Italy travel itineraries

Plan your dream trip

Tours for independent travellers

This part of the Italy Heaven travel guide is dedicated to travellers who prefer to plan their own independent tour of Italy, but would welcome some tips and suggestions. There are many ways of linking attractive destinations together to create a fascinating and enjoyable holiday, from a highlights tour for Italy first-timers (Rome, Florence and Venice; easily manageable by train) to less obvious explorations that illustrate Italy’s different faces, or allow travellers to get to know a region in more depth.

I’ve created some suggested itineraries which could act as a starting point for your plans, or provide new ideas for linking destinations. Some itineraries will be quite long, and holidaymakers will probably want to tailor them to suit their own interests or timescales, selecting the most appealing sections or staying for longer in one place.

Obviously if you hire a car, your travel plans will be more flexible, and you’ll have the option of making detours and interesting halts while travelling from A to B. However, it is also possible to tour most parts of Italy quite efficiently and very cheaply using public transport, and these itineraries all cater for this more environmentally-sound option.

MarateaSouth to Calabria: Along the Tyrrhenian Coast

PaestumPalinuroMarateaAmanteaTropeaAeolian Islands
Airports: Rome; Naples; Lamezia Terme; Catania

This tour begins in Rome or Naples and follows the railway line which runs down the coast to the tip of Italy’s ‘boot’ before hopping to the Aeolian Islands. The sights include Greek ruins at Paestum, small historic town centres, lovely beaches, picturesque resorts and island volcanoes. Read more

PaduaArt & Architecture of the Veneto

TrevisoBassano del GrappaVicenzaPaduaVenice
Airports: Venice or Treviso

On the trail of Palladio, this tour explores some of the attractive historic towns of the Veneto region, which are often overlooked in favour of the final port of call, Venice. Read more

VeniceClassic Italy: Rome, Florence & Venice

Airports: Rome and Venice

If you will only have one chance to see Italy, this easy train tour is an efficient way to see the country’s three greatest art cities. Read more

AlberobelloPuglia & Matera: Caves, Trulli & the Baroque

Airports: Bari; Brindisi

An exploration of the southern region of Puglia, with a trip into the neighbouring Basilicata to visit the cave-dwellings of Matera. You’ll see fine Puglian Romanesque churches, stay in a trullo house, sample fine local food and wines, visit the seaside and finish in the grand Baroque town of Lecce. Read more

Further advice, and disclaimer

These itineraries are suggestions for travellers who are reasonably confident about planning journeys and travelling independently. I’ve provided useful information and advice in the description of each tour, and more detailed travel advice can be found on each destination page. This was accurate at the time of writing. Things can change though, and I would recommend that you use the links provided to check the latest timetables and prices.

Planning your own travels can be very stimulating and help you to get the most out of your holiday. Researching in advance, considering your options and selecting your own destinations will mean you arrive with a greater understanding and knowledge of the places you visit. However, this approach doesn’t suit everyone. Unfortunately I can’t help with individual queries or travel plans. If you are feeling nervous or simply want the dilemmas taken out of your hands, it is worth considering an organised tour, or booking through a specialised travel company who will plan and book your holiday.

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