Planning an Italy road trip? Here are itinerary ideas for Northern and Southern Italy, plus maps, route planner, best places to visit and more!
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Italy Road Trip
Italy has an interesting reputation when it comes to road trips. It's infamous for crazy drivers doing reckless things on tiny roads… and those stories aren't entirely inaccurate.
Driving in Italy CAN be challenging. There are indeed crazy drivers who refuse to give way. There are some difficult routes and roads can be poorly maintained, especially in the south of Italy.
BUT, before you give up the idea of an Italian road trip completely, it's one of our favourite countries in Europe to drive around. The weather is often wonderful (MUCH better than the UK), the people are welcoming (unless they're driving and refusing to give way!) and the food involves pasta, pizza and copious amounts of ice cream. Seriously, what's not to love.
It doesn't matter whether you are travelling Italy by car, motorhoming or campervanning in Italy or exploring by bike- there's plenty here for you to start planning your perfect Italy road trip. We've provided road trip itineraries, places to visit and more to help you have an amazing adventure.
Ultimate Italy road trip Planner
Don't forget to grab your FREE road trip planner- this helpful guide will allow you to make notes on the places you want to visit in Italy and keep it all organised so you can remember it all.
Planning a driving holiday in Italy
Italian road trip basics
Some quick tips for driving in Italy:
- Italy drives on the right
- Motorways are GREEN, dual carriageways are blue (opposite to the UK and much of Europe)
- The maximum speed for private vehicles under 3.5t is 130kph (81mph) on motorways but speed limits are lower for cars towing caravans and for motorhomes over 3.5t in weight.
- When on two-lane motorways, dipped headlights must be used.
- If driving through towns and villages, only use the horn in an emergency.
- Buses and trams have right of way.
- Seatbelts are compulsory
- In-car speed camera detectors and motorhome sat-nav systems warning of the presence of radars are illegal (whether they're in use or not!)
- Using a mobile phone while driving is illegal, but you can use a hands-free unit.
- Minor traffic offences can result in on-the-spot fines.
- UK driving licences are perfectly acceptable to use and you probably won't need an IDP (find out the changes made to driving in Europe after BREXIT)
- You will need a green card to prove you have insurance cover when travelling in Italy.
Speed limits in Italy
Speed Limits are as follows for cars and vehicles under 3.5t (unless otherwise signed!)
- 130 km/h (80 mph) on motorways
- 110km/hr (30mph) on major roads
- 90 km/h (50 mph) on minor roads (out of town)
- 50 km/h (31 mph) in built-up areas
In rain or snow conditions, the limit is lowered to 110 k/h on motorways and 90 k/h on trunk roads- this WILL NOT be signposted- you're expected to know it
Fuel Stations in Italy
Fuel prices are comparable to France. and slightly cheaper than the UK. Buy fuel anywhere apart from on the main roads- it'll be cheaper.
There is a ‘two-tier' payment system in Italy. A cheaper option if you fill yourself (self-service), and a more expensive rate if you get a forecourt attendant to do it for you. There's often a symbol of a man with a pump, but ‘con servicio' or servizio for service and ‘self' for self-service.
Many stations close overnight and on Sundays. Chiuso means closed in Italian and Aperto means open.
Petrol (Unleaded) is Benzina senza piombo/ “Benzina verde”. It's also called Normale (95) or Speciale (98) and will be green handles at the pump.
Diesel is Gasolio / Diesel and will be black or yellow at the pump.
Planning to take your motorhome to Europe?
Low Emission Zones and ZTL's in Italy
Many major cities and towns are trying to reduce pollution levels by restricting vehicles into the centre. This is a ‘Zone Traffico Limitato’ or ZTL. Most ZTLs are for residents only, so if you drive into a ZTL you will receive a fine through the post. Also, NO rented vehicles are allowed in a ZTL at any time.
Low Emission Zones are becoming more common throughout Europe. If you do decide to drive into a city with no ZTL, check if there is an LEZ or congestion charge to pay. Alternatively, park outside the city and use public transport to access the centre.
