Are you looking to go on the trip of a lifetime? Check out our 8-day Italy itinerary to Rome and the Amalfi Coast.
It is a dream come true to travel to Rome, one of the most beautiful places on earth and an ethereal city. Rome has a lot to offer, and you could spend an entire trip just sightseeing in this historical treasure trove. Instead, we recommend venturing out of the city and exploring the charming fishing villages, cultural attractions, and natural wonders along the Amalfi coast.
But to enjoy the best trip to Rome and the Amalfi Coast, it is imperative to plan ahead and create a streamlined, organized, and exciting itinerary so your journey is picture-perfect. Whether you are still dreaming or actively planning, here is one of our favorite eight-day Italy itineraries in Rome and the Amalfi Coast, perfect for cultured travelers.
Day 1: Arrival In Rome
You will arrive in Rome on the first day and check into your hotel. Consider checking out our top 10 list of the best luxury hotels in Italy! Whether you’re coming to Rome directly from the US or another European destination, we recommend scheduling your arrival in the morning. That way, you will have plenty of time to get acquainted with the city, take a lovely afternoon nap, and then head out to explore Rome in the evening.
Activities and Sightseeing:
Since you will have just arrived and might be too tired to explore much, it is better to leave most of the activities for day two. On your first evening, we recommend a fun walking tour of the city. One way you could spice up (pun intended) your walking tour is to embark on a mini-culinary adventure. Tantalize your taste buds while listening to stories about Rome’s famous sights and infamous cuisine.
Popular Roman delicacies and dishes are made from peas, lamb, goat, ricotta cheese, shellfish, fava beans, Pecorino Romano cheese, and artichokes. Some of the Roman dishes you will find include Pasta Carbonara, Saltimbocca Romana, pizza, Maritozzi, Osso Bucco, and fantastic street food. Get ready to be wowed by the rest of this eight-day Italy itinerary to Rome and the Amalfi Coast.
Day 2: Exploring Rome
On day two of this eight-day Italy itinerary to Rome and the Amalfi Coast, enjoy a complimentary breakfast at your hotel before heading out for a journey back in time.
Rome is truly one of the meccas for lovers of history and anyone interested in art, the Renaissance, architecture, and the impact of Catholicism on the modern world. So buckle up because you will be turning back the clock to the time of fearless gladiators, powerful emperors, and mysterious Gods and Goddesses.
As the largest amphitheater ever built, the Roman Colosseum is one of the most iconic sights in Rome and the entire world. Although the Colosseum was used for various events, including bloody public executions and wild animal hunts, infatuation with the romanticized image of fearless Gladiator warriors continues to permeate pop culture. Gladiator fights were indeed popular in the Roman Empire. They were often used as entertainment for the elite and working classes as these brave men (and sometimes women) employed all their best martial skills in fierce battles that occasionally led to their deaths.
Close your eyes and imagine what this magnificent stadium sounded like two thousand years ago when 65,000 spectators packed the stands to witness the violent yet spellbinding combats.
On this VIP experience, you will skip the long lines and follow your knowledgeable guide to the stadium’s underbelly, where you have special access to the underground chambers typically closed to the public. This “backstage” area comprises a series of underground tunnels that lead you through the “arena” and offer a complex but exhilarating glimpse of ancient rituals and traditions.
Entering the Colosseum feels like opening the door to the brutal and often secretive world of Gladiators’. Walk through the Gladiator entrance, and picture yourself stepping onto the world’s greatest stage thousands of years ago. The Colosseum is a definite must on any eight-day Italy itinerary to Rome and the Amalfi Coast.
Following your time at the Colosseum, your guide will take you to the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill.
What is the significance of the Roman Forum? Thousands of years ago, it was the epicenter of public life and the site from which Rome ruled its empire of more than 2.5 million square miles and 65 million people. This is where the most important political decisions, criminal trials, and elections took place.
Today it is one of the most important archaeological sites in Rome and includes the ruins of several ancient government buildings, temples, and monuments. It remains a symbol of the power and lasting importance of the Roman Empire and a daily reminder of the extraordinary milestones achieved by this ancient civilization. Exploring the Roman Forum will make you feel like you’re in another world, and honestly, looking at Rome, it’s pretty hard to believe you’re not.
Palatine Hill is one of the seven hills of ancient Rome located in the west of the city center. It has been a popular spot for residents and visitors alike for centuries, as it offers stunning views of the city below. During the reign of the Roman Empire, Palatine Hill was also home to some of Rome’s most important temples and palaces.
