- Wander through Florence's beautiful medieval piazzas & cathedrals
- Soak in the tradition and culture as you see Rome's top cultural sites
- Explore the ancient ruins of Pompei & hike Mt. Vesuvius
- Spend time enjoying sunshine, fresh seafood, and medieval villages on the Amalfi Coast
- Escape to the island of Capri, playground for ancient Romans
|Day 1||Arrive in Rome, Travel to Florence||Florence|
|Day 2||Florence Self-Guided City Tour||Florence|
|Day 3||Tuscany Day Trip: Siena & San Gimignano||Florence|
|Day 4||Self-Guided Visit to Accademia Gallery & the Uffizi||Florence|
|Day 5||Florence to Rome, Colosseum & Forum Tour||Rome|
|Day 6||Self-Guided Vatican City Visit||Rome|
|Day 7||Half-Day Pizza Making & Wine Tasting Experience from Rome||Rome|
|Day 8||Rome to Sorrento, Pompeii en Route||Sorrento|
|Day 9||Capri and Anacapri Day Tour from Sorrento||Sorrento|
|Day 10||From Sorrento the Amalfi Coast||Amalfi Coast|
|Day 11||Free Day on the Amalfi Coast||Amalfi Coast|
|Day 12||From the Amalfi Coast to Rome||Rome|
|Day 13||Depart Rome|
Day 1: Arrive in Rome, Travel to Florence
Welcome to Italy! Arrive in one of Rome's two international airports, then transfer to the train station for a 1.5-hour ride on the high-speed train en route to Florence. Once in the city, transfer to the city center to check in to your hotel. If there's time after you arrive, head out to explore the city on your own.
Florence is home to many masterpieces of Renaissance art and architecture, including the iconic Duomo, a terracotta-tiled dome, and the Galleria dell'Accademia, which displays Michelangelo's 'David' sculpture. Make the most of this first day at some of these spots:
- Head to Studio Artemisia, located steps away from the Ponte Vecchio, for a class in ancient fresco painting techniques.
- Take a walk through the peaceful Boboli Gardens to see the oval-shaped Isolotto, a small island surrounded by various sculptures and lots of greenery.
In the evening, stroll around the historic L-shaped Piazza della Signoria, located in front of the Palazzo Vecchio, for some people watching, dinner, and drinks in the hip Sant'Ambrogio neighborhood.
Day 2: Florence Self-Guided City Tour
Spend the day strolling the streets of Florence and exploring this incredible city with a self-guided itinerary. All together, the route is just a couple of miles, but if you take your time to enjoy the sites along the way, you'll find it to be a full-day experience.
Start your day at the iconic Duomo, the earlier the better! Also known as the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, Florence’s Duomo is the third-largest church in the world. Entrance into the main sanctuary is free, but keep in mind there is a modesty dress code. There is often a line to get in, so give yourself an hour to properly visit this iconic spot.
From there, make the 5-minute walk over to the Mercato Centrale, on the second floor of the San Lorenzo market. There, you'll be able to stroll through the stalls of local goods and grab a morning coffee to start your day. Give yourself an hour or two to soak in the sights and smells, and to buy some traditional leather goods as souvenirs. After, the nearby Piazza della Republica is the perfect place to soak in the atmosphere and architecture of Florence's city center.
Take a moment to pass through the Piazza della Signoria, where replicas of famous statues, including that of Michelangelo's David, line the square. These works of art give the piazza an incomparable air of elegance- soak it in before stopping for lunch nearby.
Across this same piazza, you'll find the entrance to the Uffizi Gallery. Even if you decide not to peruse the expansive art collection, you can cross through its famed courtyard, Piazzale degli Uffizi, to make your way to the Ponte Vecchio. This famed bridge is now dotted with jewelry shops and is an iconic sight in Florence's cityscape. Cross the bridge, stopping to admire the views along the Arno River that passes quietly underneath.
End your day with a visit to Piazzale Michelangelo. It's a bit of an uphill climb or a quick taxi ride away. This spectacular viewpoint offers an incredible view of all of Florence and is the perfect place to watch the sunset before you head over to Piazza Santo Spirito for some pre-dinner aperitivos.
