Embark on a thrilling journey through the captivating land of Northern Italy with our 10-day itinerary! Experience the magic of Venice, Verona, Bergamo, Lake Como, and Milan, each offering a unique blend of history, art, and modernity. But wait, there’s more! We’ve got an exciting twist – we compare each sightseeing pass to reveal the ultimate choice for your adventure.
Whether you’re exploring by train, road trip, or simply seeking the best Northern Italy itinerary, we’ve got you covered. Get ready for an unforgettable trip filled with hidden gems, stunning lakes, and cultural wonders. Let’s dive in and discover the best itinerary for your dream vacation!
How many days should you visit northern Italy?
The ideal duration to visit Northern Italy depends on your interests and the places you wish to explore. For a comprehensive experience, plan at least 10 days to cover iconic cities like Venice, Verona, Bergamo, Lake Como, and Milan. However, if you have limited time, a minimum of 5-7 days is recommended to savor the region’s captivating landscapes, culture, and cuisine.
When is the Best Time to Visit Northern Italy?
Northern Italy experiences a varied climate, with the mountainous regions often cooler than the coastal areas. Here’s a month-by-month breakdown of the best time to visit Northern Italy, considering temperatures, rain days and special events:
4 °C to 8 °C (39 °F to 48 °F)
New Year's Celebrations and Carnival of Venice
4 °C to 10 °C (39 °F to 50 °F)
Carnevale di Ivrea
7 °C to 15 °C (45 °F to 59 °F)
Milan Fashion Week
10 °C to 18 °C (50 °F to 64 °F)
Easter Celebrations and Venice Art Biennale
14 °C to 22 °C (57 °F to 72 °F)
Palio di Ferrara
18 °C to 26 °C (64 °F to 79 °F)
Verona Opera Festival
21 °C to 29 °C (70 °F to 84 °F)
Lake Como Festival
20 °C to 29 °C (68 °F to 84 °F)
Notte di San Lorenzo
17 °C to 24 °C (63 °F to 75 °F)
13 °C to 19 °C (55 °F to 66 °F)
Alba White Truffle Fair
8 °C to 13 °C (46 °F to 55°F)
All Saints' Day Celebrations and San Martino Festival
4° C to 9° C (39 °F to 48 °F)
Christmas Markets and New Year's Eve
Day 1-2: Venice – The Enchanting City of Canals
Hotel recommendation: Hotel Danieli ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Start your nothern italy adventure by exploring the historic heart of the city Venice: Stroll through the labyrinthine streets and cross over the iconic Rialto Bridge, adorned with shops and breathtaking views. Visit the bustling Rialto Market to experience the vibrant atmosphere and discover the freshest local produce.
Continue your journey to Piazza San Marco, the heart of Venice, and be mesmerized by the grandeur of St. Mark’s Basilica and the intricate mosaics that adorn its façade. Take a guided tour of the Doge’s Palace, once the seat of Venetian power, and marvel at the opulence of the interior.
Indulge in a classic gondola ride, gliding along the serene canals and under romantic bridges. As the day draws to a close, enjoy a delectable Venetian dinner at a charming osteria, savoring dishes like sarde in saor (sweet and sour sardines) and fegato alla veneziana (Venetian-style liver).
Embark the second day to Venice’s artistic riches: Visit the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, an art museum housed in the former home of the legendary art collector. Marvel at a remarkable collection of 20th-century masterpieces by artists such as Picasso, Pollock, and Dalí.
Next, explore the Accademia Gallery with a private guide, home to an impressive collection of Venetian art from the 14th to 18th centuries. Admire works by Venetian masters like Titian, Tintoretto, and Veronese, and immerse yourself in the city’s artistic heritage.
Take a leisurely walk along the Zattere promenade, lined with charming cafés and offering picturesque views of the Giudecca Canal.
- Tip: For a unique Venetian experience, visit a traditional mask-making workshop and learn about the art of creating Venetian masks.
Day 3-4: Verona – Romance and Shakespearean Beauty
Hotel Recommendation: Due Torri Hotel Verona ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Begin your Verona adventure by visiting the iconic Arena di Verona, a Roman amphitheater that hosts spectacular opera performances during the summer. Wander through Piazza Bra, the city’s main square, adorned with historic buildings and lively cafes. Take a stroll to the Piazza delle Erbe, a picturesque square with a lively market and stunning frescoed buildings.
