Epic 12 day Italy itinerary: Amalfi Coast and Puglia

See a very unique part of Italy with this 12 day Italy itinerary full of amazing day trips. No leaning tower of Pisa, the Tuscan countryside or the Trevi fountain in Rome. No, on this trip we are bringing you the beautiful and popular Amalfi Coast, followed by one day in Matera and a week in traditional Italy, Puglia! This 12 day tour of Italy will be the time of your life and full days of Italian charm. Are you ready to pack and go? 

Good to know for this 12 day Italy itinerary

Note: for this itinerary, we expect that you will have 12 full days. Depending on your travel time, it might be wise to arrive the day before and leave the day after, making it a 14-day trip.

Map from Amalfi Coast to Puglia

Are 12 days enough for Italy?

You might wonder, how to see Italy in 12 days? You are right, it’s difficult. Many are looking for a 2 week Italy itinerary with Amalfi Coast. Often it is then connected with a trip to Rome or Cinque Terre. But as we have noticed, the gorgeous region of Puglia is overlooked. While it is actually perfect to combine. That said, you could also easily spend 12 days in Puglia only.

So should you go on a 12 day trip to Italy? Without a doubt, yes! 12 days in Italy and this itinerary will give you plenty to discover while going home fully satisfied. Let’s face it, not everyone has the budget or annual leave available to spend at least 6 weeks to discover all. Will you be hungry (guess what, not only for Italian food) for more after this trip? Big chance! You might just end up returning to our favourite country in Europe, Italy. Perhaps you will end up in Venice, Florence or Milan in the end anyway. But for now? Stick to this road trip and enjoy it to the fullest! 

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Can we do the 12 day itinerary for Italy alone or with a guided tour?

It might feel safe sometimes to travel with a guided tour. In general, we would not advise doing so. We will always share the truth in our blogs and therefore cannot ignore the fact that Italy is packed. High season is attracting a lot of tourists from all over the world. Especially the Amalfi Coast is booming, and Puglia is more pleasant. We, therefore, recommend travelling smart in your own time but also as per your own needs. If you travel with a group or guided tour, you might feel overwhelmed walking in groups through already busy destinations at peak times of the day. You can take more advantage going on your own. Besides that, Italy is not hard to travel on your own.

What is the best month to travel to Italy?

After all said above, what is then the best month to travel? Without surprises that would be of course low season. But considering the destination of Amalfi Coast and Puglia you do want to have good weather and enjoy warmer waters. Therefore we suggest considering this itinerary for 12 days in Italy from May to June or in September. From the end of June until the first week of September is very busy.

The cheapest months to travel to Italy would be generally between October and March. Depending on your destination in Italy. You can imagine that a city trip can increase in price around special days. However, these months would not be preferred by us as we do love a little bit more sunshine and South European summer vibes. 

Getting around Italy: how to travel from the Amalfi Coast to Puglia? 

The start of this 12 day itinerary in beautiful Italy is on the Amalfi Coast. It would make the most sense to arrive in the city of Naples by airplane. It will not be very convenient to do the rest of this 12 day Italy tour by public transport. Really? You could do it, but you might need to skip some parts of this itinerary or have shorter days. The train (the quickest option) does not stop everywhere, and the bus will surely take longer. We highly recommend you rent a car from Naples and return it at the airport in Puglia – often Bari.  We share a few more tips about driving in Puglia and Italy in our other post: Travel in Puglia – the must do 7 day itinerary

Car in Puglia Ostuni

What to pack for 12 days in Italy?