Day 3: Tuscany Day Trip: Siena & San Gimignano
In the morning, you'll head to the countryside to explore Tuscany. Your first stop will be the medieval village of San Gimignano, a UNESCO World Heritage Site an hour away from Florence. San Gimignano is known for its unique towers that dominate the village skyline. In the Middle Ages, noble families built these as a refuge when battling neighboring villages. While most of these across Tuscany were torn down when the villages came under Florentine control, San Gimignano's were left standing. Explore the beautiful squares, palaces, and churches of the city before taking a break with a coffee in a terraced cafe.
In the afternoon, you'll visit nearby Siena, a medieval city brimming with historic sites. You can't miss the incredible main square, Piazza del Campo, which is surrounded by the Gothic Pubblico Palace, the Tower of Mangia, and the Gaia Fountain. From here, walk over to the 13th-century cathedral, Duomo di Siena, which dominates the skyline of the city. In summer months, the town comes alive with festivities, as the Palio takes place in July and August. This exciting horse race, held twice a year in the main square of Siena, ignites the town in a fervor.
Finish the day with a visit to the medieval fortress town of Monteriggioni. The intact castle walls surround this town perched on a hillside, and are a sight to behold. Continue on to the Chianti Classico wine region to visit a typical Tuscan winery before returning to Florence for the evening.
Day 4: Self-Guided Visit to Accademia Gallery & the Uffizi
Spend a day exploring Florence and discovering its famous museums on your own. Start with the Uffizi Gallery, home to masterpieces by Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Caravaggio, Donatello, and others. However, please keep in mind that it is closed on Mondays.
Start your day early and give yourself at least 3-4 hours to truly see the Uffizi. The expansive art gallery has so much to offer! If you're in a hurry and just want to see the main masterpieces, still give yourself 2 hours. The Uffizi is home to Botticelli's Birth of Venus as well as La Primavera, both not to be missed during your visit. Other masterpieces in the Uffizi include the works of Caravaggio, both Medusa and Bacchus. Tickets include an entry time slot so you can plan your day accordingly. Audioguides you can include with your tickets will be helpful to navigate this large museum.
After a visit to this expansive collection, head to the top floor of the Uffizi for a stop at the Gallery's cafeteria. While enjoying beautiful panoramic views of the Florence city center, have a bite to eat and a cappuccino to recharge your batteries before continuing on to your next stop.
Head over to the Accademia Gallery. Give yourself an hour to explore and admire the great works of art inside this gallery. With just one kind of entrance ticket, the museum streamlines and simplifies the process.
The Galleria dates back to 1784 when the Grand Duke of Tuscany, Pietro Leopoldo, reorganized the Academy of Arts of Design in Florence into the modern Academy of Fine Arts. The Galleria was specifically designed to house valuable works of art and its spectacular architecture is impressive in its own right. Remember, this important site is also closed on Mondays!
Among other masterpieces, the Galleria is home to one of the Renaissance's most iconic works of art, Michelangelo's David. This incredible 14-foot tall Renaissance sculpture, which depicts the Biblical hero, was created between 1501 and 1504. It became a symbol of the Florentine republic's strength during a time of massive political change. Much like David facing the mighty Goliath, the Republic was threatened at the time by stronger states, as well as the Medici family's regaining of power.
Afterwards, head to the nearby Piazza San Marco, a hub for Florentines coming and going into the city center, and the perfect place to sit back and relax with a glass of wine in hand at ones of its cafes after a full day of explorations.
Day 5: Florence to Rome, Colosseum & Forum Tour
After a relaxing breakfast, it's time to say goodbye to Florence. Catch a high-speed train back to Rome, then check in to your hotel.
According to legend, Rome was founded by brothers Romulus and Remus in 753 BCE atop Rome's 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 artistic masterpieces, and cosmopolitan vibe. It's a center for fashion as well, with a buzzing food culture and a growing nightlife scene.
In the afternoon, dive into the history of the Roman Empire with a walking tour of the Colosseum, the world's largest amphitheater (tickets included). Walking through the ancient amphitheater is like taking a trip back in time. Learn about some of ancient Rome's most famous and illustrious citizens, such as Julius Caesar, Emperors Augustus and Nero, and the Flavian Emperors who built the Colosseum.
