Visiting Rome, Florence, & Verona in 8 Days

Rome, Italy
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While some people have “Travel to Italy” at the very top of their bucket list, I happened to travel to this country by happenstance.  I had found myself drinking one too many vodka martinis in Budapest when an intense desire to eat real, authentic Italian pizza struck (you can read about that here).  What ensued was a last-minute flight to Naples (the birthplace of pizza) and ultimately the best two and a half weeks spent in Italy traveling through six Italian cities.

Along the way, I fell in love with Italian landscape, architecture, food, wine, and most importantly – three incredible cities – Rome, Florence, and Verona.


How to Spend 8 Days in Rome, Florence, & Verona


This is part of my “8 Day Vacay” series!  A travel series for nurses who are looking to take 8 days off from the hospital (with no need to take PTO) and travel to destinations both near and far.  For more information, read “A Guide to the “8 Day Vacay” and How to Make the Most Out of Your “8 Day Vacay”


Arriving/Departing & Traveling Around Italy

To begin this 8 day trip through Italy, you will want to fly into and out of Rome (FCO).  My favorite search engines for finding flights is Skyscanner.

Once you’re in Italy, I suggest train travel through the country!  Italy has a great and affordable train system for getting around; I prefer to use Omio to find and purchase tickets.


Day 1 (Wednesday) – Depart for Rome

Because this is a trip created for nurses, I suggest taking full advantage of the fact that only working three days a week gives nurses the chance for 8 days off without taking any PTO.  For this reason, I suggest departing for Rome on a Wednesday which will land you in Rome late Wednesday night or early Thursday morning.



Depending on what kind of experience you’re looking to have, there are a couple of areas I’d highly recommend in Rome.  If you want to be right in the center of the action and near the tourist sites, I suggest staying near the Trevi Fountain, Pantheon, or the Colosseum.  Of course, these areas will likely be a bit more expensive and touristy, so keep that in mind.

If you’re looking to stay in a more local, trendy neighborhood, still near the tourist sites; I’d suggest Trastevere.  Trastevere is a bit west of the main attractions in Rome, but has some incredible bars and restaurants.  I stayed in this Airbnb and would recommend it for solo travelers or two people (it was quite small and not suitable if you have a lot of belongings with you).  It’s perfect if you’re looking for something a bit quieter, but still a short walk (10-30 minutes) to the best restaurants and sites in Rome.


Don’t miss:  A Complete Guide to Visiting Rome


Day 2 (Thursday) – Rome

HIGHLIGHTS:  Pantheon + Trevi Fountain + Spanish Steps + Margutta Street

When I arrived in Rome I was filled with a sense of freedom and wanderlust.  It’s a city that is steeped in history and has managed to influence almost every corner of the world.  Walking through Rome is like walking through an outdoor museum. Everywhere you turn there is a piece of history in front of you, be it the Colosseum, the Trevi Fountain, the Vatican, and more.

The best part about Rome isn’t that walking through the streets sets you back in time and teaches you history along the way.  It’s that Rome quite literally has everything to offer.  Food, wine, weather, and friendly locals.  In Rome, there is something for everyone.

Your first morning in Rome, head to the historic Pantheon, a Roman temple and since 609 a Catholic church in the heart of the city.  Entrance into this temple is free of charge and does not require a booking during the week.  For lunch, I recommend dining next to the Pantheon at Armando al Pantheon.

Next, make your way towards the Trevi Fountain.  The Trevi is one of the most famous and recognized fountains in the world.  Throwing coins in the Trevi is common practice, and it’s estimated that 3,000 Euros are thrown into the fountain every single day.

Upon leaving the Trevi Fountain, make a stop for gelato at Giolitti before heading towards Via Margutta – one of Rome’s most beautiful streets!  After strolling down this street, head to the Spanish Steps for sunset.

For dinner, eat traditional Italian food at Ristorante Piperno or Osteria da Fortunata.


Day 3 (Friday) – Rome

Colosseum Rome, Italy

HIGHLIGHTS:  Roman Colosseum + Palatine Hill + Roman Forum

The Roman Colosseum is undoubtedly Italy’s most recognized structure.  Dating back to 70 AD, the Colosseum was used for animal and gladiator fights for over 500 years.  Standing in this giant structure will set you back hundreds of years.  It’s as though you can hear people screaming for their “team”.  The smell of sweat and tears, the splatter of blood across the ground.  One animal tearing out another animal’s throat. A truly exciting experience. And one that brought people together from all of the worlds for hundreds of years.

