Italy is a beautiful country. I believe even 15 days is not enough to explore such a culturally rich destination. It is a home for some of the world’s greatest art and architecture. It is home to vineyards and canals. If you go to different corners, you can find that how laid back Southern Italy is, how ancient Rome is, how historical Florence is and romantic Venice is.
I did the same. In these 15 days, I went to all the corners of Italy and soaked in the best of it.
Italy is established by the Roman Empire and you can learn a lot of the Roman empire and Catholics here. I was lucky enough to visit the famous sites such as the Colosseum of Ancient Rome, Michelangelo’s David and Botticelli’s Venus, the playful Baroque exuberance of the Trevi Fountain, along with the rich history it has. But apart from it I also saw some of the other exquisite like Cinque Terre, Dolomiti, and Orvieto. In fact, I did sky diving here.
Below you will find the places I visited in 15 days and an itinerary of how I managed to pull off so many places all at once. Of course, you can go in a relaxed fashion and skip the places which you do not want to miss. But this Ultimate Italy Itinerary will help you plan your trip better and guide you on how you can manage to go from one place to another.
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Backpacking in Italy – One Week Itinerary
I know many travelers and also my friends who can only spare a week to go to Italy. In my honest opinion, a week is way too less but experiencing it for a week is always better than not seeing it at all.
If you are curious about how to reach and other details of Italy, read our guide here – Italy Travel Guide
Also Read – Italy Visa Guide
The Map I Followed
This is the map I followed for the first week which will guide you from the start point which is Milan to the ending destination, Rome and back.
Day 1 – Reaching Italy and Exploring Milan
Welcome to Milan, the most beautiful cities in the world. Today would be the day for you to get ready for the next couple of days. That means that today you would have to arrange a sim card for yourself and soak in the streets to try to blend in and get comfortable with a new country.
Food: Do not miss out on pizza, wine, and gelato. Of course, it is your first day so you should be all the more curious to try it out
Places to Visit: Explore places like Piazza del Duomo where history, art, and fashion radiates. Do not just visit the Duomo during the day but also at night. Also, see the Last Supper here. It is one of the famous paintings by Leonard da Vinci and if you are not visiting Venice then you can get the canal experience right here in Milan. One of the most scenic routes is along the Naviglio Della Martesana
Transport: Right outside the airport there are several airport shuttles that take 50-60 minutes to reach to the main station – Milan Centrale. From here you can take the metro lines that connect to various other parts of Milan.
- Tickets can be bought either on board or online
- The bus departure point is outside the airport building
- The last bus from the airport is at 00:30 and transfers and taxis run 24/7
Etiquettes: It is always good to know a few local words to converse with people. Italians know English but feel really great when someone says a few Italian words. Some of them to remember are – “Grazie” and “Piacere” (a pleasure) and “Ciao” (bye)
Sim: There are four different cell networks in Italy – TIM, Vodafone, 3, and Wind. Vodafone and TIM have the greatest coverage. To buy a sim you need to have a passport and can be purchased in any supermarket. Further, Lycamobile is widely used in Italy and has top-up options.
Accommodation in Milan
Milan has a very wide range of both hotels and hostels. you can also couch surf here where are you stay with the locals and pay nothing for it. But below are a few of the recommendation for your stay –
Backpacker Hostel – Hostel California is the cheapest dorm to stay in Milan. It offers free Wifi with a private bathroom.
Mid-range Hotel – Hotel Midtown Milano is a good option if you want to stay in a private room. This hotel has Air conditioning, free WiFi, Heating, Dressing Room and 4-hour front desk.
Luxury – If you are game for spending money and get a luxury stay here in Italy, definitely stay in this hotel. This is the best one you can get to Milan and the most beautiful place to stay in. is 6 km from the property.
Day 2 and 3 – Exploring Cinque Terre
Cinque Terre, also known as Italy’s fabulous five is one of the most colorful towns I have been to. It is a destination with timeless appeal and even two days is not enough to explore this place.
Cinque Terre has five villages namely Manarola, Riomaggiore, Corniglia, Vernazza and Monterosso al Mare. You can hike here, watch sunset and sunrise along the beach, sit in café or watch the fishing boats along the coast. It will give you the actual Italy vibe with timeless appeal and one day will not justify the beauty of this place.
How to Reach Cinque Terre From Milan
The train is the best way to reach Cinque Terre. There are several trains that go to Cinque Terre. Either you would be able to find direct trains or change once or twice depending on the train you have chosen. There are intercity trains that leave Milan throughout the day and will drop you off to Monterosso, which is the first village of Cinque Terre. In other cases, you would have to change the train at Genoa.
To save cost I would ask you to book the regional trains however, if you book the seats in the Milan-Monterosso train in advance you could get as much as 60% off the regular price. So plan accordingly.
