Exploring Italy by car is obviously much better than sticking to rail, but it is not for amateur drivers. You will need to watch out for hotheaded locals and complicated twisted roads. You just have to be brave and have patience (especially when those narrow alleys are full), because many of the scenic views of the country can only be viewed by car.
Here are some of the best road trips to try out in Italy.
This trip allows you to see the iconic Mt. Etna, as well as other beautiful cities and towns around. You can start with Cefalu, with its charming cobblestone alleys and picture-perfect beach. You can continue onto Zingaroo National Park for a hike to any one of its beaches before ending up in Trapani. This is a great starting point for Favignana Island, switching the car for a bike.
After that, head over to the Valley of the Temples to explore some huge ancient monuments. If you have time to spare, check out some Baroque towns in the southeast, like Ragusa and Marzamemmi. You can enjoy the small-town charm, the local catch (from the fishing communities), and the very delicious food.
2. Highlights of Northern Italy
Driving around mountainous Northern Italy can be tricky, but the ride will reward you with unparalleled views. You can start at Cinque De Terre and the colorful villages emerging from the dramatic coastline. You will need to park your car to access the 5 villages, but the ferry ride allows you to enjoy the views from a different perspective.
Head over to Lake Garda and the spa town of Sirmione for a relaxing jacuzzi in between drives. Don’t get too comfortable as there are more villages in the area. You can continue on to Trentino, using it as a jumpoff point to visit the nearby lakes, mountains, and vineyards. You can close your trip to Venice, which is a must-see in any Northern Italy itinerary.
3. Florence and Tuscany
This beautiful piece of Italy is the perfect location for a road trip. Small, walled villages, vineyards, rolling hills, and colorful flowers await you. Start your trip in Tuscany, seeing the Duomo and all the other highlights in the area.
Continue on to the Chianti wine region to try out the wine straight from the vineyard. The next step is driving the Val D’Orcia, which is one of the most picturesque driving routes in Italy. Make sure to visit Pienza as well.
4. Amalfi Coast
This drive is not for the inexperienced, given the scary bends, narrow roads, bad traffic, and scarce parking. Despite this, it is one of the prettiest road trips in the country!
Start by driving from Sorrento to Amalfi, stopping to check out some of the colorful towns and villages along the way. Ravello has the most beautiful views from the garden, so bring your camera with you. Continue on to Positano and sunbathing at the local beach to relax. Capri is a short boat trip away, and you can explore it for great viewpoints.
Italy has so many little villages and towns that you will not run out of places to visit during your visit. Just make sure to do your research or interview some people about the driving experience in the city.