From the valleys of Tuscany to the jagged Amalfi coast, Italy has more to show than just what meets the eye.
So leave the planes and trains behind and take a road trip through the country stopping at delightful unexpected destinations, all while tasting some of the freshest cuisine, touring the many cathedrals and creating unforgettable memories.
Italy is popular among travelers and a renowned tourist destination being home to the greatest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the world. Their cultural and historic influences have stretched around far and wide and Italy’s natural scenery, from the mountains down to the shoreline, is waiting to be discovered by road trip.
Filled with a rich collection of art and literature, the boot-shaped peninsula boasts numerous monuments, including buildings, statues, churches, art galleries and archaeological remains, to see. And with so many off the beaten track picturesque villages to explore and local cuisine to enjoy, a road trip through Italy is the best way to see the world’s most traveled destination.
Why take a road trip?
A road trip through Italy is not only an affordable option with a rental car, it is a different way to see all of the country's natural beauty. While checking out the tourist clichés is a practicality when picking up your car rental in a convenient location in one of Italy’s major cities, seeking out adventure in less well-known towns and villages is an advantage while on a road trip. Going off the beaten track will have you photographing new places, enjoying seasonal entrees at local restaurants and carrying on conversations with natives over a glass of wine.
Rules of the Road
Before you start your road trip, map out your route by doing some personal research or inquire about a car hire travel packages that fits your needs. And, while on your road trip through Italy, look out for Tourist Information Offices along your route for answers to any travel questions you may have or to gather more information about a particular destination or attraction. Keep in mind, that hours of operation may vary depending on the season. A road trip not only allows you to set your own travel plans, but it creates a flexible schedule so remember to relax and enjoy the moment—go at your own pace.
Become a Local
Meeting people is a definite perk while on a road trip through Italy, so carrying a dictionary might aid in communication. Depending on where you are in the country, some Italian natives may not speak English, especially in the more remote areas of Italy. Also, road signs will be written in Italian so a phrase book might help you decipher your location and keep you on the right track. Remember, the best way to find your way is to ask a local; not only will they know where to go, but their advice, tips and suggestions will immerse you in the Italian culture, while creating an unforgettable road trip.
Where to Go
While the beauty of Italy’s hotspots, such as Rome, Florence, the Amalfi Coast and Milan, provides much history, fashion and art, be sure to include a few off the beaten track destinations during your road trip to truly discover all that Italy has to offer. This will create a fascinating road trip and more in-depth exploration of the region.
Get Off The Beaten Track
From the Italian coast to the bustling city streets, here are a few places to include on your road trip itinerary:
Cinque Terre is a charming destination located in Liguria along the Italian coastline. The beautiful quaint villages perched on cliffs, friendly environment and picturesque sunsets make this a destination not to miss when planning your road trip. The road that connects the 5 seaside villages, that make up Cinque Terre, is a great way to travel the coastline. The Amalfi coast is also a popular seaside destination. The narrow, curvy road that takes you away from the coast and up into the mountains of this regions will have you on the edge of your seat, while the scenic views will have you snapping photograph after photograph.
For a deeper understanding and appreciation for art, Florence is a destination to consider when on a road trip through Italy. But if you are looking for another art destination, Bergamo is also a place to add to your itinerary. This town, which is located in Lombard in northern Italy, offers you a look at ancient architecture and fine arts, while providing the opportunity to enjoy lots of great entertainment.
Matera, located in the southern region of Basilicata, is a UNESCO site famous for its cave-dwellings. Travel along a cliff-side road where the cave-dwelling district has been inhabited for centuries and learn about why Matera was established as the “most outstanding, intact example of troglodyte settlement in the Mediterranean.”
The countryside of Tuscany is a destination filled with hill villages and sprawling vineyards. Try some of Italy’s favorable wines and renowned cuisine, which are just two of the reasons this destination stands out from various other villages. The charm of Tuscany is easily accessible from Rome.
Whether this is your first visit to Italy or you are going back for more, a rental car will provide the best options to fit your road trip needs.
Set aside some time to relax with the locals, tour historical galleries, discover new scenery and take in the fresh air of the Italian coast as you discover the true essence of Italy.