Needless to say, if you’re visiting Rome… don’t miss a visit to the Colosseum.  You can choose to enter the Colosseum alone or take a tour.  Beware of what tour you choose to take, keeping in mind that cheaper isn’t always better.  I used Roman Guy and couldn’t recommend them enough. We toured the Colosseum, learned about the rich history from the animals to the slaves.  From there we toured Palatine Hill and the Roman Forum.  A trio of history that has impacted the world as we know it.

For dinner, head to the Trastevere neighborhood.


For more on Rome, don’t miss:  10 Things to See and Do in Rome


Day 4 (Saturday) – Travel to Florence

Ponte Vecchio Bridge, Florence, Italy

HIGHLIGHTS:  Ponte Vecchio + Palazza della Signoria + Palazzo Pitti



The easiest way to get from Rome to Florence is by train.  As quick as an hour and a half ride, I prefer to use Omio when searching for transportation throughout Italy.  Please note that you’ll want to depart from Rome Termini and arrive in Florence Santa Maria Novella.



I would recommend staying in an Airbnb or hotel near the Ponte Vecchio Bridge, Palazza Vecchio, or Palazzo Pitti.


In Florence’s city center, there are over 20 plazas to explore. All of the plazas are made up of restaurants, wine bars, cafes, gelato shops, and more. Palazza della Signoria and Palazzo Pitti were my two favorite stops. The highlight of Palazza della Signoria is Palazza Vecchio. Here you’ll find a replica of Michelangelo’s Statue of David. From Palazza della Signoria, brave the crowds to cross the Ponte Vecchio bridge; one of only four bridges in the world that has shops spanning both sides. The Ponte Vecchio used to be the only bridge across the Arno River up until 1218.

Upon crossing the Ponte Vecchio, make your way to Palazzo Pitti. The highlight of Palazzo Pitti is seeing The Boboli Gardens, a UNESCO World Heritage site housing a collection of sculptures ranging from the 16th-18th centuries.


Day 5 (Sunday) – Florence

Views of Florence from Michelangelo

HIGHLIGHTS:  Piazzale Michelangelo

Spending a second day in Florence, make it your mission to get lost in the many streets. My favorite stops along the way are Gustapizza, for heart-shaped pizza, La Prosciutteria for wine and charcuterie, and Il Santino for Italian wine and a cozy, off-the-beaten path, feel.

After exploring the city for the day, pick up a bottle of wine from a corner store, and make your way to Piazzale Michelangelo to watch the sunset behind the city. Although you have to climb over 100 stairs to reach the top, the sweeping views of Florence are worth it. The city in front of you with its burnt orange and yellow buildings, Ponte Vecchio bridge making a walkway over the Arno River. And to the left, lush, rolling green hills.


Alternate Route: If you want to hit more cities, spend only one night in Florence, and take the train to Bologna for a night, before departing onwards to Verona


Day 6 (Monday) – Travel to Verona

Views of Verona from Teatro Romano

HIGHLIGHTS:  Teatro Romano



From Florence, the easiest way to get to Verona is by taking a train an hour and a half north.  You’ll want to depart from Florence Santa Maria Novella and arrive in Verona Porta Nuova.  My favorite way to search for train travel is on Omio.



I would recommend staying in an Airbnb or a hotel near Piazza dei Signori or Piazza Bra.


You’ve seen some of the best that Italy has to offer. The history-rich, capital city of Rome. The understated, bustling city of Florence. You may think that you’ve seen the best…  but you haven’t even scratched the surface.

Making your way further north brings you to Verona, a colorful Italian town with oodles of charm. Situated along the Adige River, Verona was put on the map by Shakespeare, having inspired Romeo and Juliet. A city so quintessentially Italy, with fewer tourists, and a culinary scene that can stand up to anyone else, Verona offers it all.

