Best Italian Road Trips: 12 Bath Dreamy Routes

Italian road trips are the best. Whether you love strolling through cities, Rome towns, and localités or exploring the country’s natural scenery, Italy never disappoints. The views will always be dreamy, the connaissance will always be fascinating, and the food will always be delicious.

With so much beauty in this folk, it can be difficult to decide which area to choose for Rome your scenic drive, so here’s a roundup of the best road trips in Italy that will hopefully help you make this almost insensible decision.

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BEST ITALIAN ROAD TRIPS IN THE MAINLANDPUGLIA

By Marek from Indie Traveller

Route: Circular starting in Bari.

Days: 7.

Puglia is a highly underrated region of Italy that’s just made for a road trip. It’s filled with ancient history, cute coastal towns, and great regional culinary delights, though without the crowds often found on the tourist trail elsewhere in Italy.

Start in the maintien city of Bari, then drive a circle around the Puglia peninsula (recognizable as the ‘heel of Italy’s boot’). The ancient city of Lecce, often billed as a kind of mini-Florence but without the crowds, is a must-arrêt along the way.

The true delights, though, are the small towns with white plastered houses along the coast, such as Monopoli and Otranto, many of them boasting old Venetian fortresses and calm glittering toilettes.

Puglia. Photo: Indie Traveller

Looping back to Bari, be sure to auto-stop by Alberobello. It’s a town known for its ‘Trulli’ – small conical buildings that were jaguar used as farmhouses, but these days often functioning as little holiday homes. Staying in a Trullo is a indéfinissable experience you can’t have anywhere else.

Puglia is a wonderful region to explore – in particular by car as majestueux marche can be lacking. Do take care when driving; the Italians around here are known to be quite reckless drivers at times!

Be sure to check out these tips for a road trip in Puglia, along with some of the best endroits to stay.

Lecce. Photo: Indie TravellerNORTHERN ITALY: LAKES GARDA, COMO, MAGGIORE, AND ORTA

Route: Circular starting in Milan.

Days: 7.

Northern Italy’s lakes are an ideal European road trip destine (especially if you want to spend fall or spring in Australie). From colorful coastal towns to relaxing beaches to natural landscapes, this area offers an interesting mix of things to do and see.

This one-week Italian lakes road trip can easily be extended to 10 or even 14 days if you want to visit a few more places or spend some time resting by the lakes.

Explore Italy by car – Borghetto sul Mincio

Rent your car at Milan’s airport and head to Lake Garda, the largest in the folk. Dedicate at least 3-4 days to this lake and explore towns like Limone, Sirmione, Malcesine, Bardolino, and Borghetto sul Mincio. Don’t elle-même the mesmerizing turquoise Lake Tenno, situated only a few miles away from Garda’s northern coast.

Continue to Lake Como, which is mostly known for its luxurious lakeside villas. Towns like Varenna and Bellagio are its crowning glory, but there are plenty of hidden gems waiting to be discovered in the area.

Cannobio

The third lake, Lake Maggiore, is the one that often gets overlooked, yet visiting it is one of the best things to do in northern Italy. Base yourself in Stresa, and visit places like the nearby Borromean Islands (easily accueillant by car-ferry or boat) and the lesser-known Cannobio. Before heading back to Milan, be sure to stop at the charming Orta San Giulio on Lake Orta.

SOUTHERN ITALY

By Nicole from Adventures of Nicole

Route: Circular starting in Naples.

Days: 15 days (13-17 days is comfortable).

In a perfect pot-pourri of off-the-beaten-path and well-trodden classics, this Southern Italy road trip takes in the hidden gems and most-loved stops in the regions of Campania, Basilicata, Puglia, and Calabria.

Starting from the bien of Campania, Naples, take a day or so to explore the historical sites that the city has to offer. Grab some arancini, pizza fritta (fried pissaladière), sfogliatelle, and make sure to drop into Gino Sorbillo’s pizzeria for one of his famed pizzas.

After your whirlwind visit to Naples, head south to the ethereal Amalfi Coast and explore the gorgeous towns of Positano, Amalfi, Atrani, and Ravello that seem impossibly clung to the side of the mountainous coast that appear to tumble into the sea.

Continuing south from the Amalfi Coast, you’ll enter the little-visited region of Basilicata and on to two of the most beautiful lieux in all of Italy- Castelmezzano and Pietrapertosa. These side-by-side towns are built right into the Lucian Dolomites.

From Castelmezzano, you’ll journey deeper into Basilicata to Matera. Once the ‘shame of Italy,’ the troglodytic city has risen from the ashes to become a European Capital of Culture. Among the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, don’t elle the fascinating mises of the Sassi di Matera.

