When I am asked to plan a perfect two-week trip to Italy, I recommend beginning in Venice and traveling to Florence, Pisa, Rome, Sorrento, Pompeii, Capri, and Amalfi. I recommend two nights in Venice, three nights in Florence, four nights in Rome, and four nights in Sorrento. On this trip, see St. Peter’s at the Vatican, the Sistene Chapel, Michelangelo’s David, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the Amalfi Coast, Capri, the Colosseum in Rome, St. Mark’s in Venice, and Pompeii, among many other world-class sights.
Below is a sample two-week Italy itinerary with suggested don’t miss sights in each city. I have included tips with website links for saving time and money. I do not receive any commission based on any recommendations. The recommendations are based only on my personal opinion after visiting Italy many times. Be sure to listen to my podcast by clicking on the audio bar at the end of this article for even more information.
For a one-week version of the trip that begins and ends in Rome, start on Day 6 of this itinerary. While you would miss Venice, Florence and Pisa, the one-week version of the trip includes Rome, the Vatican, Pompeii, Sorrento, Capri and Amalfi.
Day 1 – Venice, Italy
Travel to Venice. (For example, if flying from the United States, you may want to fly overnight on a Friday night to begin a two-week vacation on Saturday. So, Day 1 of this itinerary would be Saturday. Day 14 of this itinerary would then fall on a Friday. Using this plan, you would return on either Day 14 or Day 15, Saturday.)
If arriving in Venice at the airport or cruise terminal, take the Alilaguna ferry for 14 Euros from the airport or the cruise terminal to St. Mark’s Square. If this works for your plans, check the Alilaguna Ferry website for the latest official information here:
After arriving in Venice, check in to your hotel. If possible, stay in the heart of Venice near St. Mark’s Square. In addition to the famous, expensive hotels including The Gritti Palace and Hotel Danieli, consider staying at the Hotel Diana Venice.
Hotel Diana Venice near St. Mark’s Square (about 300 Euros per night in summer). For more information or to make reservations, check the hotel’s English website here:
After you check in to your hotel, plan to rest for an hour or so. Then just go out and explore St. Mark’s Square area. If your itinerary coincides with this recommended schedule, you will be here on a Saturday night, so there will be many orchestras playing in the square. There are orchestras playing most nights in the summer, too. Check the menus outside of the restaurants on the square and select one that looks good to you. Note the service charges, as they can be quite expensive here. Or, just stroll and take advantage of the inexpensive options like the McDonalds located here, too.
Day 2 – Venice, Italy
Today, explore Venice. Be sure to see St. Mark’s Basilica and the Doges Palace. Then, walk along the sides of the canals and shop. Peek inside churches to see beautiful works of art.
Follow the signs from St. Mark’s Basilica away from the Grand Canal for about 10 minutes to reach the Rialto Bridge. There is a nice restaurant, Al Buso, at the base of the bridge on the right when you reach the canal. It is usually open for lunch and dinner. If you see the coffee spoon that I dropped in the canal, please let me know.
Since 1949, Al Buso restaurant serves pasta and seafood at the base of the Rialto Bridge. Prices are reasonable for Venice.
Take the waterbus back to St. Mark’s from here for 7.50 Euros. If you will use the waterbus more than one trip, consider the 20 Euro day pass. See the waterbus ticket information here:
When you get off the waterbus, walk alongside the Grand Canal until you reach the 14th century palace that is now the famous Hotel Danieli. Try to stop in the lobby even if you are not staying here. The delicious, expensive rooftop terrace restaurant has views over the lagoon. We splurged here once, and my husband has not let me forget about it yet!
Skip the line option for St. Mark’s Basilica and the Doges Palace with Walks of Italy, about $78 USD for the 3-hour tour. Tickets are available most days. Times vary. For the latest prices and to check tour dates, check here: https://www.walksofitaly.com/venice-tours/legendary-venice-st-marks-basilica-tours
A gondola ride can cost more than 100 Euros per person. Save money by taking a traghetto across the Grand Canal for as little as 2 Euros each way instead of taking a traditional gondola. See information here:
Day 3 – Venice to Florence, Italy
Take the waterbus to train station for 7.50 Euros. Then take the train two hours to Florence.
Buy individual train tickets through Trenitalia, Italy’s official train website in English here:
Or, use Day 1 of 3 days in a month Eurail Italy-only pass to travel from Venice to Florence via train. The current price for 2018 summer travel is $204 US for adults. There are discounts for students and children.
Check in to your hotel. Go to see David at the Galleria dell’Accademia museum.
Buy advance, skip-the-line tickets to the Galleria dell’Accademia at the official website below. You will need to request your specific date and time. Most days, tickets are sold until at least 5:00 pm.
Day 4 – Florence, Italy
Explore Florence. Be sure to visit the Ponte Vecchio, the medieval bridge over the River Arno lined with jewelry shops. Have lunch at an outside café in the Piazza della Signoria where you will see the copy of Michelangelo’s David, that replaced the original that stood here until 1873, in front of the Palazzo Vecchio.
1:45 pm – 5:15 pm – For about 50 Euros, take a walking tour of Florence to make sure you see all the top sights, including the Duomo, and visit the Uffizi Museum, as well. Book directly with Viator.com here:
Day 5 – Florence to Pisa and return to Florence, Italy
Buy train tickets or use Day 2 of 3 days in a month Eurail Italy-only pass to travel one hour from Florence to Pisa and return. See the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Have lunch, shop, and return to Florence.
Day 6 – Florence to Rome, Italy
Buy train tickets or use Day 3 of 3 days in a month Eurail Italy-only pass to travel one and ½ hours from Florence to Rome.