After a tour of the archaeological area, continue to the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill. From here, walk along the ancient Roman street Via Sacra to see the Temples of Vesta, Antonino, and Faustina. See the ancient Basilica Julia and Aemilia as well, and try to imagine the full grandeur of the Roman Empire in its heyday.
For dinner, head to the Trastevere neighborhood for some of the city's best trattorias.
Day 6: Self-Guided Vatican City Visit
Take the day to visit the Vatican and St. Peter's Basilica on your own. Altogether, we recommend giving yourself 4-5 hours to see everything these famous sites have to offer.
You'll start your self-guided visit in the Vatican Museums. The Vatican is not only rich in history, but also in art, housing some of the most important Renaissance masterpieces in the world. You'll visit the Pio Clementio Museum, plus the Gallery of the Candelabra, the Gallery of Tapestries, and the Gallery of the Geographical Maps. These vast halls hold one of the world's largest art collections, so be sure to take your time, usually about 2-3 hours.
Continue through the museums to the Raphael Rooms, where you can admire the frescoes before entering the incredible Sistine Chapel. The line here can be quite long, so give yourself an hour or so to line up, walk through, and visit at your pace.
Only being part of a tour will allow you to go directly from the Sistine Chapel, at the end of your visit to the Vatican museums, into Saint Peter's Basilica. If you're not part of a tour, you'll be made to exit the Sistine Chapel outside, where you can line up again to enter St. Peter's Basilica. The wait time can vary, but allow yourself about 1-2 hours just in case, plus time to visit St. Peter's, the largest church in the world.
Keep in mind that it's a one-way trip through the Vatican museums- take your time exploring at your own pace instead of rushing to the Sistine Chapel, as you won't be able to head back after.
Day 7: Half-Day Pizza Making & Wine Tasting Experience from Rome
Today, head outside of Rome for a local pizza making and wine experience in the nearby town of Frascati. Known for its local products and wines since ancient times, Frascati is easily reached via a 25-minute train ride from Rome. Take the morning to learn about the history of the town and its renowned local food, including slow-roasted pork and jug wine. You'll feel the sense of community as your local guide takes you around and chats with the local shop owners and artisans.
Visit one of the remaining wood-burning ovens in Frascati, daily filling the nearby piazza with an incomparable aroma. Enjoy the mouthwatering smell and feeling of tranquility in this peaceful haven with views of Rome in the distance, before getting down to the business of the day, cooking! The secret is in the simplicity- with just five ingredients you'll make authentic pizza dough from scratch. Your pizzaiolo is passionate about his craft and eager to show you the secrets to making the perfect pizza.
Your pizza maestro will walk you through the ingredients you need, and give you step-by-step instructions through the process- from kneading and flattening the dough to adding the perfect toppings. Pop it in the wood-burning oven as you begin to learn about the local Frascati wines from your expert guide. Paired together perfectly, you'll try a few before sitting down to enjoy your pizza fresh from the oven.
Head back to Rome in the afternoon on the same train and take the rest of the day to explore the sights and sounds of the city. In the evening, check out the upscale Prati neighborhood, brimming with art nouveau architecture and trendy eateries.
Day 8: Rome to Sorrento, Pompeii en Route
In the morning, head to the train station and catch your train in the direction of Naples. Your final destination today will be Sorrento, your jumping off point to the Amalfi Coast, but first you'll make a fascinating stop. Visit the ruins of Pompeii, a bustling seaside city that was buried underneath 13-20 ft (4 to 6 m) of ash and volcanic debris after the 79 CE eruption of Mount Vesuvius. The ash, which killed many of the city's residents, acted as an archaeological time capsule by preserving many of the city's original buildings and features completely intact.
The city was lost for 1,500 years following Mount Vesuvius' eruption before its accidental rediscovery in 1599. Items of all kinds from jars to furniture were frozen in time, and even those unfortunate citizens of the empire, unable to flee the oncoming ash, were perfectly preserved. A stroll through Pompeii's ancient streets will show off preserved villas, shops, public buildings, and plazas, giving you an insider's look into life 2,000 years ago.
Afterward, continue on your way to Sorrento, where you'll check in to your hotel and settle in for the evening. Head to Piazza Tasso in the center of Sorrento for dinner and drinks.
