Planning a trip to Italy? Then you need to read our Italian itinerary before booking a single thing.
The itinerary starts in Venice but you could easily adjust it and start in Rome. The 30 days is just a guideline and can be shortened or extended. Simply adjust the time in each place or leave something out. Click on the links for more information about each recommendation.
To really explore properly you need a car. If you don't have a car then leave out the smaller towns and focus on the big towns and cities, they can all be reached by train.
Our Italian itinerary starts in Venice. One tip before we start; postpone renting the car until after Venice - that will save you a bit of money as obviously a car won't be needed while in Venice. Also, book your car before you leave home in order to get the best rates - this is the company we always use.
I'd suggest at least three nights in Venice as that will give you enough time to see the main sights and some of the less well known ones too. You'll love nights in Venice, once the sun set and the lights come on it really is a magical time: far less crowded and the atmosphere is enchanting.
Venice is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the Veneto region, the region where Venice is located. Throughout the region you'll find quaint little villages, unforgettable scenery and much more - you could easily spend a month here.
Where to start? Well, our Veneto itinerary has all the best things to see in the Veneto and around Lake Garda so, pick the ones that appeal to you, and spend four nights/five days exploring - you'll find the itinerary here.
Perhaps spend a day in Bergamo and/or Milan - maybe even a day in each but then you'll need to adapt the itinerary a little.
I really love Bergamo's medieval old town on a hill - very special indeed. In Milan the highlights are the cathedral, La Scala, Galleria Vittorio Emmanuele and the Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci. Of course there is great shopping too - here is our guide.
Base you yourself for three nights in Levanto, which is on the doorstep of the Cinque Terre and is the ideal base to explore. My Cinque Terre Guide explains why you should stay here rather than in one of the Cinque Terre villages. While here take a day trip to Portofino.
Leave the Cinque Terre and head to Tellaro on the Gulf of Poets. Its a gem of a town, one of the loveliest in Italy and it hasn't yet been discovered by tourists outside of Italy.
After that head off to Tuscany.
Include a night in Lucca (a stunning town), a day in Pisa and then 3 nights in Florence. While in Florence a day tour of the Tuscan winelands is a great idea. You can either do this yourself or take a tour.
Personally, I'd add a few more days (at the very least) in the Tuscan countryside - explore by bike or on foot to really appreciate Tuscany. Not sure where to begin? Well, here's one of the walks I love.
If you've the time, a fabulous add-on would be Le Marche - it's one of Italy's best kept secrets. Here are some of the places you might want to visit.
Next it is Rome. Spend at least three nights here, although longer is always better when it comes to Rome.
When in Rome I always stay in Trastevere at the Santa Maria. Their breakfasts, under the orange trees, are unforgettable.
For dinner try the Tramjazz - a great view of the city and the food is good too. If you would like a restaurant with an amazing view then it's hard to beat the Aroma near the Colosseum. Otherwise try La Nduja.
Besides the obvious tourist attractions spend a morning at the Campo dei Fiori and a day of eating and shopping as suggested in our guide.
You've now seven days to visit the Amalfi Coast and the Island of Capri. Here's more on the towns and islands you don't want to miss.
Perhaps save a couple of days to make a trip down to the Cilento area too - it is an undiscovered paradise filled with picturesque villages, beautiful beaches, ancient cities and a little village where the only inhabitant would love for you to keep him company. Read more about the Cilento here.
After that return to Rome or Venice (whichever you are leaving from).
If you have more time, or want to leave out something in order to explore Southern Italy, then here are a few ideas on places to see.
Also, have a look at our guide to the south - it covers everywhere from Calabria, to Sicily to Sardinia and the in-betweens - you should find somewhere to capture your heart.
The south is truly like that. It captures your heart in an instance and I have to admit that I have fallen victim to its charms. We are seriously thinking of retiring somewhere in the south oneday.
Why do I love the south of Italy so much? Here's the answer!