This road trip marathon travels from Northern Italy down south, stopping in the nation's most loved and bucket-list worthy destinations. Unlike the film, no-one is chasing you (hopefully), so there's no need for haste. Sit back, relax and enjoy the journey while covering over 1200km of serene Italian countryside and coastal roads. Plan to allot about a month for this entire route, allowing time to stray off the itinerary, escape, and stay longer in the places which capture a little piece of your wanderlust.
Venice - Milan - Cinque Terre - Florence - Rome - Amalfi Coast
Start in Venice, a city of small islands, and spend a couple of days walking around the narrow, intricate laneways and gondola-riding along the canals. Make sure to see the Rialto Bridge and the San Marco Square, and be prepared to get lost in the maze of alleys and bridges. Set off west across the top of Italy, stopping by in Padua and Verona - both cities famous for inspiring Shakespeare - and settle in to Milan. Milan embodies the 'new' Italy, as the financial centre and largest metro area in the country. With plentiful museums, churches, monuments and public gardens - this city is a cultural playground.
Get active on the coastline hiking trails of the Cinque Terre, and taste fresh fish and local olive oils. Take note that the roads are narrow and the region is subject to landslides given the geography. Wrap around the coastal roads before you set off east. Head straight to Florence or slow down the pace and add in Pisa, Lucca and/or Pistoia. Simple Tuscan food will delight and surprise Italian food lovers. As well as more well-known dishes, popular food in this region includes Lampredotto, the boiled fourth stomach of a cow, which is available at most Florentine markets and usually served in a bread roll. While in Florence, don't miss the city's top attraction: the Statue of David, Michelangelo's masterpiece, which is located in the Galleria dell'Accademia.
Travel south through Tuscany, then head toward the west coast as you enter the Lazio region. This drive to Rome passes through many towns worthy of a visit, if not an overnight stop. Siena is 70km south of Florence, where the black and white Duomo (Cathedral) and the Wednesday Market contrast the historical with modernity in Italy. A further 120km south toward the coast, the peninsular town of Orbetello is surrounded by quiet lagoons with vast beaches, and is a welcome contrast to the hustle and bustle found in the more well-known tourist spots. When you reach Rome, it can be more convenient to stay outside of the city, as driving in the historical centre is restricted and Rome's most well-known sights are mostly accessible on foot. The gorgeous Trevi Fountain is hidden in side-streets, and reminders of the wealth of the city's history are evident in unglorified ruins dotted throughout. Fantastic art is not hard to find either, just head to many of the churches. Most importantly, don't rush to leave Rome until you've scoped out as many gelataries and tried as many flavours as you can handle: Tropical Ice Gelataria is a popular place to start.
From Rome, take the coastal road or the faster, less scenic highway toward Naples and the Amalfi Coast. After a month long adventure down the spine of Italy, you may choose to celebrate with famous Amalfi Coast limoncello liqueur, made from lemons grown in gardens along the coast. The iconic medieval fishing villages perched along the cliffs have earned the region UNESCO World Heritage Site recognition. Each spot has its own charm, so enjoy views from the many characterful churches out to the Mediterranean Sea and as you wind up your time in Italy.
In the summer months, accommodation should be booked up far in advance. Either book well ahead and stick to your time schedule, or hire a motorhome and get transport and lodging in one. If you want to cruise down the country in true Italian Job style, Auto Europe has a selection of luxury, convertible and sports cars. Simply filter your preferences when you search for your hire car to find the best selection with ease. For more information, give us a call on 1300 656 601 or simply book online today!