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Ultimate 10 Days Itinerary Italy for First Timers

Planning your first trip to Italy and looking for a 10 day itinerary Italy? This is my favorite country in the world and I have visited at least 20 times and I plan to return many more times.

My philosophy is that having a bad time in Italy is impossible as you will always have fantastic food, great wine, and even better coffee. Plus, it is a fairly attractive country.

I envy you the experience of discovering this beautiful country for the first time. This 10 day Itinerary in Italy focuses on the must-see attractions, a few hidden gems in well-known cities and then a trip to my favorite part of Italy – Sicily – to finish off with cannoli, aubergine and ricotta.

Get ready to fall in love with this fantastic country – you’ll be planning your next visit to Italy before you head home.

cestio bridge rome italy
cestio bridge rome italy

10 Days Itinerary Italy – Getting to Italy and Getting Around

The main international airport in Italy is Rome’s Leonardo da Vinci (Fiumicino) airport. Rome also has a second airport, Ciampino, which tends to be used by budget airlines within Europe.

Milan also has an international airport with fairly frequent flights. Another alternative is to fly into London and then take a flight to almost anywhere in Italy.

This Itinerary begins in Rome, as it is the most common point of entry for overseas visitors.

Flights to Rome

mouth of truth rome
mouth of truth

Getting Around Italy

The easiest and most comfortable way to get around Italy is by train. Italy has an excellent train network which is relatively cheap and comfortable. Trains between major cities are quite frequent.

Internal flights tend to be quite cheap with Alitalia. Easyjet and Ryan Air also offer internal flights in Italy. This itinerary recommends one internal flight. However, you may also want to look at an internal flight at the completion of this itinerary depending on your next destination.

Car hire in Italy is also quite reasonably priced, as is fuel – and the gas stations almost always have excellent coffee! I would recommend car hire if spending a lot of time in an area like Tuscany. However, if you follow this itinerary, there is no need to hire a car.

gondola in venice 10 days itinerary italy

Drivers in many parts of Italy are possibly a little more aggressive than you may be used to (the exception is Naples, where in my opinion, drivers are very aggressive), but I have driven in Italy several times and been quite comfortable.

10 Day Italy Itinerary

Day 1: Rome

I’m going to assume that you arrived in Rome yesterday and have woken up refreshed and keen to see one of the most beautiful cities in Italy. What better place to start than the Colosseum?

Rome Colosseum pink flowers
The Colosseum

The Colosseum in Rome is Italy’s most popular tourist attraction and receives over 7 million visitors annually. I highly recommend that you book your Colosseum tickets before you leave home.

The Colosseum has its own metro station, which is appropriately called Colosseo. Walking from the station to the Colosseum takes only about 2-4 minutes.

Rome Colosseum from site

If you have pre-booked your ticket you can skip the line for the Colosseum. Pre-booked tickets come with a set time for visitors. Exchange the printout of your PDF for an actual ticket at the ticket booth near the entrance to the Colosseum.

All tickets to the Colosseum also included access to the nearby Roman Forum and Palatine Hill.

Title roman forum 3

There are quite a few different options for Colosseum tickets. The Colosseum has an underground section and some fantastic views from the 3rd level which are not included in standard tickets.

It is also possible to prebook guided tours, see the Colosseum at sunset or combine it with a skip-the-line ticket for the Vatican.

Rome Colosseum Hypogeum skip the line colosseum
The Hypogeum at the base of the Colosseum

There are so many options that I have written a complete blog post on Skip the Line Colosseum, which will tell you everything you need to know to have a fantastic visit to this iconic Italian attraction.

