Twenty-day itinerary in northern Italy?
Hello, today I will continue giving tips on itineraries around Italy. In another post I wrote a super special itinerary dedicated to southern Italy using public transport, so I think it is only fair that this one is now dedicated to northern Italy, right? Let’s see a twenty-day itinerary in northern Italy? Learn everything about food in our Food in Italy section! There you will find many tips and information about restaurants, typical foods, wines and much more. Here at Your Travel to Italy with Ana Patricia you make the trip of your dreams!!! ALSO: see our “Accommodation in Italy – Tips for your holidays!”
This tour will be done entirely with public transport, so some beautiful locations will not be part, but I guarantee that with this tour you will really be able to get to know the best of the best of northern Italy. The tour that I will recommend will go through Lombardy, Veneto, Piedmont, Emilia Romagna, Liguria and Tuscany. Unfortunately I will have to leave Umbria out, because it is not a very easy region to visit by train. As I mentioned in the Southern Italy Route with a train, we have some issues that are pertinent to the route with the train, so I will repeat them here, because in my opinion they are very important and they make difference during the trip.
Important to know about luggage
The first thing to know is that you will not be able to bring much luggage, I am not advising you to travel with a backpack, but if you bring two large suitcases, know that the tour will be very tiring and you will end up not enjoying anything. Read too:
- What to take with you to Italy?
- Seasons in Italy! How to pack?
- Is there a baggage allowance on Italian trains?
When you start organizing your trip, try to buy tickets online, so that you already have all the timetables scheduled. In northern Italy, unlike in the south, you can use the high-speed train very often, so I advise you to book early so you can save on reservations. If you ever have to buy a route with a regional train, be aware that it is often not possible to buy online, so you will have to buy directly at the train station. It is interesting to know the train timetable in advance, and you can always see this online. I advise you to travel whenever possible, with the high-speed train, so that you don’t waste so much time on the trains and have more comfort!
Did you know that Trenitalia is the main Italian company dedicated to the management of railway transport? Find out here What is the difference between trains in Italy?. Buy your ticket online in advance and save a lot, read the Post How to buy a train ticket in Italy ?.
When you arrive at each hotel, ask for the tourist map (usually all hotels have a free map of its city) and schedule the main visits for each day.
- In this post I am often considering one day for visiting the main cities, because some cities are small and can be visited peacefully in one day. I am also considering that you will make a schedule beforehand, buying tickets online (when necessary and to avoid queues at monuments), but in other cities, with one day, you will only be able to visit and superficially visit the Historic Center with its main monuments.
- If you want to increase the number of days for the main cities, you can do it without any problems. Remembering that my goal is only to give you the idea of which cities are the best to visit and how to get from one city to another. You will decide if you make this script exactly the same, if you decrease or increase the number of days, or if you include or give up on other cities, that is clear, isn’t it?
Shall we start our itinerary? You will buy your airline ticket, obviously arriving at Milan airport.
1) Twenty-day itinerary in northern Italy? DAY 1
Arrival in Milan via Malpensa Airport, see here the transport options for Milan Center. Departure to the hotel to check in and then dedicate the whole day to visit Milan. Overnight in Milan, find out here: Where to sleep in Milan?
- Depending on the time you arrive in Milan I advise you to stay another day to be able to have at least one full day in Milan. SEE OUR POSTS ABOUT MILAN
- Milan Cathedral in the Historic Center;
- Vittorio Emanuele II Gallery;
- Teatro alla Scala (Scala Theater);
- Castello Sforzesco (Sforzesco Castle);
- Quadrilatero della moda (“Fashion Square”);
- The Last Supper by Leornado da Vinci (remember to book at least 3 months in advance !!);
- Brera Painting Gallery.
2) Twenty-day itinerary in northern Italy? DAY 2
CITY OF COMO: Breakfast at the hotel and we advise you to enjoy this day with a free visit to the city of Como. A beautiful city located on the banks of one of the deepest lakes in Europe. We recommend: regional train connecting Milan to Como in 1 hour (Como Nord Lago train station). From Como you can also take a cruise to Bellagio, which lasts an average of 2 hours, and return to Como from where you can return to Milan. SEE OUR POSTS ON THE LAKE OF COMO.
3) Twenty-day itinerary in northern Italy? DAY 3
TORINO: After breakfast, head to the train station and depart with the high-speed train to Torino. Departure to the hotel and full day to visit Torino. I advise in the afternoon, a visit to the Royal Palace of Venaria, located 10 km from the city center as well as a visit to the Egyptian Museum, one of the largest in the world. Overnight in Torino. SEE OUR POSTS ABOUT TORINO
- It is very worthwhile to visit Torino, but if you prefer you can take that day off and go directly from Milan to Venice. Where to sleep in Torino?
