The Ultimate Italian Road Trip - Dolomites, Tuscany & Cinque Terre

If you are looking for a two week road trip itinerary in Italy then look no further! We have compiled an extensive 14 day itinerary around the Northern part of Italy including places to visit, attractions and activities on offer, and suggestions of where to stay overnight. We did this Italian road trip and put a lot of research into how it would be best to see the sights. Travelling in a campervan around Italy can provide a lot of flexibility, and can also give the ability to change the route easily and spend more or less time at a particular place.


We have put together the Ultimate Italian road trip itinerary, that pretty much centres around the love for Italian landscapes, delicious Italian food, the historic sights and the beautiful buildings there are to visit.

This time frame can be entirely modified to suit how quickly or how slow you would personally like to travel, but we have given an indication into how many days we spent in each place to help give you a guide on what is possible to achieve. Don’t forget to check out our Detailed packing essentials for your road trip to help you with knowing what to pack.


You can also check out our ENTIRE Italian road trip, and what it is like to travel Italy in a campervan on Youtube here.

We had booked our last minute flights leaving London into Milan and cost 70 GBP/person including 30 kg of luggage (we were flying internationally after)


Picking a campervan

It is possible to use compare websites such as Budget Campervans that will bring up a list of campervan hire companies. We hired from Indie Campers which were relatively basic but suited our budget for what we needed.


One thing to note is it can sometimes be a little trickier to find a decent campervan parking spot in Italy, particularly near to the bigger cities. We will list every parking spot we utilised that we felt comfortable to leave our campervan for the day while went out exploring.


Driving in Italy

The majority of car and campervan rentals will be manual transmission in Italy, which can be pretty tough to navigate when you aren’t used to driving on the right hand side of the road, with a left hand steering wheel.


Wow, does Italy have a lot of toll roads! Prepare to factor this into your budget, you can’t escape it. The tolls range from just a few euros right up to 25 euros being our most expensive journey.


Let’s get into the itinerary.


Milan to Lake Como

Day 1

Leaving London and arriving into Milan Malpensa International airport, many campervan depots are very close by to the airport. There are two Milan airports, be mindful when booking which one you would like to land into. As we would be hiring a campervan for the two weeks in Italy, the Indie campervan depot is just a 10 minute taxi ride from Milan Malpensa airport which makes it a nice and easy pick up in the morning.

Head straight for Lake Como and don’t forget to make a pit-stop on the way to pick up a food shop for the week. Luckily, the drive from Milan to Lake Como is a short 1.5 hours which will give you chance to get comfortable with driving your campervan.

Overnight stop: We stayed at Camping Clarke, a really beautiful site, relatively small with lovely owners. They have hot showers and very clean toilets with a place to wash up your kitchenware and fresh drinking water. 35 euros per night (with electricity)

Lake Como - Bellagio

Day 2-3


I Giardini di Villa Melzi

Explore what Bellagio has to offer by taking a stroll down into the town, from Camp Clarke it is a 20 minute walk along the main road to I Giardini di Villa Melzi; a beautiful lakeside botanical garden very close to the main centre of Bellagio. Take a wander through the gardens and soak up the views of Lake Como, there are many photogenic spots here, take some photos and enjoy relaxing on the shoreline.

Cost: 6.50 EURO per adult


Restaurant Splendide

Enjoy a pizza by the water and watch the boats come in. Sit down at Restaurant Splendide, the service is quick and the pizzas are very good. (33 EUR for two pizzas & beers)

Walk the town

The best part about Bellagio is the beauty, just taking a stroll around the narrow back streets in fantastic, Bellagio is certainly packed full of Italian character we could have got lost around the narrow paths for hours. Enjoy views of the Basilica of St. Giacomo, a Beautiful Romanesque church in the heart of Bellagio which sounds the bells for the town, a very Italian vibe! For our full time in Lake Como, click here.


Dolomites

Day 4 – 8

The most breathtaking scenery in all of Italy. You will enjoy some of the best drives of your life here, with rugged mountains, beautiful churches and German influenced buildings; it has a completely different feel to the rest of Italy, but just as spectacular!

One of the best parts of the Dolomites is simply the views on the drive, but there are also many, many hikes that are possible to do. There is so much to cover in this large span of land in the Northern part of Italy, but here are some suggestions on what is achievable across the 5 days we had here in the Dolomites.


Note of Parking

Parking the Dolomites was relatively easy with a campervan. You are likely to see a lot more campervans and motorhomes in this area than you will in the rest of Italy. The roads are also a lot more forgiving, they are wide and straight and very easy to navigate for a larger car making the drive very enjoyable!