Rome Colosseum at Sunset 2
The Colosseum at Sunset

In the afternoon, head to the center of Rome to see a couple of the city’s most iconic attractions – the Spanish Steps and the Trevi Fountain. Don’t miss the beautiful Fontana della Barcaccia in front of the Spanish Steps. It is one of the most beautiful fountains in Rome.

fontan della Barcaccia
fontan della Barcaccia

Then head for one of the best-preserved monuments in Rome, the Pantheon. Make sure to book your tickets beforehand.

pantheon rome interior
pantheon rome interior

Top Tip: The Trevi Fountain is so iconic that I think it is worth visiting twice. See the fountain in full daylight but beware that it will be busy. I would then advise visiting the Trevi Fountain again after dinner. It is lit up at night and often much more peaceful.

spanish steps
spanish steps

For dinner, head to the fantastic Roman supermarket/dining extravaganza that is Eataly. Eataly runs over several levels and is home to all things food and wine. There is an upmarket grill restaurant, a pizzeria, a gelateria, a pub and more. Eataly is sure to provide something to please everyone.

trevi founrtain
trevi fountain

Boutique Hotels in Rome

Located in the middle of Rome’s historic district, the Daphne Inn is a stylish little bed and breakfast. It is super cute and has a nice balcony and a good breakfast buffet.

The rooms aren’t big – nor is the hotel – and there is no minibar or room service – but this is the perfect little hotel for two people on their first trip to Rome.


For something a little different head to the lovely Roman neighborhood of Trastevere to stay at the charming Hotel Santa Maria. A former 17th century convent, there are now 18 bungalow style rooms and a roof terrace.

The room design isn’t super fancy but there is quite a bit of space and an excellent buffet breakfast. This is a particularly good option for families.

A gorgeous converted townhouse with just 9 rooms, Casa Montani also has a great location just near Piazza del Popolo. The stylish rooms feature king-size beds with a high thread count on the sheets. And even better, there are Frette towels and Hermes toiletries.

Day 2: Rome

It’s time to head to the small separate country within Rome, the Vatican. Absolutely book skip the line tickets for the Vatican to ensure you are able to visit and don’t have to stand in line for hours.

sistine chapel city facts about rome
Sistine Chapel Ceiling

Entry to Vatican City and to St Peter’s Basilica are both free. However, tickets are required to visit the Vatican museums and the Sistine Chapel.

detail at st peters
detail at st peters

After the Vatican, it is time for a late lunch. Head to the delightful piazza Campo de Fiori and the iconic pizza bakery Forno. Pizza is sold by the slice as it comes fresh out of the oven. There is no seating but you can take your pizza to the pub next door and eat it as long as you buy a drink.

Fontana del Nettuno
Fontana del Nettuno

After lunch explore the market in Campo de Fiori and check out some of its lovely shops. Then walk over to Piazza Navona and admire its three beautiful fountains. Then meander through the city stopping for coffee and/or gelato while you head to what may be the city’s most beautiful square, Piazza Del Popolo.

piazza del popolo
piazza del popolo

For dinner head to Rome’s main station and its fantastic Mercato Centrale. This is much more than just a food court. You’ll find numerous small counters/restaurants serving up a huge range of meals. The quality is very high at all so you can’t go wrong.

You might enjoy reading my articles on bridges in Rome, Rome Monuments and facts about Rome.

Day 3 of 10 Days in Italy: Rome to Venice

After two days of heavy tourist attractions, have a more relaxing morning wandering the lovely neighborhood of Trastevere. This city within a city is filled with piazzas and cobbled streets.

Santa Maria della Scala Trastavere
Santa Maria della Scala Trastavere

Head to Basilica di Santa Maria and the lovely fountain in front of it. Grab a coffee and sit and enjoy the atmosphere on Piazza Trilussa.

Grab a fantastic roman lunch at Da Enzo – don’t miss the meatballs and if you have room, their tiramisu.

In the afternoon, take the 3 1/2 hour train trip from Rome to Venice.

Venice Boutique Hotels

For a boutique little bed and breakfast with an amazing location, you can’t go past Novecento Boutique Hotel. This family-run hotel is located just a few minute’s walk from St Mark’s Square.

The rooms aren’t large, but they are stylishly decorated with an Arabian feel. There is a fantastic breakfast buffet as well as a cute little courtyard.

