Thinking about taking a road trip around Italy?
From the beautiful scenery of Lake Como and the art of Florence to the rich history of Rome and the traditional Italian villages of Puglia, there’s no doubt that Italy ticks all the boxes when it comes to sightseeing. So what better way to experience it all than with a road trip?
Here’s our Ostello Bello Guide to everything you need to know about planning a road trip around this stunning country.
Where to fly in and out of?
Unless you plan on driving to Italy in your own car, the first thing you need to decide is which airport you’ll fly to and which one you’ll depart from at the end of your trip.
We recommend arriving in Milan (Malpensa Airport) and leaving from Naples, as both are major airports that give travellers a lot of choices when it comes to flight costs and times. Milan is also right in the north of the country, making it the perfect location to start your Italian road trip from.
How to get around
Of course, a road trip wouldn’t be a road trip without a car. What car you’ll hire depends on how many of you are travelling and how much luggage you have, not to mention your budget.
There are plenty of car rental companies out there that offer all types of vehicles to suit travellers’ needs. However, to make your Italian road trip that extra bit more special you could hire one of the following types of transport:
- A classic Fiat 500
- A Vespa
- A Tuk Tuk (this might be a slower option but it’s easily a more exciting way to see the country!)
What to eat & drink
Italian cuisine is world famous – is there anyone who doesn’t like pasta and pizza?
If anything, the food and drink are enough of a reason to go on an Italian road trip in itself! You’ll be spoilt for choice on your journey as there will be plenty of traditional restaurants and trattorias for you to dine at along the way. Not forgetting yummy Italian gelato for dessert!
Italy is also well known for its wine, so there’ll be plenty of opportunities for you to stop off at a vineyard to have a cheeky glass or two…
Your Ostello Bello road trip itinerary
So, where should you stop off on your travels through Italy? Here are our recommendations for a perfect road trip in Italy:
Located just an hour and a half drive away from Milan Malpensa Airport, it’s easy to see why Lake Como is loved by Hollywood movie stars and celebrities alike with its breathtaking mountain views and lakeside scenery – not to mention Como’s town centre that’s rich with history.
If you love exploring the great outdoors, then Lake Como is for you. Lace-up your boots and trek along some of the region’s best hiking routes. Or if chilling out is more your thing, grab a spot at one of the lakeside bars, sip on a spritz and watch the world go by.
Stay: Ostello Bello Como
The next stop on your Italian road trip is the fashion capital of Italy, Milan. Home to the world’s largest gothic cathedral (and arguably the city’s most iconic building) the Duomo, Milan is a unique blend of historical architecture and modern skyscrapers.
There’s plenty to do in this trendy city – go shopping in the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, marvel at the views from the rooftop of the Duomo, hit the unique bar scene in Navigli or hop on a walking tour. Whatever your interests or budget, there’s no denying that you’ll fall in love with Milan.
After Milan, drive down to the northwest coast of Italy to the coastal city of Genoa. This port city is rich with history, and is much smaller than the likes of Rome and Milan, making it perfect for walking! Genoa also has a great food and drink scene with tonnes of delicious options to choose from.
Walk around the city at your own pace and admire the street art on display. People watch at Genoa’s main square, the Piazza De Ferrari. Or watch the sunset from the harbour with a cocktail in hand. You definitely won’t get bored here!
Stay: Ostello Bello Genova
Nestled in the heart of Tuscany, no Italian road trip would be complete without paying Florence a visit. The jewel of the city is undoubtedly the medieval domed cathedral Santa Maria del Fiore, but the city also has many other architectural wonders, such as the Santa Maria Novella church, the Ponte Vecchio bridge and various piazzas dotted throughout.
The entire city is easily walkable on foot, so ditch the car and stroll through the charming streets and marvel at some of the best renaissance architecture and art in the world. At sunset, head up to the Piazza Michelangelo for some breathtaking views of the Firenze during golden hour.
Stay: Ostello Bello Firenze
Perugia isn’t as well known as Florence or Rome, but it’s a city that’s rich in history and culture. Surrounded by the Umbrian Hills, Perugia has one of the oldest city centres in the country and is well known for its gothic main square.
Perugia also has a lively atmosphere thanks to the large student population in the city, which means that you’re never far from an apertivo bar or an Aperol spritz. Happy hour anyone?
If there’s one stop you can’t miss on your Italian road trip, it has to be Rome. The eternal city is the capital of Italy and offers decades of history, stunning architecture and amazing food all in one place. Why wouldn’t you want to visit?
A must-see attraction when visiting Rome is the famous Colosseum, built by the Romans over 2,000 years ago. There’s also the nearby Roman forum, as well as the Trevi Fountain, Spanish steps and Vatican.
Don’t forget to pay a visit to ‘Fassi Gelateria’ – a gelato shop that has been serving ice cream since 1880!
What better way to end your road trip around Italy than with a trip to the birthplace of pizza? Yes the bright lights of Napoli has some of the best food in the world, so you really have no choice than to eat Neapolitan pizza for breakfast, lunch AND dinner.
Apart from an abundance of delicious Italian cuisine, you can expect to find quirky street art, coastal castles, and one of the most famous volcanoes in the world on Naples doorstep. Plus, the city is only a short ride away from Pompeii, a well preserved Roman town that was destroyed by said volcano in 79 AD. History buffs take note.
Stay: Ostello Bello Napoli
Ready for the ultimate road trip around Italy but not booked your accommodation yet? Click here to check out our budget-friendly accommodation across Italy.