italy road trip in january

Traveling to Italy in January: What You Need to Know

January in Venice || creative commons photo by Michele Ursino

Most people, if they have their druthers, plan Italy vacations in the summer when the sun is shining and the beaches are packed. January in Italy is neither warm nor beach weather, and there are still some excellent reasons to visit Italy at the start of the year – not least the lower prices.

January in Italy is definitely the “low season” in terms of tourism. Christmas is over and the next major Italian holiday – Easter – isn’t for a few months yet. The weather can be cold and downright dreary, dashing any visions you may have had of rolling green hills or sun-dappled piazzas. January isn’t for everyone, I’ll grant you that. If you’re traveling to Italy in January, here’s what you need to know about weather and holidays.

Weather in Italy in January

As mentioned, January in Italy isn’t warm. In fact, the last days of January are said to be the coldest of the year. Some parts of Italy will get snow, while others just get socked in with fog and rain. Overall, the weather does tend to get warmer as you go south, but even Sicily ‘s beaches are deserted in January.

This is the kind of inclement weather that likely keeps you indoors at home, but you don’t want to stay in your hotel room when you’re on vacation. There are lots of attractions in Italy that are indoors (museums, art galleries, churches) – but visiting outdoor ruins when it’s raining and cold isn’t much fun. (Of course, it may also be cold and clear in January – so don’t immediately rule out a trip because you assume it will rain. You can be assured it’ll be pretty cold, though.)

In the mountains, there’s snow – a lot of snow. For skiers and snowboarders, January is high season – the Italian Alps and Dolomites are busiest at this time of year, as are ski resorts through the Apennines (and don’t forget, you can even ski Mt. Etna in Sicily). Many of the ski resort towns also have thermal spas nearby, thanks to all that volcanic activity, so even if you’re not a skier you can still enjoy a spa retreat in the mountains in January (when the brisk temperatures make hot springs even more appealing).

Some average temperature ranges for different parts of Italy in January are:

  • Northern Italy: 25-45°F (-4-5°C)
  • Central Italy: 40-55°F (5-13°C)
  • Southern Italy: 50-60°F (10-16°C)

And, as always, check the current extended forecast for where you’re actually going just before you leave – when you’re packing is the perfect time – so you can find out in advance if it’s unseasonably cold or warm.

Holidays & Festivals in Italy in January

Italy’s holiday calendar is packed from end to end, it seems, but not all holidays carry the same weight. January’s main event is Epiphany, which is on January 6th, and marks the real end of the Christmas season. Epiphany is actually the day when many Italians exchange gifts – not December 25th – it’s the last of the “Twelve Days of Christmas,” and when the witch called La Befana leaves gifts in childrens’ stockings.

Learn more about La Befana and Christmas in Italy

January is also the start of one of Italy’s official sales periods (the other is in July), so if shopping is on your Italy itinerary then you’re in luck. The prices tend to get better as the sale goes on (they usually last for six weeks or so), but the selection dwindles along the way. Whenever you’re there, look for signs declaring “SALDI” in shop windows (it means “SALES”) and head inside for some treasure hunting.

Why should you go to Italy in January?

Unless you’re going for the winter sports – and a good number of people do – January doesn’t have many selling points for tourists in the weather department. It does, however, offer other perks. The weather keeps the huge summer-like crowds at bay, which in turn keeps prices low on everything from airfare to hotel rooms to guided tours.

The traditionally long lines outside the Uffizi in Florence or the Vatican Museum vanish in the dead of winter. The normally busy counters of the Rivoire cafe in Florence are blissfully spacious enough to sip your cioccolata calda in peace. And the vendors are out with their carts, roasting chestnuts.

Are Italian cities tourist-free in January? Absolutely not – they are never completely tourist-free. And you’ll still see a marked difference in January vs. July.

(Note that many attractions keep shorter winter hours, so plan your sightseeing accordingly. And all that about cheaper hotel rooms doesn’t apply if you’re headed for a ski resort at the height of ski season, naturally. But you knew that.)

The bottom line is that January in Italy isn’t for everyone, as I said at the outset. It can be the ideal time to go if you’re on the strictest of budgets and don’t mind a little rain or snow, if you’ve been to Italy before and so don’t need to spend a lot of time checking off outdoor attractions, or if you’re heading to the mountains for skiing or snowboarding.

51 responses to “Traveling to Italy in January: What You Need to Know”

' src=

Do you know when exactly are on January the sales starting???The 2nd,4th or 5th January 2017???Thank you

' src=

I’m afraid that information hasn’t been published yet, Maria. The site I use to find the sale dates still has the 2016 dates – but you can keep it bookmarked to check as well. It’s listed in the highlighted section of my “ official sales seasons in Italy ” article.

' src=

Hi Jessica, my boyfriend and I want a few days away in Italy with our 1 year old baby in January (it’s the only time we can get for some months). We plan to rent a little apartment and go out for delicious lunches and then cook in whilst the baby sleeps in the evening. Which city or town would you recommend? I’ve heard Rome is not very buggy friendly! Thank you

Thanks for the question, Kate. There are lots of Rome neighborhoods with perfectly smooth sidewalks, but some of them – Trastevere and Monti come to mind – are cobblestones all the way, which (you’re right) won’t make for a very restful ride for a baby. Honestly, though, I’m not sure any of the smaller towns would be any better in that regard. There are also hills to contend with in some smaller towns, which makes pushing a stroller more challenging. You might actually be fine in Rome, as long as you’re not solely planning to explore the Trastevere or Monti areas. You might check with Tiffany – she’s @ThePinesOfRome on Twitter – she had a baby last year and may have some insights.

Thank you very much for the advice! I will definitely consider Rome as we’ve never been. Many thanks, Kate

' src=

My 23 yr old son & I have our home base of Florence from 01/09/17-01/17/17. Flying into Milan & we will have a rental car but willing to take organized tours. What do you suggest?

Here’s my Florence city guide for a start, Kay. If you’ll be in Florence for the whole trip, I’m not sure you need a rental car – you can get from Milan to Florence easily by train, and having a car within the city of Florence can be a challenge. Otherwise, though, I’m not sure what you’re asking about. There are links on the Florence guide for things to do and see in the city, so perhaps that will help? Let me know if you’ve got specific questions that aren’t answered by those links!

' src=

Hi Jessica, I’m planning have my honeymoon in Italy during mid January to early February, I’m planning visit many cities during this period such as Rome Napoli Milan Florence…etc do u think its worth visiting or not? Thank you

I think there’s never a “bad” time to visit Italy, you just need to know what to expect weather-wise so you plan activities accordingly. Here’s my article about winter in Italy – at the bottom there’s some information on the “pros and cons of a winter trip to Italy” so you can decide if it sounds good to you.

' src=

We’re going to Florence at the end of December for our 50th wedding anniversary celebration. We’ve booked a 3 star hotel, which we think will be pretty nice.

Congratulations on your upcoming anniversary! Have a wonderful trip.

Jessica, the hotel we booked (Hotel Laurus Duomo) somehow released our credit card number, & we have had all kinds of problems with our credit card since then. The hotel won’t answer our emails! This is so upsetting, as this hotel is listed on so many websites!

Oh, dear! It might be a better idea to call them at this point.

' src=

Hi Donna! So sorry to hear about this…awful! What hotel was this??

' src=

Hi. I’ll be traveling to Italy solo in January so far I will be going to Rome and Milan. Would you suggest I go to Florence or Venice. I only plan to stay in each city for two days. Thanks!

Thanks for the note, Lori. While both Florence and Venice are popular tourist destinations, they’re quite different cities – so I’d encourage you to read about each one and then decide which seems like the more interesting option for you. Here’s my Florence city guide and my Venice city guide to get you started. I’d also look into transportation times and routes, so that you know how much time you’ll be spending getting from one place to another. Here’s more information on how to plan the perfect Italy trip .

' src=

Thanks! After I wrote the post I read your other articles and did some more research. I think it will come down to the wire. It is very difficult considering that the cities offer very different experiences.

They really are! Don’t forget to look up holidays or festivals coming up next year, too. Venice can be a bit of a ghost town (insofar as it ever is) in the dead of winter, except when it’s Carnevale and then the city is full of people. It may come down to what activities or attractions you prefer.

Jessica, we’ve been to Venice & Florence. We prefer Florence. Lots more to do there.

' src=

Hii! We are traveling to Milan on the 30th of December until the 4th of January and i’m wondering about the 1st of January were as i know Milan will be dead. Where should we go to enjoy a festive day? Como, Venice, somewhere else? Also for the night of New Years eve, i was told to visit Brera or Navigli. I’ve been there before so i’m not sure if one of those two will have an organize night event to welcome the new year. Can you help me please with an advise?

Thanks for the note, Danae! I don’t think Milan will be “dead” on New Year’s Day, though some attractions are likely to be closed. Depending on what you want to see/do in Milan, you might still be able to – just check the open hours on any museums or other attractions you wanted to visit. Milan is a big enough city that it rarely shuts down completely. As for New Year’s Eve, the Navigli area is popular for nightlife year-round, so it’s probably a good bet for something going on for the holiday. There may also be a public concert in the Piazza del Duomo, though. Here’s my article about New Year’s Eve in Italy , and here’s Milan’s tourism portal so you can find out about special New Year’s Eve events.

Thank you very much Jessica! I will read everything and prep accordingly! Merry Christmas and i hope you enjoy your holidays too!! 🙂

You’re most welcome! Have a glorious time.

' src=

Hi Jessica, I’m traveling to Rome, Florence, Venice with my mother and my seventh month old on January 12 to the 23rd. I’ve been to the Vatican before, but both times the tickets were taken care of by tour company. I was told that the lines can get really long for tickets. I tried buying them online and had trouble. Do you think in January there’s long lines to get into the Vatican? Also, both times I was in Rome, we toured by bus since we are with students. This time I am on my own. Is it better to travel the subway or bus system with the baby? I appreciate your help. Thank you so much. Happy new year

Thanks for the note, Jessica! Great name. 😉

Last things first, I think the bus is a must in Rome, given that there are only two Metro lines. It would be a surprise to me if the Metro covered every place you wanted to go in the city, but of course you should look at the routes. Here’s my article on getting around in Rome .

Personally, I find the Vatican Museums more interesting and meaningful with a guide. Every time I’ve been I’ve gone with a tour, so – like you – the tickets were always included. Having said that, if you’re keen on a self-guided tour (or an audio guide once you’re there), I think it’s best to get tickets ahead of time. When you say you had trouble buying them online, what trouble did you run into? I’m looking at the official online ticket office site right now, and it’s a lot of steps, but it seems to be working. Did you get an error message of some kind?

Lol, Jessica! Thanks for your reply. I will surely use the bus. I have been very spoiled traveling with students and always having door-to-door service around Rome. I plan on doing the audio guided tour since I have an infant with me. This way, we can go at our own pace. The trouble I was having with the Vatican site was that I went through all the steps to buy the tickets and after credit card was entered it said there was an error. I tried a bunch of times and with two different cards. I emailed them but have not gotten a response. I appreciate your answers. This will be my 5th time in Rome but I feel like a newbie since I’ll be traveling with an infant and my mother who has never travelled abroad. So nervous!

Hmm, you might try using a different browser, in case that’s the issue. (One never knows.) Also, if you’re staying in a nice enough hotel (that has a concierge or someone equally helpful at reception), they could possibly call the ticket booking line for you and get your tickets once you get into Rome.

' src=

We are thinking about landing in Milan, hire a car and drive to Bologna. Stay there for 1 day, and then drive to Venice. And then back to Milan after a few days in Venice. We will be ending our short break in Milan, and stay there. Planning to go between 12th Jan and 20th Jan. The only thing I was wondering about, is the driving conditions in between these places in January. Snow or ice on the roads?

Thanks for the note, Abid! I think you’re honestly better off taking the high-speed trains to get between those cities, not driving. The fastest trains serve Milan, Bologna, and Venice, so it’s incredibly easy to get around. Driving inside the centers of the cities on your list is either a pain (Milan and Bologna) or impossible (Venice – there are no cars!).

I was looking at the trains. Was just thinking that the car would give us more flexibility. Will probably just park up the car at the hotels, and just use it for travelling in between these places.

Well, you’ll do what you think is best, but given that you’re only planning to use the car to get from city to city… That’s even more reason to take the train, in my opinion. There are frequent enough departures (and you’re not traveling during the high season) that you could just get tickets/reservations when you want to travel, instead of reserving them in advance. My article on figuring out whether trains are your best option for transportation in Italy might help you here, too.

' src=

Hello, My husband and I are visiting Italy in January next year and we were very keep on spending time in Tuscany and doing cooking class. We were after a place where they offer both accommodation and cooking classes. This seems impossible to find – does Tuscany “shut down” at that time of year? Many thanks in advance!

Very few places in Tuscany truly “shut down” anymore, given the region’s popularity, but schedules may be cut back from the usual high season availability. And if a cooking class is run out of someone’s home where they also provide accommodation, then sometimes individual places will shut down because the proprietors need a break – they go on vacation somewhere else! 🙂 I found a few multi-day options in Tuscany for cooking classes that include lodging, though, so maybe these are running in January – here’s a 2-day class in Chianti , a 6-day class in Arezzo , and a 7-day class in Florence .

' src=

Jessica! I am considering Italy for 89 days (max without Visa) Jan/Feb/March 2018 and would like to spend 3-4 weeks in multiple locations off the beaten path but with access to trains. Lecce area looks fabulous but infrastructure for travel to let’s say Bari/Palermo/Naples, etc not very convenient. Am I correct with my assumption? I am also considering Ancona area for 3-4 weeks. I am open to all areas and would like your opinion. I am traveling solo (with one bag!) and want to immerse myself in the culture and enjoy each area for what it has to offer. I will venture out when/if I get an urge. I have spent time in Milan, Florence, Rome and Venice.

89 days in Italy sounds like an excellent use of time, brava! 🙂 I’ve not been to Lecce, but it does have a train station – it takes about 1.5 hours to get to Bari and about 5 hours to get to Naples (with one transfer). Getting to Palermo from there is the long haul, unless you fly. Even the drive (plus the ferry) is about 8.5 hours. With Ancona, some of what you run into with regard to transportation is the mountains in the middle of the country that make train routes more circuitous than they would otherwise be. If you want to plug in some possible trips, I like the Rome2Rio site – it’ll give you a rough idea of how long each option (bus, train, driving, etc.) will take from point A to point B. I hope that helps!

' src=

Hi there, overall, is the season low in italy? Im planning to travel from Venice -> Florence/Siena/Pisa -> Rome -> Naples from 27 Jan (Arriving at 5pm) until 10 Feb 2017 (Departing at 5pm from Rome) do think each place spend 2 days will do?

Greeting from Malaysia

Here’s my article about the tourist seasons in Italy , so you have a better idea of what that means (it depends on where in Italy you’re going), and here’s my advice on how to plan the perfect Italy itinerary for any trip. The question of whether two days is “enough” in each place is really up to you, once you figure out what you want to do in each place and how long it takes to get from one to the other.

' src=

Hi Jess, we’re planning our 3rd trip to Italy in January, this time wanting to do smaller places as we’ve done all the larger touristy cities. Our thoughts are going to Sorrento, Lucca, Verona, Como and perhaps Cinque Terre. Our biggest concern is that these smaller cities can shut down. What are your thoughts? Cinque Terre is the biggest concern at the moment. Should we still go there or visit it from another place?

Here’s my info on the Cinque Terre , which includes some tidbits on its off season. The short answer is that no, it doesn’t shut down, but the weather can make it pretty unpleasant to do the hiking most people want to do there. Winter weather, to me, means either skiing (or other winter activities) or indoor attractions like museums and art galleries, so I’d just make sure you had a good list of things to do in any of your potential destinations that are indoors in case of inclement weather.

' src=

Hi Everyone and Jessica!!

I’ll be visiting Sicily this January, staying in Palermo. How cold will it bee there? Would it be mostly rain down in sicily?

You can get some temperature averages for Palermo on my Italy weather page, but keep in mind those are historical averages and they’ve been changing more recently. That information is a good place to start, though it’s always best to check actual current temperatures and weather conditions in the weeks before your trip so you can pack adequately.

' src=

Hi Jessica, I’ll be heading to italy area from end feb to mid march period. Can’t decide end feb or early March. It will be our first time there. I have check the weather for Venice. It said probably it’s likely more rain and winter like weather. What natural scenery to see during that period. Any festivals or events as well.

Here are my articles about traveling in Italy in February and traveling in Italy in March , both of which have some information about the weather during those months as well as holidays that fall then.

' src=

Hi Jessica, We will be travelling to Italy for January, February and March 2018 (similar to a previous comment re. max. time without a visa) with our 3 kids – 8, 6 and 2. We have done many of the big cities already but we are looking for a few good places to base ourselves that will have enough to do with the kids considering the weather might not be great. Do you have any suggestions? Specifically we are hoping to find smaller cities that are well connected and family friendly. Some of my ideas so far are Lecce, Lucca, Bologna. Thanks!

I think Bologna is a great option, not least because it’s on the high-speed rail network and it’s a youthful university city. It’s on the larger side, but the historic center is walkable. Lucca is super charming, also easy to get in and out by train, and I’d call it really kid-friendly (walking or cycling all over the city walls is pretty cool). You might also consider Orvieto (reachable by train, has a cool underground network of caves you can tour). I’ve not been to Lecce, but I’d be willing to bet that you’ll have warmer weather there (especially into March), and from all I’ve heard and read it sounds like a gorgeous town.

' src=

Hi Jessica !! Your article is the most helpful article about travelling to Italy in January. I am travelling to italy for the first time in end of January and will be in Milan for work. I have two days extra after finishing my work. What place do you suggest should be visited, considering the weather. I have read about all the places around Milan that can be reached in train, but don’t know, weather wise which place will be better. Please suggest.

Here’s my article on some of the best day trips from Milan , for your reference. Since you can make last-minute plans with a day trip, I’d suggest looking at the weather before you make a final decision. A museum- or church-rich city like Turin, Florence, or Bologna might be a great option if the weather is foul, and if you luck out with a sunny day perhaps one of the lakes wouldn’t be such a bad idea. Have a great trip!

' src=

Hi we plan to come to Rome in the middle of January 2018. Are there good sales then? How is Florence for shopping cloths on salle. Between 14 – 20 January? Which of them is better for sales? Thank you Edna

There are sales in just about every city in Italy in January , though the dates vary by region and city. I think both Florence and Rome would be great for clothes shopping.

' src=

Hi Jessica I am planning a trip to central and southern Italy from 1-15 January. Does the sky in these regions remains cloudy throughout the day during this period (1-15 January)? How many days and how much it rain in these regions during this period ?

Here’s a very general overview of weather conditions in a few different Italian cities , but keep in mind that climate change is impacting temperatures in Italy quite a bit – and these charts don’t yet reflect that.

Leave a Reply Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed .

Get our Newsletter

Sites i love.

  • At Home in Tuscany
  • Bleeding Espresso
  • Ciao Amalfi
  • Cook in Venice
  • Dream of Italy
  • Driving Like a Maniac
  • Italy Beyond the Obvious
  • Jessica's Personal Site
  • Ms. Adventures in Italy
  • My Bella Basilicata
  • My Bella Vita
  • Napoli Unplugged
  • Revealed Rome
  • Sacred Destinations in Italy
  • The Bittersweet Life Podcast

italy road trip in january

An Italian Mama's Guide to Italy

Piazza San Marco in Venice in winter

Italy in January: all you need to know to plan your winter trip to Italy

Travel tips to visit Italy in January: January weather in Italy, the best places to visit, what to book in advance, pros and cons of spending January in Italy

January in Italy is the heart of winter.

The first month of the year is one of the coldest in Italy and traveling at this time means you are most likely to find chilly temperatures, some rainy days and, in many parts of Italy, at least a dusting of snow.

However, this doesn’t mean January is a bad month to visit Italy.

There are actually several advantages to traveling at this time and it is also possible for the weather to surprise you and treat to you some beautiful bright days.

The pros of traveling to Italy in January are:

  • Smaller crowds, especially towards the middle and the end of the month
  • Lower prices (low season)
  • Great shopping – January is sales season!
  • More of a local feel, with local life being more visible with lower visitors’ numbers

The cons of traveling in January in Italy are:

  • Cold weather, with possible rain and snow in some areas
  • Coastal resort towns offer limited hospitality services, catering mostly to locals during the low season
  • Very limited or no ferries or boat services in coastal areas (Amalfi Coast, Cinque Terre etc)
  • No farm activities, as they follow agricultural rhythms
  • Limited or no hiking (snow on the higher altitudes, trail closures in other areas)

Overall, January is a great month to visit Italy if you are on a budget and want to visit museums, churches, and mostly indoor attractions.

January in Italy, however, is not a good month for visitors who are hoping to enjoy the Italian Coast or spend time outdoors in the countryside as the weather will inevitably limit your options.

In this guide to Italy in January, I will go through what to expect during the first month of the year in various Italian destinations.

Disclaimer : this is a seasonal guide to Italy. For travel advisories and restrictions that may apply to the time of your visit, please check official channels. Check here for official info if traveling from US , Canada , UK , Ireland , Australia , New Zealand .

Please note: this post contains affiliate links. Should you make a purchase, we might make a small commission.

January closures in Italy: what closes in January in Italy?

One of the most common questions I receive about winter travel in Italy is:

‘Will everything be shut in Italy in January?’ Of course not!

Italy receives a lot of tourism but it is also a country with almost 60 million inhabitants who call it home and we definitely don’t stop living in winter.

No matter where in Italy you are, you will find people going to school, to the office, going food shopping and you will find the services supporting local life.

However, resort towns and tiny coastal towns that live primarily off tourism see many of their hospitality business closing for the winter.

Small towns on the Amalfi Coast are a great example of this: while you can visit as the town is physically there, you may not find accommodation for the night as hotels may only be available in the bigger centers and the choice of restaurants may be more limited.

If planning on visiting summer resorts out of season, I recommend you have a car and consider either a hotel with a restaurant or an apartment.

Piazza Navona in Rome in winter with grey sky

January in Italy: weather overview

January in Italy is winter. So, no matter where you go, you should expect cold weather, limited hours of daylight and days with rain or snow.

The differences in temperature between the north and south of Italy are not as significant as many expect: as the temperatures below show, while the south is a little bit warmer than the north, on average, January sees cold weather in the whole of Italy.

Average temperatures in Italy in January, historically, are:

  • Bolzano (getaway to the Dolomites): 7C / -4C It gets significantly colder up on the slopes
  • Milan : 7/2C – 44 / 35F – average 6 days of Rain
  • Venice: 7/0C – 44/32F – Average 5 days of rain
  • Rome : 12/3C – 53/37F – average 7 days of rain
  • Florence : 11/2C – 52/36F – average 7 days of rain It gets significantly colder in the countryside, especially on hilltops
  • Palermo : 15/10C – 59/50F – average 8 days of Rain. It gets significantly colder up Mount Etna or anywhere are higher altitudes

January in Italy: festivities and celebrations you need to know

When planning a trip to Italy in January it is helpful to look at the month as divided into two parts:

Between the 1st and the 6th of January Italy is still celebrating Christmas. Schools are off, many locals have days off work and tourism is at its peak. This is a busy and often expensive time to travel to Italy and tourism is both local and from overseas

From the 7th to the 31st of January Italy goes through a brief low tourism season. Crowds and prices are lower at this time, therefore the last three weeks in January are one of the best times to visit Italy on a budget.

January in Italy sees some festivities that can impact your travels. 

The first week of the month is still part of the Christmas festive period and some attractions are closed on specific days. In particular:

1st January  – A national holiday. Most attractions, including the  Vatican , the  Colosseum and the Uffizi Gallery, are closed on this day.

6th of January : The Epiphany , a national holiday.

This marks the end of the Christmas festivities (it is the last day for most Christmas markets ), some attractions may close. 

See also: traveling to Italy in December | Tips for traveling to Italy

The best places to visit in Italy in January

The dolomites, for skiing and christmas markets.

If you are looking for a ski vacation in Italy, then you may love January on the Dolomites!

Lake Misurina in winter with snowy mountains

The exact snow conditions will vary from year to year and from locality to locality however, the options are so many you are sure to find one for you!

Read here >> the best places to visit on the Dolomites

The Dolomites are also one of the best places in Italy to enjoy Christmas markets. Careful with dates, however: the Christmas markets end with the end of the Christmas season and usually wrap up by January 6th.

Need to know: If you do not sky, consider carefully if this is a good time for you to go: in January, you will not be able to hike on the Dolomites and high mountain passes may be closed.

January on the Dolomites is good for skiing, for a visit to the markets or to Bolzano or to a enjoy a hotel break: not for hiking or driving.

If traveling to the Dolomites with kids in January, it can be a good idea to look for areas with baby snowparks so even little ones can make the most of the snow. Find here >>> my guide to baby snowparks in Italy

Rome goes through a blissful moment of low crowds after Christmas.

So, if you are planning to come to Italy in January, I recommend you add Rome to your itinerary as crowds in January are at their lowest (a very rare thing!)

vatican during the christmas festivities

January is the coldest month of the year in Rome and very much winter, which means you need to wrap up with sweaters, coats, scarves and boots.

However, it is a lovely time for sightseeing and a great time to visit Rome on a budget.

In January, is busy and buzzing with Christmas cheer until the 6th of January, and then enters a quiet, lovely time of low crowds and local atmosphere.

This is a wonderful time to see Rome for the real city as it is!

January is a good time for museum visits, shopping and warming meals in local trattorie .

However, it is not a good time for prolonged time outside and days are short, so you may have to take it slower than at other times.

If traveling with kids, they will still be able to enjoy Rome’s parks in January and the city also has several indoor attractions for the coldest days. Find here >> my guide to Rome with kids

You can find my  full guide to Rome in January  here. 

Venice in January

I love Venice in January, I find it exceptionally romantic and atmospheric.

However, it is not a month everyone will love here!

The weather in Venice in winter is hit and miss at this time and you will need warm coats, boots, scarves and a hat.

As you can imagine, Venice gets pretty humid in the winter and this will impact on how long you will be able to stay outside.

Pretty campo in Venice

However, the city has so many wonderful museums, shops and restaurants, you are never far from a warm cozy interior, and Venice does warm and cozy really well!

Need to know : Venice in winter sometimes sees the phenomenon of  acqua alta  (high tide). During Acqua Alta, parts of Venice get covered in water, spilling over from the lagoon onto some of its piazzas and roads, effectively flooding the city. Despite how dramatic the word flood may sound (and despite the water really being problematic for the city), Acqua Alta is not a big issue for visitors: the city reacts to it by setting up boardwalks and you walk on them to stay dry. If going to Venice in winter, keeping an eye on the  weather and water forecast  is useful.

If traveling with kids, I recommend booking some indoors activities such as glass blowing or mask decorating to escape the cold. Find here >>> our guide to Venice with kids

Florence and Tuscany

January is a great time to visit Florence, as the many museums in the city will allow you to escape the cold!

Florence however gets pretty cold, so you need to be prepared to wrap up well.

If you do, the last three weeks of January in Florence are the time when the city is at its quietest and this can go a long way to make you enjoy its otherwise very busy streets.

Florence in winter with people walking

This is a good time to visit many of Florence’s famous museums and, if you get here during the weeks with the sales, it can be a shoppers’ paradise.

January is also a wonderful time to sample Tuscan food, which is warming, filling, and perfect with a glass of local red!

if you are traveling with kids, I recommend you book indoor activities and plan time in children-friendly museums to warm up and fill the darkest hours of the day. Find here >>> my guide to Florence with kids.

The Tuscan countryside gets chilly in January and you can also get snow at higher altitudes.

You can still visit hilltop villages, however, January is a time for museums more than outdoor pursuits so I would stick as close to Florence and to Tuscany’s main cities ( Siena , Lucca , Pisa ) as possible.

If you are traveling with children and are hoping to enjoy agriturismo or country stays, January is not a good time to visit Tuscany with kids.

Farm activities will be on hold until spring, many agriturismo will only open at weekends, if at all, and outdoor time will be limited by the cold temperatures and limited hours of daylight.

Turin is a city often overlooked by overseas tourists, yet a wonderful to city to visit in January or any other month!

Vire of Turin Torino at sunset

The first capital of Italy is an elegant, intellectual, beautiful city with stunning museums, that will keep you warm and entertained on winter day.

The Royal Palace in Turin, the Museum of Cinema, and the many shops and cafes in the city are fabulous in winter and offer an Italian yet also almost Mittleuropean experience.

if visiting Turin with kids, this is a great time to bring them to the National Car Museum and the famous Egyptian Museum, huge, stunning, and super kid-friendly!

Find here >>> Our guide to Turin with kids

January is cold and grey in Milan. However, it comes with perks: sales and lower crowds!

As a fashion capital, Milan is heaven for shoppers and the sales are a good opportunity to secure some items at a somewhat more affordable price point (affordable in Milan is always a relative term).

Art lovers will find the last three weeks of January to be a relatively quiet time in Milan when getting tickets to the Last Supper is slightly less competitive.

if visiting Milan with kids, January is a good time for the several indoor museums the city offers.

Find here >>> My guide to Milan with kids

I do not recommend visiting the area with kids if you intend to use Milan as a base to see the lakes and they won’t offer much to children at this cold time.

Milan in winter

Other destinations you may be considering for January in Italy

Sicily can get pretty cold in January.

However, overall the winter here is mild and you can also get the occasional properly pleasant sunny day that will make you feel it is the spring, rather than the heart of winter!

This is a quiet time in Sicily and while you will not be able to have a sea and sun vacation here in winter, you will be able to visit all Sicily’s main attractions without the scorching sun that makes it so hard in summer.

Places I recommend you visit are Taormina , Siracusa and the Valley of the Temples, battered by the sun in summer.

If traveling to Sicily with kids, I recommend setting expectations carefully as January won’t allow them to enjoy the sea and adventure parks may even close for the winter.

Puglia is one of my favorite destinations in Italy in January and not just!

Blessed with gorgeous beaches, it is often associated with summer trips and indeed, you can visit Puglia all year round however, I find the low season in its pretty towns one of the most pleasant of all.

In January in Puglia you won’t be able to swim or enjoy water activities: however, you can visit its pretty towns (Alberobello, Lecce), enjoy the region’s wonderful food and admire the dramatic Apulian coastline as waves crash against its tall cliffs!

Polignano al Mare in winter with grey sky and cold sea

You can find out recommended itinerary in Puglia here .

if traveling to Puglia with kids in winter, I recommend setting expectations carefully as they won’t be able to enjoy the sea and kids attractions such as Fasano Zoo are closed until spring. Like other

Other places to consider for January in Italy

Amalfi coast in january.

The Amalfi Coast is so beautiful I will never tell you not to go.

However, if you are in the area in January you need to know what to expect as the experience will be significantly different than in summer.

In January here, you will be able to enjoy the towns at their quietest, which is surely a plus.

However, you will not be able to go boating or even get around by ferry, which means you will miss out on seeing the Costiera from the water which is, I believe, one of the best ways to enjoy it.

In January, the more touristy towns such as Positano only have bare-bone services available as many hotels close for the season.

If this is the only time you have to visit, I recommend you stay in Sorrento, which is lovely and has enough to keep you entertained for quite a while!

A better choice in this area is to visit wonderful Naples and, if wrapping up very well, Pompeii.

Lake Como is a lovely area, with lovely views and pleasant towns, but it is not a place with much to do and, in January, this can be a problem especially if you are hoping for an active holiday or you are visiting with kids.

If you only have January to go to Lake Como, your best bet is the first week of the month.

During the Christmas festivities, the town of Como itself is lovely and you also have a nice Christmas market that can make the day there worth it.

if visiting with kids, you can find here >>> My guide to Lake Como with children

Cinque Terre

January is not a good time to visit Cinque Terre, although the towns are of course there and you can therefore go visit and take a stroll among the colorful alleys.

The reason why I don’t recommend this area in January is that most of the activities you are likely to want to do won’t be available,

In January, Cinque Terre paths tend to be closed, rain is frequent and many hotels and tourism services shut, the season starting again later in the year, towards mid-March.

If visiting Cinque Terre in January, I recommend going for the day and aiming for the Christmas season.

During the Christmas festivities, the towns have lovely nature scenes and they themselves look like one, Manarola being home to the biggest Nativity scene in the world!

If visiting  Cinque Terre with kids , it is paramount that they know swimming and boating is out of the question in January.

My recommendation in that case is to opt for a stay in Genoa instead and take a trip to the Terre from there. You can find here >>> my guide to Genoa with kids

What to book in advance if visiting Italy in January

Italy is relatively quiet in January, with the exception of the first week of the month, when we are still in the middle of the Christmas holidays.

However, some of Italy’s most famous attractions stay crowded and advance booking is recommended.

beautiful winter day in colosseum rome

I recommend you book as soon as your trip is confirmed and you opt for tours and tickets with good cancellation options like the ones I recommend below via GetYourGuide 

Last Supper, Milan : often booked out weeks in advance, book as soon as your trip is confirmed via their official site  here  or via GetYourGuide  here , which offers excellent cancellation options.

Colosseum, Rome : the  official site  is the best site to get hold of ticket: they come out for sale 30 days before. A good alternative is GetYourGuide  here

Vatican, Vatican City, Rome : tickets sell out fast and operate on a time slot system. You can get them on the  official site  of the museums or choose a guided tour via GetYourGuide  here : I highly recommend them as the museums are vast and easily overwhelming, without a guide.

Booking tours in Italy in January

My recommended providers for yours in Italy are:

LivTours : a fantastic tour provider covering all most popular destinations and attractions in Italy. They offer private and small group tours for up to 6 people only, they are family friendly (but excellent also if you dn’t have kids, they are not just for children) and super reliable. They are my favorite tour provider!

DevourTours/Walks : a great tour provider for food tours and cooking classes!

MariaclaudiaTours : a wonderful tour provider for families with kids age 6 to 11! Use code MamaLovesItaly when booking!

Visiting Italy in January with kids

January is a tricky time to visit Italy with kids as you will be limited in the number of outdoor activities you can do and even afternoons at the playground will have to fight with the possible rain. 

My main tips for planning a trip to Italy in January with children are:

  • Choose cities – cities have the largest number of indoor attractions and opportunities for children in winter. Do not expect smaller towns to have indoor play centers, children’s museums or classes for toddlers: some do but it is very much not the norm
  • Avoid coastal resort towns – Towns don’t close as such but coastal resort towns or towns with a big tourism vocation may only offer bare-bone services in winter. While services catering to locals stay open, you may find hotels, restaurants etc to limit their operations and sometimes close altogether until later in spring. Coastal towns are the most affected by seasonal closures.
  • Book classes and workshops – with the cold weather and the short hours of daylight, classes and workshops come into their own to keep kids entertained. Pasta making, mask making, mosaic making, pizza making… have a look at the guides below to see what’s available wear
  • Don’t plan farm activities – farm activities follow the season and therefore they tend to stop during winter. The best chance to spend a country stay in winter is to fo during the Christmas festivities before the 6thj of January when they may offer packages od room + dinner.
  • Indoor pools are rare – hotels with indoor pools exist however, it is not common to find indoor pools in agriturismo or country properties. The best place for indoor pools in natural settings are the Dolomites!

These are some of my favorite family activities in Italy for kids:

  • Discover the family friendly side of Venice – book a family friendly hotel and a treasure hunt for kids to make the most of this quiet time in the city
  • Plan a few days to discover the many  things to do in Florence with kids : cooking classes, museums, treasure hunts… there are quite a few that are perfect for the winter
  • Discover  Rome with kids  and make the most of the many indoor activities available such as pizza-making class for kids and kid-friendly mosaic class in Rome
  • Discover the magic of I taly’s Christmas Witch,  la befana !

I hope you found this guide to Italy in January useful. Happy travel planning!

This post was first published in 2020 and has now been fully updated with current photos and tips.

' src=

Marta Correale

Marta Correale is an Italian mama of two. Born and raised in Rome, Marta has a passion for travel and especially enjoys showing off Italy to her kids, who are growing up to love it as much as she does! A classics graduate, teacher of Italian as a second language and family travel blogger, Marta launched Mama Loves Italy as a way to inspire, support and help curious visitors to make the most of a trip to Italy and learn about Italian culture on the way.

Child in Venice looking at a canal from a small bridge

You May Also Like

Amalfi Coast beach with beach clubs with blue umbrellas

Beach clubs in Italy: how they work + all you need to know to book a spot

no parking sign in Italy

Parking in Italy: no-nonsense, essential guide with all you need to know as a tourist

Colorful houses of Procida island from the sea

Italy in June: all you need to know to plan a perfect trip

Privacy overview.

Vagrants Of The World Travel

15 Incredible Italy Road Trip Itineraries (with Driving Tips)

By: Author Kate O'Malley

Posted on Last updated: June 3, 2023

Home >> Europe >> Italy Travel Guide >> 15 Incredible Italy Road Trip Itineraries (with Driving Tips)

A road trip through Italy is the trip of a lifetime. We have enjoyed numerous Italian road trips and never tire of exploring one of Europe’s most charismatic countries by car.

Italy offers glorious road trip possibilities with beautiful historic cities, stunning countryside, majestic lakes and mountain regions, and quaint coastal towns and islands. And, of course, such varied regional cultures and cuisines to explore.

A vintage moped scooter parked on. cobbled street in front of a yellow building with big wooden doors in Italy.

Whether it’s an extended road trip from north to south or one region of Italy, we’ve rounded up some fabulous itineraries for each area – from a few days to four weeks to help you plan the perfect Italian road trip.

Table of Contents

Tips for Renting a Car and Driving in Italy

  • Always take photos when you pick up your rental and when returning it. Some agencies may try to accuse you of damaging the vehicle after you have returned it.
  • Read your rental contract, and be aware of the excess fees and type of insurance.
  • If possible, rent a small car . Streets can be narrow in small towns, and parking garages in cities and larger towns can be very tight.
  • Collecting your rental car from an airport is always less stressful than in a city.
  • Download the Parclick App to pre-reserve parking all over Italy (and Europe). It can save you up to 50% on parking fees . Select the garage that suits you, book for the required days, and show your reservation (or use the license plate recognition) on arrival. You can come and go from the garage as much as you like during your booked time. We have used it all over Europe and saved ourselves so much stress and money when parking in cities and larger towns.
  • Be careful not to drive into any restricted zones in historical centers . They are called ZTL zones (Limited Traffic Zones) and are monitored with cameras. You can check for the zones online before arriving in a city. Unauthorized vehicles will automatically be issued hefty fines.
  • When it comes to speed limits in Italy, while many people don’t seem to respect them, you can get hefty fines if caught on camera, and there are a lot of speed cameras in Italy.
  • The same goes for parking. It can be difficult to work out where you can or can’t park sometimes but never risk it – In Italy; you will either get a huge fine or worse – they just tow you away. Always look for the ticket machine or park in a paid garage.

Find the Best Car Rental Deals for Italy

When we travel, we always use Discover Cars for car rental as they aggregate the best local deals, have no hidden fees, and offer free cancellation.

Tip:  Always check if you have car rental insurance included on your travel insurance or with your credit card company before paying any additional to the rental car company. 

Search for the Best Car Rental Deals in Italy .

The orange hued houses and buildings in the city of La Spezia Italy.

16 Fabulous Italian Road Trip Ideas

Northern italy to southern italy-south tyrol to bari.

  • Recommended Duration : 3-4 Weeks
  • Distance : Over 1400 Kilometres
  • Destinations : South Tyrol – Venice – Bologna – Brisighella – San Marino – Perugia – Sorrento – Amalfi Coast – Naples – Capri – Pompeii – Ischia – Matera – Bari

For the ultimate Italy road trip, head from north to south. This Italian road trip itinerary starts at the border with Austria, visiting South Tyrol and ending in Bari in the south, where it is possible to head over to Croatia if you choose.

The lush green Italian countryside with medieval villages view from the top of a castle in Brisighella.

Covering over 1400 kilometers and traveling through many regions of Italy, you need to allow 3-4 weeks for the optimal experience.

The best time of year is spring – May/June and autumn – September/October for great weather without the summer crowds. However, this itinerary is great at any time – winter is especially good in South Tyrol for skiers.

Suggested Itinerary

  • Start in South Tyrol for stunning mountain scenery and a mixture of Austrian and Italian culture. The German-speaking towns add a very different feel to this slice of Italy. Hike Lago do Baies to see the best of this area.
  • Next, head to Venice for the quintessential Italian bucket list experience. Take a gondola ride, walk over the Rialto Bridge, and experience the unique ambiance of Venice. We have a fabulous Venice itinerary if you can allow at least a few days in the magical city.
  • On your way south, stop in at Bologna . Bologna is renowned for its fantastic food, so indulge in the region’s typical dishes while exploring the atmospheric Old Town.
  • Brisighella is the perfect rural stop to enjoy the Italian countryside. This gorgeous town has the must-visit Rocco Manfrediana fortress.
  • Pop out of Italy for a moment with a stop on your way south at San Marino . One of the world’s ten smallest countries at 61 sq km, this tiny republic is the world’s oldest surviving sovereign state with glorious views and a beautifully preserved medieval walled town.
  • Soak in the history of Perugia. The center is gorgeous, with interesting museums and many historic churches.
  • Next up is Rome . There is so much to do in Rome (we have a great 3-Day Rome Itinerary to help you plan your stay). From the Colosseum, Pantheon, Trevi Fountain, and Vatican City , Rome is a highlight on any Italian itinerary. If you need a budget-friendly Rome itinerary, there are many great things to do in Rome for free .
  • It’s now time for southern Italy with a week in the Sorrento/Amalfi coast area – one of the most romantic places in Italy for couples . Make a day trip to Naples and Capri , explore the towns of the Amalfi coast by sea, and head to Pompeii and Ischia . There is so much to do in this region, so spend as much time as you can spare. For those that like walking and hiking, see our Amalfi Coast hiking guide .
  • Finish up with a final stop at Matera before getting to Bari . Matera is famous for its cave dwellings which have been inhabited for 9,000 years. It’s amazing to walk around.

Recommended by Sharon Gourlay – Dive Into Germany

Northern Italy Road Trip Itineraries

Road trip through piedmont italy.

  • Recommended Duration : 7-10 days
  • Distance : 290 Kilometres
  • Destinations : Turin – Bra – Barolo – Alba – Asti – Biella – The Sanctuary of Oropa

The  Piedmont region of Italy  is situated in northwest Italy, bordering France and Switzerland. Backdropped by the majestic Swiss Alps, its rolling hills and vineyards eventually give way south to the Ligurian sea.

Town of Barolo among green terraced vineyards in Italy

Piedmont has everything a traveler could want, from welcoming small towns, unique cuisine, and amazing wine, the most famous of which is Barolo, the King of wine.

Highlights of the Trip:

  • Turin, the Imperial capital of Piedmont
  • Bra – Birthplace of the Slow Food movement
  • Barolo – Taste Barolo wine and local cuisine
  • Alba – Home of the rare white truffle
  • Asti – Much more than Spumante wine
  • Biella – Famous wool town supplying the fashion capital of Milan
  • The Sanctuary of Oropa
  • Start your 290 km road trip in Turin , a large but walkable city with dozens of Savoy Royal Palaces to tour, loads of historical attractions, decadent chocolate, and the outstanding Egyptian Museum.
  • Drive 74 km south of Turin to Monforte d’Alba , a hilltop town with many enotecas, restaurants, and historic sites. It’s a perfect base to explore the surrounding wine towns of Bra, Barolo, and Alba .
  • Spend a day in Asti drinking the sweet Moscato wines for which the town is named, then head north to Biella , 125 km north of Asti.
  • Biella is known for producing wool and exquisite cashmere, surrounded by rambling rivers and mountain scenery. Be sure and visit the Sanctuary of Oropa , one of the many sacred mountains in the region.
  • Sixty kilometers north of Biella on the eastern shore of Lake Orta is the quaint medieval village of Orta San Giulio and a great place to end your road trip. Tour the Sacre Monte of Orta and Isola San Giulio just offshore. You can stay at the centrally located Hotel Rocco San Giulio and walk anywhere in town.

Travel to Piedmont in late Spring through Fall to avoid wintery road conditions.

Recommended by Lori Sorrentino – Travlinmad

Northern Italy’s lakes

  • Recommended Duration : 10 days or more
  • Distance : 700 Kilometres. Circular route starting and finishing in Milan.
  • Destinations : Milan – Lake Garda – Lake Como -Lake Maggiore – Cannobio – Lake Orta

An easy circular route from Milan’s airport,  a road trip through northern Italy’s lakes  is a must-try bucket list experience. You’ll cover approximately 700 km in one week, though extending the itinerary to 10 days or more is easy.

Overlooking a small Italian lake side village with a small castle on the edge of the blue lake.

  • The first four days must be dedicated to Lake Garda , the largest lake in Italy. Boasting enchanting coastal towns and beautiful natural scenery, you’ll want to stay forever.

Focus each day on another part of the lake – visit the unique Lemon orchard of Limonaia del Castèl in Limone sul Garda, take a morning stroll around the turquoise Lake Tenno, roam the colorful Malcesine, enjoy wine tasting near Bardolino, climb the Scaligero Castle in Sirmione.

  • Continue to the luxurious Lake Como for one day. Visit the picturesque towns of Varenna and Bellagio and the stunning Gardens of Villa Melzi.
  • Next, spend a day on the lovely Lake Maggiore . Base yourself in the city of Stresa , and opt for a boat tour to the nearby Borromean Islands, one of the most beautiful islands in Italy . See the picture-perfect centuries-old villas and gardens still owned by the noble Borromeo family.
  • Have a relaxed last day with a visit to the serene town of Cannobio and a final cup of coffee in the medieval Orta San Giulio on Lake Orta before returning the car to Milan.

Late spring or early fall are the ideal times for this road trip in terms of weather and crowds. Also, many attractions in the area are only open from April to October.

Recommended by Or – My Path in the World 

Emilia-Romagna, Lombardy, and Piedmont. Bologna to Milan and Turin

  • Recommended Duration : 7 -14 days
  • Distance : 370 Kilometres.
  • Destinations : Bologna – Modena – Parma – Milan – Turin

This fantastic road trip through historic Northern Italy is perfect if you want to taste some of the best ingredients and dishes produced in the country.

A narrow street with orange hued buildings in Bologna reveals a church tower at the end of the street.

The entire distance of this Italian road trip itinerary is only 371 Kilometers, which means you will have plenty of time for small side adventures if you spread it out over two weeks. You could, of course, stay to the major stops and complete it comfortably in a week.

One thing is certain; there is no way you will finish this road trip hungry. You will wish you had just a bit more time to try just one more dish.

  • The trip starts in Emilia Romagna, where you will make stops in Bologna, Modena, and Parma for a whirlwind culinary tour of the region. 

Some must-experience stops include learning how Parmigiano Reggiano is made in Parma and tasting 100-year-old Balsamic in Modena . 

Bologna is a highlight of the road trip, with historic sites like the Piazza Maggiore, its Renaissance buildings, the city’s incredible food scene, and charming cafes.

  • From Emilia Romagna, head northwest toward the Lombardy region for a stop in Milan , the world’s fashion capital and home to the famous Risotto Milanese. 
  • The road trip then continues to the city of Turin in the heart of the Piedmont region . You will want to take some time to go truffle hunting or take a day to taste some Barolo or Barbaresco.

The best time for a road trip through these regions is during truffle season in the late fall – you will experience fewer crowds and accommodation, and car rental prices are lower. It is also a great time of year for food festivals after the harvest season.

Recommended by Gabriel – Chef Travel Guide

Pisa to Genoa

  • Recommended Duration : 2-7 days
  • Distance : 330 Kilometres.
  • Destinations : Pisa – La Spezia – Cinque Terre – Portofino – Genoa

One of Italy’s best coastal road trips is from Pisa to Genoa. This road trip starts in Pisa in the region of Tuscany, tracing the Ligurian Coast to the capital of Liguria, Genoa.

Overlooking the bay surrounded with the colourful cliff side village of Vernazza in Cinque Terre.

It is possible to complete this road trip in two days, with an overnight stop in one of the Cinque Terre Villages.

However, this itinerary would be lovely spread over a week, allowing for at least one night at each destination between Pisa and Genoa. We have a fantastic two-night Cinque Terre itinerary to help you plan extra time in the famous five villages.

  • See the Leaning Tower of Pisa and climb to the top
  • Visit the Technical Naval Museum in La Spezia
  • Enjoy the viewpoints and  Instagrammable places in Cinque Terre .
  • Go to Castello Brown in Portofino
  • Taste focaccia in Genoa
  • On the first day, you’ll discover Pisa and the remarkable monuments in the so-called “Square of Miracles, including the iconic leaning tower.
  • Head to La Spezia , the second largest city in Liguria and the gateway to the famous Five Villages. The pretty coastal city of La Spezia is also home to a major Italian naval base and the Technical Naval Museum.
  • Head north to Cinque Terre to stay in one of the five villages for a night or two. Make sure you try tasty bruschetta at Nessun Dorma in Manarola and catch the sunset from one of the villages.
  • Visit one of the prettiest fishing towns on the Italian Riviera, where the colorful village clusters around a small harbor. Since the late 19th century, Portofino has attracted European aristocracy and the celebrity jet set to its pristine shores, high-end restaurants, and glitzy boutiques. You never know who you might see in Portofino.
  • You can spend an evening (or two) in Portofino or head directly to the final destination, the capital of Liguria, Genoa .

This road trip is best in the shoulder seasons to avoid summer traffic and crowds. However, if you plan to take advantage of the stunning coastal beaches, try for early or late summer. Avoid August if possible.

Recommended by: Dymphe Mensink – Dymabroad

Sanremo to Cinque Terre

  • Recommended Duration : 3-5 days
  • Distance : 260 Kilometres.

Embark on a memorable Italian road trip from Sanremo to Cinque Terre. Enjoy the breathtaking views of the Italian Riviera as you drive along the Mediterranean Sea. This road trip itinerary can be completed in as little as 2-3 days or stretched over a week.

Small boats moored on clear blue water in front of the colourful village of Portofino.

  • Sanremo is a charming and animated town right next to the French border. It’s a perfect starting point for an Italian road trip after exploring the south of France . You will find good restaurants and bars to get a first taste of the culinary talent and kindness of the locals.
  • Drive along the Ligurian Coast from Sanremo for two hours until you reach Genoa , the capital of Liguria. Spend the afternoon visiting the Royal Palace Museum, Piazza De Ferrari, or Cattedrale di San Lorenzo.
  • For the second day of your road trip, head to the marvelous Portofino, less than one hour from Genoa. You will be mesmerized by the colorful waterfront houses that line the harbor of the beautiful coastal town.
  • You can spend the rest of the day (or overnight) in Portofino or head to the world-famous cliff-side fishing villages of Cinque Terre . 
  • You should spend at least two days in Cinque Terre to see it all. Explore each colorful village, from Monterosso al Mare to Riomaggiore, making unforgettable holiday memories while savoring some of Italy’s best seafood dishes. 

Recommended by: Soline Le Page – On the Road Diary

Central Italy Road Trip Itineraries

Rome to pisa along the tyrrhenian coast.

  • Distance : 350 Kilometres.
  • Destinations : Rome – Cerveteri – Santa Severa Beach – The Tarot Garden – Argentario Peninsula – Elba Island – Pisa

A road trip along the Tyrrhenian Coast from Rome to Pisa is especially pleasant in summer. Traveling between the cities along the ancient consular road Aurelia allows you to discover beautiful beaches and small villages off the beaten path.

A stone arched walkway lined with cafe tables leading to a plaza in the old town of Elba Island.

  • Start in Rome, where the city’s historic center is dense with things to see. Aside from the main attractions – the Colosseum and the Trevi Fountain, there are wonderful piazzas, such as Piazza Navona and Piazza del Popolo, to explore.
  • From Rome, head to Cerveteri . One of Rome’s most popular day trips , it is home to a UNESCO World Heritage archaeological site, the Etruscan Necropolis of Cerveteri—a fascinating city of the dead with thousands of tombs carved into the rock.
  • Santa Severa Beach is the most beautiful beach near Rome. The beach is home to a well-preserved medieval castle and is washed by a clear sea.
  • The Tarot Garden is a contemporary art park a few kilometers from the town of Capalbio . The park is home to 22 fascinating sculptures representing the tarot’s major arcana. The creator is French-American contemporary artist Niki De Saint-Phalle .
  • Visit the peculiar Argentario Peninsula linked to the mainland by three narrow strips of land. The perimeter of the Argentario peninsula hides small bays bathed by crystal-clear sea, accessible by fairly steep walking paths. Cala Gesso is the most picturesque of these bays.
  • Visit the largest island in the Tuscan Archipelago National Park, Elba Island . Take one of the regular ferries from the port of Piombino to explore the island’s unique and glorious beaches, such as Fetovaia Beach, and discover Elba’s rich history and the legacy of its most famous resident, Napolean Bonaparte.
  • Finish in Pisa . The small city full of artistic treasures can be toured in a day. Its heart is the Piazza del Duomo, which houses the Leaning Tower, the Cathedral, and the Baptistery.

Tip: Pay attention to the speed limits along Aurelia road, as there are many speed cameras.

Recommended by Lisa –  Travel Connect Experience

Siena Region of Tuscany

  • Recommended Duration : 2-3 days
  • Distance : 70 Kilometres. Siena and Florence are the possible start and finishing points.
  • Destinations : Montalcino – Pienza – Montepulciano – Cortona

One of the quintessential Italian experiences is a Tuscany road trip. The  Tuscan region of Siena  borders the province of Florence in the north, the province of Arezzo to the northeast, Umbria and Lazio to the south, and Pisa to the west. 

Rolling green and gold hills in the Tuscan countryside.

You can complete this road trip as a loop, starting and finishing in Siena. Or as this region is one of the most popular and accessible day trips from Florence , you could start or finish in Florence.

  • You can start from either Siena or Florence.
  • First, head for the tiny hilltop village of Montalcino , famous for its delicious Brunello wine. Visit the wine-tasting room in the fortress of Montalcino, where you can sample most of the local producers in one place. 
  • Next, head to Pienza , the hilltop UNESCO-designated town, arriving through the sublime landscape of cypress trees and gently rolling hills. On the way, stop at Cipressi di San Quirico d’Orcia, a scenic viewpoint. Pienza, known for its Pecorino cheese, is a well-preserved Renaissance town that has remained untouched since the 15th century. Linger over a long meal at La Terrazza del Choistro or Osteria Sette di Vino. 
  • Visit the pretty village of Montepulciano . Sip on some of the village’s finest wine in one of the cozy wine-tasting cellars dotted throughout the town.
  • The last stop is Cortona , the town made famous by the book  Under the Tuscan Sun  by Francis Mayes and the subsequent movie. The town’s buildings span the 11th to 15 centuries.  Grab a gelato from the delicious Gelateria Snoopy and lose yourself in Cortona’s endless winding alleyways and epic views of the Tuscan countryside. 
  • Return to either Siena or Florence.

For a relaxing road trip to this part of Tuscany, plan for 2 to 3 days and enjoy a lovely stay at  Siena House , a charming boutique B&B or explore some of Tuscany’s best wine hotels in the region.

Recommended by Renee – Dream Plan Experience 

Tuscany-Round Trip from Florence

  • Recommended Duration : 7 days
  • Distance : 471 Kilometres. Starting and finishing in Florence
  • Destinations : Florence – Lucca – Pisa- Siena – Cortona – Arezzo – Val d’Orcia – Chianti

A road trip through one of Italy’s most famous regions, starting and finishing in one of Italy’s most beautiful cities, Florence.

Rolling hills of Tuscany with a large red brick monastery in the centre surrounded by trees.

Spring, summer, and fall are particularly beautiful in Tuscany. The hills will be green in the spring, and poppies will bloom in the countryside. In the summer, sunflower fields are a draw, and the golden, bare rolling hills look stunning after the autumn harvest. 

From a weather perspective, spring and fall offer the most pleasant temperatures, with fewer crowds than in the summer. 

Highlights of a  road trip through Tuscany  include:

  • Charming hilltop towns that offer historical landmarks, local cuisine and culture, and charming ambiance.
  • See the world-famous art in Florence.
  • Wine tasting at some of the renowned wine-growing areas in the region, including Chianti and the Val d’Orcia.
  • The opportunity to photograph one of the most picturesque regions in Italy, with its rolling hills, stately cypress rows, and picturesque farmhouses.
  • Taste the region’s cuisine with its pasta, cheeses, meats, and the famous  ribollita  soup.
  • Driving in a loop, you’ll start and end this Tuscany road trip in Florence. You can find our guide on what to do in Florence here .
  • Head west of Florence to the city of Lucca , famous for its well-preserved Renaissance walls encircling the cobbled maze of the historic city center.
  • On to Pisa , a small city best known for its leaning tower in the Piazza del Duomo. The so-called “Square of Miracles” is a treasure trove of remarkable landmarks, including the cathedral, baptistery, and the  camposanto (cemetery).
  • Make your way south toward the stunning medieval city of Siena to explore the city’s 17 historic districts that extend outward from the unique fan-shaped central square, Piazza del Campo. Visit Palazzo Pubblico, the Gothic town hall, and the 14th-century Torre del Mangia for sweeping views of the city.
  • Continue on to the Val d’ Orcia region for stunning landscapes and local wine – Plan some tastings in Montepulciano and Montalcino in the Val d’Orcia, where you can also taste the local pecorino.
  • Head east to visit Cortona . The walled hilltop town, one of Tuscany’s prettiest towns, is famous for its beautiful medieval center and the Etruscan museum.
  • Continue on to Arezzo in the east, an elegant city with an easy-going atmosphere often bypassed by tourists . Yet, the beautiful city is rich with monuments, parks, archaeological remains, churches, and historic squares.
  • Make your last stop in the famed wine region of Chianti just south of Florence before heading back to the city.

If you have more time, you can add many small picturesque towns along the route to your itinerary.

Make sure you book at least one stay at an agriturismo. They capture the region’s essence and allow you to appreciate the countryside.

Recommended by Dhara – It’s Not About the Miles

Chianti Region Tuscany

  • Distance : 100-150 Kilometres.
  • Destinations : Montefioralle – Monteriggioni – San Gimignano – Radda in Chianti

One of Italy’s finest short road trips is a 2-3 day drive around the Chianti region of Tuscany. Chianti is situated between the tourist hotbed of Florence and the stunning medieval city of Siena .

A tree lined narrow winding road weaves through green rolling hills with a small village in the distance.

A road trip between the two cities through Chianti only covers about 100-150 km, but there are so many beautiful places to see along the way that you won’t want to cover more ground. 

A region of rolling hills covered in vineyards and stone masonry villas, Chianti is what many people think of when they imagine Tuscany.

Chianti is mostly known for its wine. The region produces some of the finest wines in the world, especially the local specialty Chianti Classico . Vineyards are scattered throughout the region, mixed in with fairy-tale Tuscan villages and ancient castles.

Plan your road trip to avoid the motorways. While driving the winding back roads, be sure to include the following towns and villages in your itinerary:

  • Montefioralle
  • Monteriggioni
  • San Gimignano
  • Radda in Chianti

Most importantly, stop by some of Italy’s best wineries. Just be sure there is a sober driver in the group, as the local wineries can be generous with the pours.

Some of the top picks for Chianti region wineries are:

  • Castello di Verrazzano
  • Pogglio Amorelli
  • Azienda Agricola Campocorto
  • Fattoria di Montemaggio

Be sure to contact the wineries before visiting to arrange tours or tastings. Most of the more popular wineries require reservations. For a true Tuscan experience, spend the night at a castle vineyard like Castello Vicchiomaggio . 

A road trip through Chianti will leave you longing for more time in the Tuscan hills.

Recommended by: Chris Heckmann – Around the World with Me

Val d’Orcia Tuscany

  • Recommended Duration : 4-7 days
  • Distance : 350 Kilometres Starting in Florence or Siena.
  • Destinations : Florence or Siena – Pienza – Montepulciano – Monticchiello – Bagni San Filippo thermal baths

The charming  Val d’Orcia in Italy  is a true jewel of Tuscany and a fantastic Italian road trip destination.

Most start their tour in Florence (approximately 1.5 hrs from Val d’Orcia), but you can also start or finish in Sienna (approximately 1.20 hrs from Val d’Orcia). You can plan around 350 kilometers for the entire route and 4-7 days.

Hay bales on golden fields with a farm house ruin and cypress trees on the hill in the distance.

On a road trip through Val d’Orcia, you will discover Tuscany you only know from movies. Endless hilly landscapes, breathtaking viewpoints along the panoramic roads, and the typical cypress avenues conjure up a picture-perfect ambiance. 

The stunning landscape dotted with small medieval villages and Renaissance towns is considered so unique it was given UNESCO World Heritage status in 2014.

  • Explore the numerous small, charming Renaissance villages, where you can stroll through medieval alleys and discover Tuscany from its most beautiful side.
  • Pienza is considered the cradle of the Renaissance. Make sure you try the local pecorino di Pienza cheese.
  • The medieval walled town of San Quirico d’Orcia is considered one of the prettiest villages in Tuscany.
  • Montepulciano . The stunning medieval hilltop town is a paradise for wine lovers. Make sure to try the delicious local red Vino Nobile di Montepulciano.
  • Montalcino is another beautiful town for wine lovers. The town’s vineyards produce some of Italy’s most famous and delicious wines, Rosso di Montalcino and Brunello di Montalcino.
  • The beautiful village of Monticchiello, with its famous winding road, becomes an open-air theatre in summer with performances by the local inhabitants.
  • For the onward journey, it is best to choose the Strada Provinciale 146 between Pienza and San Quirico , considered one of the most beautiful panoramic roads in the region with its numerous viewpoints.
  • visit the Bagni San Filippo thermal baths – beautiful natural hot springs in a peaceful forest setting. The water is loaded with calcium, giving the water a milky blue/white color like milk, and leaves white calcium deposits on the rocks, creating a stunning setting to bathe in.

You will find lots of lovely agrotourism accommodations to stay overnight, which will add to the Tuscan experience. A road trip through Val d’Orcia is a wonderful mix of landscape, culture, and wine, which should not be missed on any trip to Tuscany.

Recommended by Martina – PlacesofJuma

Southern Italy Road Trip Itineraries

Puglia road trip.

  • Distance : 580 Kilometres.
  • Destinations : Bari – Manopoli and Polignano a Mare – Alberobello – Locorotondo – Ostuni – Lecce

A Puglia road trip is the best way to explore one of Italy’s most charming regions. The ideal time for this road trip is around seven days in spring, early summer, or early autumn.

A typical white house in Puglia Italy with the cone shaped slate roof.

Visiting Puglia, you can fly into one of two airports, Bari or Brindisi (in the South). Both airports have car rental options to begin your 580 km road trip around Puglia’s best sights.

Suggested Itinerary for Puglia

  • It’s worthwhile beginning your Puglia road trip in the historic city of Bari , Puglia’s capital. Bari has beautiful architectural sights, including the Basilica San Nicolo and Bari Cathedral.
  • From Bari, head to Manopoli and Polignano a Mare , where you will find the region’s best beaches.
  • Head inland to see the famous trulli houses of Alberobello . The white cone-shaped houses of Alberobello are a recognized Unesco World Heritage Site.
  • Locorotondo , a picture-perfect town (often missed by tourists), is a real treat. Visit during holidays such as Easter and Christmas when the locals adorn the town in traditional decor.
  • The white city of Ostuni is a maze of white-washed buildings, sitting below a hill-topped citadel with ancient fortified walls.
  • Before heading back to Bari, if your Puglia road trip itinerary allows, stop at Lecce , known as the ‘Florence of the South,’ with exquisite baroque architecture, including the Piazza del Duomo.
  • It’s also worth stopping in Gallipoli : an old fishing village with a stunning port backed by ancient walls and pretty beaches.

Recommended by: Jasmine – The Life of a Social Butterfly

Calabria in the Toe of Italy’s Boot

  • Recommended Duration : 7-9 days
  • Distance : 153 Kilometres.
  • Destinations : Costa degli Dei and Costa Viola – Pizzo – Zambrone – Marinella – Michelino – Tropea – Costa Viola – Bagnara Calabra

Often overlooked by visitors to Italy, Calabria is a fabulous region in Italy’s south. If the idea of visiting picturesque villages perched in the Pennine mountains, the glowing sun, and relaxing at the beach sounds like your type of road trip, Calabria is perfect.

A small beach with clear blue water and beach umbrellas, surrounded with green vegetation.

If you find yourself in cities such as  Venice  or Rome, you can take an internal flight to Lamezia Terme Airport. Your road trip will start from here and ends in Scilla.

Taking between seven and nine days, you can drive 153 kilometers down the Costa degli Dei and Costa Viola.

  • First, stop in Pizzo , where you can taste the delicious Tartufo (a gelato based dessert).
  • Visit the beaches in Zambrone, Marinella, and Michelino, then the last stop along the Coast of the Gods, Tropea. The tourist town of Tropea is worth visiting for its lovely old city set on high cliffs overlooking the sea. Don’t miss trying the typical Calabrian pasta dish, Fileja alla Tropeana, when in Tropea.
  • Continue towards the Costa Viola with Bagnara Calabra, known for its long stretch of sandy beach and Scilla.
  • In Scilla , you can spend some time snorkeling in some of Italy’s most crystal clear waters and visit Chianalea , the charming fishing village. Make sure you try a swordfish sandwich in Scilla.

The best time of year to be in Calabria is in June or July, right before it gets too busy in August.

This Calabria road trip is an alternative way to explore the Tyrrhenian coast and includes popular places and lesser-known villages.

Recommended by: Maddalena Visentin – Venice Travel Tips

  • Recommended Duration : 2 weeks
  • Distance : 600 Kilometres.
  • Destinations : Cagliari – Villasimius- Cala Goloritze – Gorrupu – Orgosolo – Cala Luna – Cala Brandinchi – Olbia – La Maddalena – Alghero – Bosa

A Mediterranean island road trip through Sardinia offers some of the world’s finest beaches, picturesque hikes, breathtaking natural beauty, and charming towns. 

A trip to Sardinia is an incredible Italian road trip experience.

Secluded Sardinia Beach with clear water and white sand.

A suggested 600 km, two-week itinerary would be to start in the capital city of Cagliari and end in Bosa. The best stops are Villasimius, Cala Goloritze, Gorrupu, Orgosolo, Cala Luna, Cala Brandinchi, Olbia, La Maddalena, and Alghero. 

  • Once you have explored the capital Cagliari , drive along the coast to Villasimius , where you can enjoy the famous Sardinian beaches.
  • Another must-see spot is Cala Goloritze , where a hike leads to one of the island’s most spectacular beaches with crystal-clear water.
  • Gorropu , an impressive canyon, is a reminder that Sardinia has more to offer than just beaches. Inland villages such as Orgosolo , known for its street art and political graffiti, also provide a glimpse into the “real Sardinia.” 
  • Another highlight includes the stunning La Maddalena Island . While there, visit Caprera Island, Cala Coticcio, the Garibaldi Museum, and Cala Napoletana.
  • Finally, back on the mainland, visit the charming city of Alghero, Neptune’s Grotto, and the colorful town of Bosa. 

The best time for a road trip around Sardinia to avoid the crowds and enjoy milder weather is the shoulder season from May to June and September to October. It is still warm enough to go to the beach, but there are fewer crowds to battle – Sardinia is extremely busy in the summer months. See here for more tips on visiting Sardinia .

Recommended by: Rachel – Average Lives

Western Sicily

  • Recommended Duration : 10-12 days
  • Distance : 580 Kilometres. Starting and finishing in Palermo
  • Destinations : Palermo – San Vito Lo Capo – Trapani – Marsala – Caltabellotta – Agrigento – Enna – the Parco delle Madonie.

Sicily is the ideal setting for an Italian road trip. This efficient itinerary starts and ends in Palermo and makes a tidy loop around the western part of the island.

We also have a 10 day Sicily road trip looping the entire island.

The main square with an historical cathedral and town hall in the town of Marsala in Sicily.

Covering both the coast and the lush interior, stops include San Vito Lo Capo, Trapani, Marsala, Caltabellotta, Agrigento, Enna, and the Parco delle Madonie.

This road trip covers a distance of approximately 580 km and requires a minimum of 10-12 days to complete.

The best time of year to explore this part of Italy is early autumn when temperatures are pleasant, the summer crowds have dissipated, and harvest festivities sweep through the vineyards.

  • Embarking on a street food tour of Palermo
  • Swimming and snorkeling at San Vito Lo Capo
  • Exploring the salt flats near Trapani
  • Shopping for traditional Sicilian souvenirs at the carpet ateliers in Erice
  • Doing a fortified wine tasting in Marsala
  • Getting lost in the ancient streets of Caltabellotta
  • Visiting the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Valley of the Temples
  • Touring the incredible Cathedral of Enna
  • Hiking in the Madonie Regional Natural Park
  • After a few days in Sicily’s biggest city, pick up your car and depart Palermo . Follow the coastal road to San Vito Lo Capo, where gorgeous white-sand beaches and ultramarine waters await.
  • Continue along the coast to Trapani , the ‘City of Salt and Sail’, to explore the crystal pans before continuing to Marsala , a picturesque city of honey-colored stone known for its fortified wines. For a unique experience, tour the cellars at Cantine Florio.
  • Detour inland to spend a night in the tiny village of Caltabellotta before making your way down to Agrigento , the departure point for exploring one of Sicily’s most important archaeological sites, the Valley of the Temples.
  • Turning inland, make a quick stop in medieval Enna before spending a few nights on the fringe of Madonie Regional Natural Park , where you can enjoy the area’s hiking trails before returning to Palermo.

Recommended by Emily – Wander-Lush

Italy is such an incredible country to explore leisurely by road. With so many incredible and diverse experiences, it’s hard to choose just one Italy road trip itinerary.

Greta's Travels

Italy in Winter: Everything You Need to Know for the Perfect Italy Winter Trip

Posted on Last updated: February 2, 2024

Are you planning a winter trip to Italy, but aren’t sure what to expect? Then this is the guide for you! In this article I have outlined everything you need to know about visiting Italy in winter.

Being Italian, I have spent my fair amount of winters in Italy, and can confidently say it’s a great off-the-beaten track decision.

When visiting Italy in winter you won’t get the picture perfect idyllic Italian summer experience, but you can get something better!

While not exactly being a winter sun destination, Italy has a milder winter compared to many other European countries.

And from a tourist point of view, it also means less crowds. You can see all the main attractions in Italy, with less people around and for a cheaper price.

italy road trip in january

Piazza del Duomo in Milan at Christmas, with Galleria Vittorio Emanuele and Milan Cathedral behind it

Italy also offers a huge variety of destinations, which can suit different type of winter trips. Some travellers might want to hit the slopes of the Italian Alps, whilst others might want to enjoy the winter sun in Sicily.

Regardless of how you picture your Italian winter trip, you’ll need the information listed in this guide to help you make the most of it! In this guide I have included all the most important information to visit Italy in winter.

Including what weather to expect in different parts of the country, what to pack for winter in Italy, the best destinations to visit in Italy in winter, what holidays to plan for and much more.

So without further ado, let’s dive in and plan the perfect Italy winter trip!

  • 1.1 Weather in Italy in December 
  • 1.2 January weather in Italy
  • 1.3 Weather in Italy in February
  • 2 Holidays to expect in italy in winter
  • 3 What to pack for Italy in winter
  • 4.1 Rome & Milano
  • 4.2 Trentino & the Alps
  • 4.4 Puglia, Amalfi Coast & Matera
  • 4.5 Tuscany
  • 4.6 Sicily 
  • 5 Is winter a good time to visit italy?

The beautiful facade of the Trevi fountain in Rome

The beautiful facade of the Trevi fountain in Rome

Weather in Italy in winter

First things first, what kind of weather can you expect to find in Italy in winter? Despite summer in Italy being known for its hot climate, Italy can get very chilly throughout winter.  

It might be easy to imagine this blissful Mediterranean peninsula and its islands being a land of perpetual sun and turquoise seas, but that’s not the case in winter. It also depends on where in Italy you plan on going.

When you visit the north of Italy in winter you can expect to find rain, wind, cold temperatures and sometimes even snow.

The south of the country is a bit more clement, but is still far from the European winter sun destinations you might hit for a tanning beach holiday.

Enjoying the views from Ghiacciaio Presena with my friends Laura and Ramis, on our first Italy ski trip together

Enjoying the views from Ghiacciaio Presena with my friends Laura and Ramis, on our first Italy ski trip together

Weather in Italy in December 

There’s a huge difference between the south and north, for example between  Rome and  Cinque Terre , but generally speaking December throughout Italy is usually cold.

Depending on where you are, you can expect snow, and there are often rainy days. There’s not much in the way of long, sunny days, so you’ll want to come prepared to wrap up warm against the elements.

December is a great time of year if you want to see what Italy looks like during the holiday season around Christmas.

The huge Christmas tree of Piazza del Duomo with Milan Cathedral behind it

The huge Christmas tree of Piazza del Duomo with Milan Cathedral behind it

January weather in Italy

On average, January is the coldest month of the year in Italy. That means you can expect low temperatures across the board, with many rainy days and – in some places – snow.

There won’t be many crowds, so if you’re not a fan of sharing sights with lots of tourists, it’s a good time of year to come. But it’s definitely not the nicest weather-wise!

Weather in Italy in February

Things start to warm up (a little bit) in February. It’s a changeable month, with sunnier, milder days towards the end of the month, but temperatures can still be very low throughout February.

And snow can still fall – especially in mountainous regions (it’s a popular time for skiing trips). In short, you’ll still need your winter clothes when visiting Italy in February.

Sunset over the perched colourful houses of Riomaggiore in Cinque Terre, Italy

Sunset over the perched colourful houses of Riomaggiore in Cinque Terre, Italy

Holidays to expect in italy in winter

Despite being a cold time of year, there are many festivals throughout the late autumn and winter periods that make Italy an interesting place to visit in this chillier time of year.  

In early November, for example, there’s Giorno dei Santi – otherwise known as All Saints Day. The day before, known as Dei Morti, falls on 31st October and basically matches up with Halloween celebrations abroad.

Don’t expect many full-on American-style Halloween festivities, but do expect plenty of seasonal food and other religious observances.

Next up is, obviously, Christmas. It’s a magical time of year anywhere in the world, and even more so if you’re heading to Italy for Christmas .

Wherever you are in Italy, you can expect to find Christmas trees, lights and decorations everywhere, but especially so in the big cities like Milan and Rome .

The Christmas tree and lights in Galleria Vittorio Emanuele, Milan

The Christmas tree and lights in Galleria Vittorio Emanuele, Milan

Christmas in Italy runs pretty much all the way to Epifania on 6th January (also a national holiday).

Epifania is a good witch that brings candy to good children and coal to bad children, and marks the end of the Christmas festive period in Italy.

Carnival is a big deal, too. This occurs usually at the end of February, maybe the beginning of March, depending on when Easter falls that year.

Expect great food and amazing costumes, especially if you plan to visit the Carnival of Venice . These are the holiday you’ll need to plan your trip around when visiting Italy in winter.

If you visit Italy on these holidays you’ll probably need to book accommodation in advance (some may be more expensive), and be aware that on public holidays some services and amenities may be closed.

Wandering along the canals of Navigli in Milano, Italy, by night

Wandering along the canals of Navigli in Milano, Italy, by night

What to pack for Italy in winter

Packing is essential for making sure you have a good time in Italy in winter. Bringing along the wrong wardrobe will just not cut it! 

It’s a good idea to bring plenty of layers. That way you can stay warm when you’re outside, but strip off a layer or two when you head indoors where there’s heating.

And with rainy weather expected throughout the country, bringing along a raincoat and an umbrella is a good idea. 

A good pair of shoes , ideally with some level of waterproofing, will help for when you’re strolling around sightseeing or shopping. And even though it’s not summer, keeping hydrated is still important!

For that reason, bring along a refillable water bottle and refill at places like the nasoni (public drinking fountains) in Rome . Not only does this save money, but it saves on plastic too.

For more useful packing tips, make sure to check out my Italy packing list and my travel essentials !

Enjoying the view from the peak of Monte San Primo in Lake Como, Italy

Enjoying the view from the peak of Monte San Primo in Lake Como, Italy

Best places to visit in italy in winter

After having gone over some key information about visiting Italy in winter, it’s time to dive into what the best destinations to visit in Italy are, with some average temperatures you can expect to find in each place.

Rome & Milano

Average high: 13°C (55.4°F)

Average low: 3°C (37.4°F)

Rainy days average: 7

Italy’s two largest cities are great places to visit during the winter season.

The beautiful Trevi fountain in Rome

The beautiful Trevi fountain in Rome

I always suggest visiting Rome and Milan in winter , since you can still do all the same activities you would in summer, but with less people around and for a cheaper price tag.

Rome is packed full with incredible museums and historic sights, and with fewer tourists this time of year, you’ll have the city to yourself to explore on cold winter days.

And if you come around the Christmas period, you’ll be treated to a great atmosphere. Plus, it’s less expensive than visiting Rome in summer or spring .

Especially if you want to stay in one of those cool hotels near the Colosseum or Pantheon , or those luxurious Rome AirBnbs , it will be much cheaper to do so! Rome by night tours will also be less busy.


italy road trip in january

The Colosseum in Rome at sunset

Sunset over the rooftops of Rome

Sunset over the rooftops of Rome

Average high: 7°C (44.6°F)

Average low: 2°C (35.6°F)

Rainy days average: 5

The same goes for Milan . Although not chock full of the same ancient sites as Rome , Milan still packs a punch and is an enchanting city in the winter months.