Hiring a vehicle for your Italy Road Trip
If you don't want to drive or are planning to fly in, you can hire a car or campervan for your Italy road trip. If you're flying into Italy, you'll need to pick an airport near the area you want to explore. Then you'll need to find a hire company with a base near there and plan how to get from the airport to the campervan.
If you're driving and then hiring, make sure the hire company has somewhere secure to park your car whilst you're off touring around Italy.
Want to rent a vehicle for your road trip?
These might help
Driving in Italy- what to do in the event of a road traffic accident
You should have a European Claim Form provided by your insurer before you leave. In the event of an accident, all parties complete and sign the form at the scene and then send a copy to your insurer for assessment.
What to do at the scene:
- Stop your vehicle immediately but safely- out of the flow of traffic if possible.
- If a vehicle is blocking the road, use hazard lights and put the red warning triangle 30 metres from the scene to warn approaching traffic
- Exchange your details with the other involved parties. Be sure to get:
- Name and address of all the people involved in the accident
- Vehicle registration numbers of all parties
- Insurance company details of all parties
- Take photos of damage using a camera, GoPro or phone
For more details, read our step-by-step guide on dealing with a road traffic accident in Europe
Best time of year to do an Italian Road Trip
As with all European road trips, WHEN is almost as important as WHERE.
We've enjoyed several road trips in Italy, both in a car and in our motorhome. We've visited in every season- and when you go definitely does make a difference.
Italy Road Trips in Spring
Spring is a great time to road trip in Italy. The later you leave it, the better the weather will be. Try and avoid Easter if you can- many places are closed for religious reasons, but it also gets busy as schools are on holiday.
Italian roadtrips in Summer
Summer is crowded pretty much everywhere in Italy. Although the weather is generally great, having to queue for major attractions in the heat can make you wilt. Also, many hotels and campsites book up months in advance.
Roadtripping Italy in Autumn
This is our favourite time to road trip around Italy. We toured the Dolomites in early October and the weather was perfect. See all our favourite places in Europe in Autumn
Italy road trips in Winter
Northern Italy does get cold and snow in winter. Obviously, the further south you go the warmer it will be. Sicily is where the Italians go to escape the chilly temperatures in the north, so that can be busy. Of course, if you want to go skiing with your motorhome, stay in the Dolomites and enjoy some of the best slopes in Europe.
Snow continues in Northern Italy all the way through until March. We did a tour from Rome to Florence (via Pisa) in February and there was still snow on the ground, it was freezing cold, but the lack of people was wonderful- we practically had some of the museums and popular sites to ourselves! If that's too cold for you, here are the warmest places in Europe in February.
Italy Road Trip Route ideas
If you have the time, there are countless places and routes you could take in Italy. To help, we've separated the country into regions and sections for you, as well as giving the best places to visit in each area.
Road trip to Italy from UK- route planner
If you're driving to Italy from the UK, you need to allow at least one day to reach the Italian border. There are several routes you can take.
If you're planning a road trip through France to Italy, we've put together some of the best driving routes for motorhomes, campers, caravans and cars (complete with estimated toll charges)
Tolls in Italy
Italy doesn't have a vignette- it has tolls (pedaggio). You collect a ticket at the machine as you enter the road system and pay (either a person or machine) at the end in cash or on a card. Tolls are generally more expensive than Spain but cheaper than in France.
You can use a tollpass/ telepass (like e-Movis) or you can pay-as-you-go by cash or card (we always recommend carrying some cash- just in case!) Signs indicate the means of payment accepted on each lane.
You can calculate the toll cost of your intended route here
Italy Road Trip- How long to spend touring Italy
Italy Road Trip One week
It is possible to do an Italy road trip if you only have a week for your holiday. However, you will need to plan your trip carefully to make sure you get the most out of it. For only one week in Italy, we recommend staying in Northern Italy (unless of course you're flying in and then renting a vehicle)
If possible, going for at least 10 days will allow you to see much more, and be able to relax and enjoy it.
Italy Road trip 10-14 days (two weeks)
Obviously, the longer you have, the more you can see. As a guide, we'd suggest two weeks for road tripping around Northern Italy, and 10-14 days for Southern Italy.
