panoramic view of the heart of florence large basilica and hills in background during sunset

Tuscany By Car- Italy Road Trip Itinerary

Experience the best of Tuscany by car during this fascinating Italian road trip around Tuscany. Plan your perfect Italy road trip with Rentalmoose.

Click here for detailed directions

Summary (click the red pins for directions) :

Florence to Poppi- 60 kilometers (40 miles)đź“Ť  

Poppi to Arezzo- 40 kilometers (25 miles)đź“Ť 

Arezzo to Siena- 60 kilometers (40 miles)đź“Ť 

Siena to San Gimignano- 40 kilometers (25 miles)đź“Ť 

San Gimignano to Livorno- 80 kilometers (50 miles)đź“Ť 

Livorno to Pisa- 30 kilometers (20 miles)đź“Ť 

Pisa to Florence- 80 kilometers (50 miles)đź“Ť 

390 kilometers (240 miles) in total

Tags: Travel guide, Italy, Scenic Driving, History, Short Trip

The bucket list of every traveler. Picturesque cities full of historical landmarks, delicious cuisine, aromatic wine, scenic roads, and immaculate natural beauty. Tuscany has it all, and this travel guide takes you through the absolute best of it during an exciting Italian road trip.

This road trip itinerary takes you on a journey through the most scenic parts of Tuscany, exploring the best of what this region of Italy has to offer.

Begin with a day of sightseeing the historical landmarks in Florence, then let the scenic roads take you through hills and valleys off the main tourist tracks until you reach the peaceful towns of Poppi and Arezzo before arriving in Siena for the night.

On the second day, admire the “medieval skyscrapers” of San Gimignano and feel the Mediterranean breeze in the port town of Livorno. Later, make one last stop in Pisa before returning back to Florence.

How long does it take to complete this road trip?

The total driving distance is below 400 kilometers, with roughly an hour of driving between each stop.

That said, Rentalmoose recommends dedicating two days for this road trip, plus an extra day to explore Florence, at the very least.

To explore each spot thoroughly, add overnight stops in Siena and Pisa.

Road Trip Extensions

Northern Italy

Continue your Italian adventure even further and drive up north to Milan. Explore the fashion capital of the world, stroll down the streets of Lake Como, swim in the crystal clear Lake Garda, and more! Click here for the Northern Italy Travel Guide.

Southern Italy

You can also extend the adventure and explore the picturesque Southern part of Italy. Drive across the Amalfi Coast, go beneath the ground and hike in the eerie catacombs in Naples, or relax at one of the pristine beaches. Check out the Rentalmoose Southern Italy Travel Guide.

When is the best time to visit Tuscany?

The best time to visit Tuscany is right before and directly after the tourist season peaks in the summer.

Consider going on this trip between April and May or September and October, when you can still enjoy a bit of the summer weather without massive crowds.

The weather is the hottest between June and August, but it is also the peak of the tourist season.

Why should I book a rental car in Tuscany?

Tuscany is one of the best destinations to pick for an Italian road trip. Some of the less popular destinations, such as Poppi or Arezzo, lack a convenient public transport connection. What’s more, there are tons of spots between the suggested stops that are waiting to be discovered, including local villages and scenic vineyards.

The roads are also well-developed and offer spectacular views along the way. What more could a road trip lover ask for?

When driving in Italy, keep in mind that it is common for others to squeeze into extremely tight parking spots. An occasional scratch here and there could happen, therefore Rentalmoose recommends adding excess coverage when booking your rental car in Tuscany.

Once you’ve picked up the car, don’t forget to take photos of the car to qualify for a 50% discount from the excess coverage fee.

Can tourists drive in Italy? 

Absolutely! Tourists in Italy need an International Driving Permit to drive here unless they have an EU-issued domestic license. These can easily be obtained in your local country and are mandatory for non-EU driver licenses when driving in Italy.

Where can you get an International Driving Permit? How much does an IDP cost? Check out this blog post to learn all you need to know regarding International Driving Permits.

Driving in Italy for the first time might be quite a hectic experience. Getting around large cities is chaotic and driving around tight cobblestone streets can be a nightmare.

On top of all this, the locals don’t really seem to be following the speed limits.

Speeding is common among drivers in Italy. Tourists in Italy have to pay the fine on the spot to the police and can additionally be charged by the car rental company. 

Going up to 21km/h over the limit on the highway will cost you around 150 Euros, while breaking a “no-parking” rule will cost you around 80 Euros.

Traffic in Italy is on the right-hand side of the road.

Now that you’re all set, let’s dive into this exciting Italy road trip!

Florence

florence skyline city view from above during sunset colorful basilica and mountains in background. See Florence during our Italy road trip itinerary around Tuscany

Photography by Meipakk/Pixabay.com

Your Italian road trip across the incredibly picturesque region of Tuscany begins in an equally charming city of Florence. Despite its size, Florence feels like a little welcoming village. Rentalmoose recommends spending at least a day in this fascinating city before departing further.

For maximum convenience, pick up your rental car directly at the Airport of Florence. Car rentals that support airport pick-up can be found via Rentalmoose.

Once you’ve got your car, it’s time to explore Florence!

What is Florence famous for?

Galleria Dell’Accademia

Florence, like all of Italy, has an extremely rich history which is reflected in the region’s attractions.

When in town, you can’t skip the Galleria Dell’Accademia, a world-class gallery that hosts some of Europe’s most precious artwork.

While the museum is home to some admirable Florentine paintings from the 14th and 15th centuries, the undebatable highlight is the “David” statue created by Michelangelo.

The iconic statue has made the Galleria Dell’Accademia the most frequently visited museum in Florence, it’s best to book your tickets online ahead of your visit. 

Driving in Florence- ZTL Area

Driving within Florence can get very expensive if you don’t pay attention to the road signs. The historic center of the city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. For this very reason, the heart of Florence is a part of the ZTL area.

What is the ZTL area, you ask? You can only drive inside with a proper permit (it’s very likely that your rental car won’t come with one). If your hotel is within the ZTL, you may come in for a limited time in order to unload your car. In that case, be sure to let your hotel know that you’re arriving by car.

What is the best car park in Florence?

Santa Maria Novella

The best place to park your rental car is at the Santa Maria Novella train station. Drop your car off for roughly 2-3 Euros per hour and stroll down to the city center.

Florence Cathedral

Head to the monumental Cathedral, the third biggest church in the entire world. Observe the decorative facade that dates back to the late 13th century, or step inside and explore the interior of the historical structure.

Admission to the Cathedral itself is free of charge, but you will need to purchase a ticket to access the nearby museum, baptistery, dome or bell tower.

Ponte Vecchio

Walk south from the Santa Maria del Fiore Cathedral for roughly 10 minutes until you reach Ponte Vecchio, the oldest bridge in Florence connecting two banks of the Arno river.

The bridge has been a symbol of the city for centuries. The present Ponte Vecchio was constructed in the 1300s after a flood destroyed its previous version, though the initial Ponte Vecchio dates back as early as the 900s. 

Today, the bridge is a vibrant tourist hotspot lined with cute souvenir shops and prestigious jewelers, where you can purchase some glamorous Florentine necklaces, rings and more.

Trattoria Sabatino

Visit the Trattoria Sabatino for a traditional Italian dining experience. The eatery has been serving delicious regional dishes ever since it first opened in 1956 and has become one of the favorites among locals and tourists.

The family-run trattoria is surprisingly affordable, too. You can order a meal for less than 5 euros.

Where can you stay in Florence?

Luxury travelers should consider staying at Villa La Vedetta, a prestigious 5-star villa-turned-hotel near Florence. Choose from one of the elegant rooms and suites, relax at the outdoor terrace that overlooks the city or go for a dip in the outdoor pool. The hotel’s incredible restaurant is worth mentioning, too.

Traveling on a budget? The city is scattered with unique hotels that are relatively affordable, keeping in mind that Florence is one of the most expensive cities to visit in Italy.

That said, consider booking a room at the historical Palazzo Guadagni. The 3-star hotel is situated in a palazzo that dates back to the early 1500s and is just a walk away from Ponte Vecchio. Elegant rooms and great service aside, the hotel’s Loggia roof bar offers sensational views of the city.

Next on your Italy road trip: Poppi, 1 hour 20 minutes

Poppi

medieval tower and buildings in poppi town surrounded by trees and green fields in tuscany italy on a cloudy day

Photography by Joakant/Pixabay.com

Depart Florence and follow the scenic SR70 route across the endless greens. After a little over an hour, you will reach the charming village of Poppi.

Is Poppi worth visiting?

Poppi is a tiny village with less than 10000 inhabitants, hence it is often overlooked by tourists traveling around Tuscany. The reality is that the cute village is definitely worth visiting, especially to see its historic castle without hordes of tourists.

Castello dei Conti Guidi

The winding streets will take you to the Castello dei Conti Guidi, a local landmark in Poppi. The 13th-century castle remains very well-preserved and can be explored both inside and out. The top of the tower opens up to panoramic views of the town and its scenic surroundings, making a perfect photo opportunity.

Open daily until 6 PM.

