Day trips, sidetrips, and excursions in Italy

Get out of the big city to see nearby sights and add breadth to your trip without adding too many days to your schedule

The famous sights and urban charms of Rome and Milan are wonderful, but sometimes you just gotta get out of the big city and dip into a slower pace of life for a while in a small town—and what better small towns than the ones right at the doorsteps of Italy's major cities?

Daytripping out to medieval villages, Renaissance castles, dreamy vineyards, ancient ruins, and royal palaces can help add spice and variety to your trip without having to go to all the trouble of packing up and changing hotels. You just zip out for a half day or a full day and can be back in the city by dinnertime.

On a tight schedule, you can also take longer day trips to fit in some other major destinations or sights that lie within two to three hours of town—Pompeii and/or the Amalfi Coast from Rome, Pisa from Florence, the villas of the Veneto from Venice—places where, had you all the time in the world, you'd ideally spend a few days, but just can't quite carve that much time out of this trip.

Each city section will list and detail some of the best and most rewarding side trips you can do in just a day.

Escorted day trips

If you don’t want to hassle with figuring out the logistics of how to get out of the city to see some nearby sights and small towns—or you have limited time in which to do it—a local escorted bus tour can be just the ticket.

It whizzes you out to the sights with a live guide who’ll walk you through everything and returns you to town in time for lunch or dinner (most are either half-day or full-day excursions).

Using public transportation (or your own car, for that matter) it’s pretty much impossible to see, say, Pompeii, the major museums of Naples, and Mt. Vesivius all on a single day trip from Rome, but an escorted bus trip can do it no problem (not that you'll see any of them in depth, but at least you'll get a good taste).

You can choose to book tours of some of the more popular day trip excursions ahead of time via one of our partners:

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More on Sidetrips

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Sidetrips
Sorrento

Visiting Pompeii, the Amalfi Coast, Capri, and more from Sorrento on a day trip

 
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The wine hills of the Chianti are a popular side trip from Florence (Photo by Thomas Willemsen)
Sidetrips
Florence

Visiting Pisa, the Chianti, vineyards, Tuscan hill towns and more from Florence on a day trip

 
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Sidetrips
Venice

Visiting Padova, the Brenta, Verona and more from Venice on a day trip

 
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The Forum and The Capitolum (temple of Jupiter, Juno, and Minerva), at the intersection of the Cardo Maximus (main north-south street of any Roman town) and the Decumanus Maximus (main east-west street)

Visiting Tivoli, Ostia Antica, the Castelli Romani, and more from Rome on a day trip

 
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Sidetrips
Naples

Visiting Pompeii, Herculaneum, the Amalfi Coast, Capri, or Mt. Vesuvius on a day trip

 
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Sidetrips from Naples or Sorrento to visit the ancient Roman ghost towns of Pompeii and Herculaneum—and the volcano itself

 
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Visiting Lake Como, Verona, the Certosa di Pavia, wine country, and more from Milan on a day trip