Driving from North to South Italy
If you're desperate to see as much of the country (and eat as many of the different regional Italian dishes) as possible, it takes about 12 hours (1160km) to drive from Milan in the North to Catanzaro in the South- according to Google maps. Personally, I think this is VERY optimistic and you should allow at least 2 days driving.
For the purposes of this guide, we're calling Northern Italy anything from Rome north, and Southern Italy anything south of Rome.
New to motorhome or camper travel in Europe? You might find these posts helpful:
NEED GEAR? If you need any kit or essentials for motorhoming in Europe, here's what we recommend and where to find it
Northern Italy road trip
There are some spectacular places in Northern Italy to explore by road. In fact, we prefer Northern Italy to Southern Italy- but that's mainly because we love the mountains. Here are some ideas for your road trip.
Northern Italy Road Trip highlights and best places to visit
Some of our favourite places in Northern Italy include:
- Gran Paradiso
- Cinque Terre, Portofino and Portovenere
- The Italian Lakes (especially Lake Garda)
- The Dolomites
- Stelvio Pass
Northern Italy Bucket List Map
Here's a map of some of the places mentioned on our Northern Italy road trip itinerary, so you can find them easily.
You can find out more about each area below.
Italy North West Coast road trip
If you're driving into Italy, especially if you're driving from the UK, many people find themselves arriving in the North West- from France or Switzerland. If you are going motorhoming in Switzerland, remember you may need more than a vignette.
This is the perfect introduction to Italy. There are national parks, beautiful villages, amazing coastline and dramatic mountains. It can include Gran Paradiso National Park, Cinque Terre, Portofino and Portovenere, La Spezia and down into Tuscany.
Gran Paradiso National Park
The Gran Paradiso National Park was one of the first National Parks to be created in Italy and is popular for skiing, wildlife watching and hiking.
Only 20% of the park is forest- the rest is scrubland, mountains or grassland, so if you want to see wildlife the forests are a great place to head to. You might even see the famous Ibex and Chamois.
The highest point is Gran Paradiso mountain, which stands at 4061m but there are plenty of other mountains and valleys to explore. There are many hiking trails and walks- and several guidebooks you can buy to stay on track.
How long to stay in Gran Paradiso
You can get a taste of the park in a day, but if you'd like to do any hikes or see more of the highlights, stay in the area for at least 2 or 3 days.
Where to stay in Gran Paradiso?
If you're in a campervan, be careful as wild camping is forbidden in National Parks, but there are plenty of campsites and Sostas around.
If you're touring Italy by car or bike, here are some wonderful accommodation options for you.
We love the Bellevue Hotel and Spa– friendly, relaxing and right near the glacier.
Highlights of a road trip in Gran Paradiso National Park
Some of the best things to do in Gran Paradiso include:
- See Gran Paradiso- the highest mountain
- Drive the Colle de Nivolet- scenic mountain pass
- See the views at Serru Lake
- Drive Col Ferret- mountain pass
- Cascate di Lillaz- 3-tier waterfall
Cinque Terre and Portovenere
Cinque Terre is one of the most famous regions in Italy- and for good reason! It’s a series of 5 beautiful villages, all carved into the incredible coastal cliffs of north-west Italy.
Cinque Terre literally translates to “five lands”, which are the 5 villages: Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore. It has been designated a national park and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Portofino is just outside the Cinque Terre protected zone, but is well worth a visit too.
Driving into Cinque Terre
NOTE: Do NOT try and drive into Cinque Terre, even with a car and ESPECIALLY not with a motorhome or campervan. The roads are tiny and not easy for tourists, plus there's little to no parking. Some hotels in the area do offer parking- if you're driving to one of them try to avoid arriving at peak times, so the roads will be quieter.
Alternatively, find somewhere safe to park your vehicle for a couple of nights (such as in La Spezia) and leave it there whilst you enjoy a stay at a hotel in the middle of one of the prettiest places in Italy.
How long to stay in Cinque Terre
We did Cinque Terre in one day and it is possible, but it was a LOT of walking. Staying for 2 days is better- 3 if you want to see Portofino as well.
