Last Updated on December 8, 2023 by Ingrid & Alex

Are you planning your 10 days Southern Italy itinerary and you want help with that? You landed on the perfect page because we love Italy, have traveled the country extensively, and have experience planning any itinerary.

Whether you want to travel by car, train, or bus, we can help you with the best tips and ideas for your vacation. After having studied in Northern Italy, and having worked in Rome, I went back to Italy on countless occasions and traveled from north to south, and everywhere in between.

With the right tools and information, planning an Italy itinerary is not difficult. I have included 2 options you can choose from: traveling by car, or by train.

Here is your perfect itinerary that will help you see some of the most beautiful places in the whole country.

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10-day Southern Italy Itinerary

Option 1: by car

Overview: Rome, Naples, Amalfi Coast, and Puglia

Day 1 – 3 Rome

Day 3 – 6 Naples & The Amalfi Coast (Pompeii, Herculaneum, Capri Island)

Day 6 – 10 Puglia (Matera, Bari, Alberobello, Polignano a Mare, Monopoli)

Traveling by car will allow you to make the best out of your trip. That’s because the southern part of the country does not have such a great public infrastructure.

Even though I would always choose to travel by train in the northern part of the country, in the south there aren’t so many train connections.

That doesn’t mean it is impossible to create an itinerary by train, you will find one if you keep on reading, but you might need more time or to include fewer attractions on your list.

Also, for this itinerary, you can land in Rome, and leave from Bari. There are plenty of flight options on both destinations.

Days 1 – 3: Rome

2 days in Rome

Spending 2 nights and almost 3 days in Rome will offer you enough time to get a taste of the Eternal City.

Day 1: Historical Rome

Click on the map to open it in Google Maps

Morning:

Colosseum and Roman Forum: Start your day early at the iconic Colosseum, an ancient amphitheater where gladiator contests took place. Visit the adjacent Roman Forum, the heart of ancient Rome.

Book your guided tour of the Colosseum, Roman Forum, and Palatine Hill!

Read the complete guide for visiting the Colosseum and the Roman Forum!

Lunch: Trastevere: Head to the Trastevere neighborhood for lunch. This area is known for its charming streets and a variety of restaurants serving authentic Roman cuisine.

How to get to Trastevere? Just cross the Tiber River on one of the bridges close to the Roman Forum.

Colosseum Rome

Afternoon:

Pantheon: Visit the Pantheon, a well-preserved ancient Roman temple with a remarkable dome. Marvel at the Oculus, a hole in the center of the dome. Book your fast-track ticket with audio guide!

Piazza Navona: Stroll to Piazza Navona, a lively square with beautiful fountains, outdoor cafes, and street performers.

Evening: Trevi Fountain: Make a wish at the Trevi Fountain, one of the most famous fountains in the world. It’s especially enchanting when illuminated at night.

Trevi Roma
Photo by Andrey Omelyanchuk on Unsplash

Dinner in Centro Storico: Enjoy dinner at one of the many charming restaurants in the historic center.

Day 2: Vatican City and Cultural Highlights

Click on the map to open it in Google Maps

Morning:

Vatican City: Begin your day at Vatican City. Explore St. Peter’s Basilica and climb to the top for a stunning view of the city.

Vatican Museums: Visit the Vatican Museums, home to an extensive collection of art, including the Sistine Chapel. Be sure to book tickets in advance to avoid long lines.

Lunch: Prati District: Head to the Prati district for lunch. This area has a mix of local trattorias and international restaurants.

Afternoon: Castel Sant’Angelo: Walk to Castel Sant’Angelo, a historic fortress with a fascinating history. Enjoy the views of the Tiber River.

Spanish Steps: Visit the Spanish Steps and the nearby shopping area of Via dei Condotti for some leisurely shopping or people-watching.

