Five Italian Road Trips to Experience Right Now

Five Italian Road Trips to Experience Right Now

you’re admiring the room-with-a-view romance of the
Tuscan countryside or the Alpine drama of the northern lakes, the
Italian landscape is surprisingly diverse. To explore the aesthetic
and edible bounty of Italy’s great regions, pack yourself into a
Fiat Cinquecento and tour the bel paese (beautiful country) by car.
All trips are best travelled in a week to ten days.

Hit the road with these classic Italian journeys


Pisa – Lucca – Montecatini Terme – Florence – Arezzo – Siena – Castellina in Chianti – San Gimignano

This classic route circles Tuscany’s green, sweeping Chianti
. Follow cypress-clad roads through undulating vineyards
and hill towns with a stop in the Renaissance mothership of
Florence. From Pisa, head northeast to the medieval town of Lucca
(birthplace of Puccini) and Montecatini Terme to take a dip in the
thermal baths. Set aside a few days to explore Florence before
looping around to Arezzo and its impressive antique market, and the
medieval city of Siena with its stunning 12th-century Piazza del
Duomo. The small town of Castellina in Chianti is a perfect stop
between Siena and San Gimignano, which is known as the Manhattan of
Italy for its 14 soaring towers. From here, it’s a short and scenic
drive back to Pisa.


Brindisi – Polignano a Mare – Alberobello – Cisternino – Ostuni – Gallipoli – Otranto – Lecce

This route follows a ‘D’ shape through the region of
: up the bright turquoise coast and back down through the
olive groves of the Itria Valley before looping around the heel of
the boot.

Drive northwards from Brindisi to the cove of Polignano a Mare
before dipping inland to Alberobello – famous for its trulli and
rampant production of kitschy souvenirs. Stop for lunch at one of
the butchers’ restaurants in nearby Cisternino (where your choice
of meat is roasted over an open fire) en route to the dazzling
white town of Ostuni. Cut across the heel to Gallipoli on the
opposite coast. From here, take the coastal road around the
perimeter of the rocky Salento Peninsula, stopping in Otranto
before arriving in the Baroque city of Lecce – a 30-minute drive
back to Brindisi.

The Amalfi Coast

Naples – Pompeii – Capri – Sorrento – Positano – Amalfi – Ravello – Salerno

The most famous and well trodden of these routes is the
Amalfi coast
. There may be a tour bus or ten obstructing your
view ahead, and the sheer drop off the sides are hair-raising, but
don’t let it dampen your spirits: you are driving Italy’s most
iconic and spectacular coastline. From Naples, visit the Roman
ruins of Pompeii before continuing to Sorrento. Leave the car
behind and hop on a ferry to Capri (sit on the left for the best
view). Back in Sorrento, follow signs for Positano and wind inland
until you reach the upmarket resort. The coastal drive from
Positano to Amalfi follows narrow, tight roads with vistas over the
shimmering Gulf of Salerno. High in the hills above Amalfi, soak up
the breathtaking views from the luxuriant gardens of Ravello before
heading for the endpoint of Salerno, 20km down the coast.

Milan, The Lakes and Verona

Milan – Lake Maggiore – Lake Como – Bergamo – Lake Garda – Verona

This drive curls upwards from Milan
and across the northern lakes of Maggiore, Como and Garda, which
punctuate the Alpine peaks in a line towards Verona. The
mountainous backdrop, sumptuous palaces and lush gardens of the
lakes have attracted the royal and wealthy since the 17th

Drive northwards out of Milan to Stresa on the banks of Lake
Maggiore – the second largest and most westerly of the three lakes.
Continue through the foothills of the Alps to Lake Como and
discover its lakeside resorts of Bellagio and Varenna by boat.
Spend a couple of hours wandering the city of Bergamo en route to
Lake Garda, where Sirmione is a good base for exploring. It’s 45
minutes from Sirmione to Verona. Return the car and head into the
centro storico, where it’s best to explore by bicycle – you can
rent one in Piazza Brà.


Parma – Modena – Bologna – Ravenna – Rimini

Emilia-Romagna is home to Italy’s most celebrated produce and
cuisine. For the most part, this route follows Roman road Via
Aemilia (now the A1 and A14) from Rimini to Ravenna. Begin in
Parma; a town synonymous with the likes of prosciutto and
Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. An hour drive down the Via Aemilia
brings you the quietly prosperous town of Modena – the area’s
balsamic vinegar is another kitschy food link to our modest British
kitchens. Bologna is the capital of Emilia-Romagna, known for its
russet architecture, left-wing politics, ancient university and of
course, its food. Spend a few days here before heading to Ravenna –
capital of the Roman Empire and home to some of Europe’s finest
Byzantine mosaics. The nightlife and beaches of Rimini lie 51km
south of Ravenna for a sun-soaked and hedonistic end to your

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