Venice, Bologna, Florence and back to Rome
I’ll have to do that on my return trip. I do plan on coming back, it’s a gorgeous country.Nice. For a first time trip, everyone has to hit Rome/Florence/Venice. I recommend skipping Milan, but I understand that people want to go there because it's a city people recognize.
I always recommend adding Cinque Terre onto that first trip. The hike through the mountains between towns is one of the greatest things on this planet.