Is this always your stress factor before departure? No worries, we will help you a little bit. Now of course this also depends on your own style. And everyone has different needs for an itinerary of 12 days in Italy or wherever in the world. But these tips might help you slightly in the right direction:

  • In general, the Amalfi Coast and Puglia can get really hot in the summer months. Please check the weather forecast before departure. Rain is still an option. 
  • You are also in areas with the open sea, therefore it can also be windy or cool down at night so do not forget something light to cover yourself just in case. Italy starts to come alive later in the evening. Families come out on the boulevards after the heat. So be ready for evening entertainment. 
  • The Amalfi Coast, especially Capri, is also considered a jet set area. If you like to dress up, you can totally do so! Some women walk around in the prettiest dresses and men dress up too. Puglia is less jet set, but your linen outfits will still look amazing! (pssst, we are linen lovers and wear that every day anywhere in Italy) 
  • The water is super tempting to jump in, do not forget your swim outfit! 
  • If you want, you can also hike on the Amalfi Coast. It is not a heavy hike, but you might better prepare some activewear to bring.
  • For this trip we estimate 3 days with longer travel time, so be comfy.
  • For the rest: flip-flops, sandals, sneakers, shorts, skirts, dresses… be you!

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Tip: Plan this trip far in advance

We cannot stress enough that you should book this trip far in advance. And that is actually for different reasons. First of all due to availability. The Amalfi Coast is booming. The hotels are quickly fully booked, especially for the high season. In Puglia, you might have a bit more opportunities. Still, as always, you have a big opportunity to miss out on the nicest places for the best prices if you book late. So secondly, the prices are going up rather quickly. And we have seen some insane hotel costs for the Amalfi region!

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Where to stay during this 12 day itinerary in Italy?

So many places to visit in Italy on this 12 day itinerary. But that surely doesn’t require you to stay in 12 different places. Pick your accommodation smartly so that you only need to stay in 3 places and still be able to see all of this itinerary. That will definitely make your Italy tour perfect!

The places you will visit along the Amalfi Coast do require more travel time in between. Do note that accommodation in Positano is most often pretty expensive compared to the rest of Italy. We split up the recommended accommodations per wishes you might have for your stay:

Accommodation in Amalfi Coast

  • With great views over Positano: Villa Dalu or Hotel Eden Roc Suites
  • Centrally located in the Amalfi Coast region and cheaper: Hotel Il Pino and Hotel Villa Bellavista
  • Lovely in the charming town of Amalfi: Terrazza Duomo on the main square, Belvedere Apartment or Villa Lara Hotel
  • Budget, more inland: stay in Agerola about a 1-hour drive from Positano and 30 minutes from Amalfi. Also, a nice village to stay in with great views over the sea. As we were travelling with family, we booked a Bed and Breakfast with 3 rooms and shared living space: B&B Kebontà. The host was extremely helpful in making our stay unforgettable and made breakfast fresh from his own garden.



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Accommodation in Matera



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Accommodation in Puglia

We recommend you stay in the area of Martina Franca, Alberobello and Locorotondo. From here you can easily visit all in the region.



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Epic 12 day Italy itinerary: Amalfi Coast and Puglia

Day 1: Positano

We start this itinerary on the Amalfi Coast for 4 days. We will bring you right away to the place that many know Italy for. That picture-perfect village on the cliffs, Positano. And we fully agree, this place is a dream for the eyes! Potentially a little less for the feet and legs as you surely need to walk uphill and many steps. The small alleyways through the village do give a great vibe and are pretty romantic in the evening with warm light around. You will also notice that some of the prettiest views over the village and sea just pop up around corners.

During the day there is enough entertainment. While walking around in the village you will quickly notice many boutiques (linen!) and ceramic shops. The last one is especially typical for this beautiful region. You will see ceramics in all colours and shapes. Besides that, if you forget some sandals you do not have to worry. You can have them custom-made in many different designs all around.

Want to catch some sunrays on this 12 day itinerary in sunny Italy? Positano also has beaches, with Spiaggi Grande as the main beach. You can rent a sunbed and umbrella if you like. Other fun things to do in Positano are: take a boat trip (Bluestar Positano is well known), and many places offer a cooking class! (Pizza making in a private home), rent a Vespa to travel around, check out a beachclub (Arienzo Beach Club), or another cafe/restaurant with excellent terraces for the views.