As well as chic shopping opportunities and stylish hotels , Milan oozes culture – attending the opera here, one of the oldest in the world, is an amazing wintry event.

There’s also ice skating and Christmas markets to enjoy in Milan , too.

From Milan you can also go on a day trip to Lake Como . This famous Italian lake is very popular in summer, but in winter you’ll be able to enjoy your Lake Como itinerary and boat tours without the crowds!

Piazza del Duomo in Milan, Italy

Piazza del Duomo in Milan, Italy

Sunset over Milan from the rooftop of the Duomo, Italy

Sunset over Milan from the rooftop of the Duomo, Italy

Trentino & the Alps

Average high: 8°C (46.4°F)

Average low: 4°C (39.2°F)

Rainy days average: 2

For those who like winter sports and getting cosy at the apres-ski, then Trentino (or the Alps in general) is where you should be heading.

The city of Trento, capital of the region Trentino , is also packed full of history and culture, with art museums and plenty of restaurants to indulge in.

Hitting the slopes here means swinging by renowned ski resorts such as Madonna di Campiglio – and you don’t have to be an expert to make the most of the powder.

There will be plenty of chances for you to embark on a ski or snowboard lesson at many of the Italian Alps’ ski resorts .

This region is all about enjoying the mountain air, getting into the great outdoors, but also getting warm and snuggly over a long meal after you’ve been skiing – or heading to a spa to soak in a hot tub.

Skiing at the top of Ghiacciaio Presena close to Passo del Tonale

Skiing at the top of Ghiacciaio Presena close to Passo del Tonale

Skiing in Courmayer

Skiing in Courmayer

Average low: 1°C (33.8°F)

Venice in winter may not be the place of sunny piazzas and glistening canals that you’d get in summer, but Venice in winter is a beautiful place to spend your time.

For one thing, during winter you won’t get the extreme summer heat, which is a big plus – and the crowds that go with it also won’t be there. Being less touristy really helps, as visiting major sights will mean almost no queues.

Our gondola ride in Venice took us close to Rialto Bridge

Our gondola ride took us close to Rialto Bridge

Sunset in Venice, Italy, a popular Mediterranean cruise destination

Sunset in Venice, Italy, a popular Mediterranean cruise destination

However if you are interested in visiting with the crowds, then you should plan your trip to Venice to coincide with Carnival. Here it’s all about elaborate masks, dressing up and hitting the streets to admire the spectacle.

Another spectacle is the acqua alta or high tide. This usually occurs in late November and sees Venice’s piazzas and streets flooded by seawater.

Though inconvenient, it does look cool. Places that do get flooded have raised pedestrian walkways so you can still access the city.  

Even if it is a bit chilly during winter in Venice, it’s nothing a few good warm layers of clothing won’t cure.

You’ll love walking around Piazza San Marco and other iconic sights – they look as breath-taking as ever bathed in crisp winter sun.

Exploring the side streets, canals and bridges of Venice, Italy

Exploring the side streets, canals and bridges of Venice, Italy

Puglia, Amalfi Coast & Matera

Rainy days average: 4

If you’re looking for winter sun, then any one of these coastal destinations will do the job for you. Puglia in winter is fairly mild, though it’s not exactly beach weather, and is great for a winter getaway.

The quaint streets in this region’s towns make for a great place to explore – particularly over Christmas, when they’re fabulously decked out with decorations; local markets and live music make Puglia even more special at this time of year, too.


The famous trulli of Alberobello in Puglia - Photo by Holly Farrier on Scopio

The famous trulli of Alberobello in Puglia – Photo by Holly Farrier on Scopio

Amalfi Coast

Average high: 14°C (57.2°F)

Average low: 9°C (48.2°F)

Rainy days average: 3

The Amalfi Coast may be better known for the sun-drenched days of summer that many tourists spend here, but this iconic destination is still a gem in winter.

One thing to note is that, because of rough seas, ferries don’t always run in the winter. It’s best to pick one Amalfi Coast town to stay in , and spend time relaxing and enjoying the scenery.

At Christmas, streets along this stretch of shoreline are decorated with lights. There are big celebrations for New Year as well. On the whole, days are still nice and sunny: perfect for exploring the practically deserted towns here.

While you might not be able to go on that idyllic Positano boat tour or boat trip to Capri , you’ll still be able to see the ruins of Pompeii , hike the Path of the Gods , explore Positano and beyond.

However bear in mind that because of the lack of tourists, many eateries and hotels catering for them are shut at this time of year.

Enjoying drives along the beautiful Amalfi Coast, with Positano behind me

Enjoying drives along the beautiful Amalfi Coast, with Positano behind me


Average high: 11°C (51.8°F)

Average low: 7°C (44.6°F)

Rainy days average: 6

Elsewhere, Matera is cold, and sometimes sees snow, but it’s good for a bit of winter sun.

The major draw here are the cave dwellings in the Sassi area, which are usually crawling with tourists, but in winter you’ll basically have them to yourself.

Matera is lively during the winter, and hosts big celebrations in its piazzas.


The view over Matera from the viewpoint of the Parco Regionale della Murgia Materana

The view over Matera from the viewpoint of the Parco Regionale della Murgia Materana

The view over the Sassi of Matera from Belvedere Luigi Gurrigghio

The view over the Sassi of Matera from Belvedere Luigi Gurrigghio

Average low: 5°C (41°F)

People might talk about the Tuscan sun (have you seen that awesome travel movie ?), but in the winter this region is no less special.

From its charming villages to its famous cities like Florence , there’s no end of sights and experiences that will make your trip amazing.  

Sunset over Florence from Piazzale Michelangelo

Sunset over Florence from Piazzale Michelangelo

View over the Tuscan countryside

View over the Tuscan countryside

Minus all the crowds of the high season (and there are a lot in Tuscany in summer), you can expect cheaper room rates and transportation costs, which means a much cheaper overall Italy trip cost !

Exploring Pisa , Florence and Siena without huge crowds is a breath of fresh air when compared to what it’s like in summer.  

Visiting these cities’ big sights and museums packed with culture is much more fun when there aren’t hundreds of people all trying to do the same thing!

You’ll get to see a more local slice of life in these iconic cities, whereas road tripping around the Tuscan countryside means sharing the road with locals rather than day-trippers and tourist traffic.

The Leaning Tower of Pisa

The Leaning Tower of Pisa


Average high: 16°C (60.8°F)

Sicily is much warmer than the rest of Italy during winter. It’s a good time of year to come to soak up the island’s architecture, history and natural scenery minus tourist crowds.

But things still do get very lively, especially around the holidays. Christmas markets in its major towns, not least the principal city of Palermo, are a major attraction.

The Greek amphitheatre of Taormina at sunset

The Greek amphitheatre of Taormina at sunset

Ragusa Ibla seen from the neighbouring hill

Ragusa Ibla seen from the neighbouring hill

Sicily has a lot of amazing food, which you can enjoy during the winter months, spending hours over a long lunch. The winter oranges in Sicily mean delicious freshly squeezed orange juice wherever you go.

There’s a lot of history on this island.

From ancient sites such as Motya, a Phonecian settlement founded in the 8th century BC, to ornate Norman palaces and imposing cathedrals, history buffs will have an awesome time lapping it all up during winter (no day-tripping crowds to share it with!).

Piazza del Duomo in Catania, Sicily

Piazza del Duomo in Catania, Sicily

The main cathedral in Noto

The main cathedral in Noto

Is winter a good time to visit italy?

Of course! Yes, it won’t be the stereotypical trip to Italy in summer, riding Vespas into the sunset and throwing coins into fountains, but it will be amazing.  

You can have an atmospheric, unforgettable time anywhere you go, whether you choose to spend your time making the most of the ski season in mountain areas, or if you prefer to see what Italy’s cities – Rome , Florence, Milan – look like without tourists.

And then there’s Christmas: Italians do it well, so it’s a great time of year to come and join in the fun.  

Last but not least, for those looking for winter sun, heading to the south of the country can yield some great results.

I wouldn’t recommend going to Sardinia , especially not if you plan on island hopping , or hiking in Cinque Terre , but other southern regions in Italy like Sicily can still offer a lot also in winter.

You won’t exactly be sitting on the beach, but you can still tick off some unique historical attractions from your Italy bucket list , and more than likely you’ll be experiencing something milder than your own country can offer in the depths of winter!

Watching the sunset over the Vatican and Ponte Sant'Angelo from Ponte Umberto in Rome

Watching the sunset over the Vatican and Ponte Sant’Angelo from Ponte Umberto in Rome

Final thoughts on visiting Italy in winter

There you have it, the ultimate winter in Italy guide! Have you been to Italy before? How did you find it? Let me know in the comments below!

In this article I tried to include everything you need to know about visiting Italy in winter, as well as highlighting where exactly in Italy you should be going in winter, to make the most of your trip.

Winter in Italy is great. Obviously the weather isn’t perfect, but it’s still better than many other European countries. Pair that with less tourist crowds and cheaper prices, and you have a winner!

Whether you choose to hit the slopes in the Alps, or wander around Italian cities, I hope you find this Italy winter guide useful in planning your own Italian winter vacation.

If you have any questions, just let me know in the comments below!

Before you go, make sure to check these 10 things Italians want you to know before travelling to Italy ! And these great quotes about Italy to inspire your Italy in winter trip even more!

Enjoyed reading about the best things to do in winter in Italy? Pin it!

Photo collage of the Colosseum, Trevi Fountain, Manarola and the sunset over Florence with text overlay saying

Logo 2024 Italian Trip Abroad

Is Italy in January a Hidden Gem? Unveiling why winter is the right time!

Is January a good time to visit Italy for an affordable and crowd-free Italian getaway? Here are our local expert tips on what to do in Italy in January.

Last Update: December 9, 2023

  • Destination

Italy in January , often overlooked due to its colder weather and the holiday lull, remains an uncharted place for many travellers seeking quieter streets. The snow-topped landscapes and unique experiences are away from the bustling tourist masses. January in Italy is perfect to unwind and embrace a slow travel style. 

While it might not fit the traditional image of an Italian vacation, the month holds its own charm, beckoning explorers with fewer crowds, enticing ski resorts, and a chance to delve deeper into the authentic Italian lifestyle.

Italy in January - A local guide

Should You Consider a January Visit to Italy?

The weather in Italy during January, admittedly cold and at times wet, dissuades some from exploring its riches. Yet, for the intrepid traveller, this season offers a serene environment where city streets are not overcrowded, allowing you to savour iconic destinations like Rome or Florence at your own pace. While December might carry the festive cheer, January extends an invitation for tranquil exploration, especially after January 6th, marking the shift from the holiday ‘high season’ to a serene low season.

Key takeaway | Italy in winter

Within this guide, you will get to know things about Italy in winter that will help you plan a great trip. This guide is about:

  • Why Italy in January is perfect to skip the crowds

Weather in Italy in January

  • Where to go and where to stay
  • How to get around Italy in January
  • Holiday celebrations in Italy and sights that are closed in January
  • Places we recommend spending some time in January
  • Best food to try in the low season
  • What locals do in January
  • Best experiences in Italy in January
  • What to wear when it is cold

This post may contain affiliate links or Sponsored Links ( read our Cookie Policy ), and useful experiences that we love to suggest to you. If you click one of them, we may receive a small commission (for which we are really grateful) at no extra cost to you. Click on it will help us run this website for you, for FREE, funding our project and continuing to travel, informing curious explorers.

Like our blog? Support us on the Social Media

Palermo in autumn is perfect to enjoy the seaside out of season. Palermo is nice to visit every time of the year, however in the shoulder season you can enjoy more of the outdoor spaces without crowds around | Italy in winter

Is January a good month to travel to Italy?

Yes, January is a great month to explore Italy. Most of the attention in winter in Italy is around the Skii destinations, which are in the north of the country. Some of the best chalets in Italy are around the Alps and Dolomites area, which border with Switzerland, France, Austria and Slovenia.

If you are not among ski-trippers, we get that, and you might love the much higher temperature of Southern Italy, exploring Palermo, Napoli, or the cute villages of Puglia .

If we ring the bell in some ways, check out some of our most inspiring guides visiting Italy in winter:

Best things to do in Florence in winter

Florence in Winter 2024: Things to Do + Skip the Crowds

Iceski in Rome - Rare snow photo of the Coloseeum

Visit Rome in Winter and beat the crowds | 25 things to do in winter in Rome

Winter in Venice view of Rialto Bridge

Venice in Winter: The magic of the Lagoon without the crowds

Winter in Italy is fantastic, in this phot Lake Braies in winter with the Dolomites peaks covered with snow

Italy in winter: Where to go and how to spend the best holidays.

Winter in Milan Travel guide

Winter in Milan: The Complete Winter Guide to Milan in 2024 (tips by local)

10 reasons why visiting italy in january is a fantastic idea.

  • Fewer Crowds
  • Local Experience
  • Sale season in Italy

Immerse in Local Life

Skiing paradise.

  • Get a discount on accommodation and activities

Unique Festivities

Mild climate in the south, cultural exploration, in january, there are no crowds.

Experience the tranquillity as tourist numbers dwindle, particularly after January 6th, allowing you to explore iconic cities like Rome and Florence with fewer crowds.

You will feel a more intimate experience

 Embrace the chance to feel like a local and encounter more Italian and European tourists, providing an authentic atmosphere.

It’s the sale season

Enjoy Italy’s renowned sale period, offering the best shopping discounts of the year, similar to the sales in July.

January provides an ideal opportunity to immerse yourself in popular destinations and experience life as a local resident.

View of Lake Bries and the mountains in the afternoon | January in Italy

Explore some of Europe’s premier ski resorts during this ideal time for skiing and winter sports enthusiasts.

Flexibility in Travel Plans

January allows for flexible travel plans, adapting to your preferences and schedule.

Depending on the area you visit, January can be the most affordable time to explore Italy. Outside ski resorts, expect great deals on accommodations and airfares.

The main cities are often overcrowded, leaving few nice places available, visiting Italy in January you can have accommodation almost for yourself at a fraction of the price. We also consider the colder months the perfect time to plan a workcation in Italy , spending some time between experiences once you are done with work.

Sunset in Venice - Visiting Italy in January

In January, Italy’s festive spirit mellows after the New Year’s celebration s. Capodanno on January 1st and L’ Epifania on January 6th mark the major festivities. The latter, known as the Epiphany, is cherished with local traditions like La Befana, a symbol of gift-giving.

Actually, you must know that planning a trip after the 6th of January might lead to quieter places and discounted prices for accommodation and activities. In the South, visiting Sicily , you can witness the picturesque celebration of Saint Agatha, Patron of Catania. The religious procession sees fireworks and culinary delights, making it particular also for locals.

Another festivity is the Venetian Carnival , which kicks off in late January, showcasing elaborate masked balls, vibrant parades, and street performances. This ancient tradition brings Venice alive with a sense of mystery and splendour, drawing crowds from all over the world.

Enjoy milder temperatures in Southern Italy, where it’s warmer compared to the north, offering a pleasant atmosphere. Afterall, we have often referred to Southern Italy as the perfect destination to chase the winter sun in Europe . If you are looking for more of these destinations, make sure you read this guide .

Engage in cultural explorations, discovering hidden gems, art, history, and culinary delights with fewer tourists around. Visiting Italy in January unveils a unique side of the country, blending serenity, local essence, fantastic shopping opportunities, and a myriad of experiences waiting to be explored.

If you are interested in local traditions, it might be the right time to experience the Venetian Carnival without the crowds. Not many know that this special occasion kicks off in late January but sees more locals than tourists around.

The best views of Rome - How to plan the perfect weekend trips from Rome Italy

Italy’s geographical diversity paints a varied picture of the weather in January. Northern regions brace for snow, with temperatures hovering near freezing. Central Italy, though chilly, presents milder conditions compared to the north. The south, while relatively warmer, still maintains a brisk atmosphere, perfect for exploring without the scorching heat of summer.

In January, Italy experiences its chilliest weather, marking it as the coldest month of the year across the nation. However, the temperature spectrum varies significantly based on the region you’re in, offering diverse climatic conditions.

Italy’s weather in January by regions

Northern Italy encounters a bone-chilling atmosphere, especially at higher altitudes where snow becomes a common sight. Temperatures tend to linger around the freezing point, hovering at approximately 0°C (32°F).

Central Italy also embraces the winter chill and occasionally witnesses snowfall. Here, temperatures typically average around 9°C (48°F), presenting a moderately cold ambience.

Southern Italy boasts comparatively milder weather during January, albeit not suitable for beach outings. With temperatures hovering around 13°C (55 °F), this region experiences a bit of warmth, accompanied by more sunshine compared to other parts of the country. However, it also encounters relatively higher rainfall during this time compared to other seasons.

Several Italian cities, such as Milan, Florence, and Parma, amplify the winter cold due to a blend of humidity and chilly temperatures, making the climate feel even colder than indicated by the thermometer readings.

Temperature in Italy in January

  • Northern Italy: -4-5°C (25-45°F)
  • Central Italy: 5-13°C (40-55°F)
  • Southern Italy: 10-16°C (50-60°F)

Dolomites slopes - Italy

Is Italy Snowing in January?

While the northern mountainous regions of Italy, like the Alps, Dolomites or Apennines, may have snow in January, most major cities and destinations further south receive little, if any, snowfall during January.

On average, Rome gets no snow accumulation in January. However, mountain view day trips from Rome can offer scenic winter snowscapes. Milan has light snow at times, with January averaging just 2 days of measly snowfall.

Popular ski towns will have the most January snowpack, which is great news for winter sports enthusiasts! Destinations like Courmayeur, Bormio and Cortina d’Ampezzo offer superb skiing among the Italian Alps all January long.

Coastal regions primarily get cold winter rains rather than snow. Cities like Florence may get a dusting of snow once or twice the entire month. Venice averages just 1 day per January, with snow flurries mixing amidst winter showers.

So, while the far northern mountains collect decent powder, heavier snow is not common in metropolitan travel destinations during Italy’s slightly milder winter month. Check regional forecasts to know what to expect weather-wise!

Florence in Winter 2024: Things to Do + Skip the…

Rome or Florence which italian city visit for the first time

Rome vs Florence: Which is better, Rome or Florence. Pros…

Amazing view of Rome from The Dome of St. Peter's Basilica - Vatican City - Reasons why visit Rome

Things to do in Rome in 2 days itinerary

Is Paris in Italy? Guiding you to the right place to visit in Europe

Is Paris in Italy? No, but you can travel to…

Naples flags in the historic centre

Naples Spanish Quarter Guide:  Walk through the most charming neighbourhood…

Best places to visit: unveiling the hidden gems.

Italy in January unveils its quieter, more intimate side across various locales:

  • Dolomites (ski areas): Offering a paradise for winter sports enthusiasts, complemented by alternative activities for non-skiers. Read about the best places in the Dolomites .
  • Emilia Romagna Towns: We had a blast exploring the cute villages of Emilia Romagna . The central region is perfect if you want to spend an extended time in Italy in winter. Even though it is very cold. We suggest taking as a base Bologna , rent a car, and get day trips.
  • Rome: An opportunity to explore iconic monuments minus the bustling crowds. Looking for an itinerary of Rome in winter? Read this!
  • Florence: Despite the cold, it presents a chance to immerse in art and culture. Florence in winter is magical; read our itinerary .
  • Venice: Discover the city’s charm with fewer tourists, embracing local experiences. Interested in Venice in winter? We have a guide ready for you!
  • Naples: The southern city is one of the most popular in Italy, and in winter is perfect. If you are on a budget, make sure to write down Naples on the list of places to visit in January . Explore the Spanish Quarter or stroll on the promenade, as the sun is always up in Naples.
  • Sicily: Experience the island’s charm without the summer crowds, exploring historical sites.
  • Milan: Indulge in world-class shopping during the January sales, accompanied by cultural experiences. Looking to spend a few days in Milan in January ? Read our guide .

Where to go for outdoor activities

Italy in January offers a plethora of stunning destinations for skiing and various winter sports, ensuring a memorable experience for enthusiasts. Here are some top locations to consider: Italy in January is a winter wonderland, offering a variety of stunning destinations for skiing and other winter sports. Here are some top locations to consider:

If you are looking for Skiing and Winter Sports

The Italian Alps


  • Skiing: Known for its extensive ski area, with varying difficulty levels catering to both beginners and advanced skiers.
  • Scenic Views: Offers breathtaking panoramas of Mont Blanc, making the skiing experience even more spectacular.

Cortina d’Ampezzo:

  • Skiing and Snowboarding: Renowned for its well-groomed slopes and challenging terrains suitable for skiing and snowboarding.
  • Winter Sports Events: Often hosts international winter sports events, attracting professional athletes and sports enthusiasts.

Val Gardena:

  • Ski Resorts: A haven for skiers with access to the Dolomiti Superski area, providing numerous interconnected slopes.
  • Winter Activities: Apart from skiing, opportunities for snowshoeing, ice skating, and winter hikes abound.

Madonna di Campiglio:

  • Skiing and Snowboarding: Offers diverse terrains suitable for different skill levels, complemented by modern ski lifts.
  • Après-ski Scene: Bustling nightlife, cosy bars, and gourmet restaurants contribute to a vibrant après-ski atmosphere.
  • Olympic Connection: Hosted events during the 2006 Winter Olympics, boasting quality slopes and modern facilities.
  • High Altitude: Enjoy consistent snow cover due to its high altitude, ensuring excellent skiing conditions.
  • Duty-Free Zone: Known for duty-free shopping, Livigno is also an excellent skiing destination with extensive snow parks and cross-country ski trails.
  • Freeriding: Appeals to free-riders with ample off-piste opportunities and adrenaline-pumping descents.

Mezze in Palermo | What to eat in Italy

What to eat in Italy in January

January takes into the Italian home traditions and dishes and recipes handed down by generations. These are the most common things you should try while in Italy.

  • Zuppa di Farro: A hearty farro soup, often infused with beans, vegetables, and aromatic herbs, serves as a comforting winter staple. Its wholesome flavours embody the essence of traditional Italian comfort food.
  • Risotto ai Funghi: Indulge in the velvety richness of risotto flavoured with earthy mushrooms, a dish that embodies the essence of Italian cuisine. Its creamy texture and depth of taste make it a winter favourite.
  • Piping Hot Cioccolata Calda: As the temperatures drop, indulge in a cup of thick, velvety hot chocolate, a staple during Italy’s chilly winter months. This luxurious treat is often accompanied by whipped cream or served alongside indulgent pastries.
  • Polenta e Osei: A traditional Lombard dessert, this sweet treat features cake-shaped marzipan birds perched atop a bed of creamy polenta, offering a unique blend of textures and savours.

Winter Wine and Cheese Pairings

  • Full-Bodied Reds: Embrace the bold flavours of Italian wines during winter. Reds like Barolo, Amarone, or Chianti Classico Reserva complement the richness of winter dishes, offering a flawless harmony of taste.
  • Robust Cheeses: Pair these wines with robust Italian cheeses like Parmigiano-Reggiano, Pecorino Toscano, or Taleggio. Their distinct flavours add depth to culinary experiences.

Culinary Experiences and Local Food Festivals

  • Truffle Hunting Excursions: Engage in truffle hunting experiences in regions like Piedmont or Umbria. These immersive adventures offer insights into the prized delicacy and often conclude with tasting sessions.

Day trips from Bari - Renting a car in Puglia Italy

How to get around Italy in winter

You have many ways to travel around Italy in January . Of course, renting a car is the easiest way, and it gives you freedom of travel. However, you must know that you need a sturdy car, perhaps with 4×4 wheels, especially when visiting northern Italy or the Dolomites area. Be prepared for snow or even road closures. Some motorways in Italy require you to have winter tires from November to April. If you are looking to rent a car, check the offers with Rental Car and DiscoverCars .

If you don’t want to drive you can always planning carefully the itinerary, with a mix of flights, trains and buses. There are direct connections with high-speed trains between the major cities. You can get from Rome to Naples in under one hour and from Florence to Bologna in 35 minutes. Check the routes with Italo Treno (Cheaper) and Trenitalia . However, this requires you to book in advance.

What to wear in January in Italy

Italy’s winter weather requires packing the right cold weather attire when visiting in January. Temperatures often hover around 10°C during the day, then dip below freezing at night, so layering is key.

We recommend packing the following essentials:

  • Thermal base layers (top and bottom)
  • Sweaters and fleece jackets for insulation 
  • A warm winter coat (and gloves, hat, scarf)
  • Waterproof shoes with good traction and insulation
  • Multiple pairs of warm socks
  • Bring an umbrella as January has frequent rain or snow showers

Dress in layers that you can easily peel on or off as you transition between outdoor and heated indoor spaces. Choosing breathable fabrics packed for warmth yet versatility will keep you comfortable amidst January’s variable Italian weather.

With the proper cold weather clothing, your winter trip will allow you to enjoy Italy’s sites without freezing or ruining your travels battling the elements. Just remember to pack for sub-freezing conditions and have your warmest winter wear ready!

FAQ | Italy in January

Is january a good time for italy.

Yes, January is an excellent time to visit Italy if you want to avoid the summer crowds and high season prices. As one of the quieter months, January offers a more relaxed pace, better value accommodations, fewer lines at top attractions, and a cosier atmosphere overall.

Is January the Coldest Month in Italy?

While January is typically one of Italy’s coldest months, especially in the north, the winter weather is relatively mild compared to other European destinations. January temperatures average 10°C in Rome and 4°C in Milan and Venice. Bundled-up sightseeing is manageable with proper layers.

Is Italy Expensive in January?

January is considered the off-season, so you’ll often find major discounts on hotels and flights. Restaurant and attraction prices also tend to dip slightly during this slower tourism month. Overall, Italy is far more affordable for visitors in January than peak season.

What Month is Best for Italy?

The best month depends on your travel priorities – there is no definitively “perfect” time. However, to beat the extreme heat and crowds, we recommend May, September and October as ideal times with pleasant weather and fewer tourists.

Is Florence Cold in January?

Yes, Florence and central Italy can get quite cold in January. Average temperatures are around 7°C during the day and often dip below freezing at night. Come prepared with warm layers, gloves, scarf and hat to explore the city comfortably.

Italian Trip Abroad Bio

Hi travellers! Welcome to Italian Trip Abroad, an award-winning travel blog that guides you to the best destinations in Italy and around the world. From secret places to well-known popular destinations through inspiring stories. We love to offer deep guides with the use of photos and videos.  Read our story and how we got here!

Collaborations with travel brands - Italian trip abroad - travel blog open to collaborations

Award-winning Travel Blog

Collaborations with travel brands - Italian trip abroad - travel blog open to collaborations

Meet the Authors: Toti and Ale

We're Toti and Ale, avid travellers, award-winning writers, and photographers  living life one stamp at a time. We have been in more than 35 countries, hand in hand, offering inspiring guides on Italian Trip Abroad and other award-winning travel blogs. We are London-based, but we travel the world as Digital Nomads with a purpose: to help you travel more and better in a sustainable way . You can find us here, offering tips for backpackers, itineraries or guides to cross Italy and get on the most insane adventures. Join us as we explore off-the-beaten-path destinations, savour the beauty of slow travel, and make a positive impact on the places we visit.

Italian Dolomites best landscapes view

10 Most beautiful lakes in the Dolomites + MAP

Level8 luggage features

Best luggage to travel to Italy: Level 8 full review

Winter in Milan Travel guide

13 Amazing things to do in Puglia in winter

Naples in winter - Seaside view

Naples in winter – 15 good reasons to visit Naples when is cold but cooler!

Fearlessly Italy

Italy in January – What to Expect, Places to Visit + Tips

January is the first full winter month and temperatures start to bite. With temperatures that start to bite and the Christmas festivities just over, Italy in January is less crowded and quieter.

After all the December frenzy, the tourists will be mainly concentrated in the ski resorts and winter holiday regions such as Trentino-Alto Adige, Veneto, Friuli Venezia Giulia, and Valle d’Aosta.

I wouldn’t dismiss, however, the art hubs like Rome and Florence. Even though you might find some cloudy and rainy days, the most popular Italian cities are always a good trip idea.

Quite chilly all over, January in Italy is the time for a tranquil vacation made of museum visits, comfort foods, pampering thermal treatments, and adrenaline winter sports. Read on to find out what to expect from Italy in January and our tips for a smooth holiday.

Table of Contents

Festivals and holidays in January in Italy

  • January 1st. New Year’s Day sees all schools and offices closed. Shops might run slightly different hours and restaurants will likely offer a fixed menu for a fixed price. Many landmarks are also closed. If you are in Italy for New Year’s Eve, join the many local celebrations.
  • January 6th. Traditionally, this day it’s celebrated with the event of the Three Kings or Three Magi visiting the newborn baby Jesus. In Italy, this is celebrated for children with the Befana, an old woman who delivers candies to good children and charcoal to bad kids traveling on her brush.
  • January 17th. This is the day of Saint Anthony Abate and is celebrated in many towns in Sardinia with bonfires and a shared night dinner in the streets with all the townspeople.

Traveling for Christmas instead? Discover what to do in Italy in December !

Befana in Italy – A traditional song: La Befana Vien di Notte (video + lyrics)

This is a famous song about the Befana inspired by an old nursery rhyme.

La Befana vien di notte con le scarpe tutte rotte, il vestito alla romana, viva, viva la Befana!

Tutta notte sola, sola, sulla scopa vola, vola… Tutta notte sola, sola, sulla scopa vola, vola…

Quando dormirai nel letto lei ti volerà sul tetto… Quando dormirai nel letto lei ti volerà sul tetto…

Se tu appendi il tuo calzino lei ci mette un regalino… Se tu appendi il tuo calzino lei ci mette un regalino…

Ai bambini molto buoni porterà dolcetti e doni… Ai bambini molto buoni porterà dolcetti e doni…

Se non ti comporti bene lei ti porterà carbone… Se non ti comporti bene lei ti porterà carbone…

Che magnifica magia… Notte dell’Epifania.

La Befana vien di notte con le scarpe tutte rotte, il vestito alla romana, viva, viva la Befana! La Befana vien di notte con le scarpe tutte rotte, il vestito alla romana, viva, viva la Befana!

Weather in Italy in January

There is no other way around it, in January in Italy, the cold starts to bite. In most regions, January is the coldest month of the year.

Just like for all seasons, there’s a sharp difference between the temperatures of northern and southern Italy. In the northern regions, the climate will be much colder than in Sicily, for example, but it’s safe to say that nowhere in Italy in January you will be wearing a t-shirt.

Below, I give you a quick overview of Italy’s weather in January divided into macro-areas where I mention the largest cities and main tourist hubs.

Weather in January in northern Italy

In January, northern Italy gets very cold. Peaks are covered with snow and in high altitudes, temperatures get often below zero.

Here are the temperatures of the main cities in northern Italy in January:

  • Milan: high 7°C (44°F) – low 2°C (35°F)
  • Turin: high 8°C (46°F) – low 3°C (37°F)
  • Aosta: high 6°C (43°F) – low -4°C (24°F)
  • Venice: high 7°C (44°F) – low 0°C (32°F)
  • Verona: high 6°C (43°F) – low -1°C (30°F)
  • Bologna: high 6°C (43°F) – low 1°C (34°F)
  • Ravenna: high 7°C (44°F) – low 0°C (32°F)
  • Trieste: high 8°C (46°F) – low 4°C (39°F)
  • Trento: high 8°C (46°F) – low 4°C (39°F)
  • Bolzano: high 7°C (44°F) – low -4°C (24°F)
  • Genoa: high 12°C (54°F) – low 6°C (43°F)

Weather in January in central Italy

Less chilly than in the northern cities and definitely warmer than in the Dolomites, also in central Italy the weather is cold and shouts for heavy clothes.

Here are the temperatures of the main cities in central Italy in January:

  • Rome: high 12°C (54°F) – low 3°C (37°F)
  • Viterbo: high 10°C (50°F) – low 2°C (35°F)
  • Florence: high 11°C (52°F) – low 2°C (35°F)
  • Siena: high 8°C (46°F) – low 2°C (35F°)
  • Pisa: high 11°C (52°F) – low 3°C (37°F)
  • Lucca: high 10°C (50°F) – low 2°C (35°F)
  • Perugia: high 8°C (46°F) – low 1°C (34°F)
  • Assisi: high 8°C (46°F) – low 1°C (34°F)
  • Arezzo: high 7°C (44°F) – low 1°C (34°F)
  • L’Aquila: high 6°C (43°F) – low -1°C (30°F)
  • Campobasso: high 8°C (46°F) – low 3°C (37°F)

Weather in January in southern Italy

Even though snow is a rare sight, in southern Italy in January you might find quite a few rainy days. The city and province of Avellino in the Campania region see particularly cold weather, rain is quite common, and snowy days don’t really come as a surprise.

Here are the temperatures of the main cities in southern Italy in January:

  • Naples: high 13°C (55°F) – low 4°C (39°F)
  • Caserta: high 12°C (54°F) – low 4°C (39°F)
  • Salerno: high 13°C (55°F) – low 7°C (44°F)
  • Bari: high 13°C (54°F) – low 5°C (41°F)
  • Foggia: high 11°C (52°F) – low 3°C (37°F)
  • Lecce: high 13°C (55°F) – low 5°C (41°F)
  • Alberobello: high 10°C (50°F) – low 3°C (37°F)
  • Ostuni: high 12°C (54°F) – low 5°C (41°F)
  • Reggio Calabria: high 13°C (55°F) – low 8°C (46°F)
  • Matera: high 10°C (50°F) – low 3°C (37°F)

Weather in January in the Italian islands

January climate in Sicily and Sardinia is mild and it would be pleasant if it weren’t for more than occasional rainfalls. Days in January can get also sunny and freezing. After windy days, you can get close to the coast to enjoy the view of some pretty spectacular rough seas and high waves.

Here are the temperatures of the main cities in the Italian islands in January:

  • Palermo: high 15°C (59°F) – low 9°C (48°F)
  • Agrigento: high 15°C (59°F) – low 9°C (48°F)
  • Catania: high 15°C (59°F) – low 5°C (41°F)
  • Taormina: high 15°C (59°F) – low 8°C (46°F)
  • Siracusa: high 15°C (59°F) – low 8°C (46°F)
  • Ragusa: high 12°C (54°F) – low 6°C (43°F)
  • Cagliari: high 14°C (57°F) – low 5°C (41°F)
  • Sassari: high 13°C (55°F) – low 5°C (41°F)
  • Palau: high 12°C (54°F) – low 9°C (48°F)
  • Nuoro: high 11°C (52°F) – low 3°C (37°F)
  • Oristano: high 13°C (55°F) – low 7°C (44°F)

Is January a good time to visit Italy?

If freezing temperatures, humid days, rainfall, and some snow don’t scare you, there are many good reasons to visit Italy in January. The cities are quiet, locals have retrieved their normal routine after the Christmas holidays, and you can really visit your destination at your own pace.

If you are wondering about the pros and cons of traveling to Italy in January, read on.

Is it worth visiting Italy in January? Pros and cons

  • Lower prices in hotels and flights.
  • Wider availability in hotel rooms.
  • Smaller lines at the landmarks’ entrances.
  • Convenient shopping sales.
  • Lousy and cold weather with possible rainfalls and cloudy days.
  • Some places and activities are not recommended (Cinque Terre, boat rides, Amalfi Coast)
  • Some hotels, restaurants, and attractions might be closed, especially in little touristy areas.

Is everything open in Italy in January?

In January, some places are closed because of a lack of tourism while others are because of the holiday. January 1st, in fact, is New Year, and many landmarks such as the Colosseum and the Vatican Museums in Rome, the Uffizi Gallery, Galleria dell’Accademia, and the complex of Santa Maria del Fiore cathedral in Florence,

In January, you might find some places closed because in many places it’s low season and also because some areas are hardly accessible with bad weather.

For example, in the Cinque Terre , some hiking routes will be closed because unsafe when it rains too much. Most beach resorts shut down after the summer season and in January are empty.

Things to do and best places to visit in Italy in January

Welcome the new year.

If you can make it to Italy on December 31st, you can join the celebrations for New Year’s Eve, some of which continue also the following days. In fact, winter holidays in Italy don’t end with New Year’s Eve but on January 6th with the Epifania.

In the first week of January everywhere in Italy, there still are the winter festive vibe and celebrations. Schools are closed, shops are open and so are the offices, which close only on January 1st and 6th.

In some places, you might even find New Year’s celebrations carrying on from December 31st through the first day of January. A few years ago in Rome there were concerts and live shows all day along the river and in the city center. Each year this is different and it depends on the local municipalities.

Visit the Dolomites and the Alps

Ski and winter sports lovers will be in their heaven in Italy in January. In fact, the northern alpine regions of Italy are the ones experiencing the highest tourist season this time of the year. While cities like Rome and Florence attract a smaller number of visitors in January than in December, regions like Trentino-Alto Adige and Valle d’Aosta will teem with ski fans.

January is one of the best seasons to visit the Italian Dolomites and Alps because the snow has reached just the right amount for all the winter sports. Ski resorts are up and running and everyone is enjoying the treatments and the activities organized for adults, children, and kids.

Some of the best places to visit in the Italian Dolomites and Alps in January include Bolzano , Bressanone and Madonna di Campiglio in Trentino-Alto Adige, Aosta and Cogne in the Valle d’Aosta region on the border with France, Ravascletto near Udine in Friuli Venezia Giulia, the Presolana mountains in the Lombardy region near Bergamo, and Cortina d’Ampezzo near Belluno in Veneto.

Explore Rome

Even though not in its busiest tourist season, Rome’s landmarks are never really empty. The weather is not as cold as in the northern regions and while there might be some rainfall, you can also find some beautiful sunny days.

If you are not afraid of cold temperatures, you are going to really enjoy Rome in January. Landmarks will be less busy, allowing you a better experience, restaurants won’t be so crowded so you will have a better chance to find availability, and hotel rates will be slightly cheaper than the previous month and for sure than the imminent spring season.

And if it pours, don’t worry, there is plenty to do in Rome when it rains .

Visit Florence

Florence is rather freezing in January but its beauty really never fades away.

Go around its museums and galleries such as the Uffizi, and palaces such as Palazzo Pitti and Palazzo della Signoria.

Admire the stunning sacred architecture in churches such as Santa Maria del Fiore cathedral or Santa Maria Novella and San Lorenzo Basilicas.

You can also take some easy day trips by train to Pisa , Siena , and Lucca.

Don’t miss our tips on great Florence restaurants and the best hotels in the city.

Visit Bologna

In January, you might find Bologna cold and misty, but certainly never lacking in style and elegance. Explore the central Quadrilatero neighborhood, walk along the porticoed streets, visit important landmarks such as San Petronio Basilica, Piazza Maggiore, the Sanctuary of Madonna di San Luca, and Torre degli Asinelli tower.

The Emilia Romagna region are also famous for its culinary tradition made of lasagna, tortellini stuffed pasta, Parmigiano Reggiano, Prosciutto di Parma ham, and Bologna is a great stop for tucking into the local delicacies.

Don’t miss our guide to spending one day in Bologna .

Explore Turin

Turin is a beautiful royal city and everything there was built to make its former royal family comfortable and at ease.

Much of the roads of the city center are covered with porticoes to allow for pleasant walking even if it rains, its architecture is elegant and classy, and its cultural heritage rich and fascinating.

Visit the Royal Palace and the Egyptian Museum, duck into San Giovanni Battista Duomo to see the Holy Shroud, and sip on a warm bicerin coffee .

Go shopping

From around the 7th of January, Italian stores kick off one of the biggest sales of the year. You can find the winter collection of all the brands offered at very convenient prices.

Since it’s getting towards the end of the autumn/winter season, it’s possible that you won’t find every item in the collections, but you are still going to find great clothes at great deals.

Apart from clothes, winter sales cover also shoes, accessories, lingerie, and even the typical Christmas cakes left over from the holidays that are just ending. Actually, you are going to find pandori and panettoni discounted right after Christmas!

Try winter dishes

Italy is famous for its diverse food. The diversity doesn’t only concern the different regions but also the different seasons. Get warm and cozy with a delicious ribollita soup typical from Florence and Tuscany with cavolo nero, beans, and savoy cabbage.

In Trentino and other northern Italian regions, enjoy a hearty meal with canederli served in hot broth or a dish of warm polenta with sausages or porcini mushrooms.

Some of the foods to eat in Rome in winter include saltimbocca alla romana cutlets and bucatini amatriciana , while in Bologna, the cold weather won’t make you feel guilty for wolfing down a dish of ragout lasagne.

Check out our article on what to eat in Italy and where !

Relax at your favorite thermal baths

With winter at full speed, there is hardly something more pleasant to do than soaking in the warm and therapeutic waters of the thermal baths scattered in many regions of Italy.

Some of the coolest thermal centers you can book to relax, detox, and regenerate after the gargantuan meals of the Christmas holidays include the wonderful Bormio on the foot of Stelvio Pass and the peaks of Ortles and Cevedale, the sulfurous water springs of Pozza di Fassa in Trentino, the thermal baths of the medieval town of Castrocaro in the Emilia Romagna region, Terme di Saturnia in Tuscany, and the historical Terme dei Papi in Viterbo, an hour drive from Rome.

January is also a great time to go offbeat in Italy. You can visit beautiful regions like Marche and Abruzzo, you can explore the countryside of the Umbria and Lazio regions. Some day trips from Rome are easy to plan and will take you to truly gorgeous places.

Even though the most famous ski resorts are in the Dolomites and the Alps, the Apennines in central Italy offer fantastic winter holiday opportunities. The mountains of the Majella National Park in Abruzzo come with breathtaking views and great ski resorts such as Majelletta We in Chieti province.

The Marche region, too, is very fascinating in winter. Apart from several ski resorts such as the one of Monte Piselli near Ascoli Piceno and the one of Monte Nerone in Piobbico near Urbino, you can enjoy the local Christmas markets until around January 6th and discover the small towns and villages.

Visit Sicily

In Sicily, you will likely find a mild Mediterranean climate. Even though rainfalls are quite common in January in Sicily, the mild temperatures make it easy to walk around and visit places.

Some of the cities and towns you can visit are Palermo, the most “Arab” city in Italy for its rich cultural heritage and history, Catania for its architecture and delicious cuisine, Agrigento for its Greek Valle dei Templi, and the charming town of Cefalù for its New Year’s Eve celebrations on the beach and in the streets.

January in Sicily is low season, so you are likely to find a good availability of rooms in the local hotels and affordable prices. I recommend planning quite in advance so that you have time to change your schedule or itinerary if you find something closed.

Explore Naples

If in summer Naples is hot and crowded, in January it becomes quiet and more enjoyable. The weather is cold but not freezing. With the highest temperatures ranging around 13-14°C (55-57°F) and an average of 8 days of rain, in Naples in January you can plan a mix of outdoor and indoor activities.

Walk around the streets of the city center, across the famous Spaccanapoli road, or get to the seafront promenade for some fresh air. If it rains, it’s time to visit the city’s museums such as the archaeological museum, the stunning Royal Palace, Museo del Tesoro di San Gennaro, and Museo Civico di Castel Nuovo known as Maschio Angioino.

Go to Sardinia

I originate from Sardinia, so I’m fully aware that my island mainly evokes beach holidays and summer fun, but if you go for the celebrations in honor of Saint Anthony on the night between the 16th and the 17th of January, you are in for something really cool.

In many towns in Sardinia, they celebrate Sant’Antonio Abate festival by lighting up bonfires in the main streets and squares.

You will find one of the most fascinating celebrations in the town of Mamoiada, in Nuoro province. Here, the ancient masquerades of the Mamuthones will parade along the streets and perform their primordial dance around the town’s bonfires in the evening until late at night.

And if you are traveling to Italy in February , you will find the Mamuthones again parading and dancing around the streets of Mamoiada for Carnival.

What pack for Italy in January

  • Umbrella. Wherever you are going, rainfalls in January are common.
  • Skincare. Pack a good moisturizing face cream because the cold weather makes the skin dry.
  • Hand cream.
  • Backpack or crossbody bag. Handy whether you are going to the mountain or visiting a city.
  • Warm clothes and shoes.

What to wear in January in Italy

  • Coat or heavy jacket. A coat is necessary all over Italy in January. If you are heading to a ski resort in the Dolomites, your coat or jacket will need to be heavier than if you are visiting Rome or Sicily.
  • Boots or ankle boots. Perfect in case of rain.
  • Camper-style sneakers or other walking winter shoes.
  • Long-sleeve underwear top. In case of very cold weather, I suggest a thermal top.
  • More long-sleeve tops. These are great for layering in case you are in a restaurant with the heating on at full speed.
  • Warm trousers. For the mountains or other outdoor activities, consider padded sporty trousers.
  • Warm pajamas or nightgown for the night.
  • Scarf, har, and gloves.

Leave a Comment Cancel reply

Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.

The Gap Decaders

The Ultimate Bucket List Italy Road Trip

This post may contain affiliate links, from which we earn an income.

Road Trip Italy Planner & Itinerary

The gorgeous country of Italy is perfect for a road trip! Compact and with all the best bits in the middle, you’ll be blown away by the landscapes, architecture, and local food in this sublime country. Take a bucket list road trip to Italy and see it for yourself!

A road trip in Italy opens up the sweeping landscapes, historic cities, and some of the most picture-perfect seaside towns in Europe, like no other way to travel does.

This visually arresting country will have you stopping regularly for Insta-worthy images, and along the way, you’ll find fantastic adventures to try like wine tastings, volcano trekking, exploring historic UNESCO sites, and the real Italian dolce vita !

In this Italy travel guide, you’ll find a list of all the top sights in Italy to visit on your road trip adventure, with Italy travel tips and information to help you plan and prepare. Come with us as we share our unmissable Italian road trip itinerary.

Italy road trip

Is this your first time visiting Italy? Get all the information you need in our Italy Travel Guide , including what to pack, the best time of year to go, getting there, and practical tips to help you have the best trip!

Getting to Italy

Fly into Milan Malpensa   Airport,  a good starting point for your roadtrip in Italy. With direct international flights from North America, the Middle East, Europe, and  UK , we recommend booking through  Skyscanner  for live deals and the best prices.

Alternatively, switch up the itinerary a little and start your Italy trip in beautiful Rome, the historic capital city. There are so many things to do in Rome , we recommend allowing a couple of days for your visit before heading off on your Italian road trip!

Driving to Italy from UK

If you’re planning to drive to  Italy from the U K, then you’ll find everything you need to know, including the best, fastest, and cheapest routes, as well as driving tips, in our UK to Italy driving guide .

Are you planning to rent a car in Italy? As one of the largest rental car aggregator companies in the world, we recommend because they have massive purchasing power which enables them to secure the best rental prices, which benefits you when you’re planning a road trip.

For a real adventure, hire a motorhome or campervan in Italy . We recommend Motorhome Republic , an aggregate booking site who pull together all the best deals from a number of rental agencies, to offer you a wide choice of options alongside an excellent English speaking expert motorhome Concierge Team.

Use the Park4Night app to find overnight spots and campsites as your travel around Italy, and sleep on a high mountain pass, next to a beautiful lake, or in a wildflower meadow.

Driving in Italy

Lots of people will tell you that renting a car in Italy is madness, that driving through Italy is dangerous and the roads are dreadful.  

It is true that some routes can be challenging to drive in Italy, and in big cities, Italian drivers see it as a badge of honor not to give way. Isn’t that the same in most big cities nowadays though?

Don’t let your fears about traveling Italy by car put you off taking Italian road trips. Take your time and be prepared for the differences in driving styles and roads from back home when you follow our driving in Italy tips .

You’ll also find helpful information regarding driving requirements in Italy, such as international driving permits, age limits, and tips about renting a car in Italy .

Make sure you have travel insurance you can trust when visiting Italy . We recommend True Traveller for their 5-star TrustPilot reviews, variety of cover options, best activities cover as standard, great prices, and excellent service.

Italy Itinerary & Map

  • Get the Travel Guides
  • Lonely Planet Italy
  • The Rough Guide to Italy
  • DK Eyewitness Italy
  • Italy Road Trip Itinerary

Milan – Portofino – Cinque Terre – Pisa – San Gimignano – Siena – Montepulciano – Rome – Spoleto – Assisi – Florence – Bologna – Venice – Lake Garda

  • Distance: 1670km
  • Duration: 2-4 weeks
  • Drive Time: 23 hours

How to use this Italy road trip map – Use your fingers (or computer mouse) to zoom in and out. Click or touch the icons to get more info about a place, and click the arrow in the box top left to open the index. To add to your own Google Maps account, click the star next to the title of the map.

Make your road trip across Italy flexible…

Italy road trip 1 week.

Fly into Pisa instead, skip San Gimignano, Spoleto and Montepuciano. Head home from Pisa once you’ve seen Florence.  

Italy Road Trip 2 Weeks

Skip Pisa, Spoleto, Venice and Lake Garda…these are tough choices, but you can always come back for a second trip.

Italy Road Trip 3 Weeks

You have enough time to complete our suggested itinerary, but you will be busy! You’ll have one day in most places, and up to 36 hours in Rome and Florence.

Italy Road Trip 4 Weeks

Enjoy the time and spend longer in Rome and Florence. Maybe add Arezzo and Verona to your itinerary or check out the Amalfi coast.

italy road trip in january

Want to print this itinerary? Download and print a text only version with no ads or images. Includes space for your trip planning notes and a packing list for Italy!

Italy Road Trip Route & Destinations

Milan is the best airport to fly in and out of for your perfect Italy road trip itinerary. As one of Italy’s major cities, Milan enjoys direct international flights from all the world’s continents, it’s accessible, has great car hire options and it’s a pretty kick-a** city to visit too!

If you didn’t already know,  Milan  is a global capital of design, and the famous Italian fashion brands that call the city their home deliver sleek and simple Italian style at every turn. Milan’s creativity and design flair are not a recent phenomenon though.

The city center has been at the forefront of the arts throughout history and this can be seen in the spectacular Gothic Duomo di Milano cathedral and the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Santa Maria delle Grazie, home to Leonardo da Vinci’s ‘The Last Supper’. 

If you fancy a bit of shopping in this city of designer boutiques and couture labels, then visit the spectacular Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, Italy’s oldest shopping mall, and unlike any other shopping mall you’ve visited before!

Stay at the Moxy Milan Malpensa Airport , the best of Milan’s airport hotels, and get the train or bus directly into the center of Milan. It will take around 30 minutes and cost €10-15. If you’re splashing out, get a cab for around €100.

If you decide to spend a night in Milan, save money, and delay your car rental pick-up until the following day, then hit the road for the best road trip route in Italy!

RELATED POST: Northern Italy Road Trip: Itinerary, Map & Tips

Milan, the start of your road tripping in Italy adventure

Don’t forget your road trip essentials! Our free road trip checklists help you remember everything, including road trip snacks , podcasts , and road trip songs for the journey!

Head south to Portofino, a gentrified fishing village on the Italian Riviera coastline of the Ligurian Sea. Pastel-painted houses line the picturesque harbor, mixing effortlessly with stylish bijou stores, seafood restaurants, and cool bars.

The charming Piazzetta, a small cobbled square, overlooks the harbor of the coastal town, which is lined with super-yachts in the summer and more traditional craft in spring and autumn. 

Spend a day soaking up the atmosphere and people-watching. Grab a slice of delicious focaccia con il formaggio (focaccia with cheese) from nearby Recco and meander along the winding backstreets, whilst indulging in a bit of window shopping.  

Head to San Fruttuoso, a stretch of the Mediterranean coast which you can only get to by boat or on foot. Enjoy lunch at a cantina on one of the beautiful terraces, where we ate one of the best tomato salads we have ever experienced. 

Spend some time on the warm turquoise water in a kayak or on a paddle board; make sure to take a snorkel and mask with you too, as the water here is crystal clear.

Head back to dry land and enjoy dinner at one of the many seafood restaurants in the harbor, for a perfect end to your first full day in Italy.

  • Where to Stay in Portofino

Upmarket: Splendido, A Belmond Hotel – | Agoda

Mid-Range: Hotel Piccolo Portofino – | Agoda

Budget: Albergo Annabella, Santa Margherita Ligure – | Agoda

Portofino should be included on a road trip around Italy

Cinque Terre

You could easily spend a week or more in this wonderful national park, especially if you enjoy hiking, water sports, and outdoor activities.  Cinque Terre  is a group of five historic seaside villages on the rugged Italian Riviera coastline and a real  bucket list destination .

Pretty and brightly colored houses cling to dramatic terraced streets, harbors are filled with traditional fishing boats bobbing on clear azure waters and trattorias serve up everything with homemade pesto (basil, olive oil, parmesan cheese, and pine nuts), the traditional sauce of the region.

The Sentiero Azzurro cliffside hiking trail links the five little towns of Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Riomaggiore, and Manarola. The trail offers incredible sea views and easy walking.

If you’re more of a water baby, see the Cinque Terre villages from a kayak, or take a boat trip and avoid the inevitable crowds in the towns.

Like driving the Amalfi Coast , going to Cinque Terre in a car can be challenging and you should read this  Cinque Terre guide  before you decide how to visit.

If you do decide to stay or park in Cinque Terre, head for delightful Monterosso al Mare, the largest of the Cinque Terre towns, and start your amble along the hiking route from there. Otherwise, stay in La Spezia and get the early train the next morning to make the most of your day.

  • Where to Stay in Cinque Terre

Upmarket: Sesta Terra – | Agoda

Mid-Range: Ca’ D’Andrean – | Agoda

Budget: La Taverna del Metallo Rooms – | Agoda

Cinque Terre, all the best Italian road trips stop here

Looking for the best SIM card deals in Europe for your trip? Check out our guide to the best data SIMs in Europe and get the best deal for your trip to Italy.

There’s  more than you think to do in Pisa , even though much of the town was sadly lost during the WW2 bombings. Head for the Campo dei Miracoli (Field of Miracles) where you’ll find the iconic Leaning Tower of Pisa, one of Italy’s most famous landmarks, the fine Romanesque duomo, Gothic baptistery, and  camposanto  (cemetery).

This beautiful quartet of creamy-colored historic buildings sits on an open and grassy area, enabling the infamous Instagram shots of people seemingly holding up the infamous tower.

If you’re on a deadline, the best way to enjoy Pisa is to take this excellent  two hour guided tour  of these important monuments, as you pass through on your way to the next stop.

  • Where to Stay in Pisa

Upmarket: Palazzo Cini – | Agoda

Mid-Range: Hotel Di Stefano – | Agoda

Budget: Hotel La Pace – | Agoda

creamy stone leaning tower with eight stories and arched rows around each story

San Gimignano

As you approach this most archetypal of Tuscan hill villages, you’ll see its thirteen towers dominating the skyline.

Historically, this beautiful place was on the main pilgrim route from Northern Europe to Rome and the towers were built by merchants to show the world their power and wealth.   

San Gimignano is now beautifully preserved and perfect for an afternoon meandering the atmospheric narrow cobbled streets and piazzas of the historic center.

Make sure to visit the ancient Torre Grossa, the only one of the thirteen towers open to visitors.

Other must-sees are the stunning frescos in the 11th century Collegiate and the ornamental Rococo interior of Sant’ Agostino church. Otherwise, grab a gelato or a coffee and stroll to your heart’s content.

As with all Tuscan hill villages, if you’re in a motorhome or anything bigger than a car you will need to identify parking at sea level and walk up, or take public transportation – often provided by the municipality in the summer months.

When you leave San Gimignano, you’ll have time to make a quick stop to visit Monteriggioni , a fine example of a beautiful medieval walled castle and village.

RELATED POST: The Complete Guide to Touring Italy by Motorhome

  • Where to Stay in San Gimignano  

Upmarket: Agriturismo Mormoraia – | Agoda

Mid-Range: Hotel Bel Soggiorno – | Agoda

Budget: Relais Cappuccina – | Agoda

San Gimignano, one of the best places to visit on a road trip to Italy

Siena is gloriously Tuscan, its warm colors beckoning you into the medieval streets and towards the jewel in Siena’s crown, the famous Piazza del Campo.

The prettiest of  Tuscany’s must-see towns  is not only home to one of Europe’s greatest medieval squares but a wealth of stunning religious and civic buildings and a busy shopping area packed with interesting galleries and boutiques.

Any  visit to Siena  has to include the Piazza del Campo, an extraordinary site as you enter from Via di Citta to fully appreciate the symmetry, layout, and beauty of the square.

Lined with fine buildings that will grab your attention, don’t miss the tiny Fonte Gaia on the northern edge of the piazza, whose water is still supplied by a 500-year-old viaduct.

Take a  walking tour of Siena  and the Duomo to fully appreciate the city’s turbulent history and breathtaking architecture.

Stop for lunch at one of the many lively restaurants lining the streets around the main square and sample delicious Ribollita, a traditional Tuscan soup made with beans, vegetables, and bread, before heading off on one of the best drives in Italy.

  • Where to Stay in Siena

Upmarket: Palazzetto Rosso – Art Hotel – | Agoda

Mid-Range: Hotel Athena – | Agoda

Budget: Hotel Palazzo di Valli – | Agoda

Siena a must see on Italy road trips

Val d’Orcia

Driving in Tuscany is one of the greatest pleasures as you road trip through Italy. As you leave Siena for Montepulciano, you’ll be motoring through some of Italy’s most iconic and stunning scenery.

Head south, setting your sat nav for the Val d’Orcia, and enjoy one of Europe’s best driving routes and Italy’s most scenic drive.

This journey will take you past small villages, vineyards, and olive groves, and you’ll pass row upon row of majestic cypress trees lining the roads and on the skyline. This is Tuscan countryside at its very best.

If you pick up the SP146 between San Quirico d’Orcia and Montepulciano, you might even spot the famous house from  the film ‘Gladiator’, some of which was shot in Tuscany .

Val d'Orcia best of Italy scenic drives


Famous for the classic, rustic wine of the same name, the gorgeous medieval town of Montepulciano is nestled into the chalky hills at the meeting point of the Val d’Orcia and the Vall di Chiana.

Surrounded by the classic Tuscan landscape of rolling green hills and golden fields dotted with cypress trees, this is your picture-perfect Tuscany road trip destination.

The old town itself is a masterpiece of cobbled streets, charming piazzas, restaurants, and gift shops which can easily draw you in for a deliciously pleasant afternoon and evening.  

Enjoy a meal of wild boar ragu, followed by local cheese and honey washed down with the famous Vino Nobile di Montepulciano.

The town is also one of the best spots in this itinerary for a  wine-tasting tour of a local vineyard , to understand the history and process of  making wine in Italy .

You cannot park within the town walls and need a permit to park in one of the numbered car parks on the outskirts, which your hotel will provide for you.

The car parks are around a ten to fifteen minute walk from the center of the town, so maybe pack a small bag for an overnight stay.

  • Where to Stay in Montepulciano

Upmarket: Palazzo Carletti – | Agoda

Mid-Range: Il Rondò Boutique Hotel – | Agoda

Budget: Albergo Duomo – | Agoda

Italian hill village well bell tower and old stone buildings lit up at night

Italy Road Trip Ideas

Amalfi Coast Road Trip

A Bucket List Amalfi Coast Road Trip

Puglia road trip

Puglia Road Trip: The Best 7 Day Itinerary + Map & Tips

Tuscan road trip

Tuscan Road Trip: Itinerary, Map & Tips

motorhoming in Italy

Motorhoming in Italy: Your Complete 2024 Guide

italy road trip in january

Sicily Road Trip – Itinerary, Tips & Map

Great Dolomites Road

Great Dolomites Road: Absolutely Everything You Need to Know!

Northern Italy road trip

Northern Italy Road Trip: Itinerary, Map & Tips

Dolomites road trip

Dolomites Road Trip: Explore the Best of Northern Italy

Stelvio Pass

Stelvio Pass: The Best Mountain Road in Italy?

The center of a vast empire and capital of the Christian world for centuries, Rome is full of the works of the artists and architects who gathered here to work for the Popes and their wealthy families.

This magnificent legacy has assured the eternal city’s position as one of the most important historical places in the world. Even if you just have one day, you should see the most important of Rome’s ancient architecture like the Colosseum, Pantheon, and Roman Forum, and the slightly more modern historical sites like the Vatican Museums, St. Peter’s Basilica, the Trevi Fountain and Spanish Steps.

As you walk, you’ll take in a handful of light and airy piazzas, perfect for stopping and enjoying a coffee or ice cream as you people-watch.

Our Rome in one day itinerary has all the information you need to visit the city and get a real flavor of why Rome is a must-visit place in Italy.

RELATED POSTS: The Best of Rome in 36 Hours | Rome in a Day – Itinerary, Map, Tips & Guide

Ancient rome surrounded by trees

If you have four weeks or longer for your driving tour of Italy, one of the best road trips from Rome is to head south for around three hours to the Amalfi Coast .

This stunning stretch of gravity-defying road from Sorrento to Salerno passes by the beautiful beaches of Positano, the romantic village of Ravello and authentic Vietri sul Mare, and is considered the best Italian coast road trip of them all.

The road south to the Amalfi Coast will also take you past Mount Vesuvius (one of Italy’s three live volcanoes – the others are Mount Etna on Sicily and Stromboli, its own small island in the Tyrrhenian Sea), and the magnificent Pompeii Archaeological Park.

Both Vesuvius and Pompeii can be seen in a day , meaning you could visit three major Italian attractions, adding just two extra days to your roadtrip Italy – be prepared for an early start from Rome though!

RELATED POST: Southern Italy Road Trip: Discover the Best 33 Places To Visit

Driving from Rome to Florence you’ll find Spoleto, often overlooked in favor of its famous neighbors but a true hidden gem.

Nestled in a beautiful wooded setting in Umbria, the town is famous for the Festival dei Due Mondi (Festival of the Two Worlds) held in June and July annually.

Outside of this time, tourists are welcomed, but not thick on the ground like they are in next-door Assisi.

Spoleto’s independent nature has allowed it to thrive and progress as a town in its own right, rather than a tourist hot spot.

Come to Spoleto to enjoy a slow day, sipping coffee in the square, taking the travelator (an experience in itself) up to the mighty fortress of La Rocca Albornoz, which dominates the skyline, and wandering around the many beautiful churches and religious buildings in the town. 

  • Where to Stay in Spoleto

Upmarket: Palazzo Leti Residenza d’Epoca – | Agoda

Mid-Range: Hotel dei Duchi – | Agoda

Budget: Hotel Vecchio Forno – | Agoda

Town on a hill topped with a large castle in front of stormy skies

The birth and final resting place of St Francis of Assisi, this beautiful medieval hill town, with its geranium-filled narrow streets, charming piazzas, and panoramic views is a must-see on your Italian road trip itinerary.

Wreathed in history and religion, the magnificent Basilica di San Francesco draws pilgrims and tourists from across the globe – think of  Italian novels  like ‘The Name of the Rose’ and you’re imagining Assisi.

Clinging to the side of a craggy outcrop and visible for miles, the Basilica dominates the town and surrounding landscape.  Spend the day wandering between here and Assisi’s main square, Piazza del Comune, where the Roman columns of the Templo di Minerva still stand.

There are many other religious buildings of note, a  walking tour with a private guide  will help you understand the importance and history of each.

  • Where to Stay in Assisi

Upmarket: Nun Assisi Relais & Spa Museum – | Agoda

Mid-Range: Le Silve di Armenzano – | Agoda

Budget: Hotel Cladan – | Agoda

Assisi a must see on your road trip Italy 2 weeks

If you’re all eaten and drunk out at this stage, consider giving Bologna (the stop after Florence) a miss and heading up the east coast of Italy from Assisi, before cutting back inland to Florence.

This route takes in the best of Le Marche, a remote corner full of beautiful scenery that is sandwiched between the Apennines and the Adriatic.

The coast is home to a number of seaside resort towns with long sandy beaches and the stunning Conero Peninsula, which makes a welcome relief from the almost uninterrupted beach which dominates the coastline.

Inland are lots of beautiful and historic towns, less visited and the better for it. For a real punch of medieval architecture, check out Urbino and Ascoli Piceno, the highlights of the region.

Whilst you’re there, pop into San Marino, said to be the world’s oldest surviving republic and the fifth smallest country in the world!

Florence is a vast and graceful monument to the Renaissance, the period of cultural and artistic rebirth following the Middle Ages. Many famous artists such as Michelangelo and Botticelli contributed to Florence’s heritage, making it one of the artistic capitals of the world. 

Historic Florence is compact and walkable and could be seen in a day if you’re ruthless in your selections.

Better to spend two days here and visit the must-sees of the exceptional Duomo, the stunning Palazzo Vecchio, the sublime Uffizi Gallery, and the ancient church of Santa Croce.

Across the River Arno, via the Ponte Vecchio, lies the vast and imposing Pitti Palace and the Santa Spirito church.

Book everything in advance, whether that’s tickets, tours, or guides; this city never sheds itself of tourists, all clamoring to see the same things as you!  

RELATED POST: One Day in Florence – Itinerary, Map, Tips & Guide

  • Where to Stay in Florence

Upmarket: Hotel Spadai – | Agoda

Mid-Range: Soprarno Suites – | Agoda

Budget: Hotel Perseo – | Agoda

one day Florence Italy

One of the best medieval cities in Italy and the foodie capital of Emilia-Romagna (and possibly the whole of Italy) Bologna will surprise and delight you. Follow our self-guided foodie walking tour of Bologna to sample the best food and architecture the city has to offer. 

If you have time, pop across to Modena to sample the famous Balsamic vinegar made there, and then Parma for the ham of the same name.

RELATED POST: Self-Guided Food Tour of Bologna

  • Where to Stay in Bologna

Upmarket: Grand Hotel Majestic Gia Baglioni – | Agoda

Mid-Range: PHI Hotel Al Cappello Rosso – | Agoda

Budget: The Social Hub Bologna – | Agoda

Aerial view of Bologna Emilia-Romagna

Ahh, Venice. This unique city has survived against all the odds; built on a series of mud banks, and in the tidal waters of the Adriatic, Venice regularly floods.

Despite this, little of the essential fabric and infrastructure of Venice has changed in 200 years, and more than 20 million visitors a year fall in love with the beguiling city of water.

Trying to see Venice in a day will not do it justice, and leave you feeling frustrated. If that’s all you have, either come back another time or take a  private full day trip  so you can be whisked around and see all the best bits, without getting lost.

Whenever you visit and whether you choose to see the religious and historic buildings, the famous glass island of Murano, the lace-making island of Burano, and haunting Torcello, or take a gondola along the Grand Canal, Venice will be crowded.

Park at Garage San Marco Venezia , (book well in advance) a five minute walk from the hotel. There is no free parking in or around Venice, expect to pay at least €25 per 24-hour period.

RELATED POST: One Day in Venice – Itinerary, Map, Tips & Guide

  • Where to Stay in Venice

Upmarket: Sina Centurian Palace – | Agoda

Mid-Range: Palazzo Veneziano – | Agoda

Budget: Hotel Saturnia & International – | Agoda

a gondala arriving to dock in Venice lagoon, with San Giorgio Maggiore in the background

Lake Garda is your final stop before heading back to Milan to drop off your hire car.  Lake Garda, the most well-known and largest of the beautiful Italian lakes , borders three regions; Trentino, Lombardy, and the Veneto.

The further north along the lake you go, the more dramatic the landscapes become, as you head towards the snowcapped Alps of the South Tyrol.

There are  many beautiful towns around Lake Garda , all offering opportunities for water sports, hiking, and relaxing at the end of your epic road trip around Italy.  

Our pick is Bardolino on the east shore, a lively town with easy access to the lake and lots going on, as well as spectacular sunsets over Lake Garda to end your day.

From Bardolino, it’s a few hour’s drive to Milan Airport, perhaps via Lake Iseo, Lake Como, and Lake Maggiore if you have a few extra days to explore.

  • Where to Stay in Lake Garda

Upmarket: LLAC Living Nature Hotel – | Agoda

Mid-Range: Resort Casino di Caccia – | Agoda

Budget: Hotel La Terrazzina – | Agoda

One of the best places to stay on a road trip Italy

Want to plan your own road tri p? Get our step-by-step road trip planning guide to help you organize the perfect trip, or get inspiration from our favorite European road trips .

Italian Road Trip Resources

Here are the websites and services we personally use and recommend for trips to Italy.

  • Search for affordable flights to Italy with Skyscanner
  • Search for availability and book hotels and accommodation in Italy with
  • Find and book the best campsites in Italy with Eurocampings
  • Book the cheapest and most reliable hire cars in Italy with
  • Find and hire your perfect motorhome or campervan with Motorhome Republic
  • Get highly rated, reliable, and trustworthy travel insurance with True Traveller
  • Check if you need a visa and arrange your documents with Visagov

Are you looking for more road trip inspiration? Check out these top posts…

Stelvio Pass

Spain Road Trip: 8 Amazing Routes for an Epic Trip

Croatia road trips

Croatia Road Trips: Five Incredible Routes

Dolomites road trip

Route des Grandes Alpes: An Epic French Road Trip

Love it pin it.

Italian road trip

The Geographical Cure

2 Weeks In Italy Itinerary, The Ultimate Italy Road Trip

Planning a trip to Italy for 2 weeks? You are at the right spot! I’ve been exploring Italy for decades. So I have all the hands on experience and tips to give you the best 2 weeks in Italy itinerary. 

Italy is located in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea and is home to some of the most beautiful towns, cities, and experiences on offer in Europe.

Italy is probably my favorite country to travel in. You’re engulfed in history, can admire some of the world’s best art, and eat some of the world’s best food. What could be better?

Pinterest pin for 2 weeks in Italy itinerary

Overview Of 2 Weeks In Italy Itinerary

This 2 week Italy road trip itinerary starts in Venice and ends in Naples. It’s a perfect itinerary for first time visitors to Italy.

Venice’s airport is terrific and typically inexpensive to fly into. The city’s Santa Lucia and Mestre train stations connect to just about everything south with high speed service. 

You can pick up your car leaving Venice or leaving Bologna. Alternatively, you can also do the entire 2 weeks in Italy by train.

With this Italy itinerary, you’ll have 5 bases: (1) Venice; (2) Bologna; (3) Florence; (4) Rome; and (5) Naples.

cute lane in Sorrento

If you need a break from the city, instead of staying in Naples, you can base yourself on the Amalfi coast for 3 days and day trip from there.

The cliff top town of Sorrento makes a perfect springboard for visiting the Amalfi Coast. From there, you can day trip to Pompeii, Positano, Capri, and even Naples.

  • Day 1 : Venice
  • Day 2 : Venice
  • Day 3 : Bologna
  • Day 4 : Bologna, day trip to Parma or Modena
  • Day 5 : Florence
  • Day 6 : Florence
  • Day 7 : Florence, day trip to Siena
  • Day 8 : Rome
  • Day 9 : Rome
  • Day 10 : Rome, Vatican City
  • Day 11 : Rome, day trip to Orvieto
  • Day 12 : Naples
  • Day 13 : Naples, day trip to Pompeii
  • Day 14 : Naples, day trip to Amalfi Coast

view from the Palazzo Manfredi in Rome

Where To Stay With 2 Weeks In Italy

Here are my hotel recommendations for the cities listed as bases.

Venice : Gritti Palace , Hotel Danieli , St. Regis , Aman Venice (my favorite), Bauer Palazzo

Bologna : Grand Hotel Majestic Gia Baglioni (my pick) Il Portici , Art Hotel Orologio

Florence : Il Touranbouni ,  Hotel Brunelleschi , Portrait Firenze , Palazzo Vecchietti , Villa Cora (my favorite in the Oltrarno)

Rome : Li b ert y Boutique Hotel ,  H o t el  M aalat ,  De co  Ro ma ,  Hotel H a s s ler Roma , Pa lazzo Man fr edi  (my favorite)

Naples : Grand Hotel Vesuvio , Romeo Hotel , Hotel San Francesco al Monte (my pick)

typical street in Venice, which is a must visit city on your 2 weeks in Italy itinerary

2 Weeks In Italy Itinerary: 14 Days Of Exploring

Ok, let’s dive right into this 2 week Italy itinerary. If you’re landing in Venice, the easiest way to get to the city is via a private water taxi transfer .

Day 1: Venice

Kick off your 2 weeks in Italy in the magical floating city of Venice. Even though Venice is very touristy, there’s a reason for its popularity.

Venice is a natural film set. It’s like no other city in the world.

Start your day in Piazza San Marco. Visit the pink marble Doge’s Palace, which is the very symbol of Venice.

You can traipse up the famed Scala d’Oro, the world’s fanciest staircase, admire the Doge’s apartments, and see the world’s largest painting by Titian.

Click   here  to book a skip the line ticket to avoid a long queue. I also loved the Secret Itineraries Tour , which take you to secret spots in the palace you can’t see on a regular tour.

St. Mark's Basilica

Then, move on to one of the world’s most unique and stunning churches, St. Mark’s Basilica. It’s absolutely essential to book a skip the queue ticket . You can also purchase an  after hours ticket  for fewer crowds and to get access to some places you can’t see during the day.

The basilica is famous for its almost blinding golden mosaics from the 5th century B.C. They blanket the walls, covering 90,000 square feet.

Then, take a ride along the Grand Canal. It’s one of the most iconic things to do in Venice. You can also hop on and off the Vaporetto yourself.

Along the way, you can check out Ca’Rezzonico, Ca’ Foscari, and Ca’ d’Oro. In addition to housing some great art, the palaces offer up great views of Venice.

You can book a  1 hour guided boat tour . You can also book a  3 hour guided tour   of the St. Mark’s area that comes with a boat cruise.

a gondola ride is a must do with 2 weeks in Italy

Day 2: Venice

On day 2 in Venice, take a stroll through the Rialto neighborhood. Snap a classic shot on the Rialto Bridge, check out the Fish Market, and myriad shops. You can also take a  lunchtime tour of the Rialto Market and other foodie hot spots .

Next, head to the Dorsoduro neighborhood. Stroll around the pretty streets, check out the shops and eateries, and then go to one of the neighborhood museums.

The two I love are the Peggy Guggenheim Collection and the Galleria Accademia .

The Guggenheim is for people who want to see some of the greatest works of modern art from the 20th century. It’s a star studded lineup compiled by the eccentric American heiress, who helped launch Jackson Pollock’s career.

This museum will be packed. Click  here  to purchase a skip the line ticket. Click  here  to book a private guided tour of this extraordinary collection of art.

The Galleria Academia is for travelers who love old masters. It houses the world’s best collection of pre-19th century Venetian painting. You’ll find works by luminaries such as Veronese, Titian, Tintoretto, Tiepolo, Bellini, Canaletto, and Giorgione. 

Galleria Accademia

The museum is not usually crowded, so you won’t have to worry about buying tickets in advance. But, if you’re a fan of Renaissance art, you may want to book a 2 hour  guided tour of the museum .

If you want to see the “Sistine Chapel of Venice,” head to the San Polo district to the Scuola Grande di San Rocco. It’s decorated wall to walk with dramatic paintings by Titian.

Then, spend some time in the Cannaregio district. you can escape the crowds, poke in and out of cute lanes, and grab some cicchetti , Venice’s version of tapas.

Cannaregio is an excellent neighborhood to sign up for a   f ood and  wine  tour . You can also book an  evening food tour and gondola ride .

For more information, you can check out my 2 days in Venice itinerary . It has detailed information on gondola rides, how to use the vaporetto, and how to get to the other Venetian islands in the lagoon.

Piazza del Nettuno in Bologna

Day 3: Bologna

On day 3, head to beautiful Bologna. This food-loving city is underrated and absolutely deserving of a spot on your 2 weeks in Italy itinerary. It’s sandwiched between 3 major cities — Venice, Florence, and Milan — and is often skipped.

Don’t skip it! To me, Bologna just oozes old world medieval charm.

It has all of the charm of Italy with none of the tourists! Bologna is filled with striking architecture, beautiful piazzas, endlessly photogenic streets, porticos, and a swathe of palaces and towers.

Most of the must see attractions are clustered in or around the city’s main square, Piazza Maggiore. On one end of the piazza is the massive Basilica of San Petronio, honoring Bologna’s patron saint. On the other is the swishy Palazzo dei Rei Enzo.

Piazza Maggiore in Bologna, a must visit city with 2 weeks in Italy

You can also climb Bologna’s leaning tower, Asinelli Tower, for views. Since it’s a rickety 500 steps to the top, you’ll deserve a gelato afterward.

Be sure to meander through shops in Bologna’s medieval Quadrilatero neighborhood. You can also visit FICO Eataly World . It’s part farm and part theme park, with 20 acres of food and livestock stalls, restaurants, grocery stores, and food labs.

There are lots of fun tours to take in Bologna. Naturally, most of them food related:

  • classic food tour
  • 3 hour FICO Eataly food and wine tour
  • food tour with factory visits and a gourmet lunch
  • history tour and learn food secrets
  • e-bike tour with cheese and wine

pretty street in Parma

Day 4: Bologna, Day Trip To Parma & Modena

On day 4, take a day trip from Bologna to either Parma or Modena. Both are foodie towns that are pretty and un-touristy.

Underrated Parma is just too cute for words. It’s one of Italy’s most beautiful cities , a foodie haven, and home to the greatest works of the famed Renaissance artist Correggio.

