Need some destination inspiration for a trip to Italy? Here’s my guide to 11 ways to spend 1 week in Italy, with 11 sample itineraries.
One week in Italy might not seem like much time. But, with some advance planning and ambition, you can definitely have a bucket list adventure.
There’s nowhere more romantic (or popular) than Italy. The word “Italy” conjures visions of crumbling Roman ruins, rolling cypress-studded landscapes, and secret canals. Italy is rich in history, culture, and food. Italy’s beautiful towns boast some of the world’s best cathedrals, palaces, museums, and historic landmarks.
I’ve been to Italy many times. Italy always blows my socks off (except maybe in the uber crowded high season). I love it and am already plotting a return trip.
There’s so many things to do and see in Italy and so little time, at least for most of us. How to choose between the myriad options?
To help you get started prioritizing and give you some destination inspiration, I’ve picked my top 11 itineraries for spending one perfect week in Italy. Some of these itineraries include Italy’s most popular cities and sites. Others give you more off the beaten path options and hidden gems in Italy.
You can pick a sample itinerary to match your own interests — whether you want a glamorous city, historical and cultural options, outdoor scenery, or beaches. You can also combine itineraries for a 2 week (or longer) stay in Italy. And I suggest possible combinations.
Of course, you can always adjust and tweak these itineraries to suit your needs. When you’ve settled on an itinerary (or two), be sure to read my must know tips for visiting Italy.
11 Ways To Spend 1 Week in Italy
I’m a rather obsessed itinerary planner and I can personally vouch for these particular one week in Italy itineraries.
For each 1 week in Italy itinerary, I also give you options for extending your trip, if you want to expand a 7 day itinerary into a 10 day itinerary for Italy or combine these sample open week itineraries.
There are essentially two ways to structure a 1 week in Italy trip. You can move around 2-3 times for a fast paced trip that checks off Italy bucket list items. Or, you choose a single base or region for a week and take day trips from there.
These sample 7 day Italy itineraries offer both options. I’d be excited to take any of these trips again.
I’ve written more than 100 blog posts about Italy. I’ve linked some of them to the relevant Italy itinerary to help you along. Here are my picks for the best ways to spend one week in Italy:
- 1 Week Italian Renaissance Tour
- 1 Week in Tuscany
- 1 Week in Italy’s Major Cities
- 1 Week in Rome + Day Trips
- 1 Week in Venice + Day Trips
- 1 Week in the Italian Lake District Itinerary
- 1 Week Dolomites Itinerary
- 1 Week in Rome + Amalfi Coast
- 1 Week in Northern Italy Venice to Milan
- 1 Week in Rome + Umbria
- 1 Week Milan to Rome
1. One Week Italian Renaissance Tour: Florence, Tuscany, and Venice
Tuscany has some of the world’s best cathedrals, art galleries, museums. It’s celebrated for its Medieval and Renaissance art. Tuscany is even regarded as the birthplace of one of mankind’s greatest adventures, the Italian Renaissance.
Florence is an overwhelmingly beautiful city, the “Cradle of the Renaissance.” With the best Medieval and Renaissance art in Europe, Florence is a veritable art lovers paradise.
READ: Florence Art Bucket List
Venice had its own Renaissance, distinct from Renaissance hotspots like Florence. Venice’s artists produced images that were less religious, more libertine, and more creative. Venetian artists painted female nudes and erotic scenes, without the censure other artists like Michelangelo received.
Siena is one of the best cities to visit in Tuscany for its rustic beauty, tasty food, and luscious chianti. Siena Cathedral is one of Europe’s most beautiful churches. The greatest artists of the Renaissance contributed master works to the cathedral, including Donatello, Pinturicchio, Duccio, Ghiberti, Pisano, and Michelangelo.
Pisa and Lucca are also great for Renaissance art and architecture. Pisa boasts the magnificent UNESCO-listed Field of Miracles, which is so much more than just the famous Leaning Tower. Lucca is a town of a 100 churches.
READ: Tips for Visiting Pisa
In Arezzo, you can see Piero della Francesca’s greatest masterpiece. It’s the Legend of the Cross frescos in the Cappella Maggiore of the Church of San Francesco.
Padua is home to one of Italy’s must see wonders, the Scrovegni Chapel in Padua. Wallpapered with exquisite frescos by Giotto, the chapel is one of the world’s greatest art works. It’s currently a candidate for the UNESCO list of world heritage sites.
