8 Days In Italy Itinerary : Explore The Best of Italy

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Italy has long been at the top of my list of dream trips. And, Italy is the first Europe country that I visited. There are so many highlights in this lovely country that it is no surprise that Italy is one of Europe’s most popular travel destinations.

There are many different cities in Italy and each city has a different personality. This is why I adore this country. It is full of surprises from one city to the next. 

In this Italy itinerary, I will share from my experience in Italy and the top sights to see especially if you have 8 days in Italy. If you have more days in Italy, you could extend your stay in each city and explore some optional sights. You can adapt to suit your needs and interests.

Italy Itinerary Day 1 & 2 : Milan

Arrival in Milan

My 8 days of Italy trip started from the fashion capital – Milan. We bought the tickets to arrive in Milan as it was cheaper compared to arriving in Rome. I had looked into the variations in airfare prices arriving in both of these cities several times, and arriving in Milan had always been more affordable. However, because getting to both places is convenient, be sure to compare prices before choosing.

Visit Duomo di Milano

When we arrived, it was at noon and after checking in the hotel, we headed to the iconic Duomo di Milano. We took the train from our hotel to the nearest station to Duomo di Milano. When we emerged from the underground railway station, we were entranced by the cathedral’s enchanted appearance. 

Milan’s vast Gothic-style cathedral is the largest church in Italy and the third-largest in the world. Its white and pink marble structure makes the Cathedral special. It was the result of the architectural genius of numerous painters, sculptors, and architects, and it took five centuries to finish. Hence, it is the top 1 place to visit when in Milan. 

Italy itinerary : Milan Cathedral
Milan Cathedral.
8 days in Italy : The pinnacle on the top of the Milan's Cathedral
The pinnacles at the top of the Milan's Cathedral.

Simply admiring the outside of the cathedral is not enough. Get a ticket to go inside the cathedral and up to the rooftop terrace. You will get the best panoramic view of Milan from the top.

Visit Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II

Right beside the Duomo di Milan is where you can find Milan’s oldest shopping mall : Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II. You’ll find a wide selection of luxurious stores, cafés, restaurants and more. If you’re a Prada fan, you won’t want to miss out on the opportunity to shop at the world’s very first Prada store in this Galleria!

Aside from shopping, I was more mesmerized by the beauty of the architecture of this Galleria. The unique octagonal arched glass, wrought iron arcades, and an incredible domed glass ceiling had taken me away from the luxury stores. 

One fun fact about the mosaic floor tile design in the Galleria is that there are different icons on the tiles that symbolise different cities in Italy. For instance, the flag stands for Milan, the Bull symbolises Torino, the wolf is a representation of Rome and other symbols.

The very first Prada shop in Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II
The interior of Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II.
8 Day Italy Itinerary : Inside of Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II
The interior of Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II.

Italy Itinerary Day 3 & 4 : Venice

Venice

Venice is a place unlike any other. If you haven’t been, Venice should be at the top of your itinerary when you travel to Italy. 

If you want to experience Venice, a 1-2 day trip will be enough for you to see all the major sights. 

On my first trip to Venice, I visited the Doge’s Palace, chilled at Piazza San Marco, took a gondola ride, got lost in the alleyways and took a day trip to Burano island within 2 days. Despite seeing so many places in Venice, the vacation wasn’t hurried, and we still had time to enjoy cafe conversations and people-watching.

Visit Doge's Palace

Located on the Piazza San Marco, it is one of the most visited places in Venice so this is definitely not one to be missed. It is a palace with stunning staircases and lavishly decorated on the interior so it is worth a visit! Get a skip the line ticket in advance to avoid queuing in line.

Doge's Palace
Doge's Palace in Venice.

Head to the top of St. Mark's Comapnile

In almost every city, there will be a high tower for panoramic viewing of the entire city and Venice is no exception. At the top of St. Mark’s Campanile, you will get a spectacular view of Venice.

Take a Gondola Ride

Taking a Gondola Ride on the Venice’s canals is a must in Venice. Although it is slightly pricey for a 40-minute ride, it is definitely a one-of-a-kind experience.

Gondola Ride in Venice
Gondola ride in Venice.

Stroll Along Rialto Bridge

Rialto Bridge is the canal’s oldest bridge. Take a walk over to the bridge and admire the Grand Canal from the middle of the bridge.

Take a day trip to Burano Island

There are many small islands not far away from Venice main island. Burano island and Murano island are two most famous. The colourful villages are picture-perfect and walking in the village is a magical experience.

canoe stopping by the canal on the Burano island
Canoes stopping by the canals in Burano island.