Parma has a gorgeous Romanesque cathedral and pretty pink octagonal Baptistery. The entire town is dotted with red, pink, and yellow walls. Purple flowers decorate the Ponte Verdi.

Parma is tailor made for art lovers. The town was home to Correggio, the opera composer Giuseppe Verdi, and the conductor Toscanini. In 2022, Parma was chosen as Italy’s Capital of Culture.

Correggio frescos in Parma Cathedral

Precious frescos by Correggio literally blanket the city. There are art-filled palaces, a famous opera house, and a world class museum.

Parma will also appeal to traveling foodies. It’s home to some of Italy’s best known culinary products — parmesan cheese, prosciutto, fresh pasta, and other delicacies. All this goodness has led the town to be dubbed the heart of the “Italian Food Valley.”

You can easily spend one day in Parma just popping in and out of food shops, taking a food tour, and having some memorable meals. Check out these cool food tours in Parma:

  • 5 hour prosciutto and parmesan tour
  • 7 hour cheese, ham, and balsamic tour
  • 3.5 hour traditional food tour
  • 2 hour tour of parmesan cheese factory
  • 2 hour tour of dairy and prosciutto factory

main square of Modena

Modena is a hidden gem in Italy , an elegant little city that’s well worth a visit.

If you’ve heard of Modena, it’s probably because of its food. Modena is a foodie haven. It’s famous for hams, cheeses, and barrel aged balsamic vinegar. You can sample the dark elixir in shops around the town. 

But Modena isn’t just about food. Modena is beautiful and immaculate.

Piazza Grande is its eye catching main square. It’s home to several monuments, including a Duomo, town hall, a picturesque 15th century clock tower, and medieval relics.

beautiful street in Modena

The 12th century Duomo is one of the finest examples of Romanesque architecture. It comes complete with a slightly leaning bell tower called the “Ghirlandina.”

Modena was also the birthplace of Luciano Pavarotti. His titular museum,  Luciano Pavarotti Museum ,  is located about 20 minutes from city center on the estate where the famous tenor lived.

Since Modena is for foodies, you may want to book a  guided food tour , do a  balsamic vinegar tasting , or  tour Italy’s most famous cheese factory .

Modena is just a 45 minute drive from Bologna. You can also visit on an 8 hour guided day tour from Bologna.

street in the old town of Florence near the Duomo

Day 5: Florence

Ah Florence . It may be Italy’s most beloved city, even over Venice. The “Cradle of the Renaissance” is beautiful from every angle.

You can content yourself with just absorbing the beauty and street life. But there are so many amazing attractions in Florence, you won’t be able to resist them.

Start your day at one of Florence’s hotspots, the Galleria Academia . It’s home to the world’s most famous statue, Michelangelo’s David , and his prisoners.

The lines are epic here, so you should definitely pre-book a  skip the line timed entry ticket .You can also opt for a  1.5 hour guided tour with fast track ticket .

Princes Chapel in the Medici Chapels

For even more Michelangelo, head to the Medici Chapels. Inside, you’ll see the over-the-top Prince’s Chapel and the New Sacristy with 7 Michelangelo sculptures.

You’ll need to  pre-book a ticket  with a time slot reservation. These fill up fast, so don’t delay. You can also book a  guided tour of the chapels . This isn’t a bad idea because there’s not much explanatory signage.

After lunch, it’s time to tackle the Florence Cathedral complex . This consists of 5 separate sites: Florence Cathedral, Brunelleschi’s dome, the Baptistery, the Duomo Museum, and the Giotto Bell Tower. 

If you buy the  Brunelleschi ticket , you have entry to all the sites. You can only enter each attraction once, but you have 3 days to use the pass. I suggest you visit them all this afternoon. 

There’s a lot to absorb at these wonderful attractions. You may want to  book a guided tour  to get the full scoop.

view from Brunelleschi's dome

Go the Duomo Museum first. It’s the best cathedral museum I’ve ever visited. It’s chock full of stunning statues by Donatello and will give you a primer on how Brunelleschi built the iconic dome of the cathedral.

I would climb either Brunelleschi’s dome or the Giotto bell tower. It might be a bit much to do both in one day.

Giotto’s bell tower might offer slightly better views. But, if you climb Brunelleschi’s dome, you can admire the Giorgio Vasari frescos on the way up.

In the evening, take a stroll through Piazza della Signoria and admire the statues in the piazza.

If you want, you can visit the Palazzo Vecchio (right in the square) in the evening because it’s open late. Inside, you’ll find Medici apartments, a Michelangelo sculpture, and room after room of Vasari frescos.

>>> Click here to book a skip the line ticket for Palazzo Vecchio

interior of Sant Croce Basilica, a must visit attraction with 2 weeks in Italy

Day 6: Florence

On day 6 of you 2 weeks in Italy itinerary, begin with a visit to the Basilica of Santa Croce . It’s Florence’s most stunning church and a mausoleum for its most famous citizens.

The basilica opens at 9:30. You should arrive with a pre-purchased  skip the line ticket . You’ll have to dress modestly with knees and shoulders covered or you won’t be let in. They’re very strict on this score.

Click  here  to book a skip the line ticket for the basilica. You’ll need one in high season unless you can brave the lines. There’s so much to see that you may want to  book a guided tour of Santa Croce .

After Santa Croce, head to the  Uffizi Gallery . The gallery is Florence’s premiere museum and one of the best museums in the world. This is where you come to admire Botticelli, Leonardo da Vinci, and Michelangelo.

Botticelli's Birth of Venus

The museum is huge and just stuffed with world famous masterpieces. You could spend hours there. The most popular rooms are the two Botticelli Rooms and the Raphael and Michelangelo Room.

You won’t be able to visit the Uffizi, almost in any season, without pre-booking a  skip the line timed entry ticket . Once inside, keep the ticket with you because they ask for it at several checkpoints.

You may want to book a guided tour of the museum. The last time I was there, I booked a  2+ hour private guided tour . My husband, who’s not an art lover necessarily, loved it!

Piazza della Repubblica

After admiring the fine art, take a stroll through the Piazza della Repubblica and stroll over the iconic Ponte Vecchio. The bridge takes you to the Oltrarno neighborhood , which is a more authentic and less touristy part of Florence.

The main attraction here is the Pitti Palace . It’s another Medici palace stuffed with world class art. You’ll need to book a skip the line ticket in high season.

You should also hit one of Florence’s viewpoints for panoramic views of the city — Piazzale Michelangelo (or 10 minutes further uphill) San Miniato al Monte . I would opt for San Miniato. It’s less crowded and one of Florence’s most ancient buildings.

Have apertivo and dinner in the Oltrarno. I thought this neighborhood had some of Florence’s best restaurants. Check out my one day in Oltrarno itinerary for more details and restaurant ideas.

beautiful orange toned buildings in Siena

Day 7: Florence, Day Trip To Siena

It’s tough to leave Florence, I know, but Siena is also fabulous. It’s one of the most beautiful medieval cities in Italy and is effectively an open air museum.

Plus, Siena is full of first rate art and stunning architecture. It central square, Il Campo , is one of the most beautiful squares in Italy. This is where the annual Palio horse race is held.

You can admire the city’s art-laden  Siena Cathedral , gaze at a famous fresco cycle in the  Palazzo Pubblico , and stroll the vibrant streets full of artisan shops and boutiques.

horses racing past Palazzo Pubblico during the Palio

You should  book a ticket to the Siena Cathedral complex . Then, I would add on a  ticket to the Palazzo Pubblico . It’s worth it just to see the stunning  Allegory of Good and Bad Government  frescos.

If you can, try to stay for dinner in the evening. The day trippers will be gone and you can stroll the pretty lanes in peace.

Siena is just a one hour drive from Florence. You can also  book a guided day tour   to save you the hassle of arranging transportation. This tour also takes you to the gorgeous medieval town of San Gimignano .


Day 8: Rome

From Florence, it’s time to move on to Rome, the Eternal City, where you’ll stay for 4 nights. I’ve been to Rome many times and written dozens of articles on the city, which you can check out on my Rome page .

On your first day, I would tour the imperial ruins. That includes the Colosseum , the Roman Forum , and Palatine Hill . I’ve linked my article on each place, which describe everything you can see at each stop.

You can’t really visit these sites without a skip the line ticket . You’ll also need to make a separate timed entry reservation for the Colosseum. There are plenty of tour options as well.

  • 3 hour guided tour and entry to all 3 sites
  • tickets & tour of all 3 sites + underground Colosseum access
  • 4 hour private day tour of Ancient Rome
  • skip the line private guided tour with an art historian
  • skip the line private tour of all 3 sites + the underground Colosseum

ancient street in Monti

When you’re done touring the ruins, head to the nearby Monti neighborhood for a stroll and lunch. You can also pop into the beautiful Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore .

Then, head to Piazza Venetia. You can admire the Vittorio Emanuele Monument and take an elevator up for views.

Don’t miss the Capitoline Museums . It’s surely one of Rome’s ancient art museums . It boasts a vast repository of ancient sculpture that’s just incredible.

>>> Click here to book a ticket to the Capitoline Museums

In the evening take a stroll in Trastevere, Rome’s most beautiful neighborhood. You can admire the ochre colored buildings and ivy clad facades. This is also a great place to book a food and wine tour .

Church of Sant Agnese in Piazza Navona

Day 9: Rome

On you next day in Rome, take a classic  walk through central Rome . You might consider booking a  3 hour walking tour  or  private walking tour to get the full historical backdrop on all the sites.

Start at Campo de’ Fiori and end at the Spanish steps. Along the way, you can stop to admire some of Rome’s most iconic monuments — Piazza Navona, the Pantheon, Piazza Colonna, and the Trevi Fountain.

Grab some lunch and then head to Rome’s best museums, the Borghese Gallery. It’s one of the world’s greatest small museums. You’ll find the most famous sculptures of the Baroque artist Bernini and paintings by Caravaggio, Raphael, Titian, and Correggio.

Caravaggion's David with the Head of Golia

Here’s my  complete guide  to the Borghese Gallery . You’ve got to  pre-book a timed entry skip the line ticket  to visit this magnificent museum.

When you’re done admiring the art, I recommend heading over to the west side of the Borghese Gardens, towards the Piazza del Popolo. The view from the Pincio Terrace is quite beautiful, particularly at sunset.

Consider ending your day with a food tour. There are a bunch of great options:

  • a  food tour of the trendy Testaccio district
  • a  food tour in the off the beaten path Pratti district
  • a   food tour in the beautiful Trastevere district
  • a  market food tour and pizza class
  • a   food and wine tour in the historic center

St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City

Day 10: Rome, Vatican City

On day 10 of 2 weeks in Italy, it’s time to explore Vatican City. I’ve written a detailed one day in Vatican City itinerary . So won’t repeat myself too much here.

St. Peter’s Basilica and the Vatican Museums are heart and headquarters of the Roman Catholic Church.

St. Peter’s Basilica is the most famous church in Christendom. Designed by Bramante, Raphael and Michelangelo, it’s a true Renaissance masterpiece.

The basilica is the burial place of St. Peter and past popes. It houses the famous Bernini Baldachine altar, scads of sculptures, and Michelangelo’s tragically beautiful  Pieta .

iew of St. Peter's Square from the dome

For a panoramic view of St. Peter’s Square and Rome, you should climb the dome. Here’s my complete  guide to St. Peter’s Basilica , with tips for visiting. You can take a  guided tour  of St. Peters. You can only visit the  underground grottos on a guided tour .

The Vatican Museums hold one of the world’s greatest art collections. Some of the most famous art works on the planet are there, including Michelangelo’s frescos in the Sistine Chapel .

You absolutely must pre-book a  skip the line ticket  for the Vatican. Or else you’ll be stuck in line for hours unless it’s the dead of winter.

Here are some sample Vatican tours you might consider taking:

  • a  2.5 hour overview on a skip the line small group guided tour
  • a  3 hour no  w ait tour that also includes the Raphael Rooms
  • a  3.5 hour tour Vatican visit with a guided tour of St. Peter’s Basilica
  • a  3 hour Friday night tour of the Vatican
  • a  Vatican tour that includes a climb of the dome of St. Peter’s Basilica

street in Orvieto

Day 11: Rome, Day Trip To Orvieto

Day 11 sees you day tripping to Orvieto, a hill town in southern Umbria . I personally just loved Orvieto and you can check out my one day in Orvieto itinerary for the full scoop.

Orvieto’s most famous attraction is its glamorous Duomo, Orvieto Cathedral . It has one of the most colorful and art-filled facades of any church in Italy. Inside, you’ll find one of the most famous fresco cycles in Italy by Luca Signorelli.

You’ll also want to take a stroll through Piazza della Repubblica and climb the Torre del Morro.

But part of the charm of Orvieto is just aimless strolling. Wherever you look in Orvieto, there’s a picturesque lane, quaint shop, or terrific displays of flowers.

the beautiful Orvieto Cathedral

Every once in awhile the medieval lanes part and you can glimpse a brilliant slice of the Umbrian countryside.

Last time I was in Orvieto, I booked a  2.5 hour guided private walking tour . My guide was Emma and she was excellent, making the cathedral and its beautiful art works come to life. 

You can also book a  3 hour small group walking tour  that includes the cathedral, the old town, and Orvieto’s underground.

view of Naples from Castel Sant'Elmo

Day 12: Naples

From Rome, venture on to Naples. It’s about 2.5 hours by car or 1:10 by train.

This Mediterranean capital is lorded over by the still-kicking Vesuvius volcano. Naples is unpretentious with chaotic streets, Baroque excess, and layers upon layers of history.

The historic center is brimming with striking architecture, fascinating museums, and lively piazzas.

Naples Cathedral has a 13th century Gothic church with Baroque frescos. The Santa Chiara Cloisters are simply gorgeous, with hand-painted Majorca tiles covering benches and columns. The Basilica of San Lorenzo Maggiore is chock full of Greco-Roman ruins.

Art lovers will want to take the shuttle to the Capodimonte Museum , which is one of Italy’s best museum s . It features works by Caravaggio, Correggio, Masaccio, Titian, Raphael, El Greco, Bruegel, and Sebastiano del Piombo.

obelisk in Piazza Cardinale Sisto Riario Sforza

History buffs should head to the Museo Archeologico Nazionale , which is truly one of the world’s best archaeological museums. 

You can see original mosaics and frescoes from Pompeii and Herculaneum. The most famous piece is the  Farnese Bull , which once decorated Rome’s Baths of Caracalla . In high season, you’ll definitely need a skip the line ticket .

Naples is famous for its cafe culture and as the inventor of pizza. One of the most exquisite cafes is Caffe Gambrinus. For pizza, the two most famous spots are Gino Sorbillo and Antica Pizzeria da Michele.

Naturally, in Naples, you can go on a street food tour , take a walking tour of the street markets , or take a pizza making class .

As an alternative to basing yourself in Naples, you could stay in the Amalfi Coast instead and day trip into Naples to see the museums and sample the pizza.

READ : One Day In Naples Itinerary

frescos in the Villa of Mysteries

Day 13: Naples, Day Trip To Pompeii

On day 13 of your 2 weeks in Italy, head to Pompeii. The site is Italy’s most famous archaeological treasure. It’s a 2,000 year old living museum.

In 79 A.D., Mount Vesuvius erupted and buried the city in 60 feet of ash. The city was entombed and preserved for many centuries. Beginning in 1748, archaeologists began painstakingly excavating the ruins.

Today, you can see dazzling frescos in ancient abodes. The House of the Vet just opened to the public in January 2023 and the frescos in the Villa of Mysteries are newly restored.

It’s definitely easiest to visit Pompeii on guided day tour from Naples . I recommend this  guided walking tour with an archaeologist  to learn everything abut Pompeii. But if you can do it yourself, you’ll at least need to book a skip the line ticket .

I advise getting the longest and best tour possible so that you can see everything at Pompeii (the new frescos) and not just walk down the main drag, as some tours do.

For the complete scoop, here’s my complete guide to visiting Pompeii .


Day 14: Naples, Day Trip To Amalfi Coast

On your last day of 2 weeks in Italy, head to the Amalfi Coast. It’s a stunning 30 mile stretch of the Italian coast where cliffs tower above pebbly coves and villages cling to steep slopes.

One day isn’t much time to explore this area. And it isn’t easy to get to. You will drive down a precarious road and take ferries and buses.

With one day, if you take a guided day tour from Naples, you can more efficiently get a quick peak at Positano, Amalfi, and or Ravello.

Positano comes complete with sherbet colored cliffside homes, stunning beaches, and tiny cobbled lanes. It’s considered Amalfi’s most picturesque town, cut into a cliff with views galore.

view from the Wagner Terrace of Villa Rufolo

Called the “mountain pearl,” Ravello is suspended between the sky and sea. Ravello is known for its stunning views. You can get them at the town’s two stunning medieval villas Villa Cimbrone and Villa Rufolo.

Amalfi town is a lively port city. It’s known for the stunning Amalfi Cathedral , which is one of the most beautiful churches in Italy. You can visit the cloister, church, and the Diocesan Museum.

Positano and Sorrento are the most touristy towns. If you’d like to avoid crowds, you can try the towns of Ravello, Praiano, Maiori, or Minori.

view of the Faraglioni rocks in Capri

Alternatively, you could visit the island of Capri from Naples. Capri is one of the most dazzling and seductive islands in the Mediterranean.

Capri is known for its soaring cliffs, shimmering emerald water, whitewashed towns, and historic landmarks. It’s a great place to hike. And it’s known for its natural wonder, the Blue Grotto.

You can take the ferry or get to Capri on a guided day tour from Naples .

cozy cafe in Rome

Alternative 2 Weeks In Italy Itinerary

For a slightly different spin, here’s an alternative two weeks in Italy itinerary. This itinerary drops Bologna and gives you more time in southern Italy.

  • Day 3 : Florence
  • Day 4 : Florence
  • Day 5 : Florence, day trip to Siena & San Gimignano
  • Day 6 : Rome
  • Day 7 : Rome
  • Day 8 : Vatican City
  • Day 9 : Rome, day trip to Orvieto & Civita di Bagnoregio
  • Day 10 : Naples
  • Day 11 : Naples, day trip to Pompeii
  • Day 12 : Amalfi Coast
  • Day 13 : Amalfi Coast, day trip to Capri
  • Day 14 : Matera

Marina Grande in Capri

Tips For Spending 2 Weeks In Italy

If you need tips for visiting Italy, you should check out some of my relevant articles:

  • 40 tips for visiting Italy
  • Tips for visiting Rome
  • Tips for visiting Florence
  • Tips for visiting Venice
  • Tips for renting and driving a car in Europe

I hope you’ve enjoyed my 2 weeks in Italy itinerary. You may enjoy these other Italy travel guides and resources.

  • 12 Ways To Spend 1 Week in Italy
  • 5 Ways To Spend 1 Week In Sicily
  • 10 Days in Southern Italy Itinerary
  • 10 Day Tuscany Itinerary
  • Tips For Visiting Italy
  • 7 Day Road Trip From Venice To Milan
  • 130+ Bucket List Experiences in Italy
  • Historic Landmarks in Italy
  • Most Beautiful Towns in Italy
  • Best Museums in Rome
  • Hidden Gems in Rome
  • Best Museums in Florence

If you want to spend 2 weeks in Italy, pin it for later.

Pinterest pin for 2 weeks in Italy itinerary

Leave a Comment Cancel reply

Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.

Last Updated on October 17, 2023 by Leslie Livingston

Road Trip EuroGuide

Bucketlist Italy Road Trip: Best Hiking, Wine, & Culture (with Map)

Please note that some of the links may be affiliate links , and at no additional cost to you, I earn a small commission if you make a purchase. I recommend only products & companies I love and use, and the income goes back into making this little blog successful!

An Italy road trip is one of those bucket list items that begs for a few weeks of vacation, and a certain level of “ I do what I want! ” attitude. I mean, it is a renowned tourist destination for good reason – the old-school architecture, world-famous art, food that will have you asking for thirds, and history that’s weaved its way into all our cultures – all of it is unlike anything else in the world.

Having traveled up and down Italy several times over the past couple of years, through all seasons, and in all the transportation modes, I can tell you that the best way to experience Italy is via road trip, at your own pace , sometime in the summer or fall enjoying the dolce vita without stressing about planning or a checklist of must-do tourist attractions.

This article is aimed at providing guidance on how to plan a 1-week to 4-week road trip through Italy and includes:

  • The how-to of transportation & logistics
  • Flexible road trip routes depending on the vibe you’re going for and the time you have
  • Best local stops along the way that are must-see in Italy
  • Lessons learned about the Italian way of doing things

An Italy road trip will take you through the Dolomites if you plan it right.

Table of Contents

Italy Road Trip: 1 – 4 Week Route Options

These road trip routes focus on central and northern Italy and take into account a few options depending on how much time you have . Below that, I’ve outlined my 4-Week road trip in detail, and have given notes and tips on how to adjust if you need to be flexible, what to do and see, and how much time is really needed in each spot.

Here are the road trip route options based on how many weeks you have, so you can get an idea before jumping into more detail.

Italy Road Trip 1 Week

Venice – Verona – The Dolomites – Venice

  • Distance: 200 miles (320 km)
  • Length of Trip: 5 – 7 days
  • 4 days hiking the Dolomites
  • 2 days in Venice with gondola rides
  • 1 day, a quick visit to Verona, the home of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet

Italy Road Trip 2 Weeks

Milan – Lake Como – Lake Garda – The Dolomites – Venice – Milan ⭐️ Most Bang for your Buck Road Trip ⭐️

  • Distance: 500 miles (800 km)
  • Length of Trip: 12 – 14 days
  • 2 days exploring Milan
  • 3 days on Lake Como
  • 2 Days on Lake Garda
  • 5 days hiking the Dolomites

An Italy Road Trip through the Dolomites is a must do!

ALSO CONSIDER : Two weeks in Italy can also be spent in authentic South Italy . It is just as beautiful and ideal for early summer or a late fall trip when the tourists have left and the sun has calmed down a bit. This road trip is about discovering Naples and Sicily!

Italy Road Trip 3 Weeks

Milan – Portofino – Cinque Terre – Pisa – Florence – Venice – The Dolomites – Lake Garda – Lake Como – Milan

  • Distance: 900 miles (1,500 km)
  • Length of Trip: 18 – 21 days
  • 4 days in Portofino & Cinque Terre
  • 2 days around Florence and Pisa
  • 2 days on Lake Garda
  • 3 Days on Lake Como

Me on Lake Como during the Italy road trip.

Italy Road Trip 4 Weeks

Milan – Portofino – Cinque Terre – Pisa – Castiglione della Pescaia – Orbetello – Saturnia – Montepulciano – Siena – San Giminiano – Florence – Venice – The Dolomites – Lake Garda – Lake Como – Milan

Distance: at this point, it doesn’t matter! 😄

Length of Trip: 28 – 31 days

Highlights: Italian Riviera, Tuscany, The Dolomites, Hidden Gem Towns

  • 5 days in Portofino & Cinque Terre
  • 4 days exploring hidden gem towns (Castiglione, Orbetello, Saturnia)
  • 2 days around Montepulciano & Siena
  • 4 days around Florence (day trips to Pisa & San Giminiano)
  • 2 days in Venice for gondola rides

Me again on the Italy road trip, this piece is in the Dolomites.

Full 4-Week Itinerary

If you had one month at your disposal, here are the things to see and do based on my own travels and advice from local Italians , aka my friends. I’ve included favorite spots and little hidden gems to peek into while on the way.

I started my road trip in Milan because it’s a great airport hub and offers relatively cheap prices for renting a car. I recommend spending a couple of days exploring Miland and settling into the time zone differences if you’re flying from abroad.

Milan is a great place to start your Italy road trip.

Plus, there is no shortage of things to do in Milan – from historical landmarks to world-renowned museums, the city is insane. Here are just a few of my favorites:

  • The Duomo: One of the most iconic buildings in Milan, the Duomo is a must-see for anyone visiting the city. The Gothic cathedral is one of the largest churches in the world, and its intricate design is truly a sight to behold. Inside, the Duomo is equally impressive, with vaulted ceilings and stained glass windows that tell stories of faith and Italian history.
  • The Last Supper: Another must-see for anyone visiting Milan is Leonardo da Vinci’s “The Last Supper.” The painting is housed in the refectory of Santa Maria Delle Grazie, and it is considered one of the greatest works of art ever created.
  • The Pinacoteca di Brera: For those interested in art, a visit to the Pinacoteca di Brera is a must. The museum houses one of the largest collections of Italian paintings in the world, and it includes works by some of the most famous artists in history, such as Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, and Caravaggio.

Of course, because you’re in Milan, you have to do some shopping – either window shopping or for real. The city’s upscale boutiques and department stores offer everything from designer labels to high-street fashion. I had to really control myself on this one!

I headed south to the coast to start the road trip after Milan. Situated on the Italian Riviera, Portofino is first on the list. It is a picturesque fishing village that has long been a popular destination for tourists. With its brightly-colored houses, winding streets, and scenic harbor, Portofino is super charming and perfect to get you into that Italian spirit.

Portofino is a dream little port town in Italy.

In addition to taking in the atmosphere of the village, there are a bunch of little trails to walk on and churches to peek into. Spend a couple of days here dining at the village restaurants or picnicking on the beach – this is a seafood lovers’ paradise.

Cinque Terre

Cinque Terre is a breathtakingly beautiful section of the Italian Riviera. Comprised of five medieval fishing villages – Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore – Cinque Terre is a popular tourist destination for good reason, with each village offering its own unique charm!

Cinque Terre, 5 little towns you cannot drive your car into in Italy.

PRO TIP: You’ll want to park your car outside of the 5 towns for this one and only take a light bag with you to your lodging – trust me on this one!

Here are some of the top things to do and see in Cinque Terre:

  • Hiking: The villages of Cinque Terre are connected by a network of hiking trails, which offer stunning views of the coastline. Visitors can hike from one village to the next, or take a more challenging hike up to one of the nearby hills for an even better vantage point.
  • Swimming: The Mediterranean Sea is just steps away from each of the villages, making Cinque Terre a great place to take a dip. There are plenty of spots to relax on little beaches or enjoy exploring the rocky coastline.
  • Wine Tasting: Cinque Terre is home to some of Italy’s best vineyards. Tour a local winery or enjoy a glass of wine with lunch or dinner – either way, you’re sure to appreciate the region’s signature wines.

And we enter the Tuscany Region of the road trip! We all know you’re here for the iconic photos, so let’s make this a quick but meaningful stop in Pisa, as there is much more to see in Tuscany.

The leaning tower of Pisa has to be on our Italy road trip - its so iconic!

The Leaning Tower of Pisa is one of the most distinctive buildings in the world, and it’s also one of the most popular tourist attractions in Italy – luckily it’s on the way to our next destination! I recommend taking a long lunch stop here as you’re coming from Cinque Terre and heading down the coast to Castiglione Della Pescaia.

That said, if you stay the night, there’s more to Pisa than just its famous tower. The city is also home to a number of other historic landmarks, including the Cathedral of Pisa and the Baptistery, which is quite beautiful. Whether you’re interested in history or simply want to enjoy some of Italy’s most beautiful scenery, Pisa is definitely worth a short visit.

Castiglione Della Pescaia & Orbetello

If you’re looking for beautiful seaside towns to explore in Tuscany, Castiglione Della Pescaia and Orbetello are these hidden gems that no tourist knows about.

Castiglione Della Pescaia and Orbetello are these road trip hidden gems that no tourist knows about.

Castiglione Della Pescaia is an idyllic little town located on a picturesque stretch of coastline. It’s easy to spend hours strolling along the seafront or relaxing on the beach in both of these towns. That said, there are also plenty of other things to see and do in Castiglione Della Pescaia. Here are just a few of the highlights:

  • Visit the Duomo di Massa Marittima: a beautiful cathedral built in the 13th century that has an impressive façade decorated with marble statues.
  • Check out the Museo Archeologico e Storico: Housed in a former Franciscan convent, it has an extensive collection of artifacts from the Etruscan and Roman periods.
  • Take a boat trip to Isola d’Elba: Located just off the coast of Castiglione Della Pescaia, this island is a great place to escape the hustle and bustle of the town for a while. You can reach the island by taking a boat from the port.

Orbetello is the other beautiful little town in Italy I think you should adventure to, just further down the coast. Think picturesque streets lined with medieval buildings and lazy boat rides out to the Island of Giglio. There are also several museums and art galleries to enjoy, as well as plenty of opportunities for wine and dine adventures.

These couple of days are for the slow rollers, the non-tourist in you. These towns are where Italians go to relax and take it in, and so it’s an opportunity to be among locals!

While most people flock to Italy for its stunning Mediterranean coastline (and let’s be clear, that’s totally ok!), there is another side to this country that is well worth exploring.

Bath time in Saturnia is on the road trip plan for Italy.

In the heart of Tuscany lies the town of Saturnia, known for its natural hot springs. You can find a number of therapeutic pools to soak in, as well as hiking trails that wind through the surrounding hills, and that is why I’m a fan! It’s off the beaten path and offers a little bit of something extra!

Here are just a few of the many highlights:

  • The famous thermal waters of Saturnia are naturally heated waters said to have healing properties. You have to go to at least one of the several public baths and spas throughout the city.
  • The Roman Ruins of Saturnia are some of the best preserved in all of Italy, dating back over 2,000 years.
  • The Cascate del Mulin o is one of Saturnia’s most popular attractions, a stunning waterfall fed by natural hot springs, it is a popular spot for swimming.
  • The Palazzo Vecchio is a 14th-century palace that now houses a museum dedicated to the history of Saturnia.


Montepulciano is a small town in the heart of Tuscany that is best known for its Tuscan wine and stunning Renaissance architecture. The town’s cobbled streets and medieval alleyways are lined with quaint shops and atmospheric cafes, making it the perfect place to spend a day exploring.

Tell me you like wine without telling me you like wine in Montepulciano, Italy!

One of the highlights of any visit to Montepulciano is a tour of one of the town’s many wineries, where you can learn about the production process of the famous Vino Nobile di Montepulciano and sample some of the local goodies.

Siena is a beautiful medieval city in Tuscany, similar to the pictures above of Montepulciano. The historic center of Siena is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, so you know they know how to preserve their history!

Known for its old-school architecture, delicious food, art, museums, and all of the little things that make the Tuscan region special, Siena is yet another little gem on this road trip that is special and low-key.

San Giminiano

San Giminiano is a beautiful hill town in the Tuscan region of Italy and is the last of the little towns on this road trip. It is best known for its medieval towers, which rise up above the town’s red tile roofs.

Visiting San Giminiano is easy as can be because it’s all about exploring the narrow streets lined with traditional shops and restaurants and enjoying the countryside. This little stop on the road trip comes highly recommended by quite a few Italians who visit Tuscany every year, so it’s become part of my recommendations as well!

Last but not least in the Tuscan countryside is the beautiful city of Florence. The original gangster of the Rennaisance. The home of painters and sculptors like Michelangelo and Rafael. It will have a distinct tourist vibe to it compared to some of the past few days on this road trip, but it’s not quite a big city yet.

My little cousin and I exploring Florence art on our road trip.

I love Florence for many reasons.

  • The Duomo is the iconic cathedral that towers over the city.
  • The Uffizi Gallery is a must, home to some of the world’s most famous paintings, the gallery offers an immersive experience into Florentine art from the Renaissance period.
  • Strolls through Boboli Gardens and the narrow streets of Florence.
  • Enjoying a meal at one of the many cafes or Michelin-rated restaurants. Ah! La Dolce Vita!

One of the most beautiful and interesting cities in the world, Venice is a must-see for any traveler. Built on a network of canals, it is home to a myriad of fascinating sights and attractions.

  • Take a gondola ride: A ride in a gondola is the quintessential Venice experience. While it can be pricey, there are plenty of ways to enjoy this activity on a budget. Many gondolas offer discount rates for early morning or late night rides, and there are also several companies that offer group discounts.
  • Visit St. Mark’s Basilica: One of the most iconic landmarks in Venice, St. Mark’s Basilica is a must-see for any traveler. Located in St. Mark’s Square, this ornate cathedral is free to enter, and its impressive interior is well worth a visit.
  • Walk around Cannaregio: Cannaregio is one of the busiest and most vibrant neighborhoods in Venice. From its lively markets to its colorful street art, there is plenty to see and do in this area. And best of all, it’s relatively cheap to explore compared to other areas of the city.
  • Take a day trip to Murano: Murano is a small island located just off the coast of Venice. Known for its glassmaking tradition, Murano is home to several factories and studios where visitors can watch glassblowers at work. A day trip here makes for a great addition to any Venice itinerary.

On the canals of Venice, thankful for a break from driving in Italy.

On your way out of Venice, heading to the Dolomites, there is a little (not so little actually) town called Verona. If this rings a bell, it’s your high school education slapping you over the head.

Verona is renowned for being the setting of Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet and has many ties to the author. Highlights include:

  • 1st-century AD Arena, a Roman amphitheater
  • 13th-century Juliet’s House (Casa di Giulietta), with a balcony overlooking an archway
  • Verona Cathedral, housing 14th-century frescoes
  • Castelvecchio Museum, in a restored 14th-century castle
  • Piazza delle Erbe, a central market square
  • Lamberti Tower, with an 84m-high climbable lookout

The Dolomites

The highlight of the second half of this road trip for me was The Dolomites. Overall I recommend spending about 5 – 7 days in the Dolomites. I visited a few times with friends before, and each time, I spent quite a few hours  planning the best route so I could maximize time  in one location, minimize driving a huge amount in one day, and also see all of the beautiful spots we had on our highlights list.

The Dolomites are my absolute favorite part of Italy, and a road trip is the best way to approach these mountains.

My highlights list for things to do and see in the Dolomites:

  • Adolf Munkel Hike  
  • Cadini di Misurina Ridge Hike  
  • Tre Cime de Lavaredo Hike
  • Seceda Ridgeline Hike  
  • Via Ferrata Tridentina (not for first-timers)
  • Paraglide in the Dolomites

📍Where to Stay

I recommend a few towns to get lodging in, each close to certain iconic trails and hikes. If it’s your first time heading into the Dolomites, check out  some of my favorite hikes above, and decide what town speaks to you.

A few hours drive away from the Dolomites is Lake Garda, where we rest our weary feet.

We picked  Cola Beach  to post up and enjoy the sun. This is AFTER the  insane breakfast at Hotel Limone  which I cannot say enough good things about! Literally, they have a chef preparing a fresh meat and cheese board fresh and custom just for you.

I love the little town of Limone on Lake Garda - great gem to add to the Italy road Trip.

Happy hour drinks and a light dinner were at  Scaloni 20  both nights because this is an absolute gem, and they have a killer Espresso Martini which both of us are absolute suckers for!

From Lake Garda, we headed to Lake Como. The drive was a couple of hours, and  the most difficult portion of the drive  was the one-car-at-a-time-only streets around the lake to get to our lodging.

Bellagio and Varenna are two of the most beautiful towns and are famous for it.  I say this, but the reality of it is that all of the small hidden towns around Lake Como are incredibly charming.

PRO TIP:  If you only have a couple of days like us,  I recommend doing this  Villa Balbianello and Lake Como Walking and Boating Full-Day Tour  and hit all of the highlights – including explanations of where George Clooney’s mansion is, how many celebrities truly live around Lake Como, and if Leonardo DiCaprio is in town or not.

On the boat tour around Lake Como on our Italy road trip.

A few lessons we learned in Lake Como about transportation:

  • The lake is very large and  it’s worth staying close to the main ports  (Bellagio, Varenna, Como).
  • It’s very important to  plan out your ferry routes and transfer times for the day  because the fast ferries only run to certain ports at certain times (and can take 2 hours to get from the town of Como to Bellagio).
  • All  ferries are crowded, queues are long  for tickets, and lines take forever at some ports due to lack of organization. This is very on brand for Italy sometimes – love it or hate it, it’s the way it is!
  • It’s  worth renting a private boat if you’re wanting to get around quickly  and without the stress of planning ferry logistics. Or just use your car!

And that’s it. From here, you’re off to Milan to complete your month-long journey, return your car, and head home much richer in memories than you started!

Italy Road Trip Map

Milan – Portofino – Cinque Terre – Pisa – Castiglione della Pescaia – Orbetello – Saturnia – Montepulciano – Siena – San Giminiano – Florence – Venice – Verona – The Dolomites – Lake Garda – Lake Como – Milan

italy road trip in january

Driving Through Italy

Here are answers to the questions I had when I was planning my road trip through Italy about logistics and transportation.

Renting a Car in Italy

You will need the following 3 things to rent a car in Italy:

  • A Drivers License
  • An International Driver’s Permit

You can get an International Drivers Permit (IDP) from AAA or the State Department ( form here ) .  You do not need to have a AAA membership to go through this application process.

The IDP is valid for 1 year and must be carried with your driver’s license when you’re driving. Be sure to bring 2 passport-style photos with you when you apply for the IDP, your US driver’s license, and a method of payment to cover the application fee (cash or credit is fine).

This is what I use to get the cheapest rental ➡️ Discover Cars ⬅️

Should I rent a car or use public transport?

Good question, especially as Italy is super well connected by trains. While trains are a convenient and cheap way to travel, they are constantly delayed ( sometimes by hours ) in Italy and can be a pain in the butt logistically – this is the reality.

My advice is to rent a car if you’re going to be traveling around for a week or more , exploring lakes and mountains, little small towns and fisherman villages. And especially if you’re doing any one of the road trips I outlined above.

The only time I don’t recommend a car is when you’re just sticking to one big city, like Milan or Rome, as it can be a nightmare to navigate traffic and parking in these megacities.

Can foreigners drive in Italy?

Absolutely they can! Just make sure you have the right documentation and read up on the common mistakes people make when renting a car in Italy. And then go for it!

How easy is it to drive around Italy?

In my opinion, driving in Italy is the toughest of all other European countries. A few observations I’ve made after multiple road trips in Italy:

  • Only Italians see an invisible 3rd lane in the middle of the road , which is mostly used for general meandering in a passive-aggressive way, and/or to scare rule-abiding westerners out of their respective left or right lanes.
  • Italians love to honk … to say hello to their besties on the road, to intimidate you from your lane, to express road rage, and sometimes I think just for fun. Basically, honking is a big part of Italian driving culture, so don’t take it personally when people are consistently leaning on their horns. When in Italy, it’s ideal to use all the means of communication with other cars!
  • Watch for the cows, sheep, ducks, and occasional humans crossing the road in the middle of high-speed traffic. Life is like it’s a game of Frogger when driving in Italy.

Tips for Taking an Italian Road Trip

There are quite a few things to consider when planning your Italian road trip. Here is my advice on when, how, and how much.

Is Italy good for a road trip?

YES! Italy is a popular tourist destination for a reason – it has it all! Historic ruins, beautiful scenery, picturesque villages, and hiking-friendly mountains! So whether you’re planning a romantic getaway, a solo adventure, or a family vacation, Italy is the ideal place to hit the open road while keeping on a budget.

Moments like this only get created when you share a small space for many hours - ie. Italian road trip.

The country has good roads, the food is familiar and delicious, the people are friendly and speak English most of the time, and it’s one of the cheaper countries in Europe to vacation in.

And of course, as you can see from the itinerary, there’s no shortage of things to see and do and memories to create.

How do I plan an Italian road trip?

When planning an Italy road trip, it is important to consider the best route to take, what stops to make along the way, and how to budget for your trip. The 1-week to 4-week road trip options outlined in this post will be a good starting point , but just in case, here’s the process to think through.

✅ STEP 1 Decide which route you want to take based on the amount of time you have. There are a number of scenic drives throughout the country, so it is worth doing some research to find the one that best suits your interests.

✅ STEP 2 Once you have chosen your route, you can start to plan for specific stops along the way . Italy is home to countless historic cities and villages, like Milan and Val di Funes. When deciding which stops to make, it is important to consider how much time you have available and what type of experience you want to have (ie. the activities you are interested in and how long you want to spend in a car/in transport).

✅ STEP 3 Finally, it is important to budget for your Italy road trip . Accommodation costs can vary widely depending on the region and time of year you are traveling. By doing some research in advance and booking accordingly, you can ensure that your Italy road trip is both pleasant and affordable.

What is the best month to travel to Italy?

This road trip is best done in late summer or early fall, anything during the months of July, August, or September. The weather is warm, the lakes are cool and refreshing, all the mountain huts and restaurants are open in the Dolomites, and the sun is out all the time!

I prefer the fall season, September and October, for doing an Italy road trip like this.

Note that August is the most touristed month in Italy because all the kids are off on vacation. This means August will also be the most expensive month as it is peak travel season for Europeans .

How much does a road trip around Italy cost?

It really depends on your activities and travel style but it does not have to break the bank, especially since a lot of things are outdoor activities like hiking & lake sports.

During the peak summer season, these were the average costs for me:

Car Rental : €60-100 per day Lodging : €80-120 per night Food   & Drink : €60 a day per person ( and here’s some advice on how not to be an a*hole tourist when tipping )

What is the best way to see Italy?

There’s no wrong way to see Italy, but some ways are definitely better than others. A road trip is the best way to see all that the country has to offer, from the vibrant cities to the picturesque countryside.

You’ll have the freedom to explore at your own pace and take detours whenever you please. Plus, you’ll get a taste of the real Italy away from the tourist traps. Rent a car and hit the open road – it’s the best way to see Italy!

Rent a car and hit the open road - its the best way to see Italy.

Final Thoughts: Why A Road Trip in Italy Is A Must!

Italy is a country with something for everyone – stunning coastlines, rolling hills, dramatic mountains, picturesque villages, and cities brimming with culture and history. Here are just a few reasons why a road trip to Italy should be on your bucket list.

  • Italy has some of the most scenic drives in the world. From the Amalfi Coast to the Tuscan countryside, there are endless opportunities to explore beautiful landscapes.
  • Italian culture is friendly, easygoing, and welcoming. Traveling in Italy is like being welcomed into an old friend’s house just as they are preparing for a meal, and they’re so glad you’re joining them!
  • An Italy road trip gives you the flexibility to travel at your own pace and create your own itinerary. While it’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of city life, a road trip allows you to slow down and really appreciate the present.

' src=

Mariana Barbuceanu is the owner and author of the Road Trip EuroGuide, a blog that inspires fellow travelers to explore Europe more authentically through slower travel and digging deeper into the culture of a place. When she isn't writing about her adventures, she is planning trips for her community and coaching people on how to take that next step towards a much-needed sabbatical.

  • Brand Collaborations
  • Awards and Accolades

Hopping Miles

  • Vatican City
  • Andhra Pradesh
  • Jammu and Kashmir/ Ladakh
  • Who are we?
  • Hopping Miles in Media
  • Why Hopping Miles?
  • Privacy Policy
  • Driving Tips

Our Italy Road trip Itinerary – Self drive in Italy

Table of Contents

Our Italy itinerary is what pushed us into taking a major decision that we would be doing a self-drive Road trip in Italy. Our Italy driving holiday itinerary had an equal share of big and famous cities and the less visited yet well-known places. Though Italy has a good network of trains – It would have been difficult to travel by train to all the places marked in our Italy Road trip Itinerary.

Italy Road Trip Planner:

After I wrote this post about ‘ Things to know before you self-drive in Italy ’ , I got a lot of questions about places we traveled across Italy on our road trip. So, I decided to write this post which help your road trip through Italy. Be it 1 week or 10 days, this itinerary will help you while driving around Italy. This itinerary covers most of the beautiful and famous spots in Italy making it one of the best road trips in Italy.

We didn’t always hire a car for all the days we were in Italy, but did it strategically, which we will explain in the due course of this article. While exploring cities, we used local transport like Metro, trams and bus. When feasible, we took intercity trains. We hired a car only when we felt an absolute need of doing so.

And being avid road trippers, we enjoyed taking on Italian roads – sometimes driving in between choppy cliffs and deep blue ocean, sometimes cruising along state-of-the-art highway, sometimes creeping under tunnels that don’t seem to end, sometimes stuck in weekend highway jam, sometimes slowing down in countryside roads to see the hay bales neatly rolled up, sometimes driving along the coast for hundreds of miles but never to drive for the sake of it!

With such a pleasing experience , I would recommend that everyone should go road trippin in Italy at least once in a lifetime! Assisting you in your road trip adventure is your travel buddy – Hopping Miles. So, here it is – Road trip in Italy.

Road trip preparation for self drive holiday:

Well, for a good road trip, what do we need? A reliable and cost effective car and a comfortable place to rest for the day after a long day on the road. Right? I know you are nodding your head there. Let me ease this process for you by listing a couple of websites which we always use on our travels.

We booked the car from this website which compares different vendors , so that we can select the car that matches our taste and budget. Check prices now by entering the place in the search box below.


With so many booking sites and hundreds of hotels and apartments, its indeed difficult to choose the place which suits our taste. That is where this site comes into picture. We always check the prices of hotels/apartment from this website and compare prices offered by different booking sites and book the accommodation from the one that offers the best price. Compare hotels by checking in this search box below !

Self drive Italy itinerary

I will list some places you can visit on your self drive holiday in Italy. And for our exact itinerary, you can check the next section.

  • Amalfi coast
  • Alberobello
  • Cinque Terre

Our Italian Road trip Itinerary

In the first leg of the journey, we did Rome – Vatican City – Caserta – Sorrento – Capri – Amalfi Coast – Alberobello – Bari

Lets look at each stop and see what we did there!

We flew into Rome and flew out of Rome to Bangalore, India. We spent 3 days in Rome – roaming around the city in hop-on hop-off bus and explored the World’s smallest country – Vatican city too!

Hop-on Hop-off bus  is the absolute best way to explore Rome. We get a bus pass which we can flash to the driver and hop onto the bus and hop off at any stop and this cycle continues. We did this and loved the convenience and frequency of  buses available. We bought our tickets from this link here:  Rome Hop-on Hop-off Bus Ticket. 

You can also buy a Roma Pass which covers entrance fee to major tourist attractions in Rome:  Roma Pass: 48-Hour City Card

After blissful 3 days of roaming in Rome, we hopped onto Vatican city for a day, which was just next door to Rome.

Vatican City:

Often known as the World’s smallest country, Vatican city is just a road away from Rome. There is no passport stamping required to enter and exit Vatican city. Vatican is known for its rich art collection and one whole day is needed to explore this gem. Have a look at this post to know how to ‘Explore Vatican City in a Day’

After exploring Rome and Vatican City, we picked up a pre-booked rental car, thus flagging off our Italian road trip! We got the best deal for our car rental from this website here. Our initial plan was to drive down to Pompeii and Naples before checking into our lovely room in Sorrento in Amalfi Coast. As luck would have it, we had a delay due to a situation and could start from Rome only in the second half of the day, so we changed our plan and drove to Sorrento with a small detour at Caserta.

The highlight of Caserta is definitely the ‘ Palace of Caserta ’. This UNESCO Heritage site sprawls over 60 acres with a 5 floors and 1200 rooms!!! Apart from the place itself which is impressive, vast gardens take away all the credit of being stunning with beautifully curated plants and water fountains at regular intervals. Though Palace of Caserta was under renovation at that time we had been there – it didn’t fail to amaze us!

Traffic jam on the way to Sorrento. We were stuck in jam inside the city too!

After a mesmerizing evening drive along the plunging Amalfi coastline as the sun retired for the day, we got stuck in the narrow lanes of Sorrento city. Traffic pile up due to road restrictions come into effect after sundown, this resulted in us getting struck in a traffic jam inside the city. We got lost at many places and google maps weren’t of any help but the locals were really helpful and guided us very well in spite of  having the language barrier.

Next morning, we strolled around Sorrento town and decided to hop on to Capri Island and indulge in the unique experience of Blue Grotto! So, off we were to Capri in a high-speed ferry from Sorrento!

Book a tour –  From Sorrento: Full-Day Capri and Anacapri Boat Tour

Surreal waters of Blue Grotto, Capri

Capri was a pleasant surprise. From the time the ferry approached the island, until our way back to Sorrento – Capri captivated us! Jagged cliffs rising high from the deep blue Tyrrhenian Sea underneath – in this small island off Italy’s Eastern Coast. In spite of thousands of tourist inflow every day, much of Capri’s natural beauty is preserved to retain its charm. The proof of which are the narrow roads just enough to pass only 1 vehicle on either side. Nature’s bounty has been preserved and not given way to modernisation!

More on Capri and things to do here: Things to do in Capri

Amalfi Coast:

After a refreshing day in Capri, we were back on the road. How eager were we to drive in this piece of land! We took it easy while driving the Amalfi Coast by not rushing it. We rolled down the windows and breathed the fresh air of Amalfi Coast – sinking it all into the skin. The warm air rising from the sea blends with the fragrance of flowers slopped in every corner together with the scent of Citrus which grows here in abundance. Roads that snake all the way along the plunging coastline coupled with stunning views makes Amalfi Coast one of the scenic routes to drive in the world!

In case you aren’t doing a self guided driving trip and still want to experience the thrill of a road trip then try this tour or this one .

Check out my Amalfi coast video below: 


After Italy surprised us with Amalfi coast drive, we had another visual treat waiting for us in Alberobello. Entire town with whitewashed houses called Trulli awaited us in Alberobello. The Trulli of Alberobello is a hut made of traditional Apulian drystone mainly consisting of hard limestone. The roof of Trullo is conical shape with stones stacked tightly on each other. If you fancy staying in a Trullo – you can as well do it. There are many BnBs and boutique Trullo stays in Alberobello. Check the prices now by entering your dates below.

We stayed in a small town called Eboli before traveling to Alberobello. Pizzas here are yumm!

The drive from Alberobello to Bari was all along Italy’s southern coastline. The main reason for us to drive to Bari was to return our rental car which we hired in Rome. That said, DON’T be fooled into thinking that our Italian road trip is over!

Rental cars which we returned in Bari. We were a family of 12. So we hired 3 cars!!

Back to Italy again for yet another road trip!

We returned the car in Bari  and took an overnight ferry to Croatia.  Read about our experience in Jadrolinija ferry from Bari to Dubrovnik in this article here . We explored Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Slovenia.  We returned to Italy through Slovenia via road and settled down in Venice for the day!

Some pics of our road trip in Croatia and Slovenia.

Plitvice Lakes Croatia

Lake Bled, Slovenia

You might want to read:

Heavenly Plitvice Lakes, Croatia

Fairytale town – Lake Bled, Slovenia

We roamed around Venice , hopping numerous bridges in the Venice Water bus or the ‘Vaporetto’ with a day pass. Watching gondolas pass by, hearing barcaroles sung by gondoliers who sway the gondola from under one bridge to another – Venice was all about life and history in a water land. If you are in Venice, do not miss the Gondola ride!

Book now –  Venice  Gondola Ride

Also, a must visit is the next door, Burano and Murano islands. Check out this tour here, this is such a bargain for money –  Boat Trip: Glimpse of Murano, Torcello & Burano Islands

After spending time to our heart’s content in Venice – It was time to move on. This time around, we did not hire a car. Remember what I had told earlier, rent a car only when necessary. As we were to stay in Milan for the next couple of days – we didn’t really need a car to go around – so, we took an intercity train from Venice to Milan – Italy’s fashion destination!

We went to see the ‘Duomo di Milan’ but ended up attending a concert!

Wandering in the streets of Milan, getting in and getting out of several metro trains – I wondered about one thing – How women are dressed up so beautifully with full makeup even at 5.30 AM! 😀

You can also do a day trip from Milan to Lake Como – Details here.

This wouldn’t be any ordinary morning – this would be a special one. A morning that showed us a light of day like no other morning. Sun rays piercing through the plump mountains, gliding though Lake Como before hitting the glass window of the train from Milan to Tirano.

The day could be called a Train day. Our train journey started in Milan at 5.30AM in the morning and ended at 9PM the same day in Milan. Why do I call it the train day? That’s because we spent the major chunk of the day in train. From Tirano, we ascended the legendary Bernina express. The rest was sequences just like dream.

Tirano town

You can save the hassle we had of booking several train tickets by simply going this tour, where they take care of all the round trip transfers to and fro Milan and also the Bernina Express tickets –  Bernina Express & St.Moritz Day Tour from Milan

Bernina Express:

Was I dreaming? Maybe, Yes – but certainly, No! As the train chugged away from Tirano, we scaled altitude by slowly climbing various bridges and passing through gloomy tunnels. Scenes distinctly vary from tiny villages puddled in lush green valley down below to glaciers melting to form electric blue lake. We alighted in St.Moritz town in Switzerland – spent 2-3 hours before getting back to Bernina Express to return to our temporary home in Milan.

It was time to get back on the road. We hired a car from Milan and drove to the land of Ferrari – Maranello!

As we curved into Maranello, roaring horses welcomed us into the world of Ferrari. Rest of the day was spent in gawking at these mean machines and lusting to own one! Read more about Maranello – Ferrari land Maranello, Italy

We drove from Maranello to Pisa through Florence with vineyards for company. Driving in the Tuscany region was another dream come true.

The entire region is sprinkled with acres of vineyards brimming with grape-bearing vines. Roads rise and fall at changing intervals – giving us elated views of the landscapes filled with different coloured flowers at each interval! See the colours of views we saw from the highway – here in this post!

Standing tall , leaning for centuries is the ‘Leaning tower of Pisa’. There is something charming about Pisa. That white tall leaning structure, the green grass around it, the blue skies – everything makes it photogenic! This wonder of the world and UNESCO Heritage site had to be visited and thus was!

While in Pisa, a must thing do is to go inside the ‘Leaning Tower of Pisa’ and climb all the way up and get a bird’s eye view from the top! It is sure inundating but is very exciting at the same time. We were running short of time as we had to drive to Rome and return the car, but wanted to go to the top of Leaning tower too. The lines for the ticket was long and we gave it a chance and finally did it. So, its a wise thing to book tickets in advance.

Book your  Timed Entrance Ticket to Leaning Tower of Pisa & Cathedral

italy road trip in january

We drove back to ‘Leonardo da Vinci–Fiumicino Airport’ in Rome and returned our rental car that showed us some surreal sights for over 2 days.

I know we have left out many other beautiful spots and cities in Italy. We knew about some but couldn’t manage to do it – Florence, Siena, Naples, Pompeii, Sicily, San Marino, Gradara . Some we regret not knowing about, during the planning stage like the ‘The Great Dolomite Road’. But, there’s always a next time!

Our Italy Road trip Map:

Italy self drive road trip – leg 1.

Rome – Vatican City – Caserta – Sorrento – Capri – Amalfi Coast – Alberobello – Bari

Italy Self drive road trip – Leg 2

Venice – Milan – Tirano – Milan – Maranello – Florence – Pisa – Rome

You might also want to read :

17 cities and towns not to miss in Italy!

14 things to know before you self drive in Italy

Hope you have liked our itinerary and all geared up to prepare yours!

Let us know in the comment box below if you have been to the places we have been and share your experiences about that place with our readers!

If you have liked this post, show us some love and pat us on our backs! Like us on Facebook , follow us on Twitter  and Instagram  and subscribe to our Youtube channel !


Beautiful photographs and interesting narration!

Great.. useful info

Nice inspiration! Thanks for a great road trip itinerary 🙂 we are planning to do one in the North of Italy soon with my husband

Nice to know that Lisa! Have a great trip!! 🙂

Hi, Great trip and great photos. I would like to ask can you plz tell hidden gems, non touristic places in italy, moreover budget living in italy. Thanks. Ss

Thanks Sumira. I shall write a post on that soon 🙂

Good one guys.. It is very helpful for planning our road trip.. Cheers and thanks for putting this up!!

Thanks Dilip! 🙂

Great info and pic! I’m planning on a roadtrip to Italy too, so wondering how long did it take for your first and second leg and Croatia?

Thanks Elly. Our trip was for 17 days in total 🙂

I really enjoyed the post you shared with us, last Year visited Bari, next holiday to visit Italy

This is a amazing article (along with the other one – things to know before self drive in Italy). Can you please share few more details (if possible) on the places (hotels/B&Bs/Lodges etc) where you stayed for the night. Thanks.

Sure Kiran. Doing that post was on my mind from a long time. Now that you asked for it, I shall write it soon 🙂 And I’m glad that you found my articles helpful 🙂

Glad to see your article, the journey & itinerary looks fantastic as well great collection of pictures.

Thank you 🙂

Hey amazing itinerary. I wanted to know if you needed international driving licence or just the indian driving licence worked? Also which company did you hire the self-drive car from?

Thanks. For Italy, International driving license is mandatory but you need to carry the original Indian driving license with you too. We booked the company which offered the best price from

WOW, This is a really great post. I like your post information because I love to travel. When I read your article I get more information about Italy. Thank you for sharing a very helpful and tips post.

Hey great read..i am off to a roadtrip from venice to south italy from 19 march for over a month long..I was wondering if i should hire a care throughout? is that a good idea..venice, florence, pompeii, matera, calabria,and then sicily. IS preebooking necessary or should i just land and book one? i will fly from catania (sicily to rome) as i fly out from rome to mumbai.

Also wanted to check how expensive does it get fuel wise? we are 2 people with 2 bags.

A car isn’t required to travel inside the cities and it is best to use local transport when exploring the cities. I’d recommend self drive after you get out of cities. Maybe you can do Venice-Florence in train and hire a car from Florence and drive down to Rome and Pompeii. Do not miss the Amalfi coast drive – its heavenly 🙂 Prebooking saves last minute hassle and we get time to book the cheap and best car rental.

Hi , Awesome blog on travel. Great pics. We are traveling to Italy in April end and planning to self drive around Tuscany for two days. We will be arriving in Florence from Rome by train and will be there for three days. We hope to spend two days in Tuscany country-side and want to hire a self drive car for the same. It will be great if you can suggest some thing. Since its a Sunday when we arrive in Florence, not sure if we can find an agency open on that day.

Thanks Anmol. Renting a car and driving through Tuscany is a really good idea. I’m sure you will love it, just like we did. Check this website for comparision between different rental cars and choose the one that suits you. We too booked from this site:)

This is a brilliant find ! Love the information shared here and will definitely redefine my itinerary as I plan 🙂 Thanks for sharing your experience with the cool photos .

Thanks Dora 🙂

I love road trips. For me it is the best way to travel. And Italy looks more perfect by a drive-off. There is the Lake Como and Amalfi Coast is like my dream location to see. Plus these pictures looks so good. Look like you had fun in your vacation.

Yes Moumita. We did. Thanks 🙂

So glad I stumbled upon this post, very useful. If I may ask you which were your fav top 3 places that are an absolute must visits. Also, which self drive would suggest – Amalfi coast or Tuscany? Thanks in advance.

My Top 3 in Italy: Amalfi Coast, Capri and Alberobello 🙂

If given a choice between the two, I’d choose Amalfi. That said, at some stretches in Amalfi coast is narrow and winding – attempt this if the driver is confident enough 🙂 We could do it though it was our first self drive experience abroad. Choice is yours. We booked our car from this website. It has good choices and pricing options.

Thanks for the list of suggested road trips.

I’ll be traveling soon, so this is going to help me a great deal.

Thanks 🙂 Glad it helped you 🙂

Hi! Thanks for this share. What about parking in amalfi / and around? Was it pricey? I’m planning Como to Amalfi (1 day in Capri) and Milan and Naples on the way to Italy and when leaving. Debating getting a car or just train and ferry?

We drove by Amalfi and stopped by parking lay byes to soak in some lovely views. And as for choosing the mode of transport, see what works out for you the best. We are always inclined towards road trips, so it was natural for us to choose the self drive option 🙂

Realy some awesome trip in Italy, I used to live here, and my family was return after three weeks in this summer.

wow this is awesome stuff lots of value . i never visited italy bt your article eager to go there. thanks ASHWINI for sharing with us.

Hi, It is a nice explanation of the trip. I am planning as well but just planning to do a self drive in Tuscany region, but bit scared that as how easy or difficult will it be do drive left side of the care. Please do let me know if it was fine. Another query, how difficult was the parking in different places like Pisa, Florence, etc

Thanks, Sumit

Tuscany has good roads and amazing landscapes. So, self drive is safe there 🙂

We didn’t enter Florence with our rental car but Pisa was not difficult for parking.

What would be your suggestion for a main town to fly into and out of in Italy? we want to fly in hire a car do the road trip and then fly out of a different city without having to retrace any of our travels.

Start with Rome and do an anticlockwise trip and end it in Florence or vice versa

Hi! This was perfect information for us. We are planning our honeymoon and want to cruise around Italy. We are thinking to fly into Naples and self drive up through Rome, Florence and Tuscany, then to Venice and end our trip with a new nights down in Amalfi. Do you suggest we drive the whole time? Or should we drive up and fly back down to be in Amalfi? We didn’t feel we needed a car in Amalfi, so we were thinking to use public transportation there. We are looking to explore and take our time along with stay at AirBnbs along the way.

Good idea Heather. You don’t need a car in Amalfi unless you have plans to drive along without any stops. As you are staying for 2 days in Amalfi, car isn’t a good idea because towns are small and parking is a hassle.

Hey nicely described, well informed and amazing instructions!! Just one thing i wanted to know was how many days did it take you to complete leg 1 and leg 2 separately?

4 and 5 days respectively

So how many days was this entire trip? And would you recommend this type of travel with a 2 year old?

The trip was for 17 days and easily doable with a 2 year old

Leave a Reply Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed .

Recent posts

  • Rental cars Iceland reviews – Real reviews from World Travelers
  • 14 Kick-ass Christmas gifts for Travel Enthusiasts (That they’ll actually use)
  • SMART tips to buy perfect Gloves for Iceland Winter + Summer
  • How to Book Flight Itinerary and Hotel Bookings for Schengen Visa Application Process
  • Best whale watching in Iceland – Season, cheap tours, everything you need to know!

Search for any destination on our site

Follow us on social media, our best posts.

  • 1 International Hops , Italy , Our Hops , Slovenia , Visa Schengen Visa Cover Letter Format with sample and common mistakes
  • 2 Europe , International Hops , Italy Schengen VISA Italy for India Citizens – Ultimate guide
  • 3 Domestic Hops , Driving Tips , Europe , International Hops , Italy , Our Hops Our Italy Road trip Itinerary – Self drive in Italy
  • 4 Africa , International Hops , Mauritius Travel Hack : 7 money saving tips when on a Mauritius Holiday
  • 5 Europe , International Hops , Italy Day trip to Capri, Italy – Things to do and Must see

Read previous post:

italy road trip in january

Haldighati – A Beautiful detour from Udaipur

"Detours are the best thing that can happen to a road trip – Hopping Miles" Waking up to the beautiful...

Wanderlust Chloe

The Ultimate Southern Italy Road Trip: Routes, Sights, Guides, Maps And More

Polignano a Mare - a must see on your Italy road trip

From the vibrant city of Naples and the awe inspiring views of the Amalfi Coast, to the traditional Italian towns of Puglia and Sicily’s beaches, volcanoes and cuisine, it’s time to plan the ultimate southern Italy road trip!

When it comes to road trips, a journey through southern Italy offers a chance to see a combination of spectacular scenery, traditional towns and epic natural wonders. One minute you’re exploring the ancient ruins of Pompeii, the next you’re driving along the heart-stopping roads of the Amalfi Coast.

You could spend a few days exploring Puglia’s prettiest towns including Monopoli and Ostuni, before spending the rest of the week enjoying the crystal waters in Sicily .

Stand up paddle boarding in Sicily

There’s a variety of cuisines to sample too, with incredible pizza in Naples, seafood pasta in Puglia, tasty olive oil and Sicilian delicacies including arrancini and sweet cannolis.

Oh and you’ve got a mix of activities on offer too. Hike active volcano Stromboli in Sicily , take a boat trip to the glamorous island of Capri , stay in a traditional Trulli house in Alberobello or go on a pizza tour of Naples (it’s a hard life!)

And the best part about a southern Italy road trip? The fact you don’t have stick to a set route. While you could follow my southern Italy itinerary on the map below, I’d encourage you to read my travel tips and then add a few stops of your own. It’s a beautiful part of the country – you could find yourself passing fields of olive trees or winding along dramatic cliff roads. You never know what you’ll find!  

Rather than create one epic Italian road trip, I’ve divided the country in two! Read on for my southern Italy road trip or check out my route for an amazing northern Italy road trip , which includes stops in Rome, Verona, Venice, Lake Como and a few other beautiful spots. 

Southern Italy Road Trip Itinerary

This south of Italy road trip starts in Naples and ends in Sicily – both of which have plenty of flight options available. Italy self-drive holidays are growing in popularity, and it’s easy to see why with routes like this one!

From eating pizza in Naples, to feeling like a movie star as you drive the Amalfi Coast, and then onto some of the prettiest towns in Italy as you explore Puglia, before finishing your enjoying Sicily’s dramatic landscapes, this route has it all! It’ll definitely show you some of the most beautiful landscapes in Italy too.

It’s also an easy one to break up – you could just concentrate on Naples and Amalfi, or spend a week exploring Puglia. These are some of my favourite parts of Italy, so I’m excited to share why they should be on your Italy road trip itinerary. I’d recommend a minimum of one week in southern Italy, but if you want to cram in everything on this blog, I’d suggest two to three weeks.

I’d also recommend taking a look at my guide to the best hidden gems in Italy too – you might find a few other stops to visit while you’re touring southern Italy.

Southern Italy Road Trip Map

I’ve used a map to plot the perfect route for your Southern Italy road trip . I recommend opening it another window to study in detail!

What to pack for your road trip

If you’re wondering what to pack for your trip, this guide to road trip essentials has you covered. From portable chargers to ways to stay entertained on long journeys, it’ll help you create your road trip packing list. I’ve also included lots of must-haves at the end of this post, to make the process much easier!

Southern Italy Road Trip: Stop 1 – Naples

Once you’ve exhausted northern Italy , it’s time to head south on your Italy road trip. The unspoilt shores of the southern coastline will appeal to travellers who like to explore off the beaten track.

First up, the bustling streets of Naples. Set on the Mediterranean coastline with active volcano Mount Vesuvius as its backdrop, this exciting city is the birthplace of Italian pizza, mysterious underground catacombs, castles and lively main squares.

Naples, Italy

If you choose to stay in Naples for a few nights, you could take day trips to the Amalfi Coast, hop on a boat to the island of Capri or tour Pompeii’s archaeological sites. There are lots of amazing southern Italy tours to choose from!

Southern Italy Road Trip: Stop 2 – Amalfi Coast

If your idea of the perfect Italy road trip is immersing yourself in glitz and glamour of old-time Italy, the Amalfi Coast is for you. With cliffside villages, colourful buildings and secluded beaches which lead to the sparkling Tyrrhenian Sea, it’s one of the most beautiful places I’ve visited in Italy. It’s also known for being one of the best Italian road trips.

Brace yourself if you’re the designated driver! The coastal road is winding and not for the faint hearted, but the views are worth it. Don’t miss the picturesque towns of Praiano, Ravello, Sorrento and Positano – a classic holiday resort with an old-world grandeur and panoramic views along the coast.

Vietri Sul Mare - Amalfi Coast, Italy

If you plan to stay a few nights, Sorrento is a good choice. With museums, piazzas, shopping and reasonably priced accommodation on offer, it’s a great base from which to explore the towns along the coast and visit the island of Capri. I’d recommend reading this guide to where to stay in Sorrento during your trip planning!

Amalfi Coast - a beautiful stop on a southern Italy road trip

I did some of this road trip in reverse last summer and ended in Amalfi Coast before driving to Naples and fly home. We booked a last minute night at one of the hotels in Vietri Sul Mare, a town close to Salerno, right at the start of the coast. It was a basic hotel, but I still dream about the views regularly – looking out over that incredible blue water and the beautiful town and beach. I’d go back in a heartbeat! 

Vietri Sul Mare - Amalfi Coast, Italy

Southern Italy Road Trip: Stop 3 – Puglia

Puglia is where we chose to go on our main holiday last year. Similar to this southern Italy travel itinerary, we hired a car in Naples and drove across the country to Italy’s heel. Driving in southern Italy wasn’t too scary, although some of the smaller towns and villages have narrow roads, so I’d recommend hiring a compact car. 

Puglia is pretty, traditional, and has a great reputation for food. It’s one of my favourite parts of Italy. Home to unspoilt sandy beaches and cliffside fishing villages, Puglia is often overlooked in favour of glam places like Amalfi or Cinque Terre, but I think it offers a lot.

Alberobello - a must visit on a southern Italy road trip

You could spend a few weeks just in Puglia, and still have plenty more to go back for, as there are gorgeous beaches, pretty towns and lots of history to keep you busy!  A few places I’d recommend visiting are Alberobello, with its traditional white, cone-shaped Trulli houses (which, collectively have been named a UNESCO World Heritage Site ). We spent a night staying in one and it was absolutely magical.

Exploring Alberobello in Puglia, Italy

We also stayed in Monopoli – a beautiful seaside town with a small beach, medieval city walls and maze-like cobbled streets fulled with tiny wine bars and rustic restaurants.

Polignano a Mare is one of the most famous towns, and another absolutely stunning spot. With it’s cove like beach, dramatic cliffs and even a cave restaurant built into the rocks overlooking the water, I fell in love with the place! We spent a day there, eating fresh seafood pasta and gelato while meandering the pretty streets.

Polignano a Mare - a must see on your Italy road trip

Ostuni is another must-see (and one of the best hidden gems in Italy ). It’s known as the white city, and from afar has the appearance of lots of white houses stacked up on top of each other. Park somewhere outside the old city and wander up the hill, taking in the magic of the white washed buildings, cute pizzerias and architectural wonders. 

If you’re planning a trip to Italy and interested in discovering Baroque architecture as well as having lively nightlife, street food and café lined piazzas, venture to Lecce, one of Puglia’s largest cities. Or consider a trip to Bari or Gallipoli – both great stops on your Puglia road trip. If you’re having trouble choosing where to stay, check out the 11 best luxury villas in Puglia .

Ostuni, Puglia, Italy

Southern Italy Road Trip: Stop 4 – Sicily Itinerary

As you can see, the drive from Puglia to Sicily is a long one. You could do it in a day, but you might be more comfortable breaking it up over a few nights. The fastest ferry route to Sicily is from Reggio Calabria and it takes around half an hour.

This is one of the best parts of the itinerary, so there’s a chance you may want to book a dedicated holiday for your Sicily road trip, as there’s so much to see and do. Adventure lovers might want to climb Mount Etna. Over 3500m high, you can get pretty high up with minimal effort, as there’s a cable car to get you up to 2500m!

Views of Etna from Taormina, Sicily

In terms of beauty, Taormina is one of the prettiest hilltop towns in Sicily. It’s home to a theatre built by the ancient greeks, several historic churches, and pretty streets filled with colourful market stalls and restaurants.

It’s also a gorgeous region for hotels, with everything from cute boutique hotels to grand resorts. My guide to the best beach resorts in Sicily will help you pick where to stay!

Taormina coastline - a perfect place to finish your southern Italy road trip itinerary

Nature lovers will enjoy bird-spotting in the reserves, or you can spend time enjoying the sandy beaches of picturesque Cefalu or Mondello.

Taormina, Sicily

It doesn’t seem long ago that I spent a week sailing around Sicily’s Aeolian Islands – something I’d recommend in a heartbeat if you have a bit longer to spent in the region. I hiked Stromboli Volcano, took a mud bath on Vulcano island, and went wine tasting in Salina. The islands are gorgeous, varied and have a wonderful old world charm that I found very comforting.

Hiking Stromboli Volcano, Sicily

When Is The Best Time To Visit Southern Italy?

Italy has a Mediterranean climate and is a lovely destination to visit all year round.

Temperatures vary by region, but as a quick example, you can expect average temperatures of around 0°C in around Cortina (a ski resort in the mountains) in January, and as high as 37°C in July in cities such as Milan and Venice. Temperatures in the south remain mild in winter, making destinations like Puglia and Sicily great options for a winter holiday.

If you’re wondering when is the best time to visit southern Italy, I’d suggest planning a trip between April and June, or in September or October, just after the peak summer season.

The weather tends to be consistent in these months, but isn’t too hot. Plus, as you’re missing peak season, you should benefit from lower prices and fewer people.

Packing List For Southern Italy

Now you’ve got your route planned out, it’s time to decide what to pack! Here are a few quick suggestions of what to take, with some links to specific items I’d rate picking up before you travel.

Women’s packing list for Southern Italy

Women’s lightweight trousers – It’s good to have some conservative items and not flash too much skin. These are practical, lightweight but a bit cute too! Women’s sundress – Something pretty and not too short for when it’s appropriate. Women’s maxi dress – I quite liked having a longer item or two. If you pair it with a cardigan it’s more conservative too. Women’s midi skirt – I live in items like this in warm countries and have them in multiple colours and patterns. They’re comfortable and not revealing.

women packing list

Women’s shorts – I packed a few pairs. I’d recommend something loose and comfortable like these shorts , and then perhaps some classic denim shorts too. Women’s summer top – I wore a lot of things like this. Neutral colours work best as you can mix and match with shorts and skirts. Plus, you can dress them up or dress them down! Women’s zip up hooded jacket – A few places get chilly, so you’ll want to be able to layer up occasionally. A zip up hoody like this will come in handy. Women’s bikini – You’ll need to pack a couple of items of swimwear. There are so many cute bikinis out there to choose from! Women’s rash guard – Not essential, but if you burn easily (or plan to surf) I’d recommend one of these. This one is great as it has a built-in bra and comes with a pair of matching shorts. Women’s sports vest – I’d recommend one or two sweat-absorbing vests like this for adventurous activities. Women’s sports bra – Ideal for sporty or adventure activities. I prefer sports bras like this Puma one which has some built in padding for extra support. Women’s leggings – Leggings are great for active adventures. These Under Armour ones are great as they’re very lightweight. Sarong – A really useful item for any travels in warm countries! Use it as a towel, a cover up, to sit on, to lie on or for a cute addition to an outfit! Sun hat – You’ll definitely want a sun hat to protect yourself. Sunglasses – I’ve owned a pair of these Ray Bans for a few years now and love them!

what to pack for italy for women

Men’s packing list for Southern Italy

Men’s casual shorts – I’d recommend several pairs of comfortable shorts for everyday use. Men’s chinos or jeans – I’d recommend a few pairs of chinos, jeans or cargo pants. Men’s T-shirts – Pack a few options of t-shirts too. Men’s shirts – A few shirts (long or short sleeved) are a good idea. I personally love these linen shirts . They look very cool!

men packing list

Men’s vests – If you sweat a lot, you might find vest tops more comfortable in the heat. Men’s zip up hooded jacket – You might want to layer up if it gets chilly in the evenings. Men’s jumper – A smarter option for keeping warm.   Men’s sports tops – For active days, something like this is really useful as it’s super-absorbent. Men’s sports shorts – If you’re doing some adventurous hikes or activities, you’ll want shorts you can move freely in. Swimming trunks – The more fun the pattern, the better! These ones have pockets and are quick dry too. Baseball cap – Look for one with a mesh back like this one , so it’s more breathable. Sunglasses – You can’t beat a classic pair of these Ray Bans !

what to pack for italy for men

Other general items to pack for Southern Italy

If you’re planning your trip, you should think about more than just clothing when you start packing. Here are a few items I’d recommend adding to your suitcase…

Insect repellent – There are plenty of really good insect repellents like this one . If you’re travelling with kids you might want to buy a specific children’s insect repellent too.

insect repellent

Bite relief – I usually take an after bite / anti-itch cream like this , that helps to soothe any bites. I also swear by this amazing Bite Away Pen , which sends a small electric shock to the itchy part of the bite. It takes a bit of getting used to at first (and sometimes hurts a tiny bit), but it does work. I’ve done a full review of the item (as it goes everywhere with me!!) so feel free to read more here . 

Travel towel – A fast-drying microfibre towel like this one will come in handy on your trip. These are great not only for when you fancy a swim, but also when you want to sit down on the ground or to wipe your sweaty face on a humid day!

microfibre towel

Sun cream – It’s important to apply suncream throughout the day. I’d recommend finding a brand which isn’t too heavy on chemicals, or is almost totally natural, like this one made by Sun Bum . 

sun bum sun cream

Sunglasses – It’s important to protect your eyes when you visit a holiday destination like this one. I’d recommend investing in some high-quality UV protected sunglasses. I’ve owned a pair of these Ray Bans for a few years now and love them!

Ray Ban

Sun hat – You’ll definitely want a sun hat like this to protect yourself on all of those sunny days!

sun hat

After sun or aloe vera – Don’t forget some soothing cream incase you do burn. I really like this one made by Ultrasun . It’s lightweight and feels lovely on your skin.

Ultrasun after sun

Rain jacket – Be prepared for those sporadic rain showers. As you won’t need it for warmth, I’d recommend a lightweight waterproof jacket that packs down small. Something like this would be perfect.

lightweight womens waterproof jacket

Umbrella – I’d also recommend an umbrella for rainy season. I’d been looking for a super compact option for ages, and finally found this one which fits in my small handbag and is nice and sturdy.

Daypack backpack – I used a small backpack for day-to-day adventures, which could fit a water bottle, camera, sun cream and bug spray. I also took a small shoulder bag to use for going for dinner in the evenings. If you’re looking for something nice and small, lightweight, water-resistant and that will fit all your essentials, I’d recommend this daypack . It’s got some very handy zip-up pockets too!

lightweight daypack backpack

Reusable water bottle   – I always recommend packing a reusable water bottle for travel. Even if you can’t drink the tap water, it means you can top up from giant bottles or water coolers rather than buying lots of plastic bottles. Personally I’d recommend the  Chilly’s water bottles . I’ve got a few in different sizes and they are excellent quality! I also really like these bottles with straws . They’re really easy to drink from, they have a strap, never leak and hold a good volume.