In Cinque Terre, there are local trains which run along the coast between the stations of La Spezia Centrale and Levanto. It stops at all the villages. For this train you can either take a Cinque Terre pass or every trip would cost you EUR 4 per trip.
Accommodation in Cinque Terre
Accommodation in the Cinque Terre is expensive. So it is better if you book well in advance.
Backpacker Hostel – Perla del Levante Hostel is a very good budget hostel in Cinque Terre and offers free Wifi with breakfast.
Mid-range Hotel – Albergo La Lampara is a good option if you want to stay in a private room. It has air-conditioned rooms and a traditional Ligurian restaurant. Plus the best part is it has a beach front.
Luxury – If you want a luxury stay then try Park Hotel Argento. It has a swimming pool, bar, restaurant, and breakfast.
<Cinque Terre Travel Guide Coming Soon>
Day 4: Florence
Fun Fact 1: the entire city is a Unesco World Heritage site
Fun Fact 2: it is said that the richest family in Florence in 1427 are still the richest
If you are looking for art and romantic streets, this is the place you should not miss. In here, you will find world-class art, sculptures, and museums of Botticelli, Michelangelo. Few of the attractions that you should not miss are the Duomo and Battistero, Ponte Vecchio, Galleria Degli Uffizi.
If you have enough time then try spending 3 days in Florence to learn more about this culturally rich city.
How to Reach Florence From Cinque Terre
There are 15 trains from Cinque Terre to Florence. Direct trains run from La Spezia so you must come to this village depending on the place you are staying at. Even Monterosso has trains for Florence but most of the trips will require you to change the train at La Spezia anyway.
The first train leaves at 4:30 AM in the morning, while the last train leaves at 11:34 PM. It takes about 2 hours to reach Florence from Cinque Terre.
Accommodation in Florence
Backpacker Hostel – Hostel 7 Santi is the place I stayed in Florence. The best part of this hostel is that it is just 300 m from Firenze Campo di Marte Train Station
Mid-range Hotel – Chianti House is such a beautiful property despite being in the mid-range. It has Air conditioning, free WiFi, mountain view, city view, river view, you name it. 🙂
Luxury – Haggi’s Residence is so beautiful that you would not want to leave the property itself. you check the photos in the below link and you would agree with me.
<Florence Travel Guide Coming Soon>
Also Read – Best Backpacks For Your Europe Trip
Day 5 and 6: Rome and Vatican City
A journey into the past – that is what perfectly describes Rome. It is the capital city of Italy. Inside Rome, lies an independent country – Vatican City. How cool is that, a country within a city, where you can keep strolling the big giant open-air museum.
The Challenge: Rome is very crowded as a place. Coming from a scenic place like Cinque Terre where I relaxed on a beach, seeing so many tourists together was surprising. You will stand in long lines for several places you would like to visit. So it is automatic that since there are a lot of people the chances of pickpocketing also increases.
Places to See: There are so many places in Rome to see. In a day you can easily visit Palantine Hill, Colosseum, Pantheon, Roman Forum, Trevi Fountain (A Must), Imperial Fora. The next day, head to Vatican city on a train and explore St. Peter’s Basilica and the museums there. They are so marvelously designed, from masterpieces of painting to sculpture the most breathtaking one is Sistine Chapel.
How to Reach Rome From Florence
There are several trains from Florence to Rome every day, both slower and faster. The fastest trains can take as little as 1.5 hours to reach Rome, on the other hand, the slowest can take up to four hours. Depending on your budget and time book the tickets accordingly and plan well because if you decide to go with the slower train and if by chance the train is crowded, standing for four hours is a task.
Accommodation in Rome
It is better to stay in the city center as the train station is very close to it and you will get access to several eating spots
Backpacker Hostel – Termini Colosseum is a hostel I found a hostel that was just 600 m from Termini Colosseum features. Further, it provided free WiF
Mid-range Hotel – Hotel Fidene is a good option in this type of stay options. There is a bus stop 20 m away with connections to Fidene Train Station and Rome’s center
Luxury – Residence de Lollis is a perfect place to enjoy a bit of a luxury stay. It is just 700 m from Sapienza University of Rome and 1.5 km of Porta Maggiore. which are few of the prominent spots to visit in Rome
<Rome Travel Guide Coming Soon>
If you want to visit other places near Rome check out this guide on How to visit Sorrento, Capri and Pompeii
Backpacking in Italy – Two Weeks Itinerary
I traveled to Italy for 2 weeks which again felt like really less time to explore everything. Below is my suggested 2 weeks itinerary for Italy.
If you are curious about how to reach and other details of Italy, read our guide here – Italy Travel Guide
Also Read – Italy Visa Guide
The Map I Followed
This is the map I followed in the second week. You can club the first week’s and second week’s itinerary and cover all the four corners of Italy. Below you will find all the details of what I did after my Rome visit.
