…..hit the road Jack….. let the Road Trip begin
Recently we have been writing about Mean of Transport in Italy. In order to follow on that line we now want to write about the Roads and road trips. With over 6500 km of motorway (M Road) and an extensive net of State road (A Road) Italy has a strong connection with their road. I guess this was easily imaginable by thinking about the connection that Italians have with their cars. But this is a subject that deserve an article on its own so we are going to talk about it in the near future.
……Show me the way…….
In order to make the article more readable when we wrote about Airports, Ports, or Trains we were dividing them by region, generally starting in the north and heading south. Let us shake up things a little now and we will start from Sardinia which has got three scenic and world renowned routes. We will than go to Sicily which equally has some very good road trips and little by little we will head north talking about some of the most amazing piece of asphalt that not only connect cities and villages but also will make your commute one of the most impressive part of the journey.
Few little Tips
We have lined up for you 20 routes across some of the most beautiful part of the country. These roads excel for the scenery that they have to offer but are also breath-taking for the petrol head among you for the many bends and the technicality involved.
1. The first thing that we can recommend, if you are a motorcycle lover try to do it with it. Unless you travel in Ferrari or Aston Martin, the experience will be fulfilling.
2. As they are remote route and do not generally connect big cities, try to plan your journey ahead and with a little of research or with Repitaly help you will find the best Agriturismo Accommodation (Farmhouse B&B).
3. Not only this, the food will also be exceptional so the best Locanda (Inn) or Trattoria, would most certainly be on route.
4. Do not rush. Give it time and let the bends of this roads swing you up and down the mountains. Stop here and there so that you will catch the best shots for your memories (…… Facebook or Instagram count it too!!!)
5. Try to include these routes in your commute journey so that the experience will be authentic, natural, real and ecstatic. It will add few more minutes into your journey, but it’ll be well worth it.
Tempio Pausania a Oschiri
32km (20 miles)
Under One Hour
If visiting the glamourous and remarkable are called Costa Smeralda, chances are that you might be with your Ferrari, Lamborghini or Porsche. But even if you are not you should make a stretch maybe out of your way to go through SS392 which link Tempio Pausania to Oschiri. The road will leave you breathless for its numerous postcard scenario including when approaching the Coghinas Lake. The road will be a taste of Sardinia has to offer and from the sea to the hills it will all be summarised into this 33 km (20 miles).
Alghero – Scala Piccada – Bosa
52km (32 miles)
One and half hour
On the West of the island, starting from the sea town of Alghero you will find the SS292. The road is also the road track where in the month of October a race is held. Very peculiar race indeed as this road main features is the choreography, offered by the Riviera del Corallo, which makes the scenery very suggestive. To notice in the area is the rural area of Barbagia, the Bosa Castle, La Grotta di Nettuno Nuraghe di Palmavera. 52 km in length (32 miles) will take you around 1.5 hours.
Costa del Sud Sardegna
150km (92 miles)
Under Three Hours
Let’s not leave the island of Sardinia as yet. We are ow going to explore the deep south of the island from Teulada to Villasimius. A wonderful route that will take your mind in a different world made of white sands beeches in Chia, historical Castle and architecture in Cagliari until the marvellous seaside of Villasimius. We suggest you not to do it all in one day but use it as guideline to experience the south. 2 or 3 days journey will all the stops required will certainly give merit to a wonderful trip.
Palermo to Agrigento
315km (200 miles)
Longer than Five Hours
As in for the Costa del Sud in Sardinia the route that from Palermo lead you to Agrigento is rather a long trip. All in all is a 350 km (215 miles). When we have done it the first time we took a rather longer approach but the end result was mesmerising. From Palermo head to Monreale to admire the wonderful UNESCO world heritage site of the cathedral. Explore the inland to fulfil your wine or food palate in one of the many Cantine in the area. Partinico and Alcamo come next and then you will be into the seaside once again from the road you will be able to admire the coastline from Palermo and Mondello till Castellamare del Golfo. You will then head for San Vito Lo Capo and its wonderful beach. World renowned also for the seasonal Couc Cous festival. You’ll than be able to head for Tonnara di Bonagia, Valderice the marvellous Erice and Trapani. It is now the time to visit Marsala where really your taste bud will receive a treat in the many vinery of the area. Mazzara del Vallo, Campobello di Mazzara, Selinunte and its ancient greek temple. Sciacca Eraclea, stop for a dip in a blue sea water at the “Scala Dei Turchi Beach”. Visit Porto Empedocle and Agrigento is next.
Sound like a lot of travelling but remember, this not even half of the wonders that the Sicilian island has to offer.
From Ragusa Ibla to Catania
185km (115 miles)
Under three Hours
We have in store now the same kind of route that from Ragusa will lead you to Catania, Taormina and Etna. 200 km (120 miles) that simply cannot be described in one world. The Baroque splendour of Ragusa, Modica, Noto and Avola are on in the first part of trip. You will than stop for some fortress in Cassibile before a time travel in ancient Greece and the beauty of Syracuse. If this is not enough head to Catania and experience first-hand the character of a city with thousand faces. Prolong a bit you can explore all the little villages at the root of the Etna Volcano but do not forget to explore the tallest active volcano in Europe. Tired of the black Martian background? Head to Taormina and stopping Giardini Naxos to experience one more the splendid sea of Sicily.
