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How to Spend Two Weeks in Italy

Updated: Feb 28

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Canals in Venice, Italy

Italy is a diverse country with something for everyone. Art fanatics can marvel at the Renaissance-inspired Florence, while history enthusiasts take in the ancient city of Rome. From the somber ruins of Pompeii to the picturesque scenery of Venice, it's hard to decide where to start. Though there are many other places to go, this is an account of the cities I personally visited during my two weeks in Italy. We moved around quickly, so feel free to use this guide loosely and made adjustments as needed.


Overview:

Day 1: Rome/Vatican City

Day 2: Rome

Day 3: Rome/Pompeii

Day 4: Florence

Day 5: Florence/Pisa

Day 6: Florence

Day 7: Modena

Day 8: Modena/Maranello

Day 9: Milan

Day 10: Milan

Day 11: Venice

Day 12: Venice

Day 13: Venice/Murano

Day 14: Wrap up

Rome/Vatican City

Inside the walls of the Vatican City
Credit: Tipsy Atlas

If you only have two weeks in Italy, Rome is a must. There are two airports close to the city - Leonardo da Vinci-Fiumicino and Rome Ciampino. After flying in, start your adventure in Vatican City. Though it's technically its own country landlocked by Rome, you don't need a passport to visit. The two most notable attractions in the city are St. Peter's Basilica and the Vatican Museums, and if you move at a steady pace, you should have plenty of time to visit both of them.


St. Peter's Basilica is a Renaissance-style church with plenty of must-sees, such as the Pope's high altar and a piece of the True Cross. Encompassing it is St. Peter's Square, the place in which the Pope makes public speeches. For amazing views over Vatican City, consider paying extra to climb the church's dome.


The Vatican Museums should be booked well ahead of time. They're home to Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel, a collection of frescos depicting stories from the Bible. In addition to this, the museums boast a variety of tapestries, paintings, and sculptures.

Rome

Me and my husband in Rome
Credit: Tipsy Atlas

Rome was founded in 753 BC, so it's shrouded in ruins that make for great attractions. So you don't miss out, begin your day by visiting the Colosseum, Roman Forums, and Palatine Hill. Historically, the Colosseum was a place for bloody battles and spectator entertainment, while the forums were used as a public square. Overlooking the ruins, Palatine Hill was where the rich built their homes.

Another set of ruins, Largo di Torre Argentina is a short metro ride or a 25-minute walk away. This used to be the site of Pompey's Theatre, though it's now a feral cat sanctuary. From there, everything else is in walking distance. In 5 minutes, you'll reach the Pantheon - the most well-preserved ancient Roman building still in tact. Another 8 minutes takes you to the Trevi Fountain, an architectural feat with a sculpture of Oceanus as the focal point. Wrap up the day by walking just 10 more minutes to the Spanish Steps.

Rome/Pompeii

The ancient city of Pomepii
Credit: Tipsy Atlas

On your final day in Rome, you can choose to do one of two things - stay in the city or take a day trip to Pompeii. If you stay, spend the day checking out the catacombs, marveling at the Baths of Caracalla, and enjoying views of Rome from the Altar of the Fatherhood.


Personally, I booked a day trip to Pompeii. This famed archeological city was destroyed in 79 AD by Mt. Vesuvius, killing around 2,000 people. While there, you'll see plaster casts of victims and ruins of the city that were left behind. To visit without an organized trip, take Roma Termini Station to Pompeii Scavi-Villa dei Misteri Station - a 2-hour train ride.

Florence

Florence, Italy cathedral
Credit: Tipsy Atlas

I recommend spending two days in Florence and one day in Pisa during your two weeks in Italy. By train, it takes about an hour and a half to reach Florence (Firenze Santa Marie Novella) from Rome (Roma Termini). These tickets can be booked online via Trainline.


Day 1: On your first day in Florence, spend some time in the city's center. Here, you'll find the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, Giotto's Bell Tower, and The Baptistry of Saint John. The massive cathedral, which you've probably seen on calendars and post cards, is especially regarded for its dome top. Next to the cathedral is Giotto's Bell Tower, where you can climb 414 steps for a picturesque view, and The Baptistry of Saint John, known for its impressive bronze doors. To round out the day, hike to Piazza Michelangelo and take in Florence panorama-style.

Day 2: Today, you'll be amazed by two museums. First, you have Uffizi Gallery, housing a world-renowned collection of Renaissance artwork. Here, you'll find Sandro Botticelli's "Birth of Venus" and Caravaggio's "Medusa." Be prepared to stay about 3 to 4 hours. The second museum I recommend is the Academy Gallery. Its claim to fame is Michelangelo's "David," though it has much more to offer. Because it's smaller, you'll only need about an hour or 2 here. For both museums, you should book tickets ahead of time to avoid long lines.

