How many days in Rome? (or any other Italian destination)

How many days should you spend in Rome? What about Florence? Venice? This is the question I hear the most from people planning a trip to Italy. 

Why should you listen to me? I live in Italy and have traveled to all 20 Italian regions, and have heard from hundreds of other travelers after their trips to my favorite country. Based on my and others’ experiences, here’s a simple guide for you to help plan your trip in Italy. If you want to talk to me directly about your trip, set up a call here.

View from Piazza Venezia

Jump to section:

  1. Introduction
  2. How many days in Rome
  3. How many days in Florence
  4. How many days in Venice
  5. How many days on the Amalfi Coast
  6. How many days in Palermo


Let’s be clear: “How many days?” can be a bit vague. Is a day two nights with one full day? One night with half days on each side? 

When booking a place to stay, you pay for nights – not days. So in the interest of speaking the same language, I’ll be talking in terms of nights

Who is this post for?

This is for the average vacationer planning a trip to Italy of about 10 to 14 days long. This is not for someone wanting to spend 3 months in Italy. Immersion and vacation are two different things. 

Please keep in mind that there is no one-size-fits-all method when giving a number of nights. I may be satisfied after 4 nights in Florence, but an art history aficionado could spend months in the Renaissance city. The goal is to cover 80% of travelers in this post.

Some of you will read this and want to take to the keyboard in all caps and tell me how wrong these numbers are, that it’s not enough time, etc. If that’s you, you are either Italian or you don’t fall into the 80% of people for whom a trip to Italy is a big deal and requires lots of planning, expensive plane tickets, and time-off-work requests. Sure it would be nice if we could all spend 3 weeks in Rome, swimming in the Trevi Fountain, getting arrested, having a good laugh together… but for most people, that just ain’t the case.

The Numbers

I’ll give three numbers for each place:

Minimum recommended number of nights: This is what I would consider the bare minimum to make it worth the trip. Sometimes, yes, you could do a day trip. But if you’re planning on staying overnight (unpacking, packing, check in, etc.), this is the minimum. 

Ideal number of nights: If allowed enough time, this is what I suggest most people plan for and will give enough time to see the main attractions but also take it slow enough without cannibalizing the rest of the trip.

Maximum recommended number of nights: If you can stay for this long – amazing. But beyond this, and your precious vacation time may be better spent elsewhere.

Important Notes

Staying 1 night anywhere is rarely something I’ll recommend. If a place can be seen in a one-night stay, it can be better seen in a day trip, when you can travel light and not have to worry about checking in to your accommodation and dealing with your luggage. The check-in, unpack, repack cycle is rarely worth it for one night anywhere.

While traveling around Italy for the last 2 years, I’ve used more than anything as my go-to place for finding accommodations in Italy, for two reasons – the sheer volume of properties available, everything from hotels, to hostels, to AirBNB-style apartments, and their Genius program which earns you discounts the more you use it. So for your convenience, I’ll give you links to find places to stay for each of these places.

How Many Days in Rome?

rome colosseum at night

Minimum recommended number of nights: 2

Ideal number of nights: 4

Max recommended number of nights: 6

In terms of a single destination, Rome probably has the most to see and do in a single place. You should target 4 nights, giving you 3 full days. This would be enough time to see the Colosseum, Roman Forum, Vatican Museum (i.e. Sistine Chapel), St. Peter’s Basilica, the Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps, and the Pantheon. You’ll also have just enough breathing room to relax in the afternoons, have an aperitivo, window shop for restaurants, etc. 

If you have limited time, 2 nights is the minimum in Rome. With this timeframe, I suggest using your one full day and pick a pillar item (either the Vatican or Colosseum + Roman Forum), then fill up the other time with some other items as needed. Booking a tour or buying tickets in advance will help you plan easier by ensuring a start time or minimizing time waiting to buy a ticket. 

With 6 nights in Rome, you’ll have more than enough time to see all the main sights listed above, see some lesser known tourist spots (check out the Capuchin Crypt) and spend time in the neighborhoods with more locals to see how Romans live (Testaccio, Pigneto, Trieste). You could also do a dinner party at a couple’s home in Trastevere, which a friend recently did and raved about.

How Many Days in Florence?

Florence piazza michalangelo

Minimum recommended number of nights: 2

Ideal number of nights: 4

Max recommended number of nights: 5

I love Florence, and I’ve literally not met one person who went and didn’t feel the same. Compared to Rome, Florence is somewhat small, but it’s densely packed with things to see and do, and has opportunities for day trips.

