Only have one week left of annual leave and have your eye on Italy? Here’s how you can enjoy Tuscany, Umbria, and Rome in just a few days. One week in Italy is not the ideal travel itinerary – the more time, the better! But, it’s definitely still worth the trip, so here is the travel itinerary I followed when I was in your shoes.
I live in Edinburgh, in Scotland. We have direct flights to a few locations in Italy, mostly served by Ryanair, but they don’t run every day. In order to make the most of my trip, I booked a flight in to one airport, travelled around, and then flew out of a different city. It means two separate itineraries and trips, but I think it’s worth it to get to see more of the country.
One week in Italy travel itinerary: Pisa -> Florence -> Perugia -> Rome
Tips on travelling to and around Italy
My flight: EDI-PSA, FR3264, departing at 8:20AM, arriving 12pm
If you’re in Europe, Pisa is a great choice to fly into, or out of. There’s loads of Ryanair and Easyjet flights. The airport is easy to access from the city centre with a little monorail type train directly connecting the train station to the airport. It’s cheap and convenient, and the train station has a left luggage desk so you can enjoy the leaning tower unburdened by your bags!
We opted to just spend the day in Pisa, see the leaning tower have lunch, and then hop on a train to Florence. Trains are a fantastic way to travel around the country, and how we travel around to see as much of Italy as we can. This itinerary travels from Pisa, to Florence, to Perugia, to Rome. It uses only direct trains with less than three hour long journeys. The train between Pisa and Florence is less than an hour!
What to do in Florence
Florence is one of my favourite cities to visit. Forget one week in Italy, I could write a whole one week in Florence itinerary. Between the food, the views, the galleries, and the museums: there’s no shortage of things to do. While you’re here, make sure you visit some of the museums and galleries. If you only have a few days, I’d pick between the Palazzo Vecchio and Brunelleschi’s Duomo. Both have towers you can walk up to enjoy stunning views. But, one has a museum, the other has some stunning architecture and is one of the more famous Catholic churches. If you’re afraid of tight spaces, I’d recommend the Palazzo Vecchio! Plus, that way you get to see the Duomo from your viewpoint. That said, the Duomo does tend to be more of a “classic” tourist spot.
The Uffizi Gallery is the gallery to visit, but you have to book in advance and make some level of a plan for what you want to see because there’s no way to see it all in one day! I had my eye on Donatello’s David though, rather than Michelangelo’s. So, we headed to the Museo Nazionale del Bargello. If you’re a sculpture fan, this is the museum for you. Floors upon floors of sculptures in all varieties will greet you.
Other favourites of mine include Michelangelo’s Square at sunset, and the Ponte Vecchio with a gelato in hand. We lean into the tourist thing in Florence and spent a few evenings drinking in the square in front of the Palazzo Vecchio. The food is great everywhere in Florence, and this way we got to people-watch and enjoy the sculptures in the square too. One piece of advice I always follow is to pre-book one nice meal on your holiday so you know no matter what, you’re having a great meal. We booked at il Granaio, which serves classic Italian in a classy space off a little street. I’d definitely recommend!
List of tips:
- Visit and climb to the top of the Duomo
- Visit the Palazzo Vecchio Museum and climb its tower
- Explore the Uffizi Gallery
- Sculpture sightsee at the Museo Nazional del Bargello
- Walk across the Ponte Vecchio
- Walk to Michelangelo’s Square for sunset
- Eat pizza at Gusto Leo (by Museo Nazional del Bargello)
- Eat dinner at il Granaio
- Find the small photo booth and take a series of photos – but you need coins and you will have to wait around 10 minutes for the machine to work its magic!
What to do in Perugia
With only one week in Italy it can be hard to find time in your itinerary to actually switch off and relax. Two days in Perugia in the middle of your holiday will do just that! This ancient Etruscan town is nestled on the top of a hill and is the perfect place to spend a few days just eating, drinking, and relaxing. There’s no shortage of restaurants or aperitivo spots, and if the drinks don’t help, the sunsets are sure to help your stress disappear.
In Perugia, you can enjoy the local museum, explore an Etruscan well, visit the factory of the famous chocolate makers ‘Baci’, and sit in the Giardini Carducci to watch the sun set. The hotel Sina Brufani has a stunning restaurant and bar located right next to the gardens. It’s a perfect spot for aperitifs before or after sunset. In the summer, Perugia is used to hosting many tourists, but in the winter it becomes a quieter, softer version of itself. Restaurants and tourist shops are still open, they’re just rather quiet. You’ll mostly run into students and people bustling about their usual day than you will run into tourists. It makes for a nice stop no matter what time of year!