Getting lost in the colorful streets is truly the best way to discover Verona. Start in Piazza Bra to see the Verona Arena. An Arena that on a smaller scale, looks almost identical to Rome’s Colosseum. Eventually, make your way towards the Adige River. Here you’ll find the gem of Verona, Teatro Romano. While it costs a few dollars to enter, it’s worth it to see the views of Verona. Once you reach the top of the theatre, you’ll look down upon the turquoise river, orange roofed, multi-colored buildings, and hundreds of years of history in front of you. A chance for still and quietness, above a city bustling below.


For more reasons on why you should visit Verona, don’t miss Pictures of Verona to Inspire Your Visit


Day 7 (Tuesday) – Travel to Rome

Views from St Peter's Basilica

HIGHLIGHTS:  The Vatican, St Peter’s Basilica, Sistine Chapel



Again, the easiest way to travel from Verona to Rome is by train.  The ride takes about three hours as you make your way back down south to Italy’s capital.  My favorite way to book train travel through Europe is through Omio.


On your last day in Rome discover the works of Michelangelo, visit a city within a city, and climb the largest basilica in the world for views overlooking the Eternal City. All three wonders can be found in Vatican City, a city-state within a city, founded in the 1900s. Currently, Vatican City has a population of over 1,000, uses its currency, and houses the Pope.

Entry into Vatican City costs 17 Euros and also allows entrance into the Sistine Chapel. The Sistine Chapel is where you will find Michelangelo’s work, The Last Judgement, adorning the walls and ceiling. Truthfully, the most exciting part of Vatican City.

St Peter’s Basilica can also be found in Vatican City, a renaissance church where Saint Peter was buried. Entrance into the church is free, while the climb to the top of Basilica for the views of Rome costs 10 Euros for the elevator, eight for the stairs.

All three sites are worth the visit, you have to decide if you want a tour guide, or to visit on your own. While a tour guide from the Roman Guy will allow you to visit before hours, granting you privacy and quietness as you move through the Vatican; it wasn’t my favorite tour I’ve gone on.

For dinner, I suggest Roscioli Salumeria con Cucina.  And make sure to stroll through the outdoor market, Campo de Fiori, which is nearby.


Day 8 (Wednesday) – Depart Rome

Airplane flying over snow

Because Italy is ahead of the US time-wise, you should be able to leave Wednesday and arrive back in the States on Wednesday.  Just in time to clock in for your shift on Thursday!


What to Take With You to Italy/What Else to Know About Visiting Italy

Below you’ll find other simple facts about traveling to Italy, plus what I would recommend packing with you!

  • Language:  Italian (although almost everyone speaks English making it very easy to get around)
  • Currency:  Euro (€) – everywhere I went took credit/debit card and I did not have to have cash on hand
  • In Case of Emergency:  I think it’s smart to always be prepared in case of an emergency!  To call the police in Italy dial 112.
  • Power Adapter:  The Italian plugs are different than American, so I would recommend bringing a power adapter with you.  I also noticed that some places only took a three-prong adapter, while others took the typical European, two-prong adapter.  I would recommend bringing an adapter that can switch between two and three prong (like this one).
  • Travel Insurance:  When traveling abroad, I like to purchase travel insurance for peace of mind and coverage if anything were to go wrong.  I use and recommend World Nomads.
  • Luggage:  My favorite backpack to travel with is the Nordace Siena Smart Backpack.  It’s so spacious and I never leave home without it.


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Kylee is a Neonatal Intensive Care (NICU) nurse passionate about making travel affordable and accessible to nurses. Inspiring nurses to travel both near and far, Kylee began Passports and Preemies in 2017 while volunteering in Skopje, North Macedonia as a way to reach nurses and advocate for the prevention of nurse burnout by traveling. Kylee is the original creator of the “8 Day Vacay” – a vacation geared towards nurses who aim to take advantage of the potentially 8 days off between work weeks with no need to use PTO.

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  1. March 11, 2019 / 1:52 pm

    Honestly, I love the reason you went to Italy was because you were craving a pizza. THAT is the way to travel! I love it so much! Also, as I was following your journey on Instagram, you ended up staying in Italy for quite a while. It is an incredibly country – and it’s nice to see that you can do so much in 8 days!

    • March 12, 2019 / 4:34 am

      Hahahahhaha it is quite funny now that I think of it. That a little slice of tomato sauce and cheese can have such influence on me!!!

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