Rome & The Best of Campania

A one-week itinerary in Italy that includes Rome, Naples, Pompeii, the Amalfi Coast, and Capri

Itinerary in brief

MapHere is an itinerary that takes in the great sights of Rome and adds the best of Campania—including Naples, the ancient Roman city of Pompeii, the impossibly gorgeous resort towns of the Amalfi Coast, and the fabled isle of Capri.

Below is the basic itinerary. It's pretty packed—a lot of early morning wake-ups, a lot of churches and museums—because there's simply so much to see and do in Italy.

By all means, feel free to prune this itinerary down to something a bit slower paced. Think of this more as a blueprint to squeezing in the maximum possible. You should, above all, have fun.

Where to spend each night
Hotels in Rome (days 1–3, 8)
Hotels in Naples (day 4)
Hotels in Sorrento (day 5)
Hotels on Amalfi Coast (day 6)
Hotels on Capri (day 7)
Don't forget to pay attention to the "Before you Leave" tip at the end of the itinerary covering all the details you need to take care of before leaving home—and be sure to read the "Foolish Assumptions" page about how these itineraries are meant to work. Have fun!

Rome & Tuscany in 1 Week Tour: Day by Day

Day 1 - Rome: The heart of Rome

The Pantheon
The Pantheon in Rome.
MORNING: Most transatlantic flights land in Rome in the early morning (around 8am), and by the time you collect your bags, go through customs/immigration, get downtown, and check into your hotel, it'll by 11am—plenty of time to check in, splash your face, and head out for an afternoon of sightseeing.

Take a tour
If you prefer an expert guide for your sightseeing, here are some walking tours from our partners at that cover many of the sights featured on this day:

Best of Rome Afternoon Walking Tour
Baroque Rome Small Group Day Tour
Rome Photography Walking Tour: Learn How to Take Professional Photos
Classical Rome Morning Tour
Rome Angels and Demons Half-Day Tour
Private Tour: Classical Rome Art History Walking Tour
Ancient Rome Half-Day Walking Tour
Rome Hop-on Hop-off Double Decker Bus Tour (no site entries)
Just don't give in to the urge to lie down and take a cat-nap. Trust me. Those first-day "catnaps "have a nasty habit of lasting until 7pm, at which point it takes supreme willpower to drag yourself out of bed to find dinner. Best just to stay moving and stay awake.

Now I know the first day can be rough, what with jet lag and the fact that you probably didn't sleep well on the plane, so today—though it looks to be packed with activity—is really not all that taxing.

Today is mostly about just poking around the greatest churches of the Tiber Bend, the center of the old city (plus one small museum).

Plan to spend only about 10–15 minutes inside each church—give yourself permission just to look at the highlights and not to try and appreciate every altarpiece and architectural element—and you will keep on schedule and not feel too overwhelmed.

Piazza Navona
Piazza Navona.
AFTERNOON: Sitting down to a leisurely lunch will only exacerbate the jet lag, so just grab a quick bite en route to Rome's prettiest square, the gracious, fountain-studded, cafe-lined Piazza Navona.

Pop out of the north end of the piazza to see the church of Sant'Agostino (works by Caravaggio and Raphael inside), then head south past San Luigi dei Francesi (more great Caravaggios) to the courtyard hiding the curly-cue dome atop Sant'Ivo alla Sapienza.

Walk through the courtyard, past the church, and out the east side of the building to Piazza Sant'Eustachio, home to the most famous cappuccino in Rome at the Caffé Sant'Eustachio. Don’t linger too long, or the jet lag will start to catch up with you (an extra cappuccino or two helps).

Just a bit farther east is the noble Pantheon, the only ancient Roman temple to survive the millennia virtually intact and one of the best sights in all of Rome (if you skip everything else on this day, at least see the Pantheon).

The area around the Pantheon is the best spot in Rome for ice cream fans, so don't forget to try some gelato (Italian ice cream) in between the sights (gotta keep your strength up, after all).

Just south of the Pantheon, on the piazza with the Bernini statue of an elephant carrying a tiny obelisk on its back, rises Santa Maria Sopra Minerva, a Gothic church with Michelangelo's Risen Christ statue and Filippo Lippi frescoes inside.