Or escape the most well-trodden areas of Venice for lovely Murano and Casa Burano. This unique B&B is spread over five houses on the island of Murano.

Venice Landmarks
Venice Landmarks

The rooms are very Scandi stylish – quite unique in Venice. Bathrooms are spacious and contain rain showers. Each of the five houses has a communal area for tea and coffee. This is also where you can pick up your breakfast basket in the morning.

Day 4 Italy Itinerary 10 Days: Venice

Today is all about exploring Venice by foot and by sea. Start the day off on Vaporetto line one. The Vaporetto is Venice’s public transport boat so for just a few euros, you can experience many of the key sites of Venice over its one-hour journey.

vaporetto venice

After your water journey, head to the beautiful St Mark’s Square. Have the most expensive coffee of your life at Caffe Florian but decide it is worth it for the ambiance. Then head for St Mark’s Basilica (make sure you have prebooked your skip the line tickets) and the beautiful Bridge of Sighs.

St Mark's square
St Mark’s square

Spend the rest of the day getting lost in the streets of Venice. Make sure you don’t miss the Rialto Bridge.

After you’ve freshened up, head to Harry’s Bar for a pre-dinner cocktail. Then head to the charming Antiche Carampane for a fantastic seafood dinner.

St Mark's Basilica
St Mark’s Basilica

You might enjoy reading my articles on Venetian Palaces, Landmarks in Venice, Facts about Venice and where to watch the Venice sunset.

Day 5: Venice and Naples

Spend the morning on the beautiful island of Murano. This tiny island is very photogenic and famous for its glassmaking. Head to the island’s main street Fondamenta Manin to watch glass blowing and/or visit the Glass Museum.

murano venice at sunset
murano venice at sunset

In the afternoon hop on the train and head south to Naples. The journey to Naples takes about 5 hours.

Spend the night at the super cute B&B The Bellini House. It’s near the station which means you won’t need to travel far after the train journey and you’ll be ready to go for Day 6.

Day 6: Naples, Pompeii and Positano

Head to the train station after breakfast and hop on a train from Naples to Pompeii. The journey takes about 40 minutes. Book your Pompeii ticket before the day to avoid queues or, worse missing out. The ruins attract 2.5 million visitors each year and are one of the most popular tourist attractions in Italy.

pompeii italy

Once you’ve walked Pompeii, hop back on the train for the 35-minute journey to Sorrento. Once in Sorrento head to Frankie’s Bar for a classic Neapolitan-style pizza.

positano main shot things to do in positano

After lunch, head down to the water and hop on the ferry from Sorrento to Positano. After you’ve checked into your hotel take a walk up or down Positano depending on where your hotel is located! There are many cute shops and art galleries to keep you entertained.

Head to the water for a delicious Italian seafood dinner at Chez Black.

Positano Boutique Hotels

Hotel Conca D’ Oro, is a charming hotel with some amazing views of Positano. It is located near the top of town and the only access to the hotel is through some narrow and winding lanes.

hotel conca d'oro
hotel conca d’oro

Rooms are simply but elegantly furnished with a blue and green tiled floor and white walls. The double bed had a simple cast iron frame and there was a desk and television. The cheerful bathroom was decorated in a blue and white color scheme and had a walk-in shower and a bidet.

hotel conca d'oro room
hotel conca d’oro room

The views from the rooms, the restaurant and the fourth floor terrace at Hotel Conca D’Oro are all outstanding.

hotel conca d'oro view
hotel conca d’oro view

Hotel Covo Dei Saraceni is a 5-star hotel located just to the side of Spiaggia Grande. It has an amazing location on the water and somehow manages to stay quiet.

If you want true decadence, Le Sirenuse is Positano’s most famous and exclusive hotel. Even if you don’t stay do head to Le Sireneuse for at least one drink whilst in Positano.

