We will be open at 9:00 am. Call 020 7590 0610
Tuscan countryside

Italy’s best self-drive holidays

Our top six Italian driving routes

Article content

18 August 2017 by Maddalena Cardone

Having travelled Italy heel to toe, our Europe specialist, Maddalena, has put together the following collection of the country’s finest driving holidays. There’s everything from the Amalfi-Coast favourites down to the lesser-known gems of Puglia and Umbria.

Tuscany and the Amalfi Coast

Tuscany is the Italy of postcards, of coffee-table magazines and, these days, of viral social media posts. Indeed, around every bend in its lazily wending roads you’ll be treated to a fresh vista of medieval towns and horizon-beating vineyards. Our recommended route will see you start with Pisa’s marbled icons before heading out into the region’s medieval hill towns, taking in the likes of San Gimignano’s centuries-old towns and Volterra’s Roman amphitheatre. Then, a serenely fertile countryside will see you south to another of Italy’s headline acts – the Amalfi Coast. While you’ll know it from its postcard-perfect jumble of pastel-coloured, cliff-clinging houses, there’s also some truly spectacular driving routes. Perhaps its finest is the Blue Ribbon Drive, a coastal sweep that traces cragged juts, diving through tunnels to showcase some of Italy’s most arresting scenery.

The town of Amalfi, Italy

Puglia

For something more off the beaten track, look no further than Puglia. Tucked away at the heel of Italy’s boot, few make the journey south, but those that do are rewarded by beaches as deserted as its backcountry roads. This is a region of understated charm, with charming seaside towns opening out onto pretty olive groves and road trips that link together nights spent in heritage farmhouses. In fact, instead of Renaissance flourishes, Puglia impresses with a certain historic severity. There’s everything from the medieval grandeur of Trani to hilltop Ostuni’s fortified whitewash and the Itria Valley’s 19th-century beehive houses.

the hilltop town of Matera, Puglia

Northern Italy and the lakes

While the advent of rail travel inspired the first pilgrimages to Italy’s famed lakes, the region now makes for some of the country’s finest drives. Just as life by the water is all about taking it easy with lake dips and vineyard tastings, it’s just the same when it comes to the roads. Lazing sweeps bring you around lapping shores, giant vistas interrupted only by short tunnel gasps carved right out from the towering Alps. Our curated itinerary brings you to the fabled triumvirate – Como, Garda and Maggiore. Each is host to its own unique charms, whether it’s fishing-village relaxation, Belle-Époque grandeur or visits to islands beautified by grand palaces.

A view of Lake Como, Italy

Sicily

It’s often said that Sicily feels like a country of its own. And, with so much on offer, it might as well be. One moment you could be relaxing on white-sand beaches and the next wandering through the wonders of the ancient world. There’s everything from Agirgento’s thousand-year-old ‘Valley of the Temples’ to Taormina’s mountaintop Roman amphitheatre, with plenty of medieval fascination in between. It’s all criss-crossed by a network of backcountry roads, bringing you along idyllic coastlines and sweeping through verdant vineyards all to the backdrop of Mt. Etna’s iconic silhouette.

Taormina's ancient ruins, Sicily

Tuscan coast and culture

Although we’ve already visited Tuscany on this list, this route also combines the region’s lesser-visited coast. It’s where discerning Italians come to holiday, with long, seaside roads bringing you between a seemingly endless collection of sun-kissed beaches. Then, when you tire of the white-sands relaxation, simply jump in your car and you’ll be in Tuscan wine country, marvelling at Pisa’s leaning icons, sipping coffee in Lucca’s tree-shaded piazzas and exploring Florence’s Renaissance wonders, played out across medieval cobbled streets. There’s even the chance to stay in a pair of Italy’s finest hotels – a private-beach getaway and a Michelin-starred palace.


Umbria

One of Italy’s lesser-known gems, Umbria is the Tuscany of yesteryear. And it shares much of the same passions as its better-known sibling, with medieval towns and stone villages crouched among gently undulating vineyard terraces – perfect driving country. While you’ll miss out on the Renaissance headlines, there’s plenty of historic intrigue to keep things interesting with everyone from the Etruscans to the Romans having left their mark on the region. Then there’s the food, with impossibly moreish truffles, cured meats and full-bodied reds among the highlights. 

The village of Assisi, Umbria

Interested in any of these sample itineraries? Browse below, or contact us to begin planning your own tailor-made Italy road trip.

Related offers

Tuscany & The Amalfi Coast

10-day tailor-made self-drive from £1,485 pp incl. flights

Soak up the cultural heritage, picturesque cities and towns, natural beauty, historical sites and tantalising cuisine of Tuscany and the Amalfi Coast with this self-drive journey.

Best of Puglia

10-day tailor-made self-drive from £970 pp incl. flights

Swap the crowds of Italy's headlines for Puglia's off-the-beaten-track charms. Quietly scenic coastal drives will bring you between palace stays in medieval towns and beach-side getaways in remote settings. Along the way, there's plenty of opportunity for hikes, bike rides and vineyard tastings.

Northern Italy and the Lakes

12-day tailor-made self-drive from £1,535 pp incl. flights

Calm blue lakes, snow-crested mountains, grandiose villas and some of Italy's finest Belle Époque hotels provide the backdrop to this tailor-made driving holiday through beautiful northern Italy. Its bookended by stays among Milan's ultra-fashionable repose and Verona's fabled past.

Best of Sicily

8-day tailor-made self-drive from £995 pp incl. flights

With the flexibility to explore at your own pace, link Sicily’s highlights with spectacularly rural drives and stays in some of the island’s premier hotels. You’ll take in everything from Cefalù’s white-sand beaches to Agrigento’s temple wonders and Taormina's ancient grandeur.

Italian Coast and Culture

9-day tailor-made self-drive from £1,410 pp

Special
offer

Stay 4 nights, pay 3 at Baglioni Cala Del Porto – Save up to £215 pp
Book by: 16 September 2018

Combine the white sands of the Tuscan coast with the Renaissance excess of Florence, enjoying stays in two of the country’s finest hotels; contrast private-beach access with Michelin-starred dining. In between, the use of a hire car will afford you the flexibility to explore the Tuscan countryside.

A Taste of Umbria

8-day Tailor-made self-drive from £1,030 pp incl. flights

Experience a taste of Umbria with this 8-day self drive, beginning in Rome and ending in Orvieto, and enjoying highlights of the region including wine tasting, picturesque villages and local cuisine.

Why book with Wexas Travel?

At Wexas, we specialise in bespoke travel experiences. Our itineraries are just samples of what we can arrange, and can be changed depending on your precise needs, finances and ideas by our experienced destination specialists.

Contact one of our consultants on 020 7590 0610 to discuss how we can tailor your holiday.

Learn why Wexas is the leader in creating luxury holidays. What is tailor-made travel?

Expert advice & support

Visit us in our London office

Let our travel specialists curate the perfect holiday:

  • Inspirational ideas based on experience
  • Established for over 45 years
  • Tailor a holiday to your precise requirements
  • Personalised quotes and documentation
  • In-depth Wexas travel guides

Every step of the way

Every step of the way

Our services are with you from start to finish:

  • Dedicated personal consultants
  • Wexas Travel App
  • Free airport lounges on qualifying bookings
  • Care and guidance pre, post and during holiday
  • Full financial security: ABTA & ATOL protected