Welcome to my Italy series! As our trip was coming closer each day, I decided to share some tips and advice how to plan a perfect Italy itinerary for your one week visit. Don’t get me wrong – Italy is so amazing, you could spend years exploring it. There is no best way to see Italy in a week, it just wouldn’t cover even most basic attractions! However, if you plan your time wisely, you could still get the most out of a one week Italy itinerary. This is how we decided to do this.
Italy itinerary: Your entry and exit points
For the best way to see Italy in a week, consider arriving and departing from different cities. In our case this is going to be Rome as an entry point and Milan (Bergamo) on the way back. The two cities are also hubs of major European low cost carriers, which makes them very budget friendly! For example, we managed to buy our return tickets from Helsinki for as low as 100€ per person!
Another reason for precisely these cities – there is just so much to see there and in between them! If you look at the map of Italy, you can see that some of the coolest places are pretty much on the way from Rome to Milan. Of course, we managed to squeeze most of them in our awesome one week Italy itinerary. How? Have a look at our schedule below (each day numbered).
- Arriving in Rome
- Rome and Vatican DIY walking tour, visit to Vatican museum
- Pompeii day trip
- Alternative destinations – San Marino
- Cinque Terre
- Milan or Lake Como
- Milan + departing from Bergamo
Italy itinerary: Hotels
Italy offers a lot of possibilities for all kinds of accommodation for any budget. I recommend keeping an eye on hotel booking websites and booking early in advance – if possible with free cancellation option. This way you could easily change your reservation or cancel it at no cost. In the end, if you change your mind about certain destinations, this might come in handy. Personally, I mostly use Booking-dot-com, because it provides great support in case something goes wrong. Here is a good example how it saved my trip once before.
We faced a situation when originally were planning to go all the way to lake Como, but one week before it turned out to be raining heavily. Luckily, our hotel had free cancellation and we managed to cancel just in time and re-book for another hotel in Milan.
Italy itinerary: Trains
Italy is fantastic to travel around, but perhaps not by car? Why? Because petrol is expensive, you have to pay to use the highways, traffic is hectic and it is difficult to find parking spots (plus you have to pay for parking). Remember, you are on a holiday, so why would you put yourself through such stress? Here is the solution – take the train! Italian train system is fantastic, very easy to use, frequent and super cheap.
Here are some price examples from our itinerary for you to consider (for one person):
Rome – Pompeii – Rome: 24,20€
Rome – Florence : 21,55€
Florence – La Spezia (Cinque Terre) – Florence: 38,40€
Florence – Milan: 39,90€
Milan – Bergamo Airport – 5€
The trick is to book early – super economy tickets sell out fast. If price is not a problem, you could also buy tickets at the train station before departure. In fact, because our plans changed a little I lost my tickets from Milan to Como (super economy tickets are non refundable).
If you are traveling on a budget like us, you probably won’t be getting any breakfast from your accommodation. So here is our packing tip – bring a small water kettle, a mug, coffee/tea, sugar etc. It’s very easy to go downstairs and buy a few croissants for breakfast, but no need to sit down and pay for the coffee. Most guest houses have shared kitchen equipped with fridge where you can store your food from local supermarket. Breakfast is usually really expensive (8-10€) and not really wide in choice.
Read reviews! Usually, other travelers share genuine advice about the hotel staff and facilities. If the reviews don’t sound good enough, just skip it. You might find a much better place just down the street and a few extra Euros won’t make much difference. Be prepared for shared showers though. Private bathroom is kind of luxury.
Public transport is very efficient despite common strikes. Day tour buses (you know, the red ones which you can use throughout the day with headphones and pre-written excursion texts) may sound like a good idea, but in fact it’s just you being lazy. Do your homework, research what is best to do and see and just go and explore on your own! Trust me, you will get much better impression of the city if you use the metro at least once!
Don’t be afraid to make changes
When I was planning this trip months ago, visiting lake Como was high on my list. Imagine seeing the famous Bellagio village – the one, Las Vegas most famous casino got it’s name from! The views looked so amazing, I thought I would stay there forever. But, as the time came closer, it turned out to be raining heavily at this time of the year. Now, rain in the mountains means cold, wet weather and no views. Sure, it could be romantic to some extent, but probably not worth wasting the precious time.
Luckily, our train was passing through Milan. After checking it out, I found enough attractions to keep us occupied for the day. Boom! One week before flying out the changes have been made and our amazing Italy itinerary has been modified. Milan, here we come!
This is something I missed during my planning stage. When I booked my tickets from Rome to Pompeii on Trenitalia website, I just paid and forgot about them. Now, one week before going there, I decided to explore the way once again. Here is a surprise! If you book a ticket online from Rome to Pompei (that’s the name of the train station), you are not going to see the main gates anywhere near!
The thing is – Pompei is a village where the ruins of 5 ancient cities (including Pompeii) are located. To get near the entrance, you need to actually book your tickets from Rome to Naples. Once you get off in the capital of Pizza, walk down the stairs and take the Circumvesuviana train towards Sorrento. The station you need to get off at is called Pompei Scavi.
No matter how much you plan ahead, there is always room for surprise. Remember, it’s Italy, so nothing is cut in stone here. Just relax and enjoy the easy flow of life. Oh, and don’t forget pasta.. and pastries.. and gelato!
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