Head north, past the baroque optical illusions in the church of Sant'Ignazio and the ancient Roman Column of Marcus Aurelius, then turn east across the Corso to find the iconic Trevi Fountain, into which it's tradition to toss a few coins and will ensure that, one day, you'll return to the Eternal City.

The evening passeggiata along Rome's Via del Corso.
The evening passeggiata along Via del Corso.
Head north again from the Trevi Fountain, perhaps pausing for another gelato at nearby San Crispino—after all, how will you know which is best if you don't try them all?

Continue north to stroll all the way to the lovely and lively Spanish Steps. Mingle for a while with the crowds on this tourism icon, then window shop down fashionable Via dei Condotti and the surrounding streets.

By now, the evening passeggiata see-and-be-seen stroll will be in full swing, so you can strut your stuff with the Romans along main drag Via del Corso and Via del Babuino—both of which lead north to converge at Piazza del Popolo, home to the fabulous church of Santa Maria del Popolo at the far end of the square. If you manage to make it here before the church closes at 7pm, so much the better, as inside are works by Raphael, Caravaggio, and Bernini.

Passeggiata your way back south to find a hearty and well-deserved dinner somewhere in the Old City.

(I know you're exhausted, but Italians eat late, so try to hold out until at least 6:30 or 7pm before heading to a restaurant).

» Stay: Rome

Day 2 - Rome: Rome of the Caesars

The Roman Forum
The Roman Forum in Rome.
MORNING: Rome's all about Caesars, right? Start off day two in Rome by crawling around the ruins of the Roman Forum, where, two millennia ago, great orators held forth, senators debated, and Julius Caesar strode the streets.

Take a tour
If you prefer an expert guide for your sightseeing, here are some walking tours from our partners at that cover many of the sights featured on this day:

Skip the Line: Ancient Rome and Colosseum Half-Day Walking Tour
Private Tour: Ancient Rome and Colosseum Art History Walking Tour
Ancient Rome Half-Day Walking Tour
Imperial Rome Afternoon Tour
Private Tour: Imperial Rome Art History Walking Tour
• Private Tour: Ancient Roman Art History Walking Tour
Capitoline Museums and Origins of Rome Walking Tour
Unfortunately, little is left to see in this dusty jumble of foundations, arches, and standing columns—and much left to the imagination.

But so much the better, as this way you can be out by 11:30 and on your way to see Michelangelo's Moses in the church of San Pietro in Vincoli before it closes at 12:30pm.

AFTERNOON: After lunch (the old-school wine bar Cavour 313 is conveniently located nearby), pay a visit to the Colosseum. You just kind of look at it, take a peek inside at the floor plan, and you're done (save time in the often long lines by booking your entry ahead).

Now walk several long blocks farther south to tour the church of San Clemente, with medieval mosaics glittering in the apse, Renaissance frescoes in the chapels, and a door off the gift shop leading down to the first of several basements that provide an unparalleled tour through Rome's layer cake of history: below the current, medieval church is a 4th century church, and below that is a pagan temple to Mithras and the remains of several ancient Roman buildings, streets, and the splashing waters of a still-functioning aqueduct (go ahead and fill your water bottle; the water is clean, cold, and delicious).

Catch a bus to head back north to Piazza Venezia, at the north end of the Forum. Nearby is the elevated square Piazza del Campidoglio, where the Capitoline Museums will entertain you with ancient sculpture and Renaissance and baroque painting until 7pm.

Make sure that before sunset you nip around the back of the right side of the central building on Piazza del Campidoglio where you're treated to a surprise panorama of the Forum from above, with the Palatine Hill and the Colosseum as a backdrop. Have dinner in the Old City tonight.

» Stay: Rome

Day 3 - Rome: Vatican & St. Peter's

The Sistine Chapel cieling
The Sistine Chapel ceiling in Rome.
MORNING: Today we spend on the other side of the river from the bulk of old Rome.