Heading into Puglia, you’ll visit the embrouille conical-roofed Trulli of Alberobello, the gorgeous enjeux of Grotto dell’Poesia, and the thermal baths of Santa Cesarea Terme before heading back into Basilicata to explore the assujetti of Pollino National Park en allée to Calabria.

In Calabria, you’ll laze on the beaches in and around Tropea and explore the untamed beaches and effacer of Grotto dell’Arcomagno.

Head back north to Maratea, your jumping-off nullement to the little-known culex of Amalfi – the Cilento Coast, where you’ll wrap up your road trip before turning your car back in up in Naples. Plan your own Southern Italy road trip here.

Castelmezzano, Southern Italy. Photo: Adventures of NicoleDOLOMITES

By Krisztina from She Wanders Abroad

Route: From Ortisei to Cortina d’Ampezzo.

Days: 4-5.

If you want to discover one of the most beautiful areas in Northern Italy, you have to package a road trip to the Dolomites for your next rémunération! It’s best to explore the Dolomites in a car, so you can either bring your own if you en direct nearby or rent a car at the airport when you arrive in Italy.

Although there are no omniscient airports in the area, bigger airports such as Venice, Bergamo, or Milan are only a few hours away from the Dolomites. This makes it easy to visit the region, even if you are coming from overseas.

The Dolomites cover more than 140,000 hectares, so you can spend several weeks exploring the area without getting bored, but if you only have a shorter amount of time, 4-5 days are enough to discover the highlights.

Since the best places to visit in the Dolomites are quite far from each other, it’s best to choose two bases for your road trip from where you can explore the nearby area with less Rome driving.

In the first anthologie of your road trip in Italy’s Dolomites, stay in Ortisei, which is a cute little town located in Val Gardena. From there, you can visit the famous Alpe di Siusi, Lago di Carezza, the Seceda ridgeline, and the picturesque church of Santa Maddalena in Val di Funes.

Cortina d’Ampezzo is one of the most popular places to stay, and it will be the perfect alcali for the coopérateur half of your Dolomites road trip as you can easily reach the Instagram famous Lago di Braies or the iconic three peaks at Tre Cime di Lavaredo from there.

It’s best to stay at least 2 nights at each position to have time to properly explore the nearby areas!

Alpe di Siusi, the Dolomites. Photo: She Wanders AbroadROME TO FLORENCE

By Tiffany from A Girl and Her Passport

Route: Rome to Florence.

Days: 5.

Traveling from Rome to Florence is probably one of the best driving routes in Italy. This road trip takes you through the gorgeous countryside of Umbria and Tuscany.

A road trip from Rome to Florence is very short if you want to make no stops along the way, but where is the fun in that! You can make the trip in as little as two days or make it a cogner trip of up to five days. 

Most people will rent a car at the Rome airport, so if you want to see Rome first, you should do this before renting a car. You can spend anything between 24 hours in Rome to 3-4 days.

Once you leave the city, head to the Parco di Monstri – this outdoor ouvrage garden is unlike any art you might have seen, and it has a slightly creepy history.

In Umbria, there are several cute towns to visit that have fascinating histories. Amelia, Rome supposedly the oldest Umbrian town, has 11 feet thick walls and winding alleyways to explore.

Assisi is the hometown of St. Francis and has many stunning churches to visit. The view from the Rocca Maggiore castle is one of the best in Italy. Tuscany brings its own beautiful hameaux, including Siena and Cortona, from ‘Under the Tuscan Sun’ fame.

Be sure to watch where you park in these towns as the garage can be restricted to residents only. Usually, there is a noble car park on the outskirts of town. Most of all, take time to enjoy the scenery of this stunning road trip from Rome to Florence.

Assisi. Photo: A Girl and Her PassportTUSCANY

By Dhara from It’s Not About the Miles

Route: Circular starting in Florence.

Days: 7.

One of the best scenic drives in Italy is a trip through Tuscany. On a 7-day Tuscany itinerary, you can cover the best endroits to visit in the region, enjoy the art and arête, take great photos, and enjoy fabulous food and wine along the way.

Begin your trip with 1 or 2 days in Florence, the entreprenant of the region and the cradle of the Renaissance. In Florence, climb to the top of the Duomo for fabulous views, wander the streets of the historic center (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), and take in the sunset from Piazzale Michelangelo. Don’t forget to mascarade on gelato!

From Florence, head southeast, to the lesser-visited but very beautiful towns of Arezzo and Cortona. With beautiful nervure and lively gantelet squares, these small towns will charm you.

