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10 day Italy itinerary

My family of 5 ( 3 kids: 9, 12, 14) will be doing to Italy during the first 2 wks of June. This will be our first time there and we wanted to do a general overview/sampling of the country. Obviously 10 days is not a lot of time, however I wanted to run by our tentative itinerary by the more seasoned travelers to see if what we are planning is doable. Thank you in advance for any advice, suggestions, commentaries, etc! We are super excited about this trips and understand we cannot do everything. Our hope is to go back in the future and stay longer in just 1-2 places.

We fly into Rome at noon on a Monday and plan to stay until Wednesday (2days)

Rent a car in Rome and drive to Naples Wednesday afternoon/evening.

Stay and explore Naples until Thursday and stay overnight (1+ day)

Friday morning drive towards Amalfi coast. Visit Pompeii on the way. Go through Sorrento, Positano, Praiano and spend the night in Amalfi

Saturday morning leave Amalfi and drive through Ravello and to Salerno. Drop off car. Catch 5pm train to Florence

Arrive in Florence Sat night, stay until Tuesday morning (2+ days)

Tuesday AM take train to La Spezia to Cinque Terre. Overnight in Cinque Terre

Wednesday train from La Spezia to Venice

Arrive in Venice Wednesday PM and stay until Friday morning (1 + day).

Leave for airport in Venice Friday AM

Posted by
2431 posts

Doable? Yes, of course. Exhausting? Most likely. Will you have time to see much of what makes these places worthwhile visiting? Not so much. Especially the AC section of your trip. It's just too rushed. Most of your time will be spent in the car, and the driver will see little of the scenery, since he will spend all his time with his eyes glued to the road and traffic. And I can't imagine 3 kids who would be happy to spend that amount of time every day in a car. While I understand the temptation to cram in as much as possible, I think you'll all have a much more enjoyable vacation if you drop at least one place. My suggestion would be CT, since you will have already had a coastal experience on the AC. Use the extra time in one of your other places - they all deserve more, but especially Rome and Venice.

Posted by
16726 posts

Oh, no. Please don't do that. You have a total of ten full, usable days in Italy. You plan stay in six different hotels during that time, losing probably 1/2 day if not more every time you change hotels. Result: You are turning a 10-day trip into a 7-1/2 day trip.

You have only one real day in Rome plus maybe a couple of hours before you pick up the car on Wednsday. You have a similar amount of time in Venice. You won't even have gotten acclimated to those fabulous places before you have to pack up and leave.

The usual recommendation for 10-day trips is to have no more than 3 bases. There is a reason for that recommendation.

Posted by
2354 posts

Your family is going to have a wonderful time, but you need to give yourself time to catch your breath and enjoy it. You made a good decision to ask about your itinerary on this forum and flying in and out of different cities. I'm sorry, but you are pretty much trying to see everything. You should pick three cities at most. Other people who have seen more of Italy than we have may tell you that your itinerary is not even doable. We have been to Italy 3 times-Florence and Rome all 3 times, Venice only the first time. We have taken day trips from Rome to Pompeii twice (most people on this forum will tell you not to do this, but it worked fine for us) and from Florence to Siena and San Gimagano(I know it's spelled wrong). If you do any driving, be sure to search "driving in Italy" on this forum. We have always stuck to trains but there have been a lot of comments on this forum about people getting big traffic tickets when driving in Italy.

Posted by
950 posts

I was there with my three kids two years ago when my kids were exactly those ages. We spent 12 days. We went to Florence, the CT, and Rome. When I look at your plan I feel a little sad for all the things you will miss. I think you need to "kill your darlings", meaning, yes it feels like a loss to cut things you want to do, but its more of a loss to blow through everything in a flurry. My first reaction was "they're going to miss so much!". Why spend one night in the CT? Whats the point? 2 days in Rome!? 1 day in Venice? I confess I am puzzled about your goals for visiting. You'll spend about two days worth of travel hassle just getting from place to place. I have to agree that three places in ten days would offer you a much richer experience

Posted by
5019 posts

Sorry, your plan seems unwise and unrealistic to me. I would urge you to reconsider.

With the short time you have, you need to limit the number of locations to choose. Pick 3, maybe 4 tops.

Rome and Florence, plus ONE of the following (not both):
The north: Venice and/and CT (quite hurried if you do both) or The south (Naples, Pompei, Sorrento, Capri, Amalfi Coast - there's a lot there, you will still need to pick and choose).

Most of all, forget the car -- you really, really do not want a car in any of these places. For these places, a car would be somewhere between a major headache every day (at best) and a trip-wrecking disaster (at worst). No way would I drive that trip even if you paid me, I'd do trains.

