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Live like a local

An exhilarating road trip from Milan to Rome

March 09, 2022

Taking to the 600km/373 mile road from Milan to Rome is a once in a lifetime experience, where Italy in all its glory slowly unwinds before you. Here, we explore the spirit of Italy on four wheels.

Starting in Milan

Stretch your legs before setting off from Hotel Principe di Savoia to catch the sunrise glinting off Milan Cathedral’s flying buttresses and statues of saints and martyrs. If you look closely at the stonework, you’ll spot faces depicting conductor Toscanini and writer Dante. As the city awakes, take your time to view Leonardo da Vinci’s ‘The Last Supper’ in the church of Santa Maria delle Grazie, before escaping the crowds with a stroll to Casa degli Atellani, a 15th century former residence with a garden and vineyard visited by da Vinci.

Milan Cathedral, Piazza del Duomo, 20122 Milan
Santa Maria delle Grazie, Piazza di Santa Maria delle Grazie, 20123 Milan
Casa degli Atellani, Corso Magenta 65, 20123 Milan

First stop: Parma

One and a half hours’ drive south of Milan is Parma, renowned for Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and its Romanesque cathedral. Hiding in its shadow, you’ll find the lesser-known San Giovanni Evangelista church, with its elaborate Baroque façade and soaring campanile. Take a look inside to catch a glimpse of its cupola by Correggio, depicting St John floating in a red sky. Around the corner, you’ll find Antica Spezieria, or Old Pharmacy, where monks made medicinal potions until the end of the 19th century. Before continuing on to Bologna, treat yourself to a pistachio gelato at Banchini.

San Giovanni Evangelista, Piazzale San Giovanni 1, 43121 Parma
Antica Spezieria, Borgo Pipa 1, 43121 Parma
Banchini, Via La Spezia 121, 43125 Parma


Next stop: Bologna

The capital of Emilia-Romagna, Bologna, is best known for its university and cuisine. Stroll through Piazza Maggiore to admire the brick Basilica of San Petronio, unfinished since the 16th century. Pass by Piazza del Nettuno, adjacent to the piazza, to catch a glimpse of its intricate statue and fountain dedicated to Neptune, before meandering along Via Clavature to Mercato di Mezzo, where you’ll be lured by fