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Italian landscape
Photo by Angelo Amboldi on Flickr

Some places are best seen through the window of a train, on horseback or by hiking across their scenic countryside. However, Italy is a country that should be seen one way only – from the driver’s seat of an open topped sports car, preferably while wearing giant Audrey Hepburn sunglasses while your scarf whips out behind you. The country boasts incredible, diverse landscapes, winding roads, open fields and fantastic views.

So if you’re planning to drive across Italy, here are some of the routes you should be sure to check out.

The National Park of Abruzzo, Lazio and Molise

NATIONAL PARK OF ABRUZZO

Photo by Loigi Re on Flickr

The regions of Abruzzo, Lazio and Molise are relatively unknown, lying two hours rive to the east of Rome. However, come out here and you’ll see some of the most mind blowing countryside you’re likely to find in Italy.

As you drive into the park (Parco Nazionale d’Abruzzo) you’ll find the road ascends quickly into mountains where you’ll be surrounded by grazing white cows and forests fully of winding hiking trails. Along the way you’ll pass many small, virtually untouched towns, however, no matter how tempting it is for the best trip just drive straight on until you reach the town of Vasto, where there are outstanding views off the Trabocchi coast.

The Italian Riviera

Portofino Harbor Italian Rivera

Photo by Stan Shebs Creative Commons license

The famous Italian Riviera starts at the French border and works its way past seaside towns, farmer’s markets and some truly top notch restaurants all the way down to Tuscany. Enjoy fantastic views and woosh through a series of tunnels just like you’re in one of those car adverts.

Tuscany

Tuscany near ancient Sienna

Photo by Norbert Nagel  licensed under the Creative Commons

But why stop at the end of the Riviera? Tuscany is home to the finest of Italy’s restaurants, vineyards and holiday villas, to the point where you’ll really struggle to find a bad place to eat.

Sicily

Sicily, Italy

For Sicily you want a fast car and two weeks to drive it. Don’t just go from one end of the island to the other. Drive right around the coast, stopping off to see the islands famous vineyards at Cerasuolo di Vitoria and Mount Etna. See the ancient Greek theatres and temples, or simply find some great beaches and soak up the sun! This is a great place to really take your car exploring. As Direct Ferries director Matt Davies says, “It’s really worth getting your car on a boat and bringing it over the Sicily with you. There’s nothing quite like speeding along with the Sicilian breeze rushing past.”

The Amalfi Coast

Beautiful Amalfi Coast

Not all the famous hotspots on Italy are ones you should be drawn to however. It seems every travel guide out there recommends the Amalfi coast, and it’s true it’s one of the most popular tourist destinations in Italy, which is why the roads are clogged with tour buses and municipal coaches, usually with a tail of other holiday drivers honking their horns behind them. To make it worse, you’ll be dealing with this while riding round some extremely bendy roads, sometimes with a 200 foot drop on one side. We advise taking your car elsewhere.

By Sam Wright

Sam Wright is a journalist based in Norwich, Norfolk.

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