What to do in Italy in 15 days?
Fifteen days is a very good amount of time to travel through Italy. With organization and planning, it is possible to visit some cities and several monuments. Take a look at our suggested itinerary, and if you are thinking of spending fifteen days in Italy, read our post and find out “What to do in Italy in 15 days!”. Inspiring muse of great artists, Italy is the crib of Renaissance culture. It is a fantastic destination for any kind of itinerary; rich in tourist attractions that pleases all travelers. I’m sure you will fall in love with Italy! 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!”
Italy has endless beauty to offer, artistic treasures, enchanting landscapes and culinary delights. Anyway, there are so many reasons to be enchanted by the wonders of this country: from the fascinating scenery of the Alps in Northern Italy, passing through the historical and cultural heritage of the entire peninsula until reaching the South. Volcanoes, breathtaking islands and romantic beaches escort the visitor during their trip in Italy. Rome is just the beginning, frontrunner of countless attractions that await you, during your tour through Italy.
Well, ready to start our fifteen-day itinerary in Italy? The itinerary will be fifteen days long, our destinations will be the main cities and its surroundings. We will spend an average of two days in each city (with some exceptions), so there will be a total of seven cities, plus the villages and places that are close to the most famous places, in a touristically level. We will travel by train, rented car, sometimes we will also use public transport and, when possible, we will just take a walk! Also read our post How to get around in Italy?
We will start our tour in Venice, stay there one night and then continue to Mantua, then Florence – where we will stay for two nights; we are also going to visit Siena and San Gimignano. Then, we will continue to Rome, where we will stay for a few more days, after that we pass through Naples and its surrounding area, return to Rome and, finally, we can go home: everything in fifteen days. Our tour is just an idea, you can obviously do it as you prefer, including or excluding cities as you wish! So: let’s start this tour!
1) What to do in Italy in 15 days? VENICE
First day: Venice. Arriving in Venice early in the morning, the train will take us downtown (we get off at Venezia Santa Lucia Station). Venice is a city of culture and art and considered one of the most romantic in the world. Its originality is known by the whole world, and by its position in the lagoon already leads us to understand the greatness that makes Venice so beautiful. HOW TO GET TO VENICE?
St. Mark’s Square
After having a good breakfast, we will take the road to the St. Mark’s Basilica. We will take the opportunity to take the traghetto (a passenger boat that crosses the canal) near the station and arrive at the splendid St. Mark’s Square. There are also several tourist boats, but they are more expensive, with additional services that we do not find in water transportation (which work like regular buses).
Rialto Bridge, Doge’s Palace and Campanile
Navigating the Grand Canal, we will have the opportunity to pass in front of the magnificent palaces and beautiful churches; we will also pass under the famous Rialto Bridge. Getting off the traghetto, we will be in the most frequented square in Venice: the emblematic San Marco – in front of the Basilica, the Doge’s Palace, the Campanile and the beautiful view of the lagoon. We start with a visit to St Mark’s Basilica and Doge’s Palace, thus avoiding the long lines at the entrance – especially around lunchtime.
St Mark’s Basilica has a pattern of Western-Eastern architecture, the only example in Europe. Only the magnificent mosaics and the church floors are enough to justify the visit! Then we will visit Doge’s Palace and, there, we will have an idea of what the Doge’s private rooms were like and also the court of the ducal republic. Crossing the famous Bridge of Sighs (Ponte dei Sospiri) we access the former prison, from which Casanova fled.
At this point it seems essential to make a stop for a snack – and if we want a not so economical whim, my suggestion is to eat in one of the historic cafeterias at St Mark’s Square, which exudes the atmosphere of the city bathed by the sea. Our tour will continue in the afternoon with the St. Marks Clocktower (Torre Dell’Orologio) and small shops selling typical products. These shops, called “Mercerie”, are located on the three most famous shopping streets in Venice. They take us from St Mark’s Square to Rialto Bridge’s small fairs. Here, shopping lovers will find everything they can imagine, and at all prices. FIND OUT EVERYTHING ABOUT VENICE
After we visit the bridge, we can choose between two routes to return to the station: the fastest way is to take the traghetto at the Rialto stop to the station. For those who prefer to spend more time walking through the alleys, it is possible to cross the Rialto Bridge and continue on foot to the canals near the station (with this route you will take 30 to 40 minutes). To cross the Grand Canal, take the Scalzi Bridge, which leads directly to the square in front of the central station. Now all we have to do is having a nice dinner and a good night’s sleep! Tomorrow a new day awaits us. If you prefer to stay one more day in Venice, take a day out of Mantua.
