Italy is a dream destination for many, and seven days is far too little time to see it all. It’s barely enough time to get a taste of a couple locales. With careful planning though, visitors can make the most of their time in Italy and enjoy their trip at a comfortable pace. Thanks in part to the popularity of Frances Mayes’ Under the Tuscan Sun, Tuscany ranks at the top of many visitors’ must see list for Italy. With all its history, Rome is right there with Tuscany on that list. Here is an itinerary that allows visitors to experience more than a taste of the two regions without spending all their time behind a wheel.
Day 1: Arrive in Rome and head to a hotel in Siena, a picture perfect medieval village, complete with winding, cobblestone streets. Spend the afternoon and evening sightseeing in Siena, browsing in unique shops, relaxing and/or enjoying a fine dinner.
Days 2 – 4: Monteriggioni – Take a couple hours to explore the tiny walled village of Monteriggioni. Have lunch, climb the wall for some amazing vistas and visit the church.
Montalcino – Witness a very spiritual service of the monks’ Gregorian chanting at the Sant’ Antimo Abbey, just outside of Montalcino. Visit a winery and explore Montalcino before heading back to Siena.
San Gimignano – Take a day trip to the walled hilltop town of San Gimignano, known for its towers. While there, enjoy a stroll through one of Tuscany’s most picturesque medieval towns, climb the clock tower or enjoy a cooking class.
Siena – Spend a little more time exploring Siena. Among its attractions are Il Duomo (the Siena Cathedral), Piazza del Campo, the Sant Antimo Abbey and the ruins of the San Galgano Abbey. Like many villages in Tuscany, Siena is walkable and photo opportunities abound.
Days 5 – 7: Head back to Rome on day five.
Colosseum and Forum – While there, take an archaeologist-guided underground tour of the Colosseum (reservations necessary). Spend the rest of the day visiting the ruins at the nearby Forum.
Vatican and Castel Sant’ Angelo – Take a day to explore the holy city of the Vatican and the nearby Castel Sant’ Angelo, where you can take a photo of the statue of the archangel Michael.
Spanish Steps, Pantheon and Trevi Fountain – Climb the Spanish Steps to the Trinita dei Monti church or go half way and sit and people watch. Admire the Pantheon and toss a coin into the Trevi Fountain before returning home.
While a car will allow you the freedom to go as you please, with a little tweaking and careful planning, this itinerary can be accomplished via public transportation. See How to Visit Tuscany Without a Car with Siena as a Base for details.