Day 7: Explore Orvieto and Civita
Orvieto is my favorite place in Italy, call this absurd but I have a special attachment to landscapes and silence. I wanted to add an offbeat destination in my itinerary to make Italy even more special for myself. Orvieto is not a very famous place so don’t be surprised to see less crowd and fewer tourists here – this is exactly the reason this place is even more special.
From Orvieto, I even went ahead to visit Civita. And I am glad I did, to move away from the crowded streets to a few offbeat sleepy towns was a welcome change. Orvieto is located in the Umbria region of Italy and is situated on the summit of a large, flat hill made of volcanic ash rock. While Orvieto is so unique, seeing Civita felt like seeing a castle floating mid-air and if you are in Orvieto, without a doubt you can not miss on Civita.
How to Reach Orvieto and Civita From Rome
Orvieto: There are both regional as well as Intercity trains between Orvieto and Rome but the difference between the two is just that the regional train takes 10 minutes longer.
The first train starts as early as 6 AM and the last one is at 11:55 PM from Roma Termina. Further, it takes about an hour to reach Orvieto from Rome. If you have not downloaded the Train Italia app you can check the Train Italia website as well – Link
For more usage of the app, check out this link – Italy Travel Guide
Civita: Reaching Civita from Orvieto is quite easy. There are regular buses that can be taken from Piazza della Pace (at the lower level of the Orvieto train station). Further, there is a bus every two hours. You will be dropped off at Bagnoregio from where you can walk through the romantic lanes to reach Civita.
Bus Timetable – Orvieto to Civita
|Orvieto to Bagnoregio|
|Bagnoregio to Orvieto|
Accommodation in Orvieto
Finding a hotel for yourself in Orvieto is not difficult. The number of hostels is next to none here. So you would have to book a hotel or B&Bs as per your price range.
Mid-range Hotel – My suggestion to you would be Casa Sagno if you are looking for a private room with the lowest price in Orvieto
Luxury – B&B Podere Pescara and Affittacamere Valentina are the most beautiful properties as well as very luxurious places to stay at.
<Orvieto Travel Guide Coming Soon>
Looking to add some offbeat locations in your Italy Itinerary? Then, read about these 5 lesser explored gems of Italy.
Day 8: Skydiving in Nettuno
I went to Nettuno which is near Rome for skydiving. I loved it!! Very much!! From witnessing an amazing landscape to meeting exceptionally friendly divers, the entire experience was surreal.
- Address: Strada Ponte Materiale, All’interno del Club Le Grugnole, 00048 Nettuno RM, Italy
- Phone number: +39 06 9885 0024
- Website: Crazy Fly
- Opening Days: Every Saturday, Sunday and holidays from 9:00 AM onwards
- Cost: 210 EUR for tandem jump, 230 EUR for tandem jump + videos
How to Reach Nettuno From Rome
There are direct trains between Rome and Nettuno that takes about an hour to reach. Once in Nettuno, you can either take a taxi that would cost 20-35 EUR or arrange a pickup for yourself as service which is provided by the Crazy Fly staff themselves. It costs 30 EUR round trip for a single person. For two or more people it would cost 40 EUR per car.
But do remember that this pickup service needs to be booked in advance. So contact them a couple of days before.
Day 9, 10 and 11: Sicily
The largest island of the Mediterranean Sea with a unique culture of its own, Sicily is an autonomous region of Italy. It is separated by the Strait of Messina which is roughly 3 KMs long.
I wanted to go to this place personally to understand how different North Italy is from South Italy culturally. Also, if you will talk to the people of North Italy they will tell you how Sicily is the most beautiful part of Italy. Everyone in North wants to visit it at least once in their lifetime.
Places to Visit
There’s so much to see in Sicily that a trip won’t be enough to cover it all. One can spend months over here. Below are few of the must-see places in Sicily if you are here for a shorter duration. This is also what all I managed to see in 3 days comfortably. 🙂
- Mount Etna – Explore Italy’s tallest and active volcanic mountain is a UNESCO World Heritage site. There is a bus that drops you off till the foot of the mountain from where you can either hike or take a cable car. From here you can overlook one of the most beautiful towns of Sicily – Catania. The city was founded by the Greeks in 729 BC and has a rich history in terms of cultural heritage
- Isola Bella – Explore a small island in Taormina Isola Bella which is also known as The Pearl of the Ionian Sea. It was private property until 1990 and is now a nature reserve
- Taormina – This town is one of the prominent attraction of Italy and is perched on a hill 250 m above the sea. It has several monuments and historical beauties as the Greek Theatre, concerts and cultural activities
How to Reach Sicily From Rome
Flights – Air One and Alitalia both offer frequent and fairly cheap flights between Rome and Sicily. If you do bookings well in advance then flights could be the best possible commute between the two. Do ensure to check the luggage limits well in advance as European flights are way strict with this system.