2) What to do in Italy in 15 days? MANTUA
Second day: Mantua. After an energetic breakfast, we leave Venice to take the train to the city of Mantua. Several generations of writers, from Torquato Tasso to Charles Baudelaire, from Charles Dickens to Aldous Huxley, expressed, each one in their own way, the different emotions and sensations they had during their visit to Mantua: a city of melancholic and dreamy beauty, with surreal landscapes of willows and cane fields, characterized by fog and yellow, with its dry trees by the lakes. For this, Mantua presents us with a fragment of eternity, a myth.
Entering the heart of Mantua, capital of the homonymous province, the first thing we see is its beautiful historic center, accessible through St. George’s Bridge, which leads to St. George’s Castle (part of the Doge’s Palace). After arriving in Mantua, we begin our visit to this city, with Gonzaga’s nobility symbol: the Doge’s Palace – one of the most extensive and elaborate mansions in Italy (it has about 500 rooms, several squares, patios and winter gardens).
Despite the immensity of this incredible palace, the visit takes only two hours. The ticket office is under the terrace, next to Sordello Square – it works every day except Monday. The Doge’s Palace is full of rooms, including the famous “Camera degli Sposi” (the bridal room), decorated by the painter Andrea Mantegna. Around St. George’s Castle, you can access Sordello Square, where you find the Dome of Mantua, the St. Peter Apostle’s Cathedral – which represents the main place of worship in the region.
The Palaces: Palazzo d’Arco, Palazzo Vescovile, Palazzo Bonacolsi, Palazzo della Ragione and Palazzo del Te.
At this time, before continuing with the city tour, we will stop for lunch. After a well-deserved rest, we continue with the tour to admire other important palaces, such as Palazzo d’Arco, Palazzo Vescovile, Palazzo Bonacolsi, Palazzo della Ragione (located in the famous Erbe Square) and the Palazzo del Te. Mantegna’s House is an essential stage, former residence of the great artist of Padua, built in 1746, which has immense historical-artistic value. Mantua is known as the Gem of the Renaissance, and is also considered a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. It’s late, we only have time to have dinner and go to bed! FIND OUT MORE ABOUT MANTOVA.
3) What to do in Italy in 15 days? MANTUA AND ITS SURROUNDINGS
Third day: Mantua and its surrounding cities. For this day I suggest you to stay in Mantua or rent a car and take the day to visit the following locations.
Peschiera del Garda and Lake Garda
We are still in Mantua and after having breakfast, we will go to Peschiera del Garda following the River Mincio for about 45 km – one of the most charming regions of Lake Garda. In addition, the historic center is full of stores where you can shop souvenirs, have fun and perhaps please the palate with delicious typical dishes.
Another place to visit near Mantua is Casalmaggiore, in the province of Cremona (exactly forty minutes away). The city offers tourists a mix of culture, history, art and nature. We can take a break for lunch, enjoying some typical local dish. After that, we continue our trip back to Mantua, take a quick walk, and have a light meal before goingo to bed!
4) What to do in Italy in 15 days? FLORENCE
Fourth day: Florence. After having breakfast, we will leave the city of Mantua to head to beautiful Florence – one of the most loved cities in the world, the pried of Italy and Tuscany. We will travel to Florence in the late morning and go straight to the Church of Santa Maria Novella, which welcomes visitors, as it is right in front of Florence’s train station. Santa Maria Novella is a Dominican church located in the homonymous square where there are several frescoes by Paolo Uccello, Masaccio and Ghirlandaio. It is time to have lunch at one of the wonderful Florentine restaurants. We will dedicate the afternoon to shopping in the countless boutiques and fairs in the city. FIND OUT EVERYTHING ABOUT FLORENCE.