Here’s how to spend one week in Italy immersing yourself in the Italian Renaissance:
Day 1: Arrive in and explore Florence
Day 2: Explore Florence
Day 3: Day trip to Siena
Day 4: Day trip to Pisa and Lucca or to Arrezo
Day 5: Drive to and explore Venice
Day 6: Explore Venice
Day 7: Day trip to Padua
For this itinerary, you’ll only have two bases: Florence (4 nights) and Venice (3 nights). If you have more time in Italy, itinerary # 9 has the perfect one week itinerary for taking a road trip from Venice to Milan. If you want a nature break, you could head to the Dolomites with itinerary #7.
Need more information about this Italian Renaissance road trip? Check out these Tuscany and Venice art and travel guides:
2. One Week in Tuscany Idyll
There’s nowhere more romantic in Italy than the stunning region of Tuscany. Tuscany is like a painting.
With its cypress-lined roads, golden wheat fields, and medieval hilltop towns, Tuscany offers the quintessential Italian village experience, complete with fine wine and delectable food.
I’ve discussed Florence and Siena above. But this Tuscany itinerary also takes you to some of Italy’s most beautiful small towns — Arezzo, Cortona, San Gimignano, Lucca, and Pisa. In these quaint towns, you’ll find showstopper public squares, stunning churches, and cobbled lanes.
Here’s how to spend one week in Tuscany:
Day 1: Arrive and explore Florence
Day 2: Explore Florence
Day 3: Day trip to Arrezo or Cortona
Day 4: Drive to and explore Siena
Day 5: Day trip to San Gimignano
Day 6: Drive to Lucca and explore
Day 7: Day trip To Pisa from Lucca
For this 1 week in Tuscany itinerary, your overnight bases will be Florence (3 nights), Siena (2 nights), and Lucca (2 nights).
More time in Italy? If you want to extend your Tuscany road trip and move at a more leisurely pace, check out my 10 day itinerary for Tuscany. It covers all the destinations on this shorter 1 week Tuscany itinerary, and more, with much more detail.
Or, head south to Umbria and follow itinerary #10. If you’re ready for a city break, head to Rome and follow itinerary #4.
Need more information on Tuscany? Check out these other articles:
3. One Week in Italy’s Major Cities | Greatest Hits
Are you a city person? If you want to explore Italy’s greatest hits, this fun one week itinerary takes you to the “big three” — Rome, Florence, and Venice
Endlessly inspiring and ethereal, Rome is the magical mecca of carbs and ancient architecture. It’s a grand showcase of Western civilization, full of Imperial pomp and circumstance. Rome has spent centuries accumulating layers of beauty, history, and romance — just waiting for its admirers to arrive.
Begin with the Imperial tour of Rome, which includes the iconic Colosseum, Palatine Hill, and the Roman Forum. Then, move on to visiting the Vatican Museums, the unparalleled world class museums in Rome, and Rome’s opulent palaces.
I’ve already mentioned Florence above. Your last major city stop, Venice, is the most unique city in the world.
It’s an almost physical and mystical experience when you see Venice for the first time. The glimmering watery streets are right is front of you. Venice defies logic; it’s a city that almost shouldn’t exist.
Here’s how to spend one week in Italy’s major cities:
Day 1: Arrive and explore Rome
Day 2: Explore Rome
Day 3: Drive or high speed train to Florence
Day 4: Explore Florence
Day 5: Day trip to Siena or to Pisa & Lucca
Day 6: Drive or high speed train To Venice
Day 7: Explore Venice
More time in Italy? From Venice you can follow itinerary #9 and road trip from Venice to Milan. Alternatively, you can head to the Italian Lake District (itinerary #6) or the Dolomites (itinerary #7).
Need more information about this one week city-based Italy itinerary? Check out these travel guides:
4. One Week Rome City Break + Day Trips
One of my favorite vacations in Italy was just spending 8 days in Rome. I didn’t move my base from the beautiful Trastevere neighborhood.
I just explored Rome at slower pace and took plenty of easy day trips. You don’t need a car. You can book a day tour or just hop on the train.
I’ve discussed Rome above. But on this Rome itinerary, you’ll also visit some of beautiful towns near Rome.
Tivoli is a charming small town just a half hour from Rome. It’s home to two amazing UNESCO sites: Hadrian’s Villa (Roman ruins) and Ville d’Este (a Renaissance mansion with incredible gardens and fountains).
