Italy Tour for Independent Travellers Package 5
Day 1: Arrive in Rome
Fly into Rome, take the train in from the airport and spend the afternoon and evening relaxing.
Take a leisurely stroll around the neighborhood of your hotel (we recommend staying at one of these budget hotels with central locations), and indulge in your first Italian meal. Roman food is unique to the rest of Italy, so ask your concierge or host for their recommendations on the best amatriciana or cacio e pepe in the neighborhood. If you find yourself near the Spanish Steps, you can try one of these restaurants.
Days 2 & 3: Explore Florence
You’ll see everything Rome has to offer soon, but today we’ll take a train to Florence, about two hours away from Rome’s Termini train station. Book these tickets well in advance for the lowest prices (from €17!) directly from Trenitalia, the national railway. (By the way, don’t be confused if you type “Florence” into the search and nothing comes up. You need to search for “Roma” to “Firenze.”)
Florence, the heart of Tuscany, is also one of the most beautiful and culturally important cities in the country. Arrive in the early afternoon and, after checking into your hotel, spend the rest of the day wandering around the famed Basilica (the “Duomo”) and climbing to the top. They even offer free Duomo tours. You’ll be hungry after the walk, and when in Florence, make sure to eat a panini or the famous dish, Bistecca alla Fiorentina! (Read more posts about eating for cheap in Florence.)
The next day is for sightseeing. After a tasty breakfast, spend the day exploring Florence, whether you want to visit Michelangelo’s David sculpture in the Accademia di Belle Arti di Firenze, pore over art in the Uffizi Gallery, or shop for handmade leather goods and souvenirs.
Day 4 & 5: Strolling in Venice
Head to Venice by train from Florence, a ride that takes approximately two hours. Again, book those tickets in advance through Trenitalia (and search for “Venezia”).
Once in Venice, you can immerse yourself in the romance of the canals and beauty of handmade blown glass. Venice is known for its seafood, so take advantage and feast on octopus and calamari. Unfortunately, Venice is also known for overpriced, tourist trap restaurants, so ask a local for recommendations or try one of these three Venetian trattorias that locals like. (Read more of our posts about food in Venice.)
When choosing a hotel in Venice, we like to go close, but not too close, to St. Mark’s Square. The Castello neighborhood is a nice option, with several affordable options that are tucked away and quiet-ish, but still super-convenient. Want a canal view? Consider these budget hotel picks. Want more options? Here’s a list of our favorite hotels in Venice and 5 cheap and charming hotels that we love.
On your second day in Venice, start your day at a delicious Venetian bakery, and then get ready for an unforgettable walk. From the Piazza San Marco (where every building turns a lovely shade of pink during sunset), to Doge’s Palace and Saint Mark’s brilliant Basilica, there’s plenty to do.
From our Venice sightseeing guide: visit these 10 sights for under €10, check out these lesser-known museums, hit up these 5 free sights, or take a walk through the Jewish ghetto.
Of course, one of the best things to do in Venice is sip a glass of wine while watching the gondolas glide by. You can also hop on a ferry, if a gondola ride is too expensive for your tastes. (It is for ours!)
Days 6 – 8: A Roman Holiday
Today, you’ll head back to Rome by train, passing through hill country and several castles along the way. It’s only three hours on the high-speed train from Venice, but the trip takes much longer on a regional train. (If booked in advance, the fast train will probably be about the same price as the slow one!)
When choosing a hotel in Rome, check out this list of our favorite budget hotels like Papa Germano. This includes several that are near the train station, as well as those in extremely convenient locations near the Pantheon and Piazza Navona and Spanish Steps. (See all recommended hotels in Rome.)
Once checked in, take a night stroll through the city. The piazzas are bustling until late in the evening, and the city sparkles at night. If you have time, visit the Trevi Fountain by moonlight.
Plan what you want to see in Rome, and split it up over the next few days. A tour of the Vatican will take about half a day, as will a tour of the Colosseum and Roman Forum.
But give yourself at least one day to explore Rome away from the big sights. Explore outdoor markets, shop for Italian fashion, relax in one of Rome’s many gardens and parks, and just wander along the city’s cobblestone side streets!
Don’t forget to eat lots of gelato and drink house wine! Seriously, the house wine is much cheaper and just as good as most of the bottled stuff. It’s local! And keep an eye out for these 5 iconic and affordable Roman dishes. (Read more about eating and drinking in Rome.)
Day 9 – Day trip
If you’re in love with Rome, go ahead and spend another day checking more attractions off of your wish list.
If you’re up for something new, there are several fun day trips easily accessible from Rome. Whether you want to enjoy some sun at nearby beaches, the hillside villages of Castelli Romani, or the ruins of Ostia Antica (one of the best-kept secrets in all of Italy), getting out of the city is worth it to see a different side of Italy before you leave. Most trains depart from Termini Station.
Day 10 – Arrivederci Italy
Have one last cappuccino and cornetto for breakfast and you’re off! Of course, your memories from 10 days in bella Italia will last a lifetime.
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Vacation Style Holiday Type
Activity Level Challenging