List of Perugia tips
- Visit Giardini Carducci to see views of Umbria (even better at sunset)
- Explore the Etruscan well
- Visit the National Gallery of Umbria
- Tour the Baci Perugina chocolate factory
- Eat & drink at Enoteca di Perugia
- Aperitifs at the bar in Sina Brufani
What to do in Rome
Really, a silly heading. What not to do in Rome?! The list of things to do is long. You’ll know which things you want to see most. My preferences are: the colosseum is quite cool to see, but book a guided tour and book in advance. Also, you can get really nice pictures with it from the Giardinetto del Monte Oppio, and nice spots for drinks with a view up there too. You’ll see plenty of Roman ruins while walking through Rome, so I don’t personally feel the need to pay to see them (though I have). The Trevi Fountain is overrun with tourists (myself included). My take is to get in, get a picture, and get out. It’s hard to stop and enjoy because tourists are there at all hours of the night these days.
My main piece of advice? Find some really nice restaurants. Italy has one of the highest percentages of people with Celiac disease, so if you’re gluten free, this is your time to shine.
List of Rome tips
- Gluten free pizza at Pizza in Trevi (perfect for after visiting the nearby fountain!)
- Guided tour of the Colosseum
- Photos with the Colosseum at Giardinetto del Monte Oppio
- Drinks at Volpe Pasini bistio italiano (or on Via Delle Terme di Tito) have nice views of the Colosseum
- The usual tourist spots!
One week in Italy itinerary
Pisa, day 1: Arrive in Pisa! Get the airport tram to the train station, drop your luggage at the left luggage in the station. Then, head in to Pisa to see the leaning tower and eat some food. Once you’re satisfied, hop on the next train to Florence. Check in, and then head out to explore and get some drinks! We went to “touristy” spots in restaurants on the main squares and still enjoyed very nice food and wine at reasonable prices.
Florence, day 2: Start your morning with a walk to get your bearings and stop for a cappuccino and pastry. Visit the Museo Nazionale del Bargello, and stop in at Gusto Leo for lunch afterwards. Walk slowly over to the Palazzo Vecchio to enjoy some of the outdoor sculptures at Uffizi, before heading in to the Palazzo Vecchio to go up the tower. Afterwards, stop for gelato on your walk down the river to Michelangelo’s Square for sunset.
Florence, day 3: Up bright and early for a quick breakfast before you start your day at Uffizi Gallery! Spend as much time exploring as you can stomach before breaking for lunch. Afterwards, head over to the Duomo and don’t forget to have booked your tickets ahead of time! Take a walk over the Ponte Vecchio and have a look in all the different gioellerias before stopping for food. Dinner tonight at il Granaio would be a great way to top off a great trip to Florence.
Perugia, day 4: Travel to Perugia via train after breakfast. Don’t forget to grab a sandwich for the journey! You’ll enjoy some gorgeous views of Umbria along the ride. Once you arrive, hop on the cable car to get up into the city – otherwise you’ll be walking uphill for awhile! Check in, kick your feet up, and then head out for some aperitifs before sunset. Afterwards, walk over to Piazza IV Novembre and stop for dinner along the way.
Perugia, day 5: After breakfast, get your bearings with a guided tour of the city, or stop in the Galleria Nazionale dell’Umbria to explore the medieval artwork inside. Stop for lunch at one of the many little restaurants like Pasticceria Sandri, and then head over to the Etruscan Well to see a piece of history. Make sure you time your visit with one of their tours, they run hourly! Or, book ahead to visit the Baci Perugina factory and see how the chocolates are made. Make sure to hit up the gift shop before you leave, and have a chocolate for me! They’re my favourite. Dinner is at Enoteca di Perugia, a fantastic little wine bar in the old town.
Rome, day 6: Hop on an early train from Perugia to Rome. Make sure to grab snacks ahead of time, this is your longest train journey of the trip! When you arrive, you can safely tuck your bags away at Stow Your Bags by Termini Station, or leave them at your accommodation. Time to wander, and stop for food, and wander some more! Today would be a good day to visit the Trevi Fountain or the Spanish Steps. The nice thing about Rome is everything is super close to each other! In the afternoon, take a guided tour of the Colosseum, and then head over towards the Roman Forum and Pantheon.
Rome, day 7: Leave this day free to do anything you couldn’t do on day one in Rome, or use it to visit the Vatican City. Make sure to eat your fill of gelato and all levels of delicious Italian food before you leave!
Whatever you take from this itinerary, I hope you enjoy your week in Italy! The trip might feel short, but it will be mighty.
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