The beautiful country of Italy has much to recommend it, particularly its cuisine, rolling countryside and the azure-blue waters lapping its coastline. It is also a brilliant year-round holiday destination - you can go skiing in its Alps during the winter months, enjoy city breaks in the spring, hit its sun-soaked coastal resorts over the summer and wander round the cultural highlights of places like Florence and Venice when the leaves start to fall.
If you want to take in as much as possible of the Mediterranean nation, consider planning a road trip. You can start out in the north and make your way to various pit-stops along the way, ending up in the ancient city of Naples. Read on to find more tips on plotting your route.
Start in Milan
Flights from the UK to Milan take less than two hours, so you can be picking up your Auto Europe hire car from the airport and setting off on your road trip in no time at all. The city is famous for its fashion industry and you can spot the biggest brand names as you walk through the Quadrilatero della moda (fashion quarter). Via Monte Napoleone is the most stylist street in this district and is home to several fashion house headquarters, including homegrown talent Gucci. The road itself traces the Roman city walls that were erected by Emperor Maximian. Other highlights in this wonderful city are its vast gothic Duomo (cathedral), the Santa Maria delle Grazie church housing da Vinci's iconic Last Supper painting, and the nearby Lake Como.
Take the A1 to Pisa
About two and three-quarter hours from Milan lies the Romanesque city of Pisa, most famous for its leaning tower. It was built in the 12th century and started listing to one side 12 years later. Ever since, architects and engineers have worked to correct the subsistence but its lopsided nature has given the tower a special charm that lures in millions of tourists each year. For the best vantage point, head to Porta Nuova and take lots of pictures. Other sights to see in Pisa are the Duomo, the Baptistry and Camposanto.
Skim the coast on the SS1 to Rome
Ah, Roma. Capital of Italy, centre of the ancient Roman empire, epitome of all things style and class. Its Coliseum, Pantheon, Forum and self-contained Vatican make the Eternal City an amazing place to visit for a cultural break. Make sure you spend some time drinking in the atmosphere at the Trevi Fountain, eat an ice-cream on the Spanish Steps and catch the sun in the Piazza Farnese.
Continue on the A1 to Naples
Our last stop on our tour of Italy is the city of Naples, known as an historic gem because of its UNESCO World Heritage status. Climb to the roof of the Castel Nuovo ('New Castle'), a mediaeval fortress that boasts an art gallery focusing on 19th century Italian art and city-wide views from the top, before heading to the world's biggest Roman architectural museum in the form of the Museo Archeologico Nazionale.