For an ideal 4-night stay, with 3 full days, you can go to the Uffizi Gallery, see Michelangelo’s David at the Accademia, wander around (or climb) the Florence Cathedral (Duomo), and visit the Boboli Gardens. This would give you time to do a half-day Tuscany wine tour like this one which I did with some friends last year and absolutely loved it.

With a condensed 2-night stay, you’ll need to be selective. Prioritize the Duomo and choose between the Uffizi or Accademia, based on your art inclinations. Then spend the rest of the time just walking around.

Extending your stay to 5 nights, or 4 full days, will allow for a day trip to Lucca or Siena (skip Pisa, in my opinion), plus a wine tasting mentioned above. See all the high points previously mentioned, take a bus up to Fiesole for a larger panoramic view of the city, hang out in Santo Spirito or Santa Croce for an evening, or do a sunset cruise with live music on the Arno River.

How Many Days in Venice?

Venice at Night - Italy Travel Tips

Minimum recommended number of nights: 2

Ideal number of nights: 3

Max recommended number of nights: 4

Venice is such a unique city, but it’s quite small and doesn’t need too much time. An ideal 3-night stay gives you two full days, enough time to wander around and enjoy some of the local foods. There’s time for gondola ride if that’s your style, plus as is a visit to St. Mark’s Basilica and the Doge’s Palace. On day 2 you can do a trip to Venice’s smaller islands, like Murano and Burano, but you’ll still have time just relax and see the best thing in Venice – the city itself. 

If pressed for time with a 2-night visit, Venice is still totally doable. Just do a visit to St. Mark’s Square, seeing either the Palace or Basilica, but try not to spend all your time in the most tourist-dense packed part of the city.

A 4 night stay will allow you to see all the attractions listed above, give you plenty of time to take it slow eat like a local, plus go a bit deeper into some other places Venice is well-known for, like the Gallerie dell’Accademia or the modern exhibits of the Peggy Guggenheim Collection. Beyond 4 nights, most tourists feel they’ve seen enough.

How Many Days on the Amalfi Coast

Amalfi Coast view from Path of the Gods

Minimum recommended number of nights: 3

Ideal number of nights: 4

Max recommended number of nights: 6

The Amalfi Coast is probably the most popular destination for non-Italian tourists in Italy, and for good reason. An ideal 4-night stay, with 3 full days, allows you time to enjoy the town you’re staying in, plus time to visit places like Positano, Amalfi, and Ravello. Also time for a boat tour or a hike on the Path of the Gods if that’s your thing (see my recommendations for Path of the Gods here).

If you’re limited to 3 nights, or 2 full days, pick just one town for a day visit, and consider the Path of the Gods hike or a boat tour. You may be asking –  what about 2 nights? Or a day trip from Rome? To get from Rome to the center of the Amalfi Coast (the town of Amalfi) is 3.5 – 4 hours of transit. If you’re dealing with that, stay 3 nights. 

If you have 6 nights on the Amalfi Coast, you can do all of the above plus (depending on where you’re staying) a day trip to either Naples or Pompeii, plus a full day to just relax. Beyond 6 nights, you may get bored. 

How Many Days in Palermo

Teatro Massimo Palermo

Minimum recommended number of nights: 3

Ideal number of nights: 4

Max recommended number of nights: 5

I absolutely love Palermo. An ideal 4-night stay, with 3 full days, allows you time to walk around and get lost in the city, plus a day to to visit places like Mondello, Cefalù, or Monreale.

Being an island, Sicily usually takes some more effort to get to. For that reason, I would say that it can be seen at the minimum of 3 nights only if you’re already in Sicily and Palermo is part of the trip. If Palermo is part of your Italian vacation which includes cities on the mainland, I don’t think 3 nights makes sense. If you are in Palermo for just three nights, I suggest skipping a day trip out to Cefalù or Monreale (though Monreale could be done in a half day). 

If you have 5 nights in Palermo, you can do all of the above, plus have more time to just immerse in the city, see all the main city sights, and take advantage of some additional tours to other nearby cities. Beyond six nights, consider moving on to the next place. Or just stay and never leave – did I mention I love Palermo?

What about the others?

Naples? Milan? Lake Como? Puglia? Don’t worry. I’ll be updating this post very soon to cover everywhere you’re going. If you are in a pinch and need help directly, set up a call here.

That’s All For Now

I sincerely hope you found value in this article.  If you have recommendations of your own or have suggestions on what else you would like to see covered here, please write in the comments below. Additionally, if you’re planning a trip to Italy and need one-on-one support or guidance, check out my services page where you can get in touch with me.

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