Planning on traveling to Italy for the first time in April with my hubby, who also hasn't been before. We were thinking that we didn't want to spend the whole trip on tours and would rather explore Italy on our own. However, I wanted to get a rough idea of the route we should take as far as cities go. Should we do the Rome, Florence, Venice route, or go Rome, and head south to Naples? 8 days isn't enough time it seems!!! I want to see it all!
I think it just depends on what you are interested in. If you want to see and learn the history of Italy then do Rome and Florence and pick some smaller towns in between, ie: Siena, Lucca and other places in Tuscany. It is really beautiful and you could easily spend 8 days doing that. I am not a real fan of Venice. However, I feel like you need to see it just because it is really cool. It is expensive and sometimes I feel like it is dirty, but that's just me. Southern Italy is on my bucket list. The Amalfi Coast is amazing but that would be more of a coastal trip with beautiful vistas and not a history/museum kind of trip. It just depends on what you are looking for.
Mentioned in this answer:
If you haven't booked your ticket yet, to maximize your time with only 8 days, I would book a drop flight. For example, fly from home to Rome and then out of Venice back home so you don't have to waste time and money getting back to Rome to fly home. Also shoot for an early morning arrival to help save time too.
I would spend 3 days in Rome, 2 days in Florence, and end with 2 days in Venice. I would take the extra day and spend 1 night some where in Tuscany like Cortona to get a taste of the country side.Traveling in April will be a big help with the crowds, but it still wouldn't hurt to get advanced tickets to things like the Vatican Museums or the Uffizi Gallery. While I agree traveling around in tour groups is not the way to go, things like walking tours that take you from point A to B and provide lots of info about the stuff on the way can be enjoyable.
A helpful tip for navigating Venice, which can be particularly tricky, as there addresses do not run linear but instead spiral out from a central point. Almost anywhere you are in the city there will be signs leading to 1 of 4 main points; St. Mark's (San Marco), the Rialto, the railway station (Ferrovia) and the bus terminus (Piazzale Roma). Lets say there is a restaurant you want to go to, determine what landmark it is closest to and follow the signs there first then work on zeroing in on its location from there.
Mentioned in this answer: