There is a true love story between Italians and their cars, amid the thunderous horns and legendary brands, known worldwide for their sophisticated elegance and the power of their engines.
Give yourself the pleasure of driving the roads of Verona and the beautiful Lake District to the famous Great Dolomites Road. While beautiful vistas parade by in your rearview mirror, you will have an opportunity to take a more authentic look at these Italian Alpine regions, from a cultural and gastronomic point of view, far from the busy capitals and summer crowds.
Verona, in the footsteps of Romeo and Juliet
The departure point of your road trip to the Dolomites, Verona is famous for being the mythical city of Shakespeare’s lovers. But it is also an ancient city full of historic and architectural treasures. You’ll enjoy making your first stop there.
Visiting Verona gives you the chance to travel through time, from ancient Roman ruins to fortifications that date from the medieval period and the monumental perspectives of the Renaissance. From the squares of the city centre where the picturesque vegetable market meets the great palaces, see the sights of Verona: the majestic Piazza dei Seignori (Lords’ Square), the bustling Piazza delle Erbe (built on the ancient Roman Forum), the fortified bridges over the Adige and the must-see balcony of Juliet’s House.
Probably one of the most beautiful cities of the Veneto, Verona is inscribed as a World Heritage Site because of its urban structure and architecture, and you’ll understand why after you spend your first day there.
Also, before returning to your rental car and heading towards the Lakes road, don’t miss out on tasting the local specialities: potato gnocchi, polenta or the famous salami risotto.
On the road to Lake Garda
Lake Garda is one of the most popular road getaways for tourists, who are delighted to enjoy the perfect climate and idyllic sites that are reflected in the clear waters of the largest lake in Italy. Ride along the shores of this huge lake and go across 3 Italian provinces, Veneto, Lombardy and Trentino-Alto Adige, over 50 kilometres.
Landscapes pass before your eyes, as diverse as those of Valpolicella vineyards, Gargnano lemon and olive trees, iconic Mediterranean vegetation and the Mount Baldo massif, accessible by cable car for a breath-taking view of the lake. During your journey, don’t skip certain essential stops along the coastal road.
First, take the time to visit the Roman ruins on the Sirmione peninsula, a touristy and lively little town located on a promontory surrounded by water, where the singer Maria Callas liked to come to relax. Exploring the South by car also allows you to take a break on the “Olive Coast”, where the seaside resort of Bardolino is located, combining cultural discoveries, relaxation on the beach and wine-making culture. On national motorway 572, discover the real little corners of paradise, like the elegant seaside resort of Salò or Gardone Riviera, which houses the Vittoriale estate, the jewel of Lake Garda.
Along the road, you alternate between the pleasure of driving on the wide roads in the southern hills and one that climbs narrow winding paths lined with steep rocks, that lead north .
Keep your foot light on the accelerator so you can enjoy the view of the mountains that slope down to the lake, alternating the visit from the pretty villages to the stop-offs in more hidden areas, or give yourself a break in an osteria, a typical bar where you can taste the famous Prosecco and Spritz, or in a trattoria, which offers delicious menus with local products.
End your tour by rolling up to Riva del Garda, at the northern end of the lake. You’ll forget how cool the weather is because of the beauty of the landscapes and historical sites. This is the ultimate stop on your road trip around Lake Garda, where the Great Dolomites Road begins.
Stop in Bolzano
Leave behind the winding road that runs along the shores of Lake Garda, and mingle with the ballet of cars that lead to Bolzano, the capital of Alto-Adige, a hot spot for trade between Italian provinces and Germanic regions. Additionally, the most used language here is German.
More than a winter sports resort popular with enthusiasts, Bolzano is the gateway to the famous Dolomites Natural Park, one of the most beautiful natural sites in Italy and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Dolomites massif is a chain of rocky mountains, also known as Monti Pallidi (Pale Mountains), because of the white limestone that makes them up. This geological gem offers a panorama that is unique in the world, on a succession of steep mountain summits, rocky cliffs and glaciers across several provinces.
On nice days, you will encounter lush vegetation, and among other things, a number of vineyards and orchards. You’ll find the typical flavours of this opulent nature in the regional cuisine that blends the traditions of Central Europe and the Mediterranean coast. Developed traditionally, speck is a delicious, high quality, smoked ham protected by a PGI label, and similarly the new wine, including AOC varieties Lagrein and Santa Maddalena give off aromas that are internationally recogniced and uncomparable.
Arrival in Cortina d’Ampezzo via the Great Dolomites Road
To go back to Veneto from the Adige region by car, always save the Great Dolomites Road in your GPS, which the famous architect Le Corbusier referred to as the “most beautiful architecture in the world”.
In fact, you can choose another route to complete your road Italian trip, other than this magnificent panoramic road, with more than 100 kilometres of breath-taking landscapes that stretch from east to west.
Allow several hours to drive through the narrow lanes and steep canyons to Lake Karersee, favoured by Empress Sissi as a vacation spot, particularly renowned for its clear green and blue waters where the mountains are reflected. From there, you can go on some of the most beautiful alpine hikes, and even if you aren’t a big hiker, you won’t be able to resist the panoramas offered by this unique mountain massif, classified as a UNESCO World Heritage site.
And those who love driving in the mountains will be able to experience the soul of a rally driver. : indulge in the many hairpin turns that cross mountain passes and valleys of pine trees to the finish line, in Cortina d’Ampezzo, the elegant winter sports resort dear to Italians as well as tourists.