Where Should I Travel In Italy For The First Time?

How Many Days In Italy Is Enough?

The answer to this depends on the number of destinations you wish to visit. Hence, if it is your first time in Italy, we recommend staying for a fortnight at least.

This way, you’ll get enough time to explore and enjoy the essence of each destination.

As a general rule of thumb, we typically plan for at least:

  • 3 - 4 Nights in big cities
  • 2 - 3 Nights in smaller towns
  • Day trips to villages

For a two-week itinerary we would probably recommend 2 bigger cities and 1 - 2 smaller towns. For example you could do Florence, Venice and Cinque Terre.

Now, if it’s your first time in Italy you wouldn’t want to spend too much time, money, and effort on commuting. So, we suggest sticking to one main region and exploring it; we’ve explained the various regions of Italy below, along with the most popular cities in each.

Personal Recommendation: If you find the whole list overwhelming, my personal recommendation of best places to vacation in Italy for your very first trip is Rome, Venice, Florence with either the Cinque Terre Towns or the Amalfi Coast. I hope that helps!

 Otherwise here is a list of the best Italy vacation regions to visit.

1. Northern Italy

Some of the best destinations in Italy is located right here in Northern Italy, which is why I recommend it as my first pick for first-timers.

There’s so much to do and see in this region that, honestly, one trip does not suffice! here, we also wanted to list our absolute top favorites below.

Top destinations to visit in Northern Italy:

  • Rome 
  • Milan
  • Florence
  • Venice
  • Cinque Terre

Thankfully, Northern Italy is the most developed part of the country, so transportation will be convenient. You can easily hop on one of the high-speed trains and get from point A to B in no time at all.

As there are airports in Rome, Milan, and Venice, we recommend making any of the three your home base. You could also easily fly into Rome, move on to Venice and then fly out of Milan.

You could start off by exploring the perfect amalgamation of the past and the present in Rome. Think art museums, historical monuments, and nightclubs!

If possible, try getting around Milan in a metro in a single day by visiting the Castello Sforzesco, Duomo di Milano, Terrazza Aperol, and Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II. And since Milan is known for being home to various luxury fashion brands, why not spoil yourself at Via Montenapoleone? 

Northern Italy is one of my absolute favorites as it is much cleaner than Southern Italy which is a bit more ummmm ... rough around the edges.

Whilst Tuscany is in the North, I've added it by itself as the next point, because there are so many beautiful places to visit that you could easily just focus on Tuscany for your first visit to Italy.

2. Tuscany

Popular among couples (although great for families too!), Tuscany is your one-stop destination for all things love and romance! With vast wheat fields, lush meadows, and cypress-lined roads- the region looks like it's straight out of a medieval romance movie.
There are so many beautiful places to visit in Tuscany. Here, or simply add a few of the top destinations from our shorter list below.

If you choose to explore this Italian area, we suggest checking out:

  • Pisa
  • Florence
  • Siena
  • San Gimignano
  • Lucca

You can choose a base (we based ourselves in Lucca) and then explore smaller Tuscan hamlets on day trips as well. If you are traveling with kids, you will also find our Tuscany with kids guide really helpful.

3. Southern Italy

Boasting stunning landscapes and rich cultural heritage, southern Italy is at its best during springtime. And if you’ve got more time in hand, you could stay a little longer and check out the beaches in summer. 

Southern Italy is a little more rough around the edges in comparison to Northern Italy, you will find more rubbish along the roads, the roads a little more full of potholes. But we loved this region none the less, and you can find some truly special places here. 

The most popular destinations are undoubtedly:

  • Pompeii
  • Amalfi Coast
  • Capri
  • Sorrento
  • Matera
  • Sardinia. 

A pro tip here would be to get your hands on fast-track entrance tickets while visiting archeological sites to skip the line.

4. Sicily

Being the largest Mediterranean island, your time in Sicily is going to be power-packed with gorgeous scenes, unforgettable adventures, and scrumptious seafood. In our opinion, the best mode of transportation to explore this exotic island is a car, more so because public transportation is often delayed. 

Again, Sicily is huge, so one week wouldn’t suffice. However, if you plan ahead, you could make the most of a short trip by renting a car for more flexibility in your itinerary.

The most popular places in the region include: 

  • Taormina
  • Mount Etna
  • Cefalu 
  • Aeolian Islands
  • Erice.

You can find our Sicily road trip here - great way to skip out on all the research we had to do in order to put our plan together.

5. Puglia

Known as the heel of Italy, this southeast region is not as popular among tourists, but we’d like to change that mindset! In fact, it would make a great first-time visit to Italy if you want to experience the best of the country with half the crowd. 

With cities like Alberobello, Ostuni, Polignano a Mare, and Lecce, Italy’s best-kept secret deserves to be noticed by travelers worldwide. We especially recommend staying in trulli in Alberobello for a unique once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Now that you have managed to narrow down where to travel in Italy, it is time to start planning the trip.

Older Post Newer Post

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published