Are you looking for an Italian road trip with mountains and lakes that will leave you awestruck?
Cliffs sprinkled with pastel coloured houses overlooking an endless blue ocean?
The rolling green countryside?
An utterly bizarre floating city?
Check, check, check!
An Italian road trip is a ‘once in a lifetime’ experience but if you are feeling overwhelmed and don’t know where to start, you’ve come to the right place.
Here is my Ultimate 16 Day Italian Road Trip.
A tried, tested and perfected itinerary with almost no planning required by you.
Day 1: Bergamo
Fly into Milan and hire a car from the airport.
If it is going to be just two of you I recommend a Fiat 500 – it’s easy to drive, you can nip it into parking spaces and there’s room for your luggage.
Oh and there’s a parcel shelf to dry your hand washed socks on (road trip necessity).
If your flight arrives in the PM, head to Bergamo for a night to re-charge your batteries. The drive will take you around 1 1/2 hours and you can spend the afternoon relaxing, shopping and eating gelato.
If your flight arrives in the AM, you can skip this step and head straight on to Lecco, the perfect base for exploring the Italian Lakes.
Day 2 and 3: Lake Como
After a refreshing night’s sleep, pack up the car and head to Lecco, which should take you about an hour.
From Lecco you can explore Lake Como and the surrounding areas. The scenery in this area is some of the most beautiful on earth; it is breathtaking.
I’d recommend two nights in Lecco. We stayed in a hotel called the NH Lecco Pontevecchio whilst we were there which was perfect and had parking available for our little brum.
Spend your first day exploring Lecco and head to Lake Como early on your second day.
Day 4 and 5: Rapallo
After a couple of days of exploring the Italian Lakes it’s time to head south. The drive from Lecco to Rapallo will take just under 3 hours so get an early start on your way to the coast.
The Italian lakes are STUNNING but boy does the Italian Riviera give them a run for their money!
Book two nights in Rapallo. Spend your first day in the town enjoying sunny promenade walks and a dip in the ocean.
On your second day, it’s time for a mini road trip to Santa Margherita Ligure and then on to Portofino for a spot of lunch and celebrity spotting whilst overlooking the harbour. Two towns you must not miss!
Day 6 and 7: Cinque Terre
You cannot go to the Italian Riveria without visiting the Cinque Terre.
Head to Monterosso al Mare, which will take you approximately an hour from Rapallo. Book a sea front hotel in the New Town and spend your first day relaxing on the beach and enjoying sunset cocktails on the promenade, which is lined with beautiful flowering trees.
On the second day follow my guide ‘How to Day Trip Cinque Terre LIKE A BOSS’.
Day 8: Pisa
The journey to Pisa will take approximately two hours but make sure you detour to Lucca on the way for a spot of lunch – it is a fascinating town with cobbled streets and ancient walls encircling the town centre.
Spend your first afternoon in Pisa exploring the typical touristy sights and enjoying some of the great vegan food spots. Read my blog ‘A Vegan Visit to Northern Italy’ to make sure you don’t miss any.
On your second day, explore the town and pick up lunch from ‘Vegan Come Koala’ before getting on the road mid-afternoon to Florence.
Day 9 and 10: Florence
The journey from Pisa to Florence will take around 1 1/2 hours. We stayed in Hotel Rapallo which was beautiful and in a great location.
Stroll into the city centre that evening for dinner, a glass of wine and a perusal of the street markets.
Spend the next day exploring Florence fully – this beautiful city can be seen in all of its glory from the top of the Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore.
Day 11 and 12: Assisi
It’s time to slow the pace and relax for a couple of days in one of our favourite towns – Assisi.
The drive from Florence to Asissi will take you about 2 1/2 hours, from city to countryside. We stayed in Hotel Ideale which was comfortable, tastefully decorated and had a stunning view of the town.
On your first afternoon explore Assisi town, enjoy dinner in the evening sun and soak up the relaxing atmosphere.
On your second day take a leisurely stroll up the hill to the castle and spend the afternoon re-charging your batteries ready for the long trip to the bizarre and beautiful Venice the following day.
Day 13 and 14: Venice
The journey from Assisi to Venice will take you around 4 1/2 hours so you’ll want an early start. If that’s too long a drive for you and you have an extra day to play with then Ravenna will be a good stop off for you at the half way point.
Venice is completely crazy but somewhere you have to visit at least once in your lifetime.
It’s like being inside a Disney film… everything is fascinating and behind every corner there is something you won’t have seen before – it’s a bizarre and utterly captivating city!
We stayed in Hotel American-Dinesen; a plush boutique hotel, with decor to match the jazziness of Venice! Hotels can be pricey so book as far in advance as you can, along with parking in one of the car parks on the outskirts (no cars are allowed in the city).
Day 15 and 16: Verona
Verona was another of my favourite cities from the trip – it’s got everything from great shopping to historical sights and, most importantly, the best vegan food of the trip. Make sure you read my blog on where to eat whilst you are there.
Verona will be the perfect last stop of your trip and on your way back to Milan airport, which will take around two hours, be sure to stop off at Lake Garda which will will be the icing on your Italian road trip cake.
Before you go, don’t forget to…
- Book your accommodation in advance, especially if you are going in the high season.
- Make sure your accommodation has parking available.
- Read my blog ‘9 Places You MUST Visit in Northern Italy’ – you won’t want to miss any of these beauties!