One of the most ancient parts of Rome, Palatine Hills is a stone’s throw from the Colosseum and the Roman Forum Museum, so you won’t have to travel far to get there. At Palatine Hills, listen as your guide shares sordid details you never learned in school about the sagas, trials, and tribulations of the world’s most famous historical figures. How did Caesar meet Cleopatra… Was Mark Antony the true love of her life? Was she a vain seductress or a brilliant leader and visionary? Experience the stories coming alive as you take yourself back thousands of years.
This afternoon enjoy an aperitif in your hotel or a local cafe and sip a glass of fine wine while reflecting on the day.
Take a stroll in Rome’s most fabulous squares, including the stunning Piazza Navona, which is part of the historical center of this ‘Eternal City.’ Visit the much beloved Trevi Fountain and Baroque Spanish Steps to capture magnificent city photos at night.
Return to your hotel for a lovely dinner or visit a local eatery to fill you up before falling into a peaceful slumber. Be sure you fulfill your taste buds by reading our previous blog on What to Eat in Italy.
Day 3: Ancient Wonders and Renaissance Treasures
Spend your third-day exploring and unraveling the many mysteries of Rome. Awake with the sun this morning and enjoy breakfast at the hotel, or if you’re feeling energetic, head over to a local cafe for a light breakfast of wheat pancakes ladled with honey.
The Vatican City
Vatican City is one of the most important sights in Rome and has been the seat of the Catholic Church for centuries. This morning your driver will pick you up bright and early to ensure you arrive in time for your exclusive behind-the-scenes Vatican experience, complete with access to secret rooms and hidden passages.
Did you know that Vatican City, headed by the Pope, is actually the smallest country in the world? It was established in 1929 by the Lateran Treaty and has a population of about 900 residents, most of whom are Catholic priests and nuns. It has its own flag, postage stamps, television channel, and newspaper. The country even minted its own coins.
The Vatican art collection is one of the largest in the world and contains some of the most treasured works of art. Among the most famous are the Sistine Chapel frescoes, Raphael Rooms, and Borgia Apartments. The Vatican also has a secret collection of treasures that are not publicly displayed. These include the Papal Tiara, the Shroud of Turin, and the Spear of Longinus.
Some believe these treasures are so valuable that they are worth more than the entire GDP of many countries. The Vatican is also home to The Vatican Library, one of the world’s oldest and most important institutions, open since 1475. While the library allows limited access to professors and researchers, it opens a unique selection of books to the public.
Although we can’t reveal all the treasures hidden within these walls (and beneath the floors), your guide will take you to a few incredible sights and off-limits areas most people only read about. Admire the beautiful frescoes of Beato Angelico and Benozzo Gozzoli within the private Chapel of the Nicholas V apartments. Then take a special tour of the original Bramante staircase, a rare architectural treasure closed to the general public.
Of course, no visit to the Vatican would be complete without admiring the Sistine Chapel, one of the most famous chapels in the world and certainly one of the most beautiful. The Sistine Chapel gets its name from Pope Sixtus IV, who had it built in the 15th century and is best known for its incredible frescoes, painted by some of the most famous artists of the Renaissance.
Of course, the most renowned fresco is “The Last Judgment” by Michelangelo. This massive painting covers the entire altar wall of the chapel, and took Michelangelo four years to complete. No wonder it attracts nearly 4 million visitors annually and is estimated to be worth over $1 billion.
Finally, after exiting the Vatican head over for a brief tour of St. Peter’s Basilica, the most famous church in the world. The church is named after Saint Peter, one of the twelve apostles of Jesus Christ, buried here along with about 90 other popes. The greatest masters of the Renaissance, including Bramante, Bernini, and Raphael, all contributed to the beauty of the basilica. However, Michelangelo designed the crown jewel, its magnificent dome.
At age 71, Michelangelo received the final and perhaps most significant commission of his life when Pope Paul III appointed him chief architect of the sprawling St. Peter’s Basilica. As the centerpiece of the Vatican and the final resting place for the Popes, the basilica needed to be the grandest structure ever built. Never one to disappoint, Michelangelo, set off to build the largest dome in the world – standing at 138 feet wide and 448 feet tall.
It’s only noon, and you have already closed your rings, walked thousands of steps, and are now ready for a well-deserved lunch break. Why not do as the Romans do in Rome and enjoy a slow meal complete with a glass of fresh wine? Just be prepared; the afternoon has more adventures (and steps) in store.
Perhaps visiting underground burial sights is not one of the first things to come to mind when planning your Italian adventure, but trust us, you don’t want to miss this. The slightly eerie yet captivating Catacombs of Rome are a network of underground burial chambers used by Christians from the 1st to 5th centuries AD. They were built outside the city walls, away from the prying eyes of the Roman authorities. Although primarily used to bury the dead, they were also places of worship and refuge for Christians during periods of persecution.
