- 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||Day Trip to Cinque Terre||Florence|
|Day 6||Florence to Rome, Colosseum & Forum Tour||Rome|
|Day 7||Self-Guided Vatican City Visit||Rome|
|Day 8||Half-Day Pizza Making & Wine Tasting Experience from Rome||Rome|
|Day 9||Rome to Sorrento, Pompeii en Route||Sorrento|
|Day 10||Capri and Anacapri Day Tour from Sorrento||Sorrento|
|Day 11||From Sorrento the Amalfi Coast||Amalfi Coast|
|Day 12||Vespa Tour of the Amalfi Coast||Amalfi Coast|
|Day 13||From the Amalfi Coast to Rome||Rome|
|Day 14||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: Day Trip to Cinque Terre
In the morning, depart for a full day on the Cinque Terre, a section of the Italian coast famous for its medieval villages, stunning cliffs, and beautiful hiking trails.
Start in Riomaggiore, one of the five villages that make up the stunning Cinque Terre region. Walk along the beautiful Via dell' Amore (Lover's Pathway) to enjoy views of the coastline and sea. Unfortunately, due to landslides, part of this path is closed to the public. However, the views along the cliffs are still exhilaratingly beautiful and definitely worth the walk.
From here, continue to the town of Monterosso al Mare for some free time. The city's medieval center remains nearly perfectly preserved, with its ancient tower-houses and network of carrugi (narrow alleyways that lead from the sea to the cliffs above the town). Monterosso is also renowned for having the best gelato on the Cinque Terre (make sure to try some!) as well as breathtaking views of the sea.
From here, head up the coast to the town of Vernazza, a small resort town located at the mouth of a river, naturally protected from wild sea swells by a rocky promontory. This natural wave break protects the harbor, making it the only major docking point in the Cinque Terre. Enjoy lunch on your own time as you explore the local cuisine and savor regional delicacies.
After the day's sightseeing, follow your nose to the neighborhood bakery to sample the local focaccia with pesto for a delicious snack you won't find anywhere else. Buon Appetito!
In the afternoon, transfer back to Florence.
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
Day 6: 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 7: 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 8: 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 9: 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 10: 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 11: 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 12: Vespa Tour of the Amalfi Coast
Just south of the Gulf of Naples lies the Sorrentine Peninsula, featuring the 24 miles (40 km) of Italy's famed Amalfi Coast. This entire region is one of the most storied and beautiful parts of the country, boasting a long history dating back to ancient Rome. Notable citizens of the empire were the first to come here to build seaside villas. There's no better way to explore this singularly gorgeous stretch of coastline than on two wheels—particularly those attached to a Vespa.
This full-day Vespa tour begins and ends at your accommodation along the Amalfi Coast. The pebbly beaches and clifftop views made it a prime destination for Europe's literati and aristocracy from the 17th century onward. From the Amalfi Coast, you'll zip along with your experienced driver to the charming fishing villages whose homes are resplendent with bright colors. The tour finishes with a ride along the stunning coastline, famous for its terraced lemon groves and vineyards, after which you'll return to your accommodation.
All in all, the route follows 46 miles (75 km) of some of the most incredible coastal landscapes on Earth. Even better, you'll get to stop along the way for tours and, should you choose, to relax on the beach and take a dip in the water. No need to worry if you've never been on a Vespa: your expert guide and driver will take care of zipping along the coastline so you can sit back and enjoy the ride.
Head to the village of Amalfi to finish off your day with fresh seafood and a Delizie al Limone, lemon delight, for dessert to cap off your day.
Day 13: 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 14: 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!