Early risers who want to cram in even more can visit St. Peter's first—it opens at 7am—spend 90 min. there, then walk around the Vatican walls to tour the Vatican Museums when they open at 9am. This'll free up more time later for Castel Sant'Angelo and perhaps some sights in Trastevere.
Be up bright and early (I know, you never seem to get to sleep in) so that you beat the legions of tour buses to the Vatican Museums, which open at 9am.

Spend all morning in the Vatican Museums, drinking in its artistic and historic wonders such as:

AFTERNOON: They shoo you out in early afternoon, so grab a snack on your way around the Vatican walls to visit the grandiose church of St. Peter's. See Michelangelo's Pietà and tour the tombs of popes under the basilica before climbing its dome for a panoramic sweep of the city across the river.

If you finish with St. Peter's quickly, you may want to head to the pope's nearby Renaissance fortress, the Castle Sant'Angelo on the river, which has a nifty museum of arms and armor.

(Note that if you flew into Rome on a Friday night—as many people do—today would be a Monday and therefore the castello is closed. Unfortunate, yes—but that is also the very reason why you visited the Vatican on this day—the Vatican is one of the very few museums in Rome open on Monday.)

Either way, spend the balance of the afternoon and evening in the medieval neighborhood of Trastevere, where you can find lots of excellent Roman restaurants.

» Stay: Rome

Day 4 - Into Campania: Naples

ALL DAY: Grab an early morning train to Naples—the earliest you can drag yourself out of bed for (seriously: try the 7:34am IC, which will have you in Naples by 9:30am).

This leave you plenty of time to drop your bags at your Naples hotel and head to the clutch of amazing churches in the heart of the old city.

Take a tour
If you prefer an expert guide and no-hassle transportation, here are some Campania tours from our partners at Some are day trips in and around Naples; others are multi-day tours of the highlights of Campania leaving from Rome:

Naples tours:
Naples City Hop-on Hop-off Tour
• Small Group Naples City Sightseeing Tour
• Naples City and Pompeii Half Day Sightseeing Tour
• Pompeii Half-day Trip from Naples
• Mt. Vesuvius and Pompeii Day Trip from Naples
• Private Tour: Sorrento, Positano, Amalfi and Ravello Day Trip from Naples
• Capri Day Trip with Lunch from Naples

Multi-day tours out of Rome:
• 2-Day Italy Trip: Naples, Pompeii, Sorrento and Capri
• 3-Day Italy Trip: Naples, Pompeii, Sorrento and Capri
• 3-Day Italy Trip: Naples, Pompeii and Amalfi
Only see what you have time to see before lunch, but be sure you hit at least: the majolica-clad cloisters of Santa Chiara; the art and sculpture inside the gargantuan church of San Domenico Maggiore; and the masterfully, chaotically baroque interior of the Cappella Sansevero. If you have time (I suggest a lunch on the go—at the very least, stop and grab some sinfully delicious pastries from famed Scaturchio on Piazza San Domenico), try to squeeze in the Duomo, San Giorgio Armeno, and San Lorenzo Maggiore as well.

Head over to Piazza Dante to catch the R4 bus up to the north end of town to tour of the creepy Catacombe di San Gennaro catacombs (note: last tour leaves at 4pm).

Walk a bit farther up the hill to the Museo Capodimonte, southern Italy's greatest painting gallery. Instead of paying regular admission, get the Campania Artecard, which will get you into many top sights for free—not just in Naples, but across Campania, including Pompeii (» more details). Enjoy the museum's Renaissance and baroque masterpieces by the likes of Caravaggio until they kick you out at 7:30pm.

If it's the season and you can get tickets (check before leaving, or at the tourist office when you arrive in town), try attending an opera at the renowned Teatro San Carlo—literally the place that invented prima donnas. If not (or afterwards), grab a pizza in the city that invented it—everyone and their mamma has their own favorite Neapolitan pizzeria, but it's hard to go wrong with any of the choices listed here.

» Stay: Naples

Day 5 - Bay of Naples: Naples, Pompeii, & Sorrento

A street at Pompeii
A street at Pompeii.
MORNING: Check out of your hotel early, drop your bags at the deposito bagagli (left luggage office) in the train station and just take a daypack. Grab the Metro (subway) line 2 one stop to Piazza Cavour near the Museo Archeologico.