Badia San Fedele

After exploring the castle, make your way to the Badia San Fedele just a stroll away. The historic abbey was home to monks from Vallombrosa and was constructed back in the 10th century.

Today, it is one of the most significant landmarks in the Casentino valley. The structure is also filled with precious artwork which is worth at least a quick peek. The peaceful church is the perfect spot to simply relax and enjoy the silence.

Gelateria Paradice

No trip to Italy would be complete without an ice cream stop in a local gelateria (Italian ice cream cafes), and Poppi happens to be home to Gelateria Paradice, one of the best in the Casentino valley.

Open between 11 AM and midnight, closed on Mondays.

Next on your Italy road trip: Arezzo, 40 minutes

Arezzo

empty piazza grande main square in italy well in foreground and medieval  buildings in background during sunrise in arezzo italy

Piazza Grande photographed by Elena/Pixabay.com

The 40-minute drive from Poppi, though not the most scenic in this journey, is immensely fun. Follow the winding roads of SP70 and SP71 until you reach Arezzo, another sweet Italian town worth visiting.

What can you do in Arezzo?

Piazza Grande

Observe the life of the city at Piazza Grande, the true heart of Arezzo. Admire one of Tuscany’s best-preserved medieval squares, surrounded by colorful buildings full of local eateries and shops.

The cozy streets around the square make it the perfect spot to wander around and discover local treasures.

Cinema fans will likely recognize Piazza Grande, as the opening scenes of “La Vita E Bella”, the 1997 award-winning film by Benigni, were shot right here. 

Arezzo Antique Fair

Take part in the famous Arezzo Antique Fair, one of the biggest fairs of this kind in Italy. The fair attracts hundreds of exhibitors from across the country. Stroll around the fair, as there are thousands of antiques, including priceless books, artwork, and jewelry.

The fair takes place every first Sunday of the month and the Saturday before.

Arezzo Cathedral

Don’t forget to drop by the 15th century Arezzo Cathedral. Admire the well-preserved medieval facade or step inside the monumental building, where you will find beautifully painted ceilings, the Gothic tomb of Guido Tarlati and a precious portrait of Mary Magdalene.

The Piazza del Duomo by the cathedral is the perfect spot to photograph the panoramic views of Arezzo, as it is the highest point in town.

Admission to the church is free of charge.

Next on your Italy road trip: Siena, 1 hour

Siena

torre del mangia red brick medieval tower symnetrical photo seen from nearby square in siena italy

Photography by Samuele Schiro.

The historic center of Siena is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Similarly to Florence, this part of the town can’t be accessed by car as it is a ZTL area.

Rentalmoose recommends leaving your car at the private Il Campo Car Park, located within walking distance of the center of Siena. There are nearly 600 spaces available and the hourly rate is around 2 Euros.

Piazza del Campo

Once you’ve left your car, walk to the monumental Piazza del Campo. The unique shell-shaped square serves as the heart of the city ever since it was first constructed in the 13th century.

Feast your eyes on the well-preserved historical buildings or pop by the local cafes and eateries. The fact that the square is less busy than the heart of Florence makes the streets of Siena even more enjoyable to get lost in.

Palio di Siena

Piazza del Campo is turned into a horse racetrack and the famous Palio di Siena race takes place two times every year. The highly anticipated race is the biggest event in Siena, and one of the most significant gatherings in the entire country.

Check the official website for the schedule and more details on ticketing.

Torre del Mangia

Travelers can, and quite frankly should, climb the stairs to reach the top of Torre del Mangia. The monumental tower stands 87 meters above the ground and provides some of the best spectacular views in all of Tuscany.

Keep in mind that you have to cover 400 steps to reach the top. The journey to the top can get tiring, but the views are absolutely worth it!

La Taverna di San Giuseppe

All the sightseeing will probably drain your energy, visit La Taverna di San Giuseppe for a lunch stop. The menu is made up of lots of regional dishes from Tuscany as well as other parts of Italy.

Try some of the locally-made, fresh pasta or choose from a selection of Italian wines. The delicious cuisine was appreciated by critics and has earned the restaurant a spot in the Michelin guide.

Siena is packed with historical sites waiting to be explored, that’s why Rentalmoose recommends making at least one night stop in this history-filled city.

Looking for the ultimate luxury hotel near Siena?

Consider booking a room at the Castel Monastero. The prestigious 5-star resort is situated in a renovated monastery around 20 kilometers east of Siena. Choose between elegant rooms and suites, relax in one of the three outdoor pools or enjoy a massage in the spa and wellness center.

Castel Monastero is the go-to secluded getaway in the heart of the Tuscan countryside.

An affordable alternative in Siena would be the Relais la Corte Dei Cavalieri. The 3-star hotel features classy rooms, free wi-fi and a perfect location near the heart of Siena. Keep in mind that the hotel doesn’t provide a private car park for guests.

Next on your Italy road trip: San Gimignano, 50 minutes

San Gimignano

medieval brick towers in sam gimignano skyline city view from a distance and green tuscan fields landscape in foreground

Photography by SilvanoCosta/Pixabay.com

The next stop on this Italian road trip is San Gimignano, a wonderful town known as “The City of Towers”. Over 70 towers were constructed here in the 12th century. Sadly, just 14 remain today, though the site remains spectacular nonetheless.

Is San Gimignano worth a visit?

Sam Gimignano is quite literally the embodiment of Tuscany: a historical hilltop town surrounded by green vineyards and fields. If you’re on a road trip through Tuscany, you simply can’t skip it.

Scenic old architecture in Sam Gimignano, often called the medieval manhattan, a small town in Florence Italy. See it during our Italy road trip itinerary around Tuscany
San Gimignano at night is unbeatable.

Torre Grossa

As the town is known for its 14 dramatic towers (a sort of medieval skyscrapers, if you will), the only way to begin exploring it is by climbing the highest one of them.

Head to the Torre Grossa, the 54-meter tower was built in the 1300s and is proudly representing the city to this day. The climb, similarly to Torre del Mangia in Siena, is quite lengthy. Just like in Siena, the rewarding views from the top make the effort absolutely worth it.

A 2-day admission pass costs below 10 Euros per person and includes access to all museums in town.

Gelateria Dondoli- the best Gelato in San Gimignano

Try the city’s best gelato (Italian ice cream) at the Gelateria Dondoli. The award-winning ice cream parlor remains one of the favorites among locals, the frequent lengthy queue proves it. Gelateria Dondoli is conveniently situated near the heart of town along Piazza della Cisterna.

The Gelateria also offers ice cream classes, during which you will be taught to make your own delicious gelato. Click here for more details.

Gelateria Dondoli has the best gelato in San Gimignano, perhaps the best gelato in all of tuscany. Gelato is Italian ice cream.

La Rocca

San Gimignano is famous around the world for its aromatic white wine, the Vernaccia di San Gimignano. Head to La Rocca for a one-of-a-kind wine experience. Discover the history of the region’s wine during a fascinating interactive exhibition.

Of course, guests can try the wine as well, or book a more-detailed guided tour. Find all of the details on the official website.

Next on your Italy road trip: Livorno, 1 hour 20 minutes

Livorno

rocks on livorno coast calm sea and coastside building during sunset in tuscany italy

Enrico Nunziati/Pixabay.com

After exploring the hills and never-ending greens of Tuscany, it is time to head to the coast. Drive for around an hour and twenty minutes until you reach Livorno, a port town along the western coast of Italy.

What is there to do in Livorno?

Terrazza Mascagni

Feel the breeze of the Mediterranean as you wander down the Terrazza Mascagni, a wide waterfront terrace in the southern part of the city. The area acts as a promenade and is a favored hangout by locals.

On-street parking is available on the main road right by the waterfront.

Observe the sun setting over the horizon or pay a visit to the nearby Livorno Aquarium. Examine the exotic sea creatures daily from 10 AM. Admission to the aquarium costs up to 17 Euros per person. 

New Venice

Did you know that Livorno has its own Venice? In the 1620s, the city desperately needed an expansion plan. The area between the existing districts was separated by moats, the architect’s workaround was copying Venice’s design and using waterways instead of roads. The newly designed district was then named “New Venice”.

Today, it is one of the most picturesque parts of the city. Take a boat tour or stroll around the neighborhood on foot.

Don’t miss the Fortezza Nuova, a historic fortress in the heart of the district.

La Perla dell’Ostricaio

As you are in a port town afterall, it only makes sense to try some fresh local seafood for lunch. Head to La Perla dell’Ostricaio, one of the best seafood restaurants in Livorno just a walk away from Terrazza Mascagni.

Rentalmoose order tip: Try the locally-caught fish, shrimps or octopus.

Open all week between noon and 3 PM for lunch, then between 7 PM to midnight for dinner. 

Grand Hotel Palazzo Mgallery Livorno illuminated by the sunset. the best 5 star luxury hotel in Livorno italy
La Perla Dell’Ostricaio is located at the beautiful Grand Hotel Palazzo MGallery. Looking for the best hotel in Livorno? Spend the night here.

Next on your Italy road trip: Pisa, 30 minutes

Pisa

The famous leaning tower of Pisa in Pisa, Italy. The tower can be seen during our Italy road trip itinerary around Tuscany


Is Pisa worth visiting?

A short 30-minute drive will take you to Pisa, the city that’s home to the famous Leaning Tower of Pisa, along with other historical treasures. As overcrowded as the city gets during peak tourist season, its landmarks are certainly worth visiting.

Where to park in Pisa?

Via Camneo

Rentalmoose recommends dropping off your car at the Via Camneo private car park, just a short stroll away from the Leaning Tower of Pisa. The car park, as of 2020, costs 2 Euros per hour.

Another major historical town in Italy means more inaccesible ZTL areas. Be cautious not to enter the limited-access center of Pisa, or you might end up paying a hefty ticket.

The Leaning Tower of Pisa

Once you’ve left the car, walk towards the Leaning Tower of Pisa, one of the most significant landmarks in the entire world. Admire the monumental tower from Piazza del Duomo, a photo of you holding up the leaning tower is a must, too!

For around 20 Euros, travelers can climb the stairs atop the tower for the best views of Pisa. Lots of people want to do it, so expect long queues. 

The Cathedral

Walk across the Piazza del Duomo to the massive Cathedral. In fact, it was the biggest church in Europe at the time of its opening in the 14th century. You can admire the well-preserved, decorative interior completely free of charge, too.

The cathedral is surrounded by beautiful green lawns, where you can sit down and relax after all the driving all while admiring the heart of Pisa.

Baptistery of San Giovanni

Another major landmark along the Piazza del Duomo is the Baptistery of San Giovanni. The round structure dates back to the 1100s and stands at over 50 meters above the ground.

The monumental building blends in together with the equally beautiful Cathedral and, of course, the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

Ristorante Le Bandierine

Once you get hungry, be sure to visit the Ristorante Le Bandierine. One of the best regional restaurants in Pisa, Le Bandierine is especially famous for its incredible spaghetti dishes.

The restaurant is just a walk away from the Arno river, which is another spot worth visiting when in Pisa.

Le Bandierine is open daily for dinner between 7:30 PM and midnight.

Next on your Italy road trip: Florence, 1 hour 10 minutes

Drop-off

Drop-off your car at the Florence Airport right where you picked it up. Browse through car rental companies that support airport drop-off via Rentalmoose. Don’t want your Italian adventure to end? Extend the trip to the North of Italy, or the stunning Southern Coast.

Don’t forget to book your rental car via Rentalmoose for your next road trip in Italy. On our platform, you can find the top rental companies at the best price, along with tens of curated travel guides around the globe. Get your car from Rentalmoose!

We plant a tree for every booking made with our platform.

Post your pictures from your next road trip in Italy online using #Rentalmoose! Our favorite ones will be featured in the upcoming blog posts.

amalfi coastal village colorful hillside whitewashed buildings and pebbly beach on a clear day

The Sunny South of Italy- Road Trip Itinerary

Explore the South of Italy with our curated Italy road trip itinerary.

Click here for detailed directions

Summary (click the red pins for directions) :

Bari to Gargano- 150 kilometers (90 miles)đź“Ť 

Gargano to Naples- 230 kilometers (140 miles)đź“Ť 14.7 EUR highway toll

Naples to Amalfi Coast- 70 kilometers (40 miles)đź“Ť 2.1 EUR highway toll

Amalfi Coast to Matera- 220 kilometers (140 miles)đź“Ť 

Matera to Lecce- 170 kilometers (105 miles)đź“Ť 

Lecce to Bari- 150 kilometers (90 miles)đź“Ť 

990 kilometers (615 miles) in total

Tags: Travel guide, South of Italy, Beaches, History

This travel guide takes you on a magical road trip around Puglia, Campania, and Basilicata regions of Southern Italy. Explore the best parts of Italy by rental car, guided by our curated Southern Italy road trip itinerary.

Begin by exploring Bari, then drive along the coast to Gargano, where you will find some of the most jaw-dropping beaches in the whole world. Continue west until you reach Naples, a historic city guarded by the spectacular Mount Vesuvius.

Then, make your way across the winding roads of the glamorous Amalfi Coast before heading inland to Matera, known as “the City of Caves”. After an unforgettable night in a cave hotel, drive back to Bari through Lecce.

Planning- Before You Leave

Before setting off on your South Italian road trip, take a look at the essential information below.

How long does it take to complete this road trip?

There are lots of attractions worth dropping by in Southern Italy, and this travel guide only highlights some of them.

Rentalmoose recommends dedicating at least 3 nights for this road trip.

In order to discover each town, add an extra night in each major city. 

When is the best time to visit The South of Italy?

The best time to go on a South Italian road trip is in Spring (April to June) or Autumn (September to October), when the weather is moderate and there aren’t too many tourists.

The hottest weather is during the Summer between late June and August, but it is also the peak of the tourist season. 

Why should I book a rental car in Italy?

The South of Italy is perfect to be discovered via a rental car. The spots worth visiting are all located within driving distance of each other, and the freedom of changing your itinerary during the trip can only be achieved when traveling by car.

Driving enthusiasts are in for a treat, as the coastal roads of Puglia and Amalfi Coast are along the most scenic in the whole world. 

For extra peace of mind during your road trip, Rentalmoose recommends adding excess coverage when booking your rental car.

Once you’ve picked up the car, don’t forget to take photos of the car to qualify for a 50% discount from the excess coverage fee.

Road Trip Extensions

You can easily continue exploring Italy’s immaculate natural beauty, fascinating history and delicious cuisine even further!

Explore Tuscany and the region’s picturesque countryside, stroll down cute medieval towns or indulge in some of the best wine ever. Click here to check out the Rentalmoose travel guide around Tuscany.

Alternatively, head further north and go on a shopping spree in Milan, relax at the scenic Lago di Garda before finishing in Venice. Check out this Rentalmoose travel guide to North Italy and plan your ideal Italian road trip.

Can tourists drive in Italy? 

Yes! You need an international driving permit to drive in Italy along with your domestic license unless you are an EU-citizen. These can easily be obtained in your local country and are mandatory for non-EU driver licenses when driving in the country. 

Check out the Rentalmoose blog post on International Driving Permits to find out all you need to know about IDPs!

Driving in Italy for the first time might be quite a hectic experience. Getting around large cities is chaotic and driving around tight cobblestone streets can be a nightmare. On top of all this, the locals don’t really seem to be following the speed limits.

Speeding is common among drivers in Italy. Once you get caught, you will probably realize it was not worth it. Tourists in Italy have to pay the fine on the spot to the police and can additionally be charged by the car rental company. 

Going up to 21km/h over the limit on the highway will cost you around 150 Euros, while breaking a “no-parking” rule will cost you around 80 Euros.

The traffic in Italy is on the right-hand side of the road.

Are there tolls in Italy?

The Italian highway system is not toll-free. Fees can be paid at toll gates by cash or credit card, alternatively using a prepaid Viacard that can be purchased at gas stations and roadside shops. The map of toll highways and a toll calculator can be found here.

Now that you’re all set, it’s time to dive into this exciting Southern Italy road trip itinerary!

Bari

beautiful small italian sandy beach surrounded by whitewashed buildings and cliffs blue sea near bari south of italy sunset

Photography by Giancarlo Composto.

Your Southern Italy road trip begins in the gorgeous city of Bari. For maximum comfort, pick up your car directly from Bari Karol Wojtyła Airport. Car rentals that offer pick-ups at the airport can be found via Rentalmoose.

Is Bari worth visiting?

Sunny Bari is one of the most important cities in the South of Italy. The city has a lot in store for travelers, it is especially ideal for history lovers, beachgoers and foodies. It is most certainly worth a visit!

Get started with a visit to the city’s historic district, Bari Vecchia. Wander around the narrow streets, admire the Adriatic Sea from the old port or admire the monumental facade of the Basilica of San Nicola. 

Getting hungry? Bari Vecchia has some of the best street food in all of Italy! All sorts of local eateries are lined around the cute streets, serving regional delicacies such as focaccia or panzerotti.

Although the city of Bari itself is fascinating, Rentalmoose highly recommends exploring some of the best spots nearby.

Discover the picturesque coastal town of Polignano a Mare. The cute town is home to Lama Monachile, a famous beach surrounded by cliffs. Snorkel in the turquoise waters or go for a boat tour of the eerie caves along the shore.

Your rental car can be parked on-street near the beach, white-marked spots are free and blue ones need to be paid for at the nearest meter. Yellow spots are strictly for local residents.

Grotta Palazzese

For an unforgettable dining experience, book a table at the magnificent Grotta Palazzese. The restaurant’s jaw-dropping terrace is situated in a natural cave, offering guests spectacular views and making for a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Rentalmoose insider tip: The restaurant does get very busy during peak season, it’s best to book a table prior to arrival.

Alberobello

Continue south for another half an hour until you reach Alberobello. The fairytale-like village is made up of over 1500 of Trulli houses, making it the biggest concentration of Trulli in the region. The picturesque town is perfect for a stroll.

