The Best Ways to See Italy
Italy is a beautiful country with spectacularly diverse cities and serene country sides. Delicious food, history, art, and architecture can be found on just about every corner. With that said, cramming a bunch of city tours and activities in a short period of time will leave room for a lot of missed opportunities. We have found that if you are going to spend approximately 7-10 days in the country, to limit your visit to the big 3: Venice, Florence, and Rome. If you have extra time, visit Pompei, Tuscany, Cinque Terre, Sorrento, and the Amalfi Coast.
In Venice, take a gondola ride through the city. There are more than 150 canals throughout Venice. Plus, you won’t want to leave without walking through St. Mark’s Basilica where intricate mosaics are found on the floor, walls, and ceiling. Florence is home to some of the most exquisite galleries in the country and where Michelangelo’s David is on display at the Accademia Gallery. When in Rome, head to the Colosseum, Trevi Fountain, St Peters Basilica, or tour Vatican City and view the famous Sistine Chapel ceiling.
However you decide to build your Italy itinerary, there are a few options to get from one city to another.
- Car Rental: Renting a car can be on the more expensive end, but if you don’t want to get in a bus with a bunch of other people and want to roam the country sides on your own, a car is a great way to make your own schedule. If you want to tour both city and country side in one trip, take the train to the main cities and then rent a car to see the country. Parking can be a problem in large cities and driving there is not recommended unless you are very confident in your driving abilities.
- Public Transportation: Take the worry and stress out of getting to know the roads yourself and enjoy a train ride. Unfortunately, trains don’t go everywhere, but they do reach most of the popular destinations. There are also many other public transportation options such as trams, buses, ferry, metro, and taxis. Traveling across the country may be less expensive via public bus, but it is rarely worth the savings when you account for the hassle it can bring.
- Airplane: Italy is bigger than one might realize. Taking a flight from one end of the country to the other can help if you are hoping to travel to multiple cities that are cross country.
- Escorted Tours: Escorted tours are by far our favorite way to see Italy, especially if it is your first time! Instead of figuring out where to go and how to get there, tour groups will have the itinerary, modes of transportation, and accommodations planned out and reserved. Plus, many tours offer free time to roam and explore or do anything that was not listed on the itinerary. Some tours even offer skip-the-line tickets so you don’t have to waste your vacation standing in a long line.
Be aware that if you venture out into the quainter areas of Tuscany, Cinque Terre and the Amalfi Coast, most accommodations are not your average hotel. Instead, you will find small, family run B&B’s, villas, and hillside apartments. Transportation can be tricky if you don’t have a car in these hilltop and mountainside areas.