4) Twenty-day itinerary in northern Italy? DAY 4
VENICE MESTRE OR VENICE: After breakfast, head to the train station and depart with the high-speed train to Venice Mestre or Venice (depending on how much you want to spend on the hotel). Venice Mestre is next to the city of Venice and, by train or by bus, you arrive in Venice in 15 minutes. SEE OUR POSTS ABOUT VENEZIA.
Sleeping in Venice Mestre means a savings of at least 30% with the hotel. Obviously the convenience of being in Venice or the wonder of sleeping in Venice is something else, but you must decide how much you want and can spend on that trip! Overnight in Venice Mestre or Venezia city. Where to sleep in Venice?
- The Scalzi Church;
- Basilica of Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari (Basilica of Glorious St Mary of Frari),
- Rialto Bridge: The Rialto Bridge is the oldest and most famous arch bridge over the Grand Canal;
- Piazza San Marco (St Mark’s Square): it is the only square in Venice, and its main tourist destination;
- Campanile di San Marco (St Mark’s Campanile) : It is one of the symbols of the city of Venice.
- Basilica of San Marco (St Mark’s Basilica): it is the most famous of the churches in Italy and one of the best examples of Byzantine architecture;
- Bridge of Sighs.
5) Twenty-day itinerary in northern Italy? DAY 5
VENICE: Breakfast at the hotel. I advise that in the morning you continue to visit Venice and in the afternoon you take one of the many group tours departing from Piazza San Marco (St Mark’s Square) to the Islands of Murano, Burano and Torcello. Overnight in Venice Mestre.
6) Twenty-day itinerary in northern Italy? DIA 6
PADUA: Breakfast at the hotel, departure to the train station and departure by regional or high-speed train to Padua, famous throughout the world as the city of Saint Anthony and the cradle of Giotto’s art. I recommend a visit to the Scrovegni Chapel. Return with the train to Venice Mestre. Overnight in Venice Mestre. TIPS ON PADUA?
- If you prefer to make a superficial visit, you can enjoy today taking the tour in Padua to visit the Basilica of Saint Anthony and continue with the next train to Verona, thus winning a day on the tour. Obviously I advise this only to people who want to save days, if you can, it is better to visit calmly and dedicate an entire day to each of the two cities!
7) Twenty-day itinerary in northern Italy? DAY 7
VERONA: Breakfast at the hotel. Today we will depart by regional or high-speed train to Verona and sleep there. Arrival. Departure to the hotel and the whole day to visit the city of Romeo and Juliet. Overnight in Verona. LEARN MORE ABOUT VERONA
- Verona Arena;
- Casa di Giulietta (Juliet’s house);
- Duomo di Verona (Verona Cathedral).
8) Twenty-day itinerary in northern Italy? DAY 8
LAKE GARDA: Breakfast at the hotel and we advise you today to make a free visit to Lake Garda. We suggest: regional (or frecciabianca) train that takes 20 minutes to connect Verona station to Desenzano del Garda, Sirmione. Return to the hotel at night. Overnight in Verona. SEE OUR POSTS ABOUT LAKE GARDA
Map 01: Twenty-day itinerary in northern Italy
9) Twenty-day itinerary in northern Italy? DAY 9
MANTOVA: Breakfast at the hotel and we advise this day for a free visit to the city of Mantova, the city of Mantegna. With the regional train in 45 minutes you arrive in Mantova. To visit: Doge’s Palace, Camera degli Sposi (“Bridal Chamber”) and Te Palace. Return to Verona with the train and overnight in Verona. TIPS ON MANTUA?
10) Twenty-day itinerary in northern Italy? 10TH DAY
BOLOGNA: Breakfast at the hotel and transfer to the train station. Departure by train to Bologna, the city that has the oldest university in Italy. Where to sleep in Bologna? Free time to visit the wonderful historic center, and overnight in Bologna. LEARN MORE ABOUT BOLOGNA
- Piazza Maggiore (Maggiore Square);
- La Basilica di San Petronio (St Petronius’ Basilica), the 5th largest church in the world;
- Torre degli Asineli (Asinelli Tower);
- Basilica di Santo Stefano (St Stephen’s Basilica);
- The porticoes.
