition to the many creative entrees and salads, they have a great selection of desserts like the Zuccotto, a classic Florentine pastry, or the Mousse Agrumata alle Mandorle (citrus mousse with almonds).
Food Farm’s motto is, “The Right Food from the Right Places,” an indication of their commitment to research and locate the very best local producers of meats, cheeses, fruits, vegetables and other ingredients used in their unique menu. Foody Farm offers small or large portions to accommodate different appetites and to allow customers to try a variety of dishes. Corso dei Tintori 10/R, 50122.
Another favorite restaurant near the Duomo is the Yellow Bar. Yellow Bar takes pride in using organic flour for their excellent pizzas and pasta. Favorites include the green pasta with mushrooms and ham, the huge salads, and a tasty swordfish. A casual, friendly atmosphere combined with great food, friendly service, and a central location make Yellow Bar a winning choice. Via del Proconsolo 39r, 50122.
7 Days in Italy: Rome (2 nights)
Arriving by train from Florence, take the subway or taxi to the Spanish Steps, close to our recommended lodging, Hotel Madrid. Stop a few moments along the famous steps in the Piazza di Spagna and admire the Fontana della Barcaccia (Fountain of the Ugly Boat) and people-watch for a while. Then head to the hotel, freshen up, and head back to the subway. Get off at the Colosseum stop – as you depart the subway station the magnificent Colosseum looms large in front of you.
Make sure you have already bought your Skip the Line tickets for the Colosseum, or you will likely have a long wait in line before you can enter.
The ticket you bought for the Colosseum also includes admission to the Forum and Palatine Hill. After your time at the Colosseum, if the line is overly long at the Forum entrance across from the Colosseum, consider walking a few minutes up via dei Fori Imperiali towards the Museo Sacrario delle Bandiere, for a second, less crowded entrance. Allow several hours for your tour of the Colosseum, Forum, and Palatine Hill. Upon exiting the Forum, head west towards Piazza Navona, enjoying the sights and sounds of Rome. Grab the best pizza ever at Da Baffetto, one of our recommended restaurants.
The second day, get an early start (around 7:00 am) and head to St. Peters Basilica. It’s a nice thirty-minute walk, or take the subway from the Spanish Steps to the Vatican stop. Spend an hour browsing through the beautiful church, and then head to the Vatican City Museum, home to wonderful works of art, including the Sistine Chapel, Michelangelo’s iconic masterpiece. Remember to buy tickets online in advance for your expedited entry into the Vatican Museum. I would highly advise visitors to use the audio guide available at the museum or from Rick Steves. After a morning of enjoying world-class art, walk across the Tiber River towards Piazza Navona and have a relaxing lunch at I Pizzicaroli.
Where to Stay in Rome
Hotel Madrid is a wonderful hotel in a convenient location, only a few minutes’ walk from the Spanish Steps (and subway station). Enjoy the included breakfast on the rooftop garden overlooking the rooftops of Rome with St. Peters in the distance (the rooftop is also open during the day and evening to enjoy at your leisure.) The staff is friendly and very helpful. Via Mario de Fiori, 93-95, 00187.
For additional hotel recommendations, please read our where to stay in Rome guide.
Where to Eat in Rome
I Pizzicaroli is a cozy place in the heart of Rome, just five minutes from Piazza Navona, with delectable cuisine from Umbria and Abruzzo. Owner Stefano has created a warm, inviting setting in this small, high-quality restaurant. The limited menu includes top-notch meats and cheeses, fresh bread, spreads, and excellent wines at reasonable prices. We enjoyed an outstanding meat and cheese platter which included delicious roast pork, pancetta, liver sausage, pecorino cheese, a very flavorful cacio fiore (flower cheese), and tasty bread. Via della Fossa, 9, 00186.
Da Baffetto is a very popular pizza place with just ten tables, so there is often a wait. Get there before the doors open (12:00 for lunch and 6:30 for dinner) and you will be treated to some of the best thin crust pizza imaginable. My favorite is Pizza Baffetto, with tomato, mozzarella, mushrooms, egg (optional), sausage, green pepper, onions, and artichokes. For only 12 Euros for an indescribably delicious large pizza, this may be the best food bargain on the planet!
Time to rest your tired head this last night on Italian soil after this whirlwind 7 days in Italy tour. You will no doubt have many wonderful dreams as you recall all you have seen and done during the week. You will cherish the many memories of your time in this magical country, and chances are that your initial taste of Italy will create an even stronger hunger to return soon to glorious Italy!
Remember, you can also book a very similar itinerary as a tour – no planning involved. Just hop on a plane and let a local travel expert take you around Italy!
7 Days in Italy was written by Scott Kendall for EuropeUpClose. His stay in Italy was partially organized and sponsored by the following hotels and restaurants: Ca ‘Pisani in Venice; Ristorante Miky in Monterosso; Foody Farm in Florence; Hotel Madrid in Rome; I Pizzicaroli in Rome;
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