Living la doce vita. The lakes, mountains, vineyards, history and food are all waiting for you. Italy is an excellent travel destination. And despite not being a large country, it exudes culture and history. And who would not want to have a taste of exquisite Italian cuisine? We love hopping in a car and taking off while in Italy. In our opinion, it is the best way to experience Italy and all it has to offer.
One noteworthy thing about Italy is that it is the country with the most World Heritage Sites. Therefore, you will have plenty to see when you are there. No wonder tourists prefer to make a road trip to explore the country.
That said, it would be best to figure out the best road trip destinations in Italy while reading some road trip packing tips online. So, where should you stop by during your Italian road trip? Here’s a list of 12 destinations that are worth being a part of your Italian road trip itinerary.
The Amalfi Coast is a popular destination when thinking of a road trip in Italy. It’s so popular that you’re going to encounter a lot of other vehicles, including buses, while you’re driving along the Amalfi Coast. The roads are pretty narrow too, so expect getting held up by the traffic. The best thing to do while on the Amalfi Coast is to find a place to park and explore it on a Vespa. A real Italian experience.
You can enjoy the Amalfi Coast while in a car as long as you’re alert and have excellent driving skills. The Amalfi Coast has gorgeous vistas in Italy, so it deserves a spot in your itinerary for that.
Of course, the only issue is that it’s challenging to find an empty parking spot to truly enjoy the sights. Thus, if you plan on going to the Amalfi Coast while on a road trip, it’s best to avoid going during its peak season.
For as few crowds as possible, you might even want to consider driving up there during the winter season instead of summer. We love the shoulder months like September. Fewer crowds but still great weather.
You can’t make a trip to Italy without trying to go to one of the many wineries there are. And when you think of wineries, you think of the rolling hills of the Tuscany region.
Tuscany is also an excellent road trip destination. You can see wineries as far as the eye can see as well as olive groves. You will have to do a food trip along with your road trip when you are in Tuscany because they have the most delicious food in the region.
Also, the towns and cities in the Tuscany region are gorgeous and worth a stop. Therefore, you should consider taking your time enjoying these cities.
Another coastal drive you want to include in your Italian road trip itinerary would be Sicily. Sicily is a historically rich destination, so expect to be making many stops along the way. Given all of the gorgeous historical spots in Sicily, you might want to park your car for a while when you make it here and walk around for a bit.
Walking around Sicily allows you to enjoy their archaeological finds and architectural masterpieces. If you’re looking for historical discoveries, definitely go to the Valley of the Temples. There you’ll see plenty of ancient ruins that still stand tall to this day.
You should also make your way and drive along the salt flats located somewhere between Marsala and Trapani. There you’ll see windmills and lagoons as well as the salt flats. You can even make a stop in Marsala and enjoy some of their wine.
Venice is another iconic city of Italy that should be on your itinerary when traveling the country. However, Venice is a car-free city. That means that you will need to leave your car, if you rented one, outside the city center to travel there.
Nonetheless, you can always have Venice as your first destination before starting your road trip, right? There are a lot of things you can do in Venice. Most notably, you are going to want to ride the gondola.
Riding the gondola can help you see sights around Venice that you would not have been able to see in that perspective otherwise. Thus, it is a good idea to rent a gondola when you’re there.
We always recommend staying over night in the Venice. During the day it tends to get over crowded, but at night it becomes magical. Music will fill the air after 90% of the tourists have left for the day.
Cinque Terre refers to the five fishing communities in Liguria, which is in the northwestern part of Italy.
The Cinque Terre used to be a somewhat isolated area, but nowadays, it’s much more accessible than before. However, it would still be quite challenging to get there, especially if you’re going via car.
An excellent way to reach this destination is by boarding a train. However, you can also drive to get there, although you’re going to need to be quite an expert driver given the road conditions to get to Cinque Terre. Once you’re there, you’ll find that these colorful fishing communities are worth the wait.
We have mentioned before how it is a great idea to go on a road trip to Tuscany. Well, one of the cities that you can go to in the Tuscany region would be Pisa. Yes, this name may be familiar to you as it is home to the ever-famous Leaning Tower of Pisa. Therefore, you can adapt your complete tourist form and might as well stop by the Leaning Tower of Pisa while you’re there.