5) What to do in Italy in 15 days? FLORENCE
Fifth day: Florence. After the breakfast, we will reserve the whole morning to visit the historic center – visiting on foot all the monuments, such as the Cathedral and the famous Brunelleschi’s Dome, the Baptistery and the Vecchio Brigde (with its shops of the master Fiorentine goldsmiths). In the afternoon we will visit Uffizi Gallery (for about two hours) and Signoria Palace; then we will have some free time to have a nice dinner and take some rest.
Renting a Car in Florence
In Florence we decide to rent a car to get around the area on the following days. If you are renting a car be sure to read our posts in the section Driving in Italyon the blog Your Travel To Italy. In addition to car itinerary tips, we have all the information about signage, tolls, roads and many tips. Read also TRAVELING BY CAR IN ITALY: ITINERARY EXAMPLES.
6) What to do in Italy in 15 days? SIENA
Sixth day: Siena. We will continue with the car from now on. After a good breakfast, we leave Florence and go to Siena, but first we will stop in San Gimignano (a beautiful historic village in the hills of Chianti). CAR ITINERARY IN TUSCANY?
Historical Heritage by UNESCO
When crossing the walls of San Gimignano, we go back in time to the 13th century and find one of the best examples of medieval urban architecture in Europe – that’s why it deserves the title of Historic Heritage by UNESCO. Considered the “Medieval Manhattan”, San Gimignano is famous for its houses, medieval towers, high walls and narrow streets. We cannot flop to visit Cisterna Square and the Cathedral with the Collegiate Church – there you can enjoy the frescoes by Ghirlandaio and Benozzo Bozzoli. We will also pass by Podestà Palace and St. Augustine’s Church.
Let’s take a break for lunch at one of the typical restaurants, so we can experience the flavors of the village. In the afternoon we will continue to Siena, and soon it will be dinner time! After a long day, time to go to be! – we will visit the city next day, so, take a good rest!
7) What to do in Italy in 15 days? SIENA
Seventh day: Siena. After a noble breakfast, we will visit the city and its beautiful historic center. Siena is considered the best preserved medieval city in Italy. With its narrow streets, the magnificent Piazza del Campo Field Square and its secular traditions (such as the Palio, which happens the whole year and takes the main city blocks), let’s start with the visit of St. Dominic’s Church, which houses the Relics of St. Catherine (Patroness Saint of Italy and Europe), also the Piazza del Campo, where the famous Palio takes place as we mentioned before. WHAT TO DO IN A DAY IN SIENA?
We will walk to reach the Cathedral, one of the wonders of Italy’s Gothic Romantic. At this time you can take a lunch break; you can choose one of the typical restaurants there and taste the culinary gifts of Siena. In the afternoon we continue with the tour through the congested streets of the city. When the night comes, we’ll have dinner and go to sleep. Tomorrow will be a new day!
8) What to do in Italy in 15 days? ASSISI & TODI
Eighth day: Assisi and Todi. After having breakfast, we will leave Siena and head to Assisi and Todi. Inserted by UNESCO in the list of Historical Heritage, Assisi is a small town that seems to have stopped in time a few centuries ago. It releases a relaxing and sacred atmosphere, thanks to the peace of the Umbrian countryside. WHAT TO DO IN A DAY IN ASSISI?
St. Francis Basilica
Of course, in Assisi we HAVE to visit the St. Francis’ Basilica, we will also stopover by the historic center, where we will take a break for a snack. In the afternoon, we will leave for Todi, where we will spend the night, and the next day we will continue to Orvieto.
Todi is one of the most beautiful cities in Umbria and Italy, for its charming medieval atmosphere, for its location and also for the interesting monuments. The heart of Todi is the People’s Square (Piazza del Popolo), one of the most famous for its undeniable beauty. Around the square are the main buildings, such as the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Annunciation, Priori Palace, Popolo Palace and Capitano Palace. At this time we stop at some typical restaurant to enjoy our dinner, then we can go to take some rest!