It’s best to visit Alberobello on a weekday, as the town tends to get overcrowded by tourists during peak hours.

Are you looking for the best place to stay near Bari? Consider booking a room at the elegant Grotta Palazzese, previously mentioned for its breathtaking restaurant. The 5-star hotel features modern rooms and suites with an unbeatable sea view, private crystal-clear beach access, and complimentary parking.

A budget-friendly alternative near the heart of town is the 2-star Hotel City Bari. The affordable hotel offers air-conditioned rooms and a paid car park.

Next on your South Italy road trip: Gargano, 2 hours 

Gargano

gargano pebble beach crystal clear sea white sandstone cliffs tourists swimming and sunbathing forest in background sunny day south of italy

Photography by Gianni Crestani.

Where are the best beaches in Italy?

Don’t forget to take your swimwear when you depart Bari, as you are about to visit some of the most beautiful beaches in all of Europe. The two-hour drive leads along the coast, scenic views along the way are guaranteed.

Mattinata Beach

Take a break at Mattinata Beach, one of the most popular pebble beaches in the region. Enjoy a swim in the crystal-clear sea or wander along the coast. It is best to visit during the week, as Mattinata Beach tends to get very busy on weekends.

Mattinatella Beach

One of the most picturesque beaches in the Gargano region is Mattinatella Beach, just minutes away from Mattinata. The beach is famous for the crystal-clear water and breathtaking scenery. If you’re planning to swim in the sea, it is recommended to take footwear, as there are many rocks beneath the water.

Continue driving North along the twisty roads and explore the other beaches in the area.

Did you find a stunning beach near Gargano that is worth mentioning in our travel guide? Post a photo with #rentalmoose for a chance to win a Rentalmoose discount or even a rental car free of charge!

Where can you find the best food in Gargano?

Like all of Italy, Gargano is home to loads of delicious regional restaurants. Drive up to the small town of Monte Sant’Angelo. Inside, you will find Li-Jalantuumene.

The restaurant serves traditional food with a modern, creative twist. It is the perfect spot to take a break from beach-hopping all day.

Next on your South Italy road trip: Naples, 3 hours

Naples

naples dramatic coast small pier sunset skyline traditional buildings mount vesuvius in background italy. Naples is a must-visit city on a Southern Italy road trip.

Photography by Antonio Speranza.

Depart Gargano and drive across to the west coast of Italy. You will know you’re close as soon as Mount Vesuvius will emerge on the horizon. The active volcano is looking over Naples, one of the most important cities in the country.

Is Naples safe for tourists?

Naples, Italy’s third-largest city, is often seen as an unsafe city, especially for international tourists. While the city does have some uglier, dodgy districts (which major city doesn’t?), the biggest danger for tourists is the chaotic traffic. 

If you use common sense, there is no reason to feel unsafe in Naples.

What should you do in Naples?

Naples is favored among travelers as it isn’t spoiled by tourism as much as Venice, Rome or Florence. The narrow, cobbled streets are filled with local eateries and cafes, vibrant markets and cute shops.

Head to the city’s mysterious underground world: The Catacombs of Naples. The historical sites are scattered around the city. Catacombs of San Gennaro, for example, are a 2-floor complex around the Basilica of Sant’Agrippino.

The catacombs’ ambient lighting highlights the eerie vibe and makes for a one-of-a-kind experience. Purchase your tickets online prior to visiting.

Every traveler visiting Naples should get up close to Mount Vesuvius, Europe’s only volcano that has erupted within the last century. Drive up the mountain road and park your car at the end of Piazzale di Quota 1000, you will have to hike for roughly 30 minutes to get to the very top. The hike is well worth it, as the panoramic views of Naples and the volcano’s crater are just unforgettable.

What makes the experience even more exciting is the fact that the frightening volcano that has completely devastated Pompeii will eventually erupt once again.

SSC Napoli Football Team

Football fans will be happy to hear that Naples is home to the SSC Napoli, a famous Italian soccer team. You can find more information, including match dates and tickets, on their official website.

Pompeii

 Learn all about the Roman civilization while strolling around the Ruins of Pompeii. The ancient city became forgotten after it was covered by ashes following a massive volcano eruption.

It was discovered in the mid-1700s and has become one of the most important archeological sites in the entire world. The ruins can get crowded, your rental car can be dropped off at Parking Zeus directly next to the entrance.

What are the best hotels in Naples?

Grand Hotel Vesuvio is a seafront 5-star hotel that has been welcoming guests since 1882. The hotel features stylish rooms and suites, 2 panoramic restaurants with perfect views of Mount Vesuvio, as well as luxurious facilities such as an indoor pool and fitness center.  

Looking for a comfortable stay in Naples without breaking the bank? Consider checking into The Bellini House. This boutique bed and breakfast attracts travelers with a convenient location near the historic center of the city, retro decor and delicious breakfast.

Next on your South Italy road trip: Amalfi Coast, 1 hour 40 minutes

Amalfi Coast

amalfi coastal village beach tourists and ships traditional italian village on seaside cliff hills in background

Photography by Andreas Precht.

As you leave Naples, prepare to drive across some of the world’s most scenic roads. Rentalmoose recommends making a slight detour and driving along the SS145 and SS163 coastal roads that lead to the picturesque Amalfi Coast. 

Which towns should you visit on the Amalfi Coast?

Before you reach the town of Amalfi, make a stop at the colorful town of Positano. Admire the unreal scenery from one of the viewpoints along SS163 (Amalfi Drive) before driving into the heart of the village.

Stop for a snack or breakfast in one of the eateries scattered around the winding streets. Like all of the Amalfi Coast, it is best to go early in the morning to avoid massive crowds and traffic jams.

On your way across the coast, be sure to make a stop at Grotta Dello Smeraldo. The beautiful cave was named “Emerald Cave” because sunlight enters the cave under the water, illuminating it in a magical color. Travelers can enjoy the unique vibe during an affordable (roughly 5 EUR) boat tour. 

There is an elevator next to the SS163 coastal road. Park your car nearby and head beneath the ground into the caves.

Amalfi

Make your next stop in the town of Amalfi, the main tourist hotspot on the coast. Prepare for tons of tourists and long traffic jams leading to the city. The unbeatable views, however, are absolutely worth the wait!

Visit the scenic Piazza Duomo and admire the Amalfi Cathedral. The busy beach may not be the most secluded in the country, but it is a spot worth at least a quick peek.

Where can you find the best authentic food in Amalfi?

Head for lunch at the cute Antica Trattoria Barracca, a local restaurant located inside the town of Amalfi. The eatery dates back to 1945 and continues to serve some of the best Italian dishes in town, including fresh seafood and delicious tiramisu. The food is surprisingly affordable compared with other restaurants in town.

Rentalmoose order tip: After a mind-blowing lunch, be sure to try Tiramisu accompanied by a cup of real, Italian coffee.

Where to park in Amalfi?

Try leaving your car at Luna Rossa, a large multi-story car park outside the town, which costs below 5 EUR per hour. If there are no spots, try your luck parking along the street; lots of locals do it and as long as you’re not blocking any gate or road you should be fine.

Parking in Amalfi can get tricky, especially during peak season.

Next on your South Italy road trip: Matera, 3 hours

Matera

matera city of caves italy stone buildings traditional town during sunset

Photography by blank76 from Pixabay.com

Continue inland, leaving behind the glorious Amalfi Coast. Head east until you reach Matera, a historic Italian city situated in the hills of the Basilicata region.

The third oldest continuously inhabited city in the whole world, Matera has gone full circle from an important ancient city to an Italian slum and has now become one of the most significant landmarks in the country.

What can you see in Matera?

Belvedere di Murgia Timone

Visiting the historic part of Matera will make you feel as if you’ve traveled back in time. The City of Caves is best admired from Belvedere di Murgia Timone, a viewing point that overlooks Matera. Head there and enjoy the panoramic views before you enter the town. Your rental car can be left at the public car park directly by the viewpoint.

Casa Noha

After you’ve seen the city from a distance, it is time to head inside. Begin with learning the city’s fascinating history at Casa Noha. The exhibition reveals the culture, art, and history of the Sassi as well as the local people.

Sassi di Matera

Park your rental car at one of the public car parks within Sassi di Matera and continue exploring the town on foot. Wander around the winding streets whilst admiring the unique rock-cut architecture. Appreciate the caves, many of which have remained untouched since the 20th century, or peek inside some of the refurbished ones that have become stylish boutique hotels and eateries.

Cathedral of Saint Mary ‘della Bruna’ and Saint Eustace

Step inside the magnificent Cathedral which dates back to the 13th century. The cathedral looks more elegant than ever following a 10-year restoration project. The interior features a remarkable decorative style.

When you get hungry, go for lunch at Baccanti Ristorante, a traditional Italian eatery situated in an ambient cave in the heart of the historic district of Matera. Enjoy a selection of local meat and cheese along with a variety of Italian dishes. The pricing is higher than the average restaurant in town, but the delicious cuisine and a unique atmosphere are absolutely worth it.

What is the best cave hotel in Matera?