Day 7: Positano and Capri

Driving from Positano to Capri (including a boat ride at the end) takes over three hours. But a fast boat from Positano to Capri takes just 40 minutes. However, I wouldn’t recommend taking a super fast boat to Capri as you would miss the stunning Amalfi coastline and its grottos and small statues keeping sailors safe.


There are multiple places along the way where a boat can lay anchor and you can jump in and enjoy the water.

boat trip

Capri can be a great day trip from Positano. Spend the day in the luxurious town of Capri. Or do what we did: take a slow sail to the island and then pull in for lunch at Bagni Tiberio. This beach club is located on the former site of Palazzo a Mare, Emperor Tiberius’ summer villa. It is possible to see the ruins of the imperial villa overlooking the bay.

bagni tiberio capri
bagni tiberio capri

Established in 1926, Bagni Tiberio was Capri’s first beach club. Chairs and boats can be hired or head straight to the club’s charming seaside restaurant. The restaurant is famous for its seafood pastas and with good reason. The spaghetti with clams (vongole) is perhaps its most well known dish. It goes very well with the restaurant’s signature drink, white wine with soaked peaches.

bagni tiberio capri
bagni tiberio capri

Have dinner at Ristorante Da Adolfo. It is only minutes from the Positano dock, and its complimentary boat arrives regularly. The restaurant is located on the small pebble-filled Laurito Beach. It is the perfect spot to watch the sun go down.

da adolfo beach
da adolfo beach

The restaurant is casual in appearance and very comfortable with wooden seats and large wooden tables. The food is heavy on pasta and seafood, unsurprisingly. Its signature dishes include mozzarella grilled on lemon leaves, mussel soup, fresh octopus, and anchovies. Try the spaghetti with pepper pesto sauce, a specialty of the area.

da adolfo mussels
da adolfo mussels

You might enjoy reading my article on the most interesting things to do in Positano.

Day 8: Travel to Sicily

Hop in your pre-booked car to be whisked from Positano to Naples airport. From Naples airport catch a flight to Catania, the main city on Sicily’s east coast. The flight takes just over one hour. From Catania airport head to the beautiful town of Taormina. The transfer should take about one hour. Spend the late afternoon exploring the old town of Taormina.

sicily trip
Golden houses of Taormina

If you are after dinner with an amazing view, Al Saraceno is the place.

Boutique Hotels in Taormina

Hotel Villa Angela is located up the hill from the old town of Taormina. It is a gorgeous Taormina hotel with the most amazing views. Every room at this Sicily boutique hotel has a stunning view. This hotel in Taormina, Sicily, makes the most of its location with a lovely terrace near reception where you can have a sundowner and a lovely pool.

itinerary for sicily
The view from Hotel Villa Angela

The rooms at this hotel in Sicily aren’t massive but are a good size and beautifully decorated. And each has a lovely balcony.

The hotel has a shuttle bus that goes down to the city gates once an hour and does a regular pickup. This was fantastically convenient. You do need to book the Hotel Villa Angela shuttle during peak times.

Read reviews on TripAdvisorBook Now

Or stay in a turn-of-the-century villa carved into the cliffs at Villa Carlotta. Recently renovated, this beautiful Sicily boutique hotel is both elegant and informal and has amazing views over the Ionian Sea.

Villa Carlotta sicily boutique hotels
Villa Carlotta Pool

Each of the 29 rooms at Villa Carlotta is unique; almost all rooms have balconies or panoramic terraces with sea views.

Read reviews on TripAdvisorBook Now

For a more lavish experience in Taormina, check out the grand villa at The Ashbee Hotel. An English architect originally designed this stunning hotel, so it is a mix of Italian and classic quirky English design.

The pool at Hotel Ashbee Taormina
The pool at Hotel Ashbee Taormina

Each of the 24 rooms at this boutique hotel in Sicily is unique in decorations or paintings, or antique furniture. There are four classes of rooms ranging from classic to suites.

If you’re looking for a special meal, don’t miss the St George Restaurant by Heinz Beck and its exquisite tasting menu.

