Hop between four iconic Italian destinations on this 9-day whirlwind itinerary. Whisked between cities by comfortable high-speed trains, you can forget about the logistics and immerse yourself in the experience. Cruise the misty canals of Venice, marvel at Renaissance art in Florence, discover ancient history and modern culture in Rome, then change gears and end your grand tour soaking up the sun on the stylish Amalfi Coast. With two days in each location, you can get oriented with an immersive guided tour, then spend the following day exploring at your own pace.

Highlights

  • Take a traditional gondola ride through Venetian canals
  • Discover the Renaissance treasures of Florence
  • Explore trendy neighborhoods & ancient ruins in Rome
  • Embrace "La Dolce Vita" on the sun-soaked Amalfi Coast

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Benvenuto! Arrive in Venice Venice
Day 2 Venice Free Day Venice
Day 3 High-Speed Train to Florence Florence
Day 4 Florence Free Day Florence
Day 5 High-Speed Train to Rome Rome
Day 6 Rome Free Day Rome
Day 7 High-Speed Train to Naples, Private Transfer to Sorrento Sorrento
Day 8 Amalfi Coast or Pompeii Tour Sorrento
Day 9 Arrivederci Italia  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Benvenuto! Arrive in Venice

Welcome to Venice!

Welcome to Italy! Upon arriving at Venice's Marco Polo Airport, transfer to your accommodation and get settled in.  

Venice in northern Italy is famous for both industry and tourism. With nicknames like "Queen of the Adriatic," "City of Water," and "The Floating City," it's clear that the city's myriad canals are its main draw. Stretching across 117 small islands in the marshy Venetian Lagoon along the Adriatic Sea, the city has long been a commercial and cultural hub thanks to its strategic placement. Silk, grains, spices, and art were traded through the Middle Ages, making Venice very wealthy. The city is also famous for its many beautiful historic attractions, such as the Piazza San Marco and San Marco Basilica, the Grand Canal, and the ornate Doge's Palace. The Lido de Venezia is a popular luxury destination that attracts actors, critics, and other cinema industry celebrities.

After some time for rest and relaxation, choose one of the following afternoon tours:

Depart from San Luca Square for a Best of Venice Walking Tour and Gondola Ride. You'll admire the famous Rialto Bridge, then pass the beautiful Scala del Bovolo (Bovolo Staircase), a Gothic-Renaissance masterpiece located in a narrow square outside of the classic tourist itineraries. From there, you'll proceed to discover the area between Sant'Angelo Square and the Fenice Theatre. End the tour with a romantic gondola ride to see the city from a canal's-eye view.

If you want to spend more time on the water, choose a Grand Canal Guided Tour. You'll board a private motor launch and set sail from Venice's Grand Canal, known as “the most beautiful street in the world”. Admire and photograph the magnificent buildings, churches, and bridges as you pass, marveling at the wide range of architectural styles. Your guide will share the history and secrets of the city as you continue through the Giudecca Canal, where you will discover other masterpieces such as the Churches of Redentore and San Giorgio Maggiore.

Skip the long lines with a Tour of Palazzo Ducale and Basilica San Marco. Ascend to a terrace for panoramic views of Piazza San Marco from above, then explore the Palazzo Ducale (the Doge's Palace), a Venetian Gothic palace built as the primary residence for the Doge of Venice in 1340. Its resplendent interior decor and priceless works of art make it a must-see for history and architecture buffs. Admire the exquisite gold mosaics and marble floors of the Italo-Byzantine Basilica, then cross the Bridge of Sighs to tour the medieval prisons where political prisoners were held.

Day 2: Venice Free Day

Venice's central Piazza San Marco (St Mark's Square)

Today is a free day to explore Venice at your own pace. Make the most of your time in the city with some of the following suggestions:

  • Discover art at the Ca' Pesaro Galleria Internazionale d'Arte Moderna, Peggy Guggenheim Collection Modern Art Museum, and La Biennale di Venezia Art Museum.
  • Explore San Giorgio Maggiore, one of Venice's smaller islands separate from the main canals.  
  • See an opera show at the Teatro La Fenice
  • Haggle for produce at the busy Mestre market, held every Wednesday and Friday.
  • Go shopping for luxury items on Le Mercerie and Salizada San Moisè.
  • Browse textiles, craft shops, unique boutiques, and galleries in the bohemian San Samuele district. 
  • Rent a kayak and explore Venice from the water.

For lunch, grab food on the go and find a spot by a canal to sit down. Depending on how hungry you are, look out for pizza al volo (a full pizza to takeaway), or a slice of your favorite known as pizza al taglio. Around the Rialto Market are restaurants and bacari bars serving good food all day long.  At dinnertime, go for cichetti, small plates of Venetian tapas, and order the fresh seafood dishes.