Pompeii is Italy’s most famous archaeological site, a living museum. In 79 A.D., Mount Vesuvius erupted and buried the city in 60 feet of ash. The city was entombed and preserved for many centuries.
Beginning in 1748, archaeologists began painstakingly excavating the ruins. The ruins are a remarkable evocation of everyday Roman life.
Charming Orvieto, the capitol of Umbria, is an easy day trip from Rome. It’s set high above a volcanic outcropping and chock full of medieval buildings. Nothing much has changed in this rustic fairytale town in 500 years. Orvieto’s piece de resistance is its magnificent cathedral.
Here’s how to spend 1 week in Rome:
Day 1: Explore Rome
Day 2: Explore Rome
Day 3: Explore Rome and Vatican City
Day 4: Day Trip To Tivoli
Day 5: Day Trip to Pompeii
Day 6: Day Trip to Orvieto
Day 7: Explore more of Rome and/or half day trip to Ostia Antica
Want more information about this trip? Here are some of my other articles:
Guide to the Vatican Pinacoteca
5. One Week in Venice + Day Trips
Another one week itinerary where you don’t have to move bases is just to stay in Venice. You can enjoy the city at your leisure and take day trips from there by car, train, or ferry.
You could also base yourself in Verona the entire time and day trip to Venice and other destinations. Verona is less crowded and less expensive than Venice.
Venice is one of the world’s most beautiful and captivating cities, a natural movie set. No other place looks quite like it. Venice is a medieval city built on water that shouldn’t exist in real life. It’s a mind boggling maze of architectural and artistic treasures.
There are so many thing to do and see in Venice. You can take a gondola ride, ogle the opulent palaces, take in some world class museums, or just wander the stunning floating city.
From Venice, you have so many day trip options. You can tour the Venetian lagoon islands of Murano, Burano, and Torcello.
You can day trip to Padua to admire Giotto’s groundbreaking frescos at the Scrovegni Chapel. If you want less crowded canals, head to nearby Treviso. Treviso is an elegant little canal town, only a 30 minute train ride from Venice.
Fair Verona is for romantics and medievalists. It’s a pretty Italian town full of red and peach colored medieval buildings and Roman ruins. Verona was made famous by Shakespeare’s play Romeo and Juliet. Once you’ve made the obligatory pilgrimmage to Juliet’s Balcony, you’ll also want to tour the doughty Roman Arena in the Piazza Bra.
Ravenna was once the epicenter of the Western World, when the Byzantine Empire made Ravenna its capitol. The Byzantine rulers blanketed Ravenna’s churches with gorgeous mosaics. This artistic legacy rivals Venice or Istanbul, making Ravenna a UNESCO site in 1996.
Here’s how to spend one week in Venice:
Day 1: Explore Venice
Day 2: Explore Venice
Day 3: Day trip to Venetian lagoon islands
Day 4: Day trip to Padua
Day 5: Day trip to Verona
Day 6: Day Trip to Ravenna
Day 7: Day Trip to Bologna or another day in Venice
More time in Italy? Head to the Dolomites with itinerary #6 or road trip to Milan with itinerary #9.
Need more information about this area? Check out these Venice travel guides and resources:
6. One Week Italian Lake District Itinerary
Northern Italy is home to the seductively beautiful Lake District, set in the shadow of the Alps. Though just an hour north of Milan, this area feels a world away from the hustle and bustle of Italy’s second city.
In this romantic region, 19th century villas are covered in vines and set amid stunted palm trees. It’s a bliss-y area made for nature lovers.
You have several lakes to choose from and they all have their charms —Lake Como, Lake Garda, and Lake Maggiore.
Lake Como offering a heady mix of scenery, opulent palazzi, and relaxing vistas. Lake Maggiore doesn’t have quite the panache of Lake Como, but still has a faded elegance.
Lake Orta is smaller and less developed, a hidden gem of quietude without the crowds. It’s a favorite escape of the Milanese, who’ve nicknamed it Cinderella.
Here’s how to spend one week in the Italian Lake District:
Day 1: Arrive in and explore Milan
Day 2: Explore Lake Como, base in Varenna
Day 3: Explore Lake Como, ferry to Bellagio
Day 4: Explore Lake Maggiore, base in Stresa
Day 5: Explore Lake Maggiore
Day 6: Explore Lake Orta, stay in Villa Crespi
Day 7. Explore Lake Orta
More time in Italy? From the Lake District, head east to Venice. Here’s my two day itinerary for Venice.
