Thursday, August 30

The Panoramic Back Roads Of ITALY

Most people travelling abroad hit the high points of the countries they are visiting. Rarely do they take the time to slow down, find the back roads and really get to know the people, the culture, the food and therefore the country in which they travel. Mr. P and I subscribe to Rick Steve's 'Through the Back Door' theory of travel. We never take a train, tour bus or plane to whiz our way from point A to point B. If we are paying for airfare from America to a foreign country, by golly we're going to exhaust all possibilities while there.

The best way to experience Italy's best kept secrets is often from the passenger-side window of a car. Driving through Italy with your face pressed up to the glass, a real citizen of Italy for the time being, enamoured with the's like driving through a picture postcard. Endless blue skies, grass green enough to make the Irish jealous, fields of grapes and history flanking you on either side. If what you seek is natural beauty and indeed an escape from the typical, rev that engine, find those winding rural roads and get moving to these fantastic locals…all found 'crisscrossed' within the borders of  ITALY!

1. Northern Italy 

Grande Strada delle Dolomiti – SS 48

Grande Strada delle Dolomiti

Journey through the “Heart of the Dolomites” for views of the Alps that will steal your breath away. This road takes you through hairpin turns at the foot of these legendary mountains before giving way to views of ancient coral reefs. The reefs are thousands of feet above sea level and weathered into craggy peaks. Break the trip up by stopping in local towns, where you’ll usually find locals speaking both Italian and German. Venice is a wonderful place to end this unforgettable drive.

2.  All roads lead to ROME?

Via Aurelia – SS 1

View of the Italian Riviera

Constructed in 241 BC, this road leads right to Rome. It winds and dips as it spans the coastline of the Italian Riviera. Watch the sun glisten off the Ligurian Sea, explore the many cliff-hanging villages at your leisure and maybe even stop at a beach to get some sun. Camogli is certainly worth a visit. Parts of the road are tight to drive down, including a section that has deep ravines on one side and the ocean on the other. In between gazing at the wildflowers lining the grass and the waves lapping on the rocks, keep your eyes focused on the road, please.

3.  Tuscany

Strada Chiantigiana – SS 22

Chianto Countryside

For a classic version of Italy, take this back road between Florence and Siena. Pack a picnic lunch and drive along slowly until you find that perfect spot. Somewhere in the middle of rolling hills dotted with medieval towers and vineyards......step out and enjoy the scenery. It’s also the perfect time to search out wineries for impromptu tastings and maybe even a nice B&B tucked away in a sleepy village for the night. With the cypress trees lining the road and the Tuscan landscape spread out before you, what could honestly be better?

4. The Amalfi Coast

Along the Amalfi Coast

If you aren’t ready to fall in love, just drive on by and keep this place off of your list. The Amalfi Coast, or Costiera Amafintana to the Italians, will certainly steal your heart the moment you look out and see that unbelievable turquoise water. Located in the southwest, this route is home to resort towns and quaint fishing villages alike.  From Sorrento  to Positano to Salerno, what's NOT TO LOVE? Fantastic traditional food and more limoncello than you can drink! Some of the more mountainous roads aren’t for the faint of heart, especially if you are afraid of heights. For those of you brave enough, the journey is quite rewarding!

5. Umbria

View of Todi in Umbria

The region of Umbria is the home of Rome and holds no shortage of picturesque roads to travel on. Settled in the heart of Italy, you become surrounded by the art of the Renaissance and the romantic views of fortified towns nestled between cypress trees, vineyards, and fields of lavender and sunflowers. Make your way through the back roads to places like Gubbio, Urbino, Todi and Spoleto. Don’t forget a stop in Perugia for some chocolates. Whether you seek the intimate slow pace of ancient towns like Le Marche or the feisty passion of Rome, the roads in Umbria will lead you there.

6. Gallura Coast

Tiny road in Gallura

Straying from the mainland, if you find yourself in Sardinia the coast of Gallura is not to be missed. Frequented by Italians, this slice of ravishing landscape is unknown to most tourists. Skim the outline of the island for panoramic views of the coastline. Take a jaunt inland to find local farmers guiding their sheep along mountain trails. The best advice for this and all of the trips is to just keep exploring – never be content with face value.
The amazing thing about Italy is that you don’t need to follow a guidebook to find fantastic routes like these. Ask the locals for travel tips, risk taking the back roads, this is our travel philosophy, trust your instincts – it could be the best thing you ever do. One thing I know for certain is you will NEVER FORGET or REGRET getting off the main roads.

Headed to Italy and looking for more information? Check out :

So what are you waiting for? Grab a travel buddy, preferably one who prefers to drive and leaves you to window-gaze, fill up that tank and get rolling. Then share your best driving'll be glad ya did!!


the domestic curator ~ ronda

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