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    Italy's most amazing drives

    If you're a keen motorist, you'll no doubt be aware that Europe offers some absolutely amazing drives. Italy, in particular, boasts a great selection - think everything from lofty mountain passes to stunning coastal roads. So, if you're itching to get behind the wheel this summer, Italy is definitely the country to head to.

    To ensure you spend the bulk of your trip driving along the roads that actually interest you, rather than simply getting from A to B, it makes the most sense to fly to Italy and then hire a car at the airport. This way, you strike the perfect balance between getting to your chosen destination in good time, and spending your holiday enjoying the freedom of the open road.

    To help you decide where to go on your Italian driving adventure, we have put together a list of three of the country's finest roads and routes. Each has something very different to offer, with the first providing mountain views that are sublime and dramatic in equal measure (as well as some distinctly challenging driving!), the second unbeatable coastal views and the third the chance to explore the glorious vistas of Tuscany.Hopefully, these will provide you with more than enough inspiration to start planning your driving adventure in Italy.

    The Stelvio Pass

    Our first suggestion is driving over the Stelvio Pass, which is widely regarded to be one of the most exciting and dramatic mountain passes in the European Alps, as well as being among the most thrilling to drive. With the pass located at an elevation of 2,757 m and the route to it being riddled with switchback turns, this road is perfect if you're looking for both a challenge and a little excitement.Before we take a closer look at what the route entails, however, it is worth pointing out that this is an extremely popular drive, which means the road can get very busy. So, it's a good idea to employ a number of tactics to beat the rush. The first is simply to travel outside of peak season (July and August), when the route can become clogged with tourists. The second is to drive it during the week rather than the weekend, for obvious reasons. Thirdly, reach the road as early in the morning as you can - this is another of the most reliable ways to beat the crowds.Returning our focus to the route itself, it is best approached from the north-west, simply because this will lead you up the pass's set of 48 switchback turns - it is these for which the route is particularly famous. Each turn is marked by a number, so you can count them as you go up.

    The Amalfi Coast

    Boasting UNESCO World Heritage status, the Amalfi Coast is widely regarded as the most scenic coastline in Italy. Its corniche roads make for some of the nation's finest driving experiences, with narrow, winding roads combining with spectacular views to create an absolutely unforgettable result.If you're interested in driving the Amalfi Coast, it's a good idea to begin in Salerno, simply as this is the most easily accessible entry point. From here, follow the A3 and then switch on to the SS163 at Vietri sul Mare to start enjoying those sweeping coastline views that make this area so famous.What's particularly nice about driving along the Amalfi Coast is that there are so many charming villages and towns to call in at along the way, as well as excellent viewing points where you can stop and admire the vistas.Among the most notable places is little Ravello, which is a truly lovely small town. With a distinctly romantic ambience, Ravello is a place of glorious coastal views, verdant gardens and historic buildings - a combination that few can fail to fall in love with.Other places to include on your itinerary are Amalfi, which is a very popular tourist town and a great place to enjoy the seafront, and Positano, a lovely little village. If you have time, you might also want to take a small detour in the form of a hike in the hills above Amalfi. Called the Valle dei Mulini, these hills are an excellent spot to enjoy the coast's rural charm.

    Tuscany - Siena to Grosseto

    The verdant landscape of Tuscany is another wonderful area to drive around, and you'll find that this region is crisscrossed with excellent routes to explore. One option particularly worth considering is a round trip between Siena and Grosseto, which can be tackled in a day.A fantastic choice for drivers keen to see a bit more of southern Tuscany, it sets out from Siena on the SS73 on a route through wild-looking countryside, which will soon lead you to San Galgano. Well worth stopping at, San Galgano is an open-roofed Gothic abbey that cannot fail to impress. What's more, the church above it actually houses a sword in the stone, which, so the story goes, Saint Galgano thrust into the rock himself. And whether or not you believe that story, it's certainly a very atmospheric place.Continue on to the village of Montepescali and then Vetulonia, before completing the first half of your trip by arriving in historic Grosseto. From here, you'll have two main driving options - take the A-road straight back to Siena, or go the longer route via the charming town of Montalcino - an option that rewards you with particularly spectacular views.

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