Alternatively, head back to Milan and follow itinerary #11, which takes you on an amazing road trip from Milan to Rome.
Want more information about this itinerary? Check out these guides:
7. One Week Dolomites Itinerary
Italy’s dramatic rocky rooftop is the Dolomites. This region of Italy offers some of the best mountain thrills in Europe. The Dolomites feature flower speckled meadows, turquoise lakes, jagged gray cliffs, and spectacular driving routes.
Here, the region doesn’t even seem like Italy. It’s more Austrian and German in a felt-hat-with-feathers way. The city of Bolzano is the gateway to the Dolomites. There’s yogurt and yodeling for breakfast. The Dolomites are especially beautiful in the fall.
And more hiking than you can imagine. Probably the most stunning hike is Tre Cime di Lavaredo Hike.
Day 1: Arrive and explore Trento
Day 2: Day trip to Rovereto and Lago di Tenno
Day 3: Drive to Bressanone, stop at Lago di Carezzo en route
Day 4: Day trip to Secede
Day 5: Drive to Lago di Braies, overnight in Misurina
Day 6: Explore Lake Misurina
Day 7: Tre Cime di Lavaredo Hike
This Dolomites itinerary has three bases: Trento (2 nights), Bressanone (2 nights), and Misurina (3 nights).
The nearest airport is Venice Treviso and Venice Marco Polo. If you want to visit Venice before the Dolomites, here’s my two day itinerary for Venice. After leaving Venice, you’ll head to Trento, a very underrated city in Italy. Trento is frescoed and surrounded by mountains.
More time in Italy? Head to the Italian Lake District. Lake Garda is about 3 hours away. See itinerary #6.
8. One Week in Rome (or Naples) and the Amalfi Coast
This 1 week in Italy itinerary begins in Rome. From Rome, it’s over 3 hours to the drool- worthy Amalfi Coast. If you’ve been to Rome and would rather skip the drive or train ride, you can spend you first two days in Naples instead.
Like Rome, Naples is a big city that can be chaotic. But Naples’ historic core is rich and will give you a taste of the quintessentially Neapolitan lifestyle. Naples’ finest attractions are its treasure chest Archaeological Museum and the Capodimonte Museum.
With its stunning scenery, hill towns, and historic ruins, the Amalfi Coast is one of the world’s most scenic rides. From Sorrento to Salerno, the vistas will leave your mouth gaping and your camera’s memory card full. Villas cling to cliffs and sandy coves beckon below.
Over the centuries, the spectacular scenery has been a siren call for the rich and famous, luring Roman emperor Tiberius, Richard Wagner, Sophia Loren, Gore Vidal, and others to the Amalfi Coast’s special brand of la dolce vita.
Wedged on a ledge over the sea, the serene cliff top town of Sorrento makes a perfect springboard for visiting the Amalfi Coast. From Sorrento, you can day trip to Pompeii, Positano, Capri, and even Naples.
There’s a saying that Positano “bites deep,” it’s so dreamy. Positano is the star of the Amalfi Coast. The town comes complete with sherbet colored cliffside homes, stunning beaches, and tiny cobbled lanes.
Rugged mountainous Capri is one of the world’s most glamorous island. Capri was made famous as the vacation hideaway of Roman Emperors Augustus and Tiberius. Today, it’s crowded. But even with the crowds, it’s drop dead gorgeous, set on a glittering blue sea.
Pompeii is an ancient Roman town, which was stopped in its tracks by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD 79. Once buried under ash, the well preserved ruins of Pompeii offer the best look anywhere at what life in Rome was like 2,000 years ago.
Here’s how to spend one week in Rome and the Amalfi Coast:
Day 1: Arrive and explore Rome
Day 2: Explore Rome
Day 3: Explore Rome
Day 4: Day Trip to Tivoli (Hadian’s Villa & Villa d’Este)
Day 5: Train or drive to Sorrento, explore Sorento
Day 6: Day Trip to Positano
Day 7: Day Trip to Pompeii or Capri
Need more information for this one week Italy itinerary? Check out these guides:
9. One Week in Northern Italy: Venice to Milan
This one week road trip from Venice to Milan in northern Italy is a popular tourist route.
It’s only a 3 hour drive from Venice to Milan.
But this route is dense with amazing must see medieval villages, ornate palazzos, Roman ruins, and secret hidden gems of the Renaissance. There’s plenty of great destinations to explore along the way.