As you continue exploring, you’ll come across Juliet’s House (Casa di Giulietta), a must-visit for romantics. Admire the famous balcony where Juliet is said to have been serenaded by Romeo, and don’t forget to rub the bronze statue of Juliet for good luck in love.
For art enthusiasts, a visit to the Castelvecchio Museum is a must. This medieval castle now houses an impressive collection of art, including works by Veronese and Tintoretto.
The citys proximity to Lake Garda makes it an ideal starting point for a day trip to this stunning natural wonder on your second day in Verona. Lake Garda, the largest lake in Italy, is known for its crystal-clear waters, charming lakeside towns, and breathtaking scenery.
Head to Sirmione, a picturesque town located on a narrow peninsula jutting into the lake. Explore the Scaliger Castle and the Grotte di Catullo, ancient Roman ruins overlooking the lake.
Afterward, take a boat tour of the lake to fully appreciate its beauty and finish the wonderful day with local wine and a stunning sunset infront of you.
- Tip: Dont forget to take a dip into the clear and cold water of the Largo Garda!
Day 5-6: Bergamo – A City of Contrasts
Hotel Recommendation: BeB San Lorenzo ⭐️⭐️⭐️
Travel to Bergamo, a city of contrasts where history meets modernity. Stay at the elegant Relais San Lorenzo, located in the heart of the Upper Town (Città Alta). Bergamo offers a unique blend of medieval charm and vibrant urban life, making it a captivating destination to explore.
Start your day with a journey back in time as you explore the Città Alta, Bergamo’s historic upper town. Walk along the Venetian walls that once protected the city and admire the well-preserved architecture that reflects centuries of history. Visit Piazza Vecchia, the heart of the Città Alta, where you’ll find the Palazzo della Ragione and the Contarini Fountain. Don’t miss the opportunity to visit the Colleoni Chapel, a masterpiece of Renaissance art and a tribute to the city’s military leader, Bartolomeo Colleoni.
As you wander through the charming cobblestone streets, you’ll come across artisan shops, quaint cafés, and inviting trattorias. Be sure to try local specialties like casoncelli, a type of stuffed pasta, and polenta e osei, a traditional dessert.
On your second day in Bergamo, head to the Città Bassa, the lower town, to experience the more modern side of the city. Take the funicular down from the Città Alta and arrive at the bustling heart of Bergamo. Here, you’ll find wide avenues, chic boutiques, and a lively atmosphere.
Visit the Accademia Carrara, an art gallery featuring an impressive collection of Italian Renaissance and Baroque art, including works by Botticelli, Raphael, and Titian. Wander through the lush greenery of the Parco della Rocca, a peaceful park that offers panoramic views of the city.
For a taste of Bergamo’s contemporary culture, head to the Porta Nuova district, known for its modern architecture and vibrant nightlife. Start the evening at the bar Caffé del Tasso and celebrate your north italy trip at the club Bolgia. Here you can party until dawn!
- Tip: To fully immerse yourself in the history of Bergamo, consider taking a guided walking tour of the Città Alta. Local guides can provide fascinating insights into the city’s past and share hidden gems that you might otherwise miss.
Day 7-8: Como – A Lakeside Retreat
Hotel recommendation: New Fontana Rooms ⭐️⭐️⭐️
Travel to the picturesque town of Como, nestled along the shores of Lake Como. Stay at the beautiful New Fontana Rooms, central Hotel with the perfect location for all important sights of Como. Lake Como is renowned for its natural beauty, serene waters, and charming lakeside towns, making it a perfect retreat for relaxation and exploration.
Begin your day with a leisurely stroll along the lakefront promenade, where you can enjoy breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains and the shimmering lake. Explore the charming town of Como, with its narrow streets, elegant architecture, and bustling squares. Visit the Como Cathedral (Duomo), an impressive example of Gothic architecture, and the Broletto, a medieval town hall.
For a unique cultural experience, head to Villa Olmo, an elegant neoclassical villa set amidst beautiful gardens. The villa hosts art exhibitions and cultural events throughout the year, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in Como’s rich heritage.