9) What to do in Italy in 15 days? ORVIETO
Ninth day: Orvieto. After a good breakfast, we will leave Todi and proceed to Orvieto, to reach Rome at night. Orvieto is a majestic and charming city. With just over 1 km long and 800m wide, the city tells a story full of artistic and cultural manifestations, from Etruscan times to our nowadays millennium.
Plateau of the Hill and the Cathedral
We can say that the entire plateau of the tufted hill represents a monumental complex in open air, where it is possible to discover so many hidden treasures, in addition to the characteristic atmosphere of the city. It is worth visiting the Cathedral, which surprises with its colorful marbles and golden mosaics on the facade. Inside the church there are two chapels: the Chapel of the Corporal (where the relic of the Bolsena Miracle is) and St. Britius’ Chapel (decorated with frescoes from 1500, by Luca Signorelli).
Palace of the Popes
To the right of the cathedral, on Corso Cavour, you can see the Palace of the Popes, in gothic style. The Moro Tower overlooks the entire city, guaranteeing an extraordinary landscape. Right at the entrance of the city is St. Patrick’s Well, a masterpiece by Antonio da Sangallo (62 meters deep, equipped with two flights of stairs, which were used to transport water). After we finish the visit to the city of Orvieto, we will leave for Rome – where we will arrive a little late, so we will only have time to have dinner and go to sleep. LEARN MORE ABOUT ORVIETO
10) What to do in Italy in 15 days? ROME
Tenth day: Rome. We’re goingo to Rome! I suggest you to hand over the car and visit Rome by public transport. Let’s start our tour to discover the wonders of the “eternal city”? Rome is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful cities in the world, and we cannot describe it on pages. That is why we are going to stay a few more days in this incredible city, precisely to have the opportunity to make the best of its greatness.
To visit Rome is not worth renting a car: the chaotic traffic would ruin your trip. We choose to use the subway, when possible, or else we will take a taxi. Either way, we will take long walks, as each street in Rome is a piece of history, art and culture.
Choosing the Attractions
Whenever we have to decide what to see in Rome, we run into a huge problem when choosing the attractions, since there are several of them. Three days will fly by, trust me! Especially when we plan a pleasant activity, such as visiting the capital of Italy!
In order not to miss the opportunity to experience all the Roman magic, it is always good to keep in mind a clear idea of where to go and what to visit. We start the tour in Rome visiting the Piazza Del Popolo, and then we will visit Flaminio Obelisk; we will also visit the Corso Street. We can change our way and take the road on the right, on Frezza Street to go to Ara Pacis Museum, until we reach Condotti Street (the street whew you will find the fancy shops).
Upon arriving at Piazza di Spagna (with its Spanish Steps), at the feet of the Church of Holy Trinity of the Mountains, it is possible to drink excellent quality water at the fountain (all water in Rome is drinkable and good). We then go up the Spanish Steps to enjoy the view. We will be just a few steps away from the beautiful Fontana di Trevi (Trevi Fountain). After a brief stop, we enter the Alberto Sordi Gallery and leave at Column Square, where the Chigi Palace is located.
Pantheon and Navona Square
We pass through the Chamber of Deputies towards Rotonda Square (one of the most beautiful in Rome, where the magnificent Pantheon is). We continue to the Madama Palace (seat of the Senate of the Italian Republic) and then we go to Navona Square (where Bernini’s, beautiful Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi – Fountain of the Four Rivers – and the Church of St. Agnes in Agony are located).
Sant´Angelo Castle and St. Peter’s Basilica
We now head to St. Angelo Castle and visit the prisons (€ 5 per person) where the opera “Tosca”, by Giacomo Puccini, takes place. Then we will go up to the castle terrace, from the belvedere you can see the corridor that connects the castle to St. Peter’s Basilica. Finally, we deserve a great meal in one of the typical roman restaurants. That is it for today, now we’re going to get the rest we deserve!
11) What to do in Italy in 15 days? ROME
Eleventh day: Rome. Let’s have a good breakfast – today will be a busy day, so we need a lot of energy.