Day 4

Lake Como to Ortisei

Today will be a driving day, it takes 4.5 hours (on average) to reach Ortisei from Lake Como. It is possible to do it in one hit, or you may want to break up the journey, we suggest stopping at Lago di Garda (Lake Garda) or Bolzano. Ortisei is the perfect base for multiple hikes, these include Alpe Di Siusi, Alpe Di Seceda, and Rasciesa High Alp.


Overnight parking: Outside the Krippeland building. (Do so at your own risk, we left it all day with no issues) Type these co-ordinates into Google Maps: N46°34'26" E11°39'22"


Day 5

Ortisei and Seceda

Get up early to visit Seceda, 2500m above sea level. From the overnight spot it takes 25 minutes to walk to St Ulrich (Ortisei) in Val Gardena, this is the cable-way station. From here, you can purchase the return (or one way) tickets to ascend to the top of Seceda - 2500m. You will be asked whether you want to purchase to Furnes (the middle station) or to Seceda Mountain station, which is the top station.

Ticket cost is 34 EUR/person

As soon as you leave Seceda Mountain station, you are greeted with an incredible view of the dagger peaks. There are many trail options that are signposted once you reach the top. We opted to head towards the Fermeda peaks along trail number 1. It is an easy, flat trail to follow which gives some incredible views as you get closer to the serrated pinnacles.


Other trail options are longer and will take you down close to the mountain huts that you’ll be able to see in the distance from trail number 1.

Spend the afternoon enjoying Ortisei. It is a gorgeous setting, with the mountains above, colourful houses and beautiful town to take a wander through and find some late lunch. Ortisei has an entirely different feel to what you would believe Italy to have, it is heavily influenced by Austria and Bavaria which you can see in the architecture and food around all of the Dolomites, although, without a doubt you’ll still find an Aperol Spritz!

Pick up the campervan and head for Lago Di Braies, the insta-famous lake is about 1.5 hours from Ortisei. On the way take a stop at Val Di Funes and the church of San Giovann. This beautiful lone church sits in the middle of a field with the Dolomites as it’s backdrop, it really is breathtaking!

Continue the drive to Lago Di Braies and stay there for the night. We took a walk around the lake around sunset and it was the best time to visit. Less visitors and wonderful lighting for photographs.


Overnight stop: Lago Di Braies car park. (20 EUR for the night and the following day)


Day 6

Lago Di Braies, Lago Di Landro and Cortina D’Ampezzo

Wake up early and visit Lago Di Braies (before 7am) we loved visiting Lago di Braies at both sunset and sunrise as the lighting is completely different. From around 9am the boat dock and the lake in general gets extremely busy.


Leave by 9am and head to another lake – Lago di Landro (30 mins drive) Lago di Landro is a lake we stumbled on by complete accident and became one of our favourite stops. It is easily accessible, right by the side of the main road with a ton of parking spaces. The sandy spot is a short walk from the parking area, there isn’t really a path but it is pretty easy to find the opening to the lake once you’re there. The Dolomites backdrop is beautiful, the water is beautiful and the bottom is made of clay and a bit of fun to slip and slide around in! Stay here for a while and have some lunch.

Lago Di Braies

Spend the afternoon in Cortina D’Ampezzo (30 mins drive) Park up at the campsite and take a walk into town. This beautiful town is surrounded by mountains and well known for skiing. As we were here just for the afternoon, we recommend taking a nice stroll around town, shop, eat and indulge in gelato before heading back to the campsite to watch the sunset.


Restaurant recommendation: Il Vizietto di Cortina, right in the heart of town

Overnight stop: Camping Rochetta, 33 EUR for 2 persons/ campervan including power

Day 7

Tre Cime Di Lavaredo, Cadini di Misurina

Wake up before sunrise and drive to Tre Cime Di Lavaredo for a day of hiking! There are more convenient camping options that are closer to the start of Tre Cime should you not want to stay in Cortina, check out the options on the park for night app.

Tre Cime Di Lavaredo National Park - Car park

Enter the national park (45 EUR per campervan) and drive the winding road up to the parking area. Try and get a parking spot that sits on the edge, facing the road as the view is incredible. We were able to open up our back doors and have an incredible view while we enjoyed a coffee and breakfast in the van the following morning. We decided to do the Cadini di Misurina hike first, as we knew most people will head and start Tre Cime Di Lavaredo first.


Cadini di Misurina


Time taken: 1 hour one way (including stops for photos)

Terrain: There is a proper path the whole way, parts of it do become relatively narrow and hug the side of the cliff, if you’re afraid of heights parts of the hike may make your legs wobble!

Difficulty: Easy

The Cadini di Misurina hike was empty, we saw only 3 other couples attempt the hike besides us. To get to this hike, from Rifugio Alonzo turn right instead of left, and pretty much head in the opposite direction of where everybody else is going. You’ll see an un-marked path emerge that takes you away from the Tre Cime di Lavaredo walk, and you will see the stunning Cadini pinnacles in the not too far distance. For full details on this hike, click here.

