Italy Planner Part 2: Central Italy
You asked, we answered: Day trips from Rome, Florence food & shopping, hidden Tuscany, and the best islands for a weekend on the water
Last week we took on your questions about the Italian South, basically up to the ankle of the boot. This week, we tackled questions focusing on Central Italy’s major cities—Rome and Florence—as well as where to stop and base yourself when driving around Tuscany, Umbria, Le Marche, Abruzzo, plus the islands and coastlines that make for easy beach weekends or even day trips. Once again, we answered some of these from our own notes, memories and Google maps, but we also reached out to friends and contacts who live there or know the regions really well. If you have recommendations that we didn’t mention, we hope you’ll leave them in the comments!
I’m taking my 15-year-old daughter to Italy in June. Our plan is Rome, Tuscany and some coast. Would love your recommendations! I don’t think I have the stomach to drive, so we will use car services and taxis. We have 10 days.
I’d start in Rome—I’ve put all of my favorite hotels, restaurants and shops in our Rome Black Book, so check that out to see what resonates for you and your daughter. Obviously, you’ll want to hit a lot of the cultural musts, but I’d try and always have something nearby as a carrot–like a trip to the Colosseum paired with some cool vintage shops in nearby Monti, or a stop at the Pantheon begets a gelato at Giolitti. I’d take all of the recs you get from me and everyone you’re receiving them from and put them all into a Google map, so you’ll be super prepared. I’d say you’ll want 3 days in Rome for sure. From there you could head to the coast, and I’m going to suggest places you can get to by train that don’t take forever to get to. You could train to Naples (1 hour and 10 minutes) and then take the ferry to Ischia (lots of recs in last week’s post!), and spend a couple of days there, or you could take a car to Sorrento and maybe stop in Pompeii, as long as you make sure you aren’t there in the midday sun. You could also take the train to Orbetello (fastest one is about 1 hour 20 minutes) on the Tuscan Coast, the station for the Monte Argentario area, where the Hotel Il Pellicano is, as well as access to the island of Giglio and the super-charming, family-run hotel Pardini’s Hermitage (more on that later). But I’d recommend staying in Orbetello at the Casa Iris, a lovely, small inn run by two friends of mine–they’ll be able to give you some great suggestions well in advance of your stay, so you can map out some nice beach days. From there, you might want to get a car service to bring you around to wherever you decide you want to go in Tuscany. I’m going to assume you’d like to show your daughter Florence–and after a couple of days of beach you can get back to a bit of city/culture/heat. We have a ton of fantastic suggestions below for where to eat along the way: if gardens are your thing, there’s La Foce, or you could go via Siena, or San Gimignano, Montepulciano…If you do the Naples/Ischia/Sorrento option, you could just train directly to Florence, and then you could do a Tuscany day trip option with a driver. From Florence, there are two trains a day that go directly to Fiumicino, the main airport in Rome.