I was thrilled to go back to Italy during a week long trip. My family and I did a grand Italian trip roughly five years ago through a tour company. I also was able to visit Florence in 2016 during my first semester abroad. Each experience was so different from the rest. Going with a tour group means you get to sit back and relax. They do all the work for you! When you're traveling entirely on your own accord, planning activities and transportation is definitely more work. Over the years I've visited Pisa, Milan, Florence, Rome, Vatican City, Venice, the Amalfi Coast, and Pompeii. My Mom's ancestors are from Calabria (the toe of the boot) in the South of Italy, so hopefully one day we'll make it there together.
I've rounded up my favorite restaurants, activities, and accommodations that I found while traveling on my own. Here's a few ways to see these beautiful cities on a budget, but without skimping out.
Also, in my opinion Florence is the best Italian city. Everyone runs to Rome because it is the home to major sights like the Colosseum, Trevi Fountain, and Spanish Steps. The craziness of Rome was too much for me and had me missing the quaint, artistically rich city of Florence. I'll leave it up to you to decide, though ;)