Italy is the perfect place to slow down, jump in the car and take the scenic route. In fact, Booking.com’s most recent Travel Predictions 2020 Report indicates that almost two in three Canadians would prefer to take a longer route to get more out of the journey itself.
With roads that weave through snow-capped peaks, plunging coastlines, historic towns and lakes, Italy’s landscape is the perfect destination to explore by car.
First on every food lover’s road trip list should be a drive through Italy’s Veneto region along the banks of Lake Garda. Begin the 350-kilometre drive in beautiful Verona but make sure to leave time in your itinerary for scenic detours that offer views of beautiful vistas and crystalline waters.
The Green Lakes of Lake Garda
This Italian road trip is best done over five days, leaving plenty of time to enjoy sites off the beaten path, and of course mouth-watering Italian cuisine. Lake Garda is a popular tourist destination among other top spots such as Venice, Rome and Milan, with high class cuisine being easy to find, especially in Limone, the final stop on this road trip.
Save the best for last and indulge in excellent Italian fare and fresh seafood at Al Vecchio Fontec. Also, be sure to make a reservation at Restaurant Tovo, where you will be made to feel at home while eating generous portions of homemade pastas and authentic Italian dishes.
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For the more budget-conscious traveller, visit Mordimi Panineria and try an authentic Italian pizza sandwich made from your own selection of fillings. These hidden gem restaurants are likely to satisfy the taste buds of travellers looking for local gastronomic experiences. Booking.com’s most recent Travel Predictions 2020 Report indicates that over two thirds (69%) of Canadian travellers say that eating locally sourced produce is important to them while on vacation.
Live like Diane Lane in Under the Tuscan Sun
Anyone that’s seen Under The Tuscan Sun knows that the stunning region of Tuscany should be on all of our bucket lists. This 8-hour Italian road trip begins and ends in Florence if you drive straight through. But why rush it?
Make a quick stop in Poppi, a town of green rolling hills, churches and of course wineries. Merely 45 minutes from Poppi is Arezzo, home to monuments, churches, monasteries and viewpoints that will leave you speechless. Your fourth stop brings you to Siena, where you will see the historic city centre, and the UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The next stop is brief but filled with beauty. Monteriggioni is a walled castle city that overlooks the region. This is a fantasy-like destination with medieval sites and historical masterpieces of art and architecture, including the 13th-century Church of Santa Maria. Your next stop takes you to Colle Di Val D’Elsa, a beautiful city in the province of Siena.
Next you’ll find yourself at Volterra, one of the oldest cities in Europe. If you are looking for a genuine Italian experience, Volterra is the place to visit. Be sure to try Zuppa di Volterra, a delicious local dish they are known for. And finally, no Tuscan road trip is complete without a stop in Pisa. This route takes you right through the city so you can get that classic tourist picture of you “holding up the tower”. In just over an hour, you’ll be back where you started in Florence.
Cap off you road trip with an evening or two at Hotel Duomo Firenze set in a historic palace, directly on the Cathedral square. Knowing you have a night at this beautiful hotel might just have you racing to finish your scenic road trip (but please drive carefully!).
Now for some food recommendations.
While you’re in Tuscany, it’s a must that you indulge in a Lampredotto sandwich, made from the fourth stomach of a cow, cooked in broth and served with salsa verde. If you happen to be in Tuscany in the Winter, warm up with some ribollita soup, a popular seasonal dish that contains different kinds of cabbage, beans, onions and carrots. Finally, try castagnaccio, a traditional cake made with chestnut flour, very common in the Apennine mountainous area of Tuscany.
Brave the Amalfi Coast
This last Italian road trip you is one for all the thrill-seekers out there. Drive along a narrow and curvy yet beautiful road to the Amalfi Coast. As the road becomes more challenging, the views only become more dramatic. From Salerno, the main southern gateway to the coast, head west to Vietri sul Mare, famous for its food and the starting point to the coastal road.
After your white-knuckle drive along the Amalfi Coast, enjoy some of the world’s finest seafoods from shrimps, redfish, bream, pezzogne, and octopus. A trip to the Amalfi Coast isn’t complete without mozzarella, and of course some Limoncello to wash it down.
Reward yourself for braving this uneasy drive with a stay at the Imperati Suites by Alcione Residence, just over a half an hour from Positano and a short distance from Fornillo Beach, Spiaggia Grande and La Porta Beach.
Don’t get stuck eating lunch from a brown paper bag or grabbing what you can along the way. Do some research and prioritize food on this road trip – there are tons of convenient places and unique Italian dishes wherever the journey may take you.