Italy's Top Art Cities in 10 Days: An Ideal Itinerary

If you only have ten days, or one work week with the weekends on each side, you can take in the greatest hits, Italy’s famous art cites: Florence, Rome, and Venice. And, with proper planning, you can do it in a leisurely fashion and even take in a bit of the countryside.

Since Italy is roughly the size of the state of Arizona, it seems pretty plausible to get around the country in a week and take in most of the sights.

But – both fortunately and unfortunately – every little nook and cranny of the country has a unique history (often between 2000-3000 years long), culture, and cuisine for you to uncover.

If you only have ten days, or one work week with the weekends on each side, you can take in the greatest hits, Italy’s famous art cites: Florence, Rome, and Venice. And, with proper planning, you can do it in a leisurely fashion and even take in a bit of the countryside.

Here’s one way to do it, flying into Rome’s Fiumicino International Airport and out of Venice’s Marco Polo International Airport.

Part One: Rome

Begin your Italian journey with three days in Rome. Freshen up at your hotel and wander Rome’s most central sites, including the Spanish Steps and the Trevi Fountain. Adjust to the rhythm of “la dolce vita,” stopping for café and gelato whenever you feel the urge.

In the morning, begin your Roman education from the beginning, with a guided tour of the Ancient Roman Forum and Coliseum for a taste of B.C. Italian life. Then move into the first century A.D at the underground Basilica of St. Clemente. That afternoon, continue your education on your own at the Palazzo Massimo or the Capitoline Museums both loaded with Roman antiquities.

On your third and final day in Rome, your guide will escort you to another country – the Vatican – to explore St. Peter’s Basilica and it’s wealth of art and history.

Part Two: Tuscany


ten day Italian art cities tour rome
Image © Italian Concierge

Leave the architectural cacophony and fine art overload of bustling Rome behind, and head to Italy’s softer side.

For millennia the balance between country and city has been an intrinsic Italian dichotomy – commerce and agriculture, culture and nature, created art and organic beauty. Romans vacationed here, the Medicis vacationed here. And now it's your turn.

The Valdorcia is one of my favorite parts of Tuscany. You can take in the wine country hill towns Montepulciano and Montalcino in your rental car before spending your last day on a guided tour of Siena, which rivaled Florence in the late medieval times, and its stunning examples of late gothic architecture, among the finest in Italy.

Part Three: Florence

On the morning of your seventh day, make your way into Florence, the star of the region, the Renaissance, and even briefly the country – it served as Italy’s capital for four years from 1865.

When you arrive, a private guide will escort you through the packed city center, often referred to as a “living museum.” From Michelangelo’s famous sculpture of David to the city’s two main cathedrals to the Piazza della Signoria and its star-studded Uffizi Museum, where Michelangelo studied the Medici's collection of ancient Greek and Roman statues for inspiration, you’ll experience the city’s most famous attractions today.

The following day, take a peek at some of the city’s equally fantastic but often missed history, such as the Santa Maria Novella pharmacy that has turned out celebrity fragrances since the 1600s or the recently restored Davanzati Palace.

Part Four: Venice


ten day Italian art cities tour rome
Image © Italian Concierge

From Florence, travel in style on the high-speed train into Venice’s main train station where your private boat transfer will escort you down the Grand Canal to your hotel, owned by the illustrious Stern family and decorated with pieces of their famed art collection.

Take a walking tour of the main attractions buried in Venice’s labyrinth of narrow, twisting streets and feast on fresh Venetian seafood tapas, known locally as cicchetti to fuel up for the next day, when your guide will walk you through the city’s history via St. Mark’s cathedral and the Doge’s Palace.

Follow your passion on your final Italian afternoon. Take in a museum. Pick up hand-blown Venetian glass directly from an artisan. Or just let the world unfold around you from a choice seat in St. Mark’s Square.

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Guest Wednesday, 13 November 2019

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