Italy in 3 months is ambitious. Italy in 15 days is ruthless. However, if you’ve only got two weeks to spare, I have just the Italy travel guide for you.
In 8 days, I visited some of the most famous sceneries–Venice on the lake, historical center of Florence, the picturesque islands of Cinque Terre, the leaning tower of Pisa, the holy Vatican and of course, Rome. Between stops at notable monuments, we still found time to wander the cities endlessly.
Italy Travel Guide: Venice
Didier Descouens, from Wikimedia Commons
2 half days and a night in Venice.
Is it really a Italy travel guide without Venice?
I arrived in Venice mid-noon April. The temperature was a bit low and the breeze a bit chilly. A stunningly romantic city, the Venetian Lagoon did not fail to amaze. Crowded by tourists in some parts, there still remains a vast portion of streets and alleys untouched by tourist presence.
I discovered this while trying to find my Airbnb. Make sure to confirm your location before arriving! Despite having the address on Google Maps, the location was wayy off. I asked a cafe staff several times before confirming that the cafe had nothing to do with my residence.
I ended up wandering the streets of Venice with my luggage. Not a fun experience after a flight :'(
The streets were confusing. On a map, the layout seems straightforward enough. It’s a tiny island with small streets here and there, resembling any other European city. The story is completely different when you are physically there. There were no less than a few thousand intersections and crisscrossing alleyways. Many streets were impossible to locate due to the numbering system (instead of having different street names, the houses are numbered in accordance with the districts). Since I had no phone, I had to walk around and hope for the best. But thank god for those welcoming Italians (Some of the most helpful people I’ve met)!! I was offered help by a local, who was kind enough to walk some hour or two to help me find my bed.
Venice was extremely small and pricey. As such, a day in the city was enough. But to experience the romantic strolls at night, we decided to leave the following afternoon.
Italy Travel Guide: Florence
5 days in Florence, use it as the base for Cinque Terre and Pisa.
- 1 or 2 days for Cinque Terre
- 1 day for Pisa
Florence was around 2 hours from Venice. We took a Blabla Car for around €15 per person, which was much cheaper and more convenient than Itali Rail. To be fair, Italy has a great rail system. But nothing beats people picking us up and dropping us off right at the door.
Although Florence was crowded with people and traffic, it remains one of my favorite destinations in Europe. Situated 10 minutes away from the spectacular Dome, our Airbnb was only €19 for two beds!
The Cathedral was breathtaking; the city magnificent, the open air museum was extra charming with a saxophone soloist by its doors. There is so much to see here. From its beautiful architecture to its art and history, definitely, spend a few nights in this magical city.
Italy Travel Guide: Cinque Terre
View this post on Instagram
An Italy travel guide isn’t complete without this beautiful region.
Waking up at 6 am, we caught the earliest train at the Florence central station. Cinque Terre is famous for its 5 different villages and their colorful dwellings by the sea. Again, all the trains and associated timetables are available on Itali Rail . (Note! The ticket for these villages as mentioned below are only sold at the station in La Spezia and the front desk of some hotels.) After arriving at Genoa train station (La Spezia), there is a separate train for these villages. The station provides a rather great explanation for what’s to come. They hand out little cards that detail the various trains times between each village, as well as the hiking trails between these little towns. Unfortunately, only one of the hiking trails connecting the villages was open, but it was enough for us for the day. The hike was exhausting, lasting nearly 2 hours. We thought one day was enough for Cinque Terre, but definitely stay longer if you don’t want to rush things!
Italy Travel Guide: Pisa
Instead of catching a train, we took a blablacar to Pisa. It was €8 per person and on the way, the driver pointed out the Tuscany vineyards, which was extremely beautiful. Definitely, bring food out onto the lawn for a nice little picnic. (Though you will likely get hooted off by security)
<-Italy Travel Tip #1: Obligatory Pisa pic.
Italy Travel Guide: Rome
4 days in Rome
We spent 4 days in Rome. Although the train from Florence was around €50, we were able to find a Blabla Car for €15/ person. To be completely honest, I wasn’t as fond of Rome as the cities mentioned above. 3 days was definitely enough for main tourist attractions! There are many 1-2 day Rome Travel Guides online. These will help sort out the most popular tourist attractions if you’d like to catch everything!
Italy travel tip#2!!: If you are planning a trip, try to spend a Wednesday at the Vatican and meet the Pope!!!! You need to reserve online here.
Italy Travel Guide: The Remaining 5 Days
Truthfully, there is no way to experience all of Italy in such a short time.Nonetheless, the destinations mentioned in this Italy travel guide are the crown jewels and must visits.
However, Italy is so much more than these few cities. There is Milan, one of the fashion capitals of the world. (Visit before or after Venice since it is located in North Italy). Bologna is yet another great stop located between Florence and Rome. Down south, you have the beautiful waters of the Mediterranean. Visit Naples or the old mafia capital of Sicily. This is definitely a very fast moving and tiring agenda for those who are physically able. However, if you are on a tight schedule yet don’t want to miss any of the spectacular sights, (like myself), this might do!
For 8 days in Italy, We spent around $500 CAD for the two of us. This was a pretty expensive trip compared to my usual budgeting ways. But since we opt for nicer Airbnb instead of Couchsurfing, the bill really added up. We spend around $300 on Airbnb. Aside from the cheap one in Florence, Venice and Rome were pretty darn expensive. The rest were on transportation throughout the country. Trains in Italy were pricey. I didn’t really notice it until going to Cinque Terre due to the lack of Blabla cars in that region. I believe we ended up spending $100 just for the various trains throughout the day 🙁 Nevertheless, this was such a great experience and definitely worth the trip! I do need to start budgeting my trips accordingly though! As always, feel free to email me if you’ve any questions!
Happy Travels xx