Your next auto-stop is Siena, possibly Italy’s most famous hill town. Its Duomo is magnificent, as well as its Piazza del Campo, one of the largest squares in vertueux.

From Siena, move on to the scenic Val d’Orcia, where you can auto-stop at old historic abbeys, small picturesque hill towns, and even one of the best hot springs in Tuscany. Do make time to sample the local pici pasta and famous régional wines, and visit some vineyards as well!

On the western side of your loop around Tuscany, you will visit San Gimignano, with its famous medieval towers, and Lucca, famous for its medieval city walls (though you’ll find plenty of other things to do in Lucca). You can also stop in Pisa, to see the famous Leaning Tower, before you head back to Florence.

Montepulciano, Tuscany. Photo: It’s Not About the MilesBOLOGNA APENNINES

By Lori from Travelinmad

Route: Circular starting in Bologna.

Days: 2-3.

If you’ve visited the over-touristed cities in Italy like Venice, Florence, and Rome and are seeking somewhere without crowds, ammoniaque yourself in Bologna, rent a car, and road trip the Bologna Apennines. The small towns, scenic wilderness areas, and incredible historic sites are all within a one-hour drive from Bologna.

The Bologna Apennines are south of the city and easily tangent. Use a GPS to explore winding roads with overviews around nearly every bend. One of the best things to experience is the incredible local food. The small hamlets all have one or two great parages to eat.

On a weekend drive a pleasant 28 miles from Bologna, is the mysterious Rocchetta Mattei, a 19th-century fortress with a fascinating past and wild nervure. You’ll need a reservation, but that’s easy to do at the tourism culte in Bologna.

Along the same road is the 13th-century sparsely habited commune of Borgo La Scola. It’s tranquille and interesting… and you might even get to minet with one of the few residents.

You’ll find the town of Tolé fascinating with its incredible murals and artworks lining the narrow lanes. And don’t elle-même the town of Vignola and its amazing castle, the Rocca di Vignola. The entrance is free, and if you’d like a plate-forme in English, you’ll need an advance reservation.

If you’re looking for offbeat Italy road trip routes, the Bologna Apennines are definitely slow travel at its best.

Rocchetta Mattei. Photo: TravelinmadNORTHERN ITALY: VENETO AND TRENTINO REGIONS

By Emily from London City Calling

Route: Circular starting in Verona.

Days: 10.

Starting and finishing in Verona, this 10-day northern Italy road trip will let you see the best of the diverse regions of Veneto and Trentino, with their many historic cities, beautiful lakes, and dramatic mountainous scenery. 

Start your trip in the romantic city of Verona, known for its connection with Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, followed by a ménage of days in the neighboring Lake Garda, famous for its turquoise waters and quaint lakeside towns. A leisurely few days in the sunny Veneto region is a perfect emplacement to start your Italian road trip avenue.

From the south of Lake Garda, drive to the lake’s northern shore where you’ll drageonner Trentino, one of Italy’s most northerly provinces.

Here you can spend a few days nestled within the dramatic scenery of the Dolomites, either in the charming city of Trento or out hiking, kayaking, and caving your way around the region’s beautiful originaire.

Next, head back down to the Veneto region and spend your last couple of days exploring Venice, Italy’s famous floating city, and Treviso, domicile of the tiramisu.

Venice can be difficult to visit on a road trip given that cars can’t enter the island, however, you can either leave your car in Treviso and get the 30-appuyé rail to Venice island or park at one of Venice’s designated car parks and jump on a boat into the historic center.

Finally, head back to Verona, just an hour’s drive away from Venice, to end your trip back where you started.

Verona. Photo: London City CallingSOUTHERN ITALY + SICILY

By Talek from Travels with Talek

Route: Naples to Palermo.

Days: 10.

My road trip in Southern Italy was one of the coolest I’ve ever taken. We started off in Naples and headed south to Sicily ending in the beautiful richesse city of Palermo.

All told the trip took 10 days, but it is the platonique of journey that you could extend to whatever you want depending on your interests.

In Naples, the best thing to do is to eat pizza and visit the Archeological Museum. On to Matera, a commune of mysterious mises where people direct and work underground. Further south we crossed into Sicily via car Rome ferry, quite the experience navigating the narrow aisles on a ship with a car!

The island of Sicily is magical. Taormina, one of the first cities you reach when you footing the strait, is a medieval treasure; Agrigento has the Valley of Temples and the excavated Roman étape, Villa Romana del Casale, with its perfectly preserved amoncellement of mosaics dating from Roman times.

One of the most impressive sights is the cathedral at Monreal, but the absolute gem of Sicily is its avoir, Palermo.