Read reviews on TripAdvisorBook Now

Day 9: Mt Etna

After breakfast, it is time to climb Mt Etna. Mount Etna is the highest active volcano in Europe and stands at over 3,300 meters. It is possible to hike this UNESCO World Heritage site independently, but most people take a tour. And if you want to see the summit, you will need to take a tour.

trip to sicily
The top of Mt Etna

I recommend that you book a Mt Etna tour that takes the minimal hiking option. This means you will take a cable car up the mountain and a 4 x 4 jeep to the summit.

Mount Etna is quite high so it will be much cooler on the summit. Do make sure you dress appropriately.

Remember, Mount Etna is an active volcano. This means there may be some days when it is impossible to visit the summit. Check ahead with your tour company.

top of mount etna sicily
Mt Etna

The trip is likely to get you back to Taormina mid-afternoon. Wander the lovely old town of Taormina and do some shopping. There are some great boutiques. Or head to the Teatro Greco, Taormina’s most famous landmark. This is a great time of day for photos. Don’t miss Piazza IX Aprile and San Giuseppe on Taormina’s main street.

back streets of Taormina
Backstreets of Taormina

For dinner, head into the pedestrianized old town of Taormina, and join the pre-sunset promenade down Taormina’s main street, Corso Umberto I. Head to the Metropole for an expensive glass of wine in a fancy environment. Then move on to Malvasia for a classic Italian dinner.

Day 10: Sicily

Your final day is up to you and will most likely depend on your flight times home. Either relax in beautiful Taormina, or if you are still feeling energetic, take a day trip to beautiful Syracuse and Noto.

main church in Noto sicily

Read more about Sicily in my articles on the best things to do in Sicily, where to stay in Sicily, best boutique hotels in Sicily and my Sicily Itinerary.

Italy Must Book Skip the Line Tickets

Here are the skip the line tickets for some of Italy’s key attractions that you may want to book before you leave home:

Rome: The Colosseum

Rome: The Colosseum and the Vatican

Rome: The Pantheon

Rome: The Vatican

Venice: St Mark’s Basilica


fountains in rome
The Vatican

When to Visit Italy

As with many places in Europe, the best times to visit Italy are in what is known as the shoulder seasons – March through May and September through November. The weather will be pleasant and the crowds will be less – and hotels should be cheaper.

Summer is June through August and can get very hot and crowded with long queues. Rome, Tuscany and Sicily will still be mild between November and February but do expect quite a few things to be closed. Christmas is another busy period but is generally Italians returning home.

Doges Palazzo Venice the king of the Venetian Palaces
Doges Palazzo Venice

Things to Know before you go to Italy

  • Italy operates on the Euro currency
  • It has a 220 voltage with a 2 pin plug like most of Europe
  • The internet is quite good and most hotels will have access. However, at this stage, there are not that many cities offer free internet access as several others do in Europe.
  • Dinner tends to be later in Italy – often 730pm at the earliest.
  • Pasta is normally served as a first course rather than as a main meal.
  • Meals tend to be longer than you may expect with more courses – food is for enjoying not rushing.
  • Italians tend to only drink cappuccinos or coffee with milk in the morning. You may receive some looks ordering coffee with milk after lunch but the baristas are getting used to this.
  • To get a coffee or pastry it is usual to go to the cashier and pay for the items first. Then take your receipt and provide it to the person behind the counter who will get you your coffee/pastry.
  • Coffee shops are predominantly for standing rather than sitting. Most Italians will order an espresso, toss it down and head off. There may be less seating than you are used to – or desiring if you have sore feet from hitting the sites!

I hope you enjoyed reading my 10-day Italy itinerary.

bernini elephant rome
bernini elephant in Rome

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Things to do in Orvieto Italy

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Bologna Boutique Hotels

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This 10 Day Itinerary Italy post includes affiliate links. That means if you click through and end up making a purchase I will receive a small commission. I wanted to make sure you were aware of this.

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