Day 3: High-Speed Train to Florence, Choose a Tour

The view from Florence's Duomo
The view from Florence's Duomo

After breakfast, proceed to Venice's Santa Lucia Station to catch the morning high-speed train to Florence. After just two hours in comfortable Premium Class, you'll arrive in Tuscany's regional capital and its most populous city. Long considered a cultural capital and the "Jewel of the Renaissance," Florence is home to many masterpieces of Renaissance art and architecture. 

Check-in to your accommodation, then head out to explore the city on one of these memorable tours:

See some of the city's greatest art on a VIP Accademia Gallery Tour. Join a small group to immerse yourself in the collections of the Accademia Gallery, home to Michelangelo's iconic David as well as many other important works of sculpture, art, and tapestry.

Step back in time to the Renaissance on the Florence Highlights and Medici Family Walking Tour. A knowledgeable guide leads you through years of fascinating history safely preserved within the architecture, buildings, churches, and art that were sponsored by the powerful Medici family. Visit the grand Palazzo Medici and Palazzo Vecchio, where you can also admire the open-air sculptures found within the Loggia Della Signoria. Continue to the Pitti Palace, then the banks of the Arno to reach Ponte Vecchio, a bridge famous for its beautiful gold jewelry. Here you'll find the hidden Vasari Corridor, which allowed Florence's most famous family to travel secretly between the Pitti Palace and Palazzo Vecchio.

If you feel like something a little more active, join a Florence Bike Tour to discover the city and its beauty while cycling. The tour travels on roads that are too far to be reached by foot, too narrow for a bus, and too often unseen by tourists. Starting near Palazzo Medici, you'll set off for some of the most remarkable and secluded monuments in the city, including Santa Maria Novella, San Frediano, Ponte Vecchio, Santa Croce, the Uffizi, Piazza del Duomo, Piazza Della Repubblica, Piazza Della Signoria, and Palazzo Pitti.

Plan your trip to Italy
Customize your trip with help from a local travel specialist.

Day 4: Florence Free Day

Florence's Piazzale degli Uffizi
Florence's Piazzale degli Uffizi

Today is yours to explore some of Florence's other notable attractions and highlights. Visit museums, go shopping, or discover the city at your own pace. 

  • Visit the Chiesa e Museo di Orsanmichele, which served as the granary for the Sisters of San Michele.
  • Head to the south bank of the Arno River to the Piazzale Michelangelo viewpoint for panoramic views of the city.
  • Stroll through the peaceful and relaxing greenery of the Boboli Gardens, Florence's "Green Lung" and a phenomenal open-air museum surrounded by centuries-old oak trees, sculptures, fountains, and lawns.
  • See artwork in the Uffizi Gallery, one of the world's most famous museums thanks to the vast number of unique artworks and masterpieces that are housed there. 
  • Take a day trip to the Tuscan countryside to visit Chianti, Siena, or San Gimignano and visit local wineries.
  • Explore science and art at the Museo dell'Opera del Duomo and the Museo Galileo.
  • Shop for hidden treasures and your lunch special in the San Lorenzo market.

Head to the north side of the Arno River next to the Ponte Vecchio bridge for a pre-dinner cocktail on the terrace while you enjoy the sunset, then make your way to the Sant'Ambrogio neighborhood for dinner accompanied by a glass of Tuscan wine.

Day 5: High-Speed Train to Rome, Choose a Tour

The ancient Roman Forum
View of Rome from the Tiber River

After breakfast, make your way to Florence's Santa Maria Novella Station to catch your high-speed train to Rome. An hour-and-a-half later you'll arrive in the Eternal City. According to legend, Rome was founded by brothers Romulus and Remus in 753 BCE, atop what is now Palatine Hill. The long-time center of the powerful Roman Empire, Rome boasts nearly 3,000 years of architecture, history, and culture. These days, Italy's capital is considered one of Europe's top cities thanks to its ancient monuments, incredible art masterpieces, and cosmopolitan vibe. It's a center for fashion, with a buzzing food culture and a growing nightlife scene. 

Once you're settled and rested, devote the afternoon to one of these guided experiences:

Skip the lines and dive into the history of the Roman Empire with a small group Colosseum, Palatine Hill, and Roman Forum Tour. Your knowledgeable guide will share an overview of Roman history and art before entering the Colosseum to marvel at the iconic amphitheater, the epicenter of Ancient Rome's public entertainment. The tour will continue with the visit of the Roman Forum, the Temple of Julius Caesar, the Curia Julia, and the still-intact Senate House before ending at Palatine Hill.

Great for visitors who want to explore Rome without an organized itinerary or schedule, the Rome Hop-On/Hop-Off Bus Tour lets you access all the highlights of the city independently. Accompanied by an audio guide, the comfortable buses, which run all day, make stops at many major attractions, including the Colosseum, Roman Forum and Palatine Hill, the Trevi Fountain, the Pantheon, Piazza Navona, Piazza di Spagna, the Vatican Museums, and St. Peter’s Basilica. You can get off whenever you choose, and then catch another bus when you’re ready to move on.