Coliseum and the Roman Forums
We will visit the Coliseum (the “center of the world”), then we will go to the Roman Forums (incredible!) and then we will end the day at the famous “Boca della Verità” (The Mouth of Truth). The Coliseum, originally known as the “Flavian Amphitheater”, is the most famous Roman arena and is located in the city center. When you go to Rome you cannot go home saying that you did not enter there.
The name “Coliseum” comes from colosseo, derived from the statue “Colossus Solis” (adaptation of the Colossus of Nero). Today it is the symbol of the city and one of the major tourist attractions in Rome. We continue our tour with the Roman Forum – the most important archaeological site in Rome, which runs from the Capitol to the Palatine Hill.
Since the 7th century BC, there were political, commercial and religious activities in this area. Also linked to the Roman Forum are the Imperial Forums, the Forums of Caesar, Augustus, Nerva, Vespasian and the imposing Trajan’s Forum (whose markets and columns are still preserved). At this point we will take a lunch break and after some rest, we will visit the “Bocca della Verità” (The Mouth of the Truth). READ ALL OUR TIPS ABOUT ROME.
Bocca della Verità (The Mouth of Truth)
The “Bocca della Verità” (The Mouth of the Truth) is an ancient grotesque mask made of pavonazzo marble, hanging in front of Our Lady’s Basilica in Cosmedim, from 1632. This is one of the unmissable monuments in Rome. The great mask is famous for the ancient legend – it is assumed that this was the object mentioned in the 11th century in the “Wonders of the City of Rome” (Mirabilia Urbis Romae, a medieval guide for pilgrims), in which it is attributed to “Bocca della Verità” the power to announce prophecies.
The name The Mouth of Truth appeared in 1485, and the sculpture remains mentioned among Roman curiosities today, it is frequently reproduced in drawings and engravings. Tourists line up to take a photo with their hand inside its ‘magic mouth’ – that’s one of the reasons why the spot is always included on guided tours. So… we are glad for all the art that we saw, but really tired, right?! So, let’s have dinner and go straight to bed!
12) What to do in Italy in 15 days? ROME
Twelfth day: Rome. We arrived at the last point of our visit to Rome, and it’s gonna be another beautiful day!
After a great breakfast, we will admire the Capuchin Catacombs on Veneto Street – we’re talking abou a crypt inside a church, with sculptures made of human bones (creepy, but very interesting!). Then we will go to the Baths of Caracala and, finally, to Trastevere neighborhood.
We did not include the Vatican Museums, as the visit lasts almost three hours (you have to take long lines and we would lose almost the whole afternoon with that – it closes at 6 p.m.). But it’s up to you! If you really want to visit them, take some of our suggestions out of your itinerary and place the Museum.
In my opinion: it is one of the best attractions in Rome! A really must-see spot!
In the Capuchin Catacombs the friars were buried until 1870. The cemetery in the Chapel of the Mass was reserved for the graves of the poor (where the Capuchins retired each night before resting). Around the middle of 1700, after several interventions, this place of prayer and reflection was transformed into a work of art. The ticket costs € 1; this fee is just an allowance to keep the crypt in good conditions. If you want to tell that you saw peculiar things, this is one of the must-see attractions. We will take a short break for lunch and go on to the Baths of Caracala.
Baths of Caracala
The thermal baths are one of the greatest examples of imperial baths in Rome, and are still conserved in most of the structures – saved from modern buildings. They were requested by Emperor Caracala Aventino between 212 and 217, as shown by the identification on the bricks. The “Baths of Caracalla” were grandiose, but intended only for the minority that lived in the so called 12th Region. We will now go to Trastevere, one of the most famous neighborhoods in Rome’s guides.
In its origins, in 754-509 B.C., the Trastevere area was an inhospitable land that belonged to the Etruscans. Rome occupied it to watch the river on both sides. In any case, there was only strategic importance – in fact, Trastevere was connected to the rest of the city only by a fragile wooden bridge, the Sublicius Bridge.
