From cities and countryside to lakes and beaches, Italy’s diversity (and fantastic transport links) makes it perfect for a multi-centre trip. The hard part is choosing where to go – so we’ve put together a few sample itineraries to get you started.
Best for first-time visitors: Rome & Sorrento
These two offer a fantastic introduction to Italy. On the one hand, you have the Eternal City. Visiting Rome is like a real-life history lesson thanks to sights such as the Colosseum, the Pantheon and, of course, the Vatican. There’s also stylish shopping on the Campo de’ Fiori and restaurants, pizzerias and trattorias on every corner. Just a three-hour train ride away is Sorrento – one of the jewels of the Neapolitan Riviera. The town has a dramatic clifftop setting that showcases panoramic views across the Bay of Naples to Capri. Take time out to wander the maze of narrow cobbled streets, sample simple, flavour-packed dishes at a cosy restaurant, or sip espresso as thick and black as molasses in one of the coffee shops that line the piazzas.
Best for city lovers: Venice, Florence & Rome
This trip covers off three of Italy’s – and the world’s greatest – metropolises in one go. Fly into the capital to sample the dolce vita – designer boutiques, superb coffee and the best pizza – and drink in some of the key sights of ancient Rome, like the Colosseum and Forum, before jumping on the train and heading north. In a few hours you can be in Florence, the birthplace of the Renaissance. Take in the Uffizi Gallery, packed with works by the Old Masters, stroll across the famed Ponte Vecchio bridge and climb up to the top of Il Duomo at the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore. Another short train ride later and you can be in Venice. Marvel at St. Mark’s Square, then hop on board an iconic gondola. Head down the palazzo-lined Grand Canal, or glide down one of the quieter neighbourhood canals.
Best for romance: Ischia, Capri & Amalfi Coast
The dramatic scenery and postcard-pretty towns of Ischia, Capri and the Amalfi Coast are spot on for a romantic getaway. Ischia’s volcanic characteristics mean it’s a hotbed for natural spa treatments. Spend a couple of days wallowing in thermal pools, swimming in natural hot springs, and slathering yourself in mineral-packed mud, in between exploring the island’s pretty villages. Capri, meanwhile, has natural beauty in spades, with rocky outcrops, secluded coves, hidden caves and soaring mountains. The high-end boutiques and luxury hotels make the island a favourite with the A-list set, too. The Amalfi Coast is back on the mainland, a short boat ride away. Base yourself in one of its photogenic towns – Positano and Amalfi are two of our favourites – and spend your days strolling hand-in-hand through the lanes and sipping limoncello on sunny terraces. A drive along the coast road is also worth doing – it clings to the cliff and offers up incredible views at every hairpin bend.
Best for wine lovers: Tuscany & Umbria
Tuscany and Umbria are ideal areas for a self-drive trip – winding roads slice through the rolling hills, revealing pretty villages, medieval towns and a host of rural retreats. The sunny hillsides are blanketed in vineyards, where Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir grapes hang, swollen by the ideal growing conditions. The two regions are home to dozens of wines of protected origin that can only be produced here – Chianti, Brunello di Montalcino and Vin Santo in Tuscany and the rare (and delicious) white Orvieto and Torgiano from Umbria. In both regions, you can match these flavours with incredible dishes created from the freshest ingredients: handmade pastas, caprino goat’s cheese, black truffles and tangy extra virgin olive oil.
Best for explorers: Sicily self-drive
Sitting on the toe of Italy’s boot, Sicily is just 12 miles from the mainland, but can sometimes feel like another country altogether. Few places can pack so much into such a small space – craggy outcrops, high mountains and the ever-smoking Mount Etna are its natural wonders, while its cities feature an eclectic mix of influences, from the Phoenicians to the Greeks to the Arabs. The best way to see the island is by car. Roads are easy to navigate and the coastal route takes in all the main sights. Taormina is one of the prettiest towns on the island, all tortuous alleys and 10th-century buildings. Sitting 250 metres above sea level, you’ve got views across the Med in one direction and Etna’s snow-capped peak in the other. To the north is the ancient Greek city of Cefalu, with its Norman cathedral and Doric architecture, while the capital, Palermo, is a chaotic mix of ancient churches, crumbling villas and buzzing markets.
Best for relaxation: Liguria & Tuscany Coast
The Italian Riviera and relaxation go hand in hand. The city of Viareggio, sandwiched between the Tyrrhenian Sea and the Alpi Apuane, is northern Tuscany’s most famous resort. Famed for its immaculate sandy beach, it’s an ideal place to solar charge your energy levels. A short drive away is Liguria, home to a gorgeous coastline and a host of thermal springs. The waters in the medieval towns of Pigna, Diano Castello and Genova Voltri are said to be rich in sulphur and iron, which provide relief for a range of ailments. You can also opt for pampering treatments, like massages and mud baths.
None of these hitting the mark? We can create a bespoke itinerary for you – just give one of our Destination Specialists a call. They’ve travelled all over Italy and know the best routes and transport options, so they can help you design a trip that ticks all your boxes.