For a warm welcome to Rome, join a Twilight City Stroll & Gelato-Tasting. Coming to a city, as wonderfully chaotic as Rome can be daunting, but this tour offers you a warm Italian welcome and gets you set up for the rest of your visit. See Rome’s historic center top sights and get oriented in the Eternal City with an expert tour guide. Your evening stroll through the historic center includes the Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain, and the Pantheon—plus free gelato.

Foodies should opt for a VIP Pizza Making Cooking Class experience. Led by a professional Italian pizzaiolo, the cooking class will be held in a typical pizzeria, set in one of the most beautiful Roman areas. Using fresh, local ingredients— tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, basil, and much more—you will learn how to prepare an authentic Italian pizza and then enjoy the fruits of your labor!

Day 6: Rome Free Day

Cobbled streets in Rome's Trastevere neighborhood
Cobbled streets in Rome's Trastevere neighborhood

Today is a free day to explore the city on your own. Select from the following suggestions to make the most of your time in Rome

  • Visit the Museo Nazionale di Castel Sant'Angelo history museum.
  • Tour the Renaissance Villa Farnesina in the Trastevere district.
  • See art in the Palazzo Colonna and Palazzo Doria Pamphilj.
  • Go for a stroll in the buzzing Monti neighborhood, an eclectic area in the city center full of hip wine bars and trendy boutiques.
  • Head out of the city for a day at the Ostia beach for miles of sand and warm sea.
  • Spend an afternoon at the Musei Capitolini, the oldest and one of the best museums in Italy.
  • Wander the ornate rooms of the Galleria Borghese and explore the splendid frescoes, stories, and masterful techniques behind the world's most beautiful art museum.

In the evening head to the Trastevere neighborhood for dinner at an osteria or a trattoria, followed by drinks at a trendy wine bar.

Day 7: High-Speed Train to Naples, Private Transfer to Sorrento 

Sorrento sits along the colorful Amalfi Coast

This morning you'll make your way to Rome's Termini Station to catch the high-speed train to Naples. After a quick hour-long journey, you'll arrive in Naples, where a private transfer whisks you to your hotel in beautiful Sorrento. Beloved by Italian and international vacationers for its stunning views, tranquil atmosphere, and terraced lemon groves. Sorrento is known as the gateway to the glittering Amalfi Coast.

After settling in, set out to explore Sorrento at your leisure. Soak in the sunshine in Piazza Tasso, Sorrento's largest and most popular gathering place, or stroll from the piazza down Corso Italia, a busy street lined with shops and boutiques. 

Other recommended activities include:

  • Go shopping at the colorful Via San Renato street market, a weekly open-air market selling everything from clothes to household items to fresh produce and delicious cheeses.
  • Get lunch in Marina Grande Beach, Sorrento's fishing village that's famous for its seafood restaurants and volcanic sandy beach (the perfect place to relax after a delicious meal).
  • Tour the nearby coastal city of Salerno and the ancient Greek city of Paestum (the site contains some of the world's best-preserved Greek temples). 
  • Hop on a ferry to reach the legendary isle of Capri and visit its magical Blue Grotto.

As the sun sets, head to the Puolo neighborhood for dinner. Its crescent beach and waterfront promenade make it a perennial favorite with locals.

Day 8: Amalfi Coast or Pompeii Tour

Mount Vesuvius overlooks the ruins of Pompeii

After breakfast, choose between two unforgettable experiences to immerse yourself in this magnificent Italian region:

Discover the famed beauty of one of Italy’s most iconic shorelines with an Amalfi Coast Experience. This full-day tour whisks you along spectacular coastal roads in an air-conditioned minibus, stopping to visit the region's three most beautiful villages—Positano, Amalfi, and Ravello. With tips from your knowledgeable guide, enjoy leisure time in each town to stroll narrow cobblestone streets, shop for unique handmade goods, or perhaps dine on the waterfront.

History buffs should join a Pompeii Small Group Tour to explore one of Italy's most evocative archaeological finds on a half-day guided tour. Travel by bus to the UNESCO-listed site, where a licensed guide leads you around the ruins of the ancient Roman city buried by the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius. Marvel at excavated houses, marketplaces, baths, and frescoes remarkably preserved by ash, and learn about the civilization that once thrived here before the disaster.

Day 9: Arrivederci Italia

Views over Sorrento from a hotel terrace
Views over Sorrento from a hotel terrace

Enjoy a final Italian breakfast with an unforgettable view of the Bay of Naples, then prepare to transfer to the airport for your flight home, or continue on your trip. Arrividerci!