Posted by
1528 posts

Oh my. I would not consider your plan a "vacation".
I think you are setting yourself for exhaustion and disappointment. So many stops, so much driving, no time at all to experience Italy. You have too many 1 night stops
A 3 night stay really means 2 full days to tour, 2.5 at best

Car rental- most european rentals are rather small- have you looked into a rental for 5 people plus luggage for 5?, you'll need a bigger car.
And no way would I drive into or around Naples or the Amalfi coast. Driving in Tuscany would be fine

10 days- do yourself a favor and just do this:
Rome- 3 nights- needs more but plan to return- maybe visit Ostica Anitca instead of Pompeii- which is too far as a day trip from Rome- but seriously I'd just see the sights in Rome proper- so much there!
Pick up car in Rome and drive to somewhere in Tuscany- maybe outside Siena- stay 4 nights- day trips to Florence, Siena and a hill town or 2. Drop car and take train to Venice.
Venice 3 nights- go to Murano/Burano 1 day.

Then when you return home start planning a more focused trip- just Amalfi plus Naples, or just Florence plus CT, etc.

ETA-- it looks like you actually have 11 nights? in that case I'd add that night to Rome
Rome 4, Tuscany 4, Venice 3

And yes- make sure you know how you will get to the Venice airport in the am

Posted by
6096 posts

Leave for airport in Venice Friday AM

Have you examined the logistics of an early AM departure?
In brief, it is expensive, inconvenient or both.

Posted by
2354 posts

Your original itinerary doesn't allow much time for the most important daily activity: gelato stops! (notice the plural!)

Posted by
211 posts

Please consider others' advice and reduce the number of stops on this trip. You will be amazed at how quickly your days will pass. Each new city requires hotel check in/out, finding your way to the sites you wish to visit, arranging meals, unpacking/packing, etc. It is likely that at least one in your group will struggle with adjusting to the time change, which can slow down the entire group.

It sounds like you have flights into Rome/out of Venice. Both will be very busy and have a lot of sites to visit. Perhaps you would want to consider Lucca as a change-of-pace in the middle of your trip. (Easy train access, too.) It's a much smaller city, with intact walls that have wonderful biking paths-could be a nice break mid-trip.

You are right-Italy is a country worthy of more than one visit! Choose two or three destinations this time around, taking time to savor each one. You WILL be back to enjoy more of what Italy has to offer!

Posted by
3456 posts

First, since this is your first time in Italy, please read this and download their e book.

Going off your daily itinerary it looks like you have more than 10 days.

I'm a big proponent of driving in Italy, but in areas that do not have good transportation options. Parking is at best difficult, expensive, and adding fines to that, makes it a no brained.
Add the cost of fuel at about 6-8 euro a gallon and high tolls, you'll save little compared to the trains.

Here's what I'd do. Skip the Cinque Terra. You'd use about 8 hours of travel (Florence-CT 3 hrs., and CT-Venice 5hrs. for one night here.

Day 1. Mon Arrive Rome 12:00. Allow 1-21/2 hours to clear immigration and passport control. Keep in mind your family will be jet lagged. Taxi €48 to your lodging. Try to keep everyone up until 9-10.

Day 2. Tue. Explore Rome. Prebook tickets to busy sites like the Colosseum, Vatican Museums and Borghese Galleries if they're on your list.

Day 3. Wed. More Rome.

Day 4. Thu. Train Roma Termini-Napoli Centrale. 1:17.
Visit Pompeii (40min) allow 2-3 hrs. If time allows go to the Archeological Museum. Enjoy a Napoli Pizza.

Day 5. Fri. Circumvesuvian to Sorrento 1:06. Bus or ferry to Amalfi. Check in then bus back to Positano to explore (45 min).

Day 6. Sat. Amalfi to Ravello (30 min). Then explore
Atrani, Minori and Maiori.

Day 7. Sun. Bus or ferry to Salerno then train to Firenze SM Novella. (3:40).

Day 8. Mon. Florence.

Day 9. Tue. Florence.

Day 10. Wed. Firenze-Venezia S Lucia. (2:05)

Day 11. Thu. Venice.

Day 12. Fri. Travel home.

Hope this clarifies why we've all said to eleminate one location and reasons to take the train.

Edit use this for the Circumvesuvian, ferry and bus timetables.

This plan can also be done in reverse, arriving Venice first will be a softer intro to Italy. It will eleminate a very early trip to the airport if your flight leaves at O-dark- thirty

Posted by
1528 posts

Gerri’s plan is reasonable and much more doable.
Just check open/ closed days for Florence sights. Can’t remember exactly but some sights closed Mon, some on Tues.