Cadini Di Misurina

This is a short, but extremely photogenic hike. The rugged landscape is in all directions and becomes more impressive the closer you are to the peaks. We returned to the car for a lunch stop, re-fuel with coffee and some food before heading for a second hike in the afternoon – the Tre Cime di Lavaredo hike.


Tre Cime di Lavaredo


Time taken: 4 hours 30 mins (including stops for photos, we also took the long way round and did the entire 360 around the three peaks)

Terrain: Most of it is paved, however we took a bumpy path towards the end which was rocky underfoot

Difficulty: Easy (depending on path taken)


Tre Cime is definitely not a ‘hidden gem’ in the Dolomites. It is one of the most photographed hikes, but for good reason. This is why we decided to tackle this hike later in the day as most hikers arrive early and finish before it gets too hot at midday. Start the hike just after 3pm, the sun is cooler and most of the hikers are already finished or heading in the opposite direction which meant by around 5pm, there's a possibility you will pretty much have the hike to yourselves!

The path will take you in a full circle around the magnificent peaks that sits at the centre, although you will find sign posted options with more challenging pathways should you wish to take them. Otherwise, the path is relatively wide and very well-sign posted the whole way. For full details on this hike, click here.

There are plenty of places to stop and catch your breath at one of the rifugios along the way, there are three in total offering all sorts of snacks, food and beverages and enjoy the view.

We arrived back to the campsite after 4 + hours of walking, around 7.45pm as the sun was beginning to set over the mountain.


Tip: Pack plenty of water and some snacks, and pack for all weather. We had mainly sun but the weather was very changeable at times.


Overnight stop: Tre Cime di Lavaredo parking lot within the National park. (where the hike starts) included within entry price as long as you leave within 24 hours of ticket purchased.


Tuscany

Day 8

Bologna

We went to Bologna for one thing only, pasta! Bologna is pretty much a foodie heaven, it is on the way to Florence and so it is an easy overnight stop. Stop at Osteria Del’Orsa to try their spaghetti bolognese, and wonder Bologna's Piazza Maggiore which is full of medieval buildings, and beautiful cafes and restaurants that line the cobbled streets.

Bologna City Centre

Day 9

Florence


There is plenty to do in Florence to keep you busy, it feels like a mini Rome, most likely down to it once being a Roman city. Florence is known to be one of the most historical and cultural cities in the world, and is home to some of the most incredible museums and art galleries. Places like the Duomo di Firenze and Uffizi gallery attracts over 13 million tourists each year.


Visit the Duomo di Firenze

It is impossible to miss the sensational cathedral in Florence that towers right smack bang in the middle of the city. It is absolutely breathtaking from every angle, and in our personal opinion, it has to be our favourite Duomo of Italy. You can take a walk around inside for free, however there is often a line during the summer to enter. For the other attractions including the dome, bell tower and museum, you will need to purchase a ticket which costs 18 EUR per person and will be valid for 72 hours.

To climb to the top of the Duomo in Florence – all 463 steps, you will need to purchase a Duomo Complex ticket and ask for a reservation which will be given at a specific date/time – this will be at a different entrance.


Enjoy an Aperol Spritz

It is a wonderful city to relax and enjoy an Aperol Spritz, there are many gorgeous cobbled streets not far from the main square where it is possible to find cheap spritz during happy hour (3 EUR) It is a perfect afternoon to grab a cheese board and just watch the world go by.


Other worthy spots to take a few snaps include the Ponte Vecchio Bridge and the Piazzale di Michaelangelo also made famous in the Eat, Pray, Love movie.


Overnight stop: Poggio ai Pini campground, 30 EUR/night for 2 persons including electricity


Day 10

San Gimignano, Siena

Leave the campsite and drive to San Gimignano (45 mins drive). San Gimignano feels like a movie set, it’s cobbled streets, gorgeous alley ways and stone architecture is perfect. The town itself is pretty small, and can easily walk around in under an hour. For our full day in San Gimignano and Siena click here.

San Gimignano centre

Stop at Vernaccia di San Gimignano Wine Experience La Rocca for views over Tuscany, you can even do a little wine tasting here or just take a seat and bask in the landscape. The church bells are a dream, and slices of calzone pizza were mouth-wateringly delicious, at only 3 EUR a slice. Bargain!

Head to Siena for the afternoon, we felt it had a similar feel to San Gimignano but on a bigger scale. The town is larger and parking is a little harder in a campervan, park just 1 min walk from the Vista Panoramica de Siena only a 15 minute walk to the Duomo di Siena. Parking co-ordinates: N43°19'10" E11°19'23" (copy this into google maps)

Visit the Piazza del Campo where the Torre Del Mangia stands tall. The Duomo di Siena is absolutely breathtaking, and known as the zebra Duomo due to its zebra stripes in the interior of the cathedral.