The Catacombs of Rome proliferated; by the 5th century, there were over 60 catacombs in use around the city. The largest and most famous of these is the Catacomb of St. Callixtus, which covers over 20 hectares (50 acres) and contains the remains of over half a million people.
Today, the Catacombs of Rome are a popular tourist attraction, and visitors can explore some of these ancient burial chambers. During your tour, explore ancient pathways, walk the historic Appian Way and visit the infamous Capuchin Crypts – decorated with the bones of over 3700 friars!
For Dinner, we recommend trying one of the many local restaurants and capping off the night with a couple of scoops of fresh gelato.
Day 4: Heading to Amalfi Coast via Pompeii
You are now half way through your eight-day Italy itinerary to Rome and the Amalfi Coast. Start your day early as your private driver picks you up and whisks you away. Today you are heading to the infamous Amalfi Coast, a gorgeous coastline that will make you feel as if you have stepped out of this world and straight into a painting. The Amalfi Coast is best to visit in the summer, as Italy has seasonality.
Activities and Sightseeing:
Before you head off to the beautiful coast, make a short detour toward the infamous Pompeii, the world’s best-preserved ancient city. Enjoy a pre-arranged private tour with a historian and uncover the unknown stories behind the city’s facades.
While Pompeii needs no introduction, its intriguing history still deserves some recognition. Today, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the city was once a bustling metropolis. The lives of it’s inhabitants came to an abrupt and tragic end in 79 AD when the city was buried under volcanic ash and rock after the eruption of Mount Vesuvius. However, the volcanic ash that ended the lives of the citizens also preserved the ancient towns and created an eternally frozen moment in time.
Make sure to visit the Antiquarium, Forum, Temple of Isis, Gladiator barracks), Terme Stabian baths and House of the Lovers and peak into the lives of the people who walked these streets thousands of years ago.
Arriving at the Amalfi Coast:
After spending a lovely day at Pompeii, you will head off to the Amalfi Coast in the afternoon and check in to your hotel in Positano. While there are several beautiful and comfortable hotels, we recommend the famous Villa Franca or Le Sirenuse.
If you’re not too tired, head out for a stroll to the nearest cafe or order some delicious food to your room.
Day 5: Exploring the Amalfi Coast Through Capri
The Amalfi Coast has some of the most beautiful coastlines in the world. Today, meet your charming captain and prepare for your adventure aboard a private yacht to the island of Capri. Enjoy the wind on your face, take a dip in the pristine blue water of the sea and take in the scenery that has inspired artists for generations. If weather permits, stop at the Blue Grotto, a breathtaking sea cave worthy of a few selfies. Then, spend your afternoon wandering the narrow streets and popping into a few local shows on the island of Capri while sipping on Limoncello Spritz.
If you’re feeling adventurous, hop on the chairlift and visit the quaint town of Anacapri, perched high above the sea on top of Mount Solaro, before yachting back to your hotel.
Day 6: Hiking the Path of the Gods
The “Path of the Gods” (Italian: Sentiero degli Dei) is a cliff-top trail above the Amalfi Coast, which gives you a 360 view of the entire coastline and introduces unforgettable memories you will hold close to
Our guide will meet you at the hotel, with drinks and snacks at the ready and accompany you on the hike. The trail starts in Bomerano, a small hamlet in the town of Agerola. Continue along the well-made hiking trail for approximately 4 miles and witness the beauty of Italy like never before. Finish the magnificent hike in Nocello, where you can take the car down the winding coastal road or descend a 1,500-step staircase leading to the village of Arienzo.
Day 7: Exploring Ravello
About an hour from Positano lies the magical little town of Ravello which is a must-see on any Amalfi Coast itinerary.
Today you will stroll the beautiful Gardens of Villa Cimbrone and Villa Rufolo.
Start the day by exploring Villa Cimbrone, one of the most beautiful villas in the world. It was built in the 11th century and got its name from the Cimbroni family, who owned it for centuries. Villa Cimbrone is best known for its incredible gardens, which offer breathtaking views of the Amalfi Coast. The gardens are full of rare and exotic plants and are considered some of the most beautiful in the world.
After taking some time to explore the town of Ravello and stopping for a traditional coastal lunch, you will head to another magnificent Italian structure- Villa Ruffalo. Favored by artists, musicians, and poets, the villa is a tranquil and inspirational refuge.
Day 8: Heading Back
Although it may be hard to believe your eight-day Italy itinerary to Rome and the Amalfi Coast have come to a close. Today, your driver will pick you up and transfer you to Naples for your flight home. However, you can continue your trip if a week is insufficient in this magical country. We recommend exploring more off-the-beaten-path spots like Siciliy, Puglia or Sardinia.
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