This northern Italy road trip begins in Venice, the starting point for your road trip. It assumes you’ve explored the heady attractions of the world’s most romantic floating city, and are embarking to explore more of Italy.
From Venice, you’ll visit Verona, a town for romantics, and Mantua, a town for Renaissance lovers. You’ll also stop in Brescia and Bergamo before landing in Milan.
Here’s how to spend one week on a road trip from Venice to Milan:
Day 1: Leave Venice, stop in Padua and Vicenza, overnight in Verona
Day 2: Explore Verona, overnight in Verona
Day 3: From Verona, day trip to Mantua
Day 4: Drive to Brescia, stopping in Sirmione on the way, overnight in Brescia
Day 5: Explore Brescia, overnight in Brescia
Day 6: Drive to Bergamo, explore Bergamo, overnight in Milan
Day 7: Explore Milan
Need more information for this one week itinerary? Check out these guides:
10. One Week in Rome + Umbria
I’ve covered Rome above. Beautiful Umbria is quite similar To Tuscany. It’s just as sublimely picturesque, but less crowded. You can enjoy Italy’s scenic medieval hill towns and countryside.
Charming Orvieto is one of Italy’s most striking hill towns. Less than 90 minutes from Rome, Orvieto sits majestically atop a big chunk of volcanic stone amid cypress-dotted plains. As I mentioned above, Orvieto’s highlight is its colorful-inside-and-out cathedral and pretty cobbled old town.
The stunning hill town of Assisi is a destination for art lovers. Because Assisi was the home and final resting place of St. Francis, it’s also a pilgrimage destination. In fact, the 13th century Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi is one of Italy’s best known churches.
The tiny towns of Umbria — Spello, Spoleto, Perugia, and Gubbio — are utterly charming. This is where you’ll really get a taste of real Umbrian culture.
Here’s how to spend one week exploring Rome and Umbria:
Day 1: Explore Rome
Day 2: Explore Rome
Day 3: Drive to Orvieto, stop en route in Civita di Bagnoregio
Day 4: Explore Orvieto
Day 5: Drive to Assisi and explore, overnight in Assisi
Day 6: Day trip to Spello and Spoleto
Day 7: Day trip to Perugia and/or Gubbio
In this one week Italy route, you’ll start in Rome. For a base, you’ll be in Rome (2 nights) Orvieto (2 nights), and Assisi (3 nights).
More time? Head north to Tuscany with itinerary #2.
11. One Week Milan to Rome Itinerary
The journey from Milan to Rome is a popular tourist route. It’s only a 6 hour drive from Milan to Rome. But this well-traveled road trip route is dense with amazing must see medieval villages, ornate palazzos, Roman ruins, and sublime treasures of the Renaissance.
You start with Italy’s exciting northern capital of Milan and end in Rome, Italy’s ancient southern capital of Rome. Along the way, you’ll visit some of Italy’s most beautiful towns in northern Italy. You’ll experience a near overdose of art, from Ancient Rome to treasures of the Renaissance.
With this itinerary, you’ll get to visit Bologna. Nicknamed La Grassa, or the Big Fat, for its delicious food, Bologna just oozes medieval charm.
Bologna is a bit of a hidden gem in Italy. But it shouldn’t be. Bologna is a historic city filled with striking architecture, beautiful piazzas, a swathe of palaces and towers, and gourmet restaurants. Eat, eat, and eat more!
Situated atop three hills, Siena is Italy’s ultimate rustic hill town. Its thriving historic center, with movie set lanes cascading every which way, offers Italy’s best medieval city experience.
Here’s how you can spend one week on a road trip from Milan to Rome.
Day 1: Explore Milan
Day 2: Pick up car drive to Bologna and explore
Day 3: Drive to Florence and explore
Day 4: Explore Florence and optional half day trip to Pisa
Day 5: Stop in Siena en route Rome
Day 6: Explore Rome
Day 7: Explore Rome
In this busy 7 day Milan to Rome travel itinerary, you’ll have three bases: Milan (1 night), Bologna (1 night), Florence (2 nights), and Rome (3 nights).
More time in Italy? Spend more time in Bologna, one of Italy’s most underrated cities. Or, head to the Amalfi Coast with itinerary #8.
Need more information for this Milan to Rome road trip? Check out these travel guides and resources:
I hope you’ve enjoyed my one week itineraries for Italy. You may enjoy these other Europe itineraries and travel guides:
If you’d need some destination for a one week vacation in Italy, pin it for later.