Last September, I had the privilege to take the trip to Italy. Although I had initially wished to travel across the country (or at least from La Garda to Capri) by train, I decided to take the plunge and undertake the ultimate road â€“trip across the length and breadth of the country.
On the way, I managed to uncover some of the most picturesque and obscure sights of the Italian landscape, gaining a unique insight into the culture of the nation as I did so. Here are three of my favourite routes: –
1. The National Park of Abruzzo, Lazio and Molise
Italian roads are typically challenging, which is why I wanted to initially avoid taking my recently purchased, second hand Audi across the border. I simply resolved to avoid the most congested routes, however, making sure that I instead saw more of the country and embraced its unique appeal. The quiet and relatively unknown surrounds of Abruzzo, Lazio and Molise were therefore ideal, as they traversed through the stunning Italian countryside and allowed me to enjoy hours of trouble free driving. Located just two hours east of Rome, it is hard to imagine that such a peaceful location exists near such chaos!
2. The Amalfi Coast
Slightly busier and thrilling in places, driving along the winding, two-lane road will not be to everyoneâ€™s tastes. It is certainly challenging, but the scenery and stunning coastal location more than makes up for this. As you weave along the ascending road and traverse the plunging, 200-foot cliff faces, you truly feel as though you are alive. The tour buses are another matter, however, and this route should not be recommended to either inexperienced drivers or those who like to relax when they travel.
3. The Italian Riviera
Stretching from the French border to Tuscany, this route weaves from the western point of Europe before culminating in the heartland of central Italy. The beautiful and far-reaching Italian Riviera therefore has a number of seaside towns and beaches dotted along its coastlines, while there are also a staggering array of bustling market stalls and fine dining eateries. The terrain is also diverse, while there are a number of narrow tunnels that plunge you into darkness as you make your way east. The picturesque towns of Cinque Terre and Portofino are particularly alluring, and sit along the southernmost point of the route.