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Day 2: Amalfi

The village with the same name as the coast, Amalfi. While you have some areas along the sea, the main part of the city is inside the town walls. To start it is nice to walk along the Piazzale dei Protontini. Walking towards the tip you are surrounded by the water of the port and will have a gorgeous view of Amalfi. Afterwards, you continue your walk into the city centre. Piazza Duomo is a true vibe with the beautiful cathedral, big steps to sit, terraces around and multiple shops. You can visit the cathedral, or just absorb the surroundings.

You will quickly notice that it is all about lemons in Amalfi! And they know very well what to do with it: combine it with liquor for Limoncello. Totally worth trying a sip! Fresh seafood is all around as well. A Fritto Misto from the takeaway fish shop C.I.C.A. is a must. Just follow the main street, where you will be impressed by all the shops: ceramics, bags, sandals and clothing. If you love real leather and linen, you will be more than fine! Another unique thing to do is to visit the Amalfi Paper Museum, where you can even make some paper yourself!

Day 3: Ravello

It is time to go more inland but on great heights. Ravello is like a small piece of heaven on the Amalfi Coast. Walking around here you can feel true charm and romance. And not just because of the impressive views or gardens. Yes, the area is very lush green. Having also less mass tourism, Ravello is a perfect day trip.

The villas in Ravello are true eye-catchers. The two most famous villas are Villa Rufolo and Villa Cimbrone. And that is mostly due to the stunning gardens with spectacular views over the sea and cliffs of the Amalfi Coast. When visiting Villa Cimbrone you can visit the famous “infinity terrace”. It is to fall in love with! I think we really just stood there for 20 minutes admiring it all.

Take it easy today with an easy stroll and terrace moment at the main square. Breathe in, breathe out. During the summer months, you can also enjoy more musical entertainment during the Ravello Festival.

Day 4: Boat trip to Capri or active hiking

It is up to you what you feel like today. Yes, this 12 day itinerary includes free days in Italy. Capri, a relatively small island in front of the Amalfi Coast, is for some a must-visit. It is known for its rich and famous lifestyle. But that is not all. The nature and waters around are wonderful. You can do tons of boat trips visiting some famous sights like the “Blue Grotto”. A trip to Capri is not necessarily cheap. There are several options to take the public ferry from Amalfi but there are also options for private boat trips that make multiple stops along the coast.

Another cheaper, option is to get active and hike the Path of the Gods. The hike starts in Bomerano (in Agerola) and ends in Nocello. However, from Nocello you can take 1500 steps down and end in Positano. The views are really amazing! From endless views over the sea, to more and more village views. You can also do the hike the other way around. But we were sure happy to take the 1500 steps down, instead of up. The hike can take around 3-5 hours if you take it nicely in holiday style. We did the hike in June, and it was very busy. So do start early to avoid the crowds. Do bring enough to drink, eat and sun protection.

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Day 5: Drive to Matera with a beautiful viewpoint stop

That was it for the Amalfi Coast, time to hop on and continue to a different region in Italy on this 12 day itinerary! The drive towards Matera will be around 3 to 4 hours. You now get closer to the third oldest inhabited city in the world! It is a surprise how they could’ve kept this out of the tourist spotlight. That did change more and more in the last years, also due to a James Bond movie, using Matera as movie scenery. Drive safe, and see you in Matera!

Before heading into the city or your hotel, you should already visit the best viewpoint to get a glimpse. It is called, and you can find it on Google under “Belvedere Murgia Timone”. If you want, you can also hike through this area.

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Day 6: A day in Matera, the oldest city in Italy

This 12 day Itinerary will bring you to unique places in Italy. Matera, did you hear of it before? It is a unique destination, with the city having such a historical story to tell. It might now be recognized, but not very long ago it was still “the shame of Italy“. The city is very different from the Amalfi Coast and Puglia. And that is mostly due to the architecture and caves. Caves? Yes, many houses and shops were built into the rocks, forming caves.

The city is a true labyrinth and there is a story to tell wherever you go. Therefore, it might be advised to go on a guided walking tour. It will be sad to leave this city, not knowing what you have actually seen. Surely, you will be impressed!

