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6 Scenic Drives for Your Italian Road Trip

Italy is quite possibly the perfect country for a road trip. When looking out of the window, visitors are met with an exhilarating mixture of landscapes, encompassing mountains, lakes, coastlines, and islands. These vistas are studded with villages, towns, and cities that provide a worthwhile stop for cafes, food, or overnight stay. America Domani has compiled a list of 6 scenic Italian routes you need to include on your next “Vacanza Italiana”: 

Amalfi Drive

(Photo Credit: Dream of Italy)

Known as the Costiera Amalfitana or Amalfi Drive, the SS163 may not be for the faint of heart. This narrow roadway has been cut into the rock in some places so it precipitously meanders along the coast overlooking the Tyrrhenian Sea. The road begins at Piano di Sorrento and ends in Vietri Sul Mare making it just 50 km long. While this rough road could be driven in 90 minutes, there are several roads to take you into the Lattari Mountains. Beautiful stops along the way (or to stay the night) are Sorrento, Positano, Praiano, and Amalfi. If you want to drive into the mountains then Ravello, Tramonti, Furore, and Agerola are all wonderful villages to visit. The whole Amalfi Coast is a UNESCO heritage site.

The Great Dolomites Road

(Photo Credit: Italy Magazine)

If you’re looking for a trip that you can really get your teeth into, then the Great Dolomites Road or “Grande Strada Delle Dolomiti”, may be the one for you. While there are other roads that run through this UNESCO-listed Dolomites mountain range, this is the most famous. It runs from Bolzano to Cortina d’Ampezzo. At the beginning of this road, you can see the impressive Catinaccio massif formation and the stunning Lago di Carezza. At both Passo Pordoi and Rifugio Lagazuoi you can take cable cars for even better views of the Dolomites. Rifugio Lagazuoi also has preserved tunnels and trenches from WWI.

The Lake Region of Italy

(Photo Credit: | Boris Stroujko via Shutterstock)

The North of Italy is home to three of its biggest lakes - Lake Garda, Lake Maggiore, and Lake Como. They all have roads wrapped around them which allow you to take in a view of the water for much of the journey. A small section of Lake Maggiore and Lake Lugano is in Switzerland if you fancy a cross-border trip. In Garda, highlights include Sirmione, Malcesine, Limone and Riva del Garda. In Como, visitors flock to Bellagio, Varenna, Como and Cernobbio. In Maggiore, you can take a boat to the Borromean Islands and tour the old villas that surround them.

Tuscan Road Trip

(Photo Credit: Tomtom)

Rome and Florence are two of Italy’s most famous cities and the drive between them is the ideal opportunity to take in much of Tuscany, from its vineyards to its art and architecture. There are many worthwhile detours to take on this trip, some of the best are Monte San Savino, Sinalunga, and Cortona. Take the coastal road of E80 or the SR2 to cut through the Tuscan heartland. If you wanted to extend the journey, even more, you could see the more famous towns of Siena and Pisa on the way. Wherever you go, this drive will be enough to convince you why tourists love Tuscany!

Discover the Southern Adriatic Coast

Puglia is the region that encompasses the ‘heel’ of this boot-shaped country. It has roads that traverse much of the coastline so that visitors can drive in a loop to take in the entire peninsula. On one side you can take in the Adriatic Sea and on the other, you will be rewarded with views of the Ionian Sea. Many of the highlights are on the Eastern side, so you may want to spend more time there. Bari is a great city to start from and from there some of the best towns to stop at are Ostuni, Alberobello, Monopoli, Trani, Lecce, Gallipoli, Vieste, and Mattinata beach. 

The Sicily Loop

Sicily has three roads - SS113, SS114, and SS115 - that hug most of its coastline and its main towns and cities are all located by the sea. The capital city of Palermo provides a great jumping-off point and it’s a picturesque location in itself. The coastal town of Cefalù near Palermo even has several UNESCO-listed monuments, including cathedrals and palaces. Other great locations on the sea include San Vito lo capo, Marzamemi and Taormina, nicknamed ‘the Sicilian St Tropez’.

Jennifer Sizeland

Jennifer Sizeland is a freelance writer and assistant producer with 12 years of experience in the media industry. She has written for many publications including the BBC, the Independent, Metro, Manchester Mill, Get Me Giddy, the Media Diversity Institute, Funny Women and her own sustainability blog called Land of Size. She lives in Manchester. and you can follow her on Instagram at @lifeofsize.