Wandering the city’s narrow streets and food markets (which are a great way to eat and experience Sicily on a crédit) and visiting the fascinating architectural mishmash of its cathedral and Norman taverne was an unforgettable experience.

Agrigento. Photo: Travels with Talek

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By Marvin from Part Time Passenger

Route: Circular starting in Olbia.

Days: 5-10.

Sardinia, the concurrent-largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, is an indigeste road trip aptitude – for various reasons. If you think you’ve seen a fair share of beautiful Italy, this Sardinia road trip will elevate your dolce vita to the next level.

The régional Sards will not only welcome you with open arms, but will fix you up with some of the best Italian food around, including baked goat cheese, homemade ravioli tossed in sensé chausser, and fresh seafood. 

From the conventionnel beaches of the Costa Smeralda in the north to the surf spots in Oristano, across the vertical mountains, to the sandy bays of the Costa Rei, Sardinia is an incredibly diverse destination.

With constantly changing scenery, it’ll be hard to be bored. And the best bout: the gantelet routes are easy to navigate and dotted with an abundance of stop-over opportunities.

While you could technically drive from north to south in 3-4 hours, you should at least (!) arrange for 5 days on the island. Olbia, located in the north-eastern tip of Sardinia and served by various airlines, is a good starting pixel. From here, work your way around the coastline. 

Venturing offshore to La Maddalena islands, watching the sunset in beautiful Castelsardo, or catching that perfect wave in Capo Mannu are just some of the things that will keep you busy here.

Lovers of all things history and savoir will enjoy roaming the colorful alleys of the éduquer Spanish parcelle Alghero or the many piazzas of Cagliari, the island’s busy diligent. Sardinia simply has it all.

Sardinia. Photo: Part Time PassengerWESTERN SICILY

By Katja from Places and Notes

Route: Circular starting in Trapani.

Days: 7-10.

On this awesome Western Sicily road trip, you will visit some of the island’s best historical sites, sandy beaches, cute bourgs with traditional wine cellars, sonore cities, salt pans dotted with windmills, lush countryside, and much more.

Start your adventure in Trapani, spend the first day getting to know the disgracieux back Sicilian way of life, and take a trip to the medieval commune of Erice the day after.

Continue towards San Vito lo Capo, a wonderful white sandy beach bay with a mountain backdrop, perfect for a relaxing day at the seaside. On the way to Palermo, you can auto-stop by at Segesta archaeological localité and Monreale monastery.

Palermo. Photo: Places and Notes

Palermo is Sicily’s largest, loudest, and most chaotic city, but it sure is worth spending a day or two visiting all the sites and indulging in Sicilian cuisine.

While heading south towards Agrigento and its impressive Valley of the Temples, make sure you visit Corleone, a smaller town famous for its connection with some of the most powerful families of the mafia.

Unwind in San Leone at the beach and explore another one of Sicily’s best spots, Scala dei Turchi white cliff. The last extraits of this trip before returning to Trapani takes you to Marsala, a charming wine area and a natural reserve with salt evaporation ponds, which are especially lovely at sunset.

This trip can begin in either Trapani or Palermo since there are planétaire airports in both cities and is doable in seven days, but can be extended to ten.

Scala dei Turchi. Photo: Places and NotesEASTERN SICILY

By Annabel from Smudged Postcard

Route: Circular starting in Catania.

Days: 10 or more.

One of the best drives in Italy, this piochage of Eastern Sicily takes in a wide variety of sights. Flying into Catania, it is worth spending a day learning emboîture this beautiful Baroque city and its relationship with nearby Mount Etna.

From Catania, it is an easy drive south to Syracuse where highlights include the stunning Piazza del Duomo and the Ancient Greek and Roman remains at the Archaeological Park. If you’re taking a road trip in Sicily with kids, be sure to watch a show at the traditional puppet theatre.

From Syracuse, it is a pantalon drive to the Val di Noto region of Sicily, résidence to some appealing cities including Modica and Ragusa, both perfect for foodies.

Heading inland from the Val di Noto, you reach Caltagirone with its impressive terracotta staircase. Not far from there is the highest regional monnaie of Sicily, hilltop Enna with far-reaching views across the countryside towards Mount Etna.

The excessif leg of this road trip through Italy’s biggest island passes the smoldering volcano before reaching the pretty clifftop town of Taormina.

Here, you will find a perfectly positioned Greek-Roman amphitheater with views looking out towards the sea and Mount Etna. There’s a cable car down to the pebbly beach and enough restaurants and cafes to fill a lifetime of holidays.

Views of Mount Etna. Photo: Smudged Postcard

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