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Day 7: Drive to the Puglia region

We end this itinerary in Puglia for 6 days. For the next part of this trip, we recommend you stay in the area of Martina Franca, Alberobello and Locorotondo. From here you can easily visit all in the region. The drive from Matera will take you about 1,5 hours.

You will now really enter a different region in Italy. For us, it felt like much more traditional Italy. Or the region where the food was made with real Italian mama love. Doesn’t that sound attractive? The region of Puglia is very diverse. You will not find big cities like Milan. No, everything here is admirably smaller in size with some very picturesque places. Not to mention the beautiful beaches with the prettiest blue waters! Are you ready for Puglia?

Day 8: Day trip in Alberobello, Locorotondo and Cisternino

The Itria Valley has 3 very charming villages that are worth visiting on a day trip. The distance between the villages is around 15-20 minutes drive. It, therefore, makes it perfect to split up this day trip as follows: you start in the morning in Alberobello, the afternoon in Locorotondo and the evening with dinner in Cisternino.

To visit Alberobello in the morning, we advise you to go early. The place is famous for the Trulli houses, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. And of course, this attracts some tourist buses that arrive around 10 AM. Stroll around for around 2 to 3 hours and enjoy the several viewpoints over this unique site.

The day trip continues to Locorotondo. A village that very much surprised us! We totally fell in love with this place, and we even dedicated a full blog to it: Locorotondo, Italy’s prettiest town in Puglia. The small alleys of the Centro Storico and the views of the surroundings will hopefully also make you fall in love.

Cisternino was also the evening entertainment. And that was surely a good choice! The town turns into a very romantic and vibrant place. The warm lights around light up the city beautifully. When walking around you will notice that the main square is full of Italians with family and friends enjoying food and drinks. However, do not forget to get lost in the small alleys. You might just find the most romantic restaurants there.

Day 9: Your free day to relax or take a tour

You have seen so much already on this 12 day Itinerary in beautiful Italy! Puglia is the ultimate region to also include some relaxing days. As you can also have quite some hot summer days, it might be wise to book accommodation with a swimming pool for a cool-down session. Or do you rather stay active? There are plenty of other day trips to do as per your own liking! Pick something from the list below. Or if you are in for a long drive to visit a bigger city, try Lecce or even more south Otranto with beautiful beaches and cliffs around.

Day 10: Seaside Polignano a Mare and Monopoli

Time to head up towards the seaside for a perfect day trip. Visit in the morning Polignano a Mare and continue the day in Monopoli in the afternoon. The drive between the two villages is only around 15 minutes. Polignano a Mare is known for its historical centre. Yet another village to walk around without maps, to let the alleys guide you and get lost. Get some ice cream on Piazza Vittorio Emanuele, or go for a swim at the beach Lama Monachile.

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When Polignano a Mare served you well, move on to Monopoli. Here you will go through a historical story with the old port (Porto Antico) and many fisher boats, the fortress Castello di Carlos V, the old town with the lovely white architecture around and as in every Italian village you can visit churches and cathedrals. Here you will see the beautiful Basilica of the Madonna della Madia. If you are lucky you might even witness a real Italian wedding taking place!

Day 11: Visit picturesque Ostuni

The last village, Ostuni, is around 30 30-minute drive if you stay in the area of Martina Franca/Locorotondo. A drive that is recognizable due to the surroundings with many olive trees and sea views in the far distance. On top of a hill, you will notice this white impressive village with yet again a great history to tell. The village with many attractive narrow cobblestone streets and Greek influences was built to protect from invaders.

When walking around in the old town you will walk past many small piazzas and flowers and plants that make it all look fantastic. It truly is like an open-air museum! On Saturdays, there is a market, which will make your day even more exciting! An Italian market and its energy are lovely.

Day 12: Relax before departure

Day 12 of this itinerary in Italy will give you a final break before heading home. One thing we loved about Puglia is the serenity around. Where we stayed it was peaceful due to no unnecessary noises, just the birds and the sound of the wind. Take your book out or play some games of Uno and enjoy quality time.

We hope you had a fantastic time on this 12 day Itinerary in unique Italy and gathered tons of memories to bring back home.

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