Photo by Shai Pal on Unsplash

Evening: Dinner in Piazza del Popolo: Have dinner in Piazza del Popolo, a large square with a vibrant atmosphere

Nighttime Views: For a stunning nighttime view of Rome, head to a panoramic viewpoint like the Pincio Terrace in Villa Borghese or the Janiculum Hill.

Where to stay for 2 days in Rome

Here are my top choices:

Vatican Luxury Penthouse with terrace

Rooftop Magic in Piazza del Popolo

Day 3 – 6 Naples & The Amalfi Coast (Pompeii, Herculaneum, Capri Island)

one day in Naples

One day in Naples

With just one day in Naples, you’ll want to focus on the city’s highlights, including its historical sites, vibrant neighborhoods, and delicious cuisine. Here’s a suggested itinerary for a day in Naples:

Click on the map to open it in Google Maps

Morning: Historic Naples

Start at Spaccanapoli: Begin your day by exploring Spaccanapoli, a narrow, bustling street that cuts through the historic center of Naples. Admire the vibrant atmosphere, local shops, and historic churches.

Naples Cathedral (Duomo di Napoli): Visit the Naples Cathedral, dedicated to San Gennaro, the city’s patron saint. The cathedral is known for its beautiful frescoes and the Chapel of the Treasure of San Gennaro.

Lunch: Napoli Street Food

Pizzeria da Michele: For a true Neapolitan pizza experience, head to Pizzeria da Michele. This historic pizzeria, featured in the movie “Eat Pray Love,” is known for its simple but delicious Margherita and Marinara pizzas.

Afternoon: Naples Museums

Naples National Archaeological Museum: Spend your afternoon at the Naples National Archaeological Museum, home to an impressive collection of Greco-Roman antiquities, including artifacts from Pompeii and Herculaneum.

Castel dell’Ovo: Visit Castel dell’Ovo, a seaside castle with panoramic views of the Gulf of Naples. Stroll along the seafront promenade and enjoy the picturesque setting.

Evening: Waterfront and Dinner

Lungomare: Take a leisurely walk along Via Partenope and Lungomare, the waterfront promenade. Enjoy views of the sea, Mount Vesuvius, and the iconic Castel dell’Ovo.

Dinner in Chiaia or Vomero: Choose a neighborhood like Chiaia or Vomero for dinner. These areas offer a variety of restaurants serving Neapolitan and Italian cuisine. Consider trying local specialties like pasta with ragù, seafood dishes, or sfogliatella for dessert.

Nightlife (Optional):

Piazza Bellini: If you’re up for some evening entertainment, head to Piazza Bellini. This area is known for its vibrant nightlife, with numerous bars and live music venues.

Where to stay in Naples

Choose to stay in Spaccanapoli, the Historical Center, or Lungomare Caracciolo. There are all better areas in town, from where you can easily get to the train station, but also to most of the important attractions in town.

Days 4 – 6 Sorrento and the Amalfi Coast

Choose to stay in Sorrento and travel to some of the most beautiful attractions on the Amalfi Coast.

Where to stay in Sorrento

Luxury hotels: Grand Hotel Aminta and Bellevue Syrene Hotel

Mid-Range Hotels: Al Parco Verde B&B and Hotel Villa Fiorita

Apartments: Casa Gilda Sorrento and Mediterranean Suites – Old Town

If you are not yet convinced, find out if you should stay in Sorrento or Positano from this comprehensive comparison.

What to see from Sorrento, main attractions for a day trip:

Pompei

Pompei
Photo by Lory on Unsplash

A UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most significant archaeological sites in the world, Pompei was an ancient Roman city located near the Bay of Naples.

The city was thriving until it was tragically buried under layers of ash and pumice during the catastrophic eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD. Frozen in time for centuries, the remarkably preserved ruins provide an unparalleled glimpse into daily life during the Roman Empire.

You can wander through the well-preserved streets, explore ancient houses with intricate frescoes, and marvel at the intricate mosaics that adorned public spaces.

