Ciao Italy – a week-long trip to Rome, Venice and Florence

Italy may look like a small country, but getting around can be daunting and time-consuming if you aren’t prepared to deal with the Italian rail network. It’s a long way to come for just a week, but if that’s all you can spare, then this Rome–Florence–Venice 7-day suggested itinerary will be very useful. This itinerary not only includes Italy’s big three but also Pompeii, an ancient Roman City and one of the most significant proofs of Roman Civilization. For this suggested itinerary, you’ll fly into Venice and out of Rome. 

Things to know before travelling to Italy:

1.Language – Italian is the official language of Italy. Speaking at least some Italian phrases or attempting to learn is greatly appreciated by the locals. Some helpful phrases are as follows:

Parla Inglese? = Do you speak English?

Gracie = Thank You

Buon Giorno = Good Morning / Good Afternoon

Ciao = Hello / Goodbye

Quanto costa? / Quanto costa quest? = How much does it cost? / How much does this cost?

2.Etiquette – Most Italians don’t like vulgar and loud people. As a visitor, you are expected to behave politely and dress appropriately. When you enter a shop or restaurant, acknowledge the people by saying “Buon Giorno”. If you get into conversation with an Italian, do not go on the subject of mafia as this is considered to be rude.

3.Money and Currency – Italy uses euros, the same currency now used by most Western European countries with the exception of the United Kingdom, Switzerland and Norway. Prior to travelling, you can buy some euros (enough for one day or whatever your preference) and then exchange your money in the banks to get the best rates. You can also use the ATMs (called bankomat) at all main squares of every town, major airports and train stations.

4.Getting around – One week provides barely enough time to see the best of the country so basic knowledge of how to get around Italy’s “Holy Trinity” of Rome, Florence, and Venice is recommended. Major cities like Rome and Florence have good public transport systems, including bus and underground-train systems so there’s no need to rent a car. In Venice, the main public transport system is vaporetto (water bus).

5.Where to stay – Italy has a wide range of accommodation options, with something for every level of comfort and budget. In Venice, hotels with rooms offering a fantastic view of the Grand Canal, are normally on the expensive side. For budget travelers, San Marco offers some of the cheapest hotels in central Venice. In Florence, you may choose to stay in the historical center, outside the center but still within the city or the surrounding countryside. In Rome, budget travelers are recommended to stay near Termini Station, just to the south of the ancient city center. Termini is the best base for you to visit Rome’s main attractions if you are staying for a short period of time.

Getting there:

The below trip suggests arriving in Venice and leaving from Rome. There are really nice prices for round-trip tickets around – from London you can snap a round-trip for under 180 USD,  from Dubai you can get a round-trip ticket for 463 USD (with the Czech Airlines and 12 hours layover in beautiful Prague), from New York the cheapest price at the moment is 694 ISD with Aeroflot (which give you 8 full hours in Moscow so you can at least go and take a selfie on the Red Square) but there are also a little bit more expensive option with Delta, which are direct flights. Having trouble finding low-priced ticket? Send us a note and we can try helping you.

Day 1: Meet Venice!

Venice Marco Polo Airport is located on the mainland about 7 kilometers (less than 4.5 miles)  from the city. Visitors normally enter Venice through the Piazzale Roma, just 20 minutes away by airport bus or taxi. After arriving at the Piazzale Roma, buy your tickets for vaporetto (water taxi) in the newsstand near the bus stop or in Hellovenezia office. Check into your preferred hotel and recover from jet lag by hitting the nearest restaurant for breakfast that is if you arrive in the morning.

Where to stay in Venice:

The Gritti Palace (Campo Santa Maria del Giglio 2467, 30124 Venice, Italy)

Hotel Ai Cavalieri di Venezia (Calle Borgolocco 6108, Castello, 30122 Venice, Italy)

Hotel Antiche Figure (Santa Croce, 687 | Fondamenta S. Simeon Piccolo, 30135 Venice, Italy)

Hotel Canal Grande (Santa Croce, 932 | Campo San Simeone Grande, 30135 Venice, Italy)

Hotel Londra Palace (Riva Degli Schiavoni, 4171, 30122 Venice, Italy)

Palazzo Sant’Angelo sul Canal Grande (San Marco 3478/B, 30124 Venice, Italy)

 Basilica Di San Marco and San Marco Square, Venice, Italy
Basilica Di San Marco and San Marco Square, Venice, Italy

Begin your sightseeing at the Basilica di San Marco (San Marco, 328, Venezia, Italy; tel: +39 41 270 8311) then pay the separate admission fee to enter the Marciana Museum upstairs. Arrive before 11:30 in the morning and join the Secret Itinerary Tour through the Doge’s Palace (San Marco, 1, 30124 Venezia, Italy; tel: +39 41 271 5911). This 90 minute tour will allow you to get an insider glimpse into the hidden courtrooms, offices and prisons of the Venetian Republic. For lunch, head to Piazza San Marco and choose among its many great restaurants. In the afternoon, cross over the Grand Canal and wander in the stalls in Rialto Bridge (the oldest bridge across the Grand Canal).

A gondola near Rialto Bridge in Venice, Italy
A gondola near Rialto Bridge in Venice, Italy

 Day 2: Venice – art and canals

On your second day, you can visit the monuments, museums, and churches of Venice or you can just wander the streets aimlessly. For art enthusiasts, visit the Accademia Gallery (tickets are 15 Euro or 16 USD; Campo della Carità, 1050, 30123 Venezia, Italy; tel: +39 41 520 0345) then the nearby Peggy Guggenheim Collection (Dorsoduro, 701-704, 30123 Venezia, Italy; tel: +39 41 240 5411) to see one of Europe’s best galleries of 20th century modern art. No trip to Venice will be complete without the Grand Canal cruise experience. For a more romantic experience in the Grand Canal, you may ride in a gondola, probably the most famous thing to do in Venice. With the time you have left in Venice, treat yourself to dinner at a restaurant overlooking the Grand Canal.

Canal Grande With Basilica Di Santa Maria Della Salute In Venice. The Canal Grande is the main transportation canal in Venice.
Canal Grande With Basilica Di Santa Maria Della Salute In Venice. The Canal Grande is the main transportation canal in Venice.

Day 3: Florence – extra shot of art

On your third day, catch the earliest train to Florence. The high-speed AV trains cover the distance between Venice and Florence in just two hours. Train tickets can be purchased online or at the ticket counter in Santa Lucia Station (prices start at 22 USD). After arriving to Florence, check into a hotel in the historic center or wherever you prefer. Then head to the city center and join an outdoor guided tour of the Duomo complex. You will also have an opportunity to climb Brunelleschi’s ochre dome for a panorama view across the city.

Where to stay in Florence:

Hotel David (Viale Michelangiolo, 1, 50125, Florence, Italy)

Portrait Firenze (Lungarno Acciaiuoli 4, 50123, Florence, Italy)

Grand Amore Hotel and Spa (Via dei Servi 38/A, 50122, Florence, Italy)

The St. Regis Florence (Piazza Ognissanti 1, 50123, Florence, Italy)

Hotel Spadai (Via Dei Martelli 10, 50129, Florence, Italy)

Uffizi Museum, Florence, Italy
Uffizi museum looks stunning from the outside but wait until you get inside… The feeling is more like Harry Potter meets Narnia and Mona Lisa

Spend the rest of the afternoon in Uffizi (Piazzale degli Uffizi, 6, 50122 Firenze FI, Italy), one of the oldest and most prominent museums on earth. The museum houses some of the most important works of the Renaissance, including works by Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Botticelli and Raphael. Remember to book in advance online to avoid waiting in line for hours.

Day 4: Florence is trully Heaven for art addicts

Be at the Galleria dell’Accademia when it opens to see Michelangelo’s David before the crowds arrive. This is probably the most famous attraction in Florence that is why many visitors come here. Aside from David, there are also many other artistic delights in the gallery which are worth seeing. Head to Santa Maria Novella before lunch and see some of the most groundbreaking frescoes of the early Renaissance. After lunch, visit the Giotto frescoes in Santa Croce Church, the final resting place of Michelangelo and other Renaissance giants. For dinner, head to Oltrarno district.

Day 5: As it has been said: “All roads lead to Rome”

The average travel time between Florence and Rome is an hour and a half via the High-speed Frecciarossa trains. Don’t forget to book your train ticket online at least 24 hours before departure through the Trenitalia website to get to Rome as early as possible (tickets start at 20 USD). You may also buy your tickets on the day of your departure at the train station.

Where to stay in Rome:

Hotel Santa Maria (Vicolo del Piede 2, 00153 Rome, Italy)
Villa Spalletti Trivelli (Via Piacenza 4, 00184 Rome, Italy)
Artemide Hotel (Via Nazionale 22, 00184 Rome, Italy)
Barocco Hotel (Piazza Barberini 9 | Entrance: Via della Purificazione, 4, 00187 Rome, Italy)
The Inn At The Roman Forum – Small Luxury Hotel (Via degli Ibernesi 30, 00184 Rome, Italy)
The Fifteen Keys Hotel (Via Urbana, 6/7, 00184 Rome, Italy)

Santa Maria degli Angeli e dei Martiri, Rome, Italy
Santa Maria degli Angeli e dei Martiri, Rome, Italy

Spend the rest of day exploring the ancient Rome. Start in Santa Maria della Vittoria (Via 20 Settembre, 17, 00187 Roma, Italy; tel:+39 6 4274 0571), a 17th century baroque church dedicated to the Virgin Mary which houses some extraordinary Bernini sculptures. The head to Piazza della Republic and visit Santa Maria degli Angeli e dei Martiri (Piazza della Repubblica, Roma, Italy), a church designed by Michelangelo. In the afternoon, head to The Roman Forum and explore the ruins of several important government buildings of the early Roman Republic. Do not miss to visit the Colosseum, Rome’s iconic symbol.

The Colosseum in Rome, Italy
The Colosseum in Rome

Day 6: Pompeii

View of the Pompei ruins and Vesuvius volcano in background
View of the Pompei ruins and Vesuvius volcano in background

On day 6, join a group tour and discover the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Pompeii. It will take approximately 3 hours and 30 minutes to get to Pompeii from central Rome. On the way, you can browse thru the booklets and pamphlets about Pompeii or you can just marvel at the views while the bus makes its way thru enchanting medieval villages of Rome. During the height of the Roman Empire (almost 2,000 years ago), Pompeii was a bustling town until the nearby Mount Vesuvius erupted in the year 79AD. The eruption covered the whole town and its inhabitants in thick layers of volcanic ash. Today, Pompeii allows visitors a glimpse on the life here almost 2,000 years ago.

Day 7: Goodbye Rome… or not yet

Your final day in Italy can be spent on last-minute shopping and seeing those Rome attractions that you haven’t yet had time for.  You may also dedicate this day to St. Peter’s Basilica and the Vatican Museums. It all depends on your interests and if the pace is a bit breathless, consider skipping a stop to have some chill-out time.

If you decide to spend an extra day… or two… or three exploring Rome you should check our suggestion how to spend three days in the Eternal City.

Have you been to Rome, Florence or Venice? Do you have any tips or suggestions to share? If so, you can leave your comments below.

backpacking, City exploring, Culture, History, Italy

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