Florence/Pisa

The Leaning Tower of Pisa
Credit: Tipsy Atlas

Florence is the best jump-off city for a day trip to Pisa. It takes a little over an hour to get there by train, traveling from Firenze Santa Maria Novella Station to Pisa San Rossore Station. Its namesake tower is its major attraction, reaching 186 feet and leaning about 15 feet. Along with the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the Square of Miracles features a cathedral, baptistery, and camposanto (graveyard).

Modena

Traditional balsamic vinegar in Modena
Credit: Tipsy Atlas

Modena doesn't find its way onto many itineraries, especially ones that only spend two weeks in Italy. But if you're looking for something a little different, this city is worth a visit. To get here, it takes a little over an hour from Firenze Santa Maria Novella Station to Modena Station.


Start your day off at Modena Cathedral before walking 3 minutes to Museum Palace. Museum Palace, or Palazzo de Musei, is a large building with a handful of museums, showcasing anything from art to Egyptian artifacts. Then, walk another 10 minutes until you reach Mercato Storcio Albinelli - a large marketplace with cheese, meats, and more. Modena is the home of traditional balsamic vinegar, so if you have time, make sure to try some samples. One way to do this is by booking the Cavedoni tour, which takes you through the steps of producing balsamic vinegar.

Modena/Maranello

Lamborgini Huracan
Credit: Tipsy Atlas

Today honors one of Modena's biggest industries: luxury vehicles. Start your day at the Enzo Ferrari Museum, where you'll learn about the man behind the brand. From there, take a bus about 30-40 minutes to Maranello - the actual birthplace of Ferrari. Here, you'll get the chance to actually drive a Ferrari or Lamborghini at Pushstart Maranello. In the same parking lot is Museo Ferrari Maranello, which focuses on the cars and other memorabilia.

Milan

Milan Cathedral
Credit: Tipsy Atlas

It's time to trade the quiet city of Modena for a bustling Milan. A train from Modena Station to Milan Central Station takes about an hour and a half to 2 hours.


Day 1: Just like Florence, many of the city's main attractions are in the same square. Start by admiring Milan Cathedral, a gothic church both covered in and filled with statues. Then, walk next door to the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II shopping center, with stores like Armani, Gucci, and Borsalino. Also nearby is the Milan Cathedral's Museum, providing an up-close look of pieces that used to adorn the cathedral. At the end of the day, catch a performance at Teatro alla Scala, just a 6-minute walk away.


Day 2: Today, you'll head to Santa Maria delle Grazie to see Leonardo da Vinci's "The Last Supper." Due to capacity limits and other regulations, it's a must that you book these tickets as early as possible. When you're done, check out Sforzesco Castle - a medieval castle a 15-minute walk away. If you're interested, you can also visit the beautiful Monumental Cemetery. It will take 30 minutes to walk here, so if that's a no-go, catch a metro instead.

Venice

The bridge of sighs in Venice
Credit: Tipsy Atlas

Venice is the conclusion to your two weeks in Italy, and it might even be the most beautiful. To get here, take Milan Central Station to Venice Santa Lucia. This trip will take 2 and a half to 3 hours.


Day 1: To kick off your stay, walk the Rialto Bridge and admire the Grand Canal. You'll find numerous shops and restaurants along the river, so take your time strolling. Seek out a store that sells authentic carnival masks, and catch a gondola ride as the sun goes down.


Day 2: Spend today admiring the attractions in Piazza San Marco - the city's only public square. Make sure to visit the gold-laden Saint Mark's Basilica, and the former Venetian government offices in Doge's Palace. If you'd like, pop into Museo Correr, a Venice art-and-history museum. After you're done, walk 3 minutes to the famed Bridge of Sighs.

Venice/Murano

Glass blowers in Murano Italy
Credit: Tipsy Atlas

On your final day in Italy, cross the water to the Venetian island of Murano. This island is known for its glass blowing tours, and multiple tourists go each day to watch demos and buy glasswork. After this, take it easy, and just enjoy your last full day in this magnificent country you've called home for two weeks.

Final Thoughts

This is nowhere near an extensive list of things to do in Italy. There are plenty of other visit-worthy places, such as Naples, Cinque Terre, Sorrento, and the Amalfi Coast. Luckily, any of these places can be visited if you know how to travel by train. If you decide to take any part of this itinerary into consideration, please leave a comment and let us know!

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