Chillys water bottles are great for travel

Power bank – It depends how much you use your phone on holiday, but I used mine a lot during my trip, snapping photos and videos along the way. A portable battery pack is a great idea so you don’t have to worry about running out of charge at an important moment.

I have a few made by Anker and they’re great quality and have lasted for a long time. This is the one I’m using at the moment , which is really small (similar size to my phone) but stores lots of charge and has a fast charging capability. 

Plug adapter – I pack this universal travel adapter for all of my travels. It charges up to 6 devices at once, using a plug or USB sockets. Plus, it can be used anywhere in the world. It’s one of my fave travel gadgets!

Epicka plug adapter

Dry bag – I’m really happy I invested in a dry bag like this . It’s made from a thick plastic and is totally waterproof. These dry bags are perfect for adventures on the water, visiting waterfalls, or if you think it’s going to rain heavily. I’d recommend a small one for your phone and camera gear, or a larger one if you want to use it as your main bag for an activity.

Dry bag

Waterproof phone case – Similarly, if you want to take your phone out and about in the water, I’d recommend getting a waterproof phone case. There are quite a few to choose from, but I’d recommend reading the reviews! You need this to protect your phone and be 100% watertight after all! I bought these Moko cases myself and my partner and they’ve been great. We’ve used them on several trips snorkelling and to waterfalls now, and no leaks!

waterproof phone case

I hope you’ve enjoyed my southern Italy road trip itinerary. Let me know where you decide to go and what your highlights are! As mentioned, this is probably best spread out and followed at a slower pace, so if you’re looking for a southern Italy itinerary for 14 days, it’s ideal!

Looking to explore more of the country? Check out my northern Italy road trip itinerary ! 

I honestly think this is the best south Italy itinerary as it’s got a bit of everything. If you want to save it to help with your trip planning, how about pinning it for later… 

The ultimate southern Italy road trip

Chloe Gunning

With a passion for food, fun and adventure, Chloe is the content creator behind one of the UK's top travel blogs Wanderlust Chloe. From volcano boarding in Nicaragua, to sailing around Sicily and eating her way around Japan, her travels have taken her to some of the coolest spots on the planet. Named Travel Influencer of the Year in 2022, Chloe regularly works with a number of tourism boards, producing inspirational travel content across multiple platforms. Find out more about Chloe here.

1 thought on “The Ultimate Southern Italy Road Trip: Routes, Sights, Guides, Maps And More”

I haven’t been to Italy since I was a teenager! Now I’m trying to figure out why it’s hasn’t been higher up my list?? Those pictures make me want to be there now! Thanks for the inspiration and the tips! ?

Leave a comment Cancel reply

  • YouTube Channel
  • Travel Resources

Drifter Planet

The Ultimate Italy Road Trip: 2 Weeks Itinerary (with Amalfi Coast)

by Drifter Planet | May 17, 2022 | Italy , Most Popular Blog Posts , Road Trips

italy road trip in january

How can anyone not fall in love with Italy? Not only it is picturesque, but there’s so much more to it that just the visual beauty. It is the feeling one gets when they visit this country which makes it special. Italy is romantic, culturally beautiful, and offers delicious food.

There is a reason why some of the most famous books and movies are set in a backdrop of famous Italian towns. Rome, Venice, Florence, Naples – some of the most famous historical cities and towns in the world are in Italy. Not just that, Italy also has the Italian Alps, the Dolomites, and a massive coastline on three sides! Yep, it has it all.

italy road trip in january

The first time I visited Italy, it was just North Italy. We landed in Venice and drove to Trentino in our rental car. The second time was in South Italy where we spent one entire month in Puglia. We actually drove from Germany to Puglia but realized it would have been easier to just fly to Bari or Brindisi and drive a rental car from there.

For the purpose of travel, it is important to understand what are the regions of Italy. You can pick and choose some of them or get a taste of them all. Here are the regions in Italy that you can visit –

  • Northeast Italy, (the Dolomites,  Trentino , Venice and Bologna)
  • Northwest Italy, (Cinque Terre, Milan and the Alps)
  • Central Italy, (Tuscany region and Rome)
  • Southern Italy, (Naples,  Puglia , Amalfi and Capri)
  • The islands – Sicily and Sardinia.

If you ever see the list of the most visited countries in the world, Italy usually is in top 5 year after year. It is because there is so much to see & experience in every single region of Italy.

Keep in mind that to properly explore each region of Italy, you would probably need at least two weeks each. However, this itinerary focuses on the entire Italy, so I will help you move from one region to another and tell you the best of each. That’s the difference between a region-specific itinerary and a country-specific itinerary.

italy road trip in january

If you think you will get to visit Italy multiple times, then by all means pick just one region or maximum two for each trip. If you’re going to visit Italy just once or twice in your life then I suggest you visit more than just 2 regions because they all have something to offer.

Don’t try to cover it all , it isn’t possible to do so. Instead, pick a few destinations and spend some quality time in each place that you visit so that you don’t feel rushed or drained out.

Starting Point for Italy Road Trip:

So where should you start your epic Italian road trip? It depends on a few things. The starting points will change based on how you enter Italy – flying or driving.

Italy road trip itinerary Map for Pinterest

Italy has many airports from the North to the South. If you want to start your trip in North Italy then I suggest you fly to Venice or Verona and  rent a car from there. You can also fly to Naples or Bari to start your trip from South Italy and make your way to the North. Or fly to the middle – Rome, Florence, or Pisa and just do the North or the South for your Italy road trip 2 weeks.

Alternatively, you can also pick a section of Italy and do a smaller road trip that focuses on just that area. For example, the North Italy road trip would include the top three points that I have mentioned below, the middle would include Tuscany and Rome and South Italy road trip would include Rome and below like Puglia and Amalfi Coast.

For ease of understanding, we have created this route that starts in Venice. It is very easy to rent a car from Venice airport and drive from there. We did that already!

Table of Contents

Circular italy or straight route for italian road trip.

If you’re driving to Italy, then it will make a lot of sense for you to follow a straight route. You can enter Italy from the North and move to the South. Or the other way around.

If you are able to rent a car from one place and return it to another, then I highly recommend you go for a straight route. It will save you a lot of time. However, this option isn’t usually available, so most of you will end up following a circular itinerary.

This is a fast-paced itinerary that includes a lot of destinations within Italy. Some of them are optional, so you can figure out which ones to leave and skip. For example, you can pick one out of the Cinque Terre or Amalfi Coast and spend a long time in other destinations.

1) Venice (and Burano) – 2 Days – the Canals of Italy

Grand Canal in Venice - Northern Italy by Train

You can’t drive inside Venice, so why is it a part of this itinerary? Because Venice is the most romantic city of Italy and it needs to be a part of this epic itinerary.

If you’re flying to Italy and renting your car, then I suggest you rent your car on the day you leave Venice to save money. You can check for prices here or book one  and pick it from Piazzale Roma. However, if you’re driving to Italy from another country then you will have to park your car in one of the below options.

In order to visit Venice, you will drive to the entrance of the city Piazzale Roma or Tronchetto , and park your car there. Don’t worry, there’s plenty of space and it is Europe’s largest car park. Yes, it is expensive to park here because it is EUR 30 per 24 hours.

[Box] Want to save some money? Park your car near Mestre Railway Station and take a 10-minute train ride to Venezia St.Lucia. This way, your parking costs, and journey will be less than 5 euros. [/Box]

There aren’t any roads beyond Piazzale Roma, so you will have to continue by walking or by getting on a boat.

A bridge over a pretty canal in Venice, Italy

I have included two days in Venice but if you want, you can take half a day to explore Burano. It is smaller, colorful, and very close to Venice. Here’s what to do in Venice:

Walking is the easiest way to explore Venice. The most popular spots in Venice are around St. Mark’s Square and Rialto Bridge. However, I suggest you get lost on purpose and explore the narrow alleys. Here you will find the best photo spots because of fewer tourists. If it gets sunny, cover your head and eat gelato to beat the heat.

Sunset Gondola Ride :

italy road trip in january

You can’t visit Venice and not do a Gondola ride. Yep, Gondola rides are super expensive so you make the most of it by doing it at the most romantic time – the sunset. The point of a gondola ride isn’t transportation but enjoyment.

You can save money by doing the Gondola ride with 1 or 2 other people and doing it before the sunset time. Here are the options I have handpicked for you:

  • Gondola Ride with Commentary : Skip the line ticket for a Gondola ride. Duration is 30-50 minutes. Price in May 2022 is EUR 33.
  • Gondola Ride with App Commentary : Skip the line ticket for a Gondola ride. Duration is 45 minutes. Price in May 2022 is EUR 28.

Find a restaurant with a view:

Most of the restaurants with nice views are going to be very expensive but I can help you find a moderately affordable one. To actually get a table with a view, you need to always book in advance. Once you’re here, try the squid ink pasta. Try one of the following:

  • Trattoria Altanella in Giudecca,
  • Gianni in Giudecca,
  • Da Fiore in Campo S. Polo,
  • Osteria Enoteca Ai Artisti in Dorsoduro.

See Scala Contarini del Bovolo

italy road trip in january

Climb the spiral stairs and click a few photos of the view from the top. It is a famous building that was once a gothic palace.

Visit Rialto Food Market

Venice is touristy but visiting a famous food market will give you somewhat a local experience. The locals come here to buy fresh fruit, veggies and fish. It is best to arrive here early because the market hours are 7:30 am to 1 pm.

Campo Santo Stefano

Find an outdoor cafe on Campo Santo Stefano and enjoy your afternoon or evening with cicchetti & Spritz. Cicchetti is a small snack plate. You don’t need to order cicchetti, but the servers will bring it for you if you order your drinks (Spritz).

See Doge’s Palace

italy road trip in january

Doge’s Palace is an important historical landmark in Venice. This was once an official residence for the Doge of Venice (the elected leader of the historical Venetian Republic). It was originally designed to be a residential palace for Nepolean.

Doge’s Palace is an interesting spot for those who like history, but it is also a photographer’s dream because of its stunning interiors, especially in the Chamber of the Great Council. Believe it or not, the world’s largest canvas painting is located in this room. But remember, you can’t use flash when you photograph this.

While inside the Doge’s Palace, you should also walk on the iconic Bridge of Sighs, which is located here. You will also see St. Mark’s Square and Correr Museum.

I have handpicked two entry ticket options for you for Doge’s Palace:

  • Doge’s Palace Entry Reservation Ticket : This is the official ticket and costs EUR 28 in May 2022. It is a “skip-the-line” ticket.
  • Doge Palace with Terrace Access : This is also a “skip-the-line” ticket but it also includes an expert guide, who will not just take you to Doge’s Palace but also St. Mark’s Basilica. Please be aware that the entry to St. Mark’s Basilica is free but this tour includes the access to the terrace of the Basilica for the views. The cost is EUR 79 in May 2022.

Scuola grande di San Rocco

See the interiors of Scuola Grande di San Rocco . Your jaw will actually drop when you see the grandeur and the arty details.

Day Trip to Burano

Burano (Italy)

Burano is a cute little canal-side town with stunning colorful houses. It has become popular over the recent years because of Instagram.

You can prebook your boat ticket for Burano for a day trip from Venice and the boat will also take you to the nearby Murano and Torcello.

  • Murano, Burano and Torcello boat trip  – 6 Hours, EUR 25
  • Murano, Burano and Torcello boat trip – 4.5-5.5 Hours, EUR 25
  • Murano, Burano and Torcello boat trip – 4.5 Hours, EUR 20

How to save money in Venice?

Eat in Pizzeria ae Oche – a chain with affordable pizzas. Don’t eat or drink in the main touristy areas, head to Dorsoduro for cheaper eateries and buy your own supplies from bakeries and supermarkets to save money. Another way to save more money is by skipping the Gondola ride.

2) Cinque Terre – 2 days – the Colorful Fishing Villages

The colorful houses of Manarola, Cinque Terre, Italy

Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza, and Monterosso are five colorful fishing villages that are collectively called the Cinque Terre. The entire Cinque Terre is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

In order to arrive at the Cinque Terra, you can drive to Riomaggiore, Manarola, or Monterosso and park your car there. If you’re nervous about driving in this hilly terrain, then park in La Spezia and take a train from there. In any case, if you want to move from one village to another, the best way to do it is by train.  It is easy and affordable.

Remember – don’t get your car inside the Cinque Terra. Leave it outside and take the train.

Five villages at on cliffs and little hills, so there’s a lot to do in the Cinque Terra. Don’t get overwhelmed by the list of things that you can do. Just pick 1-2 villages and enjoy your time there.

Here’s a bit of an introduction about the five villages, so that you can pick the one that suits you and book a room there.


Riomaggiore in Cinque Terre - Northern Italy by train

It has a fun vibe for nightlife, unlike a few others on this list. Riomaggiore is closest to La Spezia so it can sometimes feel crowded. It has budget accommodation options. It is as stunning as Manarola.

There’s a lot to do in Riomaggiore – you can do cliff jumping, enjoy the bar scene or just go for a stroll and get lost. The main street is called Via Colombo, and that’s where you will find everything. You can also check out the ancient Castello, which is one of the monuments of the Parco Nazionale delle Cinque Terre.

If you’re into hiking, then hike to Monte Nero, which is right above Riomaggiore. This hike takes around 50 – 60 minutes. Here’s some information about it.

You can also hike from Riomaggiore to Manarola – these two are actually the most famous villages of the Cinque Terre. This hike should take you normally 15 minutes but check the information because sometimes this path is closed .

italy road trip in january

Manarola is quieter and is normally visited by couples and photographers. Out of them, the one the most photographed one is Manarola because of the above-pictured sunset spot. But don’t underestimate the beauty of the other 4.

Make sure you click epic sunset photos while you’re in Manorala. No, I don’t mean photos of the sun when it is setting, but the golden hue on Manorala’s pastel houses on the cliff. You will find this spot as soon as you’re there. Photographers line up here with their fancy gear and tripods at sunrise and sunset time.

If you like swimming, then you can find some caves and swimming holes on the Blue Trail in Manarola. To access all of it, you will need a swimming pass. But there are some you can do without the pass too.

italy road trip in january

It is the highest village and is therefore famous for its views. You need to climb 365 steps in order to reach Corniglia – yes one for each day of the year. There’s a bus that’s run by the Cinque Terre National Park that takes people up to Corniglia and back. 

Corniglia is less visited as compared to the other four but is popular amongst hikers. It is possible to find budget accommodation here.

While you are in Corniglia, hike the Blue Trail, and you will find a stone beach with easy access to water. Doing the entire Blue Trail can be challenging but if you do, you will arrive in Vernazza.

italy road trip in january

Vernazza is often called the most beautiful of the five Cinque Terre villages. It is also visited by a lot of photographers and couples. If you visit Vernazza then spend some time enjoying the stunning views that this village is famous for.

If you arrive in Vernazza from Corniglia by hiking, then you will cross Prevo – it has a stunning viewpoint that overlooks Guvano Beach. At 208 meters above sea level, it is the highest spot of Sentiero Azzurro.

You will be surprised to know that Vernazza has a great bar scene. It also has a small sandy beach, which makes sense for family travelers to visit since it is comfortable for children. There are two clock towers in the town and the maze of small streets will be a delight to anyone who loves getting lost in small places.

While you’re in Vernazza, visit Franco’s Ristorante “La Torre”. It is in a castle on the trail to Corniglia.

Monterosso al Mare

italy road trip in january

Monterosso has a proper big sandy beach and fancy hotels. It is a bit flatter compared to the others so is a good option for those who have mobility issues and families with small children.

Monterosso is actually two towns – Old Monterosso and New Monterosso (Fegila). The big sandy beach is in New Monterosso. The new town is flatter but the old town has that typical Cinque Terre looks and vibes.

You can walk from one village to another – check the list of walking trails here + useful information .

Where to stay in Cinque Terra:

3) Tuscany – 2 days – Art, Culture, and the rolling hills

Sunset in Florence, Tuscany, Italy

Tuscany is romantic, arty, historical, and naturally beautiful. But wait, isn’t most of Italy? True but Tuscany is special because the Renaissance art movement began and flourished before it moved on to most of Europe.

Being a nature lover, I’m also interested in the other side of Tuscany – the rolling hills. So, when you visit Tuscany, drive around here and see the small villages because here you can truly admire the natural beauty of Tuscany. Get yourself a nice villa, see the vineyards and castles.

Tuscany's famous rolling hills - Italy by train

Honestly, if I were visiting Italy for the first time and I wanted to just focus on one area, I’d do a Tuscany road trip. There’s everything in Tuscany that Italy is famous for – historical buildings, art, nature, castles, and vineyards. On top of that, Tuscany is a little laid back.

Here’s what you can do while you’re in Tuscany. You can pick and choose some of the activities that I have mentioned below.

Visit one of the Old Cities – Florence / Lucca / Siena

italy road trip in january

Tuscany’s old cities are stunning for art lovers because of the Renaissance art and sculptures. Out of all of them, I suggest you pick just one to keep your itinerary easy. For that purpose, I suggest Florence.

See the Statue of David by Michelangelo in Florence

Michelangelo’s Statue of David is a Renaissance masterpiece and shouldn’t be missed while you’re in Tuscany. This 17 feet marble statue is the star of Florence, the way Mona Lisa is to Paris.

Michelangelo’s Statue of Liberty is located in Galleria dell’Accademia in Florence. This museum also has some other pieces by Michelangelo and many other Florentine artists.

Art lovers would enjoy Leonardo Da Vinci Museum, Uffizi Gallery, and Museo Galileo

Val d’ Orcia – the Rolling Hills

italy road trip in january

Tuscany’s most famous landscape are the rolling hills and one of the best way to see them is by driving to Val d’ Orcia. The rolling hills landscape is not just Instagram famous but also depicted in many Renaissance paintings.

Val d’ Orcia is a UNESCO World Heritage site and is a 2 – 2.5 hours drive from Florence. You can stay in Florence during the entire time of your time in Tuscany, or split your time between Val d’ Orcia and Florence.

Pienza is the place that you would want to check out in Val d’ Orcia. This village is situated very high so you can get a good view of the rolling hills from here.

Saturnia Hot Springs or Terme di Saturnia

italy road trip in january

While in Tuscany, visit the stunning thermal springs of Saturnia. They are actually 3 hours away from Florence city, so it makes sense to visit this place on your way out of Tuscany but before you arrive in Rome. Alternatively, if you decided to stay in Val d’ Orcia, then Terme di Saturnia is just 30 minutes drive.

Believe it or not, there is no entry fee and these thermal springs are open 24 hours a day every day. It can’t get better than this. Just find the parking spot and put it on your navigation system to arrive here. Spend half a day here or more, depending on how much you love being in the water.

The best time to reach Saturnia hot springs is before 9 am so that you can miss the majority of crowds.

Leaning Tower of Pisa

italy road trip in january

Visiting the leaning tower of Pisa is on many people’s bucket lists because of the Leaning Tower. Yes, it is a very touristy thing to do and there’s nothing else to do in Pisa BUT that shouldn’t stop you from visiting it if you really want to. After all, it is just 45 minutes from Florence by car or train!

Pisa is a small city, and you can cover most of it by walking. Most of what you would want to see is situated in Campo dei Miracoli . It is a student town and as a result, the nightlife is fun.

The Leaning Tower of Pisa is called Torre Pendente in Italian. Go ahead and click a super silly touristy picture here. Believe it or not, you can actually climb the tower but you need to reserve your tickets in advance.

If you’re in Pisa in the middle of June, you can actually stay to watch the stunning Luminara festival . Thousands of candles are lit at sunset time along the Arno River. Watch this spectacle if you can.

Hike to Lake Calamone

If you’re not visiting Terme di Saturnia, then you can consider visiting Lake Calamone. It is located in the TEA National Park, at the base of Mt. Ventasso.

To start your hike to Lago Calamone, park your car at Bar il Faggio. The walk from there to the lake is just one hour. For more information, check this page .

4) Rome – 1 day

The bejeweled Rome in Italy

Rome can’t be fully explored in a day, but also Italy can’t be explored in 2 weeks!

Honestly, it makes more sense to do Rome properly on an entirely separate trip. It isn’t the best Road trip stop because of the parking, so if you want to skip Rome, then you should. I just wanted to include Rome for those who would want to do it anyway, considering it is on the way when you move from Tuscany to Amalfi.

Rome is high-priced in terms of stay and food, therefore it gets expensive to stay here longer. But if you can afford it, extend your trip by all means. Did you know there are more than 900 churches in Rome?

italy road trip in january

Honestly, I wouldn’t even include the Vatican City and the churches in this itinerary because of time constraints. But just so you know, the most famous one is St. Peter Basilica. To enter this, one has to walk up to the Vatican and stay in a long security line.

Like many other famous cities ( Lisbon , Moscow, Porto , Pula , Istanbul , San Fransisco, Edinburgh, etc.), Rome is built on seven hills. It means, there are plenty of viewpoints that can be found. Also, unlike most touristy European cities, Rome is massive. The entire historic center of Rome is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is also one of the fashion capitals of the world with an amazing shopping scene and buzzing nightlife.

If I were to spend just one day in Rome, I’d forget about the top things to do, and just walk around because there are interesting sights everywhere.

Trevi Fountain 

italy road trip in january

This is probably the busiest part of Rome and yet it is a legendary landmark. This fountain is in modern Rome, right next to the main train station. Walk around here but keep your belongings close to yourself because Rome has many pickpockets.

Explore the ruins of ancient Rome – Colosseo

The most obvious thing to do in Rome is to explore ancient Rome, it is the area around Colosseo. For this, get via dei Fori Imperiali Street and everything you would want to see is on both sides of this street.

Start with the Colosseum, then move on to Piazza Venezia. Next, you can check the Roman Forum, Trajan’s Forum, Arch of Constantin, and Flavian Palace.

Old Rome – Pantheon

Pantheon dates back to 125 AD. Of course, if you’re a Dan Brown fan then you would have probably read about all these places in the book called Angels and Demons. Yes, the book does make sightseeing more interesting but remember, it is just fiction.

There are other attractions that are nearby, like Castel Sant’Angelo – but I don’t want to include too much in the list because it will just overwhelm you.

You can skip South Rome but if you have time, then you can check out the Baths of Caracalla, Rome City Walls, and the Circus of Maxentius.

Viewpoints in Rome

Since Rome is built on seven hills, there isn’t a shortage of viewpoints. You can look for Janiculum hill in Western Rome, the Pincio at the end of the Borghese Gardens, Vittoriano in Piazza Venezia, and Zodiaco in Monte Mario.

Campsites Near Rome

Let’s face it, you shouldn’t enter Rome in your car because of parking problems. Instead, find a camping spot that’s just outside Rome and then explore the city by public transport. Here are two camping spots that I recommend:

  • Happy Valley
  • Camping Tiber

Check this post for a list of places to stay in Rome .

Optional: Stop in Naples for a pizza on your way

italy road trip in january

The Pizzas of Naples are world-famous. If possible, try to stop here for a meal or a snack on your way to the next spot to experience a legendary Neapolitan pizza. It is essentially Margarita Pizza that’s made with a particular kind of tomatoes and mozzarella.

The Napoli Pizza follows the guidelines of the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana. It has the protected status granted by the Italian Standardization Body.

I won’t go into the technicalities but keep your mind open and embrace the simplicity of this pizza. The beauty of the taste of this pizza lies in the best quality ingredients and an amazing base.

5) Amalfi Coast – 3 days – Positano

italy road trip in january

How can you visit Italy and not see the most praised coastal area – the Amalfi Coast? Keep in mind that it tends to get very busy even during the shoulder months because of its popularity. Amalfi Coast is an expensive destination because it attracts mostly high-income travelers.

The Italian road trip itinerary is designed in such a way that you can skip a part of it. If you think Amalfi Coast is blowing up your budget, then feel free to skip it because the other destinations are equally stunning too! Honestly, if you are visiting the Cinque Terre or Puglia, then you can safely skip the Amalfi Coast.

Ever seen pictures stunning coast with colorful houses, bougainvillea flowers, and low-hanging lemon trees all around? That’s Amalfi Coast. It actually is a group of 13 fishing villages, all of which are collectively UNESCO World Heritage sites.

Whether you decide to stay here or not, make sure you experience driving on the “Amalfi Drive”, which goes along the coast from Vietri sul Mare to Positano .

In order to explore the Amalfi Coast, we suggest you make your base in Positano. Don’t overwhelm yourself by trying to see even half the villages, just focus on one or two and enjoy your time there.

See my post about exploring Sorrento and Pompeii on a day trip from Amalfi .

italy road trip in january

Positano is situated horizontally on the face of cliffs that face the sea. It is a better idea to find a place to stay here instead of in Amalfi Town. From here, you can visit Amalfi Town by ferry.

The two beaches of Positano are Spiaggia Grande and Fornillo. Spend some lazy hours here to enjoy the landscape.

Do the Path of the Gods hike that is from Bomerano to Positano with stunning views. You can reach Bomerano on a bus from Positano to start the hike.

While in Positano, try the Limoncello. It is a locally-produced lemon liqueur.

Where to Stay in Positano?

Consider booking the picturesque Villa Rosa in Positano , which is 150 years old. This luxurious villa has epic views of the sea and lovely terraces.

Amalfi Town

italy road trip in january

Amalfi Town is the heart of Amalfi Coast. Take a ferry from Positano and spend a few hours here to see what the buzz is all about. The main Amalfi town beach gets crowded but you can spend some time here to enjoy the vibe.

Where to Stay in Amalfi Town

Amalfi is expensive but if you can afford it, then you should consider  Locanda Costa D’Amalfi , which is a seriously stunning hotel with a private beach.

This property faces the sea and some rooms also have a view of the water. The rooms feature terraces with panoramic views.

6) Puglia – 3 days – Bari, Matera, and Polignano a Maren

italy road trip in january

Having spent a month in Puglia last summer, I can claim that this is a place that you wouldn’t want to leave. There are stunning beaches, old cities, the Instagram-famous Alberobello village, and Florence of South – Lecce city . The seafood in Puglia is mind-blowing!

Puglia was once Italy’s secret but has come up with a bang in recent years. It has risen to prominence in popular culture.

The 2021 James Bond movie (No Time to Die) was shot in Puglia’s stunning Matera. Moreover, the Red Bull cliff diving championship took place in Polignano a Maren. Of course, people googled the location for the next days and Puglia went high in Google searches!

Honestly, 3 days are not enough for Puglia, but if you want to include it in your Italian road trip itinerary, then I will tell you exactly where to go.

You can’t do them all, but pick just 2-3 places and enjoy your time well.

italy road trip in january

Bari is Puglia’s largest city and it has a stunning old town. Sure, this itinerary already has many old towns but this one is very different because it is in South Italy.

Bari’s old town is called Bari Vecchia. It was the heart of the city even in pre-Roman times. Explore the maze of narrow streets here and enjoy the sights.

Many people make Bari their base as they explore the nearby destinations of Puglia. But I don’t suggest Bari as your base, check the next point.

Polignano a Maren

italy road trip in january

Instead of Bari, I suggest you make Polignano a Maren your base. It is a stunning beach town with historical buildings that are situated on the cliffs. You can just cover almost the entire city on foot because it is small.

italy road trip in january

Almost every restaurant or bar in Polignano a Maren faces the sea.


italy road trip in january

Alberobello is just 30 minutes from Polignano a Maren. It is a Trulli village and is a UNESCO world heritage site. So what’s a Trulli? It is an architectural feature of Puglia, a unique way of building temporary or sometimes full-time houses.

You won’t need a lot of time for Alberobello. Just arrive here and spend 1 hour walking around to see the Trullo. You can combine Alberobello with 1-2 other places that are in your South Italy road trip itinerary, like Matera or Lecce.

Alberobello is unique! You won’t see a place like this in all of Italy, so try to include this in your Italy road trip itinerary if you can.

italy road trip in january

If you thought Alberobello was unique, wait till you see Matera. It has rock-cut settlements and they are well-preserved. These settlements are a UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Matera’s cave houses are called Sassi, and they are dug into limestone rocks. Yes, a little like Turkey’s Cappadocia . They are believed to be some of the first settlements in the Italian peninsula because some of them date back to 7000 BC.

While in Matera, see Sasso Caveoso and Sasso Barisano. This is where you will see the loveliest landscape. Matera was the main shooting location for the James Bond movie – No Time to Die.


italy road trip in january

Drive to Sant’Andrea from Bari or Polignano a Mare to visit my favorite beach in Italy. The drive will take you around 1 hour 45 minutes so leave early.

Torre Sant’Andrea beach is stunning and it has many sections. There is a nice sandy part that’s perfect for families and several rocky parts that are super stunning.

Make a day trip here and spend a few hours here exploring this area. You can also cliff jump here.

italy road trip in january

Lecce is called the Florence of the South. It is an ancient city that I absolutely fell in love with! All the buildings here are beige and it is amazing to walk in Lecce’s old town. It definitely isn’t as busy as Florance.

Lecce has its own style of Baroque architecture, it is called Barocco leccese (Lecce baroque). Be sure to see Basilica di Santa Croce. It looks like it is right out of a Dan Brown book, and as per Marchese Grimaldi it looked like a lunatic was having a nightmare. Makes you curious to see it?

I have an entire post about visiting Lecce , be sure to check it out.

If you do end up visiting Lecce, walk around here and enjoy the stunning old town. Get a table outside in one of the restaurants and enjoy Lecce’s famous foods – Cozze Gratin, Frutti de Mare Pasta/risotto, or Pizza and Pasticciotto.

Tips for Italy Road Trip:

  • Keep a small overnight bag ready in your car for places where you need to park your car and move further by train, like the Cinque Terre or Venice.
  • You will find free water in designated water fountains in every single town or village in Italy. Make the most of it and drink this water.
  • Parking can get very expensive in famous cities like Rome, Venice, etc – so feel free to skip them. More than just difficult, sometimes it isn’t possible to find a parking spot at all.
  • Observe the traffic rules, even if the locals around you aren’t doing so. The fines are heavy and sometimes people also receive a 1-3 day driving ban.
  • The alcohol limit is 0.50g/L and is zero for those who are under 21 or have a driving license that’s not older than 3 years.

PS: Drifter Planet  contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through these links, we will earn a little commission at no extra cost to you.   We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites.

Related Posts:

Amsterdam travel tips - things you need to know before traveling to Amsterdam

Thank you for your in depth work and sharing your personal experience! This is our first visit to Italy and always like to drive where possible to give me the flexibility to change my itinerary where needed!

Thank you! I’m glad you enjoyed our Italy itinerary and I hope you include our suggested places in our road trip route.

Heyy, very excited to have come across your blog. My partner and I are planning on following your route this April/May.

I just wanted to ask as we are planning/booking things, with the car rental you linked. It’s the site, did you find this site to be reliable easy experience? We have read mixed reviews, so wanted to double check.

Thank you, Carrie x

Submit a Comment Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Hello Travelers!

Sonal of Drifter Planet

Namaste, Guten Tag! I'm Sonal from India, living in Germany and exploring Europe. I've been writing about my travels since 2015. I often travel alone (and sometimes with family of 3).

I love European city breaks, nature, adventure, hiking to viewpoints, Yoga, and road trips. I have a knack for creating the most amazing travel itineraries and in-depth destination guides which will help you make the most of your trip.

Not sure where to start? Start with some of my most popular posts .

Pin It on Pinterest

Last Updated on April 18, 2024 by Drifter Planet



  • Work With Me


ITALY ROAD TRIP: Two Weeks Itinerary By a Local!


Contents - Open To Read

Are you planning on visiting Italy? Then you can’t miss this excellent two-week itinerary for your Italy Road trip, created by a local Italian! You’ll love it, I promise!

Ah, Italy… my country, my pride, my love! Being Italian is truly a privilege, so let me transfer some of my knowledge to you with some fantastic tips to have the best Italian road trip experience of your life!

Starting from  Rome , my favorite city in the world, through the famous green hills surrounding all the Tuscany and Umbria regions, not to mention the jaw-dropping view provided by the  Cinque Terre  – What more can you ask from a country? Italy is simply magnificent!

If you want a truly unique Italian experience:  Road trip is the main word! Nothing beats a road trip in Italy, trust me . I took my driving license in Rome (crazy, I know!), and from there, I discovered every region by car. Slowly, savoring the panoramic scenery that only my beautiful country can offer. Using the train is also a great option, but nothing beats driving around Italy! 

Video of this two weeks Italian Road trip itinerary!

The main cities are well connected, but I suggest you take as many detours from the highway as possible because it’s driving across the countryside that you will find the real hidden gems of Italy!

Pro Tip:  You might want to see as much as possible of Italy during your epic road trip, but in my opinion is better to pick 3-max 4 cities or villages. You don’t want to miss any reason and leave the rest as a last-minute choice. 


Click to check the relevant chapter

  • Day 1 – 2 |Rome Itinerary and Vatican City
  • Day 3 | Lazio  -Roman Castles
  • Day 4 | Tuscany – Montepulciano
  • Day 5 | Tuscany – San Gimignano
  • Day 6 |Tuscany – Pisa
  • Day 7 |Tuscany – San Miniato


  • Day 8 – 9 | Tuscany trip – Florence
  • Day 10 | Emilia Romagna – Bologna
  • Day 11 – 12| Liguria-Tour Cinque Terre
  • Day 13 | Piemonte – Turin
  • Day 14 – 15 |  Milan and Lake Como
  • How to save money when booking your hotels!

What is The best Italian road trip itinerary for 2 weeks?

-I will give you some great recommendations on where to stay and how to save A LOT on accommodation fees later-

I’m Italian, and before leaving my beautiful country to travel indefinitely, I explored it by car, discovering every Italian region, so we can safely say that you are in good hands here!  From Rome to Milan, ending in the enchanting setting of Lake Como for a 15-day epic journey that you’ll never forget. I promise!  

In This 2 weeks Italy Road Trip Article You Will Discover:

—  the best places you should include in your trip to italy  —, —  the most interesting things to do and see in italy —, — cool tours or experiences you can book directly online —, — my recommended hotels/b&b that are perfect for your tour of italy  —, — how to use a genius (free) tool to save money on your hotel bookings — .

Without further ado, here are the breathless places you must include on your Italian road trip.

italy road trip in january

The Italian Road Trip Itinerary Map

Click to enlarge the image


An article about a road trip in Italy wouldn’t be complete without showing you the map of the itinerary with the starting point, stops on the way, and ending point of this incredible trip around Italy.

Depending on what kind of flights you find, you can obviously do it in reverse, starting from Milan, with a little detour up north to Lake Como and back.

It’s just 1 hour and 30 minutes to get to Varenna, on a lovely route as well) and then go back to Milan and start your Italian Tour heading south and departing from Rome Fiumicino airport.

Either way, you’ll see spectacular landscapes along the road, don’t forget that on a trip like this, moving from one place to another is a massive part of it, so enjoy it , drive safely and slowly and let the beauty of Italy sink in! -Map data ©2022 Google-

italy road trip in january



Ah, Rome – It always makes me wonder: Is there a way to describe this city without using clichè words? I lived in the eternal city for more than 3 years, and I love it (and hate it) to pieces 🙂 Even if Rome is the most predictable stop on this itinerary, a trip to Italy wouldn’t be complete without a stop in its Capital, right? It would be like spending 15 days in the UK and not visiting London. Well, for as much as I love London too,  Rome is … Rome! Yes, being Italian, I’m biased, but not without reason.

Is it possible to have a glimpse of the beauty of  Rome in one day ? Definitely yes! I could even see the main attractions in the center, rushing a bit of course, in just 5 hours one time! I always find the time for a quick pit stop to Rome, and every time I discover something new!


Stroll around the historic center of Rome : It is a must! Driving can be challenging or better put: you must be fearless to drive in Rome, so park up and walk or take the buses or metro. Use public transport while you’re there. Remember to stamp your bus tickets once you get on the bus or subway, especially if you take the train! (more valuable tips for your first time in Italy in a post coming soon!) 😉

Most Famous Things To Do In Rome:

  • Saint Peter’s Church and Dome
  • Piazza Di Spagna /Pincio Terrace
  • Piazza Navona
  • Fontana di Trevi
  • Colosseum and Via Dei Fori Imperiali (at night is a must!)
  • Lungotevere Castel Sant’Angelo (At sunrise, I did it: Best experience in Rome ever)
  • Pincio Terrace (At sunset, for the best view of Rome)
  • Trastevere (For dinner, obviously!)


I took two days to explore the inner part of the city – which gave me ample time to include a day in the Vatican City. Enclaved in the town of Rome, Vatican City is officially the smallest recognized state in the whole world . Home to the Pope, the Vatican is the beautifully preserved state of the Catholic Church. It is definitely worth a visit!

Most Famous Things to do and see in Vatican City:

  • Visit the Musei Vaticani.
  • Take a tour of The Sistine Chapel.
  • Visit the Vatican’s beautiful gardens.
  • Admire the view from the top of St Peter’s Dome!

Helpful Info : As with most famous sights, just remember to buy your tickets early or online. Otherwise, be prepared for a few hours waiting around peak times (still worth it if you ask me!)



I could say it’s one of the best places to stay on a road trip to Rome. Gianluca, the owner, is helpful and will give you all the info you’ll need to have the best time in Rome.

Everything is clean and well arranged, and the location (Via Veneto, in the center) is  perfect for public transport or walking around the main attractions. Most importantly, it has a parking option.  Trust me: in Rome, you WANT to have that option. Finding a parking spot is a nightmare for everyone living or visiting Rome. Click to  Check the Hotel out!



Beautiful Castel Sant’Angelo, another spot (among the endless landmarks in the eternal city) you can’t miss! Tips: Go there at sunrise… trust me, I did it, and it was SURREAL, to say the least!

Do you think you don’t have enough time to see it all and/or are not keen on walking all day with the risk of missing something important?  Then an organized tour is what you need to set your mind at peace . Below are the ones I recommend the most:

Hop On-Hop Off Ticket:  

Super Touristy, I know, but when you don’t have much time is so worth it! I remember hating that red bus, and I ended up loving it when I had only one day in Warsaw, and I managed to see it all (at my own pace, but they don’t miss the important spots).  Check it out!

Three Hours evening Walking tour:  

As Suggested, Rome is even more magical at sunset, so this Tour will take you to the main attractions and to the Pincio Terrace right at sunset (I love that spot, you’ll see!). Highly recommended as the guides are usually locals.  Check it out!

Other Tours in Rome:

There are a million tours I could recommend, but you can  check them out   here   or below (click for more tours on the list) and see if something strikes your attention. I  love this website, and it’s the one I use the most when I have to book my tours online . Super convenient and hassle-free. I don’t like to spend my precious time waiting to buy my tickets, especially in touristy cities like Rome!

The “Skip the lines” tickets are exceptional, and you won’t regret buying them as they will save you SO MUCH TIME!



Rome itself has many sites to see even just outside the city itself! Roman Castles (or as we call it “Castelli Romani”) are an opportunity to leave the metropolis and  immerse yourself in the natural and artistic beauty of the small medieval villages outside Rome.


Leaving Rome, you can drive by the  ruins of the Baths of Caracalla  and onto the  Ancient Via Appia by the Church of Domine Quo Vadis . This Tour of the Roman Castles will take you along the  ‘Road of the Lakes’  through one of the hilly areas of volcanic origin that characterize the outskirts of Rome, the Colli Albani, with its many growing villages.  

Most Famous Things to do and see in The Roman Castles:

Castel Gandolfo:   On the shores of a volcanic lake, this is the village where the Pope has his summer residence. You’ll enjoy a stunning view over the Lake and a great but tranquil atmosphere.

Rocca di Papa and Grottaferrata:   They are fascinating villages to visit in the Roman Castles area. Both are known for their culture, sights, and gastronomic delicacies, including the traditional “porchetta.”

Frascati :   Towards the northern part of the  Colli Albani , you can reach Frascati, popular with visitors for its beauty and wine production. Here you can stop for a taste of local wine and products in a local tavern and absorb the flavor of the authentic village life in the Lazio region.



A lovely central hotel with fantastic views over the Lake, the owner Francesco is friendly, like most people from Rome and surroundings!  Breakfast is included, and a parking space is available too , mandatory for a stress-free Italy road trip, right? 🙂 Click to  Check the Hotel out!



I’d like to take credit for “finding’” this town, but I accidentally stumbled across  Montepulciano, the medieval town in lovely Tuscany hills  by complete accident. It was a ridiculously beautiful town to stumble upon, providing a welcome opportunity to fill up on some fresh Bresaola and a little wine (for the non-drivers of course).   


This lovely town is all about strolling around slowly admiring its beautiful historical buildings and the old medieval atmosphere, so take your time to enjoy it, find an excellent trattoria to eat, drink espresso and  take it “the Italian way” = EASY & SLOW 🙂  

Things To Do in Montepulciano:

The Main Square:   The lovely fountain on the side, the Duomo and Palazzo Tarugi, and Palazzo Contucci.

Palazzo del Comune Tower:  Do you want to admire the incredible views of the Tuscany Hills surrounding this lovely village? Climb the Tower, and you won’t be disappointed!

Gate Porta del Prato and Corso street:   Almost every medieval village in Italy has a main gate to the town. Cross “La Porta del Prato” and stroll around the “Corso street,” with its lovely shops, elegant palaces and renaissance buildings, the church of Sant’Agostino, and the Palazzo Cervini.



Located within the medieval walls of Montepulciano, this hotel is quite remarkable! Built in the 16th century, it is the oldest hotel in town. It has a bar, free Wi-Fi, rooms with views of Lake Trasimeno or the town, and free parking 🙂 Click to  Check the Hotel out!


Being a tiny town, after you have admired its historical center, there are many activities you can book for an even more memorable experience!

Montepulciano Terme: Wellness & Wine Experience:   Honestly? In my view, this is an absolute must (I’m a SPA and wine lover). After driving and walking for hours, you deserve a bit of relaxation! Check out this fantastic experience  here .

Montalcino/Pienza/Montepulciano Full day wine tour: This is one of the best-selling tours in the area and within reason! If you want to relax 100% and see 3 lovely villages instead of one (while tasting the best wines in the region), this is it! Check out all the details here .



While many visit San Gimignano, the  town declared by UNESCO to be part of the World’s Architectural Heritage , for a very short time, there is plenty to do to keep you busy an entire day if not more!

How do you pronounce/spell “San Gimignano”?! Maybe the most challenging part is genuinely pronouncing its name correctly. Well then, I’m Italian, and I will help you out once and for all: San Gimignano pronunciation sounds like:  San jee mee NYAH noh . Try to repeat it a few times faster, and that’s it! 😉


I had the luck to discover the town I have declared the loveliest of the entire Tuscany Region during a Road trip from Rome to Florence. It was a super dark and rainy day, but my first reaction when I left the car in the spacious parking lot just before the town walls was:  WOW, WHAT IS THIS PLACE? 

As soon as you enter San Gimignano, you will feel like time has stopped, and you are either back to the medieval era or in a lovely fairy tale!


Things to do in San Gimignano:

A stroll down the entire town is required, as well as a visit to the Duomo di San Gimignano and the Palazzo Comunale to view the Pinacoteca of Medieval art.

Torre Grossa views:  C limb to the very top of the Torre Grossa, the tallest tower in town to enjoy the best view of San Gimignano ever. The green hills and spectacular Tuscany landscape will make it worth the effort!

Enjoy the food in Piazza della Cisterna:   From gelato to die for to a delicious lunch or dinner at the many restaurants specializing in Tuscan cuisine. I still remember the cute little restaurant in one of the small alleys, where I tasted the best spaghetti with clams (10 years ago!)

Montestaffoli Fortress:  Climbing up to the remains of the Montestaffoli fortress and lots of tastings of the local white wine, Vernaccia di San Gimignano, will round up your unforgettable visit to San Gimignano. You will fall in love with the town, I promise!



One of the best hotels in San Gimignano! You’ll have everything at your doorstep: public parking just 50mt away, breathtaking views from the windows, and a superb location, right in the city center. This hotel will be the cherry on top of your fantastic experience in San Gimignano! Click to  Check the Hotel out!


There are many tours, but they depart from other cities like Siena to visit San Gimignano, but since you are on your epic road trip, you don’t need those! The only one I feel I can recommend is actually a “detour” or a secondary option to your itinerary.

Visit Pisa and Lucca (and climb the lining Tower):   Your next stop on the map should be Pisa, but what if you want to slow down and stay a day more in San Giminiano? after all the beauty of these road trips is that you can change your itinerary on a whim. 

With this Tour, you’ll see both Pisa and Lucca; climb the famous leaning tower, and return to San Giminiano for another fabulous night before resuming driving the next day, heading to Florence via San Miniato.  If you like this alternative itinerary, check out the detail of the Tour  here .



An obvious choice for any visitor to Italy! Pisa and its famous leaning tower has become a symbolic representation of Italy across the globe.


Pisa’s historic town is relatively small and can be explored in as little as one day.  It’s the perfect place to stop en route between Cinque Terre and Florence. You can stop here for food and explore the Pisa Baptistry, The Leaning Tower in Piazza Dei Miracoli, and San Sisto. Don’t forget to strike “that cheesy pose” when you’re there! 🙂

Yes, I did it too… so why I didn’t put it in here? Because when I went there, digital cameras didn’t exist yet, so  we used the whole film to try and be in the right position for the photo. Only one had the right angle, but it was super blurry!  



If you want to rest up and spend the night in Pisa, this is the perfect hotel for you; right in the city center, a mere 5-minute walk from the leaning Tower, it provides a parking space on-site, buffet breakfast, and has excellent reviews 🙂 Click to  Check the Hotel out!



San Miniato is a gracious small town which is perfect as a quick (or long, it’s up to you!) pit stop on your way to Florence.


San Miniato has always given a warm welcome to (friendly) travelers! Hence why you should go! 🙂 As the main town was a major thoroughfare for medieval traders between Rome and the rest of Europe, San Miniato became shaped by its constantly changing population and exchange of exotic and sought-after goods.

Nowadays, the town still welcomes travelers from all over the world with  stunning sites like The Duomo, The Tower of Frederick, and the medieval precinct of the town . You can spend the whole afternoon here filling up on local olives! Isn’t that a good enough reason for you to stop in there? I know it would be for me 🙂



Since this is YOUR road trip, you might decide to spend the night in San Miniato. In this case, I highly recommend this hotel, located in a former convent; it offers  free parking space and even a SPA and wellness center  to recharge your batteries 🙂 Pisa and Florence are only 45 min away by car! Click to  Check the Hotel out!



I love visiting certain cities more than once, and Florence is one of my favorites for this purpose. I was 20 when one lazy afternoon my friends and I decided to hop on the first train available from Turin (I was studying at University then) to visit this glorious city!

It was a rather cold October weekend, and we slept without a tent at Piazzale Michelangelo, an amazing spot with amazing city views from the hill.  Florence may be an obvious choice to include on a road trip to Italy, but don’t let its popularity stop you from visiting . In fact, it’s never stopped me. Each time is completely different and unique.


This beautiful Tuscan city with its super friendly people has SO MUCH to offer that two days should be the minimum to fully enjoy it.


Best Things to do and see in Florence:

Oh my…where do I even start? Just like Rome, Florence is packed with unforgettable experiences and sights. I will try to give you a glimpse of what it can offer.

The Uffizi:   If you love Renaissance art, a stop at the Uffizi is mandatory. Obviously, the lines to get in are insane, but once inside, your jaw will drop from all the beautiful paintings by Botticelli, the statues, and the whole atmosphere.

Piazzale Michelangelo:   It will give you the most incredible view of Florence from above, especially at sunset. Perfect for photography lovers. If you go there, think about me sleeping with only a blanket on the ground. What an epic trip!

Giardini di Boboli:  We spent a whole afternoon there, and you can’t miss these gardens for anything in the world; the main word here is GREEN. So many green fountains, groomed trees, statues, and hidden caves. Go there and … RELAX!


Visit the “Duomo:   Famous for its red-tiled dome, colored marble facade & the Giotto tower. A beauty for the eye and impossible to miss when strolling around the beautiful historic center.

Santa Croce Church: Its gothic facade and the vast plaza are well-known landmarks in Florence, famous for being the final resting place of Galileo and Michelangelo. You can visit their tombs in Santa Croce.

Ponte Vecchio:   The oldest and more peculiar bridge in Florence, it still houses many jewelry shops and buildings, a typical practice back in the day. It is very suggestive to walk by the bridge or over the Arno river banks, especially at sunset, to admire it from the “outside.”


Ponte Vecchio at sunset. Such a peculiar and beautiful bridge. You won’t see anything like this anymore in Italy.



This hotel has the most perfect location. It is easy to find at the very end of the famous Ponte Vecchio bridge. The hotel is spotless; it has a parking space available, and rooms have a super  view of the entrance to the bridge . Breakfast is served on the terrace on the 6th floor offers a lovely view of the Duomo and Florence skyline. What more can you ask for? Click to  Check the Hotel!


If you stay for two days in this magnificent city, you will have some spare time to choose from some of the most incredible tours. Since there are so many to choose from, I put some of my favorites below, and  you can check out more tours by clicking on the whole list .

One I strongly recommend? The  “Fast line” ticket to enter the Uffizi Gallery ! You don’t want to waste your precious time waiting in an endless line, which will make you skip it, allowing you to discover much more of Florence.



Often neglected on travel itineraries in favor of Italy’s more famous hotspots,  Bologna has plenty to offer tourists , from food (ah, the food guys!!) to art and hidden secrets.

Bologna is known in the Italian language as “la Dotta, la Rossa e la Grassa”: “ the educated one” in a nod to its University, Europe’s oldest; “the red one,” about the terracotta hues of its buildings and the city’s historic communist leanings; and most importantly, “the fat one,” about the delicious food.


I will give you one day in Bologna /Emilia Romagna only because I have to stay within the 2 weeks Italy Road trip Itinerary.  If you are free to change your plans a little (or are lucky to have more time), I would strongly recommend discovering Bologna and Emilia Romagna for at least 3-4 days .

Check out my article “What to do in Bologna and Emilia Romagna.”  I’m sure you’ll love it, I tried so many things, and the pictures speak for themselves!


Best Things to do in Bologna:

The Markets:   The markets in the center are great for fresh fruit and pastries. Via del Pratello is an excellent spot for lunch, and the student area near Via Zamboni has plenty of options for a filling “aperitivo” – but you can’t go far wrong wherever you choose to eat.

The Two Towers:   Believe it or not, Bologna’s leaning tower would put Pisa’s one to shame! The Two Towers are an iconic symbol of the city, and the shorter one, the Garisenda Tower, leans much more dramatically than Pisa’s leaning tower. It is well known (in Italy) that Dante Alighieri invoked this tower in his “Divina Commedia”, so look out for the plaque with the quote.

Giardini Margherita:   One of my favorites spot in Bologna to chill and relax to end the day after walking its gorgeous streets! You will find mostly local people, and there are so many hidden spots for a nice picnic while seeing the turtles in one of the ponds inside. Highly recommended (and easy to get there by bus too.


Visit Ravenna: Lovely city easily reachable by train for a one-day trip and famous for Dante’s remainings and the many stunning churches.

Explore the Apennines:   Definitely, a must if you have some more time; it was the highlight of my trip to Emilia Romagna. Lake Baccio and Lake Santo are amongst the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen in Italy (and not a tourist in sight either!)


The beauty of the Apennines in Emilia Romagna. The tranquil landscape you can admire at Lake Baccio!



An excellent centrally located hotel with a private garage in a restricted traffic area, a great feature to have (since you’re in the middle of your Italian Road trip!). Friendly staff and great reviews. Abundant breakfast with lots of choices. The rooms are nice and clean, with comfortable beds, crisp linens, and many amenities.  Check this Hotel!


As usual, in the most beautiful Italian cities (and Bologna is definitely one of them!), you will have plenty of choices if you want to book a tour online. What I recommend is going for the food tours . Bologna and Emilia Romagna are the top in terms of delicious dishes, so you can’t go wrong! Below are a few tour options, but click the button to see more and enjoy the experience 🙂



One of my favorite coastlines in Italy and a must-see on any road trip around Italy,  Cinque Terre national park  is an area around 1.5 – 2 hours’ drive north of Pisa. The region is characterized by its dramatic, rugged landscape and of course, its 5 picturesque terraced towns that only beg to be explored (from North to South):



Even if not all the 5 villages show on this map, the train stops in each one of them. The road in white you see behind the red line is the road you should use my car, and it takes around 2 hours drive. Image credit: Map data ©2022 Google

One of the best tips I’ve learned is to leave the car at La Spezia city and take the train between these 5 towns . It’s usually the easiest way to discover them without the issue of finding a parking spot (unless you decide to choose one of the villages to stay in for the night).


Obviously the main attractions of the Cinque Terre National Park are the famous villages, so let’s check them out in detail to see what distinguishes one from the other, they are all marvelous and unique!


From the top: Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia

1) RIOMAGGIORE:   The most southern village of Cinque Terre, Riomaggiore is a beautiful town to sit back and enjoy your afternoon. Grab some local food (especially fried calamari) from the street vendors and head for the rocky harbor front. Helpful tip: spend a good few hours dipping your feet and legs into the sea! This town is a fabulous place to watch the sunset, and why not take a swim and cool down after a day under the scorching Italian sun.

2) MANAROLA:   Arguably one of the most photographed towns in Cinque Terre, Manarola is a beautiful place to explore and, of course, grab a bite to eat! Every time I visit Manarola, I put on 4kg in weight! The gelato, the calamari, the wine … it’s all just too good!

3) CORNIGLIA:   Unlike the other four villages of the Cinque Terre, Corniglia is not perched on the seafront but at about 100 meters high on the top of a cliff. Warning: Trying to walk in the scorching midday heat is not the greatest idea – you could end up sweaty, hot, dehydrated, and no doubt looking a bit messy 🙂 you can use the connecting shuttle bus from the train station instead. It takes about 5 minutes to reach Corniglia. A perfect place to enjoy the views of this magnificent area!


Top: Vernazza – Bottom: Monterosso al Mare

4) VERNAZZA:   Dating back nearly 1000 years, the iconic Vernazza is still standing to show you a beautiful piece of historic Italian charm – that I fall in love with every time. This city really stole my heart! Don’t forget to see the Church of Santa Margherita and the hidden Vernazza beach just off Piazza Marconi.

5) MONTEROSSO AL MARE:   The westernmost of all the Cinque Terre villages is Monterosso al Mare, famous for its wider beach and for the many open spaces compared to other countries. What I love most about Cinque Terre is that it feels like a “personality test.” Everyone has their favorite village for very specific reasons. Monterosso al Mare is my least favorite town in the Cinque Terre, but that’s because my heart has already been stolen from Vernazza’s colorful houses (I love colorful houses) 🙂



Just minutes from La Spezia center. Clean, spacious rooms with kitchen. A good option is to have a base there for your La Spezia Gulf or Cinque Terre trips. Safe, private parking and simple breakfast. The train station is within walking distance, and free parking is a plus. Highly recommended. Check out this Hotel!  


When you visit the Cinque Terre villages, you can take your time and explore them on your own or book a guided tour to discover the secret places, best restaurants, and panoramic views.

One of the best ones is definitely from Florence to Cinque Terre and it’s most suitable if you are flexible with your dates and are on an Italy road trip, coming from the south and ending in the northern part of the country, like in this case.

Depending on your budget, some of these tours, especially the boat ones, are worth the money . They will provide you with a completely different experience. As usual … it’s up to you to decide! Sometimes I like to opt for a tour, other times I prefer to discover an area on my own.



I lived in Turin for 8 years while studying at the University, and not only do I know the city well, but I love it pieces! Unfortunately, the city is one of the least known and appreciated by tourists. While most of those visiting Italy head for the Rome-Florence-Venice triptych, Turin remains off the tourist radar. What a shame.

Maybe is because the city has always been associated with Agnelli and his automotive empire (Fiat). However, people forget that another dynasty, not industrial but royal, chose Turin as its capital eight decades earlier.

Nineteenth-century Turin was also a favorite of intellectuals and artists such as Nietzsche, who loved the city for its austere elegance, atmosphere, literary cafes, and food. So, this seething city should definitely be on your wish list for your Italian road trip.


The beauty of Turin, compared to other Italian cities, is that it is easy to get around on foot and public transport is excellent . I have never used a car in 8 years, and I know every street as it is easy to walk to the city center and some of the most beautiful palaces and squares.


The beautiful Mole Antonellliana by night

Best Things to do in Turin:

Il Quadrilatero Romano: One of my favorite places in Turin for its many restaurants, aperitif bars, and lovely streets filled with history from the Roman empire. Great for an exciting night out in Turin!

La Gran Madre Church:   The “Gran Madre” is a Neoclassic-style church located in front of Piazza Vittorio. Straightforward to reach by foot from Piazza Castello through via Po (famous for its many shops, bars, and restaurants), it’s stunning at night.

Piazza Castello/Via Garibaldi:   Turin’s central square is lined with museums, theatres, and cafes. Dominating it is the part-medieval, part-baroque Palazzo Madama, the original seat of the Italian parliament. To the north is the beautiful facade of the Palazzo Reale, “The Royal Palace” built for Carlo Emanuele II in the mid-1600s. If you are up for some shopping, on the left of Palazzo Reale, you will reach Via Garibaldi, packed with high-end and budget shops (I used to live in the student house in that area!) 😉


Il Castello /Parco Del Valentino:   My favorite spot in town, a massive park with botanical gardens, statues, and, of course, the iconic castle. Perfect for a romantic walk or just to chill during the hot summer days. You can admire the spectacular views of the Valentino Castel by night just by crossing one of the bridges over the river PO. Highly recommended!

La Reggia di Venaria: Declared UNESCO Heritage Site, the Reggia di Venaria is a spot you can’t miss. The palace is marvelous, and during summertime, you can enjoy a wide array of events, from artists performing accompanied by relaxing music to video-mapping shows.

Basilica di Superga:   Another fantastic place to visit in Turin! The church is on a hill where you can admire the city from above. Perfect at sunset to see the city lights and chill after visiting the inside of the beautiful Basilica.


The beautiful Castello del Valentino in the “Parco Del Valentino (Valentine’s Park). One of my most precious places in Turin. Day or night it is truly marvelous!

Museo Egizio:   An excellent place for people passionate about Egyptian History, this museum is the most important one in Italy as it preserves some rare mummified human remains and several Egyptian statues.  

Palazzo Reale (Royal Palace):   Located in Piazza Castello; if you visit it, I promise that the inside will leave you totally speechless. I still remember the first time I saw it, admiring the beautiful dancing room, statues, paintings, and seemingly never-ending luxurious rooms in awe. No wonder it was included in the list of World Heritage sites in 1997. Totally worth it!


The beauty of Turin at sunset: Ponte Isabella over the River Po that divides the city in two.



Excellent location to head off in any direction and explore. The hotel itself is lovely. Accommodating and friendly reception staff. Delicious breakfast, charming rooms, and parking space. The perfect mix to set you up for the day and relax once back from your strolling in Turin.  Check out this Hotel!




Milan is one of the trendiest cities in Italy . It is the city of fashion and the economic capital of Italy. Both traits are clearly visible when you’re walking around the city. Modern and trendy skyscrapers scattered here and there, surrounded by beautiful historical buildings throughout the city center.

Many of Milan’s most exciting sights and attractions are not readily apparent, so you’ll need to dig deeper to discover the gems that make the city unique.

Luckily, Milan is surprisingly walkable and, at times, feels more like a compact town than a major European metropolis. And once you start chipping away at its foreboding exterior, you’ll find untold treasures below the surface: priceless works of art, beautiful eccentric buildings, world-class restaurants, and oases of calm. Explore the best things to do in Milan and remember: appearances aren’t everything.



Como is filled with luxury Villas you can visit, like Villa Balbianello here, a perfect setting even for weddings!

The itinerary for your Italy Road trip started in the glorious city of Rome, and it couldn’t end less gloriously in the fantastic Lake Como setting. Relax in the shade of a tree in front of the lake, admire its beautiful views … and, who knows? You might even spot George Clooney (owner of one of the most beautiful villas in Lake Como), his buddy Brad Pitt, Tom Cruise, or any other A-list celebrity, but there’s so much more to this destination than its famed visitors.

The glacial Lake Como is a mere 1.5-hour drive north of Milan and only 30 minutes or so from the border of Switzerland. The biggest draw to Lake Como is its natural beauty – especially the scenic mountainous region that always leaves me in awe.

Hop on the ferries that cross the lake; it’s a perfect way to explore the beautiful little towns surrounding it like Menaggio, Bellagio, and Varenna, to mention but a few of my favorites.


In Milan, as previously stated, it is super easy to get around by walking a bit or via their efficient public services (the underground system is excellent). This way you can do quite a lot in one day.

The most famous things to do in Milan are:

  • The famous Duomo di Milano: The symbol of the city.
  • Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II (on the left of the Duomo)
  • Sforza Castle for a bit of history
  • Parco Sempione to end your day in total relaxation!


Honestly? If it was for me (personal taste!) I would spend just half a day in Milan and aim straight to Lake Como, but the itinerary is yours, so maybe you are a fashion addict and want to spend a whole afternoon shopping in Milan 🙂 Either way, Lake Como would deserve at least 2 days of exploring.

So, what to do and see in Lake Como?

  • Visit Varenna, a lovely village with great views of the lake.
  • Take the ferry! You’ll discover the hidden spots as well as the more popular sights.
  • Visit Villa del Balbianello
  • Discover Castello di Vezio for awesome views


Villa Del Balbianello, Lake Como

Best Things to do and see in Milan:

Il Duomo Di Milano:   Do I really need to tell you why you should visit it? There is so much information online, and the pictures speak for themselves. It goes without saying that this should be your first stop in Milan, no question about it. And it’s as beautiful as in the pictures. My only tip: go there early in the morning; you will make the most of the experience!

Castello Sforzesco: Nearby the Parco Sempione, the Castello Sforzesco (Sforza Castel) is a mandatory stop on your visit to Milan; apart from its famous towers, it hosts several museums from the Ancient Arts to the Pinacoteca and the Egyptian museum, just to name a few. If you love history, this is a great place to visit.

Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II: Just on the left side of the Duomo di Milano, its architecture (especially the roof) will leave you in awe. You’ll find many shops, from luxury ones to nice cafes where to sip an espresso and relax, bookstores, restaurants, and more. Since it’s in Piazza Duomo, you can easily make it your second stop in Milan.

Best Things to do and see in Lake Como:

Villa Del Balbianello: Located on the left wing of the Lake, near the village of Lenno, it is a must-see. Beautiful views of the Lake and the Villa with its terrace garden are genuinely out of this world! One of the best spots to admire Lake Como’s mighty beauty. It’s undoubtedly one of the most touristy and popular Villas to visit.

Villa Carlotta: Just a few kilometers away from Villa Del Balbianello (heading north of Lenno), it’s a true gem with its botanical gardens, museums, the staircase, and the stunning entrance to the Lake. Not to be missed! (I will write an article just for the villas to visit around Lake Como as they are jaw-dropping!)

Take the ferry:   One of the best ways to enjoy Lake Como is by Ferry. There are both public and private ferries. The public one is relatively cheap, but obviously, it doesn’t let you hop off to explore what you want. You can either find the private companies online looking for “private ferry lake Como” or, as I suggest below, I’d recommend the Tour from Milan without the hassle of driving there and back.


I Navigli Di Milano: A system of canals running in the heart of Milan, surrounded by lovely cocktail bars, are the perfect location to spend your dinner and after-dinner time, not to be missed for an excellent aperitif. Great for a romantic walk at sunset as well. It’s easy to reach by public transport, which is always a bonus!

Parco Sempione:   Located in the heart of Milan, Parco Sempione is a lovely park where you can relax, chill and visit the Sforza Castel and the Arch of peace, two of the most famous landmark in Milan. 

Via Montenapoleone:   If you are in Milan and love fashion, via Montenapoleone is the place you want to be! Filled with luxury shops, whatever brand you are looking for, you will find it there! Splurge as much as you want and enjoy!


The famous Navigli Di Milano, great for the nightlife and the peculiar atmosphere


Trekking/hiking Lake Como:   If you have some time or, during your Italy Road trip planning, you decide to skip a place or two, this is one of the best and more rewarding activities to do, with breathtaking views over the lake. The most famous walks/hikes are the Greenway Del Lago and Spina Verde (suitable for everyone, they will take you to the top spots like Villa del Balbianello). For more advanced trekking and hiking, organizing with private companies is better.

Castello di Vezio:   Located in the middle of Lake Como, with an overview of Varenna village, it is a lovely spot for jaw-dropping sights of the lake and its history. It was built over a thousand years ago. Don’t forget to climb its famous tower to enjoy even more incredible panoramic views!

italy road trip in january

The stunning views you can admire at Lake Como are endless!



In the city center, accessed directly from Bellagio’s main square by 38 cobblestone steps, Hotel Bellagio is within walking distance of the town’s shops, cafés, and restaurants. Parking is available, free cancellation, and incredible views of the Lake.  Check out this Hotel!    If you prefer to take a day tour to Lake Como and base yourself in Milan, check out the  NH PORTA NUOVA hotel, which is convenient and well-located.

Considering the allure of Milan, not only as a tourist destination but also as a potential long-term residence, the prospect of renting an apartment in this trendy city opens up a world of possibilities. Imagine having the iconic Duomo di Milano as a backdrop to your daily life or strolling through the historic Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II for your daily dose of luxury and culture.

Beyond the famous landmarks, Milan offers a lifestyle that seamlessly blends modernity with history. Long-term rentals in Milan provide the opportunity to delve into the city’s hidden gems, from charming neighborhoods to authentic local experiences, creating a genuine connection with this cosmopolitan hub. As you embark on your exploration of the city, consider how  renting an apartment in Milan  not only grants you a comfortable abode but also an immersive journey into the vibrant tapestry of Italian life.


Given the proximity of Lake Como to Milan, you can opt for booking one of the grand tours from the Lombardy Capital instead of spending money (and time) using your car. Many people choose this option, and they can enjoy a full day in Lake Como without stress and see all the top sights stated above.

Usually, when talking about the tours, my advice is to decide which option is more suitable for you (car or tour) but in this case, the day trips from Milan are genuinely the best option, also money-wise. Highly recommended!


As you might have noticed, I tried to fit in as many “pit stops” as possible for your 15 days on the road in Italy. I know many people would rather rush a bit to see as many beautiful spots as possible.

That said, If you want to travel slower and stay more in one place, you can easily rearrange this itinerary by skipping a few places, no problem!

I hope you enjoyed my article and that you will be inspired to visit my beautiful Italy, loving my country as much as I do!

If you have any questions or locations you have visited that you particularly liked, shoot me a message in the comments below, I’d love to hear about your experience!

Images credits/attributions: (except for Emilia Romagna)



This blog post has truly uplifted me and provided me with the guidance I was seeking. Thank you for sharing your experiences and insights in such an inspiring way. Your generosity and willingness to help others is greatly appreciated.

I like your blog! It is awesome! You give many information about travel! It’s really great! Also, Italy trip is great! I think We should travel to Italy.

I’m a foreigner living in Rome, and I must say that it is the greatest city in the world. The pros of living there are just too many, but one has to look for them. If you’re the kind of person that just wants a smooth, predictable life – let’s say 9 to 5 job, reaching home at 6 by train and finding your parcel delivered at the doorstep – then it’s not your kind of place. Rome is instead for the kind of people who like adventure, going out and having fun. You do your morning walk among the ancient ruins. You spend a lot of time in the bar with friends. You go to swim in the sea during summers, and to ski in the mountains during winters. You face day-to-day inconveniences, but in that situation you help each other, knowing that they’d help you too.

My personal take is that the things which distinguishes Rome and Italy from other parts of the developed world is that for better and for worse, there’s no “consumer” culture over there. The mentality is centered doing the bare minimum needed for survival, and not on getting the maximum output as is the norm elsewhere nowadays. Overall I wouldn’t say that Italians are (stereotypical) lazy, but just not hardworking and with generally modest expectations from life.

Hi Nicole, thanks for your insights! I agree with a lot of what you said and Rome no matter what will always be my favorite city in the world, with all its imperfections too. What I had to think about more is the work ethic and expectations. I would put it differently but I understand what you are expressing. The idea of us being stereotypically lazy is like everyone else thinking that in the US people are only driven by work and goals and can’t appreciate life. We don’t know if people don’t appreciate life there for real, this is our idea. Same with Italians (and you also need to do a big distinction between northern Italy and southern Italy) people might be thinking they have high expectations for their lives, also money wise but maybe compared to your personal experience we are not, and so on. So what I’m trying to say s that things are VERY relative and I try not no generalize a country (altough I know first hand how difficutl it can be) . Enjoy my beautiful Rome!!


Hey, thanks for sharing this fantastic information with us. Can’t wait to book our holiday to Italy! Thank you and please continue to share blog posts about Italy, they are very useful, especially coming from a local!

quite impressive

Thank you for a very interesting article. I greatly appreciate the time you take to do all the research to put together your posts. I especially enjoyed this one!!

What a great article! I have to say I did a bicycle trip in northern Sardinia, from Olbia to Santa Teresa passing by Maddallena. I have been to many many beaches in my life but I have never seen so beautiful beaches like in Maddalena. The colors of the sea was absolutely stunning! And the scenery in North Sardinia is unique, almost lunar.

This being said, we did a road trip in France from Nice to to Bordeaux avoiding the highways and going through the little villages. Back country road trip. In our mind, the road is as important as the destination. We prefer B&Bs (I think you call them agroturismo in Italy) where we can talk with the hosts and guests and get their ideas about the nicest places in their corner of the country..

So……we are planning a 3 weeks road trip in Italy, September 9 to 30, 2022 more or less. Probably from Venice to Rome and maybe going down to Sorento. We were planning to go to most of the places you mentioned in your article except for Milan and Torino which I’ve already been and not so keen to visit twice. So, adding a week to your 2 weeks itinerary, I was wondering if you have any suggestions for those additional days.

Thank you so much and keep on your good work!

Hey Stephan, wow I’m envious just reading all you will see on your road trip in my beautiful Italy! If you have 2 more weeks I would definitely go : 1) Val D’orcia in Tuscany, it’s BREATHTAKING, I want to make a photo post with the photo I shoot. Just that will convince you. I stayed in a lovely home rented in Castiglione D’orcia and it has been one of the best road trips ever. 2) South of Rome I’d go to Sorrento, Capri, and all the Costiera Amalfitana. It’s mainstream clearly but you can’t miss it! This would deserve a full week to fully explore all the little corners of this beautiful place.

There will be so many places I can add but I don’t want to overwhelm you. If I had these 2 additional weeks I would explore more of Tuscany in general, and the Val D’Orcia area in particular, and all the Costiera Amalfitana. It will make for a fabulous Italy Road trip!! Plus the time of the year is perfect, still warm but with fewer tourists. What can I add if not… Enjoy Italy!! 🙂

Cheers Clelia

Thanks for reaching out! We will definitely put Val D’orcia on our itinerary. Can you let us know what was the lovely home you stayed there? Always nice to go somewhere recommended by some one who stayed there. So 2 weeks from Venice to Rome and one week in the costiera Amalfitana, Right?

Hi Stephan, yes I’d say 1 week in the Costiera Amalfitana, not less… and the remaining 2 weeks you go from Venice to Rome. Oh, I envy you right now 🙂 Let me check the name of the place! I booked it with I remember so it still should be in my records 🙂 Ok, after a while I found it! It’s the lovely home called “ La Cantina di P ” I hope you didn’t book anything yet because this was a truly lovely place, especially the location was so amazing! Let me know if you need any more help and enjoy your road trip to Italy!

Fantastic! Thanks for the valuable information and we will definitaly book there, Covid permitting. Keep on the great work! Grazie

Thanks Stephan! I’m so glad you liked my Italy road trip itinerary, I’m supposed to create the second part, from Rome to … Sardinia because I had to leave out so much. Two weeks are not nearly enough to enjoy the beauty of Italy and everything it has to offer 🙂 Fingers crossed about the Covid yeah. We had some small trips in Italy so it’s not super bad but in winter it’s always a bit worse. With the proper precautions, I believe we will be able to have a sort of “normal” life again soon.

Wow what a wonderful article, spectacular pics. Italy’s a beautiful country and everyone should know this. I have been twice and looking forward to visiting it after the pandemic. Thanks for sharing with us this fab post.

Italy is Indeed a good place to visit in the world. Being a travel enthusiast I learn that Italy is a place where every city is beautiful as well as historical. You will find the different kind of travellers in Italy and its the place where you can meet new peoples and interact with them. Thanks for sharing this post with us.

Great pics and information. This is my dream destination, I would like to visit here someday. Hope to hear more from you. Thank you.

Very nice information thank you for sharing! We can’t travel to Italy right now but this will be a huge help for when we will be able to visit!

You should work for the Italian tourism department, they are in dire need of people like you. Unlike France and Spain who have done a great job in marketing themselves, in Italy international tourism is unfortunately restricted only to some areas of the country (city of Rome, Veneto, Lombardia, Liguria, Tuscany and maybe Sardinia). Nice to see that you mentioned Piedmont and Emilia-Romagna here. Then there is central Italy outside of Rome, and especially “Mezzogiorno” that I think is super underrated (I’m from Puglia and in my own biased eyes, it’s the closest thing to Paradise on Earth). Also, as much as I love Rome, my favorite city in the world will always be Napoli, which I would recommend to every visitor in Italy.

Ciao Gianmarco, thanks for your kind words, I sadly must agree with you about how we promote certain parts of Italy and completely disregards other parts, and actually this article is just part 1 of another than covers all the regions in Southern Italy. I have been to Puglia and LOVED IT!! (and it’s obviously included in the second article that Iìm going to publish). I’m from Sardinia so we can both say we are very lucky! Interesting about you loving Napoli so much! Why ? Mine is Rome (I have lived there for years) but also Napoli is beautiful for sure!

Napoli is just another city that has no equivalent in the world. First of all, it has the most beautiful landscape in all of Italy, if not the world (try searching “panorama più bello del mondo”). The city has the largest historic center in whole Europe, and just like Rome, it is full of castles, churches and ancient ruins (have you been to the underground areas). Despite everyone in the world consuming pizza these days, all others are fake except Neapolitan one. While the city center still retains it’s ancient vibe with narrow, chaotic streets full of people, some of the most beautiful metro stations of the world are located just below it, highlighting that Neapolitans and Italians in general continue to be great innovators of contemporary times, even if we are obsessed with with our past and aren’t obsessed with becoming “successful” by contemporary definition. Than of course the surrounding areas (Pompei, Amalifi, Capri, Amalfi, Sorrento) are also among some of the most breathtaking places. Overall, I find Rome and Napoli are very similar both in their good and bad aspects, except that Rome is less dense and more spread out. While I won’t trade Rome for any other city in the world, I give Naples the edge over it because of metro, surrounding areas and the overall vibe and sheer passion of the city.

I might say that Italy the most beautiful country in Europe and the world, considering that I’ve traveled to at least ten different locations in Italy, and that you have managed to mention so many amazing places despite touching only a quarter of whole Italy. But as a Frenchman, some things in Italy are really frustrating. Relying on public transport is a real pain, especially if you want to travel to smaller towns. Even if it is available, trains are poorly maintained and always late. Many places are dirty and not taken care of. And it gets crazier as you go southwards with Sicily being the worst, despite still being stunning and soon I’ll be there again. My Neapolitan friend jokes “To drive on roads of Naples, you must have the special ability to pray for San Gennaro”. And he’s so right. Sometimes, it really feels like the vehicles are there to hit you and traffic rules are meek requests. I think this can be said of almost all Italian cities. I do love Italy but I don’t see why Italians don’t acknowledge the clear superiority of the French.

I’m Spaniard and I’m a big fan of Italy. In Spain, Italy is seen as a dream girlfriend that drives you crazy yet you can’t stop loving her. Personally, my favourite Italian regions are the Alps, Veneto, Tuscany and Campania – but the country is very beautiful almost everywhere and there is no city or region in Italy that isn’t worth visiting.

Thanks Lucas, it means a lot especially now. I hope people will start to visit Italy again very soon. Be well!

I wish the same for Spain too. Just like Italy, we choose to ignore the warnings and go on with the fests and parties, and now we are in an even worse situation. Us Mediterraneans are too similar I think.

Indeed we are… I have no idea when this nightmare will be over. I hope people won’t fear traveling to our beautiful countries when all this will be over.

Great post. However, I would like to add my two cents. First of all, I think Milan and Turin, while fantastic, are probably the least breathtaking cities in Italy. Southern Italy and the two islands certainly feel less developed, yet they have an older and more exotic vibe, with better beaches. Finally, I think that something like a planned Italian road trip doesn’t exist. In Italy, you are always close to a centuries old streets and buildings. gorgeous landscape or beach. Apart from some must visit cities that are well known, one can simply drive anywhere between Bolzano and Reggio Calabria and easily discover a lot of magnificent yet unspoiled places all around the country.

Hi Clelia Thank you for your excellent road trip guide . We are travelling from Rome to Lake Como . We have booked most of the hotels you have suggested . We are doing a slight detour. Only concern i have is driving from Rome airport to Hotel Monfy in Rome. I know from visiting Rome previously the roads can be extremely dangerous if you are not a local. Thank you for your help.

