If you’re more keen on the idea of jetting off from Rome to Venice rather than spending hours in the car traveling from one Italian city to the next, you might want to start rethinking things.
Sure, flying will cut down on travel time and get you from point A to point B as quickly as possible, but speedy travel should not be your main objective.
True travelers immerse themselves in the culture of a foreign country not by taking flights, but by hopping in a car and experiencing the area in an entirely unique way.
Renting a car in Italy is the best way to immerse yourself in Italian culture. It also allows you to set your own schedule and make all of your itinerary stops on your own time.
You’ll have complete freedom to choose how to spend your 10 days in Italy. Whether you want to stuff your face with pizza or gelato the entire time or would rather check out the Renaissance era artwork, this is up to you.
However, it is still a good idea to have a loose plan in place, and we’re here to help. Check out the ultimate 10-day itinerary for your road trip through Italy to get you started.
*Keep in mind that this itinerary is jam-packed with the top Italian destinations. Feel free to leave out a stop or two if traveling at a fast pace is not for you.
Days 1-2: Rome
The best starting place for any trip to Italy is the capital city of Rome, or “Roma” to the locals. You’ll be able to find some of the cheapest flights traveling to Italy when you fly into Rome.
You can rent a car at the airport, but we recommend taking public or private transport to your hotel or hostel and hiring a car from there. Rental rates are cheaper the further away you get from the airport.
Also, public transportation is excellent in Italy, so might as well use it to save some money if you want to do a “public transport road trip”!
Here’s a complete guide on how to get and use the Eurail Pass to save money on train travel across Europe.
On the first day you might be recovering from jetlag, so it is completely understandable if you just want to relax and enjoy the city. This is the perfect place to just explore – and gorge yourself on pizza and pasta while you do it.
A vespa tour is a great way to see the city on your first full day in Rome; there are plenty of tours to choose from, so shop around before you decide on one.
Also, I recommend checking this post for the best neighborhoods and hotels to stay in Rome.
Additionally, if you feel like exploring a bit more south from Rome, you can do a day trip to historic Naples where you can compare Herculaneum vs Pompeii (both historical cities destroyed by Mount Vesuvius), romantic Positano, and even the stunning Sorrento.
Day 3: Pisa
A trip to Italy would not be complete without seeing the infamous Leaning Tower of Pisa. The drive from Rome takes about 4 hours, so you’ll want to leave early enough on the morning of Day 3 to arrive by lunchtime.
Expect there to be a good amount of fellow tourists visiting Pisa – if crowds aren’t your think you forego this stop head to the next one.
There are some really nice hot springs in the area if you would like to spend the entire day outdoors. Some travelers choose to hop in the car again after seeing the leaning tower.
If this sounds like a better plan, it takes less than 2 hours to get to your next destination, Cinque Terre.
Day 4: Cinque Terre
You’ll definitely want at least one full day in the national park of Cinque Terre. This string of seaside villages dates back hundreds of years. It is one of the best places in all of Italy to experience the rugged seaside.
This is a great place to hike along the coast or relax and drink wine near the steep vineyard terraces unique to the area.
Also, here’s a detour you can take while on the north if you have more time. Head to Milan and enjoy seeing the Duomo and the Last Supper by DaVinci. And, of course, you can expand your road trip with one of these best road trips from Milan.
Day 5-6: Florence
On the morning of Day 5, it is time to leave northern Italy and head back down south. The drive to Florence is a quick one – less than 3 hours – so you can take your time and enjoy the morning before setting off.
Florence deserves more than just one day. Plan on settling in for an evening or two.
During your time in Florence, there are plenty of tourist hotspots to fill your itinerary. If seeing the tourist sites is your priority, be sure to stop at Cathedral de Santa Maria of Fiore, Uffizi Gallery, and Palazzo Vecchio.
It is also completely acceptable to just wander around, taking in the authentic Renaissance architecture and artwork.
Day 7-8: Amalfi
The Amalfi Coast should be on every traveler’s agenda. It is a bit of a drive from Florence, but it is worth the time spent in the car.
During your ride, you’ll see everything from rolling grape vineyards to cascading seaside cliffs, so just enjoy the ~6-hour drive. Once in Amalfi, you can easily spend two days lazing around on Italian beaches, sipping limoncello.
Days 9: Fly Home
Unfortunately, the time has come to fly back home. As you can see, there are a few top Italian destinations not included on this list – like Venice and Milan – but you can’t expect to see everything in the short span of 9 days.
When you follow this specific itinerary, you’ll get a true taste of Italian culture even without seeing every single city and village.
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