Take a tour
If you prefer an expert guide and no-hassle transportation here are some Pompeii tours from our partners at They'll return you to Naples, from where you can continue on to Sorrento (or do Days 5–7 all as day trips with Naples as a homebase):

Naples City Hop-on Hop-off Tour
• Small Group Naples City Sightseeing Tour
• Naples City and Pompeii Half Day Sightseeing Tour
• Pompeii Half-day Trip from Naples
• Mt. Vesuvius and Pompeii Day Trip from Naples
See, if you only visit Pompeii itself, you only get half the story, since nearly all of the best bits from the Pompeii ruins—sculptures, mosaics, and frescoes—were carted here for safekeeping, alongside still more amazing ancient statues and art from elsewhere in Campania and from Rome as well. Spend at least 90 minutes in here. After two hours, though, it's time to head back to Piazza Garibaldi and the Naples' Stazione Centrale train station to go see the main event.

Beware of pickpockets
Naples is as physically safe as any big city, really, but you do need to be extra-vigilant about pickpockets here. This is especially true in the Naples train station, on Piazza Garibaldi just in front of the station, on city buses and trams, and on the Circumvesuviana train to Pompeii and Sorrento.
Return to Napoli Centrale train station, collect your luggage, and head downstairs to find the separately-run Circumvesuviana commuter train line (a more-complicated-than-it-needs-to-be procedure detailed here); buy tickets to Pompeii. The ride takes 36 minutes (Pompei has two stations; get off at Pompei-Scavi—and yes, the modern town's name has only one "i" at the end). Keep an eye on your bags and pockets; pickpockets infest this train line (see the box on the right).

AFTERNOON: You should aim to get to Pompeii around 1pm—yes, just when it is at its most brutally hot in summer, but that can't be helped; we're trying to cram in as much as possible here.

Either have packed a bag lunch, pick up something in the Naples train station, or grab a panino from one of the stands across from the Pompeii site entrance. Spend the afternoon amid the amazing ruins of this ancient Roman ghost city. Make sure you bring plenty of water, sunscreen, and a hat. Try to be out of the Pompeii site by 6pm.

Continue on the Circumvesuviana to the end of the line at Sorrento (about another 30 minutes from Pompei-Scavi) and check into your hotel. After this whirlwind day of changing trains and dealing with the chaos of Naples and the dusty, hot streets of Pompeii, might I suggest a relaxed Sorrento dinner at La Favorita-O Parrucchiano?

» Stay: Sorrento

Day 6 - Amalfi Coast: Positano, Amalfi, Ravello

MORNING: Return to the Sorrento train station, in front of which park the buses that head down the Amalfi Coast.

Take a tour
If you prefer an expert guide and no-hassle transportation and prefer to do Days 5–7 all as day trips with Naples as a homebase, here is an Amalfi Coast tour from our partners at

• Private Tour: Sorrento, Positano, Amalfi and Ravello Day Trip from Naples
You have several choices here, depending on where you want to spend the night: posh Positano, historic Amalfi, or (via another bus from Amalfi) the garden hilltown of Ravello. It is easiest to stay in either Positano or Amalfi—and of the two, I'd pick Amalfi, though your tastes might differ.

If you choose Positano, get off the bus there and check into your hotel first, then return to the bus stop to hop the next bus down the coast to Amalfi. See the sights of Amalfi (1–3 hours), head up to the gardens of Ravello if you'd like (90 min–2 hours), then grab a late afternoon ferry (or the bus, but the ferry's more chic) back up the coast to Positano.

Sorrento as a home base
The main itinerary is designed for those who like spending a night in each destination. If, however, you prefer to check into just one hotel and make sightseeing sorties from there, Sorrento is perfect. Sorrento is not the most interesting or charming of the coastal towns, but it is heart of the public transport network to tour everything else. If this appeals, book a Sorrento hotel for all three nights of Days 4, 5, and 6. On the evening of Day 5, simply hop a late bus from Amalfi back to Sorrento. On Day 6, board an early ferry over to Capri and return to Sorrento on an evening one. In the morning of Day 7, ride the Circumvesuviana back to Naples, then switch to a train for Rome.
If you choose to stay in Amalfi, I wouldn't bother with Positano at all; simply admire it from the bus as you approach and leave town (Positano is a postcard-perfect town on an idyllic little beach, but there's nothing really to see or do), and continue on to Amalfi town. Check into your hotel, check out the famous Amalfi cathedral and the town's other sights, and catch a bus up to Ravello for lunch and an afternoon amid its amazing gardens. Return to Amalfi town for dinner.