Hi Paul! Glad you found my guide useful… As someone who actually took her driving license in Rome, I can relate with your concerns 🙂 I’m not going to lie, driving in Rome is an adventure! Dangerous, I wouldn’t say that maybe you will have to be super careful and prepared before you drive. Meaning knowing exactly your route, but these days using google maps as a navigator will do the trick. You have to be careful with the scooters driving around you but other than that, if someone like me with no driving license could take it and drive safely for 3 years in Rome, I think you won’t have a problem (and I didn’t even have any google maps navigator, at the time!)

Let me know if you need some more help! Cheers Clelia

I love Italy. It is, in many ways, a unique country where you can always find something amazing nearby regardless of the region where you are. From my experience with Italians in UK and Italy, I must say that they are group of humble, outgoing and loving people who are masters of enjoying life. What I don’t like about them is that most of them don’t value rules, work ethic and public property. But my general perception about Italians is quite positive.

I love Italy. It is, in many ways, a unique country where you can always find something amazing nearby regards of the region where you are. From my experience with Italians in UK and Italy, I must say that they are group of humble, outgoing and loving people who are masters of enjoying life. What I don’t like about them is that most of them don’t value rules, work ethic and public property. But my general perception about them is quite positive.

Hey Andre, thanks for your comment and point of view about Italy and Italian people. Just one thing (being Italian I might understand the dynamics a bit) 🙂 Many people think our work ethic is not good but it’s actually not entirely true. Sure there are “lazy” people everywhere and in Italy, we might seem lazy but we are not. We have simply a different approach when it comes to this part of our life, and when we are working we give 110% most of the time. Otherwise, we wouldn’t be able to be masters of “enjoying life” as you mentioned! Regarding the rules, yes you are right we don’t like them especially when they are stupid but also when they are ok. We tend to disregard them more but not in bad faith, we just give the rules less importance I guess. Right, wrong? It really depends on the situation I think. I remember when I first arrived in London people wanted to kill me because I didn’t know I had to stay on the right side of the escalator, while in Italy we just stay wherever we want, and funny enough, after a few years living in the UK, once back in Italy I was like “why people don’t stay on the right!!” so we are just laid back for a few things I guess. I’m sure you’ll find my next article coming soon about Italian culture quite entertaining then.

One of my favourite itineraries and absolutely right about staying at least 3-4 days in each location. Drives me mad to see people racing from photo op to photo op without taking the time to at least get a flavour of the locale…

Exactly my philosophy Gary, I understand that people want to squeeze as much as possible from their Italian Itinerary but going slowly is much more rewarding…

Hi Clelia, My husband and I have just decided to take a trip to Italy in May this year. We were not sure how we were going to travel thru the country but I found your blog and am convinced a road trip is the answer. I have read thru the itinerary and only wanted to know if in addition to the sites you highlight, are there any places that have recently become a no miss which you have not mentioned. We are travelling for 15 days. Thanks

Hi Lori! I’m so glad to hear that you’re taking a road trip to Italy because you read my article! (it took me forever to put it together so at least I know it’s useful) 🙂 As for your question…

oh my! I left out so much from this itinerary already because of the limited time but recently I visited a place where I left a piece of my heart: The “Val D’Orcia” and in particular the village of Castiglione D’Orcia where I stayed in a lovely house in the center behind the small piazza for one week. It’s out of this world. Not only the village but also the surrounding areas.

There are so many of the typical “Casali” with the famous Tuscan landscape and trees, I even spotted the gates of the house where the movie “The Gladiator” was shot and saw one of the best sunsets of my life. I usually never do this, but to give you an idea you can check this picture I took and put on Instagram and this other one which has a truly lovely story behind it. I even made a few Instagram stories of that place. I think I’m going to add this to the itinerary because I’m obsessed 😀

So yes, please Go to Castiglione D’Orcia ! If you want some advice about the accommodation, the place I obviously recommend is where I stayed LA CANTINA DI PI , cheap and lovely, everything was at walking distance and you can park the car for free in the parking lot at 5 min walk.

I hope you can make it and if you have time also visit Montalcino and, nearby Castiglione, also go to the (completely free) Terme called “Bagni di San Filippo” at just 10 min by car and super easy to reach. You’ll love it! If you need more info about it, given that I still have to write an article about my stay, feel free to ask in here!

Cheers! Clelia

Hi Clelia – thank you for the excellent information! I’m returning to Italy in May with friends and family for a 10 year anniversary trip and was hoping you might be able to help me. We are renting cars in Rome FCO and will be driving directly to a villa near San Miniato in the late afternoon 5/6pm. What would you suggest is the easiest route to take? We will not be making many stops or are concerned about scenery at this point – mainly just about getting there quickly and easily. Any suggestions?

Hi Aimee, glad that you liked my Italian guide! And what a lovely choice going nearby San Miniato, you’ll going to love it! As for your question, the easiest route is without a doubt to go towards Viterbo (the signs pointing to the E35/a1 towards Florence). before finding that road you’ll need to get into the Grande Raccordo anulare first and find the right exit. But If you have even google maps, you can put your point of departure and destination and let it guide you. But if it gives you more than one choice, you go with the E35.

It might be a bit tricky on the Raccordo Anulare, there are so many lanes and exits but if you drive carefully and study the indications on Google maps, you should be fine. Once you’re on the E35 you will go straight for at least 1+ hour, then you’ll have to stay alert again for the right exit (which depends on where you are heading exactly). The total time spent to get to San Miniato city is about 2:30 min with no stops, I’d say 3 hours with one stop and counting the traffic in the Raccordo Anulare.

Recently I took that road to get to a village in Tuscany but from Civitavecchia ferries port and it was a very pleasant ride even if you’re not looking for particular scenery. You still will find it quite nice!

I hope it helps and if you never drove in the Raccordo anulare, be careful because there are some crazy drivers in there so go at your own pace and everything will be fine! (I lived in Rome for years so I know the raccordo and the nearby roads quite well)

Italy is a fantastic country – I don’t think any other country can offer so much variety (natural, historical and cultural) in such a small area. But I must say that my favorite area in Italy is the south. I personally think that it is the most beautiful part of Italy, and as of now it is quite undiscovered, unspoiled and authentic. I also love people of that region – who have a “I don’t really care” attitude for most aspects of life, and seem to enjoy their lives in their secret paradise without having any ambition for the future. Apart from having been to the mainstream cities (such as Florence and Venice), I’ve enjoyed road trips from Naples to Reggio Calabria and Salento and it was fantastic to travel across the hilly countryside, beaches and old, magnificent towns.

Hey Oliver thanks for stopping by and saying so many beautiful things about my country! I agree the south is more relaxed (but hey we have ambitions, we are just not obsessed by them) 😉 You’ve been to awesome paces but you’re missing one…. my fabulous island Sardinia! I know I know, it might seem biased but trust me, not only we are also Italians but our culture and beaches are incredible! Cheers from Paradise!

Apart from so many great things, it needs to be said that Italy can surely improve infrastructures, customer service and cleanliness of public places (it isn’t bad, but not “top notch”). That prevents many potential northern European visitors who prefer Spain and France instead. But despite its flaws, I love Italy. It isn’t a place with a giant hotel in front of beaches, gentrified or renovated historic centers, fake friendliness just to please the visitor. In other words, it seems like a place which hasn’t sold it’s soul just to become richer. I’ll consider Sardinia in near future, for sure.

Oh you’re totally right. We are not that great when it comes to Infrastructures in Italy, in a way it’s bad, I reckon, but you know what? If it’s just a bit messy sometimes it’s because we are simply … ITALIANS 😀 We are chaotic, messy, chill out and we should clean up a bit more yes! Italy doesn’t even need to sell its sowl, there are so many beautiful places that we don’t need to overdo it! And if you complain about infrastructures in Italy, wait till you come to Sardinia… being an Island we are a bit behind and the public transports also are less than ideal, but when you see the beauty you tend to forget everything about it!

I totally get your point. And I won’t say it is as bad as some people say (Italians complain all the time). The worst, however are the large cities (Rome and Naples). I remember my first experience in Rome and it was a shock for me coming from Geneva. I learnt a few lessons : expect at least half an hour delay of any mode of transport, you DON’T really need to buy a ticket for getting into a bus, the concept of personal space doesn’t exist, don’t expect vehicles to stop for crossing the road, no one will mind you if you throw trash on roadside and that you may take three hours to reach your destination (but you’ll still be there before your Italian friends). I do get that the culture of Italy is different and organisation isn’t something to expect there. And as far beauty is concerned, no one can deny it.

How couldn’t agree with you? We are like this, some places like you mentioned more than others are affected by this. And you forgot to mention that for us there are no rules in the escalators. I discovered that in Europe is different the very first day I moved to London, innocently stayed on my left only to be hit by the rage of the English people saying that I was an animal basically 😀 I was in shock and didn’t understand why they were so mad at me. Then I realized that it’s just in Italy that we stay wherever we want 😀 The beauty and the irony of it is that after 6 years living in the UK, when I went back to Italy and used an elevator I felt our behavior was outrageous ahahahah, I’ve been civilized I think 🙂 Thanks for all these inputs, I should write a post about it!

Many good reviews here, we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. Meeting up at the coach ‘station’ was a little disorganised but it worked and we had a great day out. Siena was beautiful, although we didnt read the small print – Cathedral guide not included. San Gimignano very pretty, the wine tasting was fun too, although with wine at 30 or 60 euros a bottle we didnt buy any. A good day out.

Glad that despite little not so perfect details, you had a good time in Italy! Cheers

Hi Clelia, your blog on road trip to Italy is just vividly marvelous. Further, I appreciate the pride you take in your country and I feel like visiting your fascinating nation very soon. Thanks a ton for your itinerary.

Thanks Albert! Indeed I am very proud of being Italian! Our country has so much beauty to be discovered, from north to South. A southern Italian Itinerary is coming soon (I couldn’t include that because of lack of time to visit everything of course). Italy is pretty big and even if people would love to have a taste of the north and the south on the same trip, if they use a car and don’t have at least one month or more, it is impossible.

Loved your blog, but what you have touched is barely the tip of an iceberg, and if Venice is added to the list, they are the places that are frequented the most by foreigners. Italy is SO MUCH more. Must visit places in the north include Alto Adige, Valle d’aosta and Trieste, all of which have a unique culture, even for a country as diverse as Italy. As you have not covered any part of Southern Italy (which, by any means, is NOT a region that can be left out), I must add that it is a region that is as worthy of visiting as the the places mentioned in this blog. As a Calabrese, I’ll say that it is arguably more beautiful, because the weather is better, cuisine is better and more diversified, beaches are much better than the north, the number of historical sites is higher (because of rich historical background) and people in general are very hospitable. Must visit places in South include Naples (a city that has probably no equivalent in Europe or World) and its surroundings (Sorrento, Costiera Amalfitana, Pompei, Caserta), Palermo, Catania, Siracusa, Reggio Calabria, Tropea, Pizzo Calabro, Matera, Ostuni, Alberobello, Brindisi and Lecce.

Hey Antonio, Thanks for your comment and of course I only touched the tip of the Iceberg! This was a specific Itinerary (and even a very crammed one to be honest) to include most of the popular sights, but I have another post or two coming for the rest of Italy, including the south (with all the places you have mentioned) and also another one for the mountain lovers. There is so much to see and do in Italy! By the way, I’m Sardinian and I visited Calabria more than once and loved it! We are very lucky indeed 🙂

Hi. I found your Blog by chance cause I’m searching for help with a road trip I’m taking with my husband and 10year old twins from Calabria to Puglia (excluding the heel) up to the whole east coast of Italy. Then cross quickly to Genoa to get the ferry down back to sicily. We have in total 28 days to discover and enjoy the East Coast. Whenever I search for tips, this area of Italy is hardly ever mentioned by travellers. Our trip starts soon, on the 1st August 2019, this is a short notice, but such an opportunity came up and we’re grabbing it. Do you have some recommendations of the NOT To MISS places and fun activities with kids?

THANK YOU Lorraine

Hi Lorraine, Thanks for stopping by! There are not much info about the east coast because the sea is not exactly nice for our Italian standards. I personally prefer the west coast with the exception of some places in Calabria and Puglia (not sure what u mean by not covering the hill as Puglia is definitely on it ). If you can, don’t miss Rossano Calabro, and in Puglia, the Gargano (and the national park of course), the “Trulli” and I also suggest to also take a day or two were you don’t plan and take the car exploring the little coastal villages along the way. I remember in Rossano Calabro there is a massive aqua park your kid would love, it’s called Odissea 2000, that could be a great place for you to relax and the kids have some fun! Unfortunately, it’s been a while since I last visited Calabria and if it weren’t last minute, most of my friends are from Calabria and Puglia so they could give you the real local insights, if you reply to this, tell me so I might try to contact them and ask for more precise info! Cheers Clelia

Your article was really helpful, 16 Day Itinerary Italy looks different and so amazing in this article. It was such a good read. Thank you.

Very nice, thanks for sharing! A very good overview of how to explore the north/northwestern part of Italy!

Thanks David!


Good question! Italy has so much to offer that if I had made an Itinerary covering from north to south I would have needed to write a book 🙂 A second article with an Itinerary from Rome to Campania Puglia and Basilicata (including the Amalfi coast) is coming up soon! As for Venice, believe it or not, I’ve never been there and I am not planning on going because I see it as a trap for tourists. My friends who used to live close to the city can confirm that. Venice is like Disneyland to me, nothing truly authentic has remained. It’s certainly beautiful judging from the pictures but as an Italian giving advice to tourists, first I wouldn’t recommend a place I’ve never visited myself in Italy and second, I’d rather say what I think and then leave the last decision to you guys! Which means that if you don’t mind Venice being not the real Italy, by any means, go on and visit it! 🙂

Great info, Clelia, Gracie! Your country is my favourite country in the World (and I have been to a lot of places).. I am of Indian origin but have lived in the UK for 25 years. I agree. I have been to most places in Italy including Sardinia and Sicily. My favourite so far is Puglia- we cycled for 8 days around Puglia last year, ! Sardinia (again cycling !) is my next favourite!. We are planning to drive to Tuscany in our new camper van from the UK (with our bikes), in August 2019. This information will really help us.

We don’t want to rush it.. We want to spend two weeks in the region covering Florence, Pisa, Siena, Cinque Terre and maybe Genoa or Turin on the way in or back from the UK..

The villages of Italy,the country side, the food, the beaches would take up most of our time. We’ll spend hardly any time in tourist traps – though there are unfortunately must -do’s on most itineraries – Pisa, Siena, Florence ! Most Italian cities like Venice are now groaning under the pressure of mass-tourism.which is sad. Head away from the crowds, experience the lovely people of Italy and cover once region at a time -come back often, . – for a life time… that’s our plan !

Hello Clelia, these itineraries are just amazing for a traveler. Is it budget friendly for a solo traveler or its better to be with a group tour?

Hi Lydia, Thanks for your comment! To be honest with you, it really depends! As a general rule (and solo traveler myself) it is always slightly convenient to travel with friends or as a couple, if only just to share the hotel room bill, car rental etc. But this doesn’t mean that you can’t go on the cheap by yourself. I have done both and the freedom of just deciding where and when to go is so amazing!

Italy can be super expensive but also very cheap, you just need to research a bit beforehand for the best hotels or hostels if you are flexible, train or buses instead of cars and you are in business! I was able to have a great holiday in Sardinia (which is well known for being quite expensive) when I was a penniless student!

As for the tours, I recently came back from an amazing trip to Australia and generally I prefer to go by myself because I like the freedom of decision but due to Australia being soooo expensive and other practical reasons, in the end, I decided to go by tour for a few things I wanted to see and it was AMAZING. If you travel solo you also have the opportunity to meet new fun friends and exchange life experiences along the way. So if you think a tour around Italy is better for you, by all means, book that if it’s your cheapest option!

If you need some advice about tours, let me know! Being Italian I can guide you to the ones I think are the best value for money! Cheers Clelia

Lovely Post. Italy such a wonderful place to visit. All the photos are very good. This is an informative post. Thank you so much for sharing the list. I would like to share with my friends.

Thanks Gary, feel free to share the beauty of Italy and try it for yourself of course! 🙂

I have been reading your posts regularly.I need to say that you are doing a fantastic job by posting information regarding Italian beautiful and tour places.I will bookmark your site Please keep up the great work.

Please note that as per my comments guidelines I had to remove the name of your business and the link. Thanks for your understanding. Kind Regards Clelia

Amazing photos and information. thanks for sharing this! Love Italy!

Thanks Gabbar!

Oh man what a post! Lake Como, the italian tastes, the eye-candy accommodation… Have mercy!

Ahahaha I know, right! I was drooling over MY OWN COUNTRY while writing this post! Italy is just so beautiful 🙂

Never thought about a road trip round Europe but this looks amazing. I would want to take in San Marino for sure.

Hey Craig! Thanks for stopping by! Just for the records… San Marino is truly beautiful and it’s not on this list just because even being in Italian territory it is a state of his own, not politically part of Italy, just like the Vatican is. I mentioned the Vatican just because it’s basically inglobated in the city of Rome, but I should point out that it’s also a state of its own 🙂

Great list of things to do, really loved Florence and can’t wait to get to Venice

I also loved Florence, a marvelous city full of art!

Went to Italy in 2016, was one of our favorite countries to visit, need to get back ASAP!

Sounds a great way of giving a treat to myself and my wife for our anniversary! thanks for sharing this post, Italy is really very amazing and awesome, I can’t wait to visit one day!!

Italy is always a treat for every occasion I guess 🙂

Love this article! Going to Europe for a 2 month road trip this summer. This Italy road trip will fit in perfectly with my plan. Thank you!

Thank you! Glad you enjoyed it and I hope you’ll have a fantastic trip to Italy! 😉

Thank you for the article. We are going to visit this country with my wife. Hotels and cars have already booked. It remains only to have a good time

Hey Dylan, if you have everything sorted out, I’m pretty sure you’ll have a wonderful time! I have a friend now on a trip to Italy and he is having the time of his life apparently 🙂

I’ve mostly been a UK and France traveler, but the more I see and read about Italy, especially the ancient cities … ! Thanks for a great post. Your photos are amazing! I’m off to see what airfare looks like for next season!

Hey Phill, being Italian myself I might be biased but a friend of mine is currently traveling around Italy and he is sending me pictures of everything he sees in absolute wonder, you have to put it on your bucket list!! 🙂

Thanks for an informative post, Clelia! It is very well-written, as well. I love how you included a video to teach your readers on how they can make use of Pruvo. Italy has always been a place to visit and explore for me but have not gotten the chance to fulfill at this time. It’s also nice that lots of airlines these days are getting better with air travel services and amenities. Kudos!

Thanks Elizabeth! I hope you will be able to take an epic road trip to italy very soon, you will not be disappointed! 🙂

This was a really interesting post, thanks for sharing your travel experience.

Italy is the perfect place to visit and I would love to explore it more. You captured awesome pictures on your travel trip. Thank you so much for sharing this post.. Loved this!!

Thanks Samy! Italy is indeed a beautiful country and I’m a very lucky girl!

Wow! This post sounds amazing.. Italy looks awesome to explore. There are so many things to do. Love your post. I will be definitely adding to my bucket list. Keep posting!

Thanks Sammy! Italy should be in everyone’s bucket list and a road trip to Italy even more! 🙂

I think everyone would like Venice in Italy. Venice was my favorite place where I would like to hang out with friends.

I can’t talk about Venice as it is one of the few places in Italy I haven’t visited. Mostly on purpose as I see it as a place that has no real locals but just tourists. The pictures are surely nice and the atmosphere and views too, but somehow it never was on top of my list of places to see in Italy! Maybe one day I will. Just to see if I was right or wrong about my feelings towards Venice.

Extremely informative and well written. 🙂

Thanks! A lot of work went into it! Now on with the second part… the beautiful southern Italy, soon to be published (soon can mean 1 week to a month!) lol

It’s obvious by the quality that much effort was exerted to produce the article. I look forward to what part two offers..

The second part will also be a hell of a job but so worth it as it will cover some of the best parts of southern Italy like the Amalfi coast, Puglia, and other lovely places!

Italy sounds different and so appealing in this post. Loved the detailing! It was such a good read. Thank you.

Thanks Reshmaty!

I appreciate your blog post, Thanks for sharing. Air travel gets easier with airline sophistication. Its invention has revolutionized the entire travel arena.

Not sure how talking about airlines is relevant on a road trip article… but thanks for stopping by anyway!

Italy is a perfect place to travel as every city is to beatiful and historical. My favorite was Florence from the very well known ones but as I prefer less touristic destinations I enjoyed Bologna too for the students vibe.

Yes, Italy is beautiful no matter where you go you will always find something special! I also loved Florence and Bologna, they are less overwhelming than Rome and Milan for sure (even if my heart will forever stay with the eternal city!). Not sure if you have visited San Gimignano and Lake Como but they are seriously jaw-dropping locations! Now I’m preparing the southern road trip from Rome to the Amalfi coast, super excited as I love that part too 🙂

You did a lot of work to make this post. Italy is very beautiful, especially if you travell alone, without any excursion groups.

Thanks Jenny, Italy is beautiful no matter how you decide to visit it. Some people like you love to discover it without any guide but in certain circumstances, I recommend the tours (or at least using the services to skip the lines) as if you don’t have much time they can truly save a lot of time and some guided tours are also worth it because being the guide Italian you will have a fun experience and you will not miss the best parts or waste time to find them 🙂 to each its own! The most important thing is to just pack up and come to Italy no matter how you decide to discover it, it’s just too beautiful 🙂

Leave a Comment Cancel reply

The Road Reel

15 Most Beautiful Road Trip in Italy Routes (with Distances)

Planning a road trip in Italy but not sure where to go? Here I share 15 most beautiful road trip in Italy routes that you can pick from . Duration, driving distance, the best time to go, what to see on the way, and where to stay as well as car rental in Italy tips are also included.

It is not a secret that everyone falls for Italy , making it one of the most visited destinations in Europe . The boot-shaped country is a perfect place to embark on a road trip. Beautiful from head to toe, Italy will seduce you with untamed landscapes, fairy-tale small towns , azure coastlines, architectural wonders, and, of course, food impossible to resist.

I have visited Italy countless times and my love for this country only grows stronger. In my experience, the best way to explore Italy is by going on a road trip . Once you hire a car in Italy , you will be able to travel at your own pace and explore beyond the famous destinations (such as Rome, Florence, or Venice).

Hence, in this post, I share not only classic routes ( Amalfi Coast or Tuscany road trip) but also less-known places in Italy to visit in a rental car .  From the stunning coastlines of Sicily to the misty mountain peaks of the Dolomites, to storybook medieval small towns and colorful coastal villages, pick the Italian road trip affair your heart longs for the most.

15 Most Romantic Road Trips in Italy (+ Car Rental in Italy Tips)

Disclosure :  This post contains affiliate links, which means that I may make a small commission at no extra cost for you if you make a purchase by clicking a link. It helps to keep my blog growing and filling up with detailed honest travel advice for you. 

Renting a car for a road trip in Italy

The first step before embarking on a road trip in Italy is renting a reliable and easy-to-drive car. I personally use the DiscoverCars search aggregator to find the best deal for car rental in Italy.

DiscoverCars offers car hire across international car rental companies at very competitive rates compared to many other car search sites online. You can filter vehicles by size, price, transmission type, etc.

A small deposit is always required to reserve a car. However, 48 hours free cancelation policy applies for the majority of the bookings. If you have to cancel, the deposit will be returned as a credit which you can use for your future booking. You can check the full terms & conditions HERE .

Look for the best rates for your rental car in Italy at Discovercars.

Documents you will need for hiring a car in Italy

  • Valid driving license.
  • International Driving Permit (IDP) if your driving license is not from the European Union or the UK. It also must be translated into English if it is not in English. Note that IDP is a supporting document and must be accompanied by an original driving license. More info here about IDP for US-Americans.
  • A credit card in the driver’s name with enough balance to block a security deposit (it will be returned upon returning the rental car).

Quick tips for renting a car in Italy and driving rules

  • The most convenient and often cheapest places to pick up your rental car from are the largest international airports. Whether you land in Rome, Naples, Venice, Palermo, or any other bigger airport, that is where you are likely to get the best deals.
  • Most of the rental cars in Italy are in manual transmission and are cheaper than automatic ones. If you only drive the latter, filter automatic cars before booking. If the cost difference is not huge, automatic cars are much easier to use, and I would recommend going for automatic mode.
  • Choose the smallest car possible that will fit all passengers and the luggage. Roads in Italian villages are narrow, and so are the parking spaces. Thus, having a small vehicle is a big advantage and will make driving in Italy much easier.
  • Be aware of ZTL (Zona Traffico Limitato) zones- those are historic town areas where driving is only allowed for residents. There are cameras that catch violators and fines are quite steep (I personally got one and had to pay 200 EUR in fines for entering (unknowingly) a ZTL in Orvieto). The fine came a year later after my trip (this is pretty normal in Italy).
  • Pick up and return the car to the same place. That being said, the majority of the suggested Italy road trip routes in this post are designed as a loop. Returning the car to a different location will add transfer costs which often double the total rental price.
  • Some of the roads on the suggested road trips in Italy have tolls, however, they are not that costly (except the Dolomites), as in, for example, Portugal , or Greece . Make sure to always have some cash for tolls in case cards are not accepted.
  • If you are traveling off-season in Italy (talking November, December, January, February, and March), DiscoverCars offers some dirt cheap deals for as low as 5-7 euros per day for a one-week car rental!
  • If you are planning your Italy road trip in popular months like June, July, and August, make sure to reserve a car several months ahead to get the best rates.

What is driving in Italy like?

Don’t get intimidated by horror stories about driving in Italy – it is much easier than many people like to paint it. Yes, cities like Naples , Rome, or Palermo are hectic, but routes in this post are focusing on the countryside and coastal roads which are much quieter than city streets.   

Even driving in Sicily is pretty smooth once you are out of the busy towns of Palermo or Catania.

  • Tips for driving in Italy for the first time.
  • Driving in Sicily stress-free .
  • Renting a car in Naples and driving in South Italy.

The only route suggested in this post that I consider challenging is Amalfi Coast because of narrow windy roads and lots of traffic during the high season and peak hours. If you are a novice driver, you might find mountain roads in Northern Italy a bit of a task as well. Nonetheless, go slowly and enjoy the romantic scenery of Italy with your loved one.

Rent a car in Italy and go on one of the most romantic road trips from Naples to Calabria, in the photo-magical Tropea

15 Best Road Trip in Italy routes: from North to South

1. along the tyrrhenian sea- naples to calabria road trip.

  • Route: Naples -Rivello- Maratea- Grotta dell’Arcomagno -Pizzo- Tropea – Scilla – Naples .
  • Distance and driving time: 980 KM, 12.5 HRS.
  • Pick up your rental car in Italy at Naples International Airport .
  • How many days? 10-12 days.
  • Where to stay: suggested base towns are Naples , Maratea , Tropea , and Scilla .
  • Highlights: authentic off-the-beaten-path Italy, romantic coastal villages, white sand beaches with impossibly blue waters, nature escape, vibrant city of Naples, and the best pizza in the world.
  • Best time to go: the end of April, May-June, or September for great weather and fewer people.

This road trip in Italy takes you from Naples in Campania, through the coastal side of Basilicata, all the way south to the tip of the boot in the Calabria region.

Start your South Italy road trip in, at first glance, not so romantic rough around the edges and chaotic Naples. Yet, the charms of Naples lie in its rigid personality. Give it a day or two, and your heart will eventually melt like mozzarella cheese on the best Naples pizza. This culturally rich town is well worth exploring before you and your loved one embark on a road trip south to wonderfully authentic and often overlooked Calabria, Italy .

ALSO READ: 17 Must-Know Tips for Renting a Car in Naples and Driving in South Italy

This less-known road trip in Italy route further follows the coastal road along the Tyrrhenian Sea with stops at several small quaint coastal villages. The route offers stops at wonderful wild beaches like Capo Vaticano and the spectacular cove of Grotta dell’Arcomagno.

arco magno san nicola arcella beach calabria italy

The first stop on the Tyrrhenian coast is the colorful hilltop village of Maratea known as the Pearl of Tyrrhenian. It is the only town in the Basilicata region that has access to the coast.  Impossible to miss is a giant marble statue of Christ situated at the highest point overlooking the village. Maratea is relatively unknown to foreign visitors and seems to stay suspended in time. It is worth a night or two to relax at its rocky beaches, or get active hiking the surrounding hills.

Just a short drive from Maratea, Rivello is a byzantine town scenically set on the verdant hills, and worth the visit for the views alone.

Venturing south you are bound to swim in some of the most beautiful azure waters in the region. A unique Tropea is the Pearl of Calabria . It not only offers some of the best beaches in the area but it will also awe you with the view of pastel-colored houses “growing” off the cliffs.

ALSO READ: The best things to do in Tropea, Italy

Meanwhile, Scilla , the southernmost and most charming fishing village on this road trip, is known for its velvety coast and the houses built on the shores of the sea. Its historic district of Chianella is a treat to wander around and experience Italy as authentic as it gets.

ALSO READ: A Guide to Visiting Scilla & Chianalea- the most beautiful seaside towns in Calabria, Italy.

Don’t miss a brief stop in Pizzo- another nice coastal town close to Tropea. Make sure to try tartufo – an ice cream with chocolate filling- it is a local specialty not to be missed.

Travel Tip: for this road trip, I recommend picking up your Italy rental car once you are ready to leave Naples, as driving in this city and parking situation is a nightmare. The airport car rentals are conveniently located just 15 minutes away by public bus from central Garibaldi station.

ALSO READ: How to spend 1 day in Naples: an easy Naples itinerary .

Castelmezzano- a hidden gem on the road trips in Italy list

2. Matera to Castelmezzano – hidden gems of Basilicata road trip

  • Route: Matera-Pisticci-Rotondella-Craco-Castelmezzano-Pietrapertosa-Matera.
  • Distance and driving time: 305 KM, 5 HRS.
  • Pick up your rental car in Italy at Bari or Naples .
  • How many days? 4-5 days.
  • Where to stay: base towns Matera and Castelmezzano or Pietrapertosa .
  • Highlights: cave towns, ghost towns, incredibly beautiful mountain villages, hiking Dolomiti Lucane mountains, off-the-beaten-path Italy.
  • Best time to go: April-June, September-November.

One of the most beautiful road trips on this list winds through the often-overlooked Basilicata region. The only famous stop here is the cave town of Matera (thanks to social media).

To embark on this road trip in central-south Italy you will have to pick up your rental car either in Naples or Bari international airports- both are located almost the same distance from the start of the route. If you arrive from Bari, then start this road trip route from Matera. If you are arriving from Naples, then start in Castelmezzano.

This Basilicata road trip focuses on unique mountain towns and experiencing the local south Italian countryside lifestyle.

First on the list is the impressive brown-hued cave town of Matera, with Sassi di Matera being the main attraction and a UNESCO heritage site. Your best bet is to use Matera as a base and do a day trip to picture-perfect Pisticci and the nearby ghost town of Craco. You can also visit Rotondella- a weirdly shaped hilltop town that reminds me of Gangi in Sicily. All 3 towns can be visited in a long full day trip from Matera.

Following is the best part of this road trip- the otherworldly Castelmezzano and its twin town Pietrapertosa . Located in the Dolomiti Lucane mountains, these towns are like nothing you have seen before (refer to the images above). Stay in either of them for a couple of nights, explore the tiny streets, admire panoramic views, go hiking, and take a romantic zip line ride connecting two mountain towns (two people can fly together).

Read more about visiting Castelmezzano and Pietrapertosa in my travel guide .

Atrani- one of the most beautiful and romantic towns on Amalfi Coast road trip itinerary

3. From Sorrento to Salerno – Amalfi Coast road trip in Italy

  • Route: Salerno-Vietri Sul Mare-Erchie-Atrani-Rovelo-Amalfi-Fiordo di Furore-Positano-Sorrento.
  • Distance and driving time: 57 KM, 2 HRS 7MIN.
  • Where to stay: base towns Salerno , Atrani , alternative Agerola (located higher in the hills), Sorrento .
  • Highlights: beaches, beautiful coastal towns, hiking, and boat rides.
  • Best time to go: April, May, mid-September-October, for perfect weather and fewer crowds, winter (off-season) with a minimum number of tourists.

The Amalfi Coast road trip will take you to some of the most captivating and romantic places in Italy. Although it is a famous romantic destination in Italy, “La Dolce Vita” of the Amalfi Coast is undeniable. The landscapes are of unparalleled beauty with movie-like scenery at every turn. 

Be warned though that Amalfi Coast drive via a narrow windy road sandwiched between the cliffs and the sea is not for the faint-hearted. However, it is Italy’s most iconic road trip worth taking at least once in a lifetime.

The distance from Salerno in the east to Sorrento in the west of Amalfi Coast looks deceivingly short- just below 60 kilometers. Hence, it is a slow yet very scenic drive ( ideal for a romantic ride in a vintage convertible car ).

Start your romantic Amalfi Coast road trip at the easternmost Salerno which serves as a great base for one night before embarking early to nearby Vietri Sul Mare , known for colorful ceramics, and one of the less touristy towns on this list.

Moving forward drive to Amalfi , the coast’s main hub. On the way, there are a few small lesser-known coastal villages like Cetara and Erchie you may want to stop by.

Pick your next accommodation in a more picturesque and much less touristy, Atrani town (just 10 minute’s walk from Amalfi town). Atrani is a good base for a couple of nights to explore close by mountain town of Ravello, visit Fiordo di Furore, or go on a hike to the Sentiero degli Dei (The Path of Gods) trail.

The next is Positano -the star and the postcard child of Amalfi Coast. The view of sherbet-colored cliffside homes is what attracts an unbearable number of tourists. That being said, Positano is best to be observed from the boat (also you get a better view of it) or admired from the top of the hill while hiking.

The final stop is Sorrento – the town of sirens and unbeatable sunsets. Sorrento is a lively resort town with a beautiful old town. It is also a great jump-off point for visiting the famous island of Capri (although I would recommend going to a less touristy candy-colored Procida instead).

Travel tip: Amalfi Coast together with Venice is possibly THE MOST popular romantic destination in Italy on this road trip list and both barely see an off-season time. To enjoy this beautiful romantic place in Italy with fewer crowds, choose to come in April or October. The weather will be pleasant for swimming and hiking. If you do not care about suntanning, you might even consider coming in March or November.

Accommodation tip: Amalfi is extremely pricey. Booking in advance is necessary. For cheaper alternatives in Amalfi Cost, you can pick Agerola – a village situated in the hills. It is located midway on the Amalfi coast and it takes less than 20 minutes to drive down. Also, the trailhead of The Path of Gods- one of the best things to do in Amalfi- will be within walking distance.

Don’t miss the boat: one of the most romantic things on this road trip is, ironically, to park your car and take a boat ride along the cliffs of the Amalfi Coast.

  • Related article: 2 Day Amalfi Coast itinerary .

West Sicily road trip offers stunning coastal views and stops at most romantic seaside towns

4. Palermo to Trapani- west coast of Sicily road trip

  • Route: Palermo-Cefalù-Castellammare del Golfo-Lo-Zingaro Nature Reserve-Erice-Trapani with Favignana Islands
  • Distance and driving time: 355 KM, 5 HRS 30 MIN.
  • Pick up your rental car in Sicily at Palermo or Trapani International airports.
  • How many days? 8-10 days.
  • Where to stay: base towns Palermo , Cefalù , Castellammare del Golfo , Trapani .
  • Highlights: unspoiled beaches, street food, hiking coastal trails, medieval hilltop towns, coastal villages, islands, and Sicilian culture.
  • Best time to go: mid-April to May, and September to mid-October.

Sicily is one of the most charming and unique places in Italy to visit on a road trip. Although many myths surround driving in Sicily , I found road-tripping around the island one of the most rewarding experiences.

On this Sicily road trip , you will explore the West coast of the island. It has the best beaches with the most spectacular scenery (I have been all around Sicily , thus I can confirm it to be true).

Start your visit in charismatic Palermo , the capital of Sicily, famous for unbeatable street food (don’t miss arancini and cannoli), chaotic and colorful Ballaro market, spectacular cathedrals, and pallazi . Just like in Naples, you do not need a car to explore Palermo, which is very walkable (base yourself in the city center).

Start your road trip after spending at least 2 nights in Palermo. Before heading west side, pay a visit to Cefalù , located on the east coast of Palermo.  Cefalù is a historic port town and postcard child of Sicily. For less touristy beach towns on the way to Cefalù or back, stop in Aspra , and Santa Flavia .

Continuing further, the best is yet to come. Book a place to stay in Castellammare del Golfo – a local beautiful harbor town. From here you can easily drive to Lo Zingaro Nature Reserve – an unmissable piece of paradise in Sicily. Pull out your hiking shoes, sunscreen, and through a towel in your backpack. In Lo Zingaro you will have a wonderful day in the wilderness hiking along one of the most beautiful coasts and stopping at pretty pebbly coves along the way.

The final base of this road trip is Trapani – the west port town in Sicily. From here you can visit the medieval fairy-tale-like hilltop town of Erice and take a day trip to Favignana island . Monte Cofano Natural Reserve and a lively San Vito Lo Capo located northeast of Trapani make a great day trip from Trapani as well.

  • Read my detailed guide to hiking Lo Zingaro Nature Reserve in Sicily .
  • Check how to get to Favignana island and the best things to do .
  • Extend your trip and find more places to visit in Sicily with my 2-week Sicily Road Trip Itinerary.

Ragusa Ibla- one of the most romantic towns in southeast Sicily on this road trip itinerary

5. Sicily southeast- exploring baroque gems and conquering volcano

  • Route: Catania-Syracuse-Ortygia-Noto-Modica-Ragusa- Caltagirone-Piazza Armerina-Mount Etna-Taormina-Catania.
  • Distance and driving time: 346 KM, 5 HRS 30 MIN.
  • Pick up your rental car in Sicily at Catania International Airport .
  • Duration: 7-10 days.
  • Where to stay: base towns Catania , Siracuse , Noto , Ragusa , Piazza Armerina .
  • Highlights: culture, street food, baroque architecture, hiking volcano, charming mountain towns.
  • Best time to go: April, May, late September, or October.

If architectural wonders are your cup of tea, the East of Sicily is abundant in Baroque masterpieces. Start your journey in Catania, the second largest town in Sicily. The city of lava is rival to Palermo for its renowned street food. Meanwhile, the morning fish market is not so romantic but one of the best local experiences in town, especially for street photography.

Just as in Palermo, driving in Catania is not the best idea, thus if you are planning to visit the city, it is better to pick up your rental car a day or two later once you are ready to hit the road.

Driving southeast of Catania, your next stop is Syracuse with adjacent Ortigia (Ortygia) island- a gem of Sicily. The architecture in Ortigia is exemplary and dates back to Greek times. Surrounded by the sparkling Ionian sea, Ortigia is one of the most romantic places in Sicily.

Meanwhile, some of the most culturally rich experiences await moving inland to explore Baroque wanders in Val di Noto- a complex of UNESCO-protected towns. Unmissable are Noto and Ragusa, the latter being my absolute favorite of all of the towns on this East Sicily road trip list. You can base yourself in Ragusa for 2-3 nights and visit Noto and Modica as day trips.

Heading up North, stop in Caltagirone -the town of ceramics, famous for its colorful- tiled staircase. Meanwhile, Piazza Armerina is a pretty mountain town, known for Villa Romana del Casale holding some of the best preserved and largest collections of Roman mosaics in the World.

If you are adventurous souls, then the mighty volcano of Etna will be the highlight of this trip. Visiting one usually requires joining a tour . Navigating Europe’s most active volcano independently is only recommended to expert hikers.

If you don’t mind touristy places, I must mention Taormina – the most famous hilltop town and resort in Sicily. We skipped it because it is very touristy (think Positano on Amalfi Coast). We prioritize places off-the-beaten path. Yet, Taormina is considered as one of the most beautiful must-visit places in East Sicily.

  • Read my complete guide to visiting Ragusa in Sicily .
  • Check my post about the most beautiful places to visit in Sicily .
  • Extend your trip and find more places to visit in Sicily in my 2-week Sicily Road Trip Itinerary.

An aerial shot reveals the expanse of Polignano a Mare, its white buildings crowding the cliff edge, a single boat leaving a wake in the vibrant blue waters below.

6. Puglia (Apulia)- the heel of the boot

  • Route: Bari-Poligano a Mare- Monopoli-Ostuni- Martina Franca-Locorotondo-Alberobello-Parco Nationale del Gargano-Vieste-Bari
  • Distance and driving time: 557 KM, 8 HRS.
  • Pick up your rental car in Italy at Bari International Airport .
  • How many days? 7-10 days.
  • Where to stay: base towns Monopoli , Ostuni , Martina Franca for budget option close to Alberobello , Vieste .
  • Highlights: beaches, charming white-washed villages, local food, Trulli stone houses, and south Italy culture.
  • Best time to go: mid-April to June, and September to mid-October.

On this road trip in Italy , you will explore the heel of the boot- the Puglia region and a slice of less-known but very romantic Gargano Peninsula . Chalky houses and crystal-clear Adriatic Sea water, olive trees, delicious local food, and characteristic houses of trulli are some of the gems you will find in this rustic corner of South Italy.

Pick up your car in Bari , the biggest town in Puglia, and drive along the coast to your base in Monopoli – an atmospheric medieval harbor town by the Adriatic Sea. Settle down for a couple of knights to explore the coastal area. One of the early mornings, go to Poligano a Mare – a scenic seaside town set on limestone cliffs.

Poligano a Mare is one of the two most famous destinations on this road trip. That being said, the most touristy. You might recognize Poligano a Mare from the picture of the busy pebble beach framed by the Ponte Borbonico di Lama Monachile bridge.

The next stop is the unmissable white city of Ostuni surrounded by a sea of olive groves. This picturesque town is planned like a labyrinth, making finding your way around a fun thing to do and also worth spending a night in. Driving up north into Valle d’Itria , you can choose Martina Franca as a base from where you can explore Alberobello – a town famous for cone-shaped trulli houses.

Tip: that insta-famous Alberobello is tiny and you better come very early to visit without the crowds.

Do not miss Locorotondo -one of the prettiest towns on this Italy road trip and in Valle d’Itria. As the name implies it is a crazy planning of white-washed houses stuck together in a circular manner. You can see it from the areal perspective.

At this point, if you have more time for your romantic road trip in Italy, I suggest heading to the less-known Apulia region , situated north of Puglia. Often overlooked by an ordinary visitor but mind-blowingly beautiful Gargano National Park offers an array of things to do. Base yourself in the scenic and romantic fishing town of Vieste . From here you can visit the Pizzomunno limestone monolith and the broad Spiaggia di San Lorenzo beach -some of the most impressive and definitive natural landmarks in the Apulia region.

  • Related article: The most beautiful coastal towns in Puglia.
  • Related article: Driving in Puglia, Italy: essential tips.
  • Related article: 2 weeks in Puglia itinerary

Lake Garda road trip offers mesmerizing views, -misty morning

7. Road trip around Lake Garda

  • Route: Sirmione-Malcesine & Mount Baldo-Riva del Garda-Tenno&Lake Tenno-Limone sul Garda-Gargnano-Salo-Sirmione.
  • Distance and driving time: 150 KM, 3 HRS 20 MIN.
  • Pick up your rental car in Italy at Milan , Bergamo , or Verona international airports.
  • How many days? 5-7 days.
  • Where to stay: suggested base towns Malcesine , Limone sul Garda , and Salò .
  • Highlights: beautiful lake towns, incredible mountainous scenery, water activities, culture, relaxation, cycling, and boat rides.
  • Best time to go: April-May, September-October.

Italy’s largest Lake Garda is a perfect place for a romantic road trip in Northern Italy. Straddling Veneto, Trentino, and Lombardy regions, Lake Garda will offer you an unforgettable drive along the scenic lakeside and through the rock-carved tunnels with plenty of stops in manicured waterfront towns. Visiting Lake Garda is also a more price-friendly but no less beautiful alternative to the fancier counterpart Lake Como. In a way, Lake Garda’s scenery reminds me of Boka Bay in Montenegro .

You can pick up your rental car at any of the bigger airports, depending on where you are landing in Italy. Milan and Bergamo’s airports are great for cheaper car rental deals, meanwhile, the closest place to Lake Garda is Verona International airport, but car rent there is more expensive.

On your route around Lake Garda, you will visit Sirmione – a classic and the most touristic stop on this itinerary. Jumping into the boat and seeing the town from the water perspective is a great idea.

Moving east-north of the lake, a great base for a couple of days is the picturesque town of Malcesine . Built at a higher elevation, this pretty town is characterized by a maze of medieval alleyways and is different from the rest of the towns on this list. The most prominent landmarks are the castle of Malcesine and Mount Baldo. To visit the mountain Baldo, you can either get active and hike or take a cable car to the top.

Riva del Garda – an unofficial capital of Lake Garda is a very popular water sports destination. The favorable windy weather conditions make it a perfect spot for windsurfing. The panoramic views of the hilly landscape are no less fantastic.

Once on the northern side of Lake Garda, why not take a side trip to nearby Lake Tenno? It is an off-the-beaten-path detour with the reward of beautiful lake scenery.

Limone sul Garda or simply Limone is a town proud of its lemon produce and is possibly one of the most scenic waterfront villages on Lake Garda . You can either choose to stay a night there or visit on a boat trip from Malcesine.

Circumventing further around Lake Garda, you will come across a smaller and less touristy but absolutely charming  Gargnano lakeside town.

Finish off your loop around Lake Garda in Salò- one of the bigger towns known for incredibly delicious cuisine. Salò is more peaceful and less touristy than a well-known Sirimone, therefore might be a great base for a night or two on the southern banks of Lake Garda.

Travel tip: windy 2 lanes only road around Lake Garda might get congested during peak times and summer. Allow yourself plenty of time to travel slowly and consider having several bases during your trip instead of trying to visit all the towns as day trips.

8. Italian Riviera- Portofino to La Spezia- one of the most romantic road trips in Italy

  • Route: Genoa-Camogli-Santa Margherita Ligure-Portofino-Cinque Terre—La Spezia-Portovenere-Lerici.
  • Distance and driving time: 165 KM, 3 HRS 40 MIN.
  • Pick up your rental car in Italy at Genoa .
  • Where to stay: base town Genoa , Camogli or Santa Margherita Ligure , La Spezia .
  • Highlights: colorful coastal towns of Liguria, sailing, hiking between Italian riviera villages, history, culture, and beaches.
  • Best time to go: mid-April, May, September, or October.

Cinque Terre is one of the most romantic destinations in Italy, at dusk

One of the most romantic destinations in Italy, rivaling the famous Amalfi Coast is Italian Riviera located in the Liguria region. For the Italian Riviera road trip, you will pick up your rental car in Genoa , and drive down south along the Ligurian Sea coast. I suggest a couple of base towns to explore the region – Camogli, Rapollo, or Santa Margherita Ligure on the north side of the Riviera and La Spezia on the south side.

On this itinerary, the rich and famous playground of Portofino and the magnificent 5 coastal villages of Cinque Terre do not need an introduction. Those are the most touristy places in the Liguria region. Nonetheless, they are so pretty it is hard to ignore their charms. That’s why they top the most romantic places in Italy charts. Nonetheless, you will also have an opportunity to visit less-known yet very picturesque places on the Ligurian coast.

Start your trip in the multi-layered port town of Genoa. Untouched by mass tourism this a unique historical town to explore in a day or two if you have time. Otherwise, pick up your rental car and head south to Camogli – a beautiful pastel-colored seaside town.

A close by Santa Margherita Ligure is an enchanted waterfront town where you can spot lots of “trompe l‘oeil” (a highly realistic optical illusion of three-dimensional space and objects on a two-dimensional surface).

Tip: to visit a nearby luxurious Portofino take a long 1-hour walk along the stunning coast. Cars are not allowed to enter the center of Portofino, there is no train, and buses are always packed. If you do not want to return the same way, you can take a ferry back from Portofino to Margherita Ligure.

The next stop on your romantic road trip in Italy will be in La Spezia – a base jump-off town to visit Cinque Terre towns (  Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza, and Monterosso) . It is not wise to try driving between 5 famous villages as parking is very limited. Thus, leave your car in La Spezia and take regional trains to those towns.

The most rewarding way to experience the beauty of Cinque Terre is to go hiking a well-marked trail between villages. Dedicate a full day with stops in each of the seaside towns. If you get tired, you can always jump on the train in any of the towns.

Close to La Spezia, another charming port town is Portovenere with its imposing castle. It makes a great half-day trip. If you want to get an even more off-the-beaten-path in Liguria, head to Lerici . Due to its beautiful bay, Lerici is also called a Poets Gulf and is a beloved place by painters.

9. Tuscany loop – Florence to Siena

  • Route: Florence- San Gimignano-Siena- Val d’Orcia-Montepulciano- Radda in Chianti- Panzano in Chianti- Florence.
  • Distance and driving time: 312 KM, 6 HRS.
  • Pick up your rental car in Italy at Florence International Airport or Rome Fiumicino Airport .
  • How many days? 6-8 days.
  • Where to stay: base towns Florence , Siena , Montepulciano , and Panzano in Chianti .
  • Highlights: Tuscany landscapes of rolling hills, vineyards, cypress grooves, medieval towns, Renaissance art, and local food & culture.

road trip in tuscany with a rental car

The cinematic Tuscany region is characterized by green rolling hills, cypress trees perfectly lining the dusty roads, mysterious medieval towns, and the beating heart of Renaissance – Florence . What can be more romantic than picking up a convertible and setting off on a road trip through the Tuscan countryside?

Tuscany is compact and easy to navigate, which makes it one of the most popular road trips in Central Italy.

Start your romantic vacation in Florence – the birthplace of Renaissance art. Spend a day or two soaking up all the magnificent artistic things. Then pick up your rental car (you won’t need it while in Florence), and head south to the medieval town of San Gimignano .

Famous for its well-preserved medieval tower houses, and thus referred to as a City of Fine Towers, and even “a Manhattan of the Middle Ages”, San Gimignano will take you back in time. The town view from the road with dozens of towers peaking is also impressive, especially at sunset and dusk. Although it gets quite busy during the day, San Gimignano streets are empty at dusk and are the quietest at dawn, making them perfect times to explore.

Only an hour away from San Gimignano, you will be wandering the maze of steep medieval streets and admiring one of the most beautiful plazas in Tuscany in the town of Siena .

As you may have noticed, I didn’t include Pisa in this itinerary, which I believe is heavily overrated. I still remember my Italian friends telling me about Siena and how it is much more exciting to visit than the Leaning Tower of Pisa . I consider Siena one of the most beautiful towns in all of Italy I have ever visited.

Heading south of Siena you will be driving through Val d’Orcia- the most iconic valley offering romantic scenery of Tuscany . Spend a night in Montepulciano – a stunning medieval town perched atop the hill. Finish off your road trip by heading back north following the roads winding through picturesque Val in Chianti valley all the way to Florence. Two stops along this way are Radda in Chianti are Panzzano in Chianti medieval towns. You can also detour to one of the local wineries for a wine-tasting experience in the area.

Tip: when you set your Google Maps departing from Florence, make sure to choose “avoid highways” so that navigation takes you through the beautiful countryside instead.

  • Related article: Renting a car in Tuscany.

10. Umbria road trip- the green heart of Italy

  • Route: Perugia-Gubbio-Assisi&Spello-Bevagna & Montefalco-Todi-Orvieto-Civita di Bagno Regio.
  • Distance and driving time: 220 KM, 4 HRS.
  • Pick up your rental car in Italy at Rome Fiumicino International Airport .
  • How many days? 7-9 days.
  • Where to stay: base towns Perugia , Assisi , Todi , Orvieto .
  • Highlights: authentic Umbria region for Italy off-the-beaten path, medieval towns, green rolling hills, charming historical buildings, Renaissance architecture, local food, and culture.
  • Best time to go: April, May, September, or October.

Civita di Bagnoregio in Umbria region which is similar to Tuscany with its rolling hills and makes a perfect off-the-beaten-path romantic trip in Italy

This itinerary in Italy follows the roads of Umbria . The green heart of Italy, and one of the most untouched regions, is often overlooked in favor of the more famous Tuscany. Being less visited, but just as beautiful and romantic as Tuscany, Umbria is a perfect region in Italy to experience the local lifestyle without crowds of tourists.

Pick your rental car in Rome Fiumicino Airport and head to Perugia – the capital of Umbria. Note that roads in Umbria are less well maintained than in Tuscany, thus the drive between towns can be slower at times.

Capital Perugia is a wonderful ancient city situated on a hill and characterizes by many steep staircases.

Gubbio is a trapped-in-time stone town that appears to be carved into the mountain. Spend a day in Gubbio and then continue your road trip to Assisi – a UNESCO-protected mountain town and possibly the most famous one in this itinerary.

Just 15 minutes away from Assisi, Spello is a charming village characterized by pink limestone buildings, terracotta rooftops, and flowers at every doorstep and balcony. Spello has been selected as one of the most beautiful Italian villages ( Borghi piu Belli del’Italia ).

Next on the list are Bevagna and Montefanco medieval towns which can be visited in one day. Montefanco is a walled city also called the balcony of Umbria due to its position high atop the hill and boasting splendid vistas over the Clitumnus Valley.

Continuing southwest of Umbria, the pretty town of Todi can serve as a great midway stop and a base for one night.

The best stops on this Umbria itinerary are left for the last- Orvieto and Civita di Bagnoregio . If you have less time to spare in Umbria, those towns should be at the top of the list. Orvieto is known for its breathtaking and one of the most beautiful in the world gothic cathedral. The first Etruscan town in Italy, Orvieto is over 3000 old. It is a marvelous place to wander around and admire its flower-filled ancient streets and noble palazzi.

Base yourself in Orvieto or around in the countryside not far from the town.

As a day trip from Orvieto, visit the mysterious and fascinating town of Civita di Bagnoregio, known as “a dying town”. Sitting atop steep tufa rock in a vast canyon, Civita seems to be suspended in the air. The town is accessible through a pedestrian bridge rising steeply to connect to the city walls.

Tip: be mindful of ZTL zones when in Orvieto, I entered the old town as I was not aware of the ZTL many years ago, and I did get a 200 euro fine (after one year of my trip).

11. Madonie mountains Sicily

  • Route: Cefalù-Castelbuono- Gangi-Sperlinga-Agira-Gagliano Castelferrato-Petralia Soprana &Petralia Sottana.
  • Distance and driving time: 200 KM, 4 HRS 40 MIN.
  • Pick up your rental car in Sicily at Palermo International airport or Catania .
  • Recommended number of days: 5 days.
  • Where to stay: Cefalù , Gangi , Agira .
  • Highlights: medieval Madonie mountain villages, hiking, nature, relaxation, local food and traditional Sicilian culture, authentic Sicily, charming seaside town of Cefalù.
  • Best time to go: April, May, June, September, or October.

Gangi- mysterious Madonie mountain town in Sicily

If remote mountains are a definition of romance to you, then the hinterlands of Sicily is where you should go on a road trip next. Madonie mountains in Sicily offer a secluded, authentic, and romantic escape into nature and back in time. A number of medieval Madonie mountain villages suspended in time make it for a perfect road trip. Hikes are also there if you crave to stretch your legs from the drive.

Pick up your rental car in Palermo, and before heading to the hinterlands, stop in Cefalù . Cefalù, mentioned in the West Coast Sicily itinerary, is one of the most well-known scenic old harbor towns in Sicily and is well worth a stop. It might get quite touristy though but you can’t blame it- it is just so romantic and a one-of-a-kind seaside town in Sicily .

The remaining of this road trip is focused on visiting authentic Madonie mountain villages. I recommend Gangi town as a base. Gangi is one of the most mysterious mountain towns in Sicily , famed for the 1 euro houses. It is scenically perched on a cone-shaped hill with numerous 2-story stone houses glued to each other like in a lego game. From Gangi, you can take a day trip to the sister towns of Petralia Soprana and Petralia Sottana . Next day, drive to Sperlinga – a cave town that is a very different and unique ages-old settlement.

The furthest town on this list is my discovery I am proud of- Gagliano Castelferrato , a town glued to the rock. It is a reminiscing of Castelmezzano in the Basilicata region , Italy.

You can also choose to stay in Agira , which is just 6 kilometers away from Gagliano Castelferatto. Agira is the mythological hometown town of tyrant Agyris. It is a lovely hilltop town with lots of tiny streets to wander around. Don’t miss trying Agirian cassatele – a pastry filled with chocolate and almond mix.

  • Read my complete guide to visiting Gangi mountain town in Sicily .
  • Get more inspiration in my post about 17 most beautiful mountain towns in Sicily .
  • Extend your trip around Sicily with my suggested 2 weeks road trip in Sicily itinerary .

12. From Venice to Verona- the most romantic cities in Italy

  • Route: Venice- Vicenza-Padua-Verona.
  • Distance and driving time: 150 KM, 2 HRS 15 MIN.
  • Pick up your rental car in Italy at Venice or Verona International Airport.
  • Where to stay: base towns Venice , Verona .
  • Highlights: romance, Veneto region in North Italy, gondola rides, incredible architecture, food, and culture.
  • Best time to go: February, March-May, October.

Most romantic road trip in italy & car rental in italy tips-puglia-alessio-roversi, venice at night

I could not complete this romantic road trip in Italy list without adding a ride to the two most romantic towns in Italy- Venice and Verona.

Venice does not need an introduction- it is a masterpiece of romantic towns and a place like no other on the planet. It was the town I visited first on my very first trip to Italy and it was love at first sight, no questions asked.

Nowadays Venice is extremely touristy, yet still worth visiting at the right time. To me visiting in February was the best time- all crowds were gone, the town was sinking in fog, and the atmosphere incredibly mysterious and romantic. Moreover, visiting Venice during Valentine’s Day might be a perfect plan. Make sure to add colorful Burano and Murano islands to your Venice itinerary.

Note: you cannot drive inside Venice’s old town. Thus, if you are starting and ending your road trip in Venice, I recommend picking up your car either later or dropping it off early.

Before heading to Verona- the hometown of Romeo and Julieta, make a stop in Padua and Vicenza towns. Vicenza is known for its 16th-century elegant buildings and dramatic mountainous backdrops. Meanwhile, Padua is an old student town with many architectural monuments to explore.

Finish your road trip to Verona- the city of love in Italy. The famous Romeo and Julieta balcony is overrated, but the town of Verona is beautiful. Head to Giardino Giusti for a romantic picnic and sweeping views over the city (especially during sunset).

If you have more time than 4 or 5 days in Italy, you can look up for Lake Garda road trip (described above in this post) to extend your itinerary in Italy.

13. Northern Sardinia – the most romantic island road trip

  • Route: Alghero-Porto Conte National Park—Stintino-Castelsardo-Costa Paradiso-Capo Testa-Maddalena Islands- Sassari-Alghero.
  • Distance and driving time: 400 KM, 7 HRS.
  • Pick up your rental car in Sardinia at Alghero International Airport , or Olbia International Airport.
  • Where to stay: base towns Alghero , Stintino , Castelsardo , La Maddalena .
  • Highlights: Secluded beaches, coastal hikes, colorful small towns, historic sites, island life, and local food.

The unmatched beauty of beaches in Sardinia-perfect romantic destination in Italy for nature lovers

Sardinia is the most romantic Mediterranean island in Italy. Surrounded by turquoise waters and paradisical beaches, the road trip around Sardinia is perfect for a romantic summer vacation in Italy. If you love countless untouched beaches, then Sardinia is your destination.

Although Sardinia appears pretty small at first glance, moving around the island is slow. Thus, this itinerary in Sardinia covers only the Northern side of the island. Start your journey either in Alghero or Olbia- both towns have international airports and are perfect locations to rent a car at.

I have been to Alghero twice and I recommend spending there a couple of nights enjoying the atmospheric coastal historical town vibes. City beach is there as well, but don’t rush to lay your towel just yet. The best awaits once you start driving North.

Porto Conte National Park is famed to be one of the most beautiful places on the island, thus you may want to spare a couple of nights in that area. The nearby fishing village of Stintino can serve as a base for a night or two.

Continuing up North of Sardinia, Castelsardo is a pretty small seaside town characterized by colorful houses cascading down the hill with the medieval castle of Doria overlooking the town. Recommended Castelsardo as a stopover before continuing beach hopping further up north.

Unmissable are Isola Rossa (pink rock beach), Costa Paradiso (paradise coast), and Capo Testa.

On this route, make sure to catch a boat to La Maddalena island. The ferry departs from the Palau harbor and can ship your rental car as well.

On the way back from Palau to Alghero, you can cut through the land with a brief stop in Sassasi, and visit the town’s handsome historic center.

Tip: make sure to book accommodation early if you are traveling during the summer season. Note that wild camping is not legal (according to my Italian friend who still does it regularly but packs up the tent early morning in order not to get caught).

14. Bologna to San Marino road trip

  • Route: Bologna-Ferrara-Ravenna-San Marino-Dozza-Bologna.
  • Distance and driving time: 345 KM, 5 HRS.
  • Pick up your rental car in Italy at Bologna International Airport .
  • How many days? 5 days.
  • Where to stay: Bologna , Ferrara , Ravenna .
  • Highlights: gems of Emilia Romagna region, Renaissance art, and architecture, mosaics, castles, a country within a country.

San Marino-a microstate enclaved by Italy

This brief road trip over the Emilia-Romana region in Italy includes 3 fantastic cities and a country within a country (yes, you read it right).

Start off your journey in Bologna , the capital of the Emilia-Romagna region, a town of crooked towers and a university city. Bologna is filled with impressive sights, live and likable, and also less busy than Florence. Quite underrated, making Bologna keep its authenticity intact and streets less touristy. Thus, Bologna makes a great destination for a romantic city getaway.

You can also base yourself in Bologna and complete this itinerary by day tripping to other destinations on this route. Although, if you prefer not to drive back and forth, accommodation in Ferrara and Ravenna is available. I would suggest not staying in San Marino- a day trip from Ravenna or Bologna is a better idea.

On this route, Ferrara is one of the culturally most important Renaissance cities in Italy. At its golden age, Ferrara used to be a cradle for some greatest artists and writers.

Meanwhile, Ravenna is called the world’s capital of Mosaics. The fairly compact town is filled with architectural wonders and UNESCO-protected mosaic treasures dating back to the 5th and 6th centuries A.D. Ravenna is also a resting place for Italy’s greatest poet and philosopher Dante Alighieri.

Continuing to your final destination on this itinerary- San Marino . With a petite old town majestically enthroned on the top of Monte Titano, San Marino is a microstate surrounded by Italy. No surprise the beautifully unique San Marino is also a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Also, the oldest republic in the World, San Marino is a unique place to visit in Europe. A word of warning though, the old town of San Marino is heavily catered to tourists. Thus, the charm of this micro republic lies in the vistas opening up from the castle’s defense walls and three towers.

There are two ways to get to San Marino- drive up towards the old town and park in parking P9. Or park in the Municipality of Borgo Maggiore in P11 parking. Then take a funicular up to the old town.

Tip: there are no borders separating San Marino and Italy, but if you are a stamp collector, for 5 euros you can get your passport stamped validating your visit to San Marino.

15. Dolomites road trip

  • Route: Bolzano- Lago di Carezza – Cortina d’Ampezzo -hiking Tre Cime di Lvadero – Lago di Braies-Paso Gardena -Ortisei- Hiking Seceda-Alpe di Siuzi & Val di Fune-Bolzano.-
  • Distance and driving time: 300 KM, 7 HRS 30 MIN.
  • Pick up your rental car in Italy at Bolzano , Venice , or Milan International Airport.
  • How many days? 7 days.
  • Where to stay: base towns Bolzano , Ortisei and Cortina d’Ampezzo .
  • Highlights: Italian Alps, the best mountain scenery in Italy, nature, hiking, mountain lakes.
  • Best time to go: mid-June-mid-October (except July and August).

The most stunning landscapes can be seen while road tripping in the Dolomites- the ultimate hiking destination in Italy,

Last but not least is the most epic road trip in Northeastern Italy winding through the Dolomites. The drive from Bolzano to Cortina d’Ampezzo via Granade Strada della Dolomiti is one of the most exhilarating and absolutely breathtaking . It will take you 3 hours in total between the two towns. On the way make sure to pay a stop at Lago di Carezza nestled in Val d’Ega Valley. Also referred to as a “rainbow” lake, in reality, an emerald green lake is one of the most beautiful in the Dolomites.

Cortina d’Ampezza is your base town for hiking iconic Tre Cime di Lavadero . An unmissable 10 kilometers loop of medium difficulty is a must on any Dolomites itinerary.

While in Cortina d’Ampezzo, you may want to include a half-day trip to the most intsagrammable lake in Italy- Lago di Braies . The famous lake is very touristy though and if you want to enjoy it in peace and quiet, go very early for sunrise. Renting a wooden boat to paddle around the lake is a nice activity in Lago di Braies.

The next stop is the alpine town Ortisei/St. Ulrich . Before reaching it, you will drive through Paso Gardena – another scenic high pass in the Dolomites of the South Tyrol. Make sure to put Gardena Pass on your google maps to follow the correct route.

Ortisei serves as a popular jump-off town to gorgeous Alpe di Siusi (or Val di Siusi) and Val di Fune with its famous little churches (Santa Maddalena and St. John in Ranui) as well Sucede ridge hike . Dedicate two to three days- one for the hike and one or two to visit both valleys.

Note: The most famous valley in the Dolomites is Alpe di Siusi. It is forbidden to drive through the valley unless you are staying in a hotel. To get to Alpe di Siusi, you can take a cable car which operates daily from 8:30 AM to 6 PM (also subject to the season). Alternatively park in Compatsch and hike for an hour to the famous viewpoint of the valley.

Before your road trip to the Dolomites , depending on where you land, you have options to pick up your rental car in Italy either at Venice International Airport, Milan International Airport, or Bolzano town.

I hope you enjoyed reading this post and got inspired to rent a car in Italy and go on a romantic road trip around this passionate, beautiful, and unforgettable country in Europe! If you have any questions regarding the routes or car rental in Italy, please do not hesitate to comment below and I will get back to you.

More blog posts on my Italy travel guide

  • Browse all my blog posts about Italy HERE .
  • Planning a trip to Calabria, Italy? Check my super handy  Travel Tips for Visiting Calabria, Italy .
  • Thinking of extending your journey to Sicily? Plan an amazing trip with my   2-week Sicily road trip Itinerary .
  • Get some inspiration for Sicily and check out  15 of the most beautiful small coastal towns in fishing villages in Sicily .
  • Love mountains more? Get inspired or pick to visit some or all of  17 charming mountain towns in Sicily .
  • Best of Naples in one day: An easy 1-day in Naples itinerary + map .
  • Thinking of renting a car in Naples? Use my Must-Know Tips for Renting a Car in Naples and Driving in Southern Italy .
  • Travelling to Calabria? Check my Travel Guide to Scilla and Chianalea – the most seaside beautiful villages in South Italy.
  • Guide to Arco Magno Beach in San Nicola Arcella, Calabria.

Italy Travel Essentials & Useful Links

Here are links to essential travel resources and services I always use when organizing my trips.

  • HIRE A CAR : The best way to explore Italy is by self-driving. Rent a car at the best rates at Discover Cars .
  • CHEAP FLIGHTS: Use Skyscanner to find the cheapest and fastest flights to Sicily from your location.
  • ACCOMMODATION: find your perfect stay in Italy on .
  • VISA: apply for a Schengen visa easily at iVisa . Use OneWayFly to reserve dummy flight tickets/hotels if required for your visa application.
  • TRAVEL INSURANCE: get 5% off your insurance by using my link on Heymondo , a travel insurance provider. For the cheapest travel insurance on the market check SafetyWing .
  • eSIM CARD: Stay connected before you land. Airlo offers an eSIM card with up to 20 GB (7 to 30 days) data packages for Italy and Europe for reasonable rates.
  • GUIDED TOURS:  Find the best day tours in Italy on  GetYourGuide .
  • PRIVATE TRANSFER: Book a private transfer to any location in Italy with GetTransfer .
  • FLIGHT GOT CANCELLED OR DELAYED? You may receive compensation of up to 600 EUR. Consult and get support from AirHelp or Skycop .
  • Learn Italian: take a fun interactive online course Rocket Italian , which will help you quickly learn spoken and written Italian. Study at your own pace either on a desktop or using a mobile app, lifetime access, and a free trial available upon signing up.

' src=

Hi! I am a freelance photographer & videographer as well the creator of Born in Lithuania, and currently residing in the UAE, I have been traveling around the globe independently for over a decade. I created The Road Reel to share my passion for travel and photography through detailed road trips and city itineraries, and hiking guides, along with regular and drone photogragraphy tips.

Leave a Reply Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.

My Path in the World

Best Italian Road Trips: 16 Super Dreamy Routes

Italian road trips are the best. Whether you love strolling through cities, towns, and villages or exploring the country’s natural scenery, Italy is a fantastic road trip destination and it never disappoints.

The views will always be dreamy, the culture will always be fascinating, and the food will always be delicious.

With so much beauty in this country, it can be difficult to decide which area to choose for your scenic drive, so here’s a roundup of the best road trips in Italy that will hopefully help you make this almost impossible decision.

* This post may contain affiliate links from which I earn a commission (for more info, read my disclosure ). As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

* I try to keep the information on this blog as updated as possible, but I still recommend consulting the latest prices, opening hours, and other details on the official website of each site, hotel, and tour, as well as checking the updated public transport routes and timetables.

Looking for the best Italian road trips? Here are 14 road trips in Italy for your travel bucket list inculding itineraries and tips!

Table of Contents

Best Italian Road Trips on the Mainland

Southern italy.

By Nicole from Adventures of Nicole

Route:  Circular starting in Naples.

Days:  15 days (13-17 days is comfortable).

In a perfect mixture of off-the-beaten-path and well-trodden classics, this Southern Italy road trip takes in the most-loved stops in the regions of Campania , Basilicata , Puglia , and Calabria , as well as their hidden gems .

Starting from the capital of Campania,  Naples , take a day or so to explore the historical sites that the city has to offer.

Some of the best things to do in Naples include exploring the historic center, grabbing some arancini, pizza fritta (fried pizza), and sfogliatelle, and heading to Gino Sorbillo’s pizzeria for one of his famed pizzas.

After your whirlwind visit to Naples, head south and spend 2- 4 days on the Amalfi Coast .

Explore the gorgeous towns of Positano , Amalfi , Atrani , and Ravello that seem impossibly clung to the side of the mountainous coast that appears to tumble into the sea.

Continuing south from the Amalfi Coast, you’ll enter the little-visited region of Basilicata and on to two of the most beautiful places in all of Italy – Castelmezzano and Pietrapertosa . These side-by-side towns are built right into the Lucian Dolomites.

Castelmezzano Southern Italy

From Castelmezzano, you’ll journey deeper into Basilicata and visit  Matera .

Once the ‘shame of Italy,’ the troglodytic city has risen from the ashes to become a European Capital of Culture and a UNESCO site. Among the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, don’t miss the fascinating caves of the Sassi di Matera.

Heading into  Puglia , you’ll visit the bizarre conical-roofed Trulli of Alberobello, the gorgeous caves of Grotta dell’Poesia, and the thermal baths of Santa Cesarea Terme before heading back into Basilicata to explore the nature of  Pollino National Park  en route to Calabria.

In  Calabria , you’ll laze on the beautiful beaches in and around  Tropea  and explore the untamed beaches and cave of Grotto dell’Arcomagno.

Head back north to  Maratea , your jumping-off point to the little-known cousin of Amalfi – the  Cilento Coast , where you’ll wrap up your epic road trip before turning your car back in up in Naples. Plan your own  Southern Italy road trip here .

UNESCO-listed Trulli houses of Alberobello, southern Italy

By Krisztina from She Wanders Abroad

Route:  From Ortisei to Cortina d’Ampezzo.

Days:  4-5.

If you want to discover one of the most stunning areas in Northern Italy, you have to plan a  road trip to the Dolomites  for your next vacation!

It’s best to explore the Dolomites by car, so you can either bring your own if you live nearby or rent a car at the airport when you arrive in Italy.

Although there are no international airports in the area, bigger airports such as Venice, Bergamo, or Milan are only a few hours away from the Dolomites. This makes it easy to visit the region, even if you are coming from overseas.

The Dolomites cover more than 140,000 hectares in several regions, so you can spend several weeks exploring the area without getting bored, but if you only have a shorter amount of time, 4-5 days are enough to discover the highlights.

Since the best places to visit in the Dolomites are quite far from each other, it’s best to choose two bases for your road trip from where you can explore the nearby area with less driving.

In the first part of your road trip to Italy’s Dolomites, stay in  Ortisei , which is a cute little town located in  Val Gardena (in South Tyrol).

From there, you can visit the famous  Alpe di Siusi ,  Lago di Carezza , the Seceda ridgeline, and the picturesque church of Santa Maddalena in  Val di Funes .

Cortina d’Ampezzo  is one of the most popular places to stay, and it will be the perfect base for the second half of your Dolomites road trip as you can easily reach the Insta-famous  Lago di Braies  or the iconic three peaks at  Tre Cime di Lavaredo  from there.

It’s best to stay at least 2 nights at each place to have time to properly explore their surroundings!

Alpe di Siusi Dolomites

By Marek from Indie Traveller

Route:  Circular starting in Bari.

Days:  7.

Puglia is a highly underrated region of Italy that’s just made for a road trip.

It’s filled with ancient history, cute coastal towns, and great regional culinary delights, though without the crowds often found on the tourist trail elsewhere in Italy.

Start in the port city of  Bari , then drive a circle around the Puglia peninsula (recognizable as the ‘heel of Italy’s boot’). The ancient city of  Lecce , often billed as a kind of mini-Florence but without the crowds, is a must-stop along the way.

The true delights, though, are the small towns with white-plastered houses along the coast, such as  Monopoli  and  Otranto , many of them boasting old Venetian fortresses and some of the best beaches in Puglia .

Best scenic drives in Italy - Puglia

Looping back to Bari, be sure to stop by  Alberobello . It’s a town known for its ‘Trulli’ – small conical buildings that were once used as farmhouses, but these days often function as souvenir shops or little holiday homes.

Staying in a Trullo is a unique experience you can’t have anywhere else.

Puglia is a wonderful region to explore by car, but do take care when driving; the Italians around here are known to be quite reckless drivers at times! Be sure to check out these  tips for a road trip in Puglia .

Read more about Puglia:

  • Best places to stay in Bari
  • Things to do in Bari
  • Day trips from Bari
  • Puglia itinerary without a car
  • Hidden gems in Puglia
  • Is Bari worth visiting
  • Visiting Puglia in March

A city in Puglia

Northern Italy: Lakes Garda, Como, Maggiore, and Orta

Route:  Circular starting in Milan.

Northern Italy’s lakes are an ideal European road trip destination from Milan (especially if you want to spend fall or spring in Europe ).

From colorful coastal towns to relaxing beaches to natural landscapes, this area offers an interesting mix of things to do and see.

This one-week  Italian lakes road trip  can easily be extended to 10 or even 14 days if you want to visit a few more places or spend some time resting by the lakes.

Borghetto sul Mincio Lake Garda

Rent your car at Milan’s airport and head to  Lake Garda , the largest in the country. Dedicate at least 3-4 days to this lake and explore towns like Limone , Sirmione , Malcesine , Bardolino , and Borghetto sul Mincio .

Don’t miss the mesmerizing turquoise Lake Tenno , situated only a few miles away from Garda’s northern coast.

Continue to  Lake Como , which is mostly known for its luxurious lakeside villas. Towns like Varenna and Bellagio are its crowning glory, but there are plenty of hidden gems waiting to be discovered in the area.

Cannobio Lake Maggiore

The third lake,  Lake Maggiore , is the one that often gets overlooked, yet visiting it is one of the best things to do in northern Italy .

Base yourself in  Stresa , and visit places like the nearby Borromean Islands  (easily accessible by ferry or boat) and the lesser-known Cannobio .

Before heading back to Milan, be sure to stop at the charming  Orta San Giulio  on  Lake Orta .

Rome to Florence

By Tiffany from A Girl and Her Passport

Route:  Rome to Florence.

Days:  5.

Traveling from Rome to Florence is probably one of the best driving routes in Italy. This road trip takes you through the gorgeous countryside of Umbria and Tuscany .

A  road trip from Rome to Florence  is very short if you want to make no stops along the way, but where is the fun in that? You can make the trip in as little as two days or make it a longer trip of up to five days. 

Most people will rent a car at the Rome airport, so if you want to see the city first, you should do this before renting a car.

You can plan a short itinerary of just 24 hours in Rome , but the Italian capital has so much to offer, that it would be best to spend at least 4 days in Rome .

Once you leave the city, head to the  Parco di Monstri – this outdoor sculpture garden is unlike any art you might have seen, and it has a slightly creepy history.

In Umbria, there are several cute towns to visit that have fascinating histories. Amelia , supposedly the oldest Umbrian town, has 11-foot-thick walls and winding alleyways to explore.

Assisi is the hometown of St. Francis and has many stunning churches to visit. The view from the Rocca Maggiore castle is one of the best in Italy.