Overnight stop - Co-ordinates for where we parked: N42°38'50" E11°31'2"

We parked at the side of the road close to Saturnia as there are no camp spots close by. We had no problems, however park here at your own risk.


Day 11-13

Saturnia Di Terme, Tuscan wineries & Cinque Terre

Saturnia Di Terme

Wake up for sunrise and visit the famous Terme Di Saturnia that dates back 3,000 years! The eye-watering blue thermal pools that are naturally 38 degrees in temperature, and surprisingly, a pretty pleasant dip even in the hot summer months.

Visiting the thermal pools is free, and though some will tell you this is Italy’s best kept secret, arriving at 5.30am to find bathers already in the pools was a bit of a shock! Nevertheless, it is an interesting visit and a unique experience with the pools at a constant natural warm temperature.

Tuscan Winery

Next, head for a Tuscan winery experience for the rest of the morning. The Tuscan region is well known for good wine and primarily uses sangiovese grape, a perfect place to try a good bottle of red. We decided on Roccapesta winery. Opt for the private wine tour and tasting costing 25 EUR per person, a fantastic couple of hours where you'll learn about the vines, and the process from vine all the way to bottling and labelling. There are many other winery options to choose from in the area.

Drive to Cinque Terre in the afternoon, it is common to stay in either La Spezia or Levanto using this as a base to explore the rest of the Cinque Terre towns. We wouldn’t recommend trying to explore this town by car, the streets are extremely narrow and best explored by foot or by train. We decided to be based in Levanto as there are more campsite options to choose from.

Arriving late evening, settle at the campsite and explore the small town of Levanto, grab a bite to eat down near the beach where there are many restaurants and bars to choose from. Check out Foccacceria Dome for delicious pizza, there are a few tables outside to eat, however it seemed the ‘thing to do’ was takeaway and eat by the seafront, which is exactly what we did!

Overnight stop: Camping Pian di Picche, 30 EUR /2 people per night including electricity.


Day 11

Vernazza, Riomaggiore, Manarola, Monterosso al Mare


It is entirely possible to visit all towns in a day, each town is just a 5 minute stop from each other making it extremely convenient to hop on and off the train. Spend the morning in Vernazza, exploring the quaint town and take a walk to the viewpoint through the back cobbled streets (there are signs to the viewpoint from the seafront)

Vernazza, Cinque Terre

On to Riomaggiore for a dip in the ocean and then enjoy lunch avoiding the midday heat. But sunset is best enjoyed at Manarola as the lighting is perfect to capture some beautiful photos. Nessun Dorma is a very popular spot for an Aperol Spritz, the queues can get very long and so we decided to enjoy the sunset down on the rocks.

Manarola

Just in time to make it for dinner at Monterosso al Mare, we recommend eating at Ristorante Moretti.

There is time to fit Corniglia in during the day, be aware it is not as easily accessible as the other four towns as you'll need to either walk or catch the tram up into the town from the train station.


Overnight stop: Camping Pian di Picche, 30 EUR /2 people per night.


Day 12

Enjoy a lazy day at the beach, the best and most sandiest beach in Cinque Terre is Monterosso al Mare, a very typically Italian and picturesque spot, and almost opposite from the train station. There are some great and easily accessible lunch spots just opposite the beach.

Monterosso al Mare

Overnight stop: Camping Pian di Picche, 30 EUR /2 people per night.


Day 13

Portofino

Transport yourself to a 1950's Italian movie set up by taking a trip to Portofino. Taking a walk around the harbour is a sight itself with countless yachts and beautiful houses. Enjoy a cappuccino in the square and take a walk up to the church that overlooks the harbour. There isn't a huge amount to do in Portofino, but we guess that is the point, taking it slow, soaking up the view and enjoying a spritz is exactly what you're meant to do.

Overnight stop: Camping Rapallo, 32 EUR/2 persons for campervan & electricity


Day 14

Milan

Driving from Portofino to Milan will take around 3 hours. Parking in Milan can be a little difficult with a campervan, the further out of the centre you travel, the more affordable the rate becomes, there is also public parking in downtown Milan which costs in the region of $5 per hour. Two of the best things to do in Milan include visiting the Duomo di Milano and Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II.

Enjoy a late morning coffee at a cafe like Taveggia, then head for the Piazza Del Duomo (the Duomo square) and see the world's largest Gothic Cathedral. Head to the top (by the lift) for impressive views, and then onto the Galleria for a window shop.

Only moments from the Cathedral is the Castello Sforzesco (Sforza Castle) which is home to several museums. Or, if you're short on time, head straight for the world famous 'The Last Supper' located at the Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie.


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