(If you're home-basing in Sorrento, after you've wandered around Amalfi a bit and seen its handful of sights, hop the return bus back up the coast.)

(Real gung-ho types might even be able to swing hopping a ferry—in summer only—from Positano or Amalfi over to Capri to spend the night there.)

» Stay: Amalfi or Positano or Sorrento or Capri

Day 7 - Capri: Isle of seduction

Take a tour
If you prefer an expert guide and no-hassle transportation and prefer to do Days 5–7 all as day trips with Naples as a homebase, here is a Capri tour from our partners at

• Capri Day Trip with Lunch from Naples
ALL DAY: Whether you've stayed in Amalfi, Positano, or Sorrento, on the morning of Day 6 catch an early ferry over to the fabled island of Capri. Tour the Blue Grotto, gawk at the obscene prices in Capri boutiques, explore the ruins of Tiberius' Villa, take a hike through the undeveloped bits of the island, and visit the mountainside village of Anacapri to ride the chairlift up Monte Solaro.

Stay where you'd like. Eat where you'd like. Capri is all about relaxing and enjoying la dolce vita—the good life.

» Stay: Capri

Day 8 - Rome: Hidden treasures

Galleria Borghese
Bernini's Apollo and Daphne at the Galleria Borghese.
MORNING: Get up early and make your way back to Rome. Take the ferry from Capri to Naples, then a taxi or the #1 trolley to the train station, then the train back to Rome.

All told, this should take about 2–3 hours total, though maybe as many as four hours if you are unlucky with connections—which is all to say: please do try to get up and off early.

Take a tour
If you prefer an expert guide for your sightseeing, here are some walking tours from our partners at that cover either of the sights featured on Day 4—you can even do both, as the Borghese Gallery tours are at 3pm, and the Trastevere one starts at 6pm (except in winter):

Skip the Line: Borghese Gallery and Gardens Walking Tour
Private Tour: Borghese Gallery and Baroque Rome Art History Walking Tour
Skip the Line: Borghese Gallery Tickets (no tour; just the tickets)
Trastevere and Rome's Jewish Ghetto Half-Day Walking Tour
You should arrive back in Rome in time for lunch.

AFTERNOON: After lunch, grab the 116 minibus to the Porta Pinciana (you'll see a park across the street; it's called the Villa Borghese). Enter the park and take the first path on your right (Viale di Museo Borghese) to get to the Galleria Borghese by your scheduled entry time (TIP: you will need to purchase tickets in advance for this; see the "Before You Leave" sidebar at the end of this itinerary). Tour its collections of amazing early Bernini sculptures and Raphael and Caravaggio paintings until they kick you out.

Take whatever time you have left in the day to do whatever the heck you feel like. You've earned it—and you're probably getting tuckered out. Personally, I'd spend it back in the medieval artisans district across the Tiber known as Trastevere, visiting its little churches, hanging out in a café, and soaking up the roman lifestyle until it was time for dinner—again, Trastevere is positively packed with restaurants, from the traditional to the trendy, so there's no way you exhausted all the possibilities last night.

After dinner, take a nighttime stroll through Rome to say goodbye. My favorite destinations include climbing the Gianicolo hill north of Trastevere (Rome's Lovers' Lane with great views of the city), and crossing the Tiber back to peek at the Roman Forum lit up at night from behind the Campidoglio—and, of course, one last visit to the Trevi Fountain to toss in a coin and ensure my return to Rome one day. (Yes, it's cheesy; yes, I do it anyway.)

» Stay: Rome

Day 9 - Heading home

ALL DAY: Most flights back to the U.S. leave either in the morning or early afternoon. Either way, your last day is largely a wash. You'll spend the morning getting to the airport and the rest of the day flying home.