11) Twenty-day itinerary in northern Italy? DAY 11
FERRARA: Breakfast at the hotel. Going to the train station and departing by train to Ferrara, if you take the high speed train, in 20 minutes you arrive in Ferrara, a city that has one of the most famous buildings of the Italian Renaissance: the Palazzo dei Diamanti (“Diamond Palace”). Also of great beauty and worth visiting is the Cathedral, the Via delle Volte, the Schifanoia Palace and obviously the Castello Estense (“Este Castle”). At the end of the day, return by train and overnight in Bologna. LEARN MORE ABOUT FERRARA
12) Twenty-day itinerary in northern Italy? DAY 12
MARANELLO & MODENA: For Ferrari lovers, we advise you to use this day to go to Maranello to visit the Ferrari Museum and perhaps to take a ride with a Ferrari.
Maranello does not have a train station, so you will have to buy a ticket to Modena (20 minutes with the high speed train or 30 minutes with the regional train) and arriving at the Modena train station, you will have to take the Seta company bus, one of the following lines:
- Line 800 Modena – Maranello (via Formigine);
- Line 820 Modena – Maranello (via Montale).
The average time you will spend is 25 to 40 minutes, and you will get off at the point on the street (via Abetone Inferiore) that would be the closest point to the Ferrari Museum. Just tell the driver: “Dove scendo per il Ferrari museum?” I’m sure he will indicate you well 🙂 or if you prefer to stay calm, go to the end point in Piazza Libertá (“Freedom Square”), and from there you can go on foot, it is only a 10 minute walk.
- Returning to Modena, I advise you to spend the afternoon in Modena or to make a brief tour in the historic center of this city, which from 1598 for several centuries was the capital of the Duchy of Este. This, today is world famous for the production of balsamic vinegar and tortellini. Overnight and return by train to Bologna at the end of the day. LEARN MORE ABOUT MARANELLO
13) Twenty-day itinerary in northern Italy? DAY 13
LA SPEZIA: Breakfast at the hotel. Departure to the train station and departure by train to La Spezia. You will spend an average of 3 hours on this trip, so I advise you to check the timetables so that you depart with the first train of the day. Arrival in La Spezia and free time to rest or to stroll through the historic center or perhaps to go for a walk in Cinque Terre. SEE MY POSTS ABOUT LA SPEZIA
14) Twenty-day itinerary in northern Italy? DAY 14
CINQUE TERRE: Whole day dedicated to visiting Cinque Terre. See my post on how to visit Cinque Terre!
Map 02: Twenty-day itinerary in northern Italy
15) Twenty-day itinerary in northern Italy? DAY 15
SANTA MARGHERITA LIGURE AND PORTOFINO: How about visiting the famous Porto fino? To go there you will have to take the train to S. Margherita Ligure. Porto fino is located 5 kilometers away and from there you will have the following options:
- On foot: more or less 1:20 (tiring, but beautiful!);
- Taxi (outside the train station);
- Bus: at the station there are buses every 20 minutes (in summer) to Porto fino and in 15 minutes you get there!
- Boat: from the Port of S. Margherita, you can take a boat and make another wonderful trip! OR
It may be a good idea to go with the bus and return with the boat, what do you think? Santa Margherita is also beautiful, so I advise you to make the most of the day and visit both locations! TIPS ON PORTOFINO?
16) Twenty-day itinerary in northern Italy? DAY 16
GENOVA: Today I advise you to leave early and spend the day in Genova. Another wonderful city of art! Be sure to visit Genova’s wonderful aquarium, the city’s beautiful Cathedral and the Rolli Palace, which are part of UNESCO’s heritage! Return to La Spezia at the end of the day! TIPS ON GENOVA?
17) Twenty-day itinerary in northern Italy? DAY 17
PISA AND LUCCA: After the breakfast we will leave early for Pisa. In the morning I advise you to visit Piazza dei Miracoli (“Square of Miracles”) with its famous monuments: Cathedral of Pisa (the greatest example of the Tuscan Romanesque style), Tower of Pisa (the famous leaning tower) and the Baptistery. TIPS ON PISA?
Unfortunately our time is short so I advise you during the afternoon to make a stop and return to Lucca, which is located only half an hour from Pisa. I advise you to rent a bike and do the city tour with the bike, Lucca as well as Pisa are very small cities and you can visit them in a day ???? but it is certainly worth getting to know them! In Lucca do not forget to climb the tower houses !! TIPS ON LUCCA?
18) Twenty-day itinerary in northern Italy? DAY 18
FLORENCE: After the breakfast go to Florence (hourly train, average price: euro 8.50). Head to the hotel and get out to see the main monuments in Florence. Accommodation in Florence. SEE OUR POSTS ABOUT FLORENCE. REad our post: What to do in 2 days in Florence?