Of course, the Tower is not the only thing worth admiring there. You should also pay attention to the Pisa Cathedral and the Baptistery of St. John, located on the Piazza Dei Miracoli.
All these buildings are excellent examples of Pisan architectural Romanesque styles. And you can admire the ingenuity that went into creating these buildings.
The Northern Lakes
If you’re going to be on a road trip with you and your significant other, then you should want to incorporate a romantic destination in your itinerary. Of course, Italy has reasonably romantic scenery already.
Still, one extraordinary place that will make it extra romantic would be the Lake District of Italy. That’s because this is where you can see the Northern Lakes.
Lake Como and Lake Garda are excellent locations, and you can enjoy a lakeside getaway if you stop by these destinations. You can even hop off the car and into a boat with a boat tour to enjoy the lakes up close. There you can admire plenty of villas in the area as well as the crystal blue lakes around you.
Puglia is dubbed as the heel of Italy because of the boot shape that the country looks like.
Aside from being Italy’s heel, Puglia is also another excellent road trip destination because this coastal area has plenty to see. You will enjoy sights of craggy cliffs, serene beach towns, and even dine on local seafood-based cuisines.
With a car, you will be able to hit many of the more underrated spots of Puglia, so adding this to your road trip itinerary is a must. You can also enjoy the local street food scene there, so for foodies out there, Puglia might be the hidden gem of Italy that you would want to visit.
The Great Dolomites Road
If you want breathtaking sights while you’re driving in your car, then you have to make a stop by the Great Dolomites Road. The Great Dolomites Road is one of the best ways to enjoy the craggy Dolomites around you. You can admire their majesty in full glory as you drive the Great Dolomites Road, where every turn feels picturesque.
For sportier individuals looking to have some fun, there are plenty of stops along the Great Dolomites Road. And this will allow you to enjoy sports activities in the area. For example, a popular activity to do here would be to enjoy winter sports. However, plenty of hikers have also enjoyed trekking the area.
You can also stop by the gorgeous Lago di Carezza, a lake that can provide clear reflections of the magnificent sky and the towering mountains.
When you think of Italy, the image that pops up in your head may be green, rolling hills for the picturesque countryside.
However, Trieste is not what you would expect to see when you think of an Italian town. That’s because Trieste is a potent mix of various cultures from centuries ago. Specifically, it boasts a combination of Italian and Austrian influences.
For fans of literature and history, Trieste has an exciting past that’s worth exploring. It served as a cultural hub of sorts in Italy where artists, writers, and even philosophers would spend some time.
Nowadays, Trieste is still a cultural hub, and interestingly enough, they are responsible for the supply of 40% of coffee in Italy. Thus, it would be ideal to stop here, read a good book, while enjoying your time in a local cafe.
The Aosta Valley is another road trip destination in Italy that you would want to try. It is Italy’s smallest region, but it still has a lot to offer.
The region boasts plenty of castles and forts worth admiring, such as the Bard Fortress, Sarre Castle, and Sarriod de La Tour Castle. You can also enjoy hiking the Italian Alps that perfectly frame the Aosta Valley.
Stelvio Pass is a gorgeous driving route that has some fantastic panoramic views around you. It is Italy’s most renowned mountain pass. Thus there is no reason for you not to stop by this place to enjoy the vistas. Of course, there are still some hairpin bends and narrow roads, but if you know what you are doing, the Stelvio Pass is worth it.
By the way, there are other incredible mountain passes to explore. Try the Splugan Pass with other great view.
Our Final Word
Italy is an ideal travel destination because it has a rich culture, famous cuisine, and gorgeous scenery. It also has a great infrastructure and road system. With the help of a car to take you places, you will be able to reach some corners of Italy that you may yet to explore.
Next time you are in Italy, rent a car and try organizing a road trip with these destinations in mind. Even if you have been there before, you might find something new when you go.
So pack your bags, start the engine, and enjoy the trip!
Geraldine Mills is a self-confessed wanderlust from the land down under, Australia! She funds her adventures by working as a brand consultant and as a travel writer. She loves sharing the allure of backpacking and being one with nature. You can read more of her adventures here https://maptia.com/geraldinewalks