Remember: Even if you have a 3pm flight, you have to check in by 1pm, which means you have to catch, at the latest, the 12:22pm airport train from Rome's Termini train station, which means you have to leave your hotel by 11:30am to head to the train station, which means you need to be checking out by 11:15am... The day's pretty much shot by the time you wake up.

Still, take a few minutes to run out to a cafe or bakery to grab one last amazing Italian snack to bring with you on the plane—way better than airline food. My favorite in-flight, make-everyone-else-jealous food is pizza bianca (focaccia), but you should get whatever you like best.

(No, sadly, gelato will not last long enough—though there is a San Crispino gelato stand in the upstairs dining area of Rome's Terminal A, just beyond the McDonald's.)


Tips & links

Consider a tour

I'm all for planning your own trip‚ and this website is set up to help you do just that—but some people might just as well prefer to leave all the planning, logistics, transportation, lodging, and gathering of information to the professionals and simply sign up with a guided tour.

Nothing wrong with that. Just take my advice and choose a tour that emphasizes small groups over large crowds, local transport over big tour buses, and fun cultural experiences over sightseeing checklists. You'll have a better time, and probably spend less for it. Here are a few of my favorite tour companies who emphasize just that.

1-5 days

1-2 weeks

Useful links
How it all fits into 1 week

A tall order for just one week? You bet. But there are tricks to fitting all you can into such a short time here.

  1. One week actually lasts 9 days (figuring you leave on Friday night for your overnight flight, and you don’t return until the following Sunday). » more 

  2. You can save time by taking guided daytours to visit the towns and sights outside the big cities in order to (a) pack as much sightseeing as possible into a limited amount of time, (b) get a professional guide, and (c) provide all transportation so you can spend your time seeing the sights and not waiting on train and bus connections.

Don't forget to pay attention to the "What to do before you leave" section (next) covering all the details you need to take care of before leaving home—and be sure to read the "Foolish Assumptions" page about how these itineraries are meant to work.)

What you need to do before you leave home
Don't overplan

I will freely admit to being as guilty as anyone of this, but: Please try not to overplan your trip to Italy. That's a two-fold plea:

  1. Plan everything, but don't feel compelled to stick to the plan. I think it's a fine idea to work out all the details of what you plan to do—if nor no other reason than it will help you get a handle of what you are able to get done, and start making the hard choices of what you have time for and what you should leave for the next trip to Italy. (Always assume you will retrun!)

    But then do not book absolutely every second in advance (that leaves no room to adjust things as you go to accommodate changing interests, sudden festivals, or unexpected invitations), and please do not attempt to stick to the schedule if it turns out to be overly ambitious and startrs making you miserable.

    Rememeber Clark W. Griswold, the Chevy Chase dad in the Vacation movies, always bound and detemrined to get to WallyWorld come hell or dead aunties? Yeah, don't be that guy. No one in that family was having any fun.
  2. Don't try to pack too much in. A vacation is not meant to be all about checking sights off a list or dashing from place to place to fit in as much as humanly possible. It's about enjoying yourself.

    So do that. Enjoy yourself. Take a hint from the Italian concept of la bel far' niente—the beauty of doing nothing—and take a break from the sightseeing every once in a while.

    Leave some time to stop and sip the cappuccino.

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  • Reliving the ROME of the Caesars at the Colosseum and Roman Forum (Day 2)
  • St Peter's, The Sistine Chapel, & the Vatican Museums in ROME (Day 3)
  • ROME's Pantheon, Trevi Fountain, and the Spanish Steps (Day 1)
  • Enjoying baroque churches, amazing museums, original pizza, and a night at the opera in NAPLES (Day 4)
  • Exploring the ancient Roman ghost town of POMPEII (Day 5)
  • Experiencing the Jet Set resorts of Positano, Amalfi, and Ravello on the AMALFI COAST (Day 6)
  • Relaxing on the storied island of CAPRI (Day 7)
  • Communing with Bernini and Caravaggio at the Galleria Borghese in ROME (Day 8)

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