However, I would still like to go via train and you will know why below.
Train – I will definitely recommend this even though it is time-consuming. but read on and you’ll realize why it is an amazing mode of transportation. The train ride between Rome and Sicily is a unique journey. The train is transported on a ferry across the Straits of Messina and later it continues on the rail tracks in Sicily.
There are direct air-conditioned Intercity trains and takes about 11.5 hours of the journey. Further, while the train is on the ferry you can get down and head up on deck to enjoy the views of Sicily.
Further, it also saves on a night’s accommodation as well. It is a win-win, to cover the distance while sleeping which will save both time and money.
Accommodation in Sicily
I would suggest you stay in the Taormina area of Sicily as it will give you access to Catania as well Messia because Taormina lies in the center of it
Backpacker Hostel – Sunshine Hostel is a must check hostel I found that has a terrace, a bar, and rooms with free WiFi access.
Mid-range Hotel – A Casa da Paola is a semi-detached house offering sea views and an outdoor dining area on the ground-floor patio
Luxury – La Plage Resort is hands down one of the best properties in the category of a luxurious stay. Overlooking the Ionian Sea, La Plage Resort is set directly on its free private beach, within the Isola Bella Nature Reserve. It features modern rooms and bungalows with garden or sea views.
<Sicily Guide Coming Soon>
Day 12: Venice
Venice lies in the North Eastern region of Italy and is home to 450 bridges and 120 islands. While planning a trip to Venice, you should not miss out on the gondola ride, Basilisca San Maro, and the Doge’s Palace. There’s something extremely romantic about Venice, plus there is so much history and culture here.
How to Reach Venice From Sicily
Flight is the only option for this one and the most recommended one as well. Flights won’t cost you much if you book in advance. For this purpose, while booking flights check www.skyscanner.in. This website tells you the cheaper available flight to a particular country on any given date. This helps in better planning and choosing the dates which suit the best for you in accordance to your budget.
Marco Polo Airport is the nearest and the only airport in Venice. You can also check flights till Valerio Catullo Airport, an airport in Verona which is an hour away from Venice. From here you can take a train for your onward journey.
Accommodation in Venice
B&B or Guest House – In Venice you can try to find homestays which will be the cheapest option to stay in, or try B&Bs. The cheapest I could source was the Sun Flower Apartment which is a family room with free WiFi.
Luxury – Sina Centurion Palace overlooks the grand canal and offers 5-star luxury in Venice.
If you are curious about how to spend a day in Venice, read this guide here – Venice in One Day
Day 13 and 14: Dolomiti
If I would have researched about Dolimiti before, I would have rather spend my 2 weeks here itself. It is that gorgeous! In here, I visited Santa Maddalena Val di Funes and 3 Zinnen and honestly I was so immensely happy to see the Alps. The Dolomites are huge and there is a lot to see. For me, the shortlisting of a place was a real task. Below, I will list down the places I visited which you should too, along with the transportation facility here in Dolomiti.
How to Reach Dolomiti From Venice
Most of the people who travel around Dolomiti have their own private vehicles. Since I was backpacking as a solo traveler, the only option I had was to figure out the local commute which took a lot of time and effort but I managed to explore the places. Below, I will tell the routes and how you can reach these places as well.
Venice to Bolzano: There are trains till Dolomiti. From Venice, you have to change at Verona, from where you have to take a train till Trento. Trento is the place from where the Alps region start. However, if you want to visit Santa Maddalena Val di Funes take a train till Bolzano instead
Bolzano to Santa Maddalena Val di Funes: From Bolzano take a bus 301 till San Pietro Mezzomonte from where you will find a bus with line 304 till Val di Funes. To check the timings of the buses with price click here – link
Santa Maddalena Val di Funes to Toblach: Next you need to reach Toblach if you want to explore Tre Cime. To reach here, again take a line 304 that will drop you off directly till Toblach
Toblach to Tre Cime di Lavaredo: There are many buses from Toblach for Tre Cime. The bus will take you to the foot of the hike from where you would have to trek for an hour to reach this beautiful place. You can find the detailed timings of the buses here – link
Accommodation in Dolomiti
Now, I also suggested these places – Bolzano and Toblach, because you will also find Youth Hostels over here. They have one of the best services despite being a hostel. I will strongly recommend you to try these hostels because they are not only a cheaper available option but also provide a comfortable stay.
Below are the details –
Bolzano: Rittnerstr. 23 Via Renon, I-39100 Bolzano, Phone: +39 0471 300 865
Toblach: Dolomitenstr. 29 Via Dolomiten, I-39034, Toblach, Phone: +39 0474 976 216