Northern Italy is a very fascinating destination, dominated by River Po, which crosses the whole Padan Plain, flowing from the Alps to the Adriatic Sea. In the North of Italy, there are some of the most important cities, which influenced Italian culture and contributed to shaping it.
A road trip to Northern Italy is a unique experience, a way to understand this part of the country and the regions, very similar but also very different from each other.
In this article, you will find a suggested itinerary for discovering Northern Italy, the main stops of the road trip that will make you fall in love with this part of the peninsula.
Start: Torino, Piedmont
Torino, the Savoy city, is the starting point of your trip to Northern Italy. The city is well-connected thanks to the airport and two train stations, so it won’t be difficult for you to reach it. Two days are enough to enjoy this beautiful city and get into the Turinese spirit.
Torino is very fascinating, with Mole Antonelliana overlooking the palaces and the Alps in the background. Mole is the symbol of the city, a mandatory stop for those visiting Torino. It hosts the National Museum of Cinema, the only one in Italy dedicated to this art and one of the most prestigious in the world. In addition to that, Torino also hosts the Egyptian Museum, the second most important in the whole world after the one in Cairo.
Moreover, a walk among the streets of the city is a must-do, you will discover the wonderful squares hosting magnificent monuments. Among those, you can visit Piazza San Carlo, which has long been the cultural, political, and social center of Torino. You will find the twin churches, which are next to each other and very similar in their structure and architecture.
Torino is also the city of aperitivo, since this tradition originated here and has become an important part of everyday life. You also have to taste the Piedmont specialties, such as bagna cauda, vitello tonnato, and, obviously, the fine wine of Langhe, Roero and Monferrato.
If you are looking for a place to stay, we will be happy to host you in our authentic homes in Torino.
Second stop: Liguria
From Torino, it will be easy for you to go to Liguria: the regions are very close and well connected, around two hours away from Genova. We suggest you stay at least three days in Liguria so that you can take your time to visit Genova as well as swim in the turquoise Ligurian sea. Since you can stay in this city, and visit the surrounding areas, we will be happy to host you in our homes in Genova.
Genova, the main city of Liguria, is a very fascinating city, rich in history and traditions. It was an ancient Maritime Republic, so it has a strong connection with the sea, which influenced the development of the city and the culture. In Genova, you will have the opportunity to walk among the carruggi, the typical alleys of the historical center, hiding artisan shops, restaurants, and beautiful squares. In addition to that, the Old Harbor is another fascinating area, with the architecture of Renzo Piano, who was born in Genova and paid tribute to his hometown. Lastly, the aquarium of Genova is the biggest in Europe and it absolutely deserves a visit.
Apart from Genova, we suggest you also visit Camogli and Portofino, two gems set on the Ligurian coast. They are close to each other, so you can spend the morning swimming in the turquoise waters of Camogli and in the afternoon walking among the chic streets of Portofino.
Among the Ligurian specialties you must taste, there are pesto and the delicious focaccia.
Third stop: Bologna
From Genova, in three hours you will get to Bologna, another important city in Northern Italy, the main one in the Emilia Romagna region.
Bologna is a very dynamic and young city, but it also has a very ancient history and well-rooted traditions. Walking through the historical center of Bologna is the best way to get to know the Bolognese spirit, under the many arcades filling the streets. In fact, Bologna is the city with the longest arcade in the world. You will have the opportunity to find the two towers, one of Garisenda and Asinelli, two of the symbols of the city. If you go to the top of the Asinelli Tower, you will admire the beautiful view of Bologna from above, with its red palaces and the hills around. Near the two towers, you will also find Piazza del Nettuno, with the characteristic statue of Neptune at the center. Basilica of San Petronio is another monument to visit, as it has a peculiar facade, in gothic style, which is still incomplete.
Don’t forget to visit Archiginnasio, one of the buildings of the University of Bologna, the oldest in the world, as well as Pinacoteca Nazionale, where important artworks are kept.
Food lovers won’t be disappointed in Bologna. It is often called the fat, due to the specialties that are very representative of Italian cuisine, such as lasagne, ragù, mortadella, and tortellini.
Last stop: relax on Garda
From Bologna, you will find it easy to reach Lake Garda: it only takes around two hours. It’s the biggest lake in Italy, so there are many cities overlooking it. In this guide, we suggest you stay in Sirmione only because it’s the most popular town, but you can also choose another town to stay in Lake Garda. You can also take a look at our homes, we will be happy to have you as our guest.
Relax and take it easy. Lake Garda is famous for its thermal baths, which have different healing properties and all come from different sources of water. It has been a popular destination for thermal baths since Roman times, as there are many villas on the shores.
In addition to relaxing, you can also take a walk in the streets of Sirmione, which is considered the pearl of Garda, due to its beauty. It is located on a peninsula, which makes it very suggestive. Sirmione has medieval charm, as it is a network of alleys where walking is delightful. You can also visit the Caves of Catullo, an ancient Roman villa, and the Scaligero Castle.
Now you just have to pack your things and leave to discover Northern Italy!