The historical town offers unforgettable stays in unique hotels situated within the caves. Enjoy a one-of-a-kind night at the Sextantio Le Grotte della Civita. The extraordinary 4-star hotel features fabulous rooms and suites within the caves, as well as a wellness center and a perfect location in the historic part of Matera.

If you’re looking for a unique cave-hotel experience on a more affordable budget, check-in at the Caveoso. The 3-star hotel offers rooms and suites that open up to the panoramic Sassi and a private car park available at an extra cost.

Next on your South Italy road trip: Lecce, 2 hours

Lecce

lecce seaside cliffs crystal clear sea during sunset. Lecce is a must on any Southern Italy road trip.

Photography by Luigi Martina.

Leave Matera and continue east back into the Puglia region. Head near the southeastern tip of the country and enter the charming city of Lecce.

What is there to do in Lecce?

Lecce, although nowhere near as historically significant as Matera, is certainly swinging by. Filled with 18th-century baroque architecture, the charming city is another example of well-preserved history in the South of Italy.

One of the best ways to experience the old part of Lecce is a stroll around Piazza del Duomo and its surroundings. Getting lost in the maze of narrow streets lined with local businesses is a pure treat.

Admire the architecture, which is a fascinating mix of medieval and baroque styled-buildings.

Photograph the monumental facade of Basilica Cattedrale di Maria Santissima Assunta or step inside for a guided tour of this significant cathedral.

Grotte della Poesia

Escape the busy city and drop by the astonishing Grotte della Poesia. The majestic caves surrounded by crystal-clear, turquoise water make for a marvelous view. Take a break from driving at the nearby sandy beach.

As this is one of the main attractions in the region, do not get fooled by the photos that might make the cave seem like a secluded spot. Expect crowds, especially during the weekends.

Castro

Find out why Castro is called the “pearl of the Salento” as you head inside the sweet town. Stroll along the vibrant Castro Marina, feel the Adriatic breeze as you observe the traditional fishing boats.

There are countless secluded coves and caves in the area and the best way to see them is during a boat tour directly from the marina.

Castro isn’t a major tourist hotspot and finding an empty parking spot along the streets shouldn’t be a challenge.

Marevivo- The best seafood in Castro

As Castro is a village known for fishing, indulge in the fresh local seafood at one of the town’s restaurants. Head for lunch at Marevivo, one of the best eateries in the area. A wide selection of fish and other seafood awaits!

Torre Sant’Andera

The Lecce province is home to some paradise-like beaches and dramatic coastlines. Torre Sant’Andera is most definitely worth a stop.

The picturesque spot offers unbeatable views of unique rock formations surrounded by crystal-clear water. The nearby beach is perfect for a swim, though Rentalmoose recommends going in the morning to avoid crowds.

Next: Bari, 1 hour 40 minutes

Drop-off

For maximum convenience, Rentalmoose recommends dropping off your car directly at the Bari Karol Wojtyła Airport before leaving. Rental companies that support airport drop-off can be found via Rentalmoose.

Don’t have a car you can take on one of the best road trips in Italy? No problem!

Don’t forget to book your rental car via Rentalmoose for your next Italy road trips. On our platform, you can find the top rental companies at the best price, along with tens of curated travel guides around the globe. Get your car from Rentalmoose!

We plant a tree for every booking made with our platform.

Post your pictures from your next South of Italy road trips online using #Rentalmoose! Our favorite ones will be featured in the upcoming blog posts.

lecce large seaside cliff with round opening and traditional italian tower and fields during sunset. See it during a Southern Italy road trip

Photography by Gianni Crestani.

blue crystal lago di garda lake in italy next to large mountains green fields and small town on a clear summer day

The Ultimate North of Italy Road Trip Itinerary

Weekend Getaway Through Northern Italy. Explore the best of it with our North of Italy Road Trip Itinerary.

Click here for detailed directions

Summary (click the red pins for directions) :

Milan to Lake Como– 51km (32 miles) – 1.7 EUR highway toll đź“Ť

Lake Como to Bergamo– 62km (39 miles) đź“Ť

Bergamo to Lago di Garda– 92km (57 miles)- 5.7 EUR đź“Ť

Lago di Garda to Verona– 73km (45 miles), 2.2 EUR đź“Ť

Verona to Venice– 116km (73 miles), 8.8 EUR đź“Ť

360km (224 miles) in total

Tags: Travel guide, Italy, Drop-off at another location, South of Europe, Lombardy

 This travel guide takes you on a 360 km Italian road trip starting in Milan, the fashion capital of the world, through picturesque regions of Lombardy to the Garda Lake continuing to Verona before finishing in Venice.

 The road trip itinerary is divided into short sectors roughly an hour of driving each. Dedicate at least two full days to this road trip to have enough time to discover every point along the way.

Planning- Before You Leave

Before setting off on your road trip in Italy, take a look at some of the essential information listed below.

Why should I rent a car in Italy?

Italy is perfect to be discovered by a rental car, the country has moderate traffic outside cities and getting around by car is a lot more convenient than using trains or buses. Italy is perfect for a European road trip!

 Your rental car can be picked up from different spots in Milan, such as the Milan Malpensa Airport, Milan Bergamo Airport, or the Milano Centrale Railway Station. Browse through available options on Rentalmoose.

 When booking your rental car, do not forget to add excess coverage provided by Rentalmoose for extra protection. 

After picking up the car, be sure to take check-in photos of the vehicle and qualify for a 50% discount from the excess cover fee.

Rental Moose mascot standing next to traditional italian home in italy. See the best places to see in Italy with rentalmoose

Can tourists drive in Italy?

You need an international driving permit to drive in Italy unless you are an EU-citizen. These can easily be obtained in your local country and are mandatory for non-EU driver licenses when driving in Italy. For more information on International Driving Permits, click here.

Driving in Italy for the first time might be quite a hectic experience. Getting around large cities is chaotic and driving around tight cobblestone streets can be a nightmare.

On top of all this, the locals don’t really seem to be following the speed limits.

Speeding is common among drivers in Italy. Once you get caught, you will probably realize it was not worth it. Tourists in Italy have to pay the fine on the spot to the police and can additionally be charged by the car rental company.

Going up to 21km/h over the limit on the highway will cost you around 150 Euros, while breaking a “no-parking” rule will cost you around 80 Euros.

Traffic in Italy is on the right-hand side.

Road Trip Extensions

Travelers willing to explore Italy further can head south to Tuscany and the coastal southern tip of the country, extending their Italian road trip. Check out the Rentalmoose guides to Tuscany as well as the Sunny South of Italy and plan your great Italian road trip!

You can also experience a total change of scenery and head north into Switzerland. Drive across alpine mountain passes, ski in the world’s most luxurious resorts and explore the absolute best of the Swiss Alps. Click here for the guide.

@rentalmoose

A 20-second travel guide: Northern Italy by car. Check out my profile for more trip ideas ##tiktoktravel ##travelguide ##traveltip ##italy ##roadtrip

♬ original sound – ocean_magazine

The Toll System in Italy

 Keep in mind that highways in Italy are not free. The total cost of tolls for this trip does not exceed 20 Euros. You can find all paid highway sections in the country here.

 Fees can be covered by cash and credit card directly at the highway entrance, or using a prepaid Viacard that can be purchased at gas stations and roadside shops.

When is the best time to visit Italy?

The perfect time to visit this part of Italy is spring (from late March until early June) and fall (September to November). As the peak of the tourist season is in the summer, most places will be too crowded for enjoyable sightseeing.

If you want to go for a swim in Garda Lake while avoiding massive crowds, I recommend going in late May just before the summer starts.

Now that you’re all set, let’s dive into your Italy road trip itinerary!

Milan

duomo di milano milan cathedral illuminated at night italy

Milan Cathedral at night. Photo by Cococc/Pixabay.

The adventure begins in the fashion capital of the world, Milan. Pick up your rental car directly at the airport and head into this fascinating city. 

What to see in Milan?

Piazza del Duomo and Milan Cathedral

Don’t forget to visit the Piazza del Duomo right in the heart of the city. You can park your car just beside the square and take a short stroll to the Milan Cathedral

 Admire the beautiful facade or step inside for just 3 EUR per person [buy tickets here]. 

Grand Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II

 Directly next to the Cathedral, you will see the Grand Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II. If you are a fan of luxury shopping, this Gallery is the perfect place for you.

 Head into one of the numerous cafes and restaurants in the area. I personally recommend Signorvino, offering delicious pizza, cheese boards, and a perfect view of the Cathedral [Click here for the menu].

Next on your Italy road trip: Lake Como, 1 hour, 1.7 EUR highway toll

Lake Como

traditional medieval italian hillside village overlooking lake como blue water surrounded by mountains on a clear day

Lake Como. Photo from Pixabay

 Take the A9 up to Como, a magnificent lake surrounded by the Dolomites. The area offers truly breathtaking landscapes, it is regarded as the most beautiful place in all of Lombardy. 

What is worth visiting in Lake Como?

Enjoy the panoramic views from ground level in the cute town of Como, or take the Funicolare train up the mountain to Brunate and enjoy the scenery from above. 

