Best way to see italy for the first time
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Italy is all beautiful. Of course, it is! On our peninsula, you can travel by plane and train, but not everywhere with the same ease. The beauty of the Italian regions lies in the great cities of art, in the variety of landscapes, in the presence of villages and fortified hamlets, which make every panorama more poetic. So, which is the best way to see Italy for the first time?
A road trip, on 2 or 4 (it doesn't matter) wheels to discover even the most hidden places of our Bel Paese. Italy on the road is an adventure to do at least once in your life.
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Things to know before traveling to italy
I am lucky enough to move a lot in Italy: getting to know my country is fundamental for me. Very often I took the plane, to reach the islands, or I moved with the high-speed train, especially to reach the big cities: Turin, Milan, Rome, Florence, and Bologna (where you should spend some day). Here you can find some tips to visit Italy by train while saving money.
Many other times, it is much more convenient to move around in the car. In some cases, because there was no other suitable solution, sometimes because I like to do so.
In the next paragraph, I will suggest some itineraries related to places I have visited for several days. Before that, however, I want to give you some useful advice: car trips are thrilling but require a little more preparation. Here are my suggestions:
Before you go any further, keep in mind that the plug adapters in Italy are different than most of the plug adapters used around the world so make sure to get one. A cheaper one like this will do its work.
Which regions fit for a trip road?
Visiting Italy for the first time can be overwhelming because there is too much to see, and one could not know where to start.
I have said it from the beginning: every Italian area should be visited by car because it is freer and less conditioned by the times and the offer of public or private transport. On the other hand, there are some regions of Italy that lend themselves to road trips.
Sicily and Sardinia
The first are Sicily and Sardinia, which I prefer to reach by plane: in about one hour you are on the islands, then take the car and leave for your adventure.
They are also very extensive, which is why a road trip must be carefully studied, in detail. Sicily has an immense cultural heritage: large cities should be visited. The first is Palermo. If you haven't read my post yet, at Lovin Italy, there is a complete travel guide of Palermo. However, the small Sicilian towns are not negligible.
Just think of Taormina, from which you can reach, in a few minutes by car, the Gorges of Alcantara; to Trezza and Aci Castello, in the surroundings of Catania, and Noto, a pearl of the Sicilian Baroque.
Planning a road trip in Sardinia is not easy: here too I would have liked to see every beach, every island, all the coastal and internal villages. It's an impossible task at once. Do you want a bit of impartial advice? Treat yourself many days of travel or concentrate on an area in particular: the north is better known, but I guarantee you there is no corner of Sardinia that is not worth visiting.
Returning enthusiastically from the excursion to the archipelago of La Maddalena, I was very impressed by the variety of activities to do and things to see in the Gulf of Orosei, in the center of the east coast. That is authentic Sardinia!
Driving from east to west (or vice versa) is the best thing to do, simple as that. You can go from Portofino and Santa Margherita Ligure to Genoa. The latter is not a city with which I have a particular feeling, but it is still one of the most significant Italian historical towns.
In Savona, you have to go to taste the farinata, which here is baked in the wood-burning oven, just like the pizza. Then you can proceed gradually towards the Italian border, touching the most famous places, such as Alassio and Sanremo, but also those less obvious, but very pretty: I think of Campo Ligure, Finale Ligure, Noli, and Borgio Verezzi.
A beautiful on the road trip will bring you to the unique landscapes of Tuscany: I would watch them for hours! There is a clarification: some of the major Tuscan cities can be reached by train. Florence is the main junction, in fact from here you can take the train to Lucca, Pistoia, and then Pisa, the bus to go to Siena and, I think, also to some other towns.
On the other hand, there are those small places you can't miss: one of them is San Gimignano. All right, it can be reached without a car, but if you want to spend the afternoon in Certaldo, a lively city, and a quiet evening in Monteriggioni, sipping Chianti and looking at a starry sky to take your breath away? What if I wanted to have dinner with Fiorentina and spaghetti all' Elbana in Colle Val d'Elsa?
Unfortunately, visit Basilicata without a car is almost impossible. Fortunately, however, it is a region that can satisfy everyone's tastes: lovers of the sea and the mountains, lakes and extreme sports, wine, and good food.
You can pass through the lakes of Monticchio, make a stop in Matera, an Italian city that must be seen once in a lifetime. Then proceed to the west, heading towards the Basilicata Dolomites and, only after having seen Castelmezzano and Pietrapertosa, you can descend towards the sea: Maratea is one of the best-known centers of Basilicata, only that everyone believes it is in Calabria! Misunderstandings aside, here the sea is beautiful and the beaches very relaxing.