Italy is one of the most affordable, scenic and easiest countries to travel in Europe.
Italy is also my favorite country in the world to do a road trip. My number one travel tip is do an Italy road trip!
The locals are friendly and helpful, many Italians speak English and are more than willing to help. For these reasons I highly recommend Italy for new travelers and those who want an easy and fun travel experience in Europe.
If you can factor it into your budget I highly recommend hiring a car and exploring Italy this way. This is my favorite way to see Italy. As there is so much to see in a condensed space, you wont miss out with a car. you’ll also feel more like a local.
One of my favorite memories of road-tripping in Italy is driving from Napoli to the Amalfi Coast through winding dark roads, while lost, finding a little trattoria in a village on the way that served the freshest, most aromatic tiramisu I had ever eaten in my life! Having a car in Italy and road tripping is the only way to find these little hidden gems.
When planning to do an Italy road trip in Italy, two very important things to keep in mind. The roads are not designed in a grid system, like in Western countries, ans can be a little tricky, and the second important fact, if you are planning to leave the car in a different city in Italy you will be hit with a hefty relocation fee. It’s always best to plan ahead when doing a road trip through a different country.
Italy road trip plan:
Depending on how long you plan to travel in Italy I have created different road trip options that also include other areas of Europe, well the South of France as it’s just next door.
Even I am still teaching myself that less is more with travel. I am a serious adventurer traveler and want to see everything, everywhere I go. With age has come experience, and I now believe the best way to travel is to take one’s time and stay longer in one particular destination to really soak in the local vibe and get familiar with a destination.
Italy Road Trip Option 1: South of France (Nice, Cannes, Monaco) – San Remo – Cinque Terre- Pisa-Florence
Let’s call this option ‘The Talented Mr Ripley’ road trip. You know the movie with Matt Damon, well I love it and it really showcases this area of Italy and Italian life for expats….maybe not the murdering part. Watch the movie if you have not seen it already and you will get my point.
Italy Road Trip 2: Milan- Parma – Modena – Verona – Venice
This Road Trip is on my list of absolute favorites of all time. This road trip is for real ‘foodies’.
This road trip is called ‘Michelin Star Heaven’. As the name suggests Parma is the home of parmesean cheese, Modena is where balsamic vinegar comes from and the entire region is fertile with fantastic wine and other home-grown gourmet delights.My two favorite three Michelin Star restaurants are in this region (see below).
Verona is worth a night or two just to sit in the piazza and enjoy people watching with an apertivo with locals. Of course Venice is just, well there is no place in the world like Venice, full of mystique, wonder and often overrun with tourists. More on Venice later- this is a road trip itinerary post after all!
Italy Road Trip 3: Rome – Napoli – Amalfi Coast (Positano and Sorrento)
This road trip will be ‘Lover’s Road Trip’, this particular trip is super romantic. Many people find Rome and Napoli to be quite dirty, however I love Rome and Napoli, after all the best pizza and pasta in the world come from there.
Positano itself is a romantic, quaint seaside town, that is hard not to fall in love in and with. I have great recommendations and restaurant tips in my Positano post.
*Worth a special mention and a detour: There are incredible three Michelin Star restaurants scattered throughout Italy. Two are an absolute must. Dal Pescatore in Canneto Sull’Oglio and Osteria Francescana in Modena. Both of these restaurants are worth a special road and a detour, I should know, I drove six hours one day to have lunch at Dal Pescatore. Check back later in my Michelin Star section on Eat Stay Live for more on my favorite three michelin star restaurants.
Italy in a word: ‘Prego!’ Means: ‘You’re Welcome’ or ‘Please’. Used in a scenario, you walk into a restaurant the maître D will gesture you to sit down they will say ‘prego’, or if you say ‘thank-you’ the waiter will say ‘prego’.
I strongly recommend an Italy road trip for those who want to experience the ‘real’ Italy and discover wonderful local surprises around just about every corner.