 A return ticket costs just 6.7 Euros per person and can be purchased at the ticket booth directly before boarding the train. 

Art enthusiasts can enjoy an exhibition in Villa Olmo, an impressive palace built in the late 1700s. Visitors can check out various exhibitions or admire the monumental architecture. This venue also features green gardens surrounding the villa that can be visited free of charge.

Al Veluu- Fine Dining by Lake Como

If you are looking for a very sophisticated culinary experience be sure to visit Al Veluu, a fine-dining restaurant just a short drive up the mountain west of Como. Signature dishes include fresh lake fish, juicy mountain cuts and incredible tiramisu. Take a look at the menu here.

Al Veluu also has luxury suites if you wish to spend the night near the lake.

Next on your Italy road trip: Bergamo, 1 hour 30 minutes

Bergamo

bergamo citta alta historical italian town traditional architecture and medieval church on a clear day

Bergamo’s città alta. Photograph from Pixabay

How to get to Bergamo?

Whilst the fastest way to Bergamo is the A9/E64 highway which passes through Milan, there is a much more interesting route. It’s a minor detour that will extend the trip time by just 20 minutes, though during the drive you will be able to experience the less-touristy side of Lombardy. 

Take the SP342 directly from Como and follow it all the way through to the city of Bergamo. Along the way, you will pass through plentiful cozy villages filled with authentic trattorias and cafes undiscovered by tourists. 

If you choose to take the faster route instead, there is an extra cost in the highway toll (4.50 Euros). 

Armani Designer Outlet

Shopping freaks can take a small detour south of Como and visit the Armani designer outlet. Inside, you will find a wide selection of clothes and accessories from previous seasons. Some of the items are discounted up to 80% off the regular price!

What should you see in Bergamo?

The city of Bergamo is truly fascinating. Its incredibly rich history is reflected especially in CittĂ  Alta, the old part of town.

Visiting the Palazzo Della Ragione and Santa Maria Maggiore is essentially a must. Città Alta’s are lined with many local shops, trattorias (a casual type of restaurant), and gelaterias (ice cream shops).

This part of Bergamo is best explored on foot, you can park your car practically anywhere along Viale Delle Mura. Parking spots that are marked using blue paint have to be paid at the nearest meter, while spaces marked in white are free of charge.

Pay a visit to Piazza Vecchia, the vibrant heart of Bergamo. A portion of ice cream from CaffĂ© del Tasso is a must, as it is considered to be the best gelateria in town. It is one of the oldest cafes in all of Bergamo, it opened back in 1476! Once you’re there, make sure to post it on social media using hashtags #rentalmoose and #caffedeltasso. 

Next: Lago di Garda, 1 hour 20 minutes 5.7 EUR highway toll

Lago di Garda

Yellow, traditional italian buildings and a small piazza in Sirmione right by the crystal-clear Lago di Garda. See the best parts of northern italy with our italy road trip itinerary.

Garda Lake seen from Sirmione

 Lago di Garda is the biggest and cleanest lake in all of Italy, it is the country’s hotspot for family attractions and watersports. Some of the places worth visiting in Lake Garda include secluded beaches, Gardaland and the town of Sirmione. It’s a must on any road trip in Italy.

Sirmione

 The town of Sirmione is just off the E70 highway. Follow Viale Guglielmo Marconi all the way until you reach the castle, then turn left and leave the car at the carpark

 The historical part of town can only be accessed on foot. The 13th-century Scaligero Castle acts as the gate to Sirmione, and can be explored inside and out. 

 You can climb its tower and enjoy panoramic views of the lake from a higher point. Admission tickets to Scaligero Castle start at 5 Euros per person.

Where to stay in Sirmione?

Continue further into the town where you will find chic cafes and hotels. I recommend staying at Hotel Sirmione right in the very center of the town. Rooms start at 150 Euros per night, though there are frequent discounts. 


Beautiful green flowers and plants in front of crystal-clear Lago di Garda lake in north of italy. See the best parts of italy on our italy road trip itinerary.

What are other attractions in Lago di Garda?

 Thrill-seekers and families can spend a day at Gardaland, a theme park filled with rides for all ages, an aquarium and an upcoming Legoland water park (opening in 2020). Located on the south-west side of the lake, Gardaland is open all year round. 

An entry ticket to the theme park costs 25 euros per person (and 16 euros for the aquarium), which is a good deal compared to other parks in Europe such as Disneyland or Europa Park. 

 The park often offers discounts during the off-peak season, so you can score entry tickets for an even better price.

 If you are looking for a more relaxing way to spend your time in Lake Garda, consider going for a swim in Aquaria Thermal Spa, located within the town of Sirmione. 

 This spa and wellness complex is open daily and features thermal pools, saunas and a variety of massages and treatments. Entry tickets start at 39 EUR per person and can be purchased here.

Garda Lake is famous for its crystal clear water and a number of beaches. There are many to choose from but I strongly recommend heading to Parco Baia Delle Sirene

 It is a rather quiet beach in the eastern part of the lake, perfect for a swim or sunbathing. Admission starts at 6 Euros after 3 PM, click here for details on pricing.

Next on your Italy road trip: Verona, 50 minutes 2.2 EUR highway toll

Verona

verona traditional historical town medieval stone buildings and bridge over adige river at sunset in italy. See Verona on an italy road trip

Verona’s Adige River. Photo by Henrique Ferreira via Unsplash.

 Verona is the second biggest city in the Veneto region of Italy and definitely shouldn’t be missed on any Italian road trip. 

Driving around the central area of Verona can be a nightmare because of its tight one-way roads, lack of parking spaces and the overall amount of cars, so consider leaving the car at the outdoor car park in Piazza Cittadella and strolling around the area instead.

What to see in Verona?

Arena di Verona

 Arena di Verona, the city’s main historical attraction, is just a 5-minute walk from the carpark. The monumental colosseum is just as spectacular as the one in Rome, constructed back in 30AD. 

 You can walk inside the arena, where many public gatherings and events have been held for thousands of years. Check the official website for events during your visit.

Ponte di Castelvecchio

 Continue to stroll through the city center until you reach Ponte di Castelvecchio, another true landmark in Verona. Situated on top of River Adige, this spectacular bridge is a part of Castelvecchio.

The bridge and castle date back to the 13th century and can act as a stunning backdrop for your photos. Step inside the castle which has been turned into a museum for just 6 Euros per person, tickets can be bought directly at the entrance.

ponte di castelvecchio red stone bridge over adige river on a clear sunny day in verona italy. See it on an Italy road trip

Ponte di Castelvecchio. Photography by Paul Arps from Flickr.com

Juliet’s House

 As you keep walking East of the castle, you will find yourself next to Juliet’s house. It was believed to be the house of Juliet from William Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet”.

 Although lots of people find this attraction overrated, along with proof that this was in fact not the real house of Juliet, it remains one of Verona’s landmarks that’s worth at least a quick peek.

Where is the best pizza in Verona?

This leg of the trip wouldn’t be complete without trying real, Italian pizza. Where can you find the best pizza in Verona? I recommend going to Pizzeria Tutti Gusti, hands-down one of the best pizzerias in town.

Have you been there? Be sure to let us know in the comments if you agree with us. [Click here for the menu]

Next on your Italy road trip: Venice, 1 hour 20 minutes 8.8 EUR highway toll

Venice

venice empty grand canal surrounded by colorful traditional buildings and parked boats italy


Getting to Venice

 The last leg of this road trip is a 120km drive from Verona to Venice via the A4 highway. There are massive multi-story car parks right by the entrance to the city, so don’t worry about finding a spot.

A parking spot costs 21 euros per day, with lower rates for the short-term. Detailed rates can be found here. You can then get to the city by the waterbus (2nd line), they’re available right by the carparks. 

 Get off at the first stop right in front of the Ponte della Constituzione bridge. Cross the bridge and enter the magnificent town. You can then head towards Ponte Degli Scalzi and continue exploring on foot.

What are the best attractions in Venice?

Rialto Bridge

 A sight not to be missed is the Rialto bridge. It is one of the most recognizable spots in Venice, and is filled with tourists. 

 The area surrounding the bridge is packed with all kinds of restaurants, cafes, and shops, where one can find anything from high-end clothes to traditional handmade masks. 

The number of people can be overwhelming and in my opinion, Ponte di Rialto is best when admired from a distance, therefore I recommend heading down to Al Buso

 Directly next to the bridge, this restaurant will prepare a delicious Italian meal with a view of the bridge and Canal Grand.

St Mark’s Basilica and St Mark’s Square

 St Mark’s Basilica and St Mark’s Square are the most visited attractions in Venice, and one of the most popular tourist hotspots in all of Italy. 

 Known for its breath-taking architecture, Saint Mark’s Basilica is situated within Saint Mark’s Square. The Basilica has been a landmark in Venice ever since its opening back in 1094. 

 Don’t get discouraged by the queues waiting to enter the church, as visiting the interior is absolutely worth it.

 You can purchase entry tickets online [Purchase tickets], skip the queue and walk right in for just 3 Euros per person. 