Highlights of Cinque Terre
Some of the best things to do in the area include:
- Enjoy the sandy beach at Monterosso
- Walking the trail from Monterosso to Vernazza
- Exploring Vernazza Harbour and Castle Doria
- See the sunset at Manarola
Portovenere is further south along the coast. Whilst not technically a part of Cinque Terre, Portovenere is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The town looks like something from a fairytale and is well worth a stop on your itinerary.
If you visit in August, you'll find the Madonna Bianca Festival when hundreds, if not thousands, of Roman torches are lit at night. Also, each Monday there is a market in the town centre.
Italian Lakes Road Trip
The Italian Lakes are like a warmer version of the UK Lake District- with more pizza instead of scones. They're all pretty, but our favourite lakes are Maggiore and Garda.
How long to visit the Italian Lakes for?
We stayed for a week and only really explored Lake Garda and Maggiore properly. So you can easily spend two weeks in the area and still find things to do. Of course, you can just spend a day or two here and get a taste.
Where to stay in the Italian Lakes
There are plenty of incredible hotels, BnBs and campsites around the Italian Lakes (many with lake views!). One of our favourites is Hotel Spiaggia d'Oro Boutique Hotel, with an incredible pool AND views across the lake.
Highlights in the Italian lakes
Some of our favourite places in the lakes include:
- Sirmione on Lake Garda. This picturesque town dates back to Roman times. The fortress is 12th century and you can book a tour around the inside if you wish- the views down the lake are even better higher up.
- Grotte di Catullo- ruins of a Roman Villa built over 2000 years ago! Get here as early as you can because it’s a huge tourist attraction and by mid-morning it will be very crowded.
- If you are road tripping Italy in a car or motorbike (or want to rent one for the day), don't miss the Strada Della Forra Gorge road on the west side of Garda- it's spectacular. The road is literally carved into a gorge and it’s so steep and narrow that only cars and motorbikes are allowed up it. The tunnels through the gorge are so low that you couldn’t drive through in anything bigger than a large car- I think even a 4×4 might be too big!
- If you like heights, there's a zipwire near Lake Maggiore which has been on my bucket list for a while!
Milan to Lake Como Road Trip
This Italian Road Trip was driven by Jamie from Travel Addict
The drive between Milan and Lake Como is only 1.5 hours, but don't rush north without taking a short break to Monza. This utterly charming Italian village is the halfway point between Milan and Lake Como. Most of the ancient buildings date all the way back to the 1400s, but the town is currently best known as a Formula 1 racing circuit
You can drive around the loop of Lake Como, or take a ferry tour. The most popular towns on the lake are Como and Bellagio, for good reason. Some of the smaller towns have their own unique charm – Varenna, Lenno, Tremezzo and Menaggio to name a few worth visiting. And no drive on the lake is complete without a stop at one of the famous villas, such as Villa del Balbianello or Villa Carlotta.
TOP TIP: The roads are doable with a motorhome, but some of them are VERY small, so try to go early in the morning or well out of peak season.
Afterwards, head west to Lake Maggiore for more of Italy's lake region, or East to the incredibly beautiful city of Bergamo to extend your journey a few extra days. Bergamo has a rich and long history, incredible architecture that spans a hillside, and a wonderfully authentic vibe.
If you're feeling brave on your Italian road trip, head north from the lakes and drive the Stelvio Pass.
The Stelvio Pass is a high mountain pass carved into the Italian Alps. It has a series of 48 hairpin turns and rises to an elevation of 2,756m (9,045ft) above sea level, making it one of the highest paved roads in Europe.
It's not for the faint-hearted, but the views are phenomenal.
TOP TIP: Drive Stelvio Pass early in the morning- before the crowds arrive and the road becomes even more crazy!
(And yes, it looks a lot like Trollstigen Road in Norway!)
Dolomites Road Trip
The Dolomites are one of the most breathtaking mountain regions in Europe. The incredible rock formations, combined with the beautiful lakes, valleys and incredible roads make this one of the best road trip destinations ANYWHERE, not just in Italy.
Where are the Dolomites?
The Dolomites are in Northern Italy, about an hour north of Lake Garda.
Venice to Bolzano (the start of the Great Dolomites Road) will take you about 2 and a half hours (the distance is 267km)
Milan to Bolzano is about 3 and a half hours (the distance is 278km)
How long to spend in the Dolomites?