Italy Itinerary Day 5 : Florence

Florence

After visiting Venice, head over to the birthplace of the Renaissance – Florence. When you are in Florence, everywhere you look, there is Gothic and Renaissance architecture, and you can marvel at how the city makes a concerted effort to preserve its buildings, even alongside newer or renovated structures.

Florence is a more laid back city compared to Rome. And what I love about Florence is that it is a walkable city, so we don’t have to rely on public transportation.

Take a stroll at Pento Vecchio

It is a wonderful bridge and postcard-perfect. During our visit, it became an ideal spot to watch the sunset while enjoying a gelato. 

Ponto Vecchio
The beautiful view at Ponte Vecchio.

Visit The Cathedral Of Florence

The Cathedral of Florence is the one you could not skip while visiting Florence. The Duomo is constructed of green, red, and white marble and features exquisitely crafted and designed details. Its ornate green, red, and white marble facade and the dome are the unique feature of this cathedral.

While visiting the Duomo, do remember to follow their dress code which is to cover both knees and shoulders. 

Florence Cathedral
The beautiful marble facade of the Cathedral of Florence.

Visit Accademia Galleria

Probably the most famous sculpture in the world David, by Michelangelo is one of the reasons why this Galleria is so popular. Locals and tourists will flock to this Galleria in Florence to see Michelangelo’s sculptures and other Renaissance paintings while in the city of Renaissance. Due to its popularity, it is best to book the entrance ticket in advance.

Italy Itinerary Day 6 : Pisa

A Half Day Trip To Pisa

On the sixth day, we traveled to a small city – Pisa which is less than 100km  away from Florence.

Pisa is famous for its Leaning Tower and this is also why Pisa became a tourism hotspot in Italy. Hence, there are many options to go to Pisa from Florence including over 40 train rides scheduled from Florence to Pisa every day.

Visit the Leaning Tower and other than taking creative photos with it , try to climb the 251 steps to the top.

Pisa Leaning Tower
The Pisa Lean Tower.

Besides the Leaning Tower, you will notice a white and rounded building. That is the Pisa Cathedral. The entrance is free and you can access it with your Leaning Tower ticket. Otherwise, you will need to get a timed free ticket from the ticket office behind the Leaning Tower. The free tickets are limited and only available on the site so I recommend getting the Leaning Tower ticket to have access to both Leaning Tower and the Cathedral.

Pisa - 8 day Italy itinerary
The Pisa Cathedral is just beside Leaning Tower.

A Half Day Trip To Cinque Terre

After spending the morning in Pisa, we headed to Cinque Terre which is about 1 and half an hour away from Pisa. The Cinque Terre, located along the Italian Riviera, is a stunning outdoor destination with plenty of breathtaking coastal scenery.

The literary meaning of the name “Cinque Terre” actually means “Five Lands” which indicates the Five Fish Villages that make up Cinque Terre.  Nestled amid the mountainous coastline environment, these villages were quite distant for most of their lives and they limit the car entry to the villages so only local cars are allowed to enter.

The famous colorful villages are the famous backdrop you will see on Instagram. But other than admiring the colorful villages, some of the tourists come for hiking. Due to the town’s five villages being some distance apart from one another, the only ways to get from one to the other are by train or by trekking a trail. If you want to experience both, you can take the train and trek the most popular trail.

The popular route is called the “Blue Route” or Sentierro Azzuro, is the one taking you along the coast. The trail spans a 11km distance from Riomaggiore to Monterosso which is from one end of a village to the end of the last village.

Consequently, you had two options: either walk the entire trail and spend some time in each village, or hike from one village to the next and catch the train to the remaining villages. 

Italy Itinerary Day 7 : Rome

Rome

Next, we headed to Rome from Florence. We took the high speed train and arrived at the Capital of Italy in a 1 and a half hour journey. Rome is the largest city in Italy and as the saying goes “ Rome wasn’t built in a day”.  If you visit Rome for the first time, I recommend spending at least 2 days in Rome will be sufficient for you to see the famous sights. 

Visit Colosseum

One of my favorite memories from my trip to Rome is seeing the Colosseum. Although I have seen and heard about this amazing historical building countless times online, seeing it in person is something else entirely.

8 days in Italy : Italy Itinerary - Rome
The Colosseum.

Roman Forum And Palatine Hill

Next to the popular Colosseum is the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill. Our tickets included the entrance to both of these sites so we could easily skip the line and save time visiting these three top sights. Strolling at Roman Forum ruins brings you back to the history of Roman Times and you could easily spend 2-3 hours here. 