 Skip the line service is available only during the highest peak season from April till November, as during other months the queues are much shorter.

La Biennale di Venezia

Art enthusiasts should definitely visit La Biennale di Venezia. The venue hosts different exhibitions during the year, including art and architecture exhibitions, film and dance festivals and theatre shows. Tickets for various events by Biennale can be purchased here.

What are the best hotels in Venice?

 Venice has all sorts of luxury, boutique, or budget hotels available throughout the islands. If you are looking for the absolute best of Venice’s luxury experience, Hotel Belmond Cipriani is the hotel of your dreams. 

Definitely the best place to stay in Venice, this 5-star hotel offers luxury accommodation, a great location and gourmet dining.

If you are traveling on a tighter budget, consider staying at the B&B Bloom Settimo Cielo. Located within walking distance of the Rialto Bridge, the highlights of this cozy hotel are beautiful interior decor and a very good location, just a 10-minute walk away from Saint Mark’s Square [Book a room here].

Travelers who wish to stay at the beach can take the Vaporetto Water Bus to Lido island directly from Venice. Le Ville del Lido is a cozy, affordable hotel just across the street from the beach. The hotel features an outdoor pool, classic decor and a beautiful garden. 

traditional colorful handmade carnival masks on display in local store in venice italy

Drop-off

Your rental car can be dropped off directly at the airport for maximum convenience. Browse through available options on Rentalmoose.

Don’t have a car you can take on one of the best road trips in Italy? No problem!

Don’t forget to book your rental car via Rentalmoose for your next Italy road trips. On our platform, you can find the top rental companies at the best price, along with tens of curated travel guides around the globe. Get your car from Rentalmoose!

We plant a tree for every booking made with our platform.

Post your pictures from your next Italy road trips online using #Rentalmoose! Our favorite ones will be featured in the upcoming blog posts.

Weekend Getaway- Northern Italy Road Trip Itinerary

The North Italian weekend getaway (with a little bit of Switzerland). Check out this Northern Italy road trip itinerary!

Tags: Travel guide, road trip, drop-off at another location, Italy, Switzerland, travel by car

I know that sometimes you wonder where to travel for a weekend getaway and you don’t come up with something amazing that excites you enough to open your laptop immediately to purchase your flight tickets.  

Click here for detailed directions

Summary (Click the red pins for directions):

Milan to Lake Como- 50 kilometers (30 miles) 1.7 EUR (highway tolls) đź“Ť

Lake Como to Saint Moritz- 145 kilometers (90 miles) đź“Ť

Saint Moritz to Limone Sul Garda- 280 kilometers (175 miles) đź“Ť

Limone Sul Garda to Verona- 100 kilometers (60 miles) 4 EURđź“Ť

Verona to Venice- 115 kilometers (70 miles) 8.8 EUR đź“Ť

690 kilometers/430 miles in total

I am a travel freak and always looking for something that excites me and could possibly give me memorable experiences for a lifetime. We all work hard to pay our pills but there really should be more joyful times when we enjoy our lives to the fullest. 

As nature is in my heart, I thought about seeing different landscapes and views where my eyes could rest and where I can get inspiration to continue working hard to achieve my goals. So this post is for travel enthusiasts who are into active traveling.

For my weekend motivation road trip, I visited classical lake Como which has beautiful Italian architecture and an old town on the riverside of the lake. After that, the road trip took me to Switzerland to visit the historical village of Saint Moritz, which is one of the most popular winter ski resorts in the World. Those views towards alps are stunning there.

The next stop was at the breathtakingly beautiful lake Garda, back in Italy. And then I was off to my last destination – Venice – with a little stopover in Verona. 

Planning- Before You Go

Before you set off on your road trip in Italy, take a look at the basic information below.

How long does it take to complete this road trip?

The driving duration of this Italian road trip is around 14 hours so the minimum program should be 3-4 days, ideal for a weekend getaway.

When is the best time to visit the North of Italy?

The best time for this Italian road trip is from May to October (with summer months being the high season – meaning more crowds, higher prices, and longer waiting time everywhere). 

Depending on the season, please be aware that it can be cold and even some snow on the mountains when traveling off-season.

Keep that in mind when choosing a car. You’ll find the perfect options for every season on Rentalmoose.

Trip extensions to Switzerland and other parts of Italy

Extend your road trip further with two road trip extensions recommended by Rentalmoose.

Swiss Alps

When you’re in Lake Como, you can head north to Lugano and then continue exploring the scenic Swiss Alps. Spend a night in Andermatt, see the top of Europe near Interlaken and wander the streets of Geneva. Click here for the guide.

Tuscany

If you’d rather see more of Italy, head south to the magical city of Florence. Drive around the vineyards, visit forgotten medieval castles and see “The Medieval Manhattan of Italy”. Check out this guide to help you plan your next Italian road trip.

Alternative Route

On top of road trip extensions, Rentalmoose suggests an alternative route for this road trip. Whether you’ve already been to this part of Italy or would rather not go to Switzerland during this trip, check out this travel guide for an alternative road trip route between Milan and Venice.

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Can tourists drive in Italy?

Absolutely! However, you will need an international driving permit to drive in Italy unless you are an EU-citizen. These can easily be obtained in your local country and are mandatory for non-EU driver licenses when driving in Italy. For more information on International Driving Permits, click here.

Driving in Italy for the first time might be quite a hectic experience. Getting around large cities is chaotic and driving around tight cobblestone streets can be a nightmare. On top of all this, the locals don’t really seem to be following the speed limits.

Speeding is common among drivers in Italy. Once you get caught, you will probably realize it was not worth it. Tourists in Italy have to pay the fine on the spot to the police and can additionally be charged by the car rental company.

Going up to 21km/h over the limit on the highway will cost you around 150 Euros, while breaking a “no-parking” rule will cost you around 80 Euros.

Traffic in Italy is on the right-hand side.

To avoid any future misunderstandings, don’t forget to use the Rentalmoose app to take photos of the condition of the car when receiving it and before starting your journey to qualify for a 50% rebate from the excess coverage fee. 

What are you waiting for? Let’s dive into this fascinating Italian road trip.

Milan

milan Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, famous tourist site at piazza duomo. Grand architecture and glass ceiling hosts luxury boutiques and is one of the highlights of milano. see it on an Italy road trip

The Galleria next to Milan Duomo 

The starting point of this Italy road trip is the city of Milan

Flying to Milan

Milan has 3 big airports – Malpensa, Linate and Bergamo. All of the airports are more or less about a 1-hour drive from the next location on your North Italian road trip – lake Como. 

During high season in Summer there might be a lot of traffic around the city center and parking can be hard to find.

How to find a rental car in Milan?

For rental car options, have a look at Rentalmoose.com which offers you the best prices for car rentals from the most well-known car rental companies. 

Keep in mind that when you are seeing that car rental companies are offering really low prices online then there might be some risk for you – either high deposit or hidden fees. There is no such issue when booking through Rentalmoose. 

With the Rentalmoose app, you can take pictures of your car’s visual condition (scratches) and when returning you have proof of your car condition which means lower risk for you and a better car renting experience. 

To avoid any misunderstandings, use the Rentalmoose app to take photos before starting your journey and to qualify for a 50% rebate from excess coverage.

Pick a suitable car that you feel like driving with. When you want to enjoy the summer breeze then opt for a convertible or when you are going with more than two people then a sedan or an SUV is a better choice. 

Add your criteria at Rentalmoose and you’ll see the most suitable car options for your Italy road trip.

Parking your rental car in Milan

When visiting Milan, Rentalmoose suggests parking the car outside the center and using public transport to go and see the Milan Duomo and the beautiful Galleria next to it, and if you are not the one driving – enjoy an Aperol Spritz at one of the cafes around here.

Milan is in the other direction from lake Como so your driving time will be longer. 

Are you looking for the best attractions in Milan?

Looking for the best things to do in Milan? Wondering where you can eat the best pizza in town? Check out this travel guide to see Rentalmoose’s favorite spots in Milan!

Next: Lake Como, 40 minutes

Lake Como

villa d'este restaurant. View the villa's beautiful garden while dining in the terrace. Empty, decorated tables, windows lined with purple flowers and park with tourist on bench.

Hotel Villa d’Este in lake Como 

The first leg of your Italy road trip is a casual 1-hour drive north towards the border with Switzerland. 

What should you see in Lake Como?

When arriving to lake Como, enjoy the stunning view and take a walk in the old town and riverside. 

Villa d’Este

A very nice place to visit in the area is Villa d’Este. Maybe treat yourself to a drink and a dessert in their lovely restaurant with the most amazing view to the lake and mountains. And if you have more time – take a ferry to Bellagio. A true fairytale city.

Looking for more attractions in Lake Como? Check out this travel guide!

Fox Town Factory Stores

Now, if you want to go shopping then Como is not the best spot as it’s a small town and it doesn’t have too many boutiques around. But close-by is an outlet called Fox Town Factory Stores where you can purchase designer goods and save some euros. 