We spent 4 days roadtripping around the Dolomites and feel like we barely scratched the surface. If you want to just drive and see the scenery, 2 or 3 days will give you a taste. If you want to hike and enjoy the outdoors, you need at least 5-7 (and still will want to go back!)
Highlights of a Dolomites Road Trip
Some of our favourite places in the Dolomites include:
- Tre Cime di Lavaredo (seriously, if you are doing an Italy road trip in a motorhome or campervan, you HAVE to stay up here for at least one night (we stayed for 2)
- Driving the Great Dolomites Road– this was magic and Lake Carezza is on it too.
- Lago di Braies
- Sella Pass
- Val di Funes
- Via Ferrata
Where to stay in the Dolomites
If you're exploring the Dolomites by motorhome or camper, there are some wonderful campsites and aires with breathtaking views. Don't miss a chance to stay at the top of Tre Cime di Lavaredo- it's incredible.
If you're not in a motorhome or camper, base yourself at one of these fabulous locations (many with views of the Dolomites!)
Venice is one of the most beautiful cities in the world- there's a reason it's one of the most popular honeymoon destinations in Europe. Avoid in high summer- it's just too crowded to see anything.
You can't go road tripping in Italy (especially Northern Italy) and NOT make a stop to see Venice. This incredible city has canals, history, stunning views- and it is utterly unsuitable for vehicles.
If you're exploring Europe in February, don't miss the Venice Carnival – it will be crazy busy but spectacular!
When is the best time to visit Venice?
We highly recommend visiting out of high season. Our favourite time to visit Venice is after summer- in fact, it's one of the best places to see in Europe in October.
But no matter what time of year you go, do NOT try and drive into the city, especially with a motorhome or camper.
East Coast Italy Road Trip
The east coast of Italy (The Adriatic Coast) has much to recommend it. You can actually drive from Venice to San Marino in about 3 hours, but the prettier route is using the coast roads and taking your time.
Where to go on the East coast of Italy
Some of the best places to visit on the Italian Adriatic Coast include:
- Trieste: up near the Slovenian border
- Comacchio: Don't miss the Trepponti fortified bridge
- Po Delta Natural Park: UNESCO World Heritage site protecting around 54,000 hectares and many species of local flora and fauna
- Cesenatico: Don't miss the Porto Canale, which runs through the historic city centre, or the Maritime Museum which houses several vintage boats.
- Rimini: can be crowded, but out of season is well worth a visit. Don't miss Tiberio Bridge- the historic Roman bridge crossing the Marecchia River or the former fishing district of Borgo San Giuliano which now has colourful houses and a great atmosphere.
- San Marino- one of the oldest and smallest countries in the world!
San Marino is actually a totally different country. It's totally surrounded by Italy, but is independent. San Marino is one of the oldest and smallest countries in the world- only 23sq miles and is mostly one city.
It was founded on September 3rd, 301. The people who live in San Marino are not “Italians” – they are referred to as Sammarinese. They are very proud of their independence from Italy.
NOTE: San Marino is not part of the European Union although they do use the euro as currency.
Spend at least a day enjoying San Marino. There are castles, museums and towers to explore- you won't get to them all in a day!
Recommended by Pamela from the Directionally Challenged Traveler
Tuscany Road Trip Planner
This Tuscan Road Trip itinerary was driven by Martina and Jürgen from Places of Juma
There are many highlights of a Tuscany road trip- the landscapes, the historic towns and the pretty stone villages. Tuscany is also famous for art and delicious cuisine. The infro-structure isn't bad in most places, and it's not too crowded, except in high summer.
Some of the best places to see in Tuscany include:
- Siena- famous for the Piazza del Campo
- Arezzo- the antique market is legendary
- Val d'Orcia- UNESCO world Heritage and fabulous views
- Montalcino- famous for its for its Brunello di Montalcino wine
How long to spend in Tuscany
Plan at least a few days to explore Tuscany. Many people spend 2 weeks just in this area along!