The Forum, the heart of Pompeii’s civic and social life, the grand amphitheater, and the haunting casts of the volcano’s victims add to the site’s historical and emotional significance.

Book your ticket with an audio guide!

Positano

3 days on the Amalfi Coast

One of the most famous villages on the Amalfi Coast, Positano is stunningly beautiful and hard to miss.

Colorful houses perched on the hill, fancy restaurants with delicious meals, and narrow streets with stunning views. Make sure you come from the sea and admire the beauty of this place.

You can also book a day trip from Sorrento to the Amalfi Coast!

Capri Island

day trip to Capri from Positano

Live the island life in Capri. Spending one day on the island will offer you enough time to see the best attractions.

Here is an itinerary example:

Click on the map to open it in Google Maps

Morning: Marina Grande

Arrival at Marina Grande: Start your day by arriving at Marina Grande, Capri’s main port. Enjoy the view of colorful houses clinging to the cliffs and the azure waters.

Funicular to Capri Town: Take the funicular up to Capri Town. Once there, explore the chic boutiques, cafes, and the lively Piazzetta, the main square.

Gardens of Augustus: Walk to the Gardens of Augustus for breathtaking views of the Faraglioni rock formations and the sea. The gardens are adorned with lush vegetation and flowers.

Lunch: Capri Town or Anacapri

Lunch in Capri Town: Choose one of the local restaurants in Capri Town for a delicious Italian lunch. Seafood dishes are often a highlight.

Afternoon: Anacapri and Villa San Michele

Bus to Anacapri: Take a bus or taxi to Anacapri, the quieter part of the island. Explore the charming streets and enjoy a more relaxed atmosphere.

Chairlift to Mount Solaro: For panoramic views, take the chairlift to the summit of Mount Solaro, the highest point on the island. The breathtaking vistas of the Gulf of Naples and the Amalfi Coast are worth the journey.

Villa San Michele: Visit Villa San Michele, the former home of Swedish physician Axel Munthe, which offers beautiful gardens and stunning views.

Evening: Sunset at Faraglioni and Dinner in Marina Grande

Faraglioni Viewpoint: Return to Capri Town and enjoy the scenic view of the Faraglioni rocks. This area is particularly enchanting during sunset.

Dinner in Marina Grande: Head back to Marina Grande for dinner. Many waterfront restaurants offer delicious seafood dishes. Enjoy the sea breeze and the magical atmosphere of Capri at night.

Herculaneum

Herculaneum, a lesser-known but equally compelling archaeological site, lies at the base of Mount Vesuvius.

Much like its more famous neighbor, Pompeii, Herculaneum was a thriving Roman city until the catastrophic eruption of Vesuvius in 79 AD buried it under layers of ash and volcanic material.

What sets Herculaneum apart is its remarkably well-preserved state, with intact buildings, colorful frescoes, and even wooden structures that survived due to the pyroclastic flow that engulfed the city.

The excavation of Herculaneum has unveiled a wealth of information about daily life in ancient Rome, showcasing luxurious villas, public baths, and intricate mosaics.

Book your entry ticket with an audio guide here!

Day 6 – 10 Puglia (Matera, Bari, Alberobello, Polignano a Mare, Monopoli)

Alberobello Trulli

Drive from the Amalfi Coast on Italy’s western coast, all the way to Puglia, on the east coast.

Situated on the heel of Italy’s boot, Puglia is known for its charming whitewashed villages, olive groves, and a stunning coastline along the Adriatic and Ionian Seas.

The region boasts a rich historical heritage, evident in the trulli houses of Alberobello, the Baroque architecture of Lecce, and the ancient cave dwellings in Matera, a UNESCO World Heritage site just across the border in Basilicata.

Puglia is a haven for food enthusiasts, offering delectable cuisine featuring fresh seafood, handmade pasta, and the region’s prized olive oil.

