Italy—where cars are fast, drivers are skillful, and the food and wine is among the best in the world. Is it any wonder the country that gave us Lamborghini, Ferrari, and Maserati is one of the most exciting places on earth for a driving adventure?
If you're looking for something more than a basic sightseeing trip to Italy this year, why not get behind the wheel of your favourite exotic luxury car and spend five days experiencing the incredible sights and flavours of northern Italy?
The driver's seat of a Lamborghini is the perfect way to explore the Italian Alps. Check out our top 10 experiences along the route from Milan to Lake Como.
1. Welcome to Milano, where the art of aperitivo is perfected.
Forget happy hour with its noisy, crowded bars, greasy appetisers, and watered-down drinks. Aperitivo in true Milanese style is a far more civilised and satisfying experience.
Rumour has it that aperitivo began in Milan in the 1780s when Gaspare Campari, of the eponymous apéritif, offered his herbaceous, slightly bitter beverage as the perfect pre-dinner drink to whet the appetite and aid digestion.
Today, Milan is the cultural capital of aperitivo, the best place to enjoy cocktails, charcuterie, and tasty morsels from your favourite rooftop bar. Sip wine, prosecco, or a classic negroni or Aperol spritz—or if you're feeling a true Italian vibe, go native and try the bitter amaro.
2. Long straights, tight chicanes—feast your eyes on the Monza, home of the Italian Grand Prix.
Just half an hour north of Milan is Italy's most iconic Formula One track. Monza, known as the “Temple of Speed” to F1 fans, is Ferrari country, home to the Italian Grand Prix, a race Enzo Ferrari called THE Grand Prix.
The 70-year-old Monza/Ferrari partnership resulted in an unheard-of 19 wins for the scarlet-livered Team Ferrari, by far the most successful here.
Although Team Ferrari hasn't won at Monza since 2010 (and suffered a stunning upset in 2017 to Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes), the devoted Ferrari tifosi will be pulling for a home-team win in September.
3. Compare the track-ready versions of Ferrari and Lamborghini in the ultimate Italian supercar showdown.
Start your day with a tour of the Ferrari Museum in Maranello and experience the “prancing horse dream” first-hand. Hop into the cockpit of a Formula One simulator and get a feel for driving in the Grand Prix.
From there, head to a private track for your turn at the wheel of a Ferrari 458 Challenge Car and a Lamborghini Super Trofeo. After a bit of private driving instruction from professional drivers, you'll put your skills to the test in these two supercars on a circuit just outside Maranello.
4. Get to know the famous Bardolino wine region at a Michelin-starred restaurant at Villa Cordevigo.
Bardolino wines are native to the Lake Garda region of northern Italy—bright, fruity, with a nose like Beaujolais, these wines are prized for their subtle flavour profile.
You can sample them and enjoy a decadent tasting menu at Ristorante Oseleta, the Michelin-starred restaurant at Villa Cordevigo, an 18th century wine relais in the heart of Veneto.
Enjoy a night in the sumptuous period settings of this grand estate—and don't forget to taste some of the other regional wines. You won't want to miss the intensely fragrant Luganas, the chewy, full-bodied Valpolicellas, and the refined, herbaceous Custozas.
5. Compare the autostrada and the alps in the Dolomites region at the wheel of a Lamborghini Huracan.
The Dolomites, Italy's achingly gorgeous mountains north of Venice, are laced with roads to tempt any driver. The Grande Strada delle Dolomiti is saturated with scenic views and alpine passes you've only ever dreamed of driving.
Lush, vine-covered hills, snow-capped mountains, and twists and turns to engage all your senses.
From the cockpit of your Lamborghini Huracan, the aggressively well-mannered replacement for the Gallardo, you'll feel the lunge of the 600-horsepower V10 as you traverse the mountain passes and brisk climbs.
6. Recharge your batteries at an exclusive 17th century hunting lodge in the heart of South Tyrol.
After a gorgeous day driving, unwind at Castel Fragsburg, an opulent 5-star hotel in the heart of the Dolomites with panoramic views of the Merano valley. Waterfalls, lakes, forests, and vineyards—the Castel is where the Empress Sissi of Austria took her holidays.
Enjoy a massage at the hotel's award winning spa before dinner at the hotel's Michelin Starred restaurant. Crispy suckling pig, lobster and foie gras, exquisite alpine cheeses all perfectly paired with regional wines by the house sommelier. It's a perfect way to unwind and prepare yourself for the next day's drive.
7. Zip along Italy's Prosecco Road and sample sublime bubbly.
a href='https://www.cntraveler.com/stories/2015-07-13/a-guide-to-italy-prosecco-road'>La Strada del Prosecco is lined with charming family-run vineyards crafting Veneto's best-known wine. Unlike Champagne, which is a regional grape and a process of fermentation, Prosecco is simply a grape—although one that is at its best in this mountainous region.
Many of the vineyards here are set in such steep cliffs, they can only be worked by hand. The roads here are equally steep and narrow, with breathtaking views of the vine-covered hills. If you can only stop for one tasting, don't miss Garbara, a five-generation vintner near the famous Prosecco region of Cartizze.
8. Master the five stations of the Timmelsjoch experience in a McLaren.
Timmelsjoch, the highest pass in the Eastern Alps, reaches altitudes of 2500 meters and features 60 shiver-inducing bends with incredible views of the Ötzal Pass and the Italian Tyrol. It's a dream drive in your McLaren supercar.
Visit the five stations for a complete experience—the 10-meter footpath overlooking Ötzal Nature Park, the Smuggler cube, the Pass Museum, the telescope over Texel Nature Park, and the Garnet, a viewing station over South Tyrol. Considered one of the most spectacular drives in the world, it's a great precursor to tomorrow's adventure, Stelvio Pass.
9. Stelvio Pass—48 switchbacks on the “world's greatest driving road” over the Eastern Alps.
Stelvio earned its reputation when Top Gear's Jeremy Clarkson named it the “world's best” in 2008. Beginning in an alpine forest and snaking through Tyrolean villages and some of the most dramatic mountain scenery in Europe, Stelvio's rapid ascents and hair-raising switchbacks are made for courageous drivers.
Driving it is nothing short of exhilarating—climbs to over 9,000 feet with tight and sometimes dangerous curves engage every sense.
10. Spend the night in a 19th century villa on the shores of Lake Como.
CastaDiva, the latest hotel in almost a century on Lake Como, is the former home of Giuditta Pasta, a world-famous soprano and consort of Vincenzo Bellini. An underground spa and a floating pool are just two of its most memorable features.
Perhaps its most sought-after experience, however, is dinner at Ristorante Orangerie, a spectacular restaurant helmed by world-renowned chef Massimiliano Mandozzi. You'll enjoy season, modern Italian cuisine unparalleled views of Lake Como.
Ready to drive?
If Italy is calling your name this year—and you're ready for your turn at the wheel of the country's most iconic marques—get in touch today and let's make it happen.