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Europe Travel: Italy in 12 Days — An Itinerary for a First Time Visitor

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This is a recommended itinerary for a first time visit to Italy & Vatican City.

Countries covered in this itinerary

  • Italy
  • Vatican City


City Base


Notes & Day Trips

&Vatican City


Day 1: Arrival to Rome from long-haul flight
Day 2: Vatican City, Saint Peter’s Square, The Papal Basilica of Saint Peter in the Vatican, Sistine Chapel (and Vatican Museum)
Day 3: Piazza di Spagna, Spanish Steps, Piazza del Popolo, Villa Borghese
Day 4: Victor Emmanuel II Monument, The Forum, Colosseum, Trastevere neighborhood, Palatine Hill
Day 5: Pantheon, Piazza Navona, Trevi Fountain
Day 6: Depart for Florence by train

Notes: Book tickets in advance for a service at The Vatican, Sistene Chapel, and walk to the top of the The Papal Basilica of Saint Peter in the Vatican. Plan to visit the sights early as it generally gets too hot and touristic by mid-afternoon.



Day 1: Mid-day arrival from Rome; Duomo, twilight walk to Piazzale Michaelangelo for sunset views
Day 2: The Galleria dell’Accademia, Gallerie Degli Uffizi, walk along the Arno River
Day 3: Morning train to Cinque Terre (arrival sstation is La Spezia)

Cinque Terre

2Cinque Terre is a string of five old fishing villages.

Day 1: Use the train to check out each of the villages – Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza and Monterosso
Day 2: Spend more time in a favorite village or consider a hike between villages
Day 3: Return to Rome for flight or continue to Milan via train

Notes: Stay in La Spezia for best value accommodation or select a place in one of the hilltop villages. Be mindful of where your accommodation is located, as it could be nearly unwalkable (hundreds of steep stairs to access) and may require a pricey cab to/from town.
Milan1Day 1: Mid-day arrival to Milan; Duomo di Milano, The Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II & sunset views of Duomo at La Rinascente Rooftop
Day 2: Depart home

Map of Italy

Transport times

  • Train Rome to Florence — 1 hour, 30 minutes
  • Train Florence to Cinque Terre — 2 hours, 30 minutes
  • Train Cinque Terre to Milan — 4 hours

Mode of transport — train

Interested in exploring more of Europe? Check out our Schengen Area Europe Itinerary — 13 countries in 90 Days for ideas about where to travel.

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