Where to choose to stay in Puglia

You will want to travel around on the 4 days you have to spend in Puglia, so you must choose the perfect location for doing that.

During my 4 days in Puglia, I chose to stay in Alberobello, but I would also recommend staying in Polignano a Mare or Monopoli.

Here are a few of my top accommodation options:

Masseria Alchimia – enjoy the most authentic and fresh Italian breakfast, only a few kilometers away from Polignano a Mare, in a stylish and immaculate location. Book your perfect room here!

Hotel Don Ferrante – who wouldn’t want to experience staying within the walls of Monopoli? This 10-room boutique hotel will not only charm you with its design but also with the rooftop terrace and pool overlooking the blue. See when they have free rooms here!

Trullieu Guesthouse Alberobello – even though the Trullo guesthouse is located extremely close to Alberobello’s center, it is still hidden from all the noise and fuss. And it also has a free close-by parking space. Book your stay in a trullo here!

What to do in Puglia

7-Day Puglia Road trip

Go on a day trip to Matera

Getting from Bari to Matera or any other place in Puglia is not at all difficult, and the city is so charming that you won’t regret taking the trip.

Carved into the limestone cliffs, the Sassi of Matera form a unique urban landscape that has earned the city a UNESCO World Heritage status. These stone-carved homes, churches, and cave dwellings date back thousands of years and showcase the resilience and resourcefulness of Matera’s inhabitants throughout history.

Book your Matera guided tour here!

Get lost on the streets of Monopoli

alberobello

See the trulli in Alberobello – the traditional Apulian dry stone hut with a conical roof. Alberobello, is particularly famous for its dense concentration of trulli, and it has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site due to its unique architecture.

Go for an olive oil tasting in Ostuni and explore the city

Visit Martina Franca and do a local wine tasting

Option 2: by train & plane

Day 1 – 3 Rome

Take the train to Naples, Sorrento, or Salerno (fast train) for the Amalfi Coast.

Day 3 – 5 Amalfi Coast

Fly to Sicily and spend the rest of your itinerary on the east coast (Catania, Taormina, Mount Etna, Syracusa) or on the west coast (Palermo, San Vito lo Capo, Cefalu).

Day 5 – 10 Sicily

For only 5 days in Sicily, I wouldn’t recommend aiming to visit both sides of the island, but choose which one you prefer most.

Choosey our base to be in Catania (on the east coast) or Palermo (on the west coast) and drive around from there.

There are so many things to do in Sicily that you won’t find it hard to fill 5 days of exploring the island.

How to get around

The 2 itineraries are created for those who want to travel by car or by train. Driving around Italy is not too difficult and it offers you the flexibility to get wherever you want to, at your own pace.

If you want to get the best price, book your car in advance. Discover Cars is a great aggregator that will help you find and book the best option for renting a car during your trip, helping you save up to 70% on your car rental.

They have a pretty good Cancellation policy that would give you options in case your flight or travel plans change. Get your offers here!

If you would rather go by train, Bookaway is your getaway to trains, buses, and flights. All in one place. I suggest using it, especially for booking train tickets for Italy or Germany. Calculate your train fare here!

When is the best time to visit southern Italy?

Based on our experience, the best time to visit is either during spring or fall. Summers are very hot and crowded, while during winter there are many places that are not open and many activities unavailable.

During Spring (March – May) the weather is pleasantly mild, with temperatures ranging from comfortable to warm. The countryside is in full bloom, and outdoor attractions are less crowded than during the peak summer months. Spring is an excellent time for sightseeing, exploring historical sites, and enjoying outdoor activities.

During Fall (September – November) the weather is still pleasant, with warm temperatures and fewer tourists compared to the summer peak. Fall is an ideal time for enjoying outdoor activities, such as hiking and exploring the countryside, and it’s also harvest season, meaning you can indulge in fresh local produce and wines.

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10 day southern italy itinerary

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