Option for a one-week itinerary:
- Skip Venice, Pisa and Florence and begin in Rome. Combine the suggested sights in Rome on Days 9 and 10 into one busy day, so you will begin on a Friday night and end on Saturday or Sunday if you stay with this schedule.
- If you begin in Rome, a taxi to a central hotel should not cost more the 70 Euro.
- Or, take the airport express train to Termini Station. See directions below.
- This link has information about ways to get from the airport to Termini Train Station:
Rome Marriott Grand Hotel Flora on the Via Veneto (about 400 Euros per night in summer)
Check in to your hotel. Take a Walks of Italy night tour of Rome to get an overview of some of Rome’s famous sights.
Recommended Overview Tour:
$46 tour – 5 – 7:30 pm from Piazza Navona to Spanish Steps (includes Pantheon and Trevi Fountain):
Day 7 – Rome, Italy
Explore the Coliseum and the Roman Forum. Consider skipping the line and visiting these ancient sights with an expert guide to learn more details about them.
Skip the line and learn about the Coliseum and Roman Forum with an expert guide for about 80 Euros per person on a two-hour walking tour.
After you visit the Forum, visit the nearby Mamertime Prison where St. Paul and, possibly, St. Peter were incarcerated. If it is open, be sure to go downstairs to the lower cell to see the upside down cross. This is in honor of St. Peter who is thought to have been crucified in the upside down position.
Possibly eat lunch or dinner with a view of the Colisuem at Royal Art Café at Piazza del Colosseo. Here is the website for more information.
Day 8 – Vatican City, Rome, Italy
Spend today exploring Vatican City. Buy tickets in advance directly from the Vatican. Make your way to the Vatican Museums. Get there 15 minutes before opening time. Enter with your print-at-home ticket.
Vatican skip-the-line touring calendar with tickets:
When you arrive at the Vatican Museums, walk all the way through the museums following the signs to the Sistine Chapel. View Michelangelo’s greatest work in relative quiet as the tour groups and crowds begin to join you.
After visiting the Sistene Chapel, make your way back outside the chapel to spend some time viewing the Raphael Tapestries. The tapestries were commissioned in the early 1500’s. They were originally intended to be hung on the lower walls of the Sistine Chapel. They depict the lives of St. Peter and St. Paul.
Walk back into the Sistene Chapel. Exit the rear of the Sistene Chapel and walk into the crypt of St. Peter’s Basilica. See the tombs of the popes, including the tomb of St. Peter, buried directly under the altar of St. Peter’s Basilica.
Walk upstairs into St. Peter’s Basilica. Over 60,000 people can fit into the basilica! Do not miss seeing Michelangelo’s Pieta near the main entrance.
Walk outside into St. Peter’s Square. Look up to see the statues of the saints above the basilica. About 1,000,000 people can fit into the square and the streets leading into the square!
Day 9 – Rome, Italy
Explore the Pantheon. Walk to the Spanish Steps. Go back to the Trevi Fountain and throw in 3 coins. Shop on Via del Corso. Have dinner at an oudoor café in Piazza Navona.
Day 10 – Rome to Sorrento, Italy
Travel to Sorrento in the heart of Italy’s Amalfi Coast. Check in to your hotel. Do some shopping in Sorrento and have dinner in the main shopping area.
Transportation and Savings Tip:
Take the Rome to Sorrento Marozzi bus for only 19 Euros. Times:
7-10:45 am (Friday, Saturday, Sunday, holidays)
3-7 pm (weekdays)
Hilton Sorrento Palace (closed December 2017 through February 2018 for renovations) This hotel up on a hill in Sorrento has an amazing pool and balcony rooms that look out to the Amalfi Coast with Mount Vesuvius in the background. Rooms begin at about 350 Euros per night in summer. Book directly through Hilton.
Day 11 – Sorrento to Pompeii and return to Sorrento, Italy
Take the local train about 30 minutes from Sorrento to Pompeii early to beat the crowds. Visit Pompeii.
Day 12 – Sorrento to Capri and return to Sorrento, Italy
Take the ferry from Sorrento to Capri. Spend the day in Capri. Sail through the Faglioni Rocks on a boat tour around the island. Take a chair lift to the top of the mountain. Shop in Anacapri and Capri Town.
See my detailed Capri walking tour here:
Day 13 – Sorrento to Amalfi and return to Sorrento, Italy
Take the bus to Amalfi. Visit the Cattedrale di Sant’Andrea, Cathedral of St. Andrew. The Apostle Saint Andrew is buried in this 9th century cathedral.
Shop in the town. Have lunch, and take the ferry back from Amalfi Pier to Sorrento. See Positano up close from the water. Have dinner in Sorrento. Be sure to enjoy some limoncello!
Day 14 – Sorrento to Naples or Sorrento to Rome
Sorrento to Naples Option – Fly out of Naples on Day 14, or see Naples on Day 14 and fly home from Naples on Day 15.
Sorrento to Rome Option – Travel to Rome on Day 14 and fly home from Rome on Day 15.
Transportation and Savings Tip for Sorrento to Rome Travel:
Take the Marozzi bus from Sorrento to Rome:
5-9 pm (Friday, Saturday, Sunday, holidays)
6-9:45 am (weekdays)
Then, take a 50 minute train to the Rome airport.
Rome Airport Hotel Recommendation:
Hilton Rome Airport – in the airport – around $200 per night
Remember, you can click on my podcast tab below to listen to an accompanying podcast with even more information.
If you have questions, feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Until next time I hope all of your travel days are just perfect!