Italy for the First Time – Budget and Places to Visit

Italy is one of the most popular travel destinations in Europe. It is famous for art, architecture, literature, fashion and food. The country is also renowned for its historical landmarks, museums and cathedrals. It is a destination that has so much to offer. There are also several places to visit in Italy that makes it a great holiday destination. That’s why when my friends and I went on an epic trip to Europe, we made sure that Italy is part of the itinerary.

Colosseum in Rome

With two-weeks to spend in Europe, my friends and I allotted 5 days for Italy. We had a limited number of days so we had to thoroughly think about our route and the places to visit in Italy. It was also our first time to visit this country. Rome, Venice, Tuscany, Pisa, Naples? We had many places that we would like to cover. However, we also had to be realistic. With 5 days for this leg, we thought we could only visit maximum of 4 places. So after few discussions with my travel buddies, we decided to have Rome, Pisa, Florence and Venice.

Places to visit in Italy

Italy is a perfect destination to start off our Europe trip. The country has some of the most iconic sites in the world and boasts incredible landscapes. It has plenty of historical sites and beautiful scenery. Since it was our first time to visit Italy, how did we plan our trip? So let me share some of the places to visit in Italy, our route and how we traveled between each city.

Rome

Places to visit in Italy

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Our first destination in Italy was Rome. We arrived by taking a flight from Hong Kong via KLM. Originally, our flight was with Swiss Airlines but it got cancelled. After flying for 6 hours, the plane went back to Hong Kong. Consequently, we were transferred to a flight with KLM.

Despite of the hullabaloos that we experienced during our journey to Rome, my friends and I were still grateful because we were able to get safely to Italy. We arrived early morning in Rome. Then, took some rest in our hostel before we went out to explore the city. With only a day to get around the city, here are some of the top spots in Rome that we were able to visit.

Saint Peter's Square

Saint Peter's Basilica

  • Saint Peter’s Square – Large plaza in front of St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City. The square also represents the core of the Vatican City.
  • Altar of the Fatherland – National monument built to honor Victor Emmanuel II, the first king of a unified Italy.
  • Colosseum – Massive stone amphitheater once used for gladiatorial games. Probably the most famous place in Rome that was worth visiting because of its historical significance.
  • Roman Forum – Sprawling ruins of Roman temples, squares and several ancient government buildings.
  • Pantheon – Former Roman Temple that is now a Catholic Church. Inside are dome and Renaissance tombs, including Raphael’s.
  • Trevi Fountain – The largest Baroque fountain in the city and one of the most famous fountains in the world. This masterpiece was designed by Nicola Salvi and was completed in 1762.
  • Spanish Steps – Irregular gathering place consisted of 138 steps. On top of the steps is the Trinita dei Monti church.

marxtermind inside the Colosseum

The Pantheon in Rome

Trevi Fountain

Pisa

Also one of the places to visit in Italy is Pisa. It’s a city in Tuscany that is known worldwide for its leaning tower. My friends and I decided to drop by Pisa from Rome before going to Florence so we could see the iconic tower.

  • Leaning Tower of Pisa – Freestanding bell tower remarkable for its nearly four-degree lean, which is a result of its unstable foundation. Because of its unique feature, it has become one of the most visited sites in Italy. The Tower of Pisa stands about 55 meters.

Leaning Tower of Pisa

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In addition to the famous leaning tower, the city of Pisa has many other attractions to offer like historic plazas, churches and museums. These sites are also worth visiting if you have more time to spend in Pisa.

Florence

After visiting Pisa, my friends and I went to Florence and stayed there for a night. A city noted for its culture, art and architecture, Florence is an astonishing destination to visit. The city contains numerous museums, art galleries and monuments. Florence also features several palaces and religious buildings from various eras. Spent about 5 hours in this city, here are some of the notable sites that we were able to visit.

Florence, Italy

View of Florence Italy from Piazzale Michelangelo

  • The Baptistery of St. John
  • Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore
  • Giotto’s Bell Tower
  • Palazzo Vecchio
  • Uffizi Gallery
  • Ponte Vecchio
  • Piazzale Michelangelo

We visited these spots on foot and ended up on the Piazzale Michelangelo to have the most stunning view of the city and catch the sunset. Florence was my most favorite place that I’ve been to Italy. If I had more time, I would have probably stayed in the city for two more days. Florence is a beautiful city of art, history and tradition.

Venice

Grand Canal Venice

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Venice is a lovely tourist hotspot where every corner looks mesmerising. It’s a romantic city that I myself instantly fell in love with. Gondolas, canals, palazzos and palaces, this place is unlike any other. It also offers not just beautiful but spectacular scenery. The city also features magnificent works of art and architecture. It’s also a place for history and heritage. Because Venice is a gorgeous city with so much to offer, my friends and I decided that we had to spend at least two nights. So after a night in Florence, we went to Venice by train. Then, we spent two nights in Venice before heading to the next leg of our Europe trip.

