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Get Off the Beaten Track in Italy on Your Own 4 Wheels

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Get Off the Beaten Track in Italy on Your Own 4 Wheels

story by: House of Travel

Have you ever dreamed of driving around a gorgeous European nation like Italy with your windows rolled down and the warm, rural air blowing gently through your hair? You can turn your longings into a reality with a self-driving tour through the Italian countryside. This is a great way to get off the beaten track and explore those intimate villages and local wonders you just mightn't see by travelling any other way.

Here's some inspiration to get your engine revving to hit the road.

Drive your way around Italy: The Amalfi Coast
Whether you want to explore the rolling hills of Tuscany or the beaches and cliffs of the Amalfi Coast, one of the best ways to get yourself around is on four wheels. 

Let's start with the Amalfi Coast: Located along the country's south western shores, it boasts charming hillside villages that look out over the dazzlingly blue Tyrrhenian Sea. This is spectacular but not for the feint hearted! Allow plenty of time to ‘cruise’ along the coast. We recommend planning your drive outside of the European holiday periods (predominantly July & August) when it will be more enjoyable and a little less frantic. Begin your journey in the bustling city of Salerno before making your way to the quiet refuge of Ravello. Enjoy its many Neo-Classical buildings, beautiful seaside views and the Villa Cimbrone and Villa Rufolo. These homes are aristocratic estates with unrivalled views of the coast's azure waters, verdant gardens and amazing artwork. Villa Rufolo is particularly renowned for attracting impressive artistic figures such as Bocaccio and Richard Wagner.

To continue your journey and go where few other tourists venture, take a drive to Praiano, a tranquil village known for its fishing and great hiking trails, such as the "Sentiero degli Dei" or Walk of the Gods. 

Sample of wines of Tuscany
Now's the time to appoint a designated driver, because you're about to head to some of the most famous and renowned vineyards in the world. Leave from the stunning city of Florence and make your way into the countryside.

When it comes to wineries and vineyards, you can't go past Fontodi, which is just south of Panzano. Indulge in a tasting of Syrah, Chianti Classico or Pinot Nero. Val delle Corti, near the town of Sienna, is also great to visit. Here, you can stay a while to savour the wines with a farm stay.

Castiglion del Bosco is simply not to be missed, offering up two gorgeous vineyards and touring and tasting options where you can discover the history, and of course the flavours of the wine. For an overall introduction featuring the vineyards' highlights, try the Classic Tour and Wine Tasting.
To experience the historical and architectural wonders of Tuscany, visit Arezzo and explore features such as the Medicean Fortress, Roman Amphitheatre and Cathedral San Donato. Lucca is also home to stunning city walls that date back to the Renaissance era, the sacred Cathedral of St. Martin plus a gorgeous old clock tower.

Discover Umbrian wonders
Umbria is home to quaint hillside towns that resemble fairytale villages with their walls, towers and churches. Perugia, the regional capital, is one such place. Chocolate lovers are well rewarded here as this destination is famous for its sweet milky treat. Visit the Casa del Cioccolato Perugina, which delves into the art of making and tasting chocolate.

Perugia also has its fair share of historical attractions, such as its ancient city walls and entrance gates, its maze of underground tunnels and pathways, its beautiful medieval fountain located in the town's central Piazza IV Novembre and the striking remains of the Paolina Castle that dates back to the 1500s. 

The hilltop town of Assisi is also just a short drive from Perugia and is significant as the home to the tomb of St Francis of Assisi, located in the breathtaking San Francesco Basilica that contains frescoes by iconic Italian artists such as Giotto. You'll also be treated to panoramic views of the green undulating countryside. 

With a car, you have so much freedom to enjoy all of these sumptuous destinations and more, so get out that map and start planning.

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