Day 9: Capri and Anacapri Day Tour from Sorrento
Spend the day enjoying the sunshine and clear blue waters of Capri Island. Known locally as the "Pearl of the Mediterranean," the ancient Greeks called it the "Isle of Sirens." Capri sits on the south side of the Gulf of Naples and has been a popular vacation destination for millennia. The ancient Romans, in fact, built summer villas here for the Empire's VIPs.
In the morning, you'll head out along the Sorrentine coast to the Port of Sorrento, where you'll catch a hydrofoil to Capri, about a 20 minute ride. Visit the Marina Grande and Marina Piccola harbors, walk along the Belvedere of Tragara (a villa-lined promenade with panoramic views), and explore the ruins of ancient Roman villas.
Then, head up the hill to Anacapri to see the Piazzetta and Augustus' Garden, and enjoy the best views of the Faraglioni Rocks. Should you choose, you can later return to the water and explore the Grotta Azzurra, the famous "Blue Grotto," located inside a hollowed sea cave. Afterward, we recommend spending the remainder of the afternoon soaking in the sunshine on the beach, before catching the hydrofoil back to Sorrento for the evening.
Back in Sorrento, head to a waterfront restaurant for dinner to soak in the view and be sure to try Spaghetti e Vongole, spaghetti with clams, a local favorite that can't be missed.
Day 10: From Sorrento the Amalfi Coast
After a leisurely breakfast, it's time to make your way down and around the Sorrentine Peninsula to the Amalfi Coast. This stretch of coastline south of Naples is renowned for its exceptional beauty and iconic medieval cliffside fishing villages. Lemon groves and sprawling summer villas cling to the steep cliffs that lead to sparkling blue waters.
After arriving at your new accommodation, soak in the views of the coast and sunshine as you stroll through these colorful villages. For dinner, head to the village of Ravello, known for its lemon specialties, where you can pair your delicious meal with a citrus cocktail.
Day 11: Free Day on the Amalfi Coast
Today, you are free to explore and enjoy the leisurely coastal pace of life. Go for a walk on the Lemon Path in the town of Minori, or try your hand at windsurfing or kayaking near the shores of Praiano. You can see artisanal ceramics manufacturers in the town of Vietri, or go for a half-day hike on the Path of the Gods. Of course, simply lazing on the beaches of Positano, Vettica Maggiore, and Centra is also an excellent option.
Other suggestions include:
- Visit the beautiful Villa Cimbrone and Terrace of Infinity in Ravello.
- Check out Praiano's nightlife at the Africana and Music on the Rocks nightclubs.
- Rent a kayak and explore emerald green grottos, tiny hidden beaches, and impressive sea caves.
- Enjoy a quiet day in the serene town of Atrani, far away from the hustle and bustle of the larger villages.
- Explore the Fiordo di Furore, Italy's only fjord.
- Visit the Cloister of San Francesco in Sorrento, an oasis of tranquility that's located steps away from the town's historic Sant'Antonino piazza.
- Enjoy nature in the Ferriere Valley Nature Reserve, famous for its postcard-perfect fishing villages and bucolic countryside crisscrossed with hiking trails.
For dinner head to a family-run restaurant for the best Italian pizza paired with a glass of the perfect local wine.
Day 12: From the Amalfi Coast to Rome
After a relaxing breakfast, it's time to say goodbye to the Amalfi Coast. After transferring to Naples, catch a 1.5 hour high-speed train back to Rome, then check in to your hotel.
Spend the rest of the afternoon exploring the city's highlights and making the most of your time in the Eternal City.
- Hop on a tour boat to explore the city banks from the Tiber River.
- Walk through the ornate rooms of the Galleria Borghese and explore the splendid frescoes, stories, and masterful techniques behind one of the world's most beautiful art museums. End the tour with a peaceful stroll around the Villa Borghese gardens, enjoying its beauty and calm far from the chaos of the city.
- Enjoy the sunshine in the orange groves of the Giardino degli Aranci, on the city's Aventine Hill
Day 13: Depart Rome
Time to say goodbye to Italy—for now! After one last Roman breakfast, you'll transfer to the airport for your flight home. Safe travels!