Venetian islands half-day boat tour

Colorful Houses in Burano Italy

On our first day in Venice, we joined a scenic boat tour allowing us to see the three islands in the Venetian Lagoon. These islands are Murano, Burano and Torcello. The tour is one of the most popular among tourists. Murano is famous for its glassmaking stores and showrooms. Burano is a favorite because of its picture-perfect colorful fishing house. Torcello is a quaint island with laidback atmosphere. The tour lasted for 4 hours. We started at 2:00pm and we arrived back in Venice at 6:00pm.

Exploring Venice on foot

Saint Mark's Basilica Venice

Saint Mark's Square Venice

On our second day, we spent our time to explore Venice. We had the whole day to get around so we decided to explore on foot. Here are the places that we visited during our own sightseeing tour.

  • Bridge of Sighs
  • Grand Canal
  • Rialto Bridge
  • Piazza San Marco
  • Doge’s Place
  • Saint Mark’s Basilica
  • Sainte-Chapelle

5 days in Italy itinerary

Here’s a suggested travel itinerary for first timers and places to visit in Italy in 5 days.

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Day 0

Flight from Manila to Hong Kong to Rome

Day 1

  • Vatican City
    • Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel
    • St Peter’s Basilica
  • Rome
    • Altar of the Fatherland
    • Colosseum
    • Palatine Hill
    • Roman Forum
    • Pantheon
    • Trevi Fountain
    • Spanish Steps

Day 2

  • Train from Rome to Pisa
  • Pisa
    • Leaning Tower of Pisa
    • Duomo of Pisa
    • Baptistery of Pisa
  • Train from Pisa to Florence
  • Florence
    • The Baptistery of St. John
    • Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore
    • Giotto’s Bell Tower
    • Palazzo Vecchio
    • Uffizi Gallery
    • Ponte Vecchio
    • Piazzale Michelangelo

Day 3

  • Train from Florence to Venice
  • Venetian Islands Half-Day Boat Tour

Day 4

  • Venice
    • Bridge of Sighs
    • Grand Canal
    • Rialto Bridge
    • Piazza San Marco
    • Doge’s Place
    • Saint Mark’s Basilica
    • Sainte-Chapelle

Day 5

  • Flight from Venice to Paris

Accommodations in Italy

Here are the accommodations that we stayed during our trip in Italy:

For other options for accommodation in Italy, please check and compare using the Agoda search box below.

Tours

Tours and places to visit in Italy

Italy is a wonderful country that offers a lot of sightseeing opportunities. You can travel on your own, explore the cities on foot or join group tours to some of the places to visit in Italy. If you are interested, you can find the best activities, attractions and fun things to do in Italy by booking amazing travel experiences with Klook.

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Transportation

There are several airlines that offer flights from the Philippines to Italy. You can also depart from the neighbouring countries, which my friends and I did. To compare and find cheaper fares for flight to any cities in Italy, you may use the flight search below.

In terms of transportation within Italy, traveling from one city to another is easy and convenient. The best way to travel around is by train. You can get from one city to another in 1 to 2 hours. This option is faster and more relaxing than flying. How to book train tickets? You may check out the official website of Trenitalia, the prime train operator in the country.

Budget for Italy trip

Places to visit in Italy

To help you plan out your trip to Italy, here’s the estimated breakdown of our expenses (per person). This breakdown excludes flight ticket from Manila to Rome and Venice to Paris.

Accommodations:

  • Roman Holidays Hostel mixed dorm room for two nights – Php2,367
  • Hostel Archi Rossi mixed dorm room for one night – Php1,582
  • Hotel Diana private double room for two nights – Php2,055

Tours:

  • Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel skip the line ticket – Php960
  • Colosseum skip the line ticket – Php940
  • Venetian Islands half-day boat tour – Php429

Transportations:

  • Leonardo da Vinci International Airport to Roma Termini bus ticket – Php350 (€6)
  • Rome to Pisa train ticket- Php1,053 (€18)
  • Pisa to Florence train ticket – Php544 (€9)
  • Florence to Venice train ticket – Php1,087 (€19)
  • Rialto terminal to Piazzale Roma terminal ferry ticket – Php438 (€7.50)
  • Piazzale Roma to Venice Treviso Airport bus ticket – Php690 (€12)
  • Other transportation expenses like short train rides and city bus rides – Php500

Others:

  • Food and drinks (estimated cost for my breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks in 5 days) – Php7,500
  • Travel insurance – Php1,885
  • Schengen visa fee – Php4,970
  • Travel WiFi rental – Php4,100 ($80)

Total per person: Php31,450 (€555)
All dollar amounts are USD (US $)

Got some questions? Put it in the comment section below!

Related Links
How to apply for Schengen Visa in the Philippines?
Where to book cheap flights to Italy?
How to travel to Italy on a budget?

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