120km (75 miles)
Under three Hours
Earlier on we wrote about one road used also as a race track. We now wanted to talk to you about the oldest sports car racing event in the world. Inaugurated in 1906 it is still running (with modification from the original) still today as part of the Italian Rallye Championship. The track, the event and the name are widely famous. The locals still like to drive along part of the track and you generally find moto tour visiting around. Its inspired Porsche to create a limited edition 911 car. There is a famous recreation of the race in Australia even today. Car Sport Magazines and car producer still use the roads for their articles. The first road Launch of the famous Bugatti Veiron was done in Sicily following the original track of Targa Florio. The list can go on but we most certainly suggest you to go through it if you have the chance. Not only you will see beautiful places all around, you will explore the Madonie mountains from sea level you will climb till well above 1000 metres and you will have fun on the way.
55km (35 miles)
Under Two Hours
The Salento area in Apulia is widely famous for the flat land surrounded by the sea. Rocks and cliffs along the way if from Otranto you will follow the sea side coast you can drive till the end of the region. On the way you will see beauty beyond imaginable like the natural sea pool of Marina Serra, Punta Palascia (the most eastern part of Italy), Santa Cesarea, down until Leuca and Punta Ristola. There will be beautiful beaches, Caves and much more on the way. Only 50 km (30 miles).
65km (40 miles)
Around One Hour
We will now talk you through the main roads that are connecting the west coast to the east cost of the centre of Italy. The Gran Sasso way or SS80 was part of the ancient roman road called “Via Cecilia”. The other being the “Via Tiburtina Valeria” that we will talk soon and also the “Via Salaria”. In ancient time this road was used for the cattle herding from the Gran Sasso Mountain to the flat land of Rome and Ascoli. Its central section, probably the most tortuous and characteristic, which goes from the ruins of Amiternum up to Montorio al Vomano, today is named “Strada Maestra del Parco” and is connected to the main tourist itineraries of the Gran Sasso.
90km (56 miles)
Around One Hour
Currently named SS209 Valnerina this route takes you to the middle of the marvellous region of Umbria. Called the Green lung of Italy anywhere you look in the region is an absolute splendour and joy. Its particularly tortuous route, embedded in the rocky valley of Valnerina, the road is in fact particularly appreciated by moto and cyclist tourist, by virtue of the countless curves and spectacular landscapes all around
42km (26 miles)
Under One Hour
Still in the middle of the Umbria Region we find the towns of Todi and the city of Orvieto. Only about half hour from each other, they both are jewels that deserve a visit. If you decide to do so, the journey between the two passing by the Corbara Lake will be striking. The road is particularly interesting for the landscape especially in the stretch where you find yourself along the road that joins the lake and then the narrow and wild loops of the Tiber river near the area called “Gole del Forello”.
Tre Valli Umbre
80km (50 miles)
Under Two Hours
Three Valleys road is the unofficial name of the SS685. Created in the 70’s to connect the city of Ascoli to the city of Spoleto and so to create an alternative road that divided the country. By doing so this road managed to connect Tiberina Valley, with Valnerina and Umbria Valley. Imagine a swift and gentle rocking of a baby (in this case our vehicle) by listening a lullaby that in our case will be the green hills and valley in the background of the Umbrian region. This is the Three Valleys road.
Via Tiburtina Valeria da Roma a Pescara
210km (130 miles)
Under Three Hours
Coming back on the idea of creating a road to connect the east and west coast, the romans did that in ancient time creating this wonderful piece of asphalt. From Tiburtina Gate in gate till the “Corfinium” in the city of Pescara passing from the flat land of Lazio and its agricultural background. The marvellous scenery of the Umbrian region up to the mountain of the Gran Sasso ending into the sea town of Pescara. This road is an essence of the true spirit of the Italian country.
From Ancona to Sulmona
300km (185 miles)
Around Three Hours
Within the same spirit of exploring the wonders of the country this piece of road is connecting the sea, in this case the Adriatic, with the mountains. From the particular and interesting city of Ancona and its ancient heritage a route to admire the coast up until you reach the famous city of Pescara and from there you start the climbing of the rock until you reach to the excellent town of Sulmona.
Passo della Cisa
85km (53 miles)
Under Two Hours
The need of connecting one side of the country with the other is ancient and many road has been created to serve this purpose. The Cisa Pass is an example. It connect the flatland of Pianura Padana in the area of Parma and so the north, passing through the “Appennini” mountain range. By driving across this road, you should expect many bends, higher altitude but also spectacular landscape and wonders along the way. Once all of this do not forget that you will be in Ligura, in the area of La Spezia so you can carry on the driving and follow the route of the Cinque Terre.
Passo del Muraglione
32km (20 miles)
Under One Hour
Further down the country but serving the same purpose of connecting the two edges stand the Muraglione pass. This is a stretch of road that is connecting the southern part of Emilia Romagna with the Tuscany. Tuscany is widely famous for its landscape, vineyard and beautiful hills. Starting on the Tuscanic hills of Chianti, the road will lead you to the height of 900 mslm. After the climb the descend will begin and bringing almost at sea level in the remaining part of Pianura Padana (Po Valley). Over there you can chose if you want to go and relax into the wonderful beeches Rimini and Riccione or you can also decide to do a further climb and go and visit the medieval and unseen city of San Marino. Although it is a country on its own and not part of Italy if you have the time San Marino is also an interesting place to visit.
Let us now head to the North……..
…….we think that, in fact, the reading (or the driving) up until now has been extensive and so we think it is fair to break it up. The next article will take you through the high alps and the north of Italian region. Don’t miss Italian Transports – Road Trip | The North