Italy is a nation built for driving. From its meandering country roads to its fast-paced city streets, tourists heading to this European nation would be remiss if they didn’t get behind the wheel themselves.
But where exactly should people go on their roadway journey? Here are five tried and true classic road trips every visitor should test out on their next trip. It’s time to put the pedal to the metal. Ready… set… go!
Stelvio Pass: Between Bormio and Stelvio
Dubbed the “greatest driving road in the world” by Topgear, Stelvio Pass is a must-see roadway for drivers looking for a thrill. The road certainly isn’t for the faint of heart as it comes with some rather difficult conditions including tight turns, narrow roads and mountain passes. But really, that shouldn't be too big of a surprise considering the road was built sometime around 1820 when horses were the prime mode of transportation. Even now, if you choose to accept this challenging course, you’ll most certainly be joined by a few cars that have plenty of horsepower backing them up. On the way, book a stay at the Passo Stelvio, a no-nonsense hotel that may be short on amenities, but it’s proximity to the pass can’t be beaten.
Amalfi Coast: Between Sorrento and Salerno
What could be better than driving by the most stunning coastline in the world? Answer: Nothing. Experience this for yourself by taking a spin down the Amalfi Coast. Along the way, one can take in all the sights on a roadway originally built by the ancient Romans, who constructed it as a trade path along the cliffs. Be warned: Some sections of the road between Sorrento and Salerno can be incredibly narrow so make sure the car’s brakes are working perfectly. Along the way, book a stay at the Il San Pietro di Positano, a luxury hotel that sits just outside of town, that still boats gorgeous seaside views without the crowds.
Grande Strada della Dolomiti: Between Bolzano and Cortina d'Ampezzo
Located just south of the Swiss Alps, the Dolomite mountain rage is waiting to be explored. According to TomTom, The Great Dolomite Road can actually be completed in just under five hours, but why would anyone want to rush through beauty. In the summer months, visitors to the road can pull off to the side and take one seriously breathtaking hike. In the winter, pack the car with skis, snowboard, boots and a warm hat and hit the slopes. After taking in the scenery, book a stay at Rosa Alpina Hotel & Spa’s 1,700-square-foot penthouse, which comes with panoramic views thanks to its wall-to-wall windows. This way, guests can be well-rested for day two of their driving escape.
Tuscany: Between Florence and Arezzo
Driving through Tuscany’s countryside is popular for a reason. Not only are the driving conditions impeccable, but the roadway is flanked by an absolutely lovely and utterly romantic countryside. Oh, and don’t forget about all the fantastic food to eat and vineyards to visit along the way. Take some time and stretch this journey into a multi-day affair to ensure there’s enough time to explore all the side streets and small towns on the trip. Of course, make sure to hire a driver after any and all wine tastings to bring you back to your hotel. And that hotel should be Il Salviatino, which is not only one of the area’s most beautiful destinations, it’s also home to one of the most colorful hotel suites in the world.
Northern Lakes: Circumnavigate Lake Como
The drive around Lake Como is a refreshing adventure filled with plenty of glamour and a whole lot of charm. While the town of Como itself is small, the lake it sits on is massive, and according to TomTom could take more than four hours to drive around. But, again, there’s no need to rush. Along the way, visit at a lakeside villa or two, stop for a quick boat ride, or do a bit of shopping in Bellagio. After a trek around the lake, book a stay at the famed Villa D’Este, the preferred hotel of choice for royalty, diplomats, Chrissy Teigen and George Clooney. And, at the hotel—which was built in the late 18th century—visitors may even be able to check out a few of the world’s best vintage rides, as the hotel has been hosting an annual Alfa Romeo gathering since 1929. The hotel even had a model named after it, making this perhaps the ideal ending point for any Italian driving vacation.