Where to stay in Tuscany
There are many lovely agritourism accommodations all over the place, so you can stay at vineyards, farms or local producers for the night if you want to taste their produce. There are also plenty of hotels and BnBs in the region- here are some wonderful ideas for you.
If you’re looking for a beautiful city in Italy, you need to head to Florence. This picturesque city is famous for the culture, renaissance art, architecture and monuments. It’s full of art galleries and museums including the famous Uffizi Gallery and Palazzo Pitti.
The centre is a UNESCO World Heritage site. There are plenty of churches, cathedrals- including the world-famous Duomo and idyllic streets to explore, as well as plenty of upmarket shops and unique boutiques to discover.
As well as the galleries mentioned above, you should also visit the Galleria dell’Accademia, which contains the incredible marble sculptures by Michelangelo and others, notably David and Prisoners, Giambologna's Rape of the Sabines and Botticelli's Madonna and Child and Madonna of the Sea.
Another must-see is the Ponte Vecchio, one of the most historic bridges in Florence. As well as being picturesque, shops line each side of the bridge, including jewellers, artisans and souvenir shops.
Rome is the capital of Italy and the most visited tourist destination- and for good reason. We've been to Rome many times and never get tired of the history, the ancient sites, the architecture or the incredible views.
When is the best time to visit Rome?
We highly recommend visiting out of season. Rome is always busy and always open, so no worries about missing the best parts. In fact, Rome is one of the best cities in Europe to visit in Winter.
Having said that, our favourite time to visit Rome is in October, when the colours of the changing leaves look AMAZING against the backdrop of the city.
How long to visit Rome for?
If you've never been to Rome before, stay at least 3-4 days. There's so much to see, and if you don't plan enough time, you'll miss out.
TOP TIP: Don't drive into Rome- use public transport.
Planning to take your motorhome to Europe?
Southern Italy Road Trip
So, you've made it to Rome and want to keep heading south? Ok, let's talk about Southern Italy road trips.
You'll notice a difference in southern Italy in terms of road quality, and also in how many service points and fuel stations there are- so make sure to make use of them when you find them.
It takes about 2 and a half hours to drive from Rome to Naples. The A3/E45 autostrada is the fastest route and is fine for motorhomes/ campers. From Naples, you can start exploring the famous Amalfi coastline and other historical areas, like Pompeii and Mount Vesuvius.
Be careful- parts of the Amalfi Coast route are unsuitable for motorhomes and campers.
Highlights and best places to visit on a Southern Italy Road Trip
Some of our favourite places to visit in Southern Italy include:
- The Amalfi Coast
- Pompeii and Herculaneun
- Puglia and Alberobello
- Cilento National Park and Paestum -the ancient Temple ruins
- Sassi di Matera (Caves of Mattera)
Southern Italy Road Trip Map
Here's a map of some of the best places to visit in Southern Italy. See below for more details on each.
Personally, we didn't rate Naples at all, but we didn't go into the city centre, which is apparently much nicer than the outskirts. Still, it is the home of Pizza, so I feel we need to return and give it a chance.
Pompeii and Herculaneam
Pompeii is the famous Roman city which was buried when Mount Vesuvius erupted in 79 A.D. It's incredible to be able to walk the streets and see shops, temples, houses and even the local brothel! There's a great motorhome campsite just across the street, Camping Spartacus
If you get chance, be sure to visit Herculaneum, which is closer to Naples than Pompeii, but much less well-known and therefore less touristy.
Amalfi Coast Road Trip
The Amalfi coast is one of the iconic Italy road trips. Be warned, some of the route from Sorrento to Salerno is impossible with a motorhome or camper, so you won't be able to drive the entire thing unless you have a bike or scooter with you!
Larger than many towns on the Amalfi Coast, but warm and full of character, Sorrento is fun. The old town is absolutely delightful and has a great choice of restaurants. As the sunsets, relax with a glass of Limoncello, the local lemon liqueur. There are often street musicians on the promenade overlooking the sea.
TOP TIP: Be sure to get chips from the ‘Queens Chips'- often voted the best in the area.
Agerola & Positano
Agerola is the beginning of the ten-km hike called Path of the Gods. The views are stunning and at Vallone Porto, near Positano, a tumbling waterfall and canyon, mark the end of the walk. Positano is an amazing town, built vertically on a rocky precipice.