Tuscany brings its own beautiful villages, including Siena and Cortona , from ‘Under the Tuscan Sun’ fame.

Be sure to watch where you park in these towns as the parking can be restricted to residents only. Usually, there is a public car park on the outskirts of town.

Most of all, take time to enjoy the scenery of this stunning road trip from Rome to Florence.

You can also check out this 7-day Rome-Florence-Venice itinerary !

Assisi village

By Dhara from It’s Not About the Miles

Route:  Circular starting in Florence.

One of the best scenic drives in Italy is a trip through Tuscany.

With this  7-day Tuscany road trip itinerary , you can cover the best places to visit in the region, enjoy the art and architecture, take great photos, and relish fabulous food and wine along the way.

Begin your trip with 1 or 2 days in  Florence , the region’s capital and the cradle of the Renaissance.

In Florence, climb to the top of the Duomo for fabulous views, wander the streets of the historic center (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), and take in the sunset from Piazzale Michelangelo. Don’t forget to gorge on gelato!

From Florence, head southeast, to the lesser-visited but very beautiful towns of Arezzo and Cortona . With beautiful architecture and lively main squares, these small towns will charm you.

Your next stop is  Siena , possibly Italy’s most famous hill town. Its Duomo is magnificent, as well as its Piazza del Campo, one of the largest squares in Europe and one of the prettiest piazzas in Italy .

From Siena, move on to the scenic  Val d’Orcia , where you can stop at old historic abbeys, small picturesque hill towns, and even one of the best hot springs in Tuscany .

Do make time to sample the local pici pasta and famous local wines, and visit some vineyards as well!

On the western side of your loop around Tuscany, you will visit  San Gimignano , with its famous medieval towers, and  Lucca , famous for its medieval city walls (though you’ll find plenty of other things to do in Lucca ).

You can also stop in  Pisa , to see the famous Leaning Tower, before you head back to Florence.

Montepulciano Tuscany

Bologna Apennines

By Lori from Travelinmad

Route:  Circular starting in Bologna.

Days:  2-3.

If you’ve visited the over-touristy cities in Italy like Venice, Florence, and Rome and are seeking somewhere without crowds, base yourself in Bologna, rent a car, and  road trip the Bologna Apennines .

The small towns, scenic wilderness areas, and incredible historic sites are all within a one-hour drive from Bologna.

The Bologna Apennines are south of the city and easily accessible. Use a GPS to explore winding roads with overviews around nearly every bend.

One of the best things to experience is the incredible local food. The small hamlets all have one or two great places to eat.

On a weekend drive a pleasant 28 miles from Bologna, is the mysterious Rocchetta Mattei , a 19th-century fortress with a fascinating past and wild architecture. You’ll need a reservation, but that’s easy to do at the tourism office in Bologna.

Along the same road is the 13th-century sparsely habited village of Borgo La Scola . It’s quiet and interesting… and you might even get to chat with one of the few residents.

You’ll find the town of Tolé fascinating with its incredible murals and artworks lining the narrow lanes. And don’t miss the town of Vignola and its amazing castle, the Rocca di Vignola. The entrance is free, and if you’d like a tour in English, you’ll need a reservation.

If you’re looking for offbeat Italy road trip routes, the Bologna Apennines are definitely slow travel at its best.

Rocchetta Mattei - Bologna Appennines

Northern Italy: Veneto and Trentino Regions

By Emily from London City Calling

Route:  Circular starting in Verona.

Days:  10.

Starting and finishing in Verona, this 10-day northern Italy road trip itinerary will let you see the best of the diverse regions of Veneto and Trentino , with their many historic cities, beautiful lakes, and dramatic mountainous scenery.

Start your trip in the romantic city of Verona , known for its connection with Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, followed by a couple of days in the neighboring Lake Garda , famous for its turquoise waters and quaint lakeside towns.

A leisurely few days in the sunny Veneto region is a perfect place to start your Italian road trip route.

From the south of Lake Garda, drive to the lake’s northern shore where you’ll enter Trentino, one of Italy’s most northerly provinces.

Here you can spend a few days nestled within the dramatic scenery of the  Dolomites , either in the charming city of  Trento  or out hiking, kayaking, and caving your way around the region’s beautiful nature.

Next, head back down to the Veneto region and spend your last couple of days exploring  Venice , Italy’s famous floating city, and  Treviso , home of the tiramisu.

Venice can be difficult to visit on a road trip given that cars can’t enter the island, however, you can either leave your car in Treviso and get the 30-minute train to Venice island or park at one of Venice’s designated car parks and jump on a boat into the historic center.

Finally, head back to Verona, just an hour’s drive away from Venice, to end your trip where you started it.


By Val from My Italian Diaries

Route:  From Ancona to Ascoli Piceno.

Le Marche is a beautiful region in central Italy , stretching along the Adriatic coast.

Its fabulous landscapes in all shades of green and yellow rival those of neighboring Tuscany, while its historic hamlets and glitzy beach towns are a joy to explore.

There’s a lot you can include on your  Le Marche itinerary , but with five days at your disposal, you can cover quite a few highlights.

Start in Ancona , the region’s capital, with a lively harbor, interesting museums (including one specially designed for visually impaired people), and a splendid hilltop cathedral.

The next day, head to Mount Conero National Park , where you’ll find pristine beaches immersed in natural beauty and enchanting little towns like Sirolo and Numana .

On day 3, visit Loreto , home to one of the most important pilgrimage sites in Italy – the Holy House of the Virgin Mary.

Then, reach the beautiful hilltop town of Recanati, where everything speaks of his most famous resident, Giacomo Leopardi, one of Italy’s greatest poets.

Spend the next day in Fermo , another fabulous hilltop town where highlights include Roman cisterns, amazing churches, and a fascinating piazza lined with historic palaces.

While you’re there, don’t miss the gorgeous hamlet of Torre di Palme , known as the “balcony of the Adriatic”, and the magical old town of Grottammare Alta , a bit further south.

Finally, reach Ascoli Piceno to admire its stunning Piazza del Popolo, lined with medieval buildings and historic establishments, and feast on  olive all’ascolana , the region’s delicious stuffed fried olives that were born here.

Le Marche, Italy

By Nancy from Nancy Goes to Italy

Route:  Based in Termoli.

Days:  3.

Molise is the second smallest region of Italy. Its western half is part of the Apennine Mountains and a national park. This  Molise road trip  concentrates (over 3 days) on the eastern shelf near the Adriatic.

The base is the seaside town of Termoli, with its old town and beautiful beaches, popular with Romans.

On day 1, visit Agnone, home to the oldest bell foundry in the world, founded in 1339 and continuously operating ever since. 

On day 2, head to Bagnoli del Trigno, a town built in and around a rock. It has an attractive big square, easy parking, pretty trees, painted houses, a piazza with benches and scalloped cobblestones, and a bar named Bizzarro.

Next, visit Pietrabbondante, a town with an ancient amphitheater built by the Samnites around 400 BC. It takes about 40 minutes to get there from Bagnoli del Trigno, even though it’s only 20 miles away. In Molise, the terrain is rough and the roads are small and twisty.

On your last day, head to the village called Acquaviva Collecroce, also named Kruć. It’s small and easily walkable but very hilly. It was founded by people from the Dalmatian coast (what is now Croatia) who are said to speak Italian and Serbo-Croatian.

Bagnoli del Trigno, a town in Molise, Italy

Northwest Italy: Lombardy, Liguria, and Piedmont

Route:  Circular from Milan.

Days:  7-8.

Looking for more ideas for your Italian self-drive holidays? Another way to see northern Italy with a car is by exploring its northwestern regions, including Lombardy , Liguria, and Piedmont .

After spending a day in Milan , it’s time to hit the road and head to the city of Pavia to marvel at the Visconti Castle, the Cathedral of Pavia, and its beautiful streets.

Continue to Genoa for a couple of days. You can visit the Royal Palace Museum, admire the San Lorenzo Cathedral, stroll along the UNESCO-listed Via Garibaldi and its famous palatial buildings, and enjoy dozens of other landmarks, museums, and activities.

You could also visit the villages of the Cinque Terre, though you might find it easier to reach the area by train (from Genoa).

Spend some time in the charming small city of Asti , and head to Turin for about two days during which you should visit the Egyptian Museum, Palazzo Reale, Palazzo Madama, Villa della Regina, and Borgo Medievale.

Before going back to Milan, make a final stop in the small city of Biella and the nearby Burcina Park and Sanctuary of Oropa , the largest and most important sanctuary dedicated to the Virgin Mary in the Alps.

  • Non touristy things to do in Milan
  • Day trips from Milan in winter
  • Things to do in Milan when it rains
  • 4 days in Milan
  • Milan or Turin
  • Hidden gems in northern Italy
  • Best places to visit in northern Italy in October

Mole Antonelliana building in Turin

Northwest Italy: Turin and Aosta Valley

Route:  Circular from Turin.

To combine history and culture with the most picture-perfect natural landscapes, spend a couple of days in Turin and then head to the dreamy Aosta Valley to enjoy the most amazing northwest Italy road trip .

The capital of Piedmont will reward you with UNESCO-listed royal residences of the House of Savoy, fascinating museums for all ages, amazing hearty food and chocolates, and so much more.

Then rent your car in the city center and head to the visit-worthy Aosta Valley (alternatively, rent your car at Turin’s airport, travel through Aosta Valley, and end your trip with 2 days in Turin).

Base yourself in the center of the region and explore a different area each day. On your way from Turin, you can already visit the awe-inspiring Fort of Bard .

In the remaining days, enjoy the magical Mont Blanc views offered by the Skyway Monte Bianco cable car and the quaint towns of Pre Saint Didier and Courmayeur , head into the scenic Gran Paradiso National Park , visit the Roman landmarks of Aosta (the city), and unwind at Brusson Lake.

Don’t forget to try regional delicacies cooked with locally produced fontina cheese, including fondue, risotto, and polenta.

  • Where to stay in Aosta Valley
  • Places to visit in Aosta Valley
  • Is Turin worth visiting?
  • 3-day Turin itinerary
  • Things to do in Turin
  • Best area to stay in Turin
  • Chocolate in Turin
  • Cafes in Turin
  • Turin travel tips
  • Winter in Turin
  • Hidden gems in Turin

Natural landscapes and houses in Saint Pierre in Aosta Valley, Italy

Southern Italy + Sicily

By Talek from Travels with Talek

Route:  Naples to Palermo.

My  road trip in Southern Italy  was one of the coolest I’ve ever taken. We started off in Naples and headed south to Sicily ending in the beautiful capital city of Palermo.

All told the trip took 10 days, but it is the type of journey that you could extend to whatever you want depending on your interests.

In  Naples , the best thing to do is to eat pizza and visit the Archeological Museum.

On to  Matera , a land of mysterious caves where people live and work underground. Further south we crossed into Sicily via car ferry, quite the experience navigating the narrow aisles on a ship with a car!

The island of Sicily is magical. Taormina , one of the first cities you reach when you cross the strait, is a medieval treasure.

Agrigento has the Valley of the Temples and the excavated Roman palace, Villa Romana del Casale, with its perfectly preserved collection of mosaics dating from Roman times.

One of the most impressive sights is the cathedral at Monreal , but the absolute gem of Sicily is its capital,  Palermo .

Wandering the city’s narrow streets and food markets (which are a great way to eat and experience Sicily on a budget ) and visiting the fascinating architectural mishmash of its cathedral and Norman palace was an unforgettable experience.


Best Italy Road Trips: Scenic Island Routes

By Marvin from Part Time Passenger

Route:  Circular starting in Olbia.

Days:  5-10.

Sardinia, the second-largest island in the Mediterranean Sea , is an excellent road trip destination – for various reasons. If you think you’ve seen a fair share of beautiful Italy, this  Sardinia road trip  will elevate your Dolce Vita to the next level.

The local Sards will not only welcome you with open arms, but will fix you up with some of the best Italian food around, including baked goat cheese, homemade ravioli tossed in sage butter, and fresh seafood. 

From the impeccable beaches of the  Costa Smeralda  in the north to the surf spots in  Oristano , across the central mountains, to the sandy bays of the  Costa Rei , Sardinia is an incredibly diverse destination.

With constantly changing scenery, it’ll be hard to be bored. And the best part: the main routes are easy to navigate and dotted with an abundance of stop-over opportunities.

While you could technically drive from north to south in 3-4 hours, you should at least (!) arrange for 5 days on the island.

Olbia , located in the northeastern tip of Sardinia and served by various airlines, is a good starting point. From here, work your way around the coastline. 

Venturing offshore to  La Maddalena  islands, watching the sunset in beautiful  Castelsardo,  or catching that perfect wave in  Capo Mannu ,  are just some of the things that will keep you busy here.

Lovers of all things history and culture will enjoy roaming the colorful alleys of the former Spanish enclave  Alghero  or the many piazzas of  Cagliari , the island’s busy capital. Sardinia simply has it all.


Western Sicily

By Katja from Places and Notes

Route:  Circular starting in Trapani.

Days:  7-10.

On this awesome  Western Sicily road trip , you will visit some of the island’s best historical sites, sandy beaches, cute villages with traditional wine cellars, vibrant cities, salt pans dotted with windmills, lush countryside, and much more.

Start your adventure in  Trapani , spend the first day getting to know the laid-back Sicilian way of life, and take a trip to the medieval village of  Erice  the day after.

Continue towards  San Vito lo Capo , a wonderful white sandy beach bay with a mountain backdrop, perfect for a relaxing day at the seaside.

On the way to Palermo, you can stop by at  Segesta  archaeological site and  Monreale  monastery.


Palermo  is Sicily’s largest, loudest, and most chaotic city, but it sure is worth spending a day or two visiting all the sites and indulging in Sicilian cuisine.

While heading south towards Agrigento and its impressive Valley of the Temples, make sure you visit Corleone , a smaller town famous for its connection with some of the most powerful families of the mafia.

Unwind in  San Leone  at the beach and explore another one of Sicily’s best spots,  Scala dei Turchi  white cliff.

The last part of this trip before returning to Trapani takes you to  Marsala , a charming wine area and a natural reserve with salt evaporation ponds, which are especially lovely at sunset.

This trip can begin in either Trapani or Palermo since there are international airports in both cities and is doable in seven days, but can be extended to ten.

Scala dei Turchi Sicily

Eastern Sicily

By Annabel from Smudged Postcard

Route:  Circular starting in Catania.

Days:  10 or more.

One of the best drives in Italy, this exploration of Eastern Sicily takes in a wide variety of sights. Flying into  Catania , it is worth spending a day learning about this beautiful Baroque city and its relationship with nearby  Mount Etna .

From Catania, it is an easy drive south to  Syracuse  where highlights include the stunning Piazza del Duomo and the Ancient Greek and Roman remains at the Archaeological Park.

If you’re taking a  road trip in Sicily with kids , be sure to watch a show at the traditional puppet theatre.

From Syracuse, it is a short drive to the Val di Noto region of Sicily, home to some appealing cities including  Modica  and  Ragusa , both perfect for foodies.

Heading inland from the Val di Noto, you reach  Caltagirone  with its impressive terracotta staircase.

Not far from there is the highest regional capital of Sicily, hilltop  Enna  with far-reaching views across the countryside towards Mount Etna.

The final leg of this road trip through Italy’s biggest island passes the smoldering volcano before reaching the pretty clifftop town of  Taormina .

Here, you will find a perfectly positioned Greek-Roman amphitheater with views looking out towards the sea and Mount Etna. There’s a cable car down to the pebbly beach and enough restaurants and cafes to fill a lifetime of holidays.

Etna view from Taormina

Some Tips for Planning an Italian Road Trip

  • As you can see in the suggested routes in this post, you should focus on a relatively small area instead of trying to see the entire country in 7 to 10 days (or even 2 weeks), which is impossible.
  • In some instances, parking is limited and the roads are narrow, so renting a smaller car would be better. It’s not always the case – in Aosta Valley, for example, this wasn’t a problem.
  • Parking is never free, so always have spare change, and be prepared for many toll roads (for these, you can also pay by card in most cases but not always).
  • Driving inside big Italian cities is not fun, so rent and return the car at the airport if possible.
  • Browse the best car rental deals on !

Related Travel Guides

Did you like these Italian routes? You might also like:

  • Best quotes about Italy
  • Books set in Tuscany
  • Romantic novels set in Italy
  • Gifts for Italy lovers (which you can totally buy for yourself)
  • Winter in Italy

Did you like these bucket list Italy road trip ideas? Check out:

  • Best road trips in Portugal
  • A road trip from Lisbon to Porto
  • Northern Portugal road trip
  • Beautiful road trips in Spain
  • Southern Spain road trip
  • Northern Spain road trip
  • 4 days in Crete
  • 3 days in Malta
  • Spring destinations in Europe

Have you found the best Italian road trip ideas for you? Tell me in the comments which one is your favorite and pin this post for later

About Or Amir

Hey, I'm Or! I'm a passionate traveler with a severe coffee, chocolate, and pastry addiction (or any other carb for that matter). I'm always planning my next trip to Spain, Italy, or any other country in Europe, and my goal is to help you make the most of each destination.

14 thoughts on “Best Italian Road Trips: 16 Super Dreamy Routes”

Thanks for the recommendations. I am planning a road trip to Italy for the summer and your info just made if 10 times easier to plan. Appreciate it!

That’s the goal, so that’s great to know! Thank you, Nadia!

I did a road trip in Puglia, Basilicata and the Amalfi Coast! It was really nice! I passed by many places you mentioned 🙂

That sounds lovely 🙂 Italy is so dreamy!

Great list of road trips you’ve put together! I would love to do all of these so I’m saving this post for later reference.

Thank you so much! A bucket list can never be too big 🙂

I’m loving these road trip ideas! I’m wishing I could teleport myself to Europe now and start the adventure. Ahh well, I will definitely keep these ideas in mind for the future! Those Italian Lakes are calling my name…

Oh, teleporting myself to other places is my dream superpower 😛 You’ll love the Italian lakes – their colorful towns are right up your alley 🙂

What a beautiful country! I’ve travelled through Tuscany and the Veneto but definitely need to explore the Northern Lakes and Sicily. We usually cope with driving in the country (although the smaller roads do have those anxiety inducing ditches on either side) then chicken out and go for a park and ride when we get close to the bog cities.

Your fabulous photos make me want to go back again soon!

I agree some regions in Italy are not so fun to drive, but I’ll take my chances 🙂 Happy you like this post!

Thanks for the feature! I wish I could be in Italy right now 🙁

Me too! Thanks for writing about your amazing Italian road trip 🙂

Thank you for the feature! This is an awesome list of Italy road trips and I can’t wait to explore some of these routes. Especially the Sicily road trips make me crave more Italian adventures!

Thanks for participating! I think it turned out awesome 🙂

*Your emil address will not be published. By using this form you agree with the storage and handling of your data by this website

Leave a Comment Cancel reply

Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.

Hi, I'm Or!

I'm a passionate traveler obsessed with traveling in Europe and discovering hidden gems in each place I visit. For me, it's not about ticking destinations off the bucket list but experiencing each one of them to the fullest. Read more about me and my story.

italy road trip in january

2 Weeks in Italy Itinerary: Colosseum

How to Spend 2 Weeks in Italy (Itinerary for 14 Perfect Days!)

Planning your first trip to Italy may feel overwhelming–but this (repeatedly) tried-and-tested itinerary for 2 weeks in Italy will have you relaxing into la dolce vita in no time!

For those who are new here, we are Kate and Jeremy Storm, travel bloggers and Italy travel addicts who have cumulatively spent more than a year each, over the course of many trips, exploring Italy in-depth.

After more trips (and plates of pasta) than we can count , our desire to return to Italy just keeps growing: there will always be more villages to explore, natural beauty to marvel at, and, of course, pasta and wine to enjoy.

Helping travelers plan their Italy itineraries is one of our passions, and we have repeatedly tested this guide to 14 days in Italy on friends, family, and ourselves many times over the course of several years!

So far, we have personally made our way to 14 of Italy’s 20 regions, from the imposing Dolomites of South Tyrol to the beaches of Sicily.

We’ve also “lived” for 2 months in Rome, and one month each in Florence and Bologna , enjoying a slower pace of Italy travel.

Suffice it to say that after all the time we’ve spent in Italy, we have some opinions about how to make your first trip to Italy truly unforgettable… and this Italy itinerary is what we suggest.

kate storm jeremy storm and ranger storm overlooking brisighella italy

Some links in this post may be affiliate links. If you make a purchase through one of these links, we may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. Please see our disclosure policy for more detail.

For first-time visitors, 2 weeks in Italy is the perfect amount of time to hit the country’s most famous and classic spots, see which ones you love, and (if you’re anything like us) fall head-over-heels in love with the country to the point that you’ll leave planning your next trip back.

This is the 2 week Italy itinerary we recommend to first-time visitors, including our friends and family, and we won’t be straying off the beaten path much here.

These first 14 days in Italy will be all about the classics–follow this trip and you’ll be spending a lot of time watching postcards come to life!

(And yes, this is a fairly long Italy blog post–feel free to use the table of contents below this paragraph to jump around as needed.)

Table of Contents

After Planning Your 2 Week Italy Itinerary…

How we structured this itinerary for 14 days in italy, the perfect itinerary for 2 weeks in italy, more (or less) than 2 weeks in italy, getting around italy, when to visit italy for 2 weeks, what to pack for italy, your 2 week italy itinerary map.

3 Days in Venice in November: Small Canal

… we’d love to help continue to plan your trip to Italy in more detail here on Our Escape Clause!

We have been writing about Italy travel since 2016, and have amassed a collection of 100+ Italy blog posts available for free on this website, covering everything from the best hidden gems in Rome to what a coperto is (and why you should expect to pay one).

Cities like Rome and Venice are among our absolute favorites in the world, and we write about them extensively–but if you’re interested in getting off the beaten path in Italy, we have lots of options for that, too, from enjoying the mosaics of Ravenna to taking a road trip in Puglia .

kate storm standing on the edge of the island san giorgio maggiore

One of my favorite things to write is detailed itineraries (like this one!), and we have suggestions for  Rome ,  Florence ,  Venice ,  Cinque Terre , the  Amalfi Coast ,  Milan ,  Naples , and more (and in the cases of some cities, several versions depending on how long you have to explore!).

I’ll link relevant blog posts throughout this 2 week Italy itinerary, but of course, I could never hope to include links to them all!

Head to  our Italy archives  to view all of our Italy blog posts in order, or if you’re looking for details on a particular destination, the search bar at the top right of the page (or at the top of the pop-out menu on mobile) is a great tool to use.

You also may want to check out the comment section at the bottom of this post–over the years, dozens of travelers have refined their own Italy itineraries there!

kate storm in front of a church when traveling in rome italy

We structured this 2 week Italy itinerary as a point-to-point trip covering Rome, Florence, the Tuscan countryside, Cinque Terre, and Venice.

In this way, you’ll have a chance to experience many of the most popular places to visit in Italy over the course of 2 weeks, without doubling back or over-stuffing your schedule.

While some travelers like to include Milan, Lake Como, and/or the Amalfi Coast over the course of 2 weeks, we have found that with roughly 14 days (and often some jet lag) to work with, less is more.

We’ve opted for Venice over Milan and Lake Como due to personal preference, and opted for Cinque Terre over the Amalfi Coast due to geographic convenience and the ease with which it can be seen over a short period of time.

However, ultimately, the destinations that appeal to you most should be at the top of your Italy bucket list, and this itinerary for Italy in 2 weeks can be adjusted accordingly.

kate storm and ranger storm sitting on a bench overlooking lake como surrounded by flowering trees

Days 1-4 in Italy: Rome

Rome’s highlights rank among the most famous sights in the world: who hasn’t dreamed of seeing the Colosseum in person, of walking across St. Peter’s Square, and of admiring the masterpiece that is the Sistine Chapel?

Three full days in Rome (excluding travel days) will give you plenty of time to see the best of what Rome has to offer, while also leaving plenty of time in your 2 weeks in Italy itinerary for all of the other destinations along the way.

If you happen to be lucky enough to have an extra couple of days in Italy, though–say 15 or 16 days, or perhaps less jetlag to contend with than some visitors–we highly recommend extending your time in Rome before adding time to any other destination on this 2 week Italy itinerary.

It’s simply impossible to run out of incredible things to do in Rome, which is why we have happily spent months there!

(It’s also worth pointing out that if you do have a bit of extra time in your schedule, booking an organized day trip to the Amalfi Coast is doable, if a long, day that is popular with ambitious travelers!).

4 Days in Rome Itinerary: Piazza del Popolo

Top Things to Do in Rome

Tour the colosseum + palatine hill..

Strolling through the center of Ancient Rome for the first time is an unforgettable experience!

Definitely don’t miss it during your first trip to Italy: you can buy skip-the-line tickets here (highly recommend for people visiting during summer/high season), or book the tour we enjoyed here .

kate storm in a striped dress in front of colosseum rome italy

Visit Vatican City.

The magnificent Sistine Chapel, the iconic St. Peter’s Basilica, the lovely St. Peter’s Square: for being such a tiny country, visiting Vatican City has a lot to offer!

We recommend using skip-the-line passes here as well, you can purchase them here .

We wrote a full guide to visiting Vatican City , so won’t repeat ourselves too much here, but in short, plan ahead, cover your shoulders, and touring the Vatican Museums on Friday night is worth it if you have the chance.

Map room in the Vatican Museums shot at night, with open window on the left. Visiting the Vatican Museums during special hours is one of our favorite travel tips for Rome Italy!

Stroll through Centro Storico.

The Trevi Fountain, the Pantheon, the Spanish Steps, Campo de Fiori: what do all of these famous things to do in Italy have in common with each other?

They’re all within walking distance of each other in Rome’s Centro Storico!

We also recommend seeking out a few of Rome’s hidden gems as you explore, including easy-to-access spots like Galleria Sciarra and Galleria Spada .

One of the best things about visiting Rome is just how much beauty is hidden in plain sight.

2 Day Rome Itinerary: Street Corner in Centro Storico

Things to Consider When Visiting Rome

Rome has two major downsides for a tourist: crowds and heat.

You can beat the bulk of both by traveling in the shoulder season (we personally think that October is the perfect month to visit Italy, and Rome is remarkably uncrowded in winter ), and/or waking up extra early to enjoy the city before everyone else gets out of bed.

For example, some of the best photos of the Trevi Fountain, Colosseum, and Spanish Steps that we’ve taken were snapped around dawn!

That being said–there are a million ways to get off the beaten path in Rome no matter when you visit!

While touristic hotspots like the Colosseum and Spanish Steps are nearly always crowded, fascinating places like the Capuchin Crypt, the Palazzo Doria Pamphilj, the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls, plus the neighborhoods of Testaccio, Ostiense, and Monti in general, are just a few of the many great places to enjoy Rome without dense crowds.

2 Days in Rome: Trevi Fountain

Where to Stay in Rome

La Cornice Guesthouse  — We loved this little guesthouse! It was extremely clean and comfortable, and VERY affordable for Rome.

La Cornice is set slightly outside the main tourist areas, but an easy 5-minute walk to the metro and a 20-minute ride got us to the Colosseum and other major sights.

Our favorite part of La Cornice? Eating a nearby Joseph Ristorante for lunch, which we not only enjoyed during this trip but have returned to repeatedly in the years after.

Check rates & book your stay at La Cornice Guesthouse!

4 Day Rome Itinerary: Campo de'Fiori

Hotel Condotti  — Located just around the corner from the Spanish Steps (and consequently the Piazza di Spagna metro station), you couldn’t ask for a better location in Rome!

Well-reviewed and boasting exceptionally clean rooms, Hotel Condotti is the perfect choice for a traveler with a midrange budget (or even a luxury traveler–this hotel also holds some impressive-looking suites!) who would like to be within walking distance of the best that Centro Storico has to offer.

Check rates & book your stay at Hotel Condotti!

Pantheon Inn  — If you’re looking for a building with classic Italian charm in the heart of Rome, this is it.

Located right behind the Pantheon and within reach, the Pantheon Inn offers a quiet, peaceful escape in the middle of bustling Rome.

You will need to walk a bit to the metro stop–but since the walk will take you through the heart of the beautiful Centro Storico, we doubt you’ll mind.

Check rates & book your stay at the Pantheon Inn!

2 Days in Rome: Vatican Museums Spiral Staircase

Days 5-7 in Italy: Cinque Terre

No first trip to Italy would be complete without a visit to this beautiful coastline!

After leaving Rome, head north to Cinque Terre for coastal views, hiking, adorable fishing villages, and plenty of fresh seafood.

We recommend traveling from Rome to Cinque Terre (specifically Monterosso al Mare) via train , which should take about 4-6 hours depending on the route.

Since all 5 of the Cinque Terre villages are easily connected by train (or ferry during the summer!), feel free to stay in whichever one appeals the most, or even in nearby Levanto or La Spezia to save a tiny bit of cash.

View of Spiaggia di Fegina in Monterosso al Mare with colorful umbrellas in the foreground, one of the best photography locations in Cinque Terre Italy

Top Things to Do in Cinque Terre

Hike between the villages..

Sadly, many of the hikes at Cinque Terre have been closed for landslides–but the magnificent Blue Path trail between Monterosso al Mare and Vernazza (which is highly recommended!) and between Vernazza and Corniglia are open and ready for visitors!

We recommend stopping by one of the visitor centers for the latest information on available hikes.

View of Vernazza Harbor from Above: One Day in Cinque Terre Itinerary

Watch the sunset from Manarola.

Arguably the most famous of Cinque Terre’s villages due to its postcard-worthy view, Manarola is the perfect place to watch the sun sink behind the sea (preferably with a glass of local wine in hand).

Eat all the pesto and seafood.

Pesto is local to the Ligurian coast, and that makes Cinque Terre one of the best places to indulge in it in all of Italy!

Pesto happens to be one of my favorite foods, so I may be slightly biased, but in my opinion, it’s an unforgettable part of visiting Cinque Terre.

As the villages of Cinque Terre are fishing villages at their heart, the seafood here is also absolutely delicious.

Woman facing away from camera on Manarola Promenade, One Day in Cinque Terre Itinerary

Things to Consider When Visiting Cinque Terre

While it would be tempting to bring a car to Cinque Terre to have access to your own transportation and a more direct way to get to Cinque Terre from Rome and to Florence after your visit, the roads do not make for an easy drive.

Parking can also be a challenge around the villages–if possible, we’d recommend relying on the train, ferry, or the famous trail to get around Cinque Terre .

Keep an eye on closures to both the trains and the trails between the villages, however.

Strikes can happen that will shut down the train (which happened to us way back in May 2016!), and the trails can sometimes be washed out and therefore closed.

The trails also often close during the offseason, so if you’re planning a winter trip to Italy, don’t count on being able to hike between all the villages.

2 Weeks in Italy Itinerary: Beach at Monterosso al Mare, Cinque Terre

Why Cinque Terre instead of the Amalfi Coast?

I addressed this above, but it’s understandably a popular question when planning a trip to Italy for 2 weeks, and I wanted to expand on it here!

Italy’s Amalfi Coast is truly a marvel, but it makes less geographic sense for this itinerary than Cinque Terre.

Visiting the Amalfi Coast would require traveling south from Rome when the bulk of this 2 weeks in Italy itinerary focuses on the northern half of the country.

If you have your heart set on visiting the Amalfi Coast, you can certainly swap it out for Cinque Terre, but bear in mind that the travel times involved would be cumbersome, especially if you don’t want to cut days from the rest of the destinations on your Italy itinerary.

Cinque Terre also has the benefit of being smaller than the Amalfi Coast, making it easy to explore most or all of the villages over a short amount of time.

If you absolutely don’t want to cut any destinations and are determined to visit both Cinque Terre and the Amalfi Coast, handing the reins to the experts and booking and organized day trip to the Amalfi Coast from here is your best bet ( this one gets rave reviews ).

View of Riomaggiore at Sunset, Cinque Terre in One Day

Where to Stay in Cinque Terre

Of the 5 villages of Cinque Terre, the only one we would recommend not staying in is Corniglia, as it’s the most difficult to get in and out of.

Other than that, all the villages have their perks–Monterosso al Mare has the biggest beach, Manarola has the most Instagram-famous viewpoint, and Vernazza and Riomaggiore are simply drop-dead gorgeous.

Bear in mind that many properties in Cinque Terre can involve a climb to reach them, so if mobility is a concern, be sure to double-check the location.

Most properties will offer porters to carry your luggage for you for a small fee, so if clamoring through town with your luggage doesn’t sound like fun, be sure to ask your hotel about their services!

Here are a few very well-reviewed properties to consider during your time in Cinque Terre:

Photo of Vernazza from above, the perfect stop on a 2 week Italy itinerary

Luciano Guesthouse (Riomaggiore)  — This is where we stayed during our most recent visit to Cinque Terre, and we can’t recommend it enough!

The property was clean and lovely, and the customer service offered by Francesco and his wife during our stay was absolutely top-notch. We would be thrilled to stay again!

Check rates & book your stay at Luciano Guesthouse!

Scorci di Mare (Riomaggiore) — Want to stay a 3-minute walk from the beach and see the sea from your window?

If so, the popular Scorci di Mare is the perfect spot for you!

Check rates & book your stay at Scorci di Mare!

Da Baranin (Manarola) — Cinque Terre is expensive, there’s no getting around it.

For a budget option, consider Da Baranin–you’ll need to climb up and down a steep hill as a trade-off, but you’ll get to stay in Manarola for a very affordable price tag!

Check rates & book your stay at Da Baranin!

2 Weeks in Italy Itinerary: Monterosso al Mare, Cinque Terre

Days 8-11 in Italy: Florence + the Tuscan Countryside

Tuscany is one of our favorite regions in Italy–and not just because we could spend a lifetime eating and drinking there (though we could).

The towns are beautiful and distinct, Florence is a dream of a city, the history is interesting, and the golden tinge to the light that you see in pictures of Tuscany isn’t photoshop–it just really looks like that.

While there’s no such thing as too much time in Tuscany, 3 days in Tuscany will give you a chance to explore the best of Florence in about 1.5-2 days, and also give you time to visit at least one other Tuscan city or small town, and/or head out wine tasting.

kate storm standing in front of florence duomo front doors

Pisa is a popular choice that is close to Florence, but unless you’re truly dying to see the leaning tower, we’d recommend Siena, Lucca , or Montepulciano instead.

If you’re looking for small-town day trips from Florence , San Gimignano, Volterra , Arezzo , and Montefioralle (near Greve in Chianti) are all stunning, and though it is in Umbria rather than Tuscany, we adored our visit to the village of Orvieto as well.

If you’re hoping to enjoy some wine tasting and town-hopping, this is an excellent opportunity to get a lot of value out of a guided tour: this wildly popular day trip from Florence is a fantastic way to taste a variety of what Tuscany has to offer (literally and figuratively).

2 Weeks in Italy Itinerary: Arezzo, Tuscany

Top Things to Do in Florence

Visit some of the best renaissance art on the planet..

The Uffizi Gallery (home of the Birth of Venus) and the Galleria dell’Accademia (home of Michelangelo’s David) are both home to undisputed world treasures that deserve to be admired during your 2 weeks in Italy.

We definitely recommend booking skip-the-line tickets to both galleries to avoid waiting in their very long lines (we once showed up to the Uffizi without pre-booked tickets and ended up giving up on visiting after nearly an hour of waiting).

You can purchase skip-the-line tickets to the Galleria dell’ Accademia here and to the Uffizi here .

opulent interior of the uffizi gallery, one of the best things to see in itinerary for italy in 2 weeks

Try your hand at a cooking class.

We may be a bit biased, given how much we adore Tuscan food, but if you want to take a cooking class during your 14 days in Italy, we recommend doing it here.

We adored our day taking this cooking class and years later, we still talk about it being one of our favorite days spent in Tuscany!

From the views of the countryside to the beautiful farmhouse the class is hosted in, to the sublime food, it is truly an experience to remember.

One Day in Florence: Cooking Class in Tuscany

Seek out the best views of the city.

From the ever-popular viewpoints of Piazzale Michelangelo and the cupola of the Duomo to lesser-known spots like the Rose Garden and Palazzo Vecchio, there’s no doubt that Florence is a city that deserves to be admired from all angles.

We’ve rounded up the best views of Florence here –personally, we have a soft spot for the view from the top of Palazzo Vecchio.

Take a day trip to the Tuscan countryside.

Wine, plus incredible Tuscan food, plus rolling countryside, plus stunning villages–a day trip to some of Tuscany’s remarkable villages and wineries is bound to be a day that you’ll never forget.

This incredibly popular day trip is a fabulous option!

Honeymoon in Tuscany: rooftops of Siena

Things to Consider When Visiting Florence and Tuscan y’s Countryside

Three days in Tuscany gives you a couple of options as far as lodging: you can either stay in Florence the whole time and take day trips out, you can stay in a smaller city the whole time and simply take a day trip to Florence, or you can split it up–two nights in one city, and one in another.

Personally, we’d recommend sticking with one place to stay–this Italy itinerary is already fast-paced, so there’s no reason to take up extra time moving hotels in Tuscany.

We’ve visited Tuscany many times with both structures , and love both for different reasons .

You truly can’t go wrong with either option–I’d stay in Florence if you’re more of a city person, and in a surrounding Tuscan town if you’re more interested in the countryside.

If you stay in the countryside, you will definitely want to rent a car for this portion of your Italy itinerary.

2 Weeks in Italy Itinerary: View of Florence Duomo

Where to Stay in Florence

B&B Le Stanze del Duomo  — Though Florence hotels can be a bit pricey and stretch the definition of “budget”, B&B Le Stanze’s beautiful rooms and impeccable location in Florence will be sure to have you swooning!

Check rates & book your stay at B&B Le Stanze del Duomo!

Hotel Silla — Located just a hop, skip, and jump from the Arno River, we loved our stay at Hotel Silla!

The hotel itself is lovely and quiet, the included breakfast a nice touch, and the location perfect: you have easy access on foot to all that Florence has to offer, without having to worry about crowds or noise.

We’d be happy to check in again!

Check rates & book your stay at Hotel Silla!

kate storm and jeremy storm sitting on the edge of the arno with the ponte vecchio in the background

Hotel Lungarno  — Nestled right against the Arno River and home to one of the best views of the Ponte Vecchio in Florence (not to mention some of the best views of the rest of Florence from their top deck), Hotel Lungarno is our personal “if we ever  really  want to splurge” hotel in Florence.

You can’t go wrong using Hotel Lungarno as your base during your Italy vacation!

Check rates & book your stay at Hotel Lungarno!

Romantic Things to Do in Tuscany: Tuscan streets in rain

Days 12-14 in Italy: Venice

Canals, canals, and more canals: Venice is simply a ridiculously beautiful place, and despite its somewhat controversial reputation, we absolutely adore it (yes, even during the summer !).

Definitely make sure that you climb St. Mark’s Campanile for an amazing view of the city, check out Libreria Acqua Alta (one of our favorite bookstores in the world!), walk across the Rialto Bridge, and spend ridiculous amounts of time wandering aimlessly around the small streets and lesser-known canals–that is truly Venice at its best.

If you have good weather while in Venice, also consider a day trip out to Murano or Burano for another view of Venetian life!

We’ve written extensively about Venice, in large part because we adore the city and know that unfortunately, not everyone walks away with the same impression.

We recommend taking a look at our suggested 2 day Venice itinerary and guide to the best hidden gems in Venice as you plan your trip here!

Small canal in Venice on a sunny day, lined by windows with flowerboxes

Top Things to Do in Venice

Tour the doge’s palace + st. mark’s basilica..

Venice has a truly fascinating history–for a city that is now known mostly for its beauty, flooding, and risks of sinking, it can be hard to recall that once upon a time, there was a true and powerful Venetian Empire.

Learning about the history of Venice’s government (it included  many  councils) and how it acquired its wealth is a fabulous way to get to know the city on a deeper level–and the buildings themselves are incredibly impressive, too.

We recommend taking a tour here if at all possible–it truly adds so much context.

This tour of the Doge’s Palace + St. Mark’s Basilica is very popular and a great option!

Piazza San Marco in Venice

Stroll through Venice’s beautiful sestieri.

Venice is divided into six districts, or sestieri, and each sestiere has its own distinct flavor and beauty.

San Marco and San Polo are the most popular (read: crowded), and while they are absolutely gorgeous, we recommend making time for a walk through some of the others as well.

Castello, Cannaregio, Dorsoduro , and San Croce all have a lot of beauty, canals, and quiet streets to offer.

kate storm and ranger storm on a quiet street in venice july

Hit the water and enjoy Venice’s canals.

While the gondolas are (deservedly) famous, there are indeed ways to experience Venice’s canals on any budget.

Whether you want to splurge on a private gondola ride, opt for the mid-range shared gondola option, or stick to a budget and tour the Grand Canal via Vaporetto , there’s a canal option open to you!

Our guide to gondola rides in Venice will help you know what to expect, or, if you want to find a way to enjoy a gondola ride for just 2 Euro (not a typo!), here’s how to find a traghetto .

Venice Grand Canal with gondola paddling across it--a must-see item for your 2 week Italy itinerary!

Things to Consider When Visiting Venice

Especially if you’re visiting during the summer, Venice will be both crowded and expensive.

It’s still absolutely worth it to go, but like in Rome, consider early wake-up calls to get the most out of your experience.

Some of our best memories of Venice are of walking through the city before the shops even start opening–and we’ve often found that we get our best photos of Venice then, too.

Keep in mind that if you want to take an iconic gondola ride, you’ll be paying a pretty penny–80 Euro/gondola worth.

After enjoying more than one gondola ride in Venice, we can confirm that they are worth it to the right traveler–but you can absolutely have a fabulous trip to Venice without one, too.

kate storm and ranger storm in a traghetto gondola during summer in venice italy

Where to Stay in Venice

Hotel Casa Boccassini  — This cute hotel easily met our needs during our first trip to Venice!

The room was simple but clean, and the shared bathroom was a fair trade in exchange for their competitive prices in a great location in Cannaregio.

The bathroom was clean and we had a sink in our room, both of which always make shared bathroom situations much easier.

The courtyard of the hotel was beautiful!

The hotel was a simple and beautiful 10-minute walk from the Rialto Bridge and just a 5-minute walk from the Vaporetto to the airport.

Check rates & book your stay at Hotel Casa Boccassini!

Couple in front of Bridge of Sighs in Venice

Hotel Lisbona  — We decided to check into Hotel Lisbona for one reason: we wanted to stay on a canal!

If you’re looking to stay right on a canal in Venice without paying luxury prices, we can heartily recommend Hotel Lisbona.

The building is beautiful and definitely has that oh-wow-I’m-in-Venice effect (especially when you look out the windows), the customer service is great, and the included breakfast is tasty.

The central location (it’s around a 5-minute walk to Piazza San Marco) couldn’t be better.

The downside? The room we stayed in was  tiny –but to be staying right on a Venetian canal in such an amazing location, we definitely considered the trade-off worth it.

Check rates & book your stay at Hotel Lisbona!

kate storm looking out the window of Hotel Lisbona, recommended hotel for 2 days in Venice

Hotel Danieli  — If you’re looking for a true luxury experience for your 2 days in Venice–the kind of hotel stay that you’ll remember for the rest of your life–look no further than the iconic Hotel Danieli, located inside 3 former palazzos along the Riva degli Schiavoni.

Every detail has been looked after here, and everything from the furniture to the breakfast to the location (mere steps from the Bridge of Sighs) to the truly stunning lobby will ensure you have an absolutely unforgettable trip to Venice.

Even if you don’t check in, consider dropping by the bar to see the beautiful lobby for yourself!

Check rates & book your stay at Hotel Danieli!

Lobby and staircase of Hotel Danieli in Venice--the perfect luxury hotel when deciding where to stay in Venice!

Italy has an endless amount of places to see, and no 2 weeks in Italy itinerary could dream of covering the whole country.

If you’re visiting over the summer (or over the winter and you like to ski) and find yourself with more time in Italy, consider heading to the South Tyrol region to experience the Dolomites (also known as the Italian Alps).

You could also head to Lake Como and stop off at Milan along the way, or stay further east after leaving Venice and hit up the stunning Verona .

Bologna , which is known as one of Italy’s great foodie cities, is another wonderful choice, and also includes the option of a day trip to the microstate of San Marino .

And, while Bologna is the most famous place to visit in Emilia-Romagna, we’d be remiss not to point out Ravenna (home to absolutely incredible UNESCO-recognized mosaics) and Parma (the origin of parmigiano-reggiano and a delightful city) as well.

kate storm visiting parma italy with baptistery in the background and red vespa in the foreground

South of Rome, you could head to the incredible Amalfi Coast or the stunning island of Capri , and stop off for a day along the way to eat pizza in Naples .

Further south, the stunning beaches and towns of Puglia make for a memorable summer trip to Italy.

Even with all that, you’re still barely scratching the surface of Italy (and of course, every single one of the destinations included in this 2 week Italy itinerary could easily take up more time as well)–but that’s ultimately a good thing.

If there’s one thing that we’re certain of after more than a year of exploring, it’s that there is always a reason to plan another vacation in Italy.

2 Weeks in Italy Itinerary: San Gimignano, Tuscany

With One Week in Italy

If you only have roughly one week to spend in Italy, we–heartbreaking though it is–recommend cutting at least one of the destinations suggested on this 2 week Italy itinerary. 

Personally, we’d first cut Cinque Terre (especially if you’re visiting outside the summer season), leaving the trifecta of Rome-Florence-Venice intact.

We go into this further in our guide to spending a week in Italy , as well as provide other suggestions on how to make the most of a short Italy itinerary.

If you need to cut a second destination, let geography be your guide, and trim off whichever destination will take the most time to reach based on your travel plans.

I know it’s incredibly hard to cut destinations, but rushing to a new place almost every day will eat up way too much time that should be spent experiencing Italy.

And ultimately, any given two, or even one, of the destinations covered in this Italy itinerary, could make for a magnificent trip.

Couple in Soprabolzano

With 3 Weeks in Italy

If you have an extra week to tack onto this 2 week Italy itinerary, lucky you!

You’re in for a real treat with a whole 3 weeks in Italy.

Our personal recommendation would be to use that extra week to add on Naples, Pompeii , and the Amalfi Coast.

Kate Storm and Jeremy Storm on a balcony overlooking Positano

If you’re a fast-paced traveler, you could cover those destinations in 4-5 days and spend the remaining time sampling Milan and Lake Como ( the town of Bellagio is just as picturesque as the pictures imply).

With that, you’ll cover the vast majority of the country’s best-known sights on your trip to Italy!

Alternatively, if you’re more of a slow, immersive traveler, use the extra week to really dig into one of the regions already included on this Italy itinerary.

Tuscany or Rome would be our pick (and you can technically take a very long day trip to Pompeii or Naples from Rome if you want to try to get the best of both worlds).

Photo of the cliffs of Capri

Within each of the destinations outlined in this 2 weeks in Italy itinerary, walking will likely be your most common method of getting around, and also half the fun of traveling Italy!

You’ll probably want to mix in some public transportation as well, particularly in Rome, but strolling through destinations like Venice and Florence is by far the best way to explore them.

Getting between destinations, however, is a different story–here’s a quick outline of transportation within Italy.

Frecciarosa Train in Italy: Florence to Bologna Train

Trains rule on-the-ground travel in Italy: if you’re not going to rent a car, it’s likely you’ll be getting around Italy by train.

Every train we have taken in Italy has been comfortable and pleasant, but keep in mind that strikes can occasionally interfere with travel.

We definitely recommend booking your train tickets in advance if you’re traveling on Italy’s high-speed trains, as these tickets can increase in price as the dates get closer.

If you’re traveling on the regional train, you don’t need to worry about booking ahead, as the prices are fixed. 

We typically travel Italy by train with Trenitalia, Italy’s national company, but Italo (a private company) is also excellent for some routes.

trentitalia high speed train in milano centrale station, as seen when traveling italy by train

In Lombardy (where Milan and Lake Como are located), you’ll also see Trenord-branded trains.

You can check prices and compare rates, schedules, and more on Omio to ensure you’re getting the best deal on train (or bus) travel in Italy.

We use Omio regularly throughout Europe and have always had good experiences with it.

If you do happen to buy a train ticket at the station (for a day trip, perhaps), keep in mind that paper train tickets  must  be validated before boarding the train in Italy, and failing to do so could result in a hefty fine, being thrown off the train at the next stop, and an enormous headache.

As far as we’re concerned, that’s another reason to book online, as showing the tickets on your phone to the conductor is just fine.

Shop train tickets for your 2 week Italy trip today!

Honeymoon in Tuscany: Views of Tuscan Countryside

Renting a car to drive through Italy is a popular option, especially in places like Tuscany, but there are a few things you’ll want to consider before you do.

Keep in mind that cars are restricted from driving into the historical centers of most cities, including Florence and Venice, and failure to adhere to these rules (even accidentally) can result in strict fines that you sometimes find out about through the mail months after the fact (my dad and a good friend have both been fined for driving in Italy via a summons after returning home).

For that reason, as well as issues with extremely limited parking in cities, we recommend limiting car rental when possible to time spent in smaller villages and towns.

While we love taking road trips in Italy , this itinerary for 14 days in Italy doesn’t require one, with the possible exception of renting a car for a couple of days to explore smaller villages in Tuscany.

If you do want to rent a car in Tuscany, know that an international driver’s permit is required for renting a car in Italy and must be obtained in your home country before arriving.

Siena Day Trip: Jeremy with Classic Cars

Sometimes car rental companies ask for it, sometimes they don’t (same with the police), but in our opinion, it’s not worth taking the risk–add this to your list of things to take care of being starting your 2 week Italy trip if you plan on renting a car.

Also, keep insurance in mind!

Thanks to Italy’s (somewhat deserved) reputation for less-than-cautious drivers, some travel insurance companies will not cover you while driving in Italy, or charge an extra fee to do so. Be sure to double-check before you book.

If renting a car is the right choice for you, we recommend browsing Discover Cars , and aggregate for finding rental cars in Europe (and beyond, though they’re most popular in Europe).

Discover Cars will search both local and international brands that have available cars for your dates, and allow you to compare prices, reviews, and inclusions side-by-side.

Shop rental cars for your Italy vacation today!

Quiet street in Venice, to be visited on this 2 week Italy itinerary

Bus travel in Italy is much less common than in some other European countries, mostly because of their well-developed train system.

You can find some buses available, however, especially among smaller cities and villages (we’ve used local buses in South Tyrol several times), as well as throughout certain parts of southern Italy.

If you’re having trouble deciding how to get around a certain destination.

In addition to trains, you can also browse some long-distance buses via Omio .

kate storm and ranger storm in front of the pantheon when visiting rome italy

If you’re hoping to be careful of your budget during your 2 week Italy trip, we recommend looking into flights for the Rome to Venice (or vice versa) leg of this itinerary.

Trains are a comfortable, romantic, and easy way to travel, and they also often cost more than budget flights do!

2 Weeks in Italy Itinerary

There’s no such thing as a bad time to spend 2 weeks in Italy, but some seasons are definitely more convenient to travel in than others.

Summer is the most popular season and will bring warm weather, lots of sunshine, and lots of tourists.

Prices will be at their highest, but the beaches will be at their best–if you’re hoping to swim at Cinque Terre, you’ll want to plan a summer trip.

Winter is the offseason and will bring colder temperatures, rain, and gray skies.

Prices will be at their lowest, and crowds will be as small as they ever get.

The Christmas season can bring increased crowds, but also the benefit of experiencing Christmas decor and markets (though fair warning–these have nothing on the Christmas markets in Austria and Germany! Check out Bolzano for something close.).

jeremy storm and ranger storm in front of milan christmas tree galleria vittorio emanuele

Personally, our favorite times to travel to Italy are the spring and especially the fall.

T he crowds are less than in the summer, spring brings beautiful blooms, and fall brings the olive harvest (after tasting fresh olive oil in Tuscany, I don’t know how we ever lived without it).

The weather is a bit riskier during the spring and fall than during the summer, but we have never had much of an issue with it.

T he occasional rainy or cool day is worth it to us for the tradeoff of not being hot and crowded, and October is our personal favorite month to visit Italy.

Ultimately, though, whenever you have a chance to plan a 14 day Italy trip, take advantage of it: every month of the year brings distinct upsides and challenges, but each and every one of them is worth the trade-off.

2 Weeks in Italy Itinerary: View of Siena

Planning a packing list for 2 weeks in Italy can be a challenge of its own!

We have a full Italy packing list here, but to get you started here are a few things to be sure to bring on your trip to Italy.

italy road trip in january

These days, we prefer just to leave valuables in our Pacsafe during the day.

2 aperol spritzes being held up in lucca, a fun stop during a 14 days in italy itinerary

Option C: Hope you get lucky with the weather (but fair warning, we’ve never been avoided rain entirely during a trip to Italy!).

italy road trip in january

Bring a small pack of tissues, toss them in your day bag, and you won’t have to worry about it.

italy road trip in january

I’ve been using it for more than 5 years now and am now working on my second volume, and I absolutely adore it!

italy road trip in january

I use them on all boats and the occasional bus, and if things get really bad, take some Non-Drowsy Dramamine as well.

Before heading off for your 2 weeks in Italy, be sure to read through our complete Italy packing list !

Take This Map With You! Click each highlight to pull up the name of the destination. To save this map to “Your Places” on Google Maps, click the star to the right of the title. You’ll then be able to find it under the Maps tab of your Google Maps account! To open the map in a new window, click the button on the top right of the map.

2 Weeks in Italy Itinerary: #rome #florence #tuscany #cinqueterre #venice #italy #travel

[convertkit form=828904]

About Kate Storm

Image of the author, Kate Storm

In May 2016, I left my suburban life in the USA and became a full-time traveler. Since then, I have visited 50+ countries on 5 continents and lived in Portugal, developing a special love of traveling in Europe (especially Italy) along the way. Today, along with my husband Jeremy and dog Ranger, I’m working toward my eventual goal of splitting my life between Europe and the USA.

148 thoughts on “How to Spend 2 Weeks in Italy (Itinerary for 14 Perfect Days!)”

I’m in Veneto, and so am biased about what I write about Italy. You covered some great places like CInque Terre and beautiful Toscana. I totally agree about heading to see the Alps, the Dolomiti is a must too. Beautiful photos to accompany the post too!

Thanks, Lisa! We’re hoping to make it back to see even more of Italy in 2018–maybe we’ll make it to more of Veneto this time!

Do the 3 chimney hike, you will not be disappointed!

Italy, why can’t I quit you… I have been reading about how dreary Italy can be in the winters. I think you are right that fall would be the best time to visit. I loved how clear all of your photography was.

Thanks, guys! I know what you mean–we can’t quit Italy, either.

I went in October 1-14, 2021, we had one evening of rain in Venice but we went to a concerto and the rain was over when we came out of the concert!!! I had the best trip ever!!!!!! My daughter planned it and she did an excellent job, Naples to Rome to Florence to Tuscany to Venice to Cortina to Venice train to Naples to Mt. Vesuvius to Pompeii to Verti to Amalfi Coast. It was an amazing trip and I want to go back too.

How many days did you stay in each of these places on your trip to Italy?

What was your itinerary day to day. What method of transportation? Thanks!

Could you please share more details? would love to do this itinerary Summer of 2023!

A great article for first timer to Italy. I have sent this to my partner and I hope he reads it, I have dreamed of coming to Italy since I was a young girl. My parents went to Italy and always spoke of Venice and Muranos Island and of course glassware. Your photos are spectacular.

Hope you get to make that trip happen soon, Nicole! Italy is as amazing as advertised. 😀

Italy is such a cool destination and this is the perfect guide to plan a trip in two weeks. I have been to Rome once and your pictures of Trivi Fountain is amazing as during my visit it was mainly crowded. Did you explore the islands near Venice too ?

No chance to go to the islands, sadly–the weather didn’t cooperate with us too well in Venice. Hopefully next time! We’d especially love to go to Burano.

I was actually wondering where you were off next, after reading your Rome post 🙂 although not a big fan of Italy overall, I am a huge fan of Tuscany… I only got to spend 2 days in Florence a few years back, so it is definitely on my travel list! Love your pics!

Florence is definitely worth a return visit–the food alone would be, in our opinion! 😉

I visited Italy for the first time last year, travelling to Rome and it was magical. The amount of culture is unbelievable, I would love to travel to Florence or Naples next time!

I hope you get that return trip, Lottie! Italy never gets dull, that’s for sure.

Your pictures are really enticing. A trip to Italy would be incomplete without taking up a culinary class or 2 in Tuscany. Cinque Terre looks particularly interesting too. Will get back to you for travel-planning. 🙂 Cheers!!

You’re totally right, Aditi–our cooking class in Tuscany was one of our highlights of our month there this year! Food in general is such a big part of traveling in Italy, it really adds something to the whole experience.

I agree with you that one cant get enough of Italy…and this time I really mean it! So much cosy villages and site to explore…and not to mention the food! I have been to Italy many times before living in the country next to so I think you have chosen a great destinations for a two weeks itinerary for a first-timer! I hope to visit the northern and souther part of Italy this summer!

Oh, it must be so much fun to live in Italy! I’m sure it comes with its challenges as well, like any destination, but if we could pick somewhere to live for a year, Italy would be VERY high on the list!

Eat, Pray, love put Italy on my map. And, I am so glad it did. I really enjoyed my time in Italy. And, without knowing I almost followed your first-time visitor itinerary. The country is so beautiful that one time is not enough. I am aching to go back. Maybe this year it will happen.

Hope you get to go back, Archana! No such thing as too many trips to Italy, right?!

A nice itinerary that you have suggested. Did all these except for cinque Terre. Wish someone had advised me then to do that. I hope to go back to Italy again to see this. Cheers

Agreed–we hope we get to go again soon, too! 🙂

Curious, how did you decide the order of your destinations? We’re doing 15 days in Italy and flying into Rome. We’re trying to visit Venice, Florence, Cinque Terre, Tuscany then Amalfi Coast before returning to Rome for our flight home. Any advice on the best order?

We actually put this itinerary together based on a couple of months worth of travel in Italy, so we didn’t follow these steps exactly in order (though we’ve visited all of these destinations, some more than once!).For your trip, assuming you’re flying out of Rome as well, I’d personally probably structure it as: Rome to Cinque Terre, Cinque Terre to Florence/Tuscany, Florence/Tuscany to Venice, and Venice to the Amalfi Coast (you’ll need to stop by Rome again) before returning home.

No matter what way you do it, you’re going to have a lot of travel time in there–you’re covering quite a bit of the country.Honestly, I’m tempted to say you should skip either Cinque Terre or the Amalfi Coast (the Amalfi Coast would make more sense to cut geographically, hence why it didn’t make this itinerary) and slow the pace a bit, but I know that’s much easier said than done–when you have a limited number of days, you want to see it all!

Not sure how you’re planning on getting around, but I’d consider saving some time and flying from Venice back to Rome–budget airlines (including Ryanair) fly in/out of both those cities, and if you plan in advance, you may be able to get very low fares. Also consider booking any train tickets you need in advance–fares go up dramatically the closer your dates get.

Hope you guys have an amazing trip! Italy is absolutely incredible. ?

Hi Jeremy and Kate, Warm greetings from India. I discovered your blogsite recently and this is really amazing 🙂 I wanted a favor from you guys, I will be travelling to Italy soon, for some office work in mid march. I will stay at Siena for 14 days. Can you please please please recommend me a travel plan or at least help me with details of rail travel? I intend to see Rome on one weekend, Venice and Milan on other weekend. I intend to travel Florence and Pisa during weekdays, when we get time off. I wish to hear from you guys… Love from India <3

Hi, Akshay! That’s not a service that we offer, but I can say that we used Trenitalia for our train tickets and were very satisfied with them. I recommend booking as soon as you know your dates, because prices do get more expensive over time. I think seeing Venice and Milan in a single weekend will likely be too much–unless you’re dying to see Milan in particular, I’d recommend skipping it and heading right to Venice. Good luck!! Hope you have an incredible trip.

We leave for our first Italy trip next week! I am so excited! When we were first planning our trip we were trying to pack too much into 14 days. We settled on flying into Venice for two days, heading to Modena for two days, traveling to the Umbria region for 5 and ending in Rome where we fly out.

Oh, that is so exciting! It’s definitely tempting to try to stuff too many destinations into too few days, but your trip sounds wonderful. I hope it helps you fall in love with Italy!!

Hello- We are traveling to Italy for first time in August 2018. Flying in to Venice and staying for 3 nights. Then to Florence for 4 nights, and on to Rome for 6. Flying back to US from Rome. Question– Should we decrease time in Rome to add 1-2 nights in Naples or Sorrento to see Amalfi Coast? We will do day trip from Rome –> Naples –> Pompeii, but just curious if we should try to squeeze in Amalfi Coast. Thank you!

Hi Vicki! It’s hard to say without knowing your general travel style (how badly do you want to see the beach?), but our recommendation would be to stick with Rome for 6 nights, or to add on an additional night onto Florence and potentially use that as a day trip to Cinque Terre (you’ll need a car to do that, but it’s a shorter drive than Rome –> Sorrento). Good luck with your planning–your trip sounds fabulous!

Thanks so much Kate! The attraction to Amalfi Coast is b/c we have heard how beautiful it is- but it does does sound far for a day trip from Rome. I keep reading about Cinque Terre but we are not big hikers (knee issues…!). Would Cinque Terre be worth a day trip (train?) on the way to Florence from Venice? Thank you so much for your help! Vicki

A day in Cinque Terre on the way to Florence, perhaps… but you’d need a whole day, and likely need to spend a night. There’s no direct train from Florence to Levanto (the larger village near the Cinque Terre villages), unfortunately, so traveling by train between the two without a car is harder than it appears looking at a map. Travel from Venice to Cinque Terre will likely take an entire day as well, but you could add one Cinque Terre day in between two travel days if you’d like! 🙂

Kate, Thank you so much– this has been enormously helpful! I think we’ve decided to take the train from Venice to Florence, spend 4 full days in Florence and just explore that beautiful area. We know we need at least two full days in Florence, but welcome any/all suggestions about surrounding area day trips. Grazie!!

Hi Vicki! Some of our favorite Florence towns include San Gimignano, Volterra, and Lucca–all great day trips. 🙂 Siena is also popular. If you have a car, there are natural hot springs in Tuscany that are supposed to be beautiful, but we haven’t made it there ourselves yet. Our “Romantic Things to Do in Tuscany” post has some great ideas as well–you don’t necessarily need to be traveling with a partner for them, either! 😉

Vicki- who are you booking with. This is the exact trip myhusband wants but couldn’t find it. flying to venice for 3 nights, florence for 4 nights, then Rome.

I’m not sure what Vicki is planning, but if you guys are planning the trip yourselves, I’d fly to Venice, take the train to Florence, and then the train to Rome before flying home. I’m not sure of any group tours that follow that route, though I’m sure they exist!

Hi Kate, in your scenariou do you fly back home from Venice or Rome back home

It’s up to you and how the flights work to/from your destination.

In a perfect world, it’s easiest to fly into Rome and out of Venice.

However, if flights are much more expensive that way vs booking a round trip ticket, you can also take the high-speed train from Venice back to Rome to fly out. The fastest trains on that route take just under 4 hours, but you’d need to book those tickets in advance.

This post is a great guide for traveling through Italy. My friends and I traveled to Italy on a rented car and visited some of these places. I advise everyone to visit here!

Thanks, Dylan! So glad you guys had a great time.

Parking can also be a challenge around the villages–if possible, we’d recommend relying on the train or Cinque Terre’s famous trail to get between the villages. And it is very good, because in Ukraine it is big problem!^(

Yes, absolutely, but it can be convenient to drive to La Spezia and take the train into the 5 villages from there. 🙂 Easier than taking the train all the way from Florence for sure!

This is amazing blog! My husband and I are traveling to Italy for our honeymoon in June. Could you guys shed some light on car rental and driving in Italy? Is it driver friendly with interpretable directions? My husband wants to bring a GPS – is this too ridiculous? Thank you!! Also, have you been to Capri?

Hey Natalie! Congrats on your wedding–we got married 5 years ago this June. 🙂 🙂 Italy is reasonably simple to drive in when you consider the quality of the roads (decent) and navigation (decent). That being said, drivers are aggressive and driving in cities is a headache–at the very least, I’d ditch the car in major cities. Depending on your itinerary, I doubt you’ll need a car for your whole trip–I’d consider where it would be more of a hindrance than a help (basically any large city and any surrounding smaller cities/towns that you can connect to by train) and go from there.

I am so happy I came across your blog! We leave 9/8/18 from California and arrive in Rome on Sun. 9/9 @ 6pm My initial thought was to take the fast train to Venice on Mon. 9/10 and then work our way down to Florence, CT, Rome.. but now i am wondering if i should fly to Venice on 9/10 after a good nights rest instead of train to save time.. its the same price! Or do you suggest head straight to CT from Rome, then on to Florence, Venice and fly back to Rome to finish our trip there?? I saw you suggested above to go to CT from Rome..

I am trying to not overwhelm ourselves as i really don’t want to spend all my time on a train or stressed out.. But i feel like these are the 4 places we want to see this time around.. (i had to talk myself out of Amalfi, Lake Garda, etc.!.. i want to see it all!) Also, this will be our honeymoon! We will be there for a total of 13 nights.

Hey Amanda! Congrats on your upcoming wedding!!

September is the perfect time for a honeymoon in Italy, it’s one of our favorite months here. 🙂 I definitely understand the difficulty of cutting things down, lol–there’s never enough time!

As far as starting in Rome or Venice, it’s mostly personal preference. I wrote the itinerary this way for two reasons: 1) most people fly into Rome, and 2) If I had to choose, I think Venice makes a better last destination than first. They’re both crowded and touristy, of course, but seeing the best of Rome requires a lot of effort and activities–the Colosseum, touring the Vatican, etc.

Venice definitely has some great sights, but you could also spend a couple of days strolling aimlessly around the city while eating endless gelatos and still come away feeling like you “saw Venice”–in other words, it’s not as demanding as Rome IMO.

Plus… after flying all the way from California, I’m guessing you’ll be ready to see Italy once you get here, not jump on another train/plane! But ultimately, it’s your call–I don’t think either direction would be a mistake.

I do definitely recommend flying over train travel for the Rome to Venice route, as it’ll definitely save you time–anything that saves you time and stress on a honeymoon is a good idea. 🙂

Hi there, I am taking my wife for 2 weeks coming up next month. We are staying in Cortona, Italy in Tuscancy and making day excursions to Florence, Pisa and other towns within a day of Cortona. For the second week, would it be better to start off in Venice and make our way to Rome and/or Cinque Terre or do I see about a last minute cruise from Venice through the Mediterranean. Downside would be that we wouldn’t see as much of Italy. We don’t want to be on the go 24-7 but we do want to experience Italy. Your comments are appreciated!

Both of those options sound amazing, so it’ll really just be down to personal preference!

I don’t know the cruise itinerary, but I would imagine that the cruise will focus more on natural beauty + beaches, and a a trip to Rome would be more focused on history (with still a sprinkling of beaches in that week if you hit up Cinque Terre).

If this is your first trip to Italy, I personally would forgo the cruise to focus on Italy itself, but there is definitely no right or wrong answer to that!

Great advice and itineraries, thanks so much! We’re planning an 8-10 day trip to Italy during the last 2 weeks of August and are thinking Venice, Florence and Rome (not necessarily in that order). I’m wondering if it would be a better plan to split the time between Venice and Florence and plan to see Rome during a trip during a shoulder season (we also have 2 weeks available to travel after Christmas ). Your thoughts on whether to cut the itinerary to 2 vs 3 cities during the hotter “touristy” time of year? Thanks!

That’s a tough question! Knowing you have another opportunity to travel after Christmas, I would probably lean toward cutting one city and sticking to two–it’ll be a more relaxing trip that way, and there’s more than enough to do in any two of those cities to keep you entertained for 8-10 days. I know it’s a hard call, though!

Hello, it was nice reading your and other people’s ideas. We are going to be 71 and 72 this coming April-May when I am planning our trip to Italy. I have been before and love the trains and agree with all. But, dealing with luggage on trains is not the easiest especially as we get older. I need to book lodging before the flights and we have enough miles. If we take the train, are there taxis at all the stations to get us and luggage to where we stay? And, any idea how much or if they take credit cards like I know they do in NYC? He suggested driving for that reason, but I think finding parking with the lodging, or at the sights, would be the worse problem. Do you agree? I was thinking of mid May, but have read that May is pricey. Do you think late April is warm? I don’t want to lug jackets. My idea for 2 weeks: fly to Rome, 3 days; to Assisi, Perugio, Siena- find a place in either area for a day or 2; Florence, 3 days;Pisa 1 day; Cinque Terre/LaSpezia, 2 days; Venice -maybe drive thru Verona, 2 days.

Hi Roberta! Yes, I can definitely see how the luggage on and off trains can be difficult. There are taxis at most of the stations, but they don’t tend to take credit cards. Uber is available in Rome, but no other city on your itinerary. I would say that driving is definitely more trouble than it is worth for larger cities like Florence, Rome, and Venice–you could consider driving to Cinque Terre, but you’ll likely just be leaving the car at the hotel the whole time.

I’m not sure what your budget is, but some hotels will also offer an airport (and possibly train station?) pick up service–for a fee, of course, but they would be able to help with the luggage.

Late April is a bit unpredictable with the weather–it may already be getting warm in Rome, but Venice will almost certainly still be jacket weather. You never know, though! We were in central Italy during late April this year (Bologna/Emila-Romagna) and we still wanted light jackets until around the beginning of May.

Hope this helps! 🙂

Hey! Came across your blog and this is super helpful. Even reading through all the comments.

My wife and I are flying into and out of Rome in September and have 14 days in Italy. We were thinking after arriving in Rome hopping on a train to Venice and staying there for about 3 and a half days then taking the high speed train to Naples and spending some time in Sorrento and that area for about 4 days and ending in a Rome for about 4-5 days. I’m not counting the days where it’s mostly traveling.

Do you think this is feasible? Should we add a city worth seeing or is it too spread out to really enjoy it? We want to make the best of it since we may not get back there soon but I also don’t want us running around so much that it becomes in enjoyable.

I appreciate your feedback!

It is feasible! You’ll be tired, but it looks like you have enough time to work with. If you have your heart set on those destinations, I’d look at a budget flight instead of a train for Rome/Venice and back–round trip fares can be quite inexpensive on discount airlines like Ryanair, and I know they have lots of flights between both cities.

With a 14 day trip, I would personally be tempted to trim a day from each of those destinations and add in another city (Florence/Tuscany would be my personal first pick), but you certainly don’t need to, and you guys know your pace best.

If you’re 100% sure on dates, I’d check on flight and train prices *now*–the high-speed trains that go between multiple regions of Italy (ie, the Rome–>Venice and Venice–>Naples trains) can be pricey, and the prices do increase as the dates get closer. With regional trains that stay in one area (just Lazio or just Veneto, for example), the prices are fixed and you can just buy whenever. 🙂

Have fun!! September is a magical time to be in Italy, I’m sure your trip will be wonderful.

Hi I Loved your itinerary, am thinking of something similar in October for my family. Could I ask what your final budget was for travel and accommodation / tickets etc please? Many thanks Carly

We put this itinerary together based on several months traveling in Italy, so it’s hard to extrapolate out what we would have spent. Speaking generally, I would say 140 Euros/couple/day, adding additional funds for kids, is a comfortable midrange budget in Italy, though you can easily do it on a far smaller or far bigger budget as well. If you plan to rent a car in Italy, that will eat into costs and you may want to budget extra for that.

Your travel blog is perfection! We are looking to surprise our daughters with a trip next summer and you have covered everything on our wish list.

Thanks, Jodi! That sounds like so much fun–I would have been thrilled to have my parents surprise me with an Italy trip! 😀

Hello I am in the process of planning a summer trip to Italy with our kids. We are flying into Venice ( award travel) and was planning to stay 2 nights, then stay 5 nights in Tuscany and then head to Positano for 5 nights. Will fly home from Naples or Rome. On our first trip to Italy we did Florence, Cinque and Rome. I was dreaming of a farmhouse/villa stay in Tuscany but so far they are all a Saturday to Saturday stay. We arrive in Venice on a Monday and was planning Tuscany for a Wednesday arrival for 5 nights. Wondering if we should skip Positano and go somewhere for 5 nights before Tuscany? Or should we fly from Venice to Naples , visit Amalfi area and then head back to Tuscany? Or maybe you know a place that doesn’t require a week stay in Tuscany? Is there a Tuscan town you recommend for a good home base? Trying to make the best use of our time. I am getting confused 🙂 Our kids are teens. Appreciate your thoughts!

Hi Sally! It all depends on what you’re looking for–Positano is beautiful, but if you’d rather stick to a closer geographic area, Verona and Emilia-Romagna (possibly based in Verona) would be good options between the two. For beaches, there’s always Elba in Tuscany (though that can be a little harder to get to). I don’t know of any Tuscan villas offhand that aren’t only Saturday-Saturday, but I would guess that VRBO and maybe Airbnb would be your best bets for that. We use VRBO for our multi-generational family trips to Tuscany. 🙂 Tuscany is one of our favorite places, so I’d have a hard time saying you can go wrong with a base there! Siena and Lucca are both great options if you’re wanting something smaller than Florence, but you’ll definitely need a car for day trips if you’re wanting to explore the region (and especially if you’re staying outside the city center).

I enjoyed reading your blogs very much. My family and i will have only 5 days in Italy, as a side trip from Germany. Where would you recommend that we must visit, as a first timer to Italy? Also, are there flights/trains that go directly to Florence?

Ahh, that’s a hard one! The answer is, of course, wherever you are most invested in going–but in my personal opinion, I’d pick Tuscany. It’s easy to navigate, incredibly beautiful, and very classically “Italian” for first-time visitors. It’s also one of our favorite places in the world, so I’m a bit biased. 🙂 There are flights and trains that go directly to Florence, but on that timeline and coming all the way from Germany, I’d definitely fly. If you’re open to budget airlines, be sure to check Pisa–it’s about 20-30 minutes outside of Florence, and most of the budget airlines fly there instead of directly to Florence.

We are heading to Italy (first time for me) next fall with 2 other couples and are just now starting to research. Your blog is amazing and really is helping us formulate our trip. Have you ever cruised the coast of Italy ( i want to see as much as possible going for 2 weeks) and know we cant see it all but wondered how a cruise (small less then 300 people) might help us see all those amazing sights on the water – 7 day then heading into shore and seeing the other parts of Italy.

We haven’t had the chance to cruise the coast of Italy (yet), but it’s actually on our list of Italy trips we hope to take one day.

If your goal is to see as much as of Italy as possible, I would say the benefits of the cruise depend on where exactly it goes and what your priorities are. I’d check and see how much land time there is vs cruising time, etc. It’ll definitely cut into your time in Italy itself, but it would also undoubtedly be a beautiful and unforgettable experience in its own right. The coast of Italy is incredibly gorgeous!

Did you take the picture of the Tuscan countryside that is right before the “Cars” section of this blog? If so, where is that at?

Yes we did!

It was taken at a winery outside of San Gimignano–those are the towers of San Gimignano that you can see in the far distance. Unfortunately, I didn’t note the name of the winery at the time, but there are similar views all throughout the area!

Kate, My husband and I are planning to go back to Italy next October.our past trips were Florence, Tuscany and a Rome. This time we’re going to Umbria area and the Amalfi coast probably 14 days total. My question is what order do you suggest? Last trip we felt like we should have done Rome first then Tuscany, Rome was hustle bustle and Tuscany was laid back and relaxing..we felt we should have stayed in Tuscany last. What place would you suggest starting and ending with.

If you’re looking to start with hustle and bustle and then end with somewhere relaxing, I’d recommend starting with the Amalfi Coast and then heading onto Umbria! As a bonus, you’ll then be near the coast a tiny bit earlier in the season, so hopefully some of the warm weather will hold out for you (and it very well might–we’re in Rome right now, and even though we’re into the second half of October, it’s 80F and sunny out!).

Hi, Thank you for sharing this itinerary – so helpful as we have never travelled to Italy and are planning our first trip later this year. We would also like to visit Pompeii. How long would you spend there and where would you stay to include this stop. Thanks so much

I’m actually working on a Pompeii/Mount Vesuvius guide that should be published sometime this month, so be sure to check back for more detail, but here’s the short version–it depends on how much time you have.

If you only have right around 2 weeks in Italy and don’t want to cut any other destinations, you can do Pompeii as a day trip from Rome. However, the only way to feasibly do that well (especially on a first trip to Italy) is to book an all-day tour, and it’s about 6 hours of driving roundtrip.

Alternatively, you can stay in Naples and visit independently. Naples feels very different from the rest of this Italy itinerary, which focuses on north and central Italy instead of the south of the country, but it is a lovely city with some fascinating things to do, the world’s best pizza, and easy access to Pompeii. It’s considered “dirty” by many, but it doesn’t personally bother us a bit, and we don’t think time there is wasted.

For Pompeii itself, you really only need one day, and with some solid planning, a base in Naples, and an alarm clock, you can squeeze in a visit to the crater of Mount Vesuvius or Herculaneum that day as well.

If you wanted to visit via Naples and keep most of this itinerary structure, add on a stop after Rome. You could then double back to Cinque Terre or simply swap Cinque Terre for the Amalfi Coast, which is very close to Pompeii and Naples, before heading up to Florence + Venice.

