I spent quite a bit of time sifting through numerous 10-day Italy itineraries, and came across many suggestions to zip around the country like in Planes, Trains and Automobiles, but I knew that I wouldn’t be doing beautiful Italy any justice. As a returning visitor to Italy, I knew that it was better to stick to my usual style and travel slow. I decided to focus my efforts on Tuscany, and throw in a short getaway to Cinque Terre for good measure.
Here’s how I spent 10 Days in Italy:
Days 1 – 2: Rome
I have yet to come across an individual who has visited Italy and not gone to Rome. Most first-timers only go to Rome. Aside from the fact that it’s the capital city, people from all over the world have an intimate knowledge of Ancient Roman history and jump at the chance to experience it, not to mention the fact that Rome is one of the most tourist-friendly cities in the world.
I arrived in Rome around noon on Day 1 and spent the rest of the day exploring on foot. It is a city that is extremely walkable, so it was very simple to hit the major spots without the use of a bus or metro. I spent time at Trevi Fountain, the Spanish Steps, and even did some heavy window shopping at retailers that I knew I couldn’t afford.
Adopting the “when in Rome” attitude, I continued to explore Rome slowly on Day 2 by visiting the Vatican and Piazza Navona at my leisure, between the occasional but necessary pit stops for pizza and wine. At night, I lived like the locals and attended a futbol match at Stadio Olymico, home of AS Roma, who happened to be facing their rivals, Inter Milan. The stadium was very much alive, filled with chanting, cheering, and several not-so-nice hand gestures (directed at the referees, of course)!
Days 3 – 6: Tuscany (Florence, Siena, Chianti)
There is so much to see in Tuscany that you could spend 10 days alone in a failed attempt to see everything. I really wanted to avoid the tourist hubs and go off the beaten path, but also wanted to enjoy some nightlife. And so, I decided to use uber-touristy Florence as a hub and explore the rest of the region using day trips. Florence is another city that can certainly be seen on foot, and is characterized by narrow cobblestone streets lined with charming little cafes, enotecas, and shops. From Florence, I took day trips to Siena and the Chianti region.
Days 7 – 9: Cinque Terre
Cinque Terre means Five Lands and is essentially a collection of five colonial villages sprinkled along the northwest coastline. The five villages are connected by rail, paved road, and most importantly, a pretty awesome hiking trail, which is what drew me in. I stayed in Monterosso and hiked to Vernazza, and again to Corniglia – a total of 4 hours. Unfortunately, due to extreme rainfall and flooding in 2011, the trails through the remaining towns were closed, but were nevertheless enjoyable to visit by train.
Day 10: Rome
A great way to round out the trip and come full circle. One more day in Rome gave me a chance to tackle a few things that I didn’t get to do during my first two days, like shopping on Via Cola di Rienzo – a quick walk across the river and into an area where most locals shop at an affordable price.
Try it for yourself!