They have the most well-known brands and it’s good to check out their discounts when going there. Fox Town is located in Switzerland, just across the Italian border, about half an hour’s drive from the center of Como 

Detour- visit Lake Lugano

Before you set off to Saint Moritz, consider heading up north for around 30 minutes until you reach the picturesque Lake Lugano in Switzerland. Click here to discover the best things to do in Lugano.

Next: Saint Moritz, 3 hours

Saint Moritz

badrutt's palace hotel building seen at night during wintertime. the hotel's classical architecture, castle style and famous tower. Be sure to see it on an Italy road trip

Badrutt’s Palace in Saint Moritz

Are you ready to visit one of the oldest and most iconic ski resort areas in the whole world? When driving from Como to Saint Moritz you will see amazing views on the way. 

Feel free to stop to breathe the fresh air and take a few photos of mind-blowing views. Remember to post your photos online using #Rentalmoose for a chance to win a free rental car!

Also, be very careful when driving the curvy mountain roads. 

Saint Moritz is a popular Winter destination but there is plenty to do during the summer season as well. But keep in mind that the climate is a bit cool, even during the summer. 

What can you do in St. Moritz during the summer?

Mountain Biking

For those who like biking or want to have an adrenaline rush, mountain bikers can use the cable car to reach the Piz Nair mountain station at 3,056 meters above sea level. The views are breathtaking and the trails are as varied as the wonderful natural environment itself. Read more here about why you should experience mountain biking. 

Relax in a spa

After getting dirty on the bike, there is nothing better to do than going to the sauna and relaxing in the spa. This is another thing that St Moritz is famous for. 

Most of the hotels have spas here. Most legendary hotels here are Badrutt’s Palace, Kulm hotel, and Grand Hotel des Bains Kempinski. Good thing is that summer is the low season in the resort so you can get better hotel deals this time!

La Restaurant

Badrutt’s Palace is in the heart of the village. It’s dating back to 1898, being one of the first hotels which had electricity and in 1913 they built the first indoor tennis court in Europe. 

Instead of an indoor tennis court, it is now home to the Le Restaurant dining room. So if you want to experience something extraordinary then book a table in Le Restaurant in advance. 

They do have an outdoor tennis court within the hotel though so you don’t have to miss the game. 

Chesa Veglia

A bit of a more casual place to eat in Saint Moritz is Chesa Veglia – located in a gorgeous and authentic Engadine farmhouse, converted almost a century ago into the Badrutt’s Palace Hotel. The hotel is situated just 350 meters from the lake. 

Kempinski, on the other hand, is just in front of the lake where during the wintertime the famous St Moritz Snow Polo takes place. 

Rentalmoose insider tip: When in search of cheaper hotels for your budget, look for the ones out of the center –  the prices are cheaper yet they are still a short drive away from the village. 

Next: Limone Sul Garda, 5 hours through Paseo Stelvio

Limone Sul Garda

beautiful natural beauty near garda lake. Limone Sul Garda, small town in northern part of lago di garda. Large rocky hill seen from the lake's surface, trail from boat on the lake and clouds in distance.

Photography by Tommy Rau

Stelvio Pass

Before continuing the Italian road trip, make sure you choose a route that goes to Limone via the Stelvio Pass. It will be a longer route but – this road has been rated as one of the world’s greatest driving roads by Top Gear. 

In fact, Stelvio Pass has landed on our list of the top 10 best driving roads in Europe. Check out the rest of them!

Check out this Top Gear video where they are driving through it and let them give you a taste of the feeling what you are about to get from this road trip.

And our road trip has brought us back to Italy, on the way to another great lakeside destination – Lago di Garda – the biggest lake in Italy which is known for its crystal clear water. Our stop here is in Limone Sul Garda. 

Limone Sul Garda

Limone is a very tiny but gorgeous village. It’s the perfect place for a little stop, walk around in the village and in the promenade to enjoy the cute old houses and all the flowers – there are so many vibrant, colorful flowers everywhere! Walk until the harbor and then treat yourself to a delicious gelato – famous Italian ice cream. 

Lunch recommendations

A good feast awaits you at the Vecchia Malcesine restaurant. And for a simpler lunch go to Ristorante Gemma

See more of Lago di Garda

Have you fallen in love with this beautiful crystal-clear lake? Check out this travel guide and add a slight detour to your Italy road trip. Visit the southern tip of the lake, stay in the town of Sirmione, or ride one of the thrilling rollercoasters in Gardaland.

Where to stay in Limone Sul Garda?

For the real Italian vibe, stay at the Splendid Palace hotel or Hotel Castell – both of them have marvelous views of the lake. 

If you prefer more modern accommodation, look no further than Park Hotel Imperial

Once you’ve spent enough time at the crystal-clear Garda Lake, the next leg of your Italy road trip is a 90-minute drive to Verona!

Next: Verona, 1 hour 30 minutes

Verona

arena di verona, large colosseum is the main attraction in verona, italy. Seen on a cloudy day, tourists in the distance and old column in front of the arena. Be sure to see it on an Italy road trip

Arena di Verona 

Let’s continue to drive towards the final stop on your road trip in Italy – Venice. 

Grand Hotel a Villa Feltrinelli

But first: about a half an hour drive to the South on the lakeshore there is one of the best restaurants and hotels in the Garda area (if not in the World…) – Grand Hotel a Villa Feltrinelli

It is very private and as a tourist almost impossible to find – there are even no signs on the streets. If not planning to spend the night there you can go to their restaurant also. This place comes with a price tag, it is expensive. But the food is oh so divine! 

Villa Feltrinelli appears unchanged since 1892, yet it’s always different. This will be a once in a lifetime experience! 

Sirmione

If Villa Feltrinelli doesn’t suit your travel budget then drive until Sirmione. This is another beautiful location on Garda lake. And it’s literally in Lake Garda as Sirmione is on the top of a peninsula. Don’t forget to see their amazing castle, Scaliger.

Lunch recommendations

Go to restaurant La Rucola 2.0 or La Speranzina if you are ready to pay more for your fabulous meal or go to Trattoria Clementina where you can find great food for a reasonable price. 

After you have discovered Sirmione, hop in the car and drive to Verona. Name sounds familiar?

Probably because this is the city where the world’s best-known love story came from. Oh yes, the place of Romeo and Juliet! 

What should you see in Verona?

Casa di Giulietta

Go visit the Casa di Giulietta – a 14th-century residence with a small Juliet’s balcony and if you are together with your loved one then write your names on the wall as thousands of loved ones have done before you. 

Arena di Verona

Another must-see place is Arena di Verona. The Verona Arena is a huge 1st-century Roman amphitheater, which currently hosts concerts and large-scale opera performances. So check their program, maybe you can see some event there. I was lucky to witness Andrea Bocelli himself singing there.

After an afternoon in Verona, a pleasant 90-minute drive will take you to the final stop on your Italy road trip! 

Next: Venice, 1 hour 30 minutes

Venice

gritti palace terrace restaurant, outdoor dining with a view of canal grande. Sunny day, no tourists and canal full of boats. Be sure to see it on an Italy road trip

View from the Gritti Palace Terrace in Venice

You’ve reached beautiful Venice, a really unique city that is built on the islands and belongs to the UNESCO World Heritage Site.  It is built on more than 100 small islands in a lagoon in the Adriatic Sea. It has no roads, just canals. 

What can’t you miss in Venice?

The places to see in Venice are its Grand Canal and Piazza San Marco. Of course, you have to go on a gondola ride while there! You can also go shopping as most fashion brands are represented in Venice and many Italian ones make special collections that are only possible to buy in this city!

Where to stay in Venice?

The most famous hotels in Venice are Hotel Danieli (Legendary The Tourist with Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp was filmed there), The Gritti Palace, Aman hotel and Belmond Hotel Cipriani. 

Of course, all of those come at a price (possible to get a better price when traveling off-season!).  A good hotel recommendation with a reasonable price would be Hotel Ai Due Principi

Lunch recommendations

For the best pasta go to The Gritti Palace Terrace – the view from there is jaw-dropping! Be sure to visit Harry’s Table, a soon-to-be-open restaurant that belongs to Cipriani.

Looking for more fun things to do in Venice? Check out this travel guide!

Drop-off

Rentalmoose insider tip: drop off your rental car in Venice because the traffic in Venice is by gondolas anyway and this way you’d skip high parking fees. Catch Italia Rail fast train that takes you directly to Malpensa airport in 4h 5 mins from Venice. 

If you still choose to park your car at the port for the time you enjoy Venice and drive back to Milan, then a pit stop recommendation would be Bergamo (or maybe your flight departs from Bergamo airport anyway?). If you happen to be foodie then Michelin 3* restaurant Da Vittorio in Bergamo is a must. In this case, drop off your rental car at Milan Bergamo airport. 

Don’t have a car you can take on a road trip? No problem!

Don’t forget to book your rental car via Rentalmoose for your next adventure. On our platform, you can find the top rental companies at the best price, along with tens of curated travel guides around the globe. Get your car from Rentalmoose!

We plant a tree for every booking made with our platform.

Post your pictures from your next road trip online using #Rentalmoose! Our favorite ones will be featured in the upcoming blog posts.

See the detailed Venice parking information here.  

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