Roman Forum : 8 day Italy itinerary
The Roman forum.

Visit Vittorio Emanuele II

Not far away from the Roman Forum is where you will find the vast and white monument of Vittorio Emanuele II. This is also the popular location that appeared in several films, especially Roman Holiday.

Throw Coins at Trevi Fountain

Make a wish and throw a coin to the Trevi Fountain! Because why not? Aside from admiring this elegant fountain, there is a myth about throwing coins to this fountain. It is undoubtedly something you’d be up to if you’d like to visit Rome again or try your luck with love.

Climb the Spanish Steps

Another famous landmark in Rome that you should not miss! With 135 steps on this popular attraction, it is an easy climb. And since no sitting is allowed at Spanish Steps, it would be easier to walk up the steps and stop for a photo or two.

See More of Rome : 2 Days Rome Itinerary

Italy Itinerary Day 8 : Vatican City

Vatican City

On the last day of the Italy Itinerary, we visited the smallest country in the world – the Vatican! Sit in the centre of the city of Rome, it is easy to access the Vatican. While in the Vatican, the first thing we headed to was the Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel. You could easily spend half a day in the museums because there is so much to see, from magnificent sculptures and paintings to an extensive collection of global maps.

Vatican Museum : 8 day Italy itinerary
The glorious interior of Vatican Museum.

Visit Piazza Navona

After half a day in the Vatican, we headed back to Rome and Piazza Navona is where we visited next. The Piazza is a relaxing and chill place. We visited there for photos and chill at the coffee shop.

Visit Pantheon

The best preserved monument in Rome – Pantheon is the last stop of our trip. Pantheon is at a walking distance from Piazza Navona. Entrance to the Pantheon is free of charge.

See More of Rome : 2 Days Rome Itinerary

… And that’s the end of the 8 day trip in Italy from Milan to Rome! 

When Is The Best Time to Visit Italy?

The best time to travel to Italy is during the Spring and Autumn season! These time of the year (March to May and September to November) has the most chilly weather and I would say these are the best time to visit Italy. However, it is also the most busiest seasons so do expect the accommodation prices will be slightly pricy than low seasons.

How To get A SIM Card in Italy?

Nowadays, getting connected wherever you are is very significant not only for calling someone, but also for sharing travel photos and googling up the directions of the next destinations. 

Although our local cell phone provided international roaming services, the charges are super high and so we looked for other cheaper options. A local SIM card is normally where I would start from. And I love to use local SIM cards every time I travel because they are faster, easier and much more affordable! 

In Italy, the best local network provider is TIM. To get the SIM card, you could either get one from the airport as soon as you arrive or buy it online in advance. With only 20 euros, you could get access to 15GB data for 30 days of usage. When you buy the prepaid SIM card at the counter, you will have to provide a passport for the staff to photocopy. This is part of the registration process. The process was quick and took less than 15 minutes to settle.

If you do not have Dual SIM function on your phone and feel it is troublesome to swap the physical SIM card on your phone, then you might want to consider another option to get you connected : e-SIM card. With everything now going online, you can keep your number and all you need to do is order the e-SIM only and then enter the code to access. And Tadaaa! You are connected. It’s so simple and only took a few minutes to get connected.

Getting Around In Italy

If you follow this Italy itinerary and want to visit cities like Rome, Florence, and Venice, the best way to travel around Italy is by train. One thing i find it very convenient is that Italy has a large network of high-speed intercity trains as well as regional services that connect smaller cities and towns.

The intercity train is fast and comfortable. the high speed train can even go up to 300km per hour which is hardly able to match up by any car! I pre-booked all the intercity trains before the trip through Italo website and it is a reserved seat. The seat was spacious and with WiFI onboard too.

Another popular option that traveler use is the Eurail Pass which also covers intercity train for Rome, Florence, Milan and Venice. With Eurail Pass for Italy, you can choose how long you want to use it from 3 days minimum to 8 days maximum. If you wish to see all the sights within the 8 days in Italy, then it is definitely worth to get a Eurail Pass. When using this pass, one thing to note is that if you prefer high speed train, you will have to pay an extra charge to get the reserved seat.

Book Eurail Pass for Italy here.

I hope this 8-day Italy  itinerary helps you in planning your trip to Italy! This itinerary sums up my first visit to Italy and I managed to see all the major sights in 8 days in Italy yet still have ample time to stroll around the city like a local. You can use this itinerary as a guide to planning your first trip to Italy. If you have any suggestions, feel free to leave your comments in the comments section below.