In the afternoon, take a relaxing boat cruise on Lake Como to admire the stunning villas that dot the lakeshore, including Villa del Balbianello and Villa Carlotta. End your day with a delicious lakeside dinner at Trattoria del Glicine, savoring local dishes like risotto with perch or lake fish.
After an exciting first day in Como enjoy a leisurely morning, soaking in the serene ambiance of the lake and the charming town. Instead of visiting Bellagio, choose a private boat tour that allows you to explore the hidden gems of Lake Como at your own pace and without crowded streets. With your knowledgeable guide, discover secluded coves, quaint fishing villages, and lesser-known villas, escaping the crowds and enjoying a more intimate experience of the lake’s beauty.
In the afternoon, treat yourself to the ABSOLUT BEST GELATO in town at Gelab Galeteria. This artisanal gelateria is renowned for its wide array of delectable gelato flavors, made with the highest quality ingredients. Whether you’re a fan of classic favorites or adventurous taste combinations, Gelab Galeteria is sure to delight your taste buds with its rich and creamy gelato creations.
Day 9-10: Milan – Final Days in the Fashion Capital
Hotel Recommendation: Room Mate Giulia ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Arrive in Milan, the fashion capital of Italy, and stay at the stylish Room Mate Giulia. Milan is a city that seamlessly blends history, art, and modernity, offering an array of attractions to explore.
Start your day by visiting the magnificent Milan Cathedral (Duomo di Milano), one of the largest Gothic cathedrals in the world. Marvel at its stunning architecture and intricate details as you explore the interior and, if you’re feeling adventurous, climb to the rooftop for panoramic views of the city.
Next, make your way to the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, a breathtaking shopping arcade known for its elegant architecture and luxury boutiques. Take a moment to appreciate the beautiful mosaics on the floor, especially the bull mosaic, and follow the local tradition of spinning three times on the bull’s genitals for good luck.
Continue your cultural journey at Teatro alla Scala, one of the world’s most renowned opera houses. If there’s a performance scheduled during your visit, consider experiencing the magic of opera or ballet in this historic venue.
For art enthusiasts, the Pinacoteca di Brera houses an impressive collection of Italian masterpieces, including works by Caravaggio, Raphael, and Titian. Wander through the charming Brera district, filled with art galleries, boutique shops, and cozy cafes.
On your final day in Milan, take some time to indulge in shopping along Via Montenapoleone and the surrounding streets, known for their high-end fashion boutiques. Milan’s fashion scene is legendary, and even if you’re not planning a shopping spree, the window displays alone are a feast for the eyes.
For a taste of Milanese cuisine, enjoy a leisurely lunch at local loved Rita & Antonio, savoring classic dishes like risotto alla Milanese or ossobuco.
Before you depart, consider taking a stroll through Sempione Park and visiting the iconic Sforza Castle. This historic fortress houses various museums and art collections and offers a peaceful escape from the bustling city.
FAQ's about Northern Italy
Do I need a visa to visit Northern Italy?
Citizens of many countries, including the United States, Canada, and the European Union, can visit Northern Italy for up to 90 days without a visa. However, it’s essential to check the visa requirements based on your nationality before traveling.
What's the best way to get around Northern Italy?
Northern Italy has an excellent transportation network, including trains, buses, and domestic flights. Trains are often the most convenient and efficient option for traveling between cities, while buses and local transportation systems are ideal for exploring within each city.
Is it safe to drink tap water in Northern Italy?
Yes, tap water in Northern Italy is generally safe to drink. It undergoes strict quality control and meets high standards. However, if you prefer, you can always opt for bottled water, which is readily available.
What are the must-visit cities and attractions in Northern Italy?
The must-visit cities and attractions in Northern Italy include Venice with its romantic canals, Verona with its Shakespearean charm, the beautiful Lake Como, the historic city of Bergamo, the art and fashion capital Milan, and the charming town of Brescia.
What is the best time to visit Northern Italy in terms of weather and special events?
The best time to visit Northern Italy is during the spring (April to June) and autumn (September to October) when the weather is mild, and there are fewer tourists. Additionally, various special events, such as the Venice Carnival in February and the Milan Fashion Week in September, make these seasons even more captivating.