Seeing the main sites in Italy in 7 days was such a whirl wind! Italy has so much to offer from its amazing history, architecture, food, artwork … the list goes on & on. Narrowing the list down, we settled on the following for our 7-day Italian Itinerary:
Day 1: Arrive in Milan
We arrived mid-day in Milan and rented a car at the airport to head to Lake Como. Before heading north though, we made a stop to enjoy Milan. We went to the Duomo di Milano, the main cathedral in the city (about 3-25 euros for a tour). The architecture on this Gothic cathedral is stunning and climbing to the roof-top provided spectacular views of the city!
After exploring the cathedral, we then decided to do some shopping in one of the fashion capital’s of the world! Just behind the Duomo, are the main high end shopping streets that are great for window shopping – Corso Buenos Aires, Corso Vittorio Emanuele II, and Corso Venezia.
After we had our shopping fill, we headed out of the city and north toward Lake Como. We stopped along the way as we pleased at small towns or picturesque areas. It was a short drive at a little over an hour from Milan to Varenna in Lake Como.
Day 2: Lake Como
We stayed in Varenna at the cutest Airbnb – Villa Monti. This estate was breath-taking in itself and also was a great location from the main town and ferry stations.
In the morning we explored Varenna and then headed on the ferry to explore the lake and neighboring towns. After a full day of exploring, we ended up in the best restaurant in Varenna for dinner – Il Cavatappi. The beautiful lake with mountains in the background was a perfect start to our 7-day Italian itinerary!
Day 3: Venice
We left Lake Como early in the morning (like 7AM early! Thank god for great espresso in Italy) and returned our car in Milan before taking the train to Venice. Since we left early though, we had a full day to explore Venice.
We stayed at the Metropole Hotel. The hotel was in the perfect location, right next to Doges Palace. It was a very traditional hotel with modern amenities.
After checking in, we enjoyed a full day of exploring Doges Palace, marveling at the beauty of St. Mark’s Basilica, and crossing the famous Rialto Bridge. But our favorite part was taking a gondola ride along the Grand Canal (if you missed it, see here for the complete post).
Day 4: Florence
We left Venice early in the morning (even earlier this time … 6AM. I really should have taken espresso as a souvenir home!) and hopped on the train for Florence. It was about a 2 hour train ride to get to the city and both train stations were centrally located which made it super easy!
Again, we stayed in the city center (with such a short trip, this was essential!) at the Hotel Spadai. This modern hotel was right near the Duomo which was perfect because that was our first stop! We climbed the dome all the way to the top (after another espresso for some added caffeine), enjoying the morning views of the city.
We then explored all the amazing Renaissance art throughout the city – Galleria Dell-Accademia, Bargello National Museum, and Uffizi Gallery. We booked all our ticket’s online to avoid the long lines and make the most of the short time we had in the city.
Day 5: Tuscany
Exploring the Tuscan hills was on my bucket list for a while, so I wanted to make sure it was included in our 7-day Italian Itinerary! We got a later start to this day and it was much more restful in comparison to all our other days. We savored breakfast near our hotel with a view of the Duomo, before heading to the hills.
We rented a car in Florence and then headed out to explore the small towns, local wineries, & historic Siena. Taking in the medieval towns sprinkled in the rolling countryside was a stunning way to relax after a few very busy days.
We returned to Florence just before sunset and enjoyed amazing views of the city at dusk from the Piazzale Michelangelo. Returning our car, we headed to the train station for Rome. Traveling to Rome was a short 1.5 hour trip and just like in Florence, both train stations were centrally located making it very easy. We then checked into our hotel – the Rome Times Hotel.
Day 6: Vatican City & Rome
After a night well rested, we headed out early to explore the Vatican and Rome (again thankful for the amazing espresso!). If you missed our complete adventure, see here for part 1 and here for part 2 …
We headed to the Vatican first. We purchased tickets in advance for the museum (again necessary to miss the long lines). The museum itself did not disappoint, with its amazing artwork and Sistine Chapel. We then went to St. Peter’s Basilica before heading back to Rome.
In Rome, we went back in time to the Coliseum and Roman Forum which was such an incredible experience! We finished the day at Trevi Fountain and enjoyed an amazing seafood dinner near our hotel at Matermatuta.
Day 7: Depart Rome
On our last day in Italy, we had no plans besides heading to the airport in the afternoon. We lazily strolled the streets in Rome, picked up various souvenirs at little shops along the way, & enjoyed some of the best tiramusi at Pompi near the Spanish Steps. It was a great end to our whirlwind adventure of our 7-day Italian itinerary!