Fast cars, fashion, amazing food, and mesmerizing architecture. You know what we’re talking about. Italy. A country that most people visit for beach holidays or city trips Weekend in Rome or Milan, a romantic trip to Venice maybe. But did you know that Italy can also be a great destination for a luxury road trip? Most of the popular destinations within the country are not too far from each other and could easily be visited by car with a chance to visit hidden gems in between that you would otherwise skip or not even know about.
If you are thinking of going to Italy (and you should), this article is a road trip guide you can use as a guideline that will show you some of the best parts of Northern Italy, while experiencing true Italian luxury. We encourage you to add your own stops to make it tailored to your needs and wants.
This journey will take you from Lake Como all the way to Venice. Use your own car or rent an Italian supercar to make the whole experience even better.
Here is a list of places we visited on our road trip:
Chances are that you have heard about this gorgeous place. A lake famous for attracting the rich and famous and has been the setting for many movies, including James Bond. A visit to Lake Como can’t go without a private boat tour. There are many companies and individuals that offer luxury tours on small private boats. Get your champagne out and enjoy the scenery. Lake Como also houses some of the best hotels in the country and our favorites are the Mandarin Oriental Lago di Como, Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni, and Vista Palazzo.
A city that offers everything you want and needs from a trip to Italy. Amazing food on every street corner, great architecture such as the Duomo di Milano and luxury shopping at the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II Mall. Milan has it all. When planning a visit to the Duomo di Milano, we highly recommend booking a rooftop tour in advance that allows you to walk on the roof. The view is spectacular!
As for food, most Michelin star restaurants in Italy can be found in Milan. But if you had to pick one single food experience, we recommend combining a visit to Eataly and finishing it with a dinner at VIVA Viviana Varese (1 Michelin star). Female chefs at this level are not easy to find and not represented enough. Viviana Varese deserves to be at the top for many reasons and we highly recommend dinner here. The food is amazing, the dishes creative and the views fantastic.
Milan also offers a wide range of luxury hotels. Too many to choose from. Bulgari, Four Seasons, Grand Hyatt, Palazzo Parigi, and Chateau Monfort are all amongst some of the top hotels in the city but certainly not the only ones.
A small lake between Milan and Lake Garda. A hidden gem that not too many people know about or visit. What makes this lake special is that it has a mountain island in the middle of it, called Mount Isola. You can take a short ferry trip to that mini island. Once there you can enjoy the small village on the island and hike to the top. The hike could easily take a day up and down, so make sure to wear the right outfit and bring some extra water. One of our favorite hotels at the lake is Hotel Rivalago. A family-run boutique hotel with French influence with views on Mount Isola. We spend a lovely night here out on the terrace drinking Italian wine.
Ca Del Bosco Vinyard
Not far from Lake Iseo, you can find the Ca Del Bosco vineyard and cellar. It is a vineyard unlike the ones you might imagine or might have visited in the past. It is one of the most modern facilities in the country and both the cellar and gardens are filled with modern art. There will be moments you forget you are at a vineyard and instead at an art museum. Ca Del Bosco offers tours to see how they produce wine and Franciacorta (sparkling wine). After the tour, you are allowed to walk the garden and explore. We loved our stop here and of course, drive carefully after your visit here. Please make arrangements who is going to drive after your visit.
If you have ever seen the play, movie, or read the book Romeo and Juliet, you will recognize Verona. The city itself is stunning and it is easy to get lost daydreaming. The most famous attraction is Juliet’s House. Although famous, it is not all that impressive. The city has more to offer than just that such as the Arena and Piazza Delle Erbe. The city is built close to a hilly almost mountainy area. Instead of staying in the city, we recommend looking for boutique hotels or B&Bs on the hillside that will give you the most lovely views during your breakfast. This will also save you on parking your car and you’ll get an insight into the traditional Italian lifestyle.
At last, we arrived at one of the most romantic places in Europe. Venice. The entire city is so unique it almost feels like it could be fake, copied from an old Italian fairy tale. But it is not. It is as real as it gets. Our main advice to help you enjoy this city is to ignore all the tourist attractions. Skip the gondola for example. Due to the crowds, the experience is simply not as enjoyable as you might think. Instead, wander around the city. Dare to walk away from the main paths and get lost. Every corner of the city is special and even in peak season you would be surprised how easy it is to lose the crowd and wander around empty parts that are as beautiful (if not more) as the rest. By removing the crowd you allow yourself to immerse yourself in the experience. You can’t park your car in the city, hello waterways but there are enormous car parks just outside the city and you can take local transport and water taxis into the city.
These are just a few of the places you could visit but we highly recommend you pick a few additional stops during your roundtrip. Every road trip is unique and the biggest upside of them is that you get to pick what to do and when. It is one of the most freeing experiences there is. Italy is perfect for a luxury road trip and one of the best locations in Europe to do so.
Let us know what you would add to this list.