Hi. I am visiting Italy in April and would like to go to the Dolomites. I will be staying at Peschiera del Garda for 5 nights. Will I be able to visit the Dolomites from this place? Will Dolomites be accessible in early May?

We haven’t been to Peschiera del Garda, but there are plenty of day trips to the Dolomites sold that leave from there, so you should be safe. 🙂 The Dolomites are pretty accessible–depending on altitude you may still see some snow in early May and certainly some colder temperatures, but you should be able to access the mountains to experience some beautiful views (I’m assuming you’re not planning on doing any intense hiking since you’re basing yourself near Lake Como).

Hi! I am trying to plan a trip to Italy for May. We want to go to Venice, but have also heard that there are new laws for tourists and how expensive it is during this time of year. I know it is so overly visited by tourists, and just wanted to ask you if you think it is worth it. It would be at the end of our trip, and only 2 days. If not, we may stay south. Thanks!

It’s an interesting question, Hannah. We’ve personally only visited Venice in the late fall, so we haven’t experienced the summer crowds ourselves–but we know they are intense.

If you have always wanted to see Venice, I do think it’s worth it–no matter how many cities call themselves “the Venice of X place”, there truly is only one Venice. It’s an incredibly unique and beautiful city.

However, you will definitely pay for the privilege–it’s expensive, and there will be crowds in May, especially if you go toward the end of the month.

I’d recommend pricing out hotels and activities for your dates, adding up the estimated cost, and asking if you think that number–including the cost of getting to/from Venice–is justified based on how much you want to see it.

If you don’t mind crowds, have always wanted to see the city, and don’t mind the cost (much)–go.

If you’d prefer to visit somewhere less congested and Venice is somewhere you’re considering visiting just because it’s an obvious choice and not because you’re excited to see it specifically, look at staying further south.

This is WONDERFUL! My fiance and I are planning a two week trip to Italy from the States. Any chance you have a rough estimate on how much to budget for all of this? Thanks so much!

Thank you, Marissa! Plane tickets will be incredibly dependent on where you are flying from in the USA–Las Vegas, Orlando, NYC, Chicago, Atlanta, and sometimes Boston are all places to check for budget airline flights if you’re looking to save cash and those are an option for you. To help with budgeting on the ground, we put together this post:

Hopefully that helps give you a general idea!

That’s a really informative article Kate!

I need some advice from you. I am planning to visit Italy on my honeymoon in late November. I know it’s not an ideal season for sightseeing and getting around, but would you recommend including Catania or Malta in the itinerary during that time of the year? With some quick research I noted that these locations offer warmer weather, but I never saw these places covered in any itineraries available online. Would you be aware of any reason for that?

Thanks in advance!

Late November will really be too late in the year for any swimming, but Sicily and Malta will still be beautiful.

Catania is not generally considered to be a great place to sightsee in Sicily–Taormina, Siracusa, and even Palermo are all more popular. We skipped Catania ourselves for this reason, so I can’t offer any personal advice there. We did love Palermo, which is Sicily’s other major airport hub.

The best way to find itineraries for Malta would be to search for those itineraries alone–it’s not usually combined with Italy (not sure if that’s what you were searching?). It is a lovely place, and if you’re content to sightsee on land and skip some of the more summery activities, I think a November trip could be fun.

Other than weather, etc, if you want to include either Catania or Malta in your trip, the other two things I’d check on are flights (many budget flights to/from beach destinations are seasonal and won’t be running in November), and for Malta, whether anything you want to do is closed for the season.

Also, I’m not sure if you’re looking for a particular kind of trip, but depending on how late in November you go, you may be able to check out some Christmas markets in Italy and/or Malta, so keep an eye out for those!

Congratulations on your marriage–hope you have a wonderful trip!

Great article thank you so much! We just really don’t have interest in Venice (I know it’s weird) but would you suggest we could easily sub in Milan/Como for Venice?

You can! Milan and Venice can be reached in roughly the same amount of time from Florence, give or take depending on your train route. If you’re looking for other places in northern Italy to consider, you might like to take a look at Verona or Bologna as well. 🙂

This is a great and detailed article to aid in starting up creating one’s itinerary! I doubt 2 weeks would be even close to being enough if I wanted to see most of Italy in one go, especially since I am dying to see Milan, Lake Garda and Amalfi Coast!

– Laura

I’ve finally come to the conclusion that no amount of time is enough for Italy! I don’t think we’ll ever be done going back. 🙂 We still need to make it to Lake Garda (and Lake Como, and Lago di Braies, and Lago di Sorapis…) ourselves.

Thank you for the information. Q: If we ignore the time to travel, cost and all other extranal factors. Which is a better place to see Cinque Terre or Amalfi Coast?

Q: What other place in a differnt country in europe can I travel from Italy for a three day trip?

Have a good say!!

For your first question, personally we slightly prefer Cinque Terre, but it really just comes down to personal preference at that point! Both are phenomenal, neither is objectively better.

You can go just about anywhere in Europe for 3 days from Italy, as there are budget flights from all the major cities to just about anywhere on the continent! If you are looking for something geographically close and/or you don’t want to take a plane, Slovenia, Austria, Switzerland, France, etc, are easy to reach from the north, San Marino is accessible from Emilia-Romagna and the surrounding area, and Malta, Spain, and Croatia are accessible by ferry, just to give you a few ideas!

Very engaging and informative read! Enjoyed your blog. In process of planning trip to Italy in mid November. Flying in at Milan and out from Rome. 1N(Night) Milan 3N Dolomites 2N Venice 3N Cinque Terre 3N Florence/Tuscany 2N Rome 2N Naples

Love for mountains and offbeat places (less crowded) places. On a budget trip, depending on public transport.

(1) If you can suggest base location /or (BnB or Hostel) for Dolomites and Naples (2) Any other location, where exploring around would not be straight forward as will be dependent on public transport (3) Is the itinerary good mix of days and routes? If you think by any ways can swap days / location..please do recommend

Thanks so much, Niket! That trip sounds amazing, if a little fast-paced for our tastes. 🙂

For the Dolomites, Cortina d’Ampezzo and Bolzano are two of the “bigger” cities (and I use bigger loosely) that people use for a base. There are plenty of small towns as well, but keep in mind that in November there could be snow, etc, to contend with the higher you go, and public transportation options will be fewer and a bit more complicated.

For Naples, the biggest thing to keep in mind is the hills! The further you stay from Piazza del Plebiscito, the more hills you’ll climb. We stayed in the budget hotel linked in this post on our first visit to Naples and liked it well enough (the nearby escalators to get down the hill definitely helped):

As for the route, I personally would cut Cinque Terre and/or the Dolomites, as in mid-November the weather isn’t likely to be great and you have a lot of places that you’re covering. I’d be tempted to give over another night to Venice and another two nights to Rome in exchange, but that’s entirely personal preference!

I’d also recommend not counting too much on getting to see a particular hike, etc, in the Dolomites. It’s very likely that it will be cold, rainy, and maybe even snowy by mid-November, though undoubtedly still beautiful!

Thanks for the great ideas and tips. We’re a family of 4 thinking of a 2-week trip to Italy next summer and your itinerary could be a possibility (in reverse, as we’d start in Venice). Can you suggest any good self-catering or apartment rental options for the itinerary? Or trustworthy websites to try? Thank you in advance!

Hi Dee! Depends on what you’re looking for, size of group, etc, but for self-catering apartments we generally book through or Airbnb. For villas/large groups, we’ve found excellent properties through VRBO. We highly recommend a country villa for a couple of nights in Tuscany if it fits your group and budget!

Hi Kate, very helpful blog indeed, thanks. I am struggling to work out the perfect itinerary because I need to visit Bologna for business. My plan ( which can be tweaked ) is to fly into ROME March 2 arriving 7 am and fly out March 16 at 11 am. I need to arrive Bologna 11th evening, and leave 14th evening or 15th morning. I can move my dates 1-2 days before or after. I am very keen on Amalfi coast, tuscany ( since i love tuscan wine ); florence, rome and Venice. Cinque terre is captivating in the pics too. I can skip pisa/ lucca. Would love to hear your comments, thanks

Personally, I’d strongly recommend cutting a couple of destinations from your list. While technically you can make it work (especially using day trips), that will be a very exhausting trip and the coastal destinations won’t be at their best in March. At most, I’d pick 3 destinations in addition to Bologna to visit.

You could potentially do something like this, give or take:

Rome Florence + Tuscan countryside (as one stop, you can day trip to the countryside from Florence or visa versa) Bologna 11-14 Venice OR Amalfi Coast with your remaining days (Venice would probably be easier).

That’s my suggestion, but ultimately it’s your call! I’ve certainly squeezed extra destinations I couldn’t bear to leave out before. 🙂

Hi Karen, Thanks for your advice. I will now consider the following, feel free to let me know if this is doable. day 1-3 Venice day 4-7 Florence ( 2 days in city; 1 day trip siena/ san gimignano/ chianti; 1 day trip hiking in cinque terre ) day 8-10 roma day 11-14 bologna for business What do you think? Tony

That sounds very doable and like a great trip!

We are in the planning stages of our 2+ week adventure of Italy. Travel is slated for May of 2021 which will include my wife, 2 daughters and I. We plan to fly into Milan or Venice depending flight tickets. We will rent a car and go for it. We want to drive along the entire coast of Italy with possible multi day stops in some of the bigger cities. Plan to stay in hostels, BnB and occasional hotels. For sure spend a 3 days in Silicy. Thoughts?

Hi Daniel! Sounds like quite the odyssey you guys have planned!

My first thought is that I hope that “+” on the 2+ weeks is pretty flexible if you want to drive the whole coast of Italy! That’s an extremely ambitious plan if you want to stop and see much along the way and also fit in 3 days in Sicily.

If your time frame is set at around 2 weeks in Italy, I’d consider road-tripping one portion of the country (since you mentioned flying into Venice or Milan, maybe driving from there to a few stops in Tuscany and/or Emilia-Romagna/Veneto/Lombardy along the way depending on what you want to see and then flying to Sicily to close out your trip.

If you have your heart set on driving the whole thing, I’d either try to extend your time or accept you’ll spend a lot of time in the car, finding and paying for parking, walking from parking lots into the towns and villages you’re visiting, and generally getting from place to place. Driving in Italy isn’t impossible by a long shot and we’ve done it plenty, but by the time you add in all the logistics, Google maps estimates tend to fall a bit short of how long it actually takes to get to each place!

Your blog is so incredibly helpful, thank you! Planning my 1st trip to Italy with my teen girl who’s graduating. Will us two females traveling alone feel safe? I want to not hassle with buses and need some tour guides, private cars. Etc over buses. I can probably do train but needs to be easy cause I get lost easy LOL. I will need everything bought ahead of time and planned out to the T so I won’t be stressed. I want to go about 20 nights but want to see allot then.

Sorry clicked send before I asked my question LOL. Can you please help me itinerary order. I want to spend 20 nights total. 2 in Rome, 2 in Lake Como, 4 in Florence Tuscany area (please list 2 towns for me to stay in there), 2 in Dolomite area, then 1 night in these places venice, Almfia coast, postitano, sorrento, Vernannza, riomaggiore, portofino, bolzano, and Bari. Am I missing any must see places? Is this doable? Also one last place is I want to see at least one place in Croatia. I don’t know which is better dubernick or split and how to fit it in? Maybe fly out of there? Help please thanks so much!

Hi Becky! Sounds like some amazing destinations you have on your list!

In Tuscany, if you want to stay in two places I’d personally probably do Florence + Siena or Lucca if you don’t want to drive, or Florence + a country house/apartment near Montepulciano or Siena if you do plan to drive!

Your wish list sounds amazing but honestly, with 20 nights that’s probably going to be a bit too much. I’d probably cut Bari altogether, and choose two coastal destinations max (Amalfi Coast area with Positano/Sorrento, or Cinque Terre with Riomaggiore/Vernazza, or Portofino, or Croatia).

For choosing between Split and Dubrovnik if you do decide to do Croatia, we have a whole post on that–search “Split or Dubrovnik” in the top righthand corner of the site and it’ll come up. 🙂

I haven’t personally taken a whole trip in Italy alone, but I have many friends who travel solo as women in Italy and love it, and I’ve never had any big problems going out alone, etc. Italy is very used to tourists and generally feels very safe to travel.

Hope that you guys have a wonderful trip, and happy graduation to your daughter!

Hello – planning to go in January for 30th bday. How do you feel about this choice of month?

Thanks, Haylee

It all depends on what you’re looking for!

You’ll need a coat, and gray/rainy days are worth preparing for, but on the other hand, prices will be lower (in a normal year, who knows what will happen this year), the crowds MUCH lighter, and all the sights still beautiful.

We sure wouldn’t turn down a January trip to Italy!

Thanks Kate Storm , Your article is so incredibly helpful. Verona, Liguria, Sicily, Abruzzo, Milan the best places you can live in Italy. I like u r article.

Thank you for your very informative article.I am interested in staying in Puglia.Could you recommend a small authentic village on the coast with access to public transport.What would your ideal itinerary for the Puglia region be.Thanks again

Hi Frances! Sadly our planned 2020 trip to Puglia got cancelled, so I can’t offer any personal recommendations there yet. Hope that changes soon!

Kate, I can’t get enough of your articles!! We are a family of 4 (2 teen boys), traveling to Italy for the first time! We will be flying into Venice the morning of June 2 2022 and out of Rome June 16. I would love your opinion on our proposed itinerary- trying to keep everyone happy and see a lot without cramming in too much! We will likely be hitting the “high points” when it comes to museums and churches. Right now, we’re looking at… 2-6 Venice 6-8 Cinque Terre 8-11 Tuscany/Florence 11-15 Rome 16 fly home Would you allocate it any differently traveling with two teen boys (14 and 17)? And/or add in any day trips? Thank you so much!

Aw, thank you for making my day, Rachel! Truly my favorite part of my job is knowing I help people plan their trips. 🙂

Your itinerary looks great! I’d consider moving one day from Venice (I adore it, but it’s a small city) to either Cinque Terre or to Florence/Tuscany.

A second full day in Cinque Terre would allow you to either spend some time at the beach or hike more, while an additional day in Florence/Tuscany would give you a chance to spend 2 full days in Florence (here’s our suggested itinerary for that: ) as well as take a day trip out to the countryside.

There are some wonderful day trip options from Rome that you may want to look into since you have 4 full days there (here’s a post: ) but you can easily keep yourselves busy in the city as well!

Hope you guys have an amazing time! June is a beautiful month to be in Italy. 🙂

Hello, We are planning to travel to a Italy for 3 weeks (the end of March – beginning of April). Do you have any extra insight for traveling with children? Ages: 13 yrs, 8 yrs, 1yr old. I want an easy, mellow trip but still want to hit the major sights. What should we add or take away from your itinerary?

Hi! Unfortunately, we don’t have any experience traveling in Italy with children that young, but generally speaking, the itinerary should work as long as you’re willing to cut down the number of activities in each destination (so fewer museums, basically). I’d definitely recommend skip-the-line tickets everywhere you go! I know that Rome has a popular children’s museum, as well, and several of the popular hikes in Cinque Terre are doable with your 8 and 13-year-old.

Your blog is amazing, Kate! I am booking a surprise trip for my partner and we are set to visit Italy for 14 days in April 2022. He is a huge history and art buff, I am definitely planning on including Rome, Florence/Tuscany and Venice from your 2 week itinerary. In your opinion would adding in Naples in place of Cinque Terre be stretching it too thin?

Thanks in Advance! Dani

Thanks so much, Dani!

A surprise trip to Italy–that’s one lucky partner you have! LOL.

Yes, you can absolutely swap Naples for Cinque Terre, and I’m sure an art/history buff would love it. A fast train (not regional train) from Rome will probably be your most efficient way of getting there.

Fair warning, since I’m not sure of your travel style, Naples is definitely a bit less manicured than the other cities on your list. I adore it and highly recommend a visit, but just got in expecting a bit more grit (and the best pizza of your life).

Day trips to Pompeii, Herculaneum, and the Amalfi Coast are very doable from Naples as well.

Amazing post! I have always been fascinated by Italy and its historic colosseum. However, I never got a chance to visit there due to my hectic work schedule and other commitments. But, I will be getting some time off during Christmas. And while I was looking for an interesting travel itinerary, I stumbled upon your blog. It does give me some amazing suggestions that will help me to experience the best that Italy has to offer.

Hello…we are looking to go in 2023 to Italy and were considering this itinerary…We need to make sure we are in Florence/Tuscany on June 18…Is this a bit agressive? Would you consider something different and what is the best way to get around…Car or Train? You also noted day trips from these different places…would Naples be one?

Travel to Venice 1 Venice 2 Venice 3 Travel to Lake Como to Milan 4 Milan 5 Travel to Cinque Terre 6 Cinque Terre 7 Cinque Terre 8 Cinque Terre 9 Travel to Florence 10 Florence/Tuscany 11 Florence/Tuscany 12 Florence/Tuscany 13 Travel to Rome 14 Rome 15 Rome 16 Rome 17 Travel Home 18

That looks like a wonderful itinerary, and very reasonable for the most part!

The only exception is that you have “travel to Lake Como to Milan” in one day… doing a quick stopover at Lake Como would be difficult, I’d choose either Lake Como or Milan to visit.

You may also want to move one day from Cinque Terre to either Tuscany or Milan/Lake Como, but that’s a personal preference.

You can easily use the train for all of these places except possibly some of the smaller Tuscan towns, if you plan to visit them. For that, you could either rent a car for a couple of days or book a day tour!

For Naples, you can take a day trip from Rome, but it’s fairly long. If you plan to visit Pompeii and/or the Amalfi Coast as part of that, plan for a VERY long day and absolutely book a tour! We have a very reputable one listed in our Rome day trips guide:

Hi! Thank you for sharing this wonderful itinerary. We are leaving San Francisco 5/25 and arriving in Rome on May on 5/26 and flying out of Venice on 6/9. I’m hoping we are getting in and out just before the big summer rush and heat! We were considering adding one extra day in Rome and I was wondering what the logic is for going to C/T before Florence? On the map it appears going Rome/Florence/CT/Venice might make the most sense, but I’m sure there is a reason I am not seeing. Would also love to hear your recommendations for the three full days in Florence for a family of 4 including a 15 and 18 year old! Thanks!

That’s an excellent time to be in Italy, you guys are going to have an incredible time. 🙂

The logic for going to Cinque Terre before Florence is two-fold. First, if you travel by train instead of by car (which I highly recommend for this itinerary), you can travel from Rome to Cinque Terre along the coast without switching trains, and you won’t go through Florence or need to double back at all. You’ll also have some beautiful views of the coast along the way!

The second is simply to break up what you’re seeing on the trip. While Florence and Rome are two very different cities, they’re the most similar of the 4 destinations on this itinerary, and going to Cinque Terre in between them gives you an opportunity to mix things up instead of condensing more art museums/churches/cobblestone streets (all things I adore, just to be clear!) into one portion of the trip and risk getting burned out.

For the 3 days in Florence, I would recommend more-or-less following our 2 day Florence itinerary (which I’m going to be updating with a bit more detail in the next few weeks, as we just got back from our latest trip!), and then taking a day trip into the Tuscan countryside with the 3rd day, whether that’s by booking a tour or going independently.

Here’s the itinerary:

For day trips, many popular tours include Siena, a small town like San Gimignano, and a winery visit. If you’d like something a bit different due to having teens with you, other options include Lucca (you can also add a stop in Pisa if you like), Volterra, Arezzo, Bologna… the sky is the limit! We have a full guide to day trips from Florence here:

Hello! I am so happy I found your blog! Such great hints and tips for each of the areas you are recommending. We are heading to Italy for a wedding in Volterra. Flying into Florence and renting a car. After the wedding we are staying and for a week and ultimately ending up in Milan. What are your thoughts on breaking up the trip? Some of the places of interest from your blogs: Livorno, Pisa, Lucca, Cinque Terre (?), Rapallo or a beach, Genoa (?), Milan, Lake Como

I feel like we definitely have too many places we want to see be for such a short time. Would love your input, given we will have a car. 4 adults

Thank you so much! Back to google!

What a beautiful place for a wedding! Volterra is incredible (here’s our post on the town if you haven’t seen it: )

As for where to go the week after the wedding, you’re right that your dream list is a bit long, but which areas you pick are totally up to you!

Personally, I’d recommend doing either Lucca + Pisa + Cinque Terre or Milan + Lake Como + *maybe* one other Tuscan town/city before leaving the area after the wedding.

Lucca makes a great base in Tuscany (here’s our post: ) and also has the benefit of being within a quick ride of Pisa for a day trip. You can realisitically day trip to Cinque Terre from Lucca more easily than from Florence, too, or move to the beach and stay a couple of days.

I love that area, so that’s what I would do if it were my trip. 🙂

However, Lombardy is also stunning! In addition to Milan and Lake Como, with a full week you could also add a visit to Verona, Bergamo, or even Venice. However, I’d be tempted to split the difference and do about 2 days in Milan, 2-3 days in the Como area, and stay in Tuscany after the wedding to explore a different Tuscan city before heading to Lombardy.

Hope that helps! You have the benefit of your wish list being pretty well grouped geographically, which gives you more flexibility. 🙂

Hello! Wow your blog is so incredibly helpful. My husband and I are planning a ~2 week trip to Italy at the end of July/early August (I know… it’s soon!), and we’re looking at doing basically this itinerary. I’m curious though – this is a 14 day itinerary but I believe only 9 days are accounted for in your post. 2 days in Rome, 2 days in Cinque Terre, 3 days in Florence/Tuscany, and lastly 2 days in Venice. Is that right? Am I missing something? My husband is really interested in seeing the Dolomites. Is that something you think we could throw in there with that 9 day itinerary? Thanks so much! Really appreciated your recommendations.

Yes, it’s because the way I laid out this itinerary doesn’t include the days you’re actually traveling between destinations, these are the full days you’re in each area. 🙂 I know it’s a bit confusing, which is why I switched to a day-by-day layout on future itineraries!

It would be hard to squeeze the Dolomites (or any 5th destination) into a 2-week trip without being extremely rushed, especially because the Dolomites really need more than a day. If he has his heart set on seeing them, I’d consider swapping one of these destinations for the mountains!

Fantastic descovery is your site as Ive just decided last minute to go to Italy. Im under a particular schedule going there since Im going for 6 weeks but two of those will have to be remote work. So after two weeks of travel one week of remote work. Have 100 questions for you but if there would be just one, what would be the places you would stop for about a week,considering most my days will be working.

for sure will have more questions for you as I was thinking of using one of those week to go travel in a near by country etc.

Ah, that’s a delightful problem to have but a very hard question to answer!

Really, any city or reasonably-sized town that appeals to you is a great option. If you need to use video or send large files, I’d opt for a city and keep an eye on wifi speeds. If you don’t need particularly fast wifi, just about anywhere (other than perhaps some very rural places) will do.

We’ve worked for a month at a time from Rome, Florence, and Bologna, and for a week from many, many places including Naples, Palermo, Otranto, Verona, Venice… basically, the sky is the limit!

Personally, we find quiet neighborhoods in medium-to-large cities generally excellent to work from–plenty of convenience and infrastructure, as well as lots to see on your times off.

I just found your blog today & I’m actually obsessed with all the info you’ve posted! I’m trying to jump start my exploration of the world with my boyfriend so I’m currently trying to plan our Italy trip for 2024! It will be both of our first times & I’ve just been hooked onto reading this 2 week guide… I wanted to ask though as first timers, what would the best itinerary breakdown of each city be for us? As far as how many days in each city & what to do in order to check it off our first timer list? Also if you had to choose between Sept/October to travel to Italy which one would you choose?! I love love love this blog of yours & will continue to reach for it as I plan future trips for my boyfriend & I! (:

Thank you so much, Tori!

The itinerary here, as written, is great for first-timers, but where you start and finish can be swapped depending on whether Rome or Venice is easiest to fly in and out of based on where you’re coming from.

September and October are two of my absolute favorite months to visit Italy, so it’s hard to choose!

September will be warmer and a bit more crowded, and depending on the year and which week in September you may even enjoy some late-summer style weather. That’s great for visiting places like Cinque Terre.

October is cooler, with a higher risk of rain (especially later in the month), but the food is delicious, many of the harvests start, there are fewer crowds, and many perfect weather days. I often say Tuscany is the perfect October destination.

You really can’t go wrong with either month!

Hi Kate, So happy I stumbled upon your blog – most helpful of everything I’ve found online so far! Would love guidance on planning our trip for March 11-25, 2023. This will be the first time in Italy for my husband and near-adult kids – ages 16 and 18. I was in Rome, Florence, Siena and San Gimignano for about ten days, 25yrs ago and have been dreaming of going back ever since!!

The challenge is that we have to spend about 3 days in Paris as part of this 2-wk trip, and i don’t know how best to organize that. I’d like to go to Rome and Florence for sure; everything else is open. We’ll be flying to/from Florida and don’t know if we should go to Paris first, last… or if it’s just unrealistic to try to do all of it. Maybe we should do 5 days in Paris and the rest in just Rome and Florence? Also, ideally, we’d be in Paris for all or part of a weekend, which makes it even more challenging! (Meeting French cousins there and they have to work during the week.)

Here’s a bit about us: we have lots of energy and are willing to get up early and stay out late and take trains and planes at odd times :). We’re good travelers and are flexible, and yet this shouldn’t be a wild ride – it should have an easy pace but be full of sights, sounds, tastes, and discovery. Cities and small quaint charming towns are superb; we can probably skip coastal towns on this trip since we live near the beach in FL 🙂 If you disagree, do speak up! Happy to take trains and walk a lot, and use the discounted airline you mentioned, as long as it’s safe (!).

I haven’t looked at the rest of your blogs yet; wondering if you also have recs for olive oil and/or a balsamic tastings/tours and if there’s a guide or an app for being gluten free in Italy!

Thanks SO much in advance for any advice you can offer! Much appreciated!

Happy to help! You guys seem to be the perfect candidates for a busy trip, which is a great thing. 🙂

If you want to squeeze it all in, I’d recommend either starting in Paris or ending in Rome, or vice versa. If you can find good open-jaw tickets to these cities, your plan is ambitious but doable.

Assuming you start in Paris, I’d plan about 3-4 days there.

Your long travel day will be between Paris and Florence–you can either fly, or take a high-speed train to Milan followed by one to Florence (book early to ensure the best prices and direct routes). Both will be a long day, but the train is more fun. 🙂 We use Omio to plan our long train routes.

In Florence/Tuscany, you can allot 5-6 days. I’d plan to spend at least 2 full days in the city, and then more in smaller towns. You can either take day trips from Florence (by train, car, or tour), or head to southern Tuscany for a few days.

Southern Tuscany is where you’ll find the Val d’Orcia, as well as gorgeous towns like Montepulciano:

If you want to take a day trip to Florence but are looking for a different (but still convenient) home base, Siena (as you know) and/or Lucca are amazing cities:

From there, you can wrap up with a few days in Rome, which will give you time to see the major sites. We have lots of Rome posts, but here’s an example of what you can see with 2 days there:

Olive oil tours will be at their peak in the late fall (when the harvest is), so it doesn’t overlap with your trip. Traditional balsamic vinegar hails from Modena, which is out of the way for you. However–a good enoteca will be able to offer you delicious tastings of both, and you’ll find those all across Italy (you’ll be spoiled for choice in Tuscany in particular).

As far as being gluten-free goes, that is not my area of expertise, but I can recommend checking out the guides and translation cards from Jodi at Legal Nomads–she’s a longtime foodie and travel writer who has traveled the world with celiac.

Have an amazing trip!

Hi Kate, I am planning for the first ever european trip for my wife (40) and son (14). I have travelled in other countries of europe for business purpose. I have decided for a two weeks trip to Italy in 2nd half of May 2023. The following is a very very high level itinerary. I am yet to drill down. I have 13 full days. Day 1 – Arrival in Rome @ 2 pm. Take a walk in the evening. Day 2 – Colosseum, Roman Forum etc. Day 3 – Vatican City Day 4 – Travel to Florence Day 5 – Florence Day 6 – Florence Day 7 – Florence Day 8 – Cinque Terre Day 9 – Cinque Terre Day 10 – Cinque Terre/Camogli??? Day 11 – Travel to Venice Day 12 – Venice Day 13 – Venice Day 14 – Venice Day 15 – Travel to Rome and take a departure flight @ 4pm

I am not sure if I should cut down somethings and include any other spots. Can you please review the itinerary and suggest amendments?

Sounds like the workings of a great trip!

I’d consider moving one of your Florence days to Rome unless you’re planning to use the third day in Florence to take a day trip to the Tuscan countryside/smaller towns. You could also move your third day in Venice to Rome instead. Rome is definitely the biggest city of what’s on your list!

If you want to see the Riviera beyond Cinque Terre, I’d look into Portovenere–it’s sometimes called the “sixth town” of Cinque Terre, is easily accessible by ferry, and is much less crowded due to being a bit harder to access than the others.

I’d recommend booking your trains from Cinque Terre to Venice and Venice to Rome well in advance, as you’ll definitely want to take the high-speed trains for those routes.

Hope you have a fantastic first trip to Italy!

Thanks Kate for such a quick response! After doing some more research, I changed the sequence of the travel so that it is easier to fly out of Rome. Some people suggest to remove CT and increase the days for other 3 big cities. I am confused. 🙂 What do you suggest? Day 1 – Fly in to Rome @ 2pm. Travel to Venice by train. Day 2,3 – Venice (Yet to plan detailed itinerary) Day 4 – Travel to Florence Day 5,6,7 – Florence and nearby areas (Yet to plan detailed itinerary) Day 8 – Travel to Cinque Terre Day 9,10,11 – Cinque Terre (Yet to plan detailed itinerary) Day 12 – Travel to Rome Day 13, 14 – Rome ( 1 day colosseum etc. and 1 day vatican city) Day 15 – Travel back from Rome to India

I definitely agree that it’s a good idea to move some of your Cinque Terre time to Rome!

While you definitely can enjoy 3 full days in Cinque Terre, with your schedule, 1-2 is plenty. Better to have another day in the Eternal City. 🙂

Hi, Kate: We are traveling to Italy in May and June. Your site has been invaluable in our planning. My first of what I’m sure will be many questions is what train stations in Venice (to travel to Florence) and Florence (to travel to Rome) do we want to use? We are staying as close to the center of those cities as possible.

Hi Elizabeth,

I’m so glad to hear that!

In Venice, you’ll want to use Venezia Santa Lucia (which is right on the Grand Canal).

For Florence (both to and from), you’ll want Firenze Santa Maria Novella (which is a 10-minute walk from the Duomo).

Those are the “main” train stations in each city, so most ticket-booking options should suggest them to you automatically!

I have never been to Italy but am going in July so found your blog really helpful! My daughter will be doing an abroad program in Siena so I will fly over with her 12 days early. Is it a stretch to want to visit Rome, Florence, Cinque Terre, Venice and Lake Como within this time frame when she has to be in Florence on day 12? It would mean flying to Rome and going north from there to hit everything but would have to circle back to Siena. I’d love your two cents on where to fly into- thinking maybe even Switzerland since wanting to see Lake Como. Thank you!

Your daughter is going to have such a wonderful time!

All of the places you mentioned are fantastic, but yes, that’s really too much to fit into 12 days (since you mention your daughter needs to be in Florence on day 12, I’m assuming this is more or less an 11 day trip).

If it were me, I’d focus on Venice, Rome, and Florence.

Flying into Venice would probably be most convenient, though Rome would work as well.

Taking the high-speed train from Venice to Rome (you’ll want to book those tickets in advance) and then traveling from Rome to Florence by train after sightseeing down south will likely make the most sense.

As far as Cinque Terre goes, a day trip from Florence to Cinque Terre isn’t ideal, but it can be done and in your case may be a way to squeeze in a taste of the coast. We go into more detail on how to do that well here:

I hope that helps a bit and that you guys have a magnificent time in Italy!

HI Kate! your blog was very helpful. I would love to have your opinion on my upcoming trip. I am taking a transatlantic cruise from NYC to Rome; arriving in Civitavecchia on 10 May 2024. I am lucky and don’t have a time frame. Since Italians take their time… I’m going to embrace that after years of a stressful job, I’m traveling solo as at 37. I want to be loose with my plans, do you think buying tickets for places like the Colosseum just a few days in advance is risky? I was planning on my travel day to purchase tickets for those things. I also have a general route planned and I would love your opinion one this. Since I disembark in Civitavecchia I was going to spend 4 nights in Rome (this is the only things I have booked). -4 night in Rome -2/3 nights in Naples/ Amalfi Coast (I also would like to go further south but not sure where.) -Travel Day to Florence I might stay a night in Assisi or Siena -3/4 nights in Florence with a day trip to Pisa and Lucca -2 nights in Cinque Terre -I think I should go to Genoa or Milan after – I also want to spend a night in the Tuscan country side (Under the Tuscan Sun like) -1 night in Bologna -1 night in Bolozno/ Ortisei for the Seceda -2 nights in Venice I would really like to experience some real Italian life and this trip is really a scouting trip for a possible move to Italy.

Sounds like a wonderful trip!

In May, booking a few days in advance for most places (including the Colosseum) should be just fine in mid-May. There are a few attractions in Italy (climbing to the top of the Duomo’s cupola in Florence and visiting The Last Supper in Milan are two of them) that require planning further in advance year-round, but for travelers who are flexible with their plans, most things are doable a few days in advance.

All of the places you have mentioned are wonderful, but I do think you’ll find there are too many of them! Since you’re going to be booking as you go, I’d just stay open to extending your stays and visiting fewer places.

I’m not sure if you have a timeline for your trip, but after weeks of traveling it’s safe to say continuing to change hotels every night to every other night will stop being appealing. Plus, traveling more slowly is one of the biggest benefits of traveling for longer–it’s worth slowing down for.

We are going to Italy in September/October for about 2-3 weeks. Will visit Rome, Florence, Tuscany and Umbria areas. At the end of our trip we would like to visit Assisi, montepulciano , perugia. Our concern is how to get around in those areas. We don’t really want to rent a car but will if that is our only option, what is your suggestion on this?

It’s doable, but takes a bit of finagling!

The train stations for each of those places are outside the city center (1-3 miles away or so), so you’ll need to take a bus or taxi from the train station to the historic center.

I have been reviewing your site for the last few weeks and my fiancé and I have decided on two weeks in Italy. We’re thinking of flying into Rome and flying home from Venice.

We have never taken such a huge trip before and I’m curious if it makes sense to book the flights and have the book ends planned and then start doing booking of the meat of travel afterwards? Or should we have everything planned and booked before we even book the flights?

Hi Jessica!

Personally, we always opt to book the flights first and then fill in the rest of the trip from there. Flight deals and times can impact your starting and ending points, and possibly even shuffle your trip around by a day here or there.

Everything else–with rare exceptions like festivals, very trendy hotels, etc–is much more flexible compared to flights.

Just going over your blog and absorbing everything! I have a trip planned that has us arriving in Milan on April 29th and leaving out of Rome on May 19th so I’m planning on working our way from top to bottom.

Rough plan currently is Milan -> Venice -> Bologna -> Florence -> Cinque Terre? -> Naples -> Amalfi Coast? -> Rome With some day trips mixed in there, most likely to Siena, Pompeii, maybe Lucca/Pisa or somewhere else.

Would you recommend going to Cinque Terre which we would do closer to the start of May or go to Amalfi Coast which would be closer to mid May? Since you mentioned a day trip from Florence to Cinque Terre is not the easiest, would it make sense to go to the Amalfi Coast instead so I don’t have to backtrack through Florence to get down to Rome or Naples? I’m also concerned about the weather as Cinque Terre is more north and it will be earlier in the month vs Amalfi Coast being more south and more mid month.

What would your itinerary look like with roughly 3 weeks that works top to bottom?

For both Cinque Terre and the Amalfi Coast in May, you’ll really be gambling with the weather–it might be gorgeous swimming weather, it might be rainy and chilly (happened to us on our May trip that covered both places a few years ago–you’ll notice I’m wearing long sleeves and jeans in some Cinque Terre photos), or anywhere in between.

Weather aside, since we can’t control that, prices will probably be a bit lower in early May than mid-May, and the Amalfi Coast is the more expensive destination of the two overall–if cost is a factor, that’s something to keep in mind.

If you’re open to trimming Cinque Terre, it will certainly streamline your itinerary by cutting a transition, so I’d consider it if you’re not married to the idea of visiting two coastal destinations.

A few other day trip ideas you might consider if you have time: Parma or Ravenna from Bologna, Lake Como from Milan, and Montepulciano and/or some of the other Tuscan hill towns from Florence.

Your route is very similar to what we’d cover if trying to hit the highlights in 3 weeks, I’d just make sure to cut anywhere that feels like an obligation in order to give more time to the places you’re most excited for (any one of those cities would be an amazing place to spend a week or more).

Happy planning!

Thanks for the info! I’ve done some more research and currently have the following plan

Day 1 – Milan – Arrive late at night Day 2 – Milan – half day and then train to Venice. Half day in Venice Day 3 – Venice – Full Day Day 4 – Venice – Check out of hotel and explore Venice until ready to leave for Bologna. Night in Bologna Day 5 – Day trip to Modena and Parma Day 6 – Check out of hotel. Day in Bologna until ready to leave for Florence Day 7 – Florence – Full day Day 8 – Florence – Full day Day 9 – Florence – Sienna or Pisa/Luca day trip or Chianti wine tour. Day 10 – Florence – Sienna or Pisa/Luca day trip or Chianti wine tour. Day 11 – Train from Florence to Naples or Sorrento and then day trip from Sorrento to Naples. Day 12 -Sorrento – Day trip to Pompeii? Day 13 – Sorrento – Day trip to Capri? Day 14 – Amalfi Coast Day 15 – Amalfi Coast Day 16 – Amalfi Coast Day 17 – Rome half day? Or full day or arrive late night and just have 3 days in rome? Day 18 – Rome Day 19 – Rome Day 20 -Rome Day 21 -Half Day in Rome fly home

I’d like to do a wine tour of the Chianti region but I’m not sure if it’s something I should try to do with a Siena, San gimignano, and Chianti tour or dedicate a full day to it and have Siena/San gimignano as it’s own day. If I dedicate a full day to it I would have to take a day from Bologna, Rome or Amalfi coast. What are your thoughts on this? Do you think we have too much time in the Amalfi coast? I’m thinking of using Sorrento as a base for a few days as I’d like to visit Pompeii, Naples and Capri and then a few days stay possibly in Ravello. Or maybe take Day 17 away from Rome and give it to Florence. That would leave us with 3 and a half days in Rome.

Love to hear all your thoughts on my above plan and what changes you would make or places that you would switch out.

These are the places that I’ve wrote down that I don’t think are worth visiting this trip Assis Lake Como Cinque Terre Padova Vicenza Verona

and these are the places that I’m still thinking about Orvieto Arezzo

Do you think Orvieto or Arezzo are worth swapping out for Siena or Lucca/Pisa.

I’d actually recommend taking any extra time to smooth out the very beginning of the itinerary–day 2 in particular isn’t going to leave a lot of room for sightseeing, in between checking into/out of two hotels, transiting to a new city, etc. Depending on which city interests you more, I’d consider adding a day to either Milan or Venice. As it stands, you probably won’t do more than a few hours of actual sightseeing in Milan–up to you if that’s the pace you’re looking for!

I do think you can get away with 3 full days in Rome–more is always lovely, but 3 is a solid start.

Same with the Amalfi Coast–you can certainly have a wonderful time there with the extra day, but I wouldn’t say you need it. Sorrento is an excellent base and you can easily see a lot of the region from there.

Siena, Orvieto, Arezzo, and Lucca are all wonderful. Pisa is fun, but I wouldn’t call it an absolute must-do unless you’re dying to see the leaning tower–of the five, it’d be the one I’d prioritize least. Other than that, you can’t go wrong with any of them.

As far as whether to visit the Chianti region as an entirely separate day or combine with Siena/San Gimignano, I’d say that depends on how much of a wine fan you are. Personally, we enjoy wine tastings but one in a day (especially the way they pour in Tuscany!) is plenty for us, and we prefer to mix in sightseeing. If you’re visiting Tuscany for wine in particular and are very interested in learning about the various varietals, etc., though, you might consider separating them out.

Thanks so much Kate!

I was not overly interested in Milan other than the Duomo and Galleria Vittorio which is why I was only planning on spending the afternoon there before heading off to Venice. I didn’t want to skip over Milan entirely but I feel like our time is better spent in other locations.

Do you think it makes sense to split our time in Naples and Sorrento? Stay in Naples for say 2 days to explore Naples and Pompeii and then move onto Sorrento for 3 or 4 days to explore Capri and the AC? Or would you recommend sticking in one place the whole time? I have heard there is not as much to do in the town of Sorrento and by not having to do day trips to Naples and Pompeii from Sorrento could save some money on transportation?

Honestly we’re not much wine fans but I thought it was something we should try while we are there. Sounds like mixing all 3 locations into a tour in one day is the way to go!

If you think the time we have in AC is enough without adding more and 3 days in Rome is enough then it looks like I have an extra day to allocate somewhere. I’ll have to do some more thinking on where to place that extra day. Thanks for all your help so far!

Anytime, Edmond!

Sounds like a solid plan for Milan.

Personally I love both Naples and Sorrento, though they’re very different–just depends on what you’re looking for. You can day trip to Pompeii pretty easily from either, so I wouldn’t let that sway your decision. But the pizza, views, archaeological museum, underground, etc, in Naples are well worth your time if you can fit it in!

Great work on the site, it’s been super helpful.

Was wondering if you could gife me your opinion on an issue I am facing. My nieces wedding is in September so we are planning 16 days and wanted your thoughts if this is doable.

We are arriving before the wedding and have to end in Florence.

Arrive Rome – 3 nights Assisi – 1 night Bologna – 2 nights Venice – 3 nights Modena – 2 nights Florence – 5 nights

Would love your thoughts and thanks in advance!

Hi Michael,

Thank you so much!

The first thing that jumps out is that you have Bologna and Modena separated–I would definitely combine those! Modena is only a 15-25 minute train ride or so from Bologna, and virtually every train to it is going to require passing back through Bologna regardless.

Personally, I’d probably base yourself in either Bologna or Modena for one 3 or 4 night period, and take a day trip to the city you’re not staying in. It’ll be much more efficient and if you only stay 3 days, buy you an extra night to add to another city of your choice.

Bologna is the traditional choice for where to stay between those two: it’s bigger, there’s more to do, and as the capital and transportation hub of the Emilia-Romagna region, it’s easy to navigate to and from. However, Modena is beautiful and offers the benefits of being a more affordable and less crowded place to stay.

Other than that, your route looks wonderful and is very doable by train, so navigation should be very convenient. 🙂

Leave a Comment Cancel reply

  • Skip to primary navigation
  • Skip to main content
  • Skip to primary sidebar
  • Skip to footer

The Mindful Traveller

The Mindful Traveller

Eco Travel Blog & Photography

Most Scenic Road Trips in Italy: 10 Epic Routes

28 May 2024 · In: Italy , Road Trip


Are you looking for the  most beautiful and scenic road trips in Italy ? Adventure lovers, you have come to the right place! This article walks you through  10 road trip ideas to add to your bucket list  for an unforgettable holiday, whether you are travelling for 7 days or 2 weeks.

Italy is a stunning  European country  known for its rich history, beautiful landscapes and delicious cuisine, making it a  dream destination for road trip enthusiasts . From the sunny coastlines and rolling vineyards to impressive mountains and charming medieval towns, you will find  plenty of things to do and places to see  on an Italian road trip, both in summer and winter.

Italy is  one of my favourite countries  to explore! I never get tired of it and absolutely love its culture and atmosphere. It is actually the country  I have visited the most times , which includes Tuscany ( Florence , Pisa, Siena), Milan, Bologna, Venice and Rome . Each place always has something new to offer. Whichever  road trip  you choose, I am sure you will  have a wonderful time !

So, are you ready to discover the  top 10 Italian road trips that you must experience ? Let’s get started! And, of course, let me know in the comments below if you have any other suggestions 🙂

Disclosure : Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning that at no additional cost to you, we will receive a commission if you click through and make a purchase. For more information, please  read our full affiliate disclosure .

Overview: 10 epic Italian road trips

  • Amalfi Coast
  • Ligurian Coast


Best Italy road trips – Map

italy map

10 breathtaking road trip routes in Italy

Here are 10 road trips to inspire your next Italian adventure. Each of these routes is easily accessible by car, campervan or motorbike. But be sure to also check road conditions, especially in winter, and book your accommodation in advance.

Best car rental options

Looking for the best car rental deals for your road trip in Italy?

Check out to search and compare which one is best for you. From affordable to luxury, they make it easy to choose and have a great selection of rental agents.

1- Amalfi Coast

Amalfi Coast

⏰  Duration : 5 days 📅  When to go : spring & summer (May-September)

The Amalfi Coast road trip is a breathtaking journey along the winding coastal road of southern Italy , offering impressive views of rugged cliffs plunging into the azure waters of the Mediterranean Sea.

As you travel this iconic route, you will come across charming pastel-coloured villages perched on the cliffsides, such as Positano, Amalfi and Ravello, each with its own unique character and beauty. 

Along the way, you can stop to explore historic sites like the ancient ruins of Pompeii and Herculaneum, sample delicious local cuisine and soak in the sun on picturesque beaches . 

At every turn on the road, the Amalfi Coast road trip promises unforgettable views and experiences that symbolise the romance and charm of coastal Italy .


Here is an example of a  5-day itinerary  covering the main highlights of the Amalfi Coast:

Day 1: Naples to Sorrento

  • Start your journey in Naples .
  • Explore the historic centre and enjoy authentic Neapolitan pizza.
  • Drive to Sorrento , a charming coastal town known for its lemon groves and panoramic views.
  • Wander through the narrow streets of its historic centre.
  • Visit the scenic Villa Comunale Park overlooking the Bay of Naples.
  • Spend the evening dining on fresh seafood and limoncello in one of the seaside restaurants.

Day 2: Sorrento to Positano

  • Drive along the breathtaking coastal road to Positano.
  • Stop at viewpoints along the way to admire the stunning scenery.
  • Explore its picturesque streets lined with pastel-coloured buildings, boutique shops and art galleries.
  • Relax on one of its beautiful beaches, such as Spiaggia Grande or Fornillo Beach.
  • Enjoy dinner with a view at one of the cliffside restaurants, overlooking the Tyrrhenian Sea.

Day 3: Positano to Amalfi

  • Continue your journey along the Amalfi Coast to the historic town of Amalfi.
  • Pass through charming villages like Praiano and Furore.
  • Visit the iconic Cathedral of Saint Andrew in Amalfi, located in the heart of the main square.
  • Explore the winding streets of its historic centre.
  • Browse local shops selling handmade ceramics and limoncello.
  • Take a boat tour along the coast to see hidden coves, sea caves and dramatic cliffs.

Day 4: Amalfi to Ravello

  • Drive up to the hilltop town of Ravello, known for its stunning views and beautiful gardens.
  • Visit the Villa Rufolo and Villa Cimbrone gardens, which offer panoramic views.
  • Explore its historic centre and see the Duomo di Ravello, an 11th-century cathedral with beautiful mosaics.
  • Enjoy a relaxing lunch overlooking the sea at one of the scenic restaurants.

Day 5: Ravello to Naples

  • Drive back to Naples, stopping along the way to take in any last-minute views of the Amalfi Coast.
  • Option: you can also stop at Pompeii , known for its ancient city which was buried by the 79 A.D. eruption of Mount Vesuvius. 

Amalfi Coast Map

Click on the top left of the map to display the list of stops and locations.


⏰  Duration : 6 days 📅  When to go : spring (April-May) & autumn (September-October) 

This Tuscany road trip is a journey through the outstanding countryside of Italy, characterised by rolling hills covered with vineyards, olive groves and cypress trees . 

Along the way, you will encounter charming medieval towns and cities full of history and culture, such as Florence, Siena and San Gimignano, each featuring magnificent art, architecture and culinary delights. 

Scenic drives through the Chianti wine region also offer opportunities to taste world-renowned wines and explore smaller picturesque villages nestled in the Tuscan landscape. 

Whether exploring ancient hilltop settlements or wandering through sun-drenched vineyards, a Tuscany road trip guarantees an enchanting immersion into the heart of peaceful Italian life .

Here is an example of a  6-day itinerary  covering some of the most iconic stops in Tuscany:

Day 1: Florence

  • Start your Tuscany road trip in Florence , the cultural capital of the region.
  • Discover iconic landmarks such as the Florence Cathedral , Uffizi Gallery and Ponte Vecchio.
  • Wander through the charming streets of the historic centre, stopping at local cafés and gelaterias.
  • In the evening, enjoy a traditional Florentine dinner at a local trattoria.

Day 2: Chianti Region

  • Drive south into the scenic Chianti wine region, known for its rolling hills and vineyards.
  • Visit wineries for tastings of Chianti Classico wines and olive oil.
  • Explore charming hilltop towns like Greve in Chianti, Radda in Chianti and Castellina in Chianti.
  • Enjoy a relaxing lunch at a local agriturismo, sampling Tuscan specialities paired with regional wines.

Day 3: San Gimignano and Siena

  • Drive to San Gimignano , known as the “Town of Fine Towers” for its well-preserved medieval towers.
  • Stroll through its picturesque streets and climb one of the towers for panoramic views.
  • Head to the medieval city of Siena , famous for its Gothic architecture and historic Palio horse race.
  • Explore the UNESCO-listed historic centre, including the Piazza del Campo and Siena Cathedral.

Day 4: Val d’Orcia

  • Drive south to the Val d’Orcia, a UNESCO World Heritage site known for its picturesque landscapes.
  • Visit the charming hilltop towns of Montalcino, Pienza and Montepulciano.
  • Take in the views of rolling hills, vineyards and cypress trees characteristic of the Tuscan countryside.
  • Consider visiting a local thermal spa for relaxation and rejuvenation.

Day 5: Cortona and Arezzo

  • Head east toward the town of  Cortona , perched on a hill overlooking the Val di Chiana.
  • Explore the medieval streets and visit the Museo dell’Accademia Etrusca.
  • Enjoy the panoramic views of the surrounding countryside.
  • Continue to the historic city of Arezzo , known for its beautiful churches, Renaissance architecture and local market.
  • Spend the afternoon wandering through the historic centre.
  • Admire works by Piero della Francesca and other Renaissance masters.

Day 6: Return to Florence

  • Drive back to Florence, taking the scenic route through the Tuscan countryside.
  • You may have some extra time to explore the city or relax before heading home.

Tuscany Map

3- Dolomites


⏰  Duration : 6 days 📅  When to go : all year-round

Embark on a captivating journey through the majestic Dolomites, a stunning mountain range in northeastern Italy , where spectacular peaks glide against the backdrop of azure skies. 

On this road trip, you will drive through winding mountain passes, offering breathtaking views of rugged cliffs, serene alpine lakes and lush valleys dotted with picturesque villages. 

Along the way, you will also have plenty of opportunities for hiking in summer and skiing in winter , whilst charming towns like Cortina d’Ampezzo and Bolzano provide cultural immersion and delicious local cuisine. 

Whether admiring the sunrise over impressive peaks or enjoying the tranquillity of nature, a Dolomites road trip is perfect for any nature lover looking for a memorable exploration of the alpine wonders of Italy .

Here is an example of a  6-day itinerary  offering a taste of the best that the Dolomites have to offer:

Day 1: Bolzano

  • Start your road trip in Bolzano , the capital of South Tyrol.
  • Explore the charming streets of the historic centre.
  • Visit attractions such as the South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology, home to Ötzi the Iceman.
  • Stroll through the fruit markets and sample local specialities like speck (smoked ham) and strudel.
  • Consider visiting the Renon Plateau by cable car for panoramic views of the Dolomites.

Day 2: Val Gardena

  • Drive to Val Gardena, a picturesque valley surrounded by stunning peaks.
  • Spend the day hiking or mountain biking along scenic trails.
  • Take a cable car ride for panoramic views.
  • Visit the charming villages of Ortisei, Selva di Val Gardena and Santa Cristina, known for their traditional wooden houses and artisan workshops.
  • Relax and unwind at a local spa or wellness centre.

Day 3: Cortina d’Ampezzo

  • Head east to Cortina d’Ampezzo, one of the most famous ski resorts in the Dolomites.
  • Take a scenic drive along the Great Dolomite Road.
  • Stop at different viewpoints and alpine lakes along the way.
  • Explore the chic boutiques, art galleries and cafés in the historic centre.
  • Take a guided tour of the nearby Dolomite peaks or visit the Cortina Olympic Ice Stadium.

Day 4: Tre Cime di Lavaredo

  • Drive to the Tre Cime di Lavaredo, one of the most iconic landmarks in the Dolomites.
  • Hike the loop trail around the three towering peaks, enjoying breathtaking views.
  • Visit the Rifugio Auronzo mountain hut for a traditional mountain lunch.
  • Explore nearby attractions such as the Prato Piazza plateau or the Fanes-Sennes-Braies Nature Park.

Day 5: Alta Badia

  • Head south to Alta Badia, a scenic region known for its alpine meadows, lush forests and charming villages.
  • Explore the Alta Badia ski area, which offers a variety of outdoor activities year-round.
  • Visit the village of Corvara and take a cable car ride to the Piz Boè summit for panoramic views.
  • Enjoy a traditional Ladin dinner at a local restaurant, sampling delicious dishes.

Day 6: Return to Bolzano

  • Drive back to Bolzano, taking the scenic route through the Dolomites.
  • You may have some extra time to explore the town or relax before heading home.

Dolomites Map

4- Sardinia


⏰  Duration : 6 days 📅  When to go : summer (June-September) 

Venture on a journey of discovery along the rugged coastline and pristine landscapes of Sardinia, a large Italian island in the Mediterranean Sea.

This road trip will take you through emerald waters, golden beaches and ancient ruins , offering glimpses of the rich history and natural beauty of the island at every turn. 

Explore charming villages like Alghero and Cagliari, where narrow cobbled streets lead to vibrant piazzas and traditional markets. Enjoy the flavours of Sardinian cuisine and immerse yourself in the unique culture and traditions of the island . 

With its diverse landscapes and captivating charm, a Sardinia road trip is ideal for those seeking a fun adventure off the beaten path .

Here is an example of a  6-day itinerary  covering some of the best highlights of Sardinia:

Day 1: Cagliari

  • Start your road trip in Cagliari , the capital city of Sardinia.
  • Explore the historic Castello district, home to the Citadel of Museums and Cagliari Cathedral.
  • Wander the narrow streets of the Marina district, lined with colourful buildings, cafés and shops.
  • Relax on Poetto Beach, one of the longest beaches in Sardinia.
  • Enjoy a seafood dinner at a beachfront restaurant.

Day 2: Costa Verde

  • Drive west along the Costa Verde, a rugged coastline known for its wild beauty and pristine beaches.
  • Visit the towering sandstone cliffs of the Pan di Zucchero and the beaches of Piscinas and Scivu.
  • Stop at the old mining town of Ingurtosu and explore the abandoned mines and sand dunes.
  • Spend the night in a cosy agriturismo or beachside resort along the Costa Verde.

Day 3: Oristano and the Sinis Peninsula

  • Head north to Oristano and explore its historic centre, including the 13th-century Torre di San Cristoforo.
  • Visit the archaeological site of Tharros on the Sinis Peninsula.
  • Relax on the beautiful beaches of Is Arutas and Mari Ermi, known for their unique quartz sand.
  • Enjoy a traditional Sardinian dinner featuring local specialities.

Day 4: Alghero

  • Drive northwest to the charming coastal town of Alghero , known for its Catalan heritage and beautiful beaches.
  • Explore the historic centre, including the 16th-century walls, Cathedral of Santa Maria and Piazza Civica.
  • Walk along the scenic seafront promenade known as the Bastioni Marco Polo.
  • Watch the sunset over the Mediterranean Sea.
  • Enjoy dinner at a seafood restaurant in the Old Town, sampling Catalan-style lobster and bottarga.

Day 5: Costa Smeralda

  • Drive northeast to the exclusive resort area of Costa Smeralda, known for its stunning beaches and luxury hotels.
  • Spend the day relaxing on the white sand beaches of Porto Cervo, Porto Rotondo and Capriccioli.
  • Explore the upscale shops, art galleries and restaurants in the chic marina of Porto Cervo.
  • Enjoy the panoramic views of the coastline and crystal-clear waters.

Day 6: Return to Cagliari

  • Drive back to Cagliari, taking the scenic route along the east coast of Sardinia.

Sardinia Map


⏰  Duration : 6 days 📅  When to go : spring (April-June) & autumn (September-October) 

Experience a captivating journey through the historic landscapes of Sicily, the largest island in the Mediterranean , where ancient ruins, bustling cities and natural wonders await you at every turn. 

This fascinating road trip will guide you through historic sites like the Valley of the Temples in Agrigento and the Greek Theater in Taormina, offering a deeper insight into the rich past of the island. 

Discover the impressive slopes of Mount Etna , the most active volcano in Europe, relax on the sunny beaches of the Mediterranean coast and sample the diverse cuisine of Sicily, from savoury arancini to sweet cannoli.

A Sicily road trip offers a memorable adventure through one of the most beautiful regions of Italy thanks to its unique blend of cultures, from Greek and Roman to Arab and Norman. 

Here is an example of a  6-day itinerary  for a great mix of cultural, historical and natural attractions in Sicily:

Day 1: Palermo

  • Start your road trip in Palermo , the vibrant capital city of Sicily.
  • Explore the historic centre, including the Norman Palace, Palermo Cathedral and Ballarò market.
  • See the Byzantine mosaics at the Palatine Chapel and the catacombs of the Capuchin Monastery.
  • Enjoy dinner at a traditional trattoria, sampling Sicilian specialties like arancini, panelle and cannoli.

Day 2: Agrigento

  • Drive south to Agrigento and visit the Valley of the Temples, a UNESCO World Heritage site featuring ancient Greek ruins.
  • Explore the well-preserved temples of Concordia, Juno and Hercules.
  • Visit the Archaeological Museum of Agrigento to learn more about the history of ancient Sicily.
  • Relax on the beaches of San Leone or Scala dei Turchi, known for its white cliffs and turquoise waters.

Day 3: Syracuse

  • Head east to Syracuse , one of the most important ancient Greek cities in Sicily.
  • Explore the historic island of Ortygia, home to the Temple of Apollo, the Fountain of Arethusa and the Cathedral of Syracuse.
  • Visit the ancient Greek theatre and the Ear of Dionysius, a limestone cave with remarkable acoustic properties.
  • Relax in the picturesque piazza and enjoy a seafood dinner overlooking the harbour.

Day 4: Catania

  • Continue north to Catania, the second-largest city of Sicily, located at the foot of Mount Etna.
  • Explore the historic centre, including the Baroque Cathedral of Saint Agatha and the fish market.
  • Visit the Ursino Castle, a 13th-century fortress housing a museum of Sicilian art and artefacts.
  • Enjoy a traditional Sicilian meal at a local trattoria, sampling local dishes.

Day 5: Mount Etna

  • Drive to Mount Etna , the tallest active volcano in Europe, located on the eastern coast of Sicily.
  • Take a guided tour of the volcano, exploring craters, lava caves and panoramic viewpoints.
  • Visit the town of Taormina, perched on a hill overlooking the Ionian Sea.
  • Explore its ancient Greek theatre and charming streets.
  • Enjoy dinner at a restaurant with views of Mount Etna and the surrounding countryside.

Day 6: Return to Palermo

  • Drive back to Palermo, taking the scenic route along the northern coast of Sicily.
  • You may have some extra time to explore the city or relax before heading home.

6- Ligurian Coast

Ligurian Coast

Set out on a picturesque journey along the enchanting Ligurian Coast, also known as the Italian Riviera . 

This road trip follows the stunning coastline of the Ligurian Sea, where colourful fishing villages stick to steep cliffs and charming harbours are filled with fresh seafood and seaside cafés . 

Explore the iconic Cinque Terre , a series of five picturesque cliff-top villages, and discover the historic charm of Portofino with its elegant harbour and pastel-coloured buildings. Along the way, indulge in Ligurian cuisine whilst soaking up the relaxed Mediterranean atmosphere. 

With its breathtaking views and timeless beauty, a Ligurian Coast road trip is perfect for those seeking a mix of exploration and relaxation on one of the most iconic coastlines of Italy.

Here is an example of a  6-day itinerary  covering some of the most iconic attractions along the Ligurian Coast:

Day 1: Genoa

  • Start in Genoa , the historic port city known for its rich maritime heritage and vibrant culture.
  • Explore the narrow streets of the medieval Old Town (Centro Storico).
  • Visit landmarks such as the Palazzo Ducale, San Lorenzo Cathedral and the Genoa Aquarium.
  • Wander along the waterfront promenade, the Porto Antico, lined with shops and restaurants.
  • Enjoy a traditional Genoese dinner featuring local specialities like pesto, focaccia and fresh seafood.

Day 2: Portofino and Santa Margherita Ligure

  • Drive along the scenic coastal road to the charming fishing village of Portofino .
  • The town is famous for its colourful harbour, luxury yachts and upscale boutiques.
  • Explore the historic centre and visit the 16th-century Castello Brown for panoramic views.
  • Relax on the pebble beach or take a boat tour of the coastline.
  • Continue to Santa Margherita Ligure, a picturesque seaside town.
  • See the pastel-coloured buildings, scenic waterfront promenade and lively harbour.
  • Enjoy a relaxing lunch at a seaside trattoria, sampling Ligurian cuisine and local wines.

Day 3: Cinque Terre

  • Take a day trip to the Cinque Terre , a UNESCO World Heritage site comprising five colourful villages.
  • Start in Riomaggiore and hike along the famous Sentiero Azzurro (Blue Trail) to Manarola.
  • Pass through vineyards, olive groves and scenic viewpoints along the way.
  • Explore the charming villages of Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza and Monterosso al Mare.
  • Swim in the crystal-clear waters and enjoy fresh seafood at a waterfront restaurant.

Day 4: La Spezia and Lerici

  • Drive to La Spezia , a bustling port city located at the head of the Gulf of La Spezia (Golfo dei Poeti).
  • Visit the Naval Museum and stroll along the promenade overlooking the harbour.
  • Enjoy views of the Apuan Alps and colourful fishing boats.
  • Continue to Lerici, a charming coastal town.
  • Discover its medieval castle, scenic beaches and picturesque harbour.
  • Explore its historic centre and visit the castle for panoramic views of the Gulf of Poets.
  • Relax on the sandy beach or take a boat tour to nearby islands.

Day 5: Camogli and Chiavari

  • Drive back to Chiavari, a charming town.
  • Discover its medieval Old Town, lively piazza and scenic promenade lined with palm trees.
  • Continue to Camogli, a picturesque fishing village.
  • See its colourful buildings, pebble beach and historic harbour.
  • Explore its historic centre and visit the Basilica of Santa Maria Assunta.
  • Climb to the top of the Punta Chiappa lighthouse for panoramic views.
  • Enjoy a traditional Ligurian meal at a local trattoria, sampling local dishes.

Day 6: Return to Genoa

  • Drive back to Genoa, taking the scenic route along the Ligurian coastline.
  • You may have some extra time to explore the town or relax before heading home.

Ligurian Coast Map


Venture on a scenic journey through the central region of Italy , often called the green heart of the country, with this fascinating Umbria road trip.

You will travel through lush valleys, rolling hills and ancient forest s, encountering picturesque medieval towns like Assisi, Perugia and Spoleto along the way. 

Explore historic sites , such as the Basilica of Saint Francis and the majestic fortress of Rocca Maggiore in Assisi, and savour the culinary delights of the region, from earthy truffles to rich wines. 

With its tranquil countryside atmosphere and rich cultural heritage , an Umbria road trip offers a perfect immersion into the charm of central Italy.

Here is an example of a  6-day itinerary  covering some of the most popular attractions in Umbria:

Day 1: Perugia

  • Start your road trip in Perugia , the charming capital city of Umbria.
  • Explore its historic centre, including Palazzo dei Priori, Fontana Maggiore and Rocca Paolina fortress.
  • Visit the Galleria Nazionale dell’Umbria to see works by Umbrian artists.
  • Wander through the underground city, a network of medieval streets and chambers.
  • Enjoy dinner at a traditional trattoria, sampling Umbrian specialities.

Day 2: Gubbio

  • Drive to Gubbio , a picturesque medieval town nestled in the foothills of the Apennine Mountains.
  • Take a ride on the Funivia Colle Eletto cable car for panoramic views.
  • Explore the historic centre, including the Palazzo dei Consoli, Duomo and Piazza Grande.
  • Enjoy dinner at a traditional osteria, sampling local dishes.

Day 3: Assisi & Spello

  • Drive to Assisi , a UNESCO World Heritage site and the birthplace of Saint Francis.
  • Explore the Basilica of Saint Francis, home to magnificent frescoes by Giotto and Cimabue.
  • Visit the Basilica of Saint Clare, where the saint’s relics are enshrined.
  • See the Rocca Maggiore fortress for panoramic views of the surrounding countryside.
  • Continue to Spello, a charming hilltop town known for its floral displays and Roman ruins.
  • Wander through the narrow streets of the historic centre, stopping at local artisan shops and cafés.

Day 4: Spoleto

  • Head south to Spoleto , a picturesque hilltop town known for its medieval architecture.
  • Visit the Romanesque Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta.
  • See the Ponte delle Torri, a 13th-century aqueduct bridge.
  • Explore the historic centre, including the Rocca Albornoziana fortress and the Roman theatre.
  • Attend a performance at the annual Festival dei Due Mondi, held every summer.

Day 5: Orvieto

  • Drive to Orvieto , a charming hilltop town known for its stunning cathedral and Etruscan heritage.
  • Visit the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, a masterpiece of Italian Gothic architecture.
  • Admire its intricate facade and frescoes by Luca Signorelli.
  • Explore the underground city, a network of tunnels, caves and Etruscan tombs.
  • Enjoy a wine tasting at a local vineyard, sampling Umbrian wines.
  • Take a walk along the medieval walls and enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding countryside.

Day 6: Return to Perugia

  • Drive back to Perugia, taking the scenic route through the Umbrian countryside.

8- Lake Como

Lake Como

⏰  Duration : 5 days 📅  When to go : spring (April-May) & autumn (September-October) 

Embark on a scenic adventure around the picturesque shores of Lake Como, an upscale resort area nestled in the foothills of the Italian Alps. 

Drive along winding roads that hug the shoreline, passing elegant villas, charming lakeside towns and lush gardens . Explore iconic attractions such as the historic town of Como, the enchanting village of Bellagio and the stunning Villa del Balbianello. 

Indulge in peaceful strolls along the waterfront promenades, scenic boat rides on the lake and exceptional dining experiences overlooking the calm waters. 

With its stunning natural beauty and timeless elegance, a Lake Como road trip is perfect for those seeking ultimate charm and tranquillity .

Here is an example of a  5-day itinerary  covering some of the most beautiful parts of Lake Como:

Day 1: Como

  • Start your road trip in the city of Como , located at the southern tip of Lake Como.
  • Explore the historic centre, including the Cathedral of Como and the picturesque Piazza Cavour.
  • Stroll along the lakeside promenade, the Lungolago, and enjoy views of the lake.
  • Visit the Villa Olmo, an 18th-century neoclassical villa with beautiful gardens overlooking the lake.
  • Enjoy dinner at a lakeside restaurant, sampling local specialities.

Day 2: Bellagio

  • Drive north to Bellagio, often referred to as the pearl of Lake Como for its scenic beauty and charming atmosphere.
  • Explore its historic centre, including the narrow streets lined with shops, cafés and gelaterias.
  • Visit the Villa Melzi d’Eril and its beautiful gardens, featuring exotic plants and sculptures.
  • Take a scenic boat ride to nearby Varenna or Menaggio.
  • Enjoy dinner at a lakeside trattoria, savouring delicious local dishes.

Day 3: Varenna and Menaggio

  • Drive to Varenna, a charming lakeside village known for its colourful waterfront, historic villas and scenic views.
  • Visit the Villa Monastero and its botanical gardens, located along the lakeside promenade.
  • Explore the medieval streets, stopping at local cafés and shops selling ceramics and crafts.
  • Continue to Menaggio, another picturesque town on the western shore of Lake Como.
  • Take a walk along the lakeside promenade, enjoying views of the lake and surrounding mountains

Day 4: Tremezzo and Lenno

  • Drive to Tremezzo.
  • Visit the famous Villa Carlotta, an elegant 18th-century villa with gardens overlooking the lake.
  • Explore the historic centre and enjoy lunch at a lakeside restaurant.
  • Continue to Lenno and visit the Villa del Balbianello, an iconic villa with terraced gardens.
  • Explore the picturesque village of Lenno, stroll along the lakeside promenade and relax on the beach.

Day 5: Return to Como

  • Drive back to Como, taking the scenic route along the western shore of Lake Como.

Lake Como Map


Set out on an adventure through the rugged landscapes of Abruzzo, a region known as the green lung of Italy . 

Drive through impressive mountains, untouched national parks and charming hilltop villages , such as Santo Stefano di Sessanio and Scanno, each offering an insight into traditional Italian life. 

Explore ancient ruins, medieval castles and fortified towns , like Rocca Calascio and Pacentro, steeped in history and culture. Along the way, savour the flavours of Abruzzese cuisine , from hearty mountain dishes to fresh seafood along the Adriatic coast. 

With its breathtaking landscapes and cultural diversity, this Abruzzo road trip is ideal for discovering one of the hidden gems of Italy .

Here is an example of a  6-day itinerary  offering an overview of the best that Abruzzo has to offer:

Day 1: L’Aquila

  • Start your road trip in L’Aquila, the capital city of Abruzzo.
  • See the impressive Spanish Fort, the Basilica of Santa Maria di Collemaggio.
  • Discover the Fountain of the 99 Spouts.
  • Visit the Museo Nazionale d’Abruzzo to learn about the history and culture of the region.
  • Enjoy dinner at a traditional trattoria, sampling local specialities.

Day 2: Gran Sasso National Park

  • Drive to Gran Sasso National Park, one of the largest national parks in Italy and home to the highest peaks in the Apennine Mountains.
  • Take a scenic drive through the park, stopping at viewpoints and hiking trails along the way.
  • Visit the town of Santo Stefano di Sessanio, a well-preserved medieval village.
  • Explore the Rocca Calascio, a mountaintop fortress with panoramic views.
  • Enjoy dinner at a local agriturismo, sampling dishes made with locally sourced ingredients.

Day 3: Abruzzo Coast

  • Drive to the Abruzzo coast and explore the charming seaside towns of Pescara and Vasto.
  • Spend the morning relaxing on the beach, swimming in the Adriatic Sea and soaking up the sun.
  • Visit the Pescara Waterfront, lined with cafés, bars and gelaterias.
  • Discover the Castello Caldoresco, the Cathedral of San Giuseppe and the Palazzo d’Avalos.
  • Enjoy dinner at a seafood restaurant.

Day 4: Majella National Park

  • Drive to Majella National Park, known for its rugged landscapes, ancient forests and abundant wildlife.
  • Take a hike through the park, exploring trails like the Orfento Valley and the Valle dell’Orso.
  • Visit the town of Caramanico Terme, known for its thermal baths and medieval architecture.
  • Explore the Hermitage of San Bartolomeo in Legio, carved into the rock face of the Majella Mountains.
  • Enjoy dinner at a local agriturismo, sampling dishes made with ingredients from the park.

Day 5: Sulmona and the Peligna Valley

  • Drive to Sulmona, a charming town known for its medieval architecture, confetti and the poet Ovid.
  • Discover the Piazza Garibaldi, the Church of Santa Maria della Tomba and the medieval aqueduct.
  • Visit the Museo Civico Pelino, dedicated to the art of confetti-making, and sample some.
  • Explore the Peligna Valley, a scenic area known for its vineyards and olive groves.
  • Stop by picturesque villages like Pacentro and Pettorano sul Gizio.
  • Enjoy dinner at a local trattoria.

Day 6: Return to L’Aquila

  • Drive back to L’Aquila, taking the scenic route through the Abruzzo countryside.

Abruzzo Map


⏰  Duration : 6 days 📅  When to go : spring (May-June) & autumn (September-October) 

Experience a captivating drive through the sunny landscapes of Apulia , also known as Puglia , in southern Italy. 

Make your way through olive groves, vineyards and whitewashed villages with conical-roofed trulli houses , such as Alberobello and Ostuni. Explore the rich history and cultural heritage of the region at iconic landmarks like the baroque city of Lecce and the ancient ruins of Matera.

Do not forget to indulge in the flavours of Apulian cuisine , from fresh seafood to hearty pasta dishes, and relax on the pristine beaches of the Salento Peninsula . 

With its stunning scenery, historic charm and culinary delights, an Apulia road trip promises a unique adventure through the southernmost region of Italy .

Here is an example of a  6-day itinerary  for exploring Apulia:

Day 1: Bari

  • Start your road trip in Bari , the capital city of Apulia.
  • Discover the Basilica of Saint Nicholas, Castello Svevo and the alleyways of Bari Vecchia.
  • Visit the bustling Mercato Coperto to sample local delicacies like fresh seafood.
  • Wander along the Lungomare Nazario Sauro promenade.
  • Enjoy dinner at a traditional trattoria, sampling Apulian dishes.

Day 2: Alberobello and Locorotondo

  • Drive to Alberobello , a UNESCO World Heritage site known for its unique trulli houses.
  • Explore the Rione Monti district, home to over 1,500 trulli clustered together in a maze of narrow streets.
  • Visit the Trullo Sovrano, a two-story trullo house that serves as a museum.
  • Continue to Locorotondo, a picturesque hilltop town.
  • Admire its whitewashed houses and panoramic views of the Valle d’Itria.
  • Wander through its maze of narrow streets and visit the Church of San Giorgio.

Day 3: Cisternino and Ostuni

  • Drive to Cisternino, a charming village known for its traditional trattorias.
  • Enjoy lunch at a local butcher shop, sampling grilled meats and traditional dishes.
  • Continue to Ostuni , the “White City” perched on a hill overlooking the Adriatic Sea.
  • Explore the historic centre, including the impressive Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta.
  • Wander through the narrow streets lined with whitewashed houses, shops and cafés.

Day 4: Lecce

  • Drive to Lecce , the “Florence of the South” known for its baroque architecture.
  • See the Basilica di Santa Croce, Piazza del Duomo and the Roman amphitheatre.
  • Visit the Castle of Charles V and the Palazzo dei Celestini, now home to the University of Lecce.
  • Wander through the streets of Old Town, admiring the ornate facades of the baroque buildings.
  • Stop at local cafés and gelaterias.

Day 5: Gallipoli and Otranto

  • Drive to Gallipoli, a picturesque seaside town known for its historic centre and sandy beaches.
  • Explore the Old Town, including the Angevin Castle and the Cathedral of Saint Agatha.
  • Relax on the beach or take a boat tour to explore the coastline and nearby islands.
  • Continue to Otranto, a charming coastal town located at the easternmost tip of Italy.
  • Visit the Cathedral of Otranto, known for its stunning mosaic floor depicting the Tree of Life.
  • Explore the Aragonese Castle.

Day 6: Return to Bari

  • Drive back to Bari, taking the scenic route through the Apulian countryside.

Shop the printable road trip planner

Plan and create an unforgettable road trip in Italy!

road trip planner

Tips for reducing your impact on a road trip

Are you looking forward to your unforgettable road trip? I understand! 

Road trips are a fantastic way of travelling as they allow us to move freely and discover many incredible places at our own pace. 

However, they can also have negative environmental impacts. That is why considering our carbon footprint and adopting  eco-responsible habits  is essential.

READ MORE:  How to Plan an Epic (Eco-Friendly) Road Trip

Here are some  sustainable tips  for making your Italy road trip more eco-friendly and having a positive impact on the places you visit:

Prepare your route in advance

I know getting lost on a road trip can feel fun and exciting, but when trying to lower your footprint, it is best to plan your route to minimise driving distance and avoid unnecessary detours. The shorter the distance you travel, the less fuel you will use and the less harmful emissions you will produce. In addition, consider alternative transportation options such as public transport or using a bike for shorter distances. 

Bonus tip: get offline maps to stay on track even if you lose signal. 

Plan your meals

Another great way to reduce your impact on the road is to plan your meals. Throughout your journey, eat at local restaurants or wander through local markets to buy fresh produce. You will have the opportunity to try the local Italian cuisine whilst contributing to the local economy. 

Stay in green accommodations

Stay in eco-friendly accommodations such as eco-guesthouses, hotels with green certifications or campsites with sustainable practices. Look for accommodations that prioritise energy efficiency, waste reduction and water conservation.

It is not always easy to determine whether an accommodation has eco-conscious practices, but try to look on their website for green credentials and ask questions. You can also use  Bookdifferent  or  Ecobnb  to help you decide.

Make your trip plastic-free

As you might know, plastic packaging is a significant environmental issue and causes concerns for wildlife and the preservation of natural landscapes. Therefore, avoid plastic as much as possible and bring reusable items instead. Choose eco-friendly alternatives, like reusable tote bags, cutlery, plates and more. 

Bonus tip: buy a  filtered water bottle  to refill anywhere. 