Visits advised for the first day
- Basilica di Santa Maria Novella (Basilica of Santa Maria Novella): UNESCO heritage;
- Basilica di San Lorenzo (Basilica of Saint Lawrence): designed by one of the greatest architects of the Renaissance: Filippo Brunelleschi;
- Cappele Medicee (Medici Chapel): one of the most important religious buildings in Tuscany;
Galleria dell’Accademia (Accademia Gallery) – Here the original of Michelangelo’s David and other sculptures by Michelangelo are preserved;
- Basilica della Santissima Annunziata (Basilica of the Most Holy Anunciation);
- Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore (Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Flower) – it is the fourth largest church in Europe by magnitude, after Saint Peter’s in the Vatican, Saint Paul’s in London and Milan Cathedral; in fact, it is 153 meters long, while the base of the famous dome, which is visible from the entire plain of Florence to the city of Prato, is 90 meters wide;
- Baptistery: It is believed to be the oldest building in the city and is famous for its magnificent bronze doors;
Campanile di Giotto (Giotto’s Campanile): There are 244 steps to reach the top, but surely you will enjoy a view of Florence that will be forever in your minds and hearts;
- Strozzi Palace.
Visits advised for the second day:
- Chiesa di Orsanmichele (Church of Orsanmichele);
- Palazzo Vechio (“Old Palace”);
- Galleria degli Uffizi (Uffizi Gallery):it is one of the most famous museums in the world;
- Ponte Vecchio (“Old Bridge”);
- Palazzo Pitti (Pitti Palace);
- Piazzale Michelangelo (Michelangelo Square), is 20 min. on foot, but it is considered the best place to see Florence from the top and you will think you are in a bucolic landscape. Remember to take lots of pictures of this wonderful place.
- To be able to visit Florence well, with the internal monuments, it will take two days, so either you will have to put an extra day on your tour or you will have to take a day from somewhere, so I leave it to you to decide : ) after all the trip is yours, I just advise ; ) Return to Florence. Where to sleep in Florence?
Map 03: Twenty-day itinerary in northern Italy
19) Twenty-day itinerary in northern Italy? DAY 19
SIENA: I recommend a full day group tour to get to know Siena and San Gimigniano. There are several trains departing from Florence. Or alternatively depart for Siena by public bus, just go to the bus station, in the center of Florence or remember to check the timetables the day before. You can also leave with the train, but it takes longer (1:30 on average) you can decide directly. Accommodation in Florence . TIPS ON SIENA?
Siena is certainly another excellent and wonderful city in Tuscany. Famous for its Palio (horse race) which happens twice a year but, apart from that, Siena has a lot to be seen. Where to sleep in Siena?
- Piazza del Campo (“Field Square”): considered one of the most beautiful squares in Italy;
- Palazzo Comunale (“Town Palace”);
- Torre del Mangia (Mangia Tower);
- Gaia Fountain by Jacopo della Quercia;
- Siena Cathedral, the Cathedral of Saint Mary of Anunciation and the Baptistery with the large hexagonal baptism fountain, performed by famous artists, including Donatello;
- Basilica Cateriniana di San Domenico (Cateriniana Basilica of Saint Dominic) ;
- Museu dell’Opera del Duomo (Museum of the Works of the Cathedral);
- Pinacoteca Nazionale (National Painting Gallery).
20) Twenty-day itinerary in northern Italy? DAY 20
Today you will take your flight or train to continue your journey through Italy, maybe stop by Rome, located an hour and a half from Florence. I’m sure that in these days you saw a lot of beauty and you were even more willing to travel through Italy. There are still many places in the north of Italy that are worth visiting (many regions were missing, such as Umbria, which deserves at least a week of visit) Marche, Trentino and many others, but I had promised a twenty-day itinerary and I was faithful to that. OK.?
Map 04: Twenty-day itinerary in northern Italy
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Twenty-day itinerary in northern Italy? I think at this point you already understood that to get to know Italy from one end to the other, I will say that we would need at least 3 months of travel! Maybe it’s still not enough … but I’m aware that those who leave for tourism hardly have more than 20 days at their disposal, so I’m trying to divide Italy into zones so that you fall in love and can come back at least twice!!
And if you feel insecure, have no time, and need help to organize your trip, don’t hesitate to contact me! I will love to help you make your dream trip to Italy come true. And how can I do that? Keep reading this post until the end and you will understand how we make your life and your trip much easier.
Did my post help you? If so, be sure to post your comment below, but if you still have questions just send me a message I will answer you as soon as possible!