Stephanie Yoder a RoamRight Blog Author

Great Italian Road Trips

Bologna is the largest city of Emilia-Romagna Region in Italy.

Italy is so much more than just the famous cities that visitors often flock to. While Florence, Rome and Venice are impressive, Italy's small towns, rolling countryside and stunning scenery are best experienced via road trip. The freedom of driving through Italy, with the ability to stop in small towns, wineries or just to snap a picture, is unparalleled.

Italy has many diverse driving possibilities, from winding mountain roads to meandering coastal drives. Here are a few of the most iconic:

Amalfi Coast (SS 163)

The Amalfi Coast is one of Italy's most scenic stretches of coastline. Exploring the area via automobile is quite popular because it gives visitors the chance to stop at the many small towns and beaches that dot the coast. The popular route runs between the towns of Sorrento and Amalfi, passing through Positano, Ravello and other colorful towns. The highway itself is carved into the cliffside, with the side of the road dropping dramatically down into the Tyrrhenian Sea.

The Great Dolomites Road  (SS 48)

The rocky Italian alps, known as the Dolomites, provide a dramatic setting for this popular two-day drive. Made from ancient coral reefs, preserved and pushed upwards, the mountains are jagged with craggy snow-capped peaks. The 110-mile drive is not for novices. It involves many sharp curves and steep gradients, while offering up distracting panoramic view of the mountains. The culture, like the scenery, is unique: once a part of Austria, the locals here speak both German and Italian.

Strada Chiantigiana (SS 22)

The back road through Tuscany is significantly more scenic than the faster, more direct highway that connects Florence and Siena. Picture farms, vineyards and rolling hills occasionally dotted with a medieval bell tower or ancient farmhouse. It's a unique day trip, which you can customize, with stops at local wineries, small towns and local restaurants.

The Gallura Coast (D80)

Non-Italian tourists often overlook the island of Sardinia, but the still mostly undiscovered Gallura Coast has amazing coastal scenery ideal for exploration via car. Gallura is also called the Costa Smeralda – the Emerald Coast, and features granite mountain faces plunging steeply into the Mediterranean sea. You'll pass luxury hotels and resorts as well as untouched slices of wilderness and carefully preserved views.

Via Aurelia (SS 1)

Italy' s oldest highway and one of its most classic drives. This old Roman road was first established in 241 BC. Although it has had a few upgrades since then, the highway follows the original route, leaving Rome and winding along the Italian Riviera all the way to Pisa.

The Salento Peninsula (SS16)

Puglia, the “heel” of Italy, isn't known for its well-maintained roads, but this trip will make the bumps and bruises worthwhile. Starting in Otranto, the road runs along the coastline, passing dramatic limestone cliffs, hidden green inlets and ancient Roman forts. The trip ends at the very tip of the boot, in Santa Maria di Leuca, a delightful beach town with a party atmosphere.

Which Italian road trip do you want to tackle first?

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About the Author

Stephanie Yoder

Stephanie Yoder, a RoamRight Blog Author

Stephanie Yoder is a girl who can't sit still! Since graduating college in 2007 she has either been traveling or planning to travel. She's lived on four continents and visited everywhere from the Great Wall of China to the Great Barrier Reef. She now writes and travels full time, blogging about her adventures on Why Wait To See The World? (formerly Twenty-Something Travel). Follow Stephanie on Twitter or visit her on Facebook.

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