Check your car and drive smoothly

Make sure your vehicle is in the best possible condition for the road: check the engine, oil level and tyre pressure before your trip. In addition, use the available features in your car, like cruise control, to help you maintain your speed and reduce excess emissions. And even better, drive an electric or hybrid vehicle if possible!

Leave a place better than you found it

Aim to live by the principle: leave no trace. And even better, leave a place better than you found it. For example, dispose of your waste appropriately and pick up any trash you encounter. Be respectful of the land and do not drive over protected areas. Finally, stay on marked trails when hiking, as going off can be dangerous for the ecosystem.

Adopt a responsible attitude towards wildlife

Be mindful of your surroundings and adopt a responsible attitude towards wildlife, on land and in the sea. Do not come close to, feed or touch animals. Remember that you are only a guest in their home.

Always respect the local heritage

Treat people and their surroundings with respect. Sustainable travel is not only about the environment but also about the local communities. So, always be respectful and try to learn a few Italian words!

More inspiration for your green vacation:

  • Best Travel Apps for Exploring Sustainably
  • 15 Travel Books to Inspire Your Next Eco-Adventure
  • Best Ecotourism Activities Around the World

Eco-friendly gear you might love:

  • 10 Best Sustainable Backpacks for Travel & Hiking
  • 10 Best Reusable & Eco-Friendly Travel Mugs
  • 8 Best Filtered Water Bottles for Travel & Hiking

Check out  this page  for more inspiration on eco-friendly products & gear.

sustainable travel checklist

Italy travel planning guide + tips

🚑 Should I buy travel insurance to travel to Italy? Yes, buying insurance is always valuable when travelling abroad. Enjoy your road trip in Italy stress-free with one of my favourite providers,  Nomad Insurance .

💧 Can you drink the water in Italy? Yes, tap water is safe to drink all over Italy. However, I also recommend travelling with the  UltraPress Purifier Bottle , a lightweight filtered water bottle perfect for reducing plastic and staying hydrated.

🚗 Is it easy to rent a car in Italy? Yes, renting a car in Italy is easy and a great way to explore the country freely. I recommend booking yours with  – they offer a variety of operators for all budgets.

🏨 How to book accommodation in Italy? The best way to book your accommodation in Italy is with  – my favourite platform to compare and reserve places to stay each night, from affordable guesthouses to luxury resorts.

✈️ What is the best site to buy a flight to Italy? I recommend booking your plane with  Skyscanner . It has been my favourite platform for years, as it allows me to book the cheapest flights whilst lowering my carbon emissions.

📱 What is the best road trip application? The best road trip planner app I recommend you download on your phone is Roadtrippers . It will help you build your perfect itinerary with the top stops along the way.

best italy road trips

Best road trips in Italy – FAQ

Yes, Italy is excellent for road trips! The country offers diverse landscapes, from the rolling hills of Tuscany and the dramatic coastlines of the Amalfi Coast to the scenic routes through the Dolomites and the charming villages of the Ligurian Coast.

Driving in Italy can be easy, but it comes with some challenges. Its roads are generally well-maintained and the motorway network is extensive, making long-distance travel easy. However, driving in city centres can be difficult due to narrow streets and limited parking.

best italy road trips

And you, what is your favourite road trip in Italy ? Let me know in the comments below!

With love ♡ Lucie

  • Share on Twitter Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook Share on Facebook
  • Share on Pinterest Share on Pinterest

You will also love



Join our community today to receive exclusive travel tips & behind-the-scene stories that will inspire your next adventures, directly to your inbox. Can't wait to see you inside ♡

Reader Interactions

' src=

31 May 2024 at 13:48

This blog is such a hidden gem I stumbled upon it by chance and now I’m completely hooked!

Leave a Reply Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.

italy road trip in january

Sustainable Hiking Guide: 10 Easy Eco-Tips

Follow the journey.

The peaceful Lake Obersee, Bavaria 🌿

On the Blog

  • Privacy Policy

Become an insider!

And receive exclusive travel tips & behind-the-scene stories ♡

Copyright Lucie Charpentier © 2024 · Theme by 17th Avenue

FLASH SALE💥   Book now for   up to 60% off!

Italy Tours in January 2025

  • Jun '24
  • Jul '24
  • Aug '24
  • Sep '24
  • Oct '24
  • Nov '24
  • Dec '24
  • Jan '25
  • Feb '25
  • Mar '25
  • Apr '25
  • May '25

154 Italy trips in January 2025

The Italian Dream Tour

  • Christmas & New Year

The Italian Dream

"The airport transfers were well done. The hotels were all good." John, traveled in June 2023

Classical Italy Tour

Classical Italy

"The tour was comfortable and on time and our guide was lovely" Victoria, traveled in May 2024

Deluxe Italian Escape with picturesque Cinque Terre Tour

  • Sightseeing

Deluxe Italian Escape with picturesque Cinque Terre

"We had a more custom version, which was made easy to plan and even better to experience." Benjamin, traveled in May 2023

Discover Italy end Milan Tour

  • In-depth Cultural

Discover Italy end Milan

"Day in firenze was the best and the best tour guide of all. Overall it was fun and great experience." Adora, traveled in April 2023

Italy from North to South Tour

  • Coach / Bus

Italy from North to South

"I really enjoyed Rome and have plans to return but definitely not with this company and will not use this company to book any further trips." VERONICA, traveled in November 2022

Italian Holiday (7 Days) Tour

Italian Holiday (7 Days)

"This is a GREAT way to see Italy! You really get a fabulous tour with this group." catherinemorrison, traveled in June 2019
  • €100 deposit on some dates Some departure dates offer you the chance to book this tour with a lower deposit.

Italian Tour Gondola Ride & Cinque Terre Visit Tour

Italian Tour Gondola Ride & Cinque Terre Visit

"It was our first time in Italy and first time using a tour. We mostly travel independently but the travel logistics were all arranged for us." Thu, traveled in March 2024

Taste of Salento-Authentic Culinary Experience Tour

  • Food & Culinary

Taste of Salento-Authentic Culinary Experience

"The tour offered variety and covered a broad range of activities across the region allowing the opportunity to explore the area well." Antoinette, traveled in September 2023

5 Day Florence Food and Wine Tour Package Tour

5 Day Florence Food and Wine Tour Package

Discover Matera and Taste of Salento Tour Tour

Discover Matera and Taste of Salento Tour

"This did not feel like a 'tour', it felt like a 'stay'. Don't get caught up in the printed itinerary and stated activities."

What people love about Italy Tours in January

Tour really amizing, the driver and tour guid, food and location was very good, but a first day and last day hotel accomodation is not good very small shower, the bed is like rocking, the last tour scheduled from vasilica to collesium there no travelling car and is not good for us to take a taxi by our own and some a taxi driver is not honest.
The tour was comfortable and on time and our guide was lovely
TourRadar was excellent. The tours they scheduled were well-run by knowledgeable and amiable guides. Of course, the Italy locations were superb. The office staff kept in constant contact, but unobtrusive. And when I changed plans on the fly, the staff was responsive and thorough. I definitely cannot wait to book my next adventure with TourRadar!


  • South Italy January 2025 (40)
  • Central Italy January 2025 (39)
  • Northern Italy January 2025 (18)
  • Tuscany January 2025 (17)
  • Puglia January 2025 (14)
  • Campania January 2025 (14)
  • Amalfi Coast January 2025 (12)
  • Apulia January 2025 (9)
  • Lazio, Marche & Abruzzo January 2025 (6)
  • Veneto January 2025 (4)
  • Alps January 2025 (6)
  • Italian Alps January 2025 (4)
  • Sicily January 2025 (6)
  • Italian Lakes District January 2025 (6)

Regions in Italy

  • South Italy (40)
  • Central Italy (39)
  • Northern Italy (18)
  • Tuscany (17)
  • Puglia (14)
  • Campania (14)
  • Amalfi Coast (12)
  • Lazio, Marche & Abruzzo (6)
  • Italian Lakes District (6)
  • Summer 2024 tours (945)
  • Fall / Autumn 2024 tours (1093)
  • Winter 2024 / 2025 tours (259)
  • Spring 2025 tours (424)
  • Summer 2025 tours (330)
  • Fall / Autumn 2025 tours (344)
  • Winter 2025 / 2026 tours (100)
  • Spring 2026 tours (25)
  • Italy Travel Guide | All You Need to Know
  • Itinerary Ideas for 10 Days in Italy, 2022-2023
  • Best 7 Day Italy Itineraries 2024/2025 (with Reviews)
  • Discover the Best Italy Vacation Packages 2024/2025
  • What is the best time to visit Italy in 2024/2025?

Discover TourRadar

  • USA East Coast Tours
  • Uganda Safari
  • Guatemala, Belize and Mexico Winter tours
  • Sri Lanka Solo Trip
  • 7D/6N Primate Uganda Safari
  • 【Kenya】11 Days 10 Nights Luxury Tour
  • Culture and Wildlife Camping Safari

Love Exploring

Love Exploring

Take the Ultimate Road Trip With the World’s Most Dramatic Drives

Posted: January 28, 2024 | Last updated: January 28, 2024

From snow-clad mountain passes and precipitous paths with death-defying switchbacks, to rugged desert routes and sweeping coastal highways, there are some stunning roads around the world. Here, we've selected the most beautiful and dramatic, where natural landscapes and man-made ingenuity collide.

Incredible routes around the globe

Maui's lush landscape is mesmerizing but so too is this winding road that snakes along the northeast coastline of the island. It takes drivers past rainforest, over little bridges, alongside trickling waterfalls and around numerous hairpin bends. The dramatic coastal road, which is 52 miles (84km) long and goes between Pa'ia and Hana, has become a Hawaii must-do.

Hana Highway, Hawaii

Cyclists, motorbikers and motorists alike laud this infamous mountain pass in the Italian alps near the Swiss border as one of the ultimate roads. At just over 9,000 feet (2,743m), Stelvio Pass is the second highest mountain pass in the Alps. But it's the 48 hairpin turns that make it the most amazing. The original road dates back to the 1820s. It's open between May and November.

Stelvio Pass, Italy

This sinuous road in the Dadès Valley in the Ouarzazate province snakes down into a gorge, past staggering mountain scenery and ancient kasbahs. You'll pass through some of the High Atlas Mountains' most dramatic scenery on this extreme section of the R704 road, which was built down into the red-hued canyon of the Dadès River. It makes for a hair-raising but thrilling drive.

Dadès Valley, Ouarzazate province, Morocco

This sinuous road in the Dadès Valley in the Ouarzazate province snakes down into a gorge, past staggering mountain scenery and ancient kasbahs. You'll pass through some of the High Atlas Mountains' most dramatic scenery on this extreme section of the R704 road, which was built down into the red-hued canyon of the Dadès River. It makes for a hair-raising but thrilling drive.

<p>Arguably Australia's most famous drive, the Great Ocean Road in Victoria is everything its name promises: soaring ocean vistas, sheer cliffs, and near-deserted surf beaches. The 151-mile-long (243km) road goes from Torquay in the east to Allansford and it was constructed along the storm-ravaged coast in the 1920s by Australian servicemen who returned from the First World War and is officially the world's largest war memorial. Its most famous feature is the Twelve Apostles, a striking rock formation.</p>

The Great Ocean Road, Australia

Arguably Australia's most famous drive, the Great Ocean Road in Victoria is everything its name promises: soaring ocean vistas, sheer cliffs, and near-deserted surf beaches. The 151-mile-long road goes from Torquay in the east to Allansford and it was constructed along the storm-ravaged coast in the 1920s by Australian servicemen who returned from the First World War and is officially the world's largest war memorial. Its most famous feature is the Twelve Apostles, a striking rock formation.

Test your mettle on the fearsome-sounding Trollstigen, a mountain road that winds between the villages of Valldal in Indre Sunnmøre and Åndalsnes in Romsdalen and past awe-inspiring scenery. It opened in 1939 as an important transport passage and has become one of Norway's most popular sights. With 11 sharp bends (each named after one of the construction workers) and a steep incline, the incredible road was even hand hewn into the mountain in some parts. It's closed in winter however.

Trollstigen Mountain Road, Norway

<p>One of the longest overwater roads in the world, Florida's Overseas Highway stretches from Miami on the mainland to Key West, the furthest of the islands. Completed in 1938, many sections of the highway were built over the route of the Florida East Coast Railway, which was irrevocably damaged in a hurricane. It's 113 miles (182km) long and has 42 bridges, including the famous Seven Mile Bridge. The route offers drivers magnificent views of the <a href="">Keys</a> and the Florida Straits. </p>

Overseas Highway, Florida, USA

One of the longest overwater roads in the world, Florida's Overseas Highway stretches from Miami on the mainland to Key West, the furthest of the islands. Completed in 1938, many sections of the highway were built over the route of the Florida East Coast Railway, which was irrevocably damaged in a hurricane. It's 113 miles long and has 42 bridges, including the famous Seven Mile Bridge. The route offers drivers magnificent views of the Keys and the Florida Straits. 

<p>Another contender for the ultimate mountain pass has to be Bolivia's notorious Yungas Road. Also known as El Camino de la Muerte ("The Road of Death"), the extremely dangerous route goes from capital La Paz to Coroico. The narrow single-lane road is 38 miles (61km) long and goes up a 15,000-foot (4,572m) summit with sheer drops and not a barrier in sight. It's prone to severe rainfall, landslides and tumbling rocks. The road was built in the 1930s by Paraguayan prisoners during the Chaco War.</p>

Yungas Road, Bolivia

Another contender for the ultimate mountain pass has to be Bolivia's notorious Yungas Road. Also known as El Camino de la Muerte ("The Road of Death"), the extremely dangerous route goes from capital La Paz to Coroico. The narrow single-lane road is 38 miles long and goes up a 15,000-foot summit with sheer drops and not a barrier in sight. It's prone to severe rainfall, landslides and tumbling rocks. The road was built in the 1930s by Paraguayan prisoners during the Chaco War.

<p>Spanning the Tara River in northern Montenegro, historic Djurdjevica bridge is one of the country's most spectacular sights and a wonder to drive across. Gaze across at the hills, river and at the gaping canyon below. The lofty arched bridge was built between 1939 and 1940 and was the biggest vehicular concrete arch bridge in Europe when it was completed. During the Second World War the central arch was detonated to halt the Italian invasion. It was rebuilt in 1946. Discover more of <a href="">the world's most beautiful bridges here</a>. </p>

Djurdjevica Bridge, Montenegro

Spanning the Tara River in northern Montenegro, historic Djurdjevica bridge is one of the country's most spectacular sights and a wonder to drive across. Gaze across at the hills, river and at the gaping canyon below. The lofty arched bridge was built between 1939 and 1940 and was the biggest vehicular concrete arch bridge in Europe when it was completed. During the Second World War the central arch was detonated to halt the Italian invasion. It was rebuilt in 1946.

<p>Skirting along the face of Skippers Canyon near Queenstown with sheer cliff drops down to Shotover River and tight turns, this unpaved road is not for the faint-hearted. The narrow passageway was built between 1883 and 1890 using hand-drilling for the gold miners during the Gold Rush and remains largely unchanged. The dramatic views of the scenic gorge are well worth the heart palpitations. You'll find <a href="">50 brilliant reasons to visit New Zealand here</a>. </p>

Skippers Canyon Road, New Zealand

Skirting along the face of Skippers Canyon near Queenstown with sheer cliff drops down to Shotover River and tight turns, this unpaved road is not for the faint-hearted. The narrow passageway was built between 1883 and 1890 using hand-drilling for the gold miners during the Gold Rush and remains largely unchanged. The dramatic views of the scenic gorge are well worth the heart palpitations. 

<p>It's not very long but this extraordinarily curvy road in the Veneto region of northern Italy lures vintage car lovers around the globe to drive along it. The road, which was built by war prisoners and locals under Austrian command in 1918 between the towns of Trichiana and Tovena, is carved into the rocks. San Boldo Pass is so narrow that only one car can pass along it at a time so there are several sets of traffic lights along the way. <a href="">Discover more of the world's most dangerous roads here</a>.</p>

San Boldo Pass, Italy

It's not very long but this extraordinarily curvy road in the Veneto region of northern Italy lures vintage car lovers around the globe to drive along it. The road, which was built by war prisoners and locals under Austrian command in 1918 between the towns of Trichiana and Tovena, is carved into the rocks. San Boldo Pass is so narrow that only one car can pass along it at a time so there are several sets of traffic lights along the way.

Stretching from Belfast to Derry/Londonderry, the 120-mile (193km) Causeway Coastal Route is one of the world's most wonderful coastal drives. Hugging County Antrim's wild and beautiful coast, the road passes some of Northern Ireland's most incredible sights such as the Giant's Causeway, Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge and Dunluce Castle.

Causeway Coastal Route, Northern Ireland

Stretching proudly across the River Tarn in southern France, the Millau Suspension Bridge is an incredible structure. Follow the A75 autoroute to cross what is the world's tallest bridge and marvel at its engineering as well as the soaring views of the river and Massif Central mountains. In some parts, it's taller than the Eiffel Tower. The bridge, which opened in 2004, isn't accessible for pedestrians.

The Millau Suspension Bridge, France

<p>Four-wheel drive enthusiasts and mountain bikers love Canyonlands National Park in southeastern Utah for its network of off-road trails that have been forged around its deep canyons and dramatic landscapes. One of the best is the 100-mile White Rim Road, which loops around and below the towering Island in the Sky mesa. And if you like facing your fears, here's <a href="">the most terrifying destination in every US state</a>. </p>

White Rim Road, Utah, USA

Four-wheel drive enthusiasts and mountain bikers love Canyonlands National Park in southeastern Utah for its network of off-road trails that have been forged around its deep canyons and dramatic landscapes. One of the best is the 100-mile White Rim Road, which loops around and below the towering Island in the Sky mesa.

Snaking up and around Abu Dhabi's highest mountain, Jebel Hafeet, this seven-mile (11km) road has become a destination in its own right. As the road winds up the craggy limestone peaks, there are a couple of look-out points but push on to the summit for the best views across the desert and the city of Al Ain below.

Jebel Hafeet Mountain Road, Abu Dhabi

You'll pass mountains, salt flats, pampas and vineyards on Argentina's epic Route 40, which stretches 3,107 miles (5,000km) from La Quiaca in the country's northernmost province to Cabo Virgenes in the far south. In the Salta region, the highway crosses through the amazing rock formations of the Quebrada de las Flechas Canyon in the Calchaqui Valley.

Route 40, Argentina

<p>Looping around Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia, this famous 185-mile (298km) route delivers dramatic coastal and highland scenery and all-round thrilling driving terrain. Start at Baddeck and go east or west to see the island's natural beauty flit by your window. Highlights include Cape Breton Highlands National Park and Pleasant Bay, a top whale watching spot. These <a href="">50 photos are sure to make you fall in love with Canada</a>.</p>

Cabot Trail, Canada

Looping around Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia, this famous 185-mile route delivers dramatic coastal and highland scenery and all-round thrilling driving terrain. Start at Baddeck and go east or west to see the island's natural beauty flit by your window. Highlights include Cape Breton Highlands National Park and Pleasant Bay, a top whale watching spot.

The Lake District has plenty of jaw-droppingly gorgeous and hair-raising roads, but Hardknott Pass is one of the most dramatic in Britain. To take on the high-rise mountain pass, start at Little Langdale and proceed along the twisting Wrynose Pass which leads on to the even steeper, narrower Hardknott Pass and its seemingly endless hairpin bends. Stop along the way to see the remains of a 2nd century Roman Fort, which are just off the remote track.

Hardknott Pass, Cumbria, UK

<p>If it's iconic roads as well as dramatic you're after, then look no further than the Highway 163 Scenic Drive that strikes a route through the red rock desert and extraordinary spires of the Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park. This scenic stretch of asphalt and surrounding epic landscape have starred in countless movies including the 1991 classic <em>Thelma and Louise</em>. <a href="">Now see the most beautiful  scenic byway in every state</a>.</p>

Highway 163, Arizona and Utah, USA

If it's iconic roads as well as dramatic you're after, then look no further than the Highway 163 Scenic Drive that strikes a route through the red rock desert and extraordinary spires of the Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park. This scenic stretch of asphalt and surrounding epic landscape have starred in countless movies including the 1991 classic  Thelma and Louise .

<p>Meaning pass of the cattle, this narrow old drover's road twists its way up the mountains of Applecross Peninsula with steep gradients, hairpin bends and distracting views aplenty. It was originally created in the 1820s. Now it's a tourist attraction with a parking lot at the summit which is 2,053-feet (625m) high so visitors can linger to admire the incredible beauty of the winding road, and gaze across to Skye and the Outer Hebrides. Don't miss our guide to <a href="">9 places you must see in the Scottish Highlands and Islands</a>.</p>

Bealach na ba, Scotland

Meaning pass of the cattle, this narrow old drover's road twists its way up the mountains of Applecross Peninsula with steep gradients, hairpin bends and distracting views aplenty. It was originally created in the 1820s. Now it's a tourist attraction with a parking lot at the summit which is 2,053-feet high so visitors can linger to admire the incredible beauty of the winding road, and gaze across to Skye and the Outer Hebrides. 

As its name suggests, this is a seriously challenging road. Leading up to Ben Lomond National Park, an alpine plateau in northern Tasmania near Launceston, the steep and winding unsealed road features a series of mind-boggling switchbacks. It has become an attraction in its own right, especially for cyclists in training.

Jacobs Ladder Road, Tasmania, Australia

You'll get dizzy just looking at the Three Level Zigzag road, allegedly the most zig-zagging road in the world. Set in India's Sikkim state within the lower Himalayan mountains, the curvy road has a staggering amount of hairpin turns and sheer drops along the way too. It goes from the village of Dzuluk and climbs up the mountain to Thambi View Point, reaching an altitude of 11,200 feet (3,413m).

Three Level Zigzag Road, India

Stretching from Sydney down to Nowra on the south coast, this coastal scenic drive is one of Australia's most stunning road trips. The photogenic Sea Cliff Bridge, which is shaped like a snake and rears out across the Pacific Ocean, and the Kiama Blowhole are just a couple of the awe-inspiring sights along the way.

The Grand Pacific Drive, New South Wales, Australia

<p>Carved out of the steep and towering cliffs, this impressive roadway hugs an extraordinarily beautiful stretch of Atlantic coastline between Noordhoek and Hout Bay in Cape Town. It was constructed between 1915 and 1922 by convicts. Known as Chappies by locals, the toll road has plenty of places to pull over to stop and enjoy the dramatic views, picnic or spot passing whales. For another great South African drive see our <a href="">guide to the Garden Route</a>.</p>

Chapman's Peak Drive, South Africa

Carved out of the steep and towering cliffs, this impressive roadway hugs an extraordinarily beautiful stretch of Atlantic coastline between Noordhoek and Hout Bay in Cape Town. It was constructed between 1915 and 1922 by convicts. Known as Chappies by locals, the toll road has plenty of places to pull over to stop and enjoy the dramatic views, picnic or spot passing whales.

Cut out from the limestone cliff face between 1861 and 1898 as a means of transport for the local forestry industry, vertiginous Combe Laval (or D76) in southeast France's Vercors Massif is now a popular attraction for adventurous cyclists. Overhanging the Cholet valley, the incredibly narrow road passes through several tunnels blasted into the rock face and offers those who dare to tackle it dramatic views of the mountains and wooded valley.

Combe Laval, France

<p>Step away from the beach and take to the road to explore Mallorca's wild and beautiful scenery. One of the most incredible roads wends its way up the Serra de Tramuntana mountains and down to Sa Calobra, a little village by the coast. There are plenty of dramatic twists, turns and a fair few knee-wobbling sheer drops, but it'll be worth it for the epic views of the craggy peaks and startling blue waters below. It's one of Mallorca's most fabled ascents for keen cyclists.</p>

Road to Sa Calobra, Mallorca, Spain

Step away from the beach and take to the road to explore Mallorca's wild and beautiful scenery. One of the most incredible roads wends its way up the Serra de Tramuntana mountains and down to Sa Calobra, a little village by the coast. There are plenty of dramatic twists, turns and a fair few knee-wobbling sheer drops, but it'll be worth it for the epic views of the craggy peaks and startling blue waters below. It's one of Mallorca's most fabled ascents for keen cyclists.

Follow Austria's most mesmerizing mountain pass to wind through the heart of High Tauern, the country's largest national park, and up its highest peak, the pyramid-shaped Grossglockner. The road has 26 sharp turns and sensational views all along the way. Thankfully, there are plenty of lookout points so designated drivers can also enjoy the incredible scenery: all alpine meadows, mountain forests, jagged cliffs and glaciers as far as the eyes can see.

Grossglockner Hochalpenstrasse, Austria

The Khardung La or the Khardung Pass was built in 1976 on the Ladakh Range to the north of Leh in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. With a height of 17,582 feet (5,358m), travelers plying this lofty road that traverses past some startling Himalayan scenery can suffer from altitude sickness. With sheer drops, numerous hairpin turns and extreme weather to contend with too, this is a road to approach with caution. It's closed from October to May due to dangerous weather conditions.

Khardung Pass, India

<p>With steep drops, sweeping views and dramatic weather, the Going-to-the-Sun-Road in the Glacier National Park is one of the world's ultimate mountain roads. Started in 1921 and completed in 1932, it traverses the entire park, crossing the Continental Divide through Logan Pass at an elevation of 6,646 feet (2,025m). It goes for around 50 miles (80.5km) and is notoriously difficult to snowplow with up to 80 feet (24m) of snow – it can take 10 weeks to clear. Typically, the road is fully open from late June to October. <a href="">Check out the most beautiful weekend road trip in every state</a>.</p>

Going-to-the-Sun-Road, Montana, USA

With steep drops, sweeping views and dramatic weather, the Going-to-the-Sun-Road in the Glacier National Park is one of the world's ultimate mountain roads. Started in 1921 and completed in 1932, it traverses the entire park, crossing the Continental Divide through Logan Pass at an elevation of 6,646 feet. It goes for around 50 miles and is notoriously difficult to snowplow with up to 80 feet of snow – it can take 10 weeks to clear. Typically, the road is fully open from late June to October.

This spectacularly steep and winding road can be found in the Tianmen Mountain National Park in China's Hunan Province. It curls up the mountain for seven miles (11km) with 99 nerve-wracking bends and precipitous drops. The road ends at a natural gap near the mountain's peak. Although, you'll need to walk 999 steps after you've parked to reach the sacred crevice, which is known as Heaven's Door.

Tianmen Mountain Road, China

One of the world's ultimate roads for four-wheel-drive enthusiasts, the Sani Pass delivers a hair-raising journey across the summit of the high Drakensberg in South Africa. First constructed as a mule track, the gravel road is now the only link between KwaZulu-Natal and Lesotho and a spectacular mountain pass to tackle. Expect lots of zig-zagging, sheer cliff drops, steep inclines and staggering views of the striking escarpment.

Sani Pass, South Africa

<p>One of the world's all-time most scenic roads, the Atlantic Road connects Averøy with the mainland, crossing a number of small islands and islets with a series of eight bridges. The serpentine highway on the mid-west coast opened in 1989 and offers up spectacular views of the wild Norwegian coastline at every twist and turn. Its most famous section is the striking Storseisundet Bridge, which at some angles appears as if it will drop drivers straight into the sea.</p>

The Atlantic Road, Norway

One of the world's all-time most scenic roads, the Atlantic Road connects Averøy with the mainland, crossing a number of small islands and islets with a series of eight bridges. The serpentine highway on the mid-west coast opened in 1989 and offers up spectacular views of the wild Norwegian coastline at every twist and turn. Its most famous section is the striking Storseisundet Bridge, which at some angles appears as if it will drop drivers straight into the sea.

<p>Driving Highway One from San Francisco to San Diego or vice versa is one of the USA's most iconic road trips. But the most extraordinary part of the Pacific Coast Highway, as it's also known, is Big Sur. Stretching from Carmel-by-Sea to Hearst Castle, it's all crashing ocean, rugged cliffs and towering Redwood trees. The road has recently reopened to drivers after a major landslide closed it in 2017. Discover <a href="">32 unusual things you'll find on a road trip through the USA</a>.</p>

Pacific Coast Highway, California, USA

Driving Highway One from San Francisco to San Diego or vice versa is one of the USA's most iconic road trips. But the most extraordinary part of the Pacific Coast Highway, as it's also known, is Big Sur. Stretching from Carmel-by-Sea to Hearst Castle, it's all crashing ocean, rugged cliffs and towering Redwood trees. The road has recently reopened to drivers after a major landslide closed it in 2017.

An old hand-carved mining route, Skippers Canyon Road offers those behind the wheel stunning scenery and scary driving. The 14.2 mile (23km) gravel road near Queenstown on New Zealand's South Island was built in 1888 to give mining companies access to the upper Shotover River, which the road overhangs in places. It’s narrow, bendy and peppered with sheer drops. Unsurprisingly, rental cars are not usually insured to take on this daredevil drive, so go with a pro.

Skippers Road, Skippers Canyon, New Zealand

<p>Remote, majestic and really tricky to get to, the Tusheti region is located on the northern slopes of the Great Caucasus Mountains. The only way to get there is by taking on the treacherous Abano Pass, a narrow, steep, winding and unpaved mountain route leading from Pashvili up to the village of Omalo. As well as facing oncoming traffic, your drive could be hampered by mist and the odd waterfall flowing across the track. If you want to tackle this high-altitude drive, be sure to visit from late May to early October as it’s closed for the rest of the year.</p>

Abano Pass, Georgia

Remote, majestic and really tricky to get to, the Tusheti region is located on the northern slopes of the Great Caucasus Mountains. The only way to get there is by taking on the treacherous Abano Pass, a narrow, steep, winding and unpaved mountain route leading from Pashvili up to the village of Omalo. As well as facing oncoming traffic, your drive could be hampered by mist and the odd waterfall flowing across the track. The road is only open from late May to early October.

<p>Drivers must contend with extreme weather conditions and an extremely narrow and steep route on this hazardous road between Ladakh and Kashmir in India. As well as strong winds and landslides, there are no barriers to prevent vehicles from plunging down the steep gorge. The pass, which climbs to 11,500 feet (3,000m) above sea level on the edge of the Himalayas, is part of National Highway 1, which goes between Srinagar and Leh. </p>

Zoji La Pass, India

Drivers must contend with extreme weather conditions and an extremely narrow and steep route on this hazardous road between Ladakh and Kashmir in India. As well as strong winds and landslides, there are no barriers to prevent vehicles from plunging down the steep gorge. The pass, which climbs to 11,500 feet above sea level on the edge of the Himalayas, is part of National Highway 1, which goes between Srinagar and Leh. 

Don’t look down is the mantra to repeat as you navigate some of the most hair-raising sections of the Sichuan-Tibet Highway, which wriggles 1,367 miles from Chengdu to Lhasa. This precarious path is one of the world’s highest roads but also one of the most incredible. It passes through snow-capped peaks, vast forested valleys, rushing rivers, glacial lakes and ancient monasteries. Expect plenty of sharp turns, sheer drops and adverse weather conditions if you drive in winter.

Sichuan-Tibet Highway, China

You need to be serious about skiing to take on the winding mountain road that takes you up to Portillo, a ski resort high in the Chilean Andes. Tackling the road's series of seemingly endless switchbacks is the only way up into the steep mountain. As well as motion sickness, heavy traffic (it’s also the main highway from Santiago to Mendoza in Argentina) and bad weather can also add to the road’s challenges.

Route 60, Chile

<p>It might be less than a mile but driving along the terrifying Guoliang Tunnel will feel like one of the longest drives in your life. The rocky tunnel was carved into China's Taihang Mountains by 13 villagers in the 1970s who wanted a link to the rest of the Huixian, Xinxiang, Henan Province of China. Previously there had only been steep, narrow and dangerous stairs from Guoliang. Uneven and twisty, the tunnel has various “windows” where you can peer down the mountain...if you dare. Talk about dramatic!</p>

Guoliang Tunnel Road, China

It might be less than a mile but driving along the terrifying Guoliang Tunnel will feel like one of the longest drives in your life. The rocky tunnel was carved into China's Taihang Mountains by 13 villagers in the 1970s who wanted a link to the rest of the Huixian, Xinxiang, Henan Province of China. Previously there had only been steep, narrow and dangerous stairs from Guoliang. Uneven and twisty, the tunnel has various “windows” where you can peer down the mountain...if you dare. Talk about dramatic!

<p>Another road on most die-hard adventurers' bucket lists, this is one of the highest paved roads in the world. It also strikes a route through some of its most extreme landscapes. The impressive feat of engineering was started in 1959 and completed in 1979. It runs for around 800 miles (1,288km) from Abbottabad in Pakistan to Kashgar in Xinjiang in West China. The stretch from Gilgit to the Hunza Valley is the most dramatic. If you plan to cross the border at Khunjerab Pass, go between May and December. </p>

Karakoram Highway, Pakistan and China

Another road on most die-hard adventurers' bucket lists, this is one of the highest paved roads in the world. It also strikes a route through some of its most extreme landscapes. The impressive feat of engineering was started in 1959 and completed in 1979. It runs for around 800 miles from Abbottabad in Pakistan to Kashgar in Xinjiang in West China. The stretch from Gilgit to the Hunza Valley is the most dramatic. If you plan to cross the border at Khunjerab Pass (when travel is back on the agenda), go between May and December. 

Views of snow-capped mountains reflected in glimmering glacial waters are on offer as you follow along the edge of Lake Wakatipu in New Zealand's South Island. The curvaceous road hugs the unusual shaped lake, which looks like a lightning bolt and is incredibly deep, from Queenstown to Glenorchy at the northern end. There are numerous lookout points along the way.

The Glenorchy-Queenstown Road, New Zealand

<p>Ravishing mountain scenery appears at every dizzying turn on the Great Dolomites Road, which strikes a route through the heart of northern Italy's mountainous national park from Bolzano to Cortina d'Ampezzo. As well as the looming granite peaks, the road also snakes along past forested hills and pretty lakes and plunges into lush valleys. The section approaching Arabba will thrill driving enthusiasts with over 75 hairpin turns to tackle.</p>

Great Dolomites Road, Italy

Ravishing mountain scenery appears at every dizzying turn on the Great Dolomites Road, which strikes a route through the heart of northern Italy's mountainous national park from Bolzano to Cortina d'Ampezzo. As well as the looming granite peaks, the road also snakes along past forested hills and pretty lakes and plunges into lush valleys. The section approaching Arabba will thrill driving enthusiasts with over 75 hairpin turns to tackle.

This beauty of a road is one of Europe's most majestic mountain routes. The Transfagarasan begins in Cartisoara and ends in Curtea de Arges across Romania's beautiful Fagaras Mountains, also known as the Transylvanian Alps. It was built for military purposes in the 1970s to connect the provinces of Transylvania and Wallachia. Its 6,699 feet (2,041m) at its highest point and has a seemingly endless series of bends, tunnels and viaducts to keep drivers alert.

Transfagarasan, Romania

This beauty of a road is one of Europe's most majestic mountain routes. The Transfagarasan begins in Cartisoara and ends in Curtea de Arges across Romania's beautiful Fagaras Mountains, also known as the Transylvanian Alps. It was built for military purposes in the 1970s to connect the provinces of Transylvania and Wallachia. It's 6,699 feet at its highest point and has a seemingly endless series of bends, tunnels and viaducts to keep drivers alert.

Driving through towering corridors of snow that reach heights of up to 65 feet (20m) is one of the many staggering sights along the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route. The road traverses the Northern Japan Alps and it's best visited between April to mid-June to experience the high snow walls, which are on the stretch between Bijodaira to Murodo. Murodo is the highest point along the road at 8,038 feet (2,449m) above sea level. The road is closed from December until April.

Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route, Japan

Driving through towering corridors of snow that reach heights of up to 66 feet is one of the many staggering sights along the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route. The road traverses the Northern Japan Alps and it's best visited between April to mid-June to experience the high snow walls, which are on the stretch between Bijodaira to Murodo. Murodo is the highest point along the road at 8,038 feet above sea level. The road is closed from December until April.

Now read on for more reasons to visit Japan

More for You

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - DECEMBER 12: Lynda Carter attends The 15th Annual CNN Heroes: All-Star Tribute at American Museum of Natural History on December 12, 2021 in New York City. (Photo by Dominik Bindl/Getty Images)

Wonder Woman's Lynda Carter, 72, wows in silver swimsuit to promote new music

What to Know About POTS, a Condition Marked by Dizziness and Fatigue That’s Often Misdiagnosed

What to Know About POTS, a Condition Marked by Dizziness and Fatigue That’s Often Misdiagnosed

Fans Are Criticizing Indiana Fever Coach For Dangerous Caitlin Clark Decision

Caitlin Clark Issues Stern Warning To Coach After U.S. Olympic Snub

Albina Angan weight loss

Woman Loses 50 Pounds By Following Five Simple Rules

Kurt Russell unknowingly broke the antique guitar in The Hateful Eight

Yellowstone: Taylor Sheridan Reportedly Eyeing Marvel Star for Spin-Off as Matthew McConaughey and Michelle Pfeiffer Future Unclear

Rubber duck with racing helmet and sunglasses

5 Rules Every Jeep Owner Needs To Know About 'Ducking'

LOS ANGELES - SEPTEMBER 15: Leonard Nimoy as Mr. Spock in

'Star Trek' actor Leonard Nimoy made peace with son through 'devastating' letter following sobriety battles

What is airplane mode, anyway? 5 travel questions about flying with phones answered

What happens if you don't use airplane mode on your flight? Here's the answer to that, and more common travel tech questions.

Georgia woman: millennials sold a bill of goods

'We were sold this unachievable dream': Georgia woman explains the 'broken' system that has young Americans fearing for their futures. Is this narrative right?

Samuel Alito

Samuel Alito May Have Made 'Grave' Move in Letter to Congress—Legal Analyst

Steven Spielberg

“Thanks for making me a lot of money”: Steven Spielberg Took a Hilarious Jab at ‘Alien’ Star Bill Paxton After Meeting Him for the First Time

A type of stealthy cholesterol is killing people, and most don't know they're at risk

A stealthy cholesterol is killing people, and most don’t know they’re at risk

The 14 Most Disappointing Places To Visit in the United States of America

The 14 Most Disappointing Places To Visit in the United States of America

2024 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Inductees Are Announced

2024 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Inductees Are Announced

I Asked 6 Bakers To Name the Best Boxed Brownie Mix—They All Said the Same Brand

I Asked 6 Bakers To Name the Best Boxed Brownie Mix—They All Said the Same Brand

People gather to rally with truckers at the start of

California COVID-19 vaccine mandate lawsuit sees new life

Harold Ramis Bailed on ‘Galaxy Quest’ Once Tim Allen Was Cast

Harold Ramis Bailed on ‘Galaxy Quest’ Once Tim Allen Was Cast

a woman carrying two dumbbells

Forget planks — you only need 10 minutes and a pair of dumbbells to build a stronger core

The top 5 states Americans abandoned in 2023

Americans are leaving their homes in search of more affordable living — these are the top 5 states they abandoned in 2023

I’ve Lived In The South All My Life—And These Are The 10 Most Underrated Destinations

I’ve Lived In The South All My Life—And These Are The 10 Most Underrated Destinations

italy road trip in january

  • Best overall
  • Best for cruises
  • Best for reputation
  • Best for preexisting conditions
  • Best for digital nomads
  • Best low-cost
  • Best for road trips
  • How we reviewed travel insurance companies

Ultimate Guide to Choosing the Best Travel Insurance in June 2024

Affiliate links for the products on this page are from partners that compensate us (see our advertiser disclosure with our list of partners for more details). However, our opinions are our own. See how we rate insurance products to write unbiased product reviews.

Traveling is an adventure, a leap into the unknown, a story waiting to unfold. But every story needs a safety net, and that's where travel insurance comes in. In this guide to the best travel insurance, we'll embark on a journey to help you better understand travel insurance and uncover the benefits that make it an indispensable companion for any traveler.

Our Picks for the Best Travel Insurance Companies

Best overall: nationwide travel insurance.

  • Runner-Up: AXA Assistance USA
  • Best for Cruises: Travel Guard
  • Best Reputation:  C&F Travel Insured
  • Best for Pre-existing Conditions:   Tin Leg Travel Insurance
  • Best for Digital Nomads:   WorldTrips Travel Insurance
  • Best Low-Cost Option:   Trawick International Travel Insurance

Best for Road Trips: Travelex Travel Insurance

How we rate travel insurance »

Compare the Best Travel Insurance Companies

The best travel insurance companies offer comprehensive coverage options for a wide range of people and needs. For this guide, we looked at coverage options, customizability, and the best companies for specific situations, such as pre-existing conditions.

Here are Business Insider's picks for the best travel insurance companies in 2024. 

Nationwide Nationwide Travel Insurance

  • Trip cancellation coverage of up to 100% of trip costs (for cruises) or up to $30,000 (for single-trip plans)
  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. Three cruise-specific plans to choose from
  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. Annual travel insurance plans available
  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. Strong trip cancellation coverage
  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. Cancel for any reason coverage available
  • con icon Two crossed lines that form an 'X'. CFAR insurance not available with every single plan
  • con icon Two crossed lines that form an 'X'. Medical coverage is lower than what some competitors offer

Nationwide Travel Insurance offers many of the standard benefits you might see with a travel insurance policy. This can include things like trip cancellation coverage, so you can recover pre-paid costs or trip interruption in the event your vacation is interrupted by an unexpected event. There's also baggage delay coverage and medical coverage.

  • Cancel for any reason coverage available

Nationwide Travel Insurance is of the largest players in the travel insurance space, offering nearly endless options for any customer on the travel spectrum, including annual travel insurance plans which can offer frequent travelers the flexibility to "set it and forget it" on their travel insurance coverage.

Nationwide Essential also offers some of the most affordable policies in the market compared to similar plans from competitors, which makes it a great pick for just about anyone. Buyers can discuss bundling options as Nationwide also sells homeowners, auto, pet, and other insurance products. Its travel insurance quoting is just as easy as it has been with other Nationwide insurance products.

Read our Nationwide Travel Insurance review here.

Best Travel Insurance Runner-Up: AXA Assistance USA

AXA AXA Assistance USA

  • Trip cancellation coverage of up to 100% of the trip cost
  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. Generous medical evacuation coverage
  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. Up to $1,500 per person coverage for missed connections on cruises and tours
  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. Covers loss of ski, sports and golf equipment
  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. Generous baggage delay, loss and trip delay coverage ceilings per person
  • con icon Two crossed lines that form an 'X'. Cancel for any reason (CFAR) coverage only available for most expensive Platinum plan
  • con icon Two crossed lines that form an 'X'. CFAR coverage ceiling only reaches $50,000 maximum despite going up to 75%

AXA Assistance USA keeps travel insurance simple with gold, silver, and platinum plans. Emergency medical and CFAR are a couple of the options you can expect. Read on to learn more about AXA.

  • Silver, Gold, and Platinum plans available
  • Trip interruption coverage of up to 150% of the trip cost
  • Emergency medical coverage of up to $250,000

AXA Assistance USA  offers consumers a great option for no-stress travel insurance: low-priced plans, generous coverage limits on key categories including primary insurance on lost luggage, and up to 150% reimbursement for qualifying trip cancellations.

While add-ons are limited and rental car coverage is not included by default on cheaper plans, AXA is a perfect fit for travelers who don't plan to drive (or who already hold a travel credit card with rental car coverage), and don't need any additional bells and whistles.

Read our AXA Assistance USA Travel Insurance review here.

Best for Cruises: AIG Travel Guard

AIG Travel Guard

Trip cancellation coverage for up to 100% of the trip cost and trip interruption coverage for up to 150% of the trip cost

  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. Trip cancellation coverage of up to 100% of the cost, for all three plan levels
  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. CFAR covers up to 75% of total trip costs (maximum of $112,500 on some plans) 
  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. Medical coverage of up to $500,000 and evacuation of up to $1,000,000 per person
  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. Includes COVID coverage 
  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. Above average baggage loss and delay benefits
  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. High medical evacuation coverage
  • con icon Two crossed lines that form an 'X'. Premiums may run slightly higher than competitors

Travel Guard is a well-established and highly rated name in the travel insurance industry. It offers three main coverage options to choose from, and in general its policies have above-average coverage for baggage loss and baggage delays, plus high medical evaluation coverage limits.

  • Trip cancellation coverage for up to 100% of the trip cost
  • Trip interruption coverage for up to 150% of the trip cost
  • Preexisting medical conditions exclusions waiver must be purchased within 15 days of initial trip payment
  • Annual travel insurance plan and Pack N' Go plan (for last-minute trips) available

Travel Guard is well-known insurance provider, and a great fit for travelers who want to ensure that they can get their money back in the event of canceled or interrupted travel plans.

While the company's policies can be pricey compared to its competitors, the high medical and evacuation limits make AIG a solid choice for older travelers who value peace of mind and simplicity over highly customizable plans that may be bolstered with medical upgrades.

Read our AIG Travel Guard review here.

Best for Reputation: C&F Travel Insured

C&F C&F Travel Insured

  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. Offers 2 major plans including CFAR coverage on the more expensive option
  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. Cancellation for job loss included as a covered reason for trip cancellation/interruption (does not require CFAR coverage to qualify)
  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. Frequent traveler reward included in both policies
  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. Up to $1 million in medical evacuation coverage available
  • con icon Two crossed lines that form an 'X'. Medical coverage is only $100,000
  • con icon Two crossed lines that form an 'X'. Reviews on claims processing indicate ongoing issues
  • C&F's Travel Insured policies allow travelers customize travel insurance to fit their specific needs. Frequent travelers may benefit from purchasing an annual travel insurance plan, then adding on CFAR coverage for any portions of travel that may incur greater risk.

While every travel insurance company has negative reviews about its claims process, C&F Travel Insured 's claims process has a consistent stream of positive reviews. One customer wrote that C&F processed a claim within 48 hours. Additionally, C&F regularly responds to customer reviews within one business week, making reviews a consistent way to reach the company.

Additionally, in C&F's fine print, it mentions that any claims that take more than 30 days to pay out will begin to accrue interest at 9% APY.

C&F's reputation isn't the only thing to speak highly of. It offers an array of add-ons uncommon in the travel insurance industry, such as Interruption for Any Reason insurance and CFAR coverage for annual plans. C&F also offers discounts for children on its Protector Edge plan and free coverage on its Protector plan.  

Read our C&F Travel Insured review here. 

Best for Pre-Existing Conditions: Tin Leg Travel Insurance

TinLeg Tin Leg Travel Insurance

  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. Policy coverage includes most pre-existing health conditions
  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. Generous medical and evacuation amounts for peace of mind
  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. COVID coverage included by default on all insurance plans
  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. Offers a wide range of plans for various budgets and travel needs
  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. Some plans offer CFAR, “cancel for work reasons,” financial default, and unemployment coverage
  • con icon Two crossed lines that form an 'X'. Limited add-on coverage options
  • con icon Two crossed lines that form an 'X'. Baggage loss and delay coverage is low compared to competitors

Tin Leg travel insurance offers eight travel insurance plans to meet the unique needs of travelers.

  • Tin Leg was founded in 2014 by the travel insurance industry experts at Squaremouth. Designed to meet the most common needs of travelers, these policies offer comprehensive Trip Cancellation and Trip Interruption benefits, and a range of Emergency Medical and Medical Evacuation limits.

Tin Leg Travel Insurance is a great fit for travelers with medical issues in particular. Seven of Tin Leg's eight travel plans include coverage for pre-existing conditions as long as you purchase your policy within 15 days of your initial trip payment.

Thanks to coverage for pre-existing medical conditions as well as for potential COVID-19 infection while traveling, this company offers some of the best financial investment options for travelers who are or will be exposed to higher health risks and issues.

Read our Tin Leg Travel Insurance review here.

Best for Digital Nomads: WorldTrips Travel Insurance

WorldTrips WorldTrips Travel Insurance

  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. Affordable base plans that can be customized with add-ons including rental car, pet care, hunting and fishing, and vacation rental coverage
  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. Insurance plans available for international student travelers
  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. Trip delay coverage benefit that kicks in after just five hours
  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. Pre-existing conditions waiver can be purchased within 21 days of initial trip payment
  • con icon Two crossed lines that form an 'X'. Lower medical, evacuation and accidental death limits
  • con icon Two crossed lines that form an 'X'. Limited, secondary baggage loss coverage although baggage protection can be upgraded at a low cost
  • con icon Two crossed lines that form an 'X'. No special coverages for pets, sports equipment, etc.

WorldTrips has been a reputable travel insurance provider for more than 20 years. Unsurprisingly, it boasts an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau and positive reviews from thousands of customers.

  • Travel medical insurance (Premium, Group, Annual, and International Student options)
  • Trip cancellation insurance
  • Trip protection insurance

WorldTrips Travel Insurance has affordable premiums, highly customizable add-ons, and generous coverage for core categories of travel insurance. All this makes it a great option for digital nomads, students studying abroad and backpackers.

However, travelers should keep in mind that plans are not particularly flexible, and coverage amounts are limited unless you plan ahead to pay for the areas and amounts that you need.

Read our WorldTrips Travel Insurance review here.

Best for Affordability: Trawick International Travel Insurance

Trawick Trawick International Travel Insurance

  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. Useful for adventurous travelers headed to higher-risk destinations
  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. Affordable plans with varying levels of coverage
  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. 10-day free look option
  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. Generous baggage loss replacement policy
  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. Trip delay coverage kicks in after just six hours
  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. Some policies allow a CFAR add-on
  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. Up to $1 million medical evacuation coverage limit
  • con icon Two crossed lines that form an 'X'. Baggage and trip delay coverages don’t kick in until after the 12-hour mark
  • con icon Two crossed lines that form an 'X'. International student policies available for temporary stints abroad
  • con icon Two crossed lines that form an 'X'. Complaints about claims not being paid or involving an intermediary to resolve claims

Trawick International travel insurance offers plans customized to diverse travelers' needs. We look at coverage options, claims processing, pricing, and other important factors for savvy travelers.

  • Travel medical insurance
  • Trip protection and cancellation
  • International student insurance
  • Visitor medical insurance (for traveling to the US)

Trawick International Travel Insurance is another insurance provider with robust medical travel insurance  that can help higher-risk and anxious travelers find peace of mind while on the road. This company offers one of the most generous medical evacuation policies in the market, although travelers will need to remember to add on rental car coverage if they need it.

Read our Trawick Travel Insurance review here.

Travelex Travelex Travel Insurance

  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. Options to cover sports equipment
  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. Option to increase medical coverage
  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. Can cancel up to 48 hours before travel when CFAR option is purchased
  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. Affordable coverage for budget-conscious travelers
  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. Includes generous baggage delay, loss and trip delay coverage
  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. Optional "adventure sports" bundle available for riskier activities
  • con icon Two crossed lines that form an 'X'. Only two insurance plans to choose from
  • con icon Two crossed lines that form an 'X'. Medical coverage maximum is low at up to $50,000 per person
  • con icon Two crossed lines that form an 'X'. Pricier than some competitors with lower coverage ceilings
  • con icon Two crossed lines that form an 'X'. Some competitors offer higher medical emergency coverage

Travelex travel insurance is one of the largest travel insurance providers in the US providing domestic and international coverage options. It offers a basic, select, and America option. Read on to learn more.

  • Optional CFAR insurance available with the Travel Select plan
  • Trip delay insurance starting at $500 with the Travel Basic plan
  • Emergency medical and dental coverage starting at $15,000

Travelex Travel Insurance  offers three plans:

  • Travel Basic
  • Travel Select
  • Travel America

The Travelex America plan is meant for trips limited to the U.S., but it has the highest coverage limits in many areas compared to its other programs. If you're flying somewhere, the lost baggage limits are higher. Its natural strengths shine for road trippers, though. Travelex America adds coverage for roadside service and rental car coverage for unexpected accidents. It also covers pets should you be involved in an accident while on the road.

While your standard auto insurance does extend to car rentals within the U.S. for a limited time, any accident would affect future rates. Travelex would eliminate the risk of reporting to your auto insurance provider for minor incidents within its purview.

Read our Travelex Travel Insurance review here.

Introduction to Travel Insurance

Why travel insurance is a must-have.

The unpredictable nature of traveling – from flight cancellations to medical emergencies – can turn your dream vacation into a nightmare. Travel insurance acts as a personal safeguard, ensuring that unexpected events don't drain your wallet or ruin your trip.

Understanding Different Types of Travel Insurance

Not all travel insurance policies are created equal. From single-trip travel insurance policies to annual travel insurance plans , from minimal coverage to comprehensive protection, understanding the spectrum of options is your first step in finding the right fit for your journey.

Key Features to Look for in Travel Insurance Coverage

Travel insurance for medical emergencies.

Imagine falling ill in a foreign country; daunting, right? A robust travel insurance plan ensures you don't have to worry about how much emergency medical care while traveling will cost, even in the most remote corners of the globe. This coverage will often come in tandem with emergency medical evacuation coverage.

Trip Cancellation and Interruption Benefits

Life is full of surprises, some less pleasant than others. Trip cancellation and interruption coverage ensures that you're not left out of pocket if unforeseen circumstances force you to cancel or cut your trip short. You may also look for cancel for any reason and interruption for any reason options, which will reimburse you for a percentage of your nonrefundable fees, but expands the covered reasons you can cancel a trip. You can find our guide on the best CFAR travel insurance companies here.

Coverage for Personal Belongings and Baggage Loss

Losing your belongings is more than an inconvenience; it's losing a piece of your world. Insurance that covers personal belongings and baggage loss ensures that you're compensated for your loss, helping you to rebound and continue your adventure.

Support and Assistance Services

In times of trouble, having a lifeline can make all the difference. Look for insurance that offers 24/7 support and assistance services, giving you peace of mind that help is just a phone call away. Also, check websites that field customer reviews like Trustpilot, the Better Business Bureau, and InsureMyTrip , to see how well a company responds to customer requests.

Choosing the Best Travel Insurance

Reputation and reliability of the travel insurance provider.

A provider's reputation is not just about being well-known; it's about reliability, customer satisfaction, and the ability to deliver on promises. Researching and choosing a reputable provider is a cornerstone in ensuring your safety and satisfaction.

Understanding the Policy's Fine Print

The devil is in the details, and understanding the fine print of what your travel insurance policy covers is crucial. Be aware of coverage limits, exclusions, and the process for filing a claim to avoid any unpleasant surprises.

Customer Reviews and Feedback

In the age of information, customer reviews and feedback are goldmines of insight. Learn from the experiences of others to gauge the reliability and customer service of the insurance provider you're considering. While the ratings are important, you should also look at whether or not a company responds to customer complaints.

How to Get the Most Out of Your Travel Insurance

Knowing your policy inside out.

Familiarize yourself with every aspect of your policy – what it covers, what it doesn't, how to file a claim, and who to contact in an emergency. Being informed means being prepared. 

Steps to Take When a Problem Arises

If you face an issue during your travels, knowing the immediate steps to take can make all the difference. Keep important contacts and your policy details handy, and remember, your insurance provider is there to assist you.

How to Pick the Best Travel Insurance Company for You

There isn't a one-size-fits-all policy that works perfectly for every traveler. Young, healthy solo travelers can opt for much cheaper plans that offer bare-bones coverage, while families juggling complex itineraries will do best by investing in a robust policy that can help defray any costs associated with lost baggage, delayed transportation or other trip-impeding obstacles.

That being said, you can't go wrong with a travel insurance provider that boasts a reputable history and offers a wide range of customizable plans. In some cases, you may be comparing plans that are only a few dollars' apart from each other. In such situations, you should generally opt for the insurance company that offers the strongest customer service. It's also worth considering whether or not the travel insurance provider has been reviewed by other travelers with similar itineraries to your own. 

An insurance aggregator like InsureMyTrip or Squaremouth is one of the best tools for searching travel insurance policies. Once you input the specifics of your travel itinerary, you'll be able to see hundreds of search results to compare the ones that catch your eye. If the options are too overwhelming, use the filters to the left of your search page to eliminate as many irrelevant plans as possible.

How We Reviewed the Best Travel Insurance Companies

To come up with our list of the best travel insurance companies, we evaluated each insurer based on the following factors:

Guide Methodology: What We Considered

Policy Types

Travel insurance is essential, but often underused partly because people aren't getting what they want. Business Insider's 2023 travel study showed 10.65% of travelers surveyed bought cancel for any reason insurance. Cost may be a factor, but in many cases, the coverage is more affordable than you might think. Regardless, companies must offer a diverse range of coverage options. We award five stars to companies offering all standard coverages and additional options like pet and sports equipment protection.

Our 2023 travel study indicated the majority of purchases were made through the travel provider (ex: flight protection insurance when you're purchasing your airline tickets). While these may be sufficient for some customers, we look for companies offering a more comprehensive range of services.

According to the U.S. Travel Insurance Association, the average cost of travel insurance will be between 4% and 8% of total travel expenses. Anything beyond that price point should include additional benefits beyond the standard inclusions, such as CFAR protection or upgraded medical coverage. Anything below that 4% threshold may leave you lacking important or sufficient coverage in an emergency.

Convenience and Flexibility

Whether you're an infrequent traveler or a suitcase warrior, a good travel insurance company should have you covered. In many cases, you might not even have to talk to a person in order to purchase your policy.

Many people think of travel insurance in context with specific trips, but most of these top contenders sell both single-trip and multi-trip policies, also known as annual travel insurance. Some companies also offer plans specifically designed for cruisers, students abroad, and business travelers. (Read our guide to the best cruise travel insurance companies for more details.) Finally, all of these providers offer multiple options for getting the specific areas and amounts of coverage that you want.

Claims Handling

Most travelers never have a large claim. Premiums are low, and it provides peace of mind for the just in case situations. So they leave reviews based on their reduced stress levels. But what happens if you lose your luggage or have to stay a few extra days due to an unexpected accident? Will your insurance carrier cover your claim without all the hassle? We check real customer reviews to sort this out for you.

Ease of Use and Support

When purchasing, during your trip, and throughout the claims process, you may need extra support. Does the company have a 24/7 help line? Does it have an online or mobile system allowing you to self-manage? Essentially, what are the options when you need help? We look at the big picture to evaluate the average customer experience with each company.

You can read our full insurance rating methodology for even more details.

Best Travel Insurance FAQs

There isn't a one-size-fits-all solution for every traveler. Determine the benefits that are most important to you, like baggage delay coverage, medical coverage, and trip delay coverage, then look for a company with solid customer ratings, especially when it comes to processing claims.

Travel insurance will pay out if you experience a covered event, such as a travel delay or delayed or lost baggage. If you're looking to get travel insurance for a specific reason, such as needing to potentially cancel your trip due to work reasons, make sure your policy will cover you in that situation before purchasing it. You should also check customer reviews to see other travelers' claims experiences, as it varies wildly from company to company.

The average cost of travel insurance is 4% to 8% of your total trip cost, so it could vary widely depending on where you're traveling and the length of your trip. Your age, the number of people in your group, and other factors can also influence how much you'll pay.

Most comprehensive travel insurance policies include travel medical coverage that can come in handy if an emergency occurs and you need medical evacuation. Some travel insurance plans offer more specialized coverage for travelers with pre-existing conditions , so shop around if medical coverage is a top priority for you. 

$100,000 should be a sufficient medical coverage limit for travel insurance. If you're planning on doing extreme sports or anything particularly risky on your trip, you may want to increase your coverage level. A high medical coverage limit is especially useful when you're purchasing cruise travel insurance, since medical evacuations are more involved at sea.

italy road trip in january

Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews, or recommendations expressed in this article are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer. Read our editorial standards .

Please note: While the offers mentioned above are accurate at the time of publication, they're subject to change at any time and may have changed, or may no longer be available.

**Enrollment required.

italy road trip in january

  • Main content

The 10 best graduation trips to take in 2024

Chamidae  Ford

Feb 19, 2024 • 7 min read

Three friends jumping with happiness next to their car with palm trees in the background

Grab your friends and get ready for the trip of a lifetime © Frazao Studio Latino / Getty Images

There's nothing like graduating to make you want a celebratory vacation.

Both a massive accomplishment and a bittersweet end of an era, completing your studies can also be a reality check as you begin the next phase of your life.

So, where should you go once you graduate? These 10 incredible destinations allow you to put off real life for a little bit longer.

A man flips into the deep blue water of a cenote in Mexico.

Affordable and with a wealth of diverse things to do, Mexico is the perfect post-graduation escape. The country has a happy place for everyone. Head to Tulum for a beachy, out-till-dawn vacation that is bursting will beach clubs, upscale cocktails and cerulean cenotes. Look to Puerto Vallarta for a classic, lay-by-the-pool escape. In Mexico City , you can try local delicacies and get lost in a museum for the afternoon. Stop by the stunning Museo Universitario del Chopo , which boasts an extensive contemporary art collection.  Oaxaca offers a mix of Indigenous and colonial influences, with day trips out to explore the natural world and local villages. Head to Santiago Apoala for a look at a remote Mixtec village in the heart of a towering mountain range. If the last four years in the library require some sunshine and a warm place to recover, there is no better place than Mexico to finish that beach read. 


2. Road trip across the US

Nothing bonds a group together like a long car journey, making a road trip across the US with your mates the perfect post-graduation send-off. It's hard to grasp the magnitude of the United States until you drive through it. Pick between visiting iconic national parks like Yellowstone ,   Yosemite  and the Grand Canyon , or cruising along the West Coast from the Redwoods to Joshua Tree  with a stop in some of the Golden State's famed cities, like San Francisco and Los Angeles . Uncovering the mysteries of the West has long been an American tradition, not to mention watching the landscapes change and evolve in a matter of days is a mesmerizing experience.

To keep this adventure affordable, try camping in the national parks rather than staying in hotels. It will require some advanced planning, maybe even some reservations. Visit for more information.

Few places have the same vacation appeal as Greece . With its hot, sunny climate and stellar museums, especially the Acropolis Museum , the fantastic restaurants and endless island hopping opportunities, it's hard to have a dull moment. Pro-tip: Don't skip Athens . The birthplace of Western civilization and a paradise for thinkers, artists and scientists, come see the starting place for man's greatest ideas. 

When it comes to Greece's islands, Mykonos is where the nightlife takes center stage, while Santorini provides a more romantic and relaxing atmosphere. Beware, a steep price tag comes with Greece's most popular island spots. Alternatively, if you crave a slightly less touristy experience, the Ionian Islands in early autumn make a great escape. Slow down, eat your way through fresh local delicacies and see what makes the Mediterranean way of life so revered. 


4. Costa Rica

If college wasn't enough of a thrill, head to Costa Rica . Considered one of the happiest places on earth and packed with adventure opportunities, you can white water raft, zipline, traverse sky-high bridges, and surf the most stellar waves to your heart's content. 

If you've spent the last four years in the heart of a city and are in dire need of some nature, warm weather, and delicious food , this after-graduation trip is for you. Start your day with a hearty serving of gallo pinto , take refuge from the heat with a street mango smothered in lime juice, salt and chili powder and wrap up the day with chifrijo,  a local dish of fried pork and beans with all the toppings. Not to mention, eating your body weight in ceviche is considered a right of passage. Pura Vida is right!

Young asian couple sightseeing in a local market in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

5. Vietnam 

Affordable, beautiful and warm, a graduation trip to Vietnam gets you out of your comfort zone. Get lost in a sea of mopeds in Hanoi and slurp pho on stools along the sidewalk. Head up to Halong Bay , where you can tour its limestone islands on a junk boat. Enjoy an urban metropolis like Ho Chi Minh City , wander the Binh Tay Market  or visit Vietnam's only Taoist temple,  Khanh Van Nam Vien Pagoda , before cruising along the Mekong Delta and getting to know the locals at the Cai Rang Floating Market .

6. New Orleans, Louisiana

For a graduation trip that melds celebration with culture, look no further than New Orleans . The loud streets of this city burst with energy: live bands, dancing, cocktails and more. As New Orleans continues to be impacted by climate change, try to reduce your impact during your visit by using trains, bikes and public transport to explore the city.  Eat beignets (deep-fried pâte à choux pastries) in the French Quarter , listen to jazz in a dimly lit bar, and if you time it right, join in with the commotion of Mardi Gras . Beyond the nightlife, the Big Easy is famous for its flavorful cuisine and unique rich history. Make sure to take the time to appreciate both. Don't miss having a steaming bowl of gumbo or biting into a massive Po'boy. Follow it up with a visit to the  Ogden Museum of Southern Art , which explores the city's complex influences and longtime connection to the natural world.  

A couple walks down the streets of Brooklyn laughing happily.

7. New York City

A graduation trip can also be an opportunity to test out potential places you may want to live. For many, that means New York City . Visit before you commit to living here: it's busy, loud, (sometimes) stinky and eye-openingly wonderful. But it's not for everyone. For this test run, spend your time checking out galleries and parks while eating at some amazing restaurants. It will be a pricey trip, no matter how hard you try to budget. Still, it's a great chance to meet new people and try every cuisine you can imagine. Make sure to catch the train to Brooklyn for an afternoon in the Botanical Gardens .

8. South Africa

Not ready to stop learning? Head to South Africa . With a tumultuous and storied history, a trip to this stunning country can be life-changing. Apartheid isn't that far in the rearview mirror, and its lasting effects are visible across much of the nation. Dedicate time to visiting some of the historical sites in Johannesburg, such as the Apartheid Museum and Constitution Hill , a former prison turned Constitutional Court. Then, hit the beach to surf some famous waves at Addington Beach along the iconic Golden Mile or catch glimpses of South Africa's diverse wildlife in the expansive Kruger National Park . Keep your eyes peeled for big cats, elephants, rhinos and more. Find time to catch at least one sunset from the top of Table Mountain . Its unmatched views are accessible by cable car in Cape Town.


With stunning fjords, shooting geysers, natural hot springs and the northern lights – Iceland offers an otherworldly reset from your studies. A nature-first vacation, try and dedicate some time beyond the beautiful capital Reykjavik . You'll need a large budget to chase waterfalls, sip pints and toast your graduation in Iceland, but you'll look at the world entirely anew. 

10. Florence, Italy

Florence offers a decadence and youthfulness that is easier to access than in Rome or Naples , and its Renaissance beauty will fill your aching heart if you don't want to leave university or college. Marvel at Botticelli's masterpiece, the Birth of Venus, in the Uffizi and wander the expansive Boboli Gardens . Luxuriate with two-hour dinners on one of their many piazzas, climb to the top of the fabled Duomo to take in the rolling hills in the distance. There is so much to love about Florence, but like most major cities in Italy, it can be expensive, but it's the price you pay to heal your heartache.

Explore related stories

A landscape view of the Hudson River and Manhattan from the northern end of Riverside Park

Jun 7, 2024 • 9 min read

Two of our editors take us on the ultimate NYC summer walk through Manhattan.

italy road trip in january

Jun 7, 2024 • 11 min read

italy road trip in january

Jun 4, 2024 • 7 min read

Versus Hero Image: Martha's Vineyard Vs Nantucket

Jun 1, 2024 • 6 min read


May 31, 2024 • 4 min read

COLD SPRINGS, NEW YORK-OCTOBER 31, 2020: Sidewalk scene in Cold Springs, NY on a crisp Fall day

May 28, 2024 • 8 min read

italy road trip in january

May 26, 2024 • 6 min read

The Cottages at the Boat Basin in Nantucket, Massachusetts

May 24, 2024 • 6 min read


  1. The Perfect Italy Road Trip Itinerary You Should Steal

    italy road trip in january

  2. 5 Stunningly Beautiful And Best Road Trips In Italy

    italy road trip in january

  3. Ultimate Northern Italy Road Trip Itinerary (11 stops + tips)- BeeLoved

    italy road trip in january

  4. The Ultimate Northern Italy Road Trip Itinerary for 2 Weeks

    italy road trip in january

  5. The Perfect Italy Road Trip Itinerary You Should Steal

    italy road trip in january

  6. Ultimate Italy Road Trip (North & South)

    italy road trip in january



  2. Italy Road to Final 2006 🏆

  3. Italy Road Trip 2024

  4. Monday ROAD TRIP January 292024

  5. Italy road #travel #italy #felicità #roadtrip

  6. Italy memories 2021


  1. Ultimate Italy Road Trip Itinerary

    The Ultimate Italy Road Trip Itineraries: Routes, Sights, Guides, Maps And More. Last Updated: May 21, 2024. From the stunning scenery of Lake Como and the culture, art and beauty of Florence and Rome, to the epic views along the Amalfi Coast and traditional Italian towns of Puglia, this Italy road trip has it all!

  2. Traveling to Italy in January: What You Need to Know

    Some average temperature ranges for different parts of Italy in January are: Northern Italy: 25-45°F (-4-5°C) Central Italy: 40-55°F (5-13°C) Southern Italy: 50-60°F (10-16°C) And, as always, check the current extended forecast for where you're actually going just before you leave - when you're packing is the perfect time - so you ...

  3. Italy in January: all you need to know to plan your winter trip to

    Average temperatures in Italy in January, historically, are: Bolzano (getaway to the Dolomites): 7C / -4C It gets significantly colder up on the slopes. Milan: 7/2C - 44 / 35F - average 6 days of Rain. Venice: 7/0C - 44/32F - Average 5 days of rain. Rome: 12/3C - 53/37F - average 7 days of rain. Florence: 11/2C - 52/36F ...

  4. 15 Incredible Italy Road Trip Itineraries (with Driving Tips)

    A trip to Sardinia is an incredible Italian road trip experience. A suggested 600 km, two-week itinerary would be to start in the capital city of Cagliari and end in Bosa. The best stops are Villasimius, Cala Goloritze, Gorrupu, Orgosolo, Cala Luna, Cala Brandinchi, Olbia, La Maddalena, and Alghero.

  5. Italy in Winter: ULTIMATE Guide & Tips (By an Italian!)

    Average high: 8°C (46.4°F) Average low: 1°C (33.8°F) Rainy days average: 5. Venice in winter may not be the place of sunny piazzas and glistening canals that you'd get in summer, but Venice in winter is a beautiful place to spend your time.

  6. Exploring Italy In January: A Comprehensive Guide

    Italy in January, often overlooked due to its colder weather and the holiday lull, remains an uncharted place for many travellers seeking quieter streets.The snow-topped landscapes and unique experiences are away from the bustling tourist masses. January in Italy is perfect to unwind and embrace a slow travel style.. While it might not fit the traditional image of an Italian vacation, the ...

  7. Italy in January

    Explore Naples. If in summer Naples is hot and crowded, in January it becomes quiet and more enjoyable. The weather is cold but not freezing. With the highest temperatures ranging around 13-14°C (55-57°F) and an average of 8 days of rain, in Naples in January you can plan a mix of outdoor and indoor activities.

  8. 6 of the best road trips in Italy

    2. The Tuscan tour. Best road trip for art and architecture. Florence-Orvieto; approx 210km/130 miles, 2-3 days. Taking in two of Italy's great medieval cities, the wine treasures of Chianti and swathes of classic Tuscan scenery, this two-day route leads from Florence to Orvieto in the neighboring region of Umbria.

  9. The Ultimate Bucket List Italy Road Trip

    Milan - Portofino - Cinque Terre - Pisa - San Gimignano - Siena - Montepulciano - Rome - Spoleto - Assisi - Florence - Bologna - Venice - Lake Garda. Distance: 1670km. Duration: 2-4 weeks. Drive Time: 23 hours. How to use this Italy road trip map - Use your fingers (or computer mouse) to zoom in and out.

  10. 2 Weeks In Italy Itinerary, The Ultimate Italy Road Trip

    The cliff top town of Sorrento makes a perfect springboard for visiting the Amalfi Coast. From there, you can day trip to Pompeii, Positano, Capri, and even Naples. Day 1: Venice. Day 2: Venice. Day 3: Bologna. Day 4: Bologna, day trip to Parma or Modena. Day 5: Florence. Day 6: Florence.

  11. Bucketlist Italy Road Trip: Best Hiking, Wine, & Culture (with Map)

    Italy Road Trip 3 Weeks. Milan - Portofino - Cinque Terre - Pisa - Florence - Venice - The Dolomites - Lake Garda - Lake Como - Milan. Distance: 900 miles (1,500 km) Length of Trip: 18 - 21 days. Highlights: Italian Riviera, Tuscany, The Dolomites. 2 days exploring Milan.

  12. Our Italy Road trip Itinerary

    Italy Self drive road trip - Leg 2. Venice - Milan - Tirano - Milan - Maranello - Florence - Pisa - Rome. You might also want to read : 17 cities and towns not to miss in Italy! 14 things to know before you self drive in Italy. Hope you have liked our itinerary and all geared up to prepare yours!

  13. Ultimate Southern Italy Road Trip Itinerary: 2024 Guide

    Southern Italy Road Trip: Stop 4 - Sicily Itinerary. As you can see, the drive from Puglia to Sicily is a long one. You could do it in a day, but you might be more comfortable breaking it up over a few nights. The fastest ferry route to Sicily is from Reggio Calabria and it takes around half an hour.

  14. The Ultimate Italy Road Trip: 2 Weeks Itinerary (with Amalfi Coast)

    4) Rome - 1 day. The Bejeweled Rome in Italy. Rome can't be fully explored in a day, but also Italy can't be explored in 2 weeks! Honestly, it makes more sense to do Rome properly on an entirely separate trip. It isn't the best Road trip stop because of the parking, so if you want to skip Rome, then you should.

  15. ITALY ROAD TRIP: Two Weeks Itinerary By a Local!

    TWO WEEKS IN ITALY ROAD TRIP: CONTENT. Click to check the relevant chapter. Day 1 - 2 |Rome Itinerary and Vatican City. Day 3 | Lazio -Roman Castles. Day 4 | Tuscany - Montepulciano. Day 5 | Tuscany - San Gimignano. Day 6 |Tuscany - Pisa. Day 7 |Tuscany - San Miniato. Day 8 - 9 | Tuscany trip - Florence.

  16. 15 Most Beautiful Road Trip In Italy Routes (with Distances)

    Documents you will need for hiring a car in Italy. Quick tips for renting a car in Italy and driving rules. 15 Best Road Trip in Italy routes: from North to South. 1. Along the Tyrrhenian Sea- Naples to Calabria road trip. 2. Matera to Castelmezzano - hidden gems of Basilicata road trip.

  17. Best Italian Road Trips: 16 Super Dreamy Routes

    Best Italian Road Trips on the Mainland Southern Italy. By Nicole from Adventures of Nicole. Route: Circular starting in Naples. Days: 15 days (13-17 days is comfortable). In a perfect mixture of off-the-beaten-path and well-trodden classics, this Southern Italy road trip takes in the most-loved stops in the regions of Campania, Basilicata, Puglia, and Calabria, as well as their hidden gems.

  18. How to Spend 2 Weeks in Italy (Itinerary for 14 Perfect Days!)

    How We Structured This Itinerary for 14 Days in Italy. We structured this 2 week Italy itinerary as a point-to-point trip covering Rome, Florence, the Tuscan countryside, Cinque Terre, and Venice. In this way, you'll have a chance to experience many of the most popular places to visit in Italy over the course of 2 weeks, without doubling back ...

  19. 10 Days in Italy: The Perfect Italy Itinerary

    Day 1: Milan. Your journey starts in Milan, a dynamic city of fashion and culture in the north of Italy. Milan is one of the country's largest cities and probably the most modern destination on this trip, featuring a dense mix of historic landmarks amidst a bustling metropolis.

  20. Most Scenic Road Trips in Italy: 10 Epic Routes

    Canva Pro. ⏰ Duration: 5 days 📅 When to go: spring & summer (May-September). The Amalfi Coast road trip is a breathtaking journey along the winding coastal road of southern Italy, offering impressive views of rugged cliffs plunging into the azure waters of the Mediterranean Sea.. As you travel this iconic route, you will come across charming pastel-coloured villages perched on the ...

  21. 10 Best Italy Tours in January 2025

    What people love about Italy Tours in January. Victoria 20 May, 2024. 4. The tour was comfortable and on time and our guide was lovely. Classical Italy. Editha Intalan 19 Dec, 2023. 4. Tour really amizing, the driver and tour guid, food and location was very good, but a first day and last day hotel accomodation is not good very small shower ...

  22. Stories

    Travel Stories. Nothing says summer in the USA like heading to the lake. We asked our writers to share their favorite lakes in the country. Look beyond the French capital's most famous sights and you'll discover many free things to do in Paris - and get a local's perspective on the city too.

  23. Take the Ultimate Road Trip With the World's Most Dramatic Drives

    Also known as El Camino de la Muerte ("The Road of Death"), the extremely dangerous route goes from capital La Paz to Coroico. The narrow single-lane road is 38 miles long and goes up a 15,000 ...

  24. Travel News, Tips, and Guides

    The latest travel news, deals, guides and tips from the travel experts at USA TODAY. All the travel insights you need to plan your dream vacation.

  25. Best Travel Insurance of June 2024

    Best Overall: Nationwide Travel Insurance. Compare policies and rates from participating partners with SquareMouth Travel Insurance. It indicates a confirmed selection. Trip cancellation coverage ...

  26. The 10 best graduation trips to take in 2024

    1. Mexico. Affordable and with a wealth of diverse things to do, Mexico is the perfect post-graduation escape. The country has a happy place for everyone. Head to Tulum for a beachy, out-till-dawn vacation that is bursting will beach clubs, upscale cocktails and cerulean cenotes. Look to Puerto Vallarta for a classic, lay-by-the-pool escape.