Italy Itineraries

Tailor-made Travel

Italy is a large and complex destination and you can’t hope to savour it all on one visit; indeed, experiencing and appreciating the country properly, in all its aspects, is arguably a lifetime’s work. Nonetheless sooner or later you are going to need to decide on where to go; we’ve put together a few itineraries to help you out.

If you are planning your travel to Italy yourself, use these itineraries created by our travel writers as a starting point for inspiration.

See our itineraries below, or get inspired by duration: 7-days - 10 days - 14 days

Leaning Tower, Pisa, Italy

Italy Itinerary 1 - Italy indoors: art and culture

No country in the world boasts the same volume of cultural artefacts, and you can stumble across great art displayed in fine historic buildings just about anywhere, but if that’s your interest you may want to follow the itinerary below.

1. Venice

Italy’s greatest maritime state, ossified in stone and oils.

2. Padua, Veneto

The amazingly preserved Giotto frescoes of Padua’s Scrovegni chapel, dating back to the fourteenth century, are one of the absolute highlights of western European art.

3. Mantua, Lombardy

Two palaces, plastered with the work of two very different artists – Mantegna’s beautiful refined frescoes in the Palazzo Ducale and Giulio Romano’s later Mannerist experiment in the Palazzo Te.

4. Arezzo, Tuscany

Home to a hugely famous fresco cycle by Piero della Francesca, and to other works by the fifteenth-century painter.

5. Florence

Birthplace of the Italian Renaissance, with Ghiberti’s famous bronze door, Brunelleschi’s dome, and, er, the Uffizi too.

6. Assisi, Umbria

One of the greatest works of art you can see in a church, Assisi’s basilica is covered top to toe with fourteenth-century frescoes.

7. Rome

Where to start, but one of the great things about Rome is the chance to see some of the world’s greatest paintings in the places they were meant for, best of all the many works of Caravaggio that remain in the city.

Italy Itinerary 2 - Foodies’ Italy

Think of Italy and you think of food, and with so many regional variations you can try something different everywhere you go. Here’s our rundown of the best places to stop off if you want to enjoy a foodie tour.

1. Alba, Piemonte

If you’re here at the right time of year you may be able to sample the town’s extraordinary white truffles; and at any time you can taste the excellent local wine.

2. Genoa, Liguria

The food of Liguria and in particular Genoa is among the country’s most distinctive and best, the home of pesto, foccaccia, farinata and everywhere great fish and seafood.

3. Bologna, Emilia-Romagna

Regarded as the culinary capital of Italy and much the best place to do a course in mastering Italian cuisine.

4. Norcia, Umbria

Famous nationwide for all kinds of pork products, from guanciale to pancetta, and – in season – superb black truffles too.

5. Rome

The “cucina povera” of Rome isn’t the country’s most well-known regional cuisine, but we think it’s maybe the best, with gutsy pasta dishes and a focus on offal and the poorer cuts of meat – perfect for the more adventurous foodie.

6. Naples, Campania

Perhaps one of the most fun and enduring experiences you can have in Italy is to learn how to make pizza and pasta in their true home just outside Naples.

7. Sicily

With Arabic, Spanish and Greek culinary influences, Sicily’s cuisine is unique, and there are plenty of tempting specialities to sample, from caponata to cannoli.

Italy Itinerary 3 - Italy outdoors: mountains and water

Italy has a wonderful mix of high mountains, lakes and sea, making it the ideal country for an outdoors holiday that takes in a variety of activities.

1. Gran Paradiso, Valle d’Aosta

Some of the most beautiful and best-organized high-altitude trekking in the country.

2. Alta Via, Liguria

This long-distance high-level trail takes you the length of Liguria, and offers a very different view of the region than the resorts on the coast.

3. Riva del Garda, Lombardy

There’s no better place in the country for quality windsurfing and sailing.

4. Vie Ferrate, Trentino-Alto Adige

High-altitude climbing the Italian way, using the fixed ladders and pegs of the northern Dolomites.

5. Gran Sasso, Abruzzo

The Gran Sasso national park holds the highest peaks of the Apennines, including the 3000m Corno Grande.

6. Porto Pollo, Sardinia

Sardinia’s northern Costa Smeralda is the home of all manner of waterborne activities, not least fantastic opportunities for kitesurfing.

The Rough Guide to Italy and related travel guides

Travel advice for Italy

Find even more inspiration for Italy here

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updated 4/26/2021
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