Posted by
13927 posts

I am an experienced and intrepid driver. I didn't even consider having a car in Naples - absolutely the worst place in Europe to have a car. June is high season on the Amalfi Coast. The only road is 2 lanes, mostly narrow, with blind curves and tons of traffic. You will probably spend much of your car time in idle, except where you have to back up on that narrow, winding up-and-down-hill road so two buses can pass each other. Parking is very limited and expensive. You may have to sit in a public lot for a long time, waiting for someone to pull out so you can park. BTW I tried to drive up to Ravello and, intrepid as I am, the road was too difficult for me. It was so narrow I was afraid I would have difficulty if a car came from the other direction, and driving back down, I'd be on the cliff side. Half way up, I managed to find a place where I could turn around (barely) and drove back down to Amalfi.

Bear in mind that your family will move only as fast as the slowest one, and that will probably alternate. Anyone have trouble getting out of bed in the morning? Anyone taking a long shower while others are waiting for the bathroom? Anyone dawdling over breakfast? Gawking at all the shops as you walk? Can everyone pack and unpack quickly (without leaving antthing behind)? Is everyone going to do hand laundry or do you need to allocate several hours to a laundromat? Or pay exorbitant hotel prices for laundry?

Do not underestimate how long it takes to orient yourselves to each new place. Get your bearings, figure out the transportation (every city is different). Allow at least 1/2 day to change locations - packing, checking out, getting to train station (with enough time to find your train and board) and buy train tickets in advance because lines to buy them at the stations will be long.

You don't have "+ days". If you land at noon, don't expect to be in your hotel before 2, though you'll save some time and hassles if you take a taxi from the airport. Don't expect that everyone will get 5-6 hours sleep on the plane. Rather, expect that you'll be in a jetlagged haze on Monday. That means you have one day in Rome before you leave for Naples. Whether you take the train or rent a car, if you want to spend half the day in Rome, you'll have to go back to your hotel to get your luggage and go to the train station or rental offices. That puts you in Naples in the evening.

Last words from Debbie Downer - you'll have a much better trip if you spend less time traveling between places and more time being in places. If Pompeii is a must-see, then plan a long day trip from Rome. The Amalfi Coast is too far for this trip if you want to see Florence and Venice. Spend more time in each and take day trips by train. It may cost you more to travel by train than by car (even taking into account parking, tolls and gas), but you'll all be more comfortable on the train, it's faster and more efficient, and you don't have to worry about leaving all your belongings in a parked car.

Posted by
6096 posts

3 kids: 9, 12, 14


If Pompeii is a must-see, then plan a long day trip from Rome.

Hmm, any chance for this to end badly?

Posted by
63 posts

Reading your itinerary made me tired :) I think you've received some good advice from others. I would just recommend taking the train from Rome to Naples and then the ferry around Alamfi. The kids (and you) will enjoy it so much more than driving. Have fun!

Posted by
2 posts

Hi! I wanted to give everyone an update on our travel plans. But first, I wanted to thank everyone for their responses. I am so so grateful for the collective wisdom and the time everyone took to impart it. We finally pared down the number of stops after many debates and discussion... it was very difficult! Our final itinerary: Rome: 5 nights, Florence 4 nights, and Venice 2 nights. We will probably still take a day trip to the Amalfi Coast (hire a driver and do a Cliff Notes version) while we are staying in Rome, but otherwise we are taking the excellent advice from you guys to just stay in three places. So Grazie to all!

Posted by
13927 posts

Well done!! Congratulations. It's a plan for an excellent trip. My only comment is consider moving one Florence night to Venice, which may be more interesting for the kids. Include a gondola rowing lesson.

Posted by
364 posts

We took our sons to Italy back in 2002 - so they were about 15 and 16.

GOALS - what we saw, in general
In prior trips to Europe we visited parks and toy stores.
By this trip they could handle all the museums we wanted. But we didn't stay at any of them a LONG time.

We spent about 10 days and only went to Venice (landed there), Florence and Rome.
Adding more cities than that is short-changing EVERY city you visit.
Also, it is a big PAIN to pack, check out, travel, check in on a DAILY basis would be TERRIBLE.
Also, finding parking for a rental car will add a lot of hassles in the old city-centers and in the Amalfi coast (and elsewhere).

And DRIVING in the Amalfi area will be slow. So add that time to the drive-time calculation.
If you go that far south, look into returning your car at Naples and getting the Naples ArtCard, which covers all public transport in the region (but not the Amalfi coast bus) and gets you into 2 sights for 'free' and 'half price' thereafter. So your entire family can take the trains and metro together to the sites. (I think you said you were returning the car in that region anyway)