Amalfi and Ravello
These are two of the larger towns. Amalfi has the Duomo di Amalfi with its mosaics in yellow and green and there are a number of boat trips to enjoy or the chance to slow the tempo and simply relax on the beach.
Ravello’s treasures include two stunning medieval palaces with amazing views of the bay far below.
The last stop on the route is Capri. Take a boat trip to the grottos, or a cable car from the harbour up to the town with its snazzy boutiques and romantic restaurants.
This Italy road trip itinerary was driven by Chrysoula from Travel Passionate
Cilento Region Road Trip
Cilento is one of the undiscovered gems in Southern Italy. For some reason, it's not as famous as the other regions- which makes exploring it even better, as it's generally quieter.
There's a national park here, which is wonderful to explore, but the two highlights for me are the INCREDIBLE beaches- and the Paestum ruins.
Paestum used to be an ancient Greek city and is now famous for the ruins of thre ancient Greek temples, dating from about 550 to 450 BC, which are in a surprisingly good state. The walls and amphitheatre are largely intact, and the bottom of the walls of many other structures remain, as well as paved roads. The site is open to the public, and is well worth a visit.
Honestly, much of the coastline of the Cilento region looks similar to this, but this town is a great place to stop for a night or two on your Southern Italy road trip. Thre's not a huge beach, but the water in unbelievably clear and wonderful to swim in.
Puglia- the heel of the boot!
Puglia is on the Adriatic coast in the south east of Italy and offers a wonderful mix of crystal clear sea and ancient history.
Some of the highlights include:
- Bari, the Capital of Puglia
- Polignano a Mare
- Alberobello- with the cone-shaped houses
- Lecce and Otranto
- The Cave of Poetry!
Puglia Road Trip itinerary
This Italy Road Trip idea was suggested by Ophelie from Limitless Secrets
After that, head inland to the beautiful town of Alberobello- famous for its trulli (cone-shaped) houses. It really does look like something out of a storybook. Alberobello is only 25 minutes from Monopoli.
Then head west to Matera, a UNESCO World Heritage built on the side of the Matera Gravine and full of caves (Sassi) which are amazing to visit.
Lastly, don't miss Otranto. It doesn't look much on the map, but the sea here is one of the clearest azure we've ever seen!
Where to stay in Puglia?
Sardinia- another Italy Road Trip idea
This Italy road trip itinerary was suggested by Rachel of Average Lives
If you've explored enough of the Italian mainland, you can extend your Italy road trip to one of the islands nearby, such as Sardinia.
Sardinia is full of beautiful beaches, historic castles, and delicious food. You can enjoy. aroad trip in North Sardinia, from Olbia to Alghero, which will take around five days to a week, depending on your travel style.
Start by exploring the quaint streets and markets of the city of Olbia. After hop on an affordable ferry (with your car) to the nearby Archipelago of La Maddalena. In La Maddalena town, head to I Vittelloni for trendy vibes and the best aperitivo. Over the next couple of days, explore Caprera Island and visit Cala Coticcio, the Garibaldi Museum, and Cala Napoletana. You won’t want to leave, but you must follow the coast to Santa Teresa Di Gallura. First, eat breakfast, have a coffee, and then spend your day exploring the colourful streets, the Spanish Tower and watch the sunset at the nearby hippie village – Valle Della Luna.
The next morning visit Li Cossi for a swim in the emerald water before spending the evening in the medieval village of Castelsardo. After you have finished exploring, make your way towards Alghero and stop to cast your eyes on the ‘Elephant Rock’ and then enjoy the Catalan-style town. In Alghero, you can see sensational beaches and take a trip to Grotte Di Nettuno in Capo Caccia’s cliffs. Most importantly, you will have finished one of the most beautiful road trips in Italy and won’t want to leave the idyllic island.
How to get to Sardinia from Italy
It’s easy to reach the island by car or motorhome from mainland Italy because you can catch a ferry from Genoa to Olbia. Be warned- this ferry can be expensive, so book well in advance if you can, especially in the summer when it gets booked up quickly.