Today Trastevere still maintains its personality, thanks to the curved streets covered with sanpietrini (stone floor, typical of Rome) with a view of the popular houses of medieval times. At night the street gets crowded – both Italians and foreigners come to restaurants and bars of all price ranges. It is one of the most lively and characteristic neighborhoods in the city. After our tour, we will have dinner here in Trastevere and then go to bed!
13) What to do in Italy in 15 days? NAPLES
Thirteenth day: Naples. I suggest you to leave from Rome with a rented car! Or by train, but to go to the Amalfi Coast you will need the car, which you can take directly in Naples. After having breakfast, we will say goodbye to Rome and leave for Naples. This is an exceptional city, guarded from above by Vesuvius, home of great Italian food, the sun and cheerful people – the kind of person we can hardly find in other parts of the world. EVERYTHING ABOUT NAPLES
To visit Naples in one day, it is possible to start with Garibaldi Square and begin the tour to the gallery, towards Pozzuoli. Passing Pignasecca, we reach Toledo Street. From here we can visit the Quartieri Spagnoli (The Spanish Quarters – characteristic neighborhood of the city), the beautiful Umberto I Gallery and also the majestic Royal Theater of St. Charles (where you can recover your energy in a typical downtown bar, to enjoy a delicious Neapolitan espresso and a sweetie snack from the city’s refined confectionery, admiring the view from the Plebiscite Square). We continue along San Carlo Street, where we access the Municipality Square, where we’ll see the St. Giacomo Palace and the imposing Maschio Angioino Castle.
It is at this time that we make the mandatory stop to eat the authentic Neapolitan pizza. Then we will go to the Cathedral; to get there we can take Port’Alba Street and San Sebastiano Street, so we can enjoy on the way the courtyard of the Monastery of St Clare and the Gesù Nuovo Square. Or else we can also choose Benedetto Croce Street, which leads to San Domenico Square, or San Gregorio Armeno Street or yet to San Biagio dei Librai Street. All of these directions lead to the Cathedral, famous in popular beliefs for harboring the blood of St. Januarius. At this time is already late, so we can choose a restaurant to have dinner and, then, go to bed!
14) What to do in Italy in 15 days? SORRENTO
Fourteenth day: Amalfi Coast / Sorrento. Today is the second last day of our tour! After having breakfast, we will leave for Sorrento.
Sorrento is a pearl of the homonymous peninsula, which since Roman times has been a tourist destination – able to enchant by its gift to satisfy several senses at the same time. Sorrento not only has sea, beach and nature, it also has a historic center typical of the region, which surrounds the central square dedicated to Torquato Tasso (famous poet who was born here).
Cathedral dedicated to St. Philip and St. James and St. Anthony’s Basilica
There is no escape from the long journey to visit the Dome, the Cathedral dedicated to St. Philip and St. James. Another sacred place of great interest is St. Anthony’s Basilica, located in the homonymous square (very beautiful, by the way) – dedicated to the city’s patron. After seen so many splendors, we delight our palate with a deserved lunch in the typical restaurants (perhaps a “gnocchi alla sorrentina”). We will dedicate the afternoon to walk around the city and shopping in the famous boutiques of Sorrento. After a good dinner, guess what? Bedtime!
15) What to do in Italy in 15 days? SORRENTO
Fifteenth day: Sorrento. We reached the last day of our tour. After a great breakfast, we will leave Sorrento to return to Rome or Naples airport, take the plane and go home.
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Italy’s charm is the result of a happy combination of history, culture and gastronomy. Despite the geographic heritage and the magnificent nature of the different regions that enchant us all, historical-cultural treasures and cuisine are the protagonists that make Italy an incomparable country.
This itinerary is a small sample of such beauty. This trip gives us just an idea of the elegance of Italy. After this first experience, you will be excited to plan another trip – maybe with a little more time to enjoy the best of the “Bel Paese”, with a slower pace, enjoying each place. FIND OUT OTHER ITINERARY OPTIONS IN ITALY: 7/10/15/20/30 DAYS
If you feel insecure, have no time to plan, or 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 I can make your life and your trip much easier 🙂
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