The Most Scenic Road Trips in Northern Italy
Explore the Tuscan hills, the shores of Italian lakes, and more.
North Italy he has everything; incredible cuisine, idyllic landscapes, exceptional art and culture and a pleasant climate. And a road trip is one of the best ways to enjoy it. For anyone planning or dreaming of their next getaway, why not hire a car and embark on one of these scenic and heavenly Northern Italian routes?
The beauty of the Italian lakes could not really be overstated. Explore the villages of pastel-painted houses decorated with flower baskets and shutters that line Lake Garda. Or break up a road trip with a boat trip through the grand neoclassical villas that line the edge of Lake Como’s shimmering blue water, while mountains covered in cypress forests and terraces of olive and lemon groves form the backdrop. You can customize your road trip itinerary to suit your needs, whether it’s a week spent driving around Garda. Or a leisurely day spent driving 70km around the south shore of Como, stopping at charming little towns like Bellagio. Book yourself a night at Albricci Peregrini Palace in the town of Como, an easy starting point for an excursion around the lake.
The Grande Strada delle Dolomiti (or the Great Route of the Dolomites) winds for 182 km through the magnificent granite peaks of the eponymous mountain range. The complete route goes from the city of Bolzano to a town called Cortina d’Ampezzo but you can divide it as you wish. You will, however, want to take it at a relatively slow pace; leaving time for detours to make spectacular hikes and stops at viewpoints to fully appreciate the landscape. Expect castles, glaciers, crystal-clear turquoise lakes that contrast with gray granite, and stupendous natural landmarks like the jagged Pordoi Pass. Start your journey by staying at Townhouse Goldensterna B&B in Bolzano.
Milano to Rome
From Italy’s fashion capital to its current capital, this road trip itinerary will introduce you to some of the country’s finest treasures. It’s a six-hour drive, but it should be broken up into a multi-day jaunt. Stop in Bologna, a city young because of its university (reputedly the oldest continuously operating university in the world) to sample the freshly grated parmesan cheese stew in the very city where it comes from. Then, visit Florence for a taste of Renaissance art and architecture. And Siena for its magical Tuscan cityscape, marked by the Torre del Mangia dominating the main square, Piazza del Campo. Complete your trip to Rome by staying at the Vilon Hotel.
Venice to Milan
Start by spending at least a few car-free days amid Venice’s dreamy waterways, taking gondola rides and excursions to the lagoon islands of Murano and Burano. Then hit the road and head to Padua, home to another of the oldest universities in the world as well as some of the world’s most important frescoes by Giotto in the city’s Scrovegni Chapel. Your next stop should be Verona, home of Romeo and Juliet and the Arena di Verona, a Roman amphitheater built in 30 AD that is still used today for opera and pop concerts. Pick up a ticket to a show here and spend the night in Verona before heading to Milan to end your road trip with a stay at Luxury B&B in Moscow.
Torino to Florence
This road route is one of the most touristic, passing some of Italy’s most iconic attractions, from the colorful terraces of the Cinque Terre to the Leaning Tower of Pisa, ideal for photo ops.
Although it’s not recommended to drive the Cinque Terre – a string of quaint coastal villages with pastel-painted houses decorating the hillside – you can park your car during this part of your trip to walk the trail. There is also lots to see and do in Turinwhere you start your journey (and rent your car). And the lovely captivating view of the church tower with a tree growing on top of the city of Lucca, which is also en route. Not to mention mighty landmarks like Florence’s exquisite Duomo and its medieval Ponte Vecchio (or Old Bridge), as the highlight of your trip while staying in Corte Calzaiuoli Elegant Suites.