Is twelve days enough time to try every single gelato flavor? Likely not—but you can try your best with this food-centric tour of Italy. Start in Bologna, where artisanal cheese, cured ham, and medieval architecture dominate the scene. Then, head to Florence and visit a perfect Tuscan winery before soaking in the sunshine of the Amalfi Coast. End your trip in Rome, with nightlife, the iconic city highlights, and plenty of pizza.

Highlights

  • Eat and drink your way through Bologna, Italy’s food capital
  • See Sistine Chapel, Colosseum, and Galleria Borghese in Rome
  • Explore the medieval fishing villages & lemon groves of Amalfi Coast
  • Taste local prosciutto and Parmigiano Reggiano in Parma
  • Visit Galleria dell'Accademia to see Michelangelo’s ‘David’

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Rome, Travel to Bologna Bologna
Day 2 Day Trip to Parma: Ham and Parmesan Tasting Bologna
Day 3 Free Day in Bologna Bologna
Day 4 Bologna to Florence Florence
Day 5 Tour of Tuscany & Wine Tasting Florence
Day 6 Welcome to the Amalfi Coast! Maiori
Day 7 Wine Tasting, Marisa Cuomo Vineyard Maiori
Day 8 Free Day on the Amalfi Coast Maiori
Day 9 Pizza Making Class Maiori
Day 10 Amalfi Coast to Rome, Evening Rome Excursion Rome
Day 11 Trastevere Food & Wine Tour Rome
Day 12 Goodbye Italy!  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Rome, Travel to Bologna

Local shop with traditional cheese & prosciutto
Local shop with traditional cheese & prosciutto

Welcome to Bologna! Arrive in one of Rome's two international airports, then take a train ride to Bologna, the bustling historic capital of the Emilia-Romagna region. Arrive in mid-morning and start your day with a cup of Italian espresso and head out to explore the city on foot. 

Walk through the downtown area to see many of the city's notable landmarks. The Piazza Maggiore, a sprawling central plaza surrounded by the city's oldest buildings, is a beautiful 20-minute walk from the train station. Visit the City Hall, the 14th-century Basilica di San Petronio,  and the medieval Asinelli and Garisenda Towers which flank the Piazza. 

Head to the 11th-century University of Bologna to view the Anatomical Theater, used in older times for students to dissect cadavers, and stroll the medieval university grounds. On the way, stop to see the former Jewish Ghetto, then continue to the Pinacoteca Nazionale di Bologna, the National Art Gallery, housed in the former Saint Ignatius Jesuit novitiate near the university. This building also houses the Academy of Fine Arts

Pause for lunch and enjoy some of the city's delicious specialties—tortellini and ragu alla bolognese, a rich tomato and meat sauce. In the afternoon explore the city via the medieval porticos, a network of covered walkways that connect city landmarks, museums, and neighborhoods and protect pedestrians from snow, rain, and the hot summer sun. Visitors with an eye for fashion will enjoy browsing the designer boutiques and medieval Quadrilatero market district for the perfect Italian leather shoes or for gifts to bring home. 

In the afternoon go for a walking food tour with a local guide to explore the local markets and shop for regional delicacies, such as artisanal tortellini, mortadella, and a variety of cheeses. Visit traditional food shops like a bakery and pasta maker to see the handcrafting process.

Day 2: Day Trip to Parma: Ham and Parmesan Tasting

Parmigiano-Reggiano
Parmigiano-Reggiano

Head out for a day trip to the capital of Parma Ham and Parmesan cheese—the city of Parma, in the Emilia-Romagna region of Northern Italy. The city is famous for its ornate medieval architecture, the beautiful countryside, and, of course, the food. 

In the morning, tour the city's highlights, which include the 10th-century University of Parma, the Museo Glauco Lombardi, which documents the life of Maria Luigia, and the Piazza Duomo, where you'll find the city's cathedral and baptistry, both from the 12th century. 

Visit the Teatro Regio, a world-renowned opera performance space, then continue on for a walking food tour. You'll visit the local production facilities of Parma ham and Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, sample traditional balsamic vinegar, and shop for your favorite selections to bring home. Get a feeling for the local pace of life with lunch at a small family-run trattoria, then spend the afternoon enjoying the city.

Day 3: Free Day in Bologna

Misty Giardini Margherita in autumn
Misty Giardini Margherita in autumn

Today is a free day to explore the local sights. Suggestions include: 

  • MAMbo - Museo d'Arte Moderna di Bologna, a museum of modern art,
  • Museo di Palazzo Poggi and Pinacoteca Nazionale di Bologna, art museums which house notable medieval and world-famous works,
  • The Museo Internazionale e Biblioteca della Musica, a museum of musical instruments and the Museum of History of Bologna
  • The peaceful sanctuary of the Giardini Margherita park, located just south of the city center,
  • The Basilica of Santo Stefano complex which houses several churches and the hilltop Sanctuary of Madonna di San Luca


Stay in the downtown neighborhood for a pre-dinner glass of full-bodied red or an Aperol Spritz while you snack on a charcuterie board, then sit down to traditional tortellini or mortadella for dinner at a local restaurant.

Day 4: Bologna to Florence

Museum of Florence Academy of Fine Arts
Museum of Florence Academy of Fine Arts

After breakfast head to the Bologna train station to catch a train to Florence. Florence is 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, including the iconic Duomo, a terracotta-tiled dome, and the Galleria dell'Accademia, which displays Michelangelo's 'David' sculpture. 

Spend the day exploring the top sites, located in the medieval city center. Popular highlights include the sprawling 15th-century Pitti Palace and the world-famous Uffizi Gallery, which houses works by artists like Michelangelo and Leonardo de Vinci. As a center for art, Florence has hosted many of European history's most notable figures, including Botticelli, Donatello, Dante, Boccaccio, and Niccolò Machiavelli. 

In the afternoon indulge yourself on the decadence of Tuscany's culinary delights. A walking tour of the city together with a guide is the perfect way to discover the region's history and find the best off-the-beaten-path gelato and coffee shops. Sample wares from city markets to find the best of the best. Try truffle panini, fresh-pressed Tuscan olive oil, handmade chocolate focaccia, finished with a glass of chilled prosecco or Chianti wine.

Day 5: Tour of Tuscany & Wine Tasting

Siena Cathedral and medieval Old Town
Siena Cathedral and medieval Old Town

In the morning head to the Tuscan countryside to explore the Chianti Region. Your first stop is the medieval village of San Gimignano, a UNESCO World Heritage Site located an hour away from Florence which is famous for its Vernaccia wine and award-winning gelaterias. Explore the beautiful squares, palaces, and churches of the city and before grabbing a coffee in an open-air cafe. 

Continue to the Chianti Classico wine region to visit a typical Tuscan winery. The unique characteristics of the local climate have made the region unfavorable to most crops and ideal for growing wine grapes. Alternating fields of olive orchards and vineyards characterize this idyllic landscape.

The Chianti wine, made primarily of Sangiovese grapes, is the local staple. Tour the cellars and vineyards, then enjoy a wine tasting accompanied by a delicious Tuscan lunch of pasta, cured meats, cheeses, and local desserts. 

In the afternoon visit nearby Siena, located a scenic hourlong drive away, to see the magnificent Cathedral, Torre del Mangia, and Town Hall, site of the famous Palio horse race. Finish the day with a visit to the medieval fortress of Monteriggioni before returning to Florence for the night.

Day 6: Welcome to the Amalfi Coast!

View of Positano from the water
View of Positano from the water

After breakfast at a sunny open-air cafe head to the train station to take the train to Naples, then transfer to your hotel on 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 water. 

Enjoy a full day guided tour of several of the region's iconic villages—Positano, Amalfi, and Ravello. Wander the narrow streets of Positano, take in the breath-taking views from the Giardini della Principessa in Ravello, and tour the medieval 9th-century Roman-Catholic Amalfi Cathedral. Afterward, sit down to a relaxing lunch with a view at a historic local restaurant.

Day 7: Wine Tasting, Marisa Cuomo Vineyard

Vineyards overlooking the Mediterranean
Vineyards overlooking the Mediterranean

Enjoy a full day tour of the Marisa Cuomo Winery and experience the magic of the Amalfi Coast vineyards. The steep slopes, sunny weather, warm breeze that blows from the Gulf of Salerno make the region perfect for growing wine grapes. 

Tour the vineyard, one of Italy's most renowned, and learn about the traditional techniques and dedication to excellence which has earned Marisa Cuomo Winery both national and international recognition. Visit the estate's cellars and vineyards, taste the various wines, and enjoy the views.

In the afternoon, enjoy the sunny weather with one of these recommended activities: 

  • Tour a Mozzarella farm and the Paestum Temples, which date back to 600 to 450 BCE
  • Enjoy nature in the Villa Cimbrone, a beautiful garden in Ravello
  • Soak in the sun at the Gavitella Beach (Vettica Maggiore), Lannio Beach (Centra), and Arienzo Beach (Positano)
  • Get an adrenaline rush with a windsurfing adventure in Praiano

Day 8: Free Day on the Amalfi Coast

Lemons, a staple of the Amalfi Coast
Lemons, a staple of the Amalfi Coast

Today is a free day to explore the area and enjoy the pace of life on the coast. Go for a walk on the Lemon Path in Minori, see the illuminated sea cave Grotta dello Smeraldo, or head out for a full day tour of the resort island of Capri. See the local ceramics manufacturing process in Vietri, or go for a half-day hike on the Path of the Gods

For dinner head to Ristorante Pizzeria Giardiniello for the best Italian pizza paired with a glass of the perfect local wine.

Day 9: Pizza Making Class

Traditional Neapolitan pizza oven
Traditional Neapolitan pizza oven

Today is dedicated to learning how to make the quintessential Italian dish—the humble pizza. From its simple beginnings as street food to its worldwide popularity, pizza has gained fame and popularity.

Starting with handmade dough, local ingredients and traditional techniques, spend the day learning how to make the perfect pizza guided by a professional Italian chef. At the end of the lesson, enjoy the fruits of your labor along with an appetizer and dessert. Impress your friends with your pizza making prowess once you return home!

In the afternoon, take advantage of your time on the coast with some of these suggestions: 

  • Explore the coast on a Gozzo boat
  • Tour the ancient Castello di San Nicola de Thoro-Plano
  • Enjoy nature at the Villa Comunale, a garden in Salerno
  • Relax on the Castiglione di Ravello beach in Ravello, the Gavitella Beach in Vettica Maggiore, and the Tordigliano Beach in Positano
  • Go for a hike on the Atrani Walk in Ravello and the Amalfi Natural Reserve Valle delle Ferriere
  • Rent a kayak and enjoy a day on the water in Positano

Day 10: Amalfi Coast to Rome, Evening Rome Excursion

Ancient Roman ruins at sunrise
Ancient Roman ruins at sunrise

After a relaxing breakfast, it's time to say goodbye to the Amalfi Coast. 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 B.C.E. 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. 

Spend the day exploring the city's highlights and see for yourself why Rome is considered one of Europe's Top 3 Cities. There's a lot to see, so pick your top destinations from the following list and head out for your first look at the Eternal City: 

  • Start with the Colosseum and travel back in time to relive the grandeur of the Roman Empire. 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
  • Make your way to the Vatican Museum to tour the world-famous Sistine Chapel and St. Peter's Basilica to see the masterpieces of Michelangelo and Bernini. This is considered one of Rome's top attractions, and typically takes an extended period of time to see the museums inside
  • Go for a stroll in the central Piazza Navona where families and tourists gather on warm days, see the beautiful Trevi Fountain and the iconic Pantheon
  • 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 the 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
  • Find the perfect weekend antique market, downtown boutique, or shopping mall to find the perfect items in one of the fashion capitals of the world
  • Enjoy the sunshine in the orange groves of the Giardino degli Aranci, on the city's Aventine Hill 

At night, see the city come to life and take in the buzzing nightlife on a 4-hour tour of Rome after dark. Start your evening over family-style pizza in a neighborhood cafe, then visit top city highlights to see the nighttime light show. Wrap up the night with a cup of creamy gelato before returning to your hotel for the night.

Day 11: Trastevere Food & Wine Tour

Traditional Margherita pizza
Traditional Margherita pizza

Spend your day eating and drinking your way through Rome's phenomenal food scene, starting with a guided walking tour of the Piazza Campo de' Fiori, known for its bustling open-air markets and striking hooded statue which looms over the market stalls. Shop for local cheeses, cured meats, fresh vegetables, and seafood fresh from the coast. 

From here head to Trastevere, a colorful bohemian neighborhood with a working-class history. This area is located on the opposite side of the Tiber River. Head to the Piazza di Santa Maria, a lively meeting area, to order pizza to go.  Enjoy your pizza in the sunny piazza while your guide explains the origin of the Margherita Pizza (named after the Margaret of Savoy), then continue the walking tour to buy some supplì, delicious rice balls with cheese and tomato sauce. 

Afterward, head to the most popular ice-cream parlor in Trastevere to enjoy gelato for dessert. Wrap up the night with a wine tasting in a traditional trattoria, accompanied by an assortment of cheeses and prosciutto.

Day 12: Goodbye Italy!

Little details of life in Rome
Little details of life in Rome

Time to say goodbye to the country of love! After one last cappuccino over breakfast, head to the airport for your connecting flight home. Safe travels!

Map

Map of Food & Wine in Italy: Bologna, Florence, Amalfi Coast, & Rome - 12 Days
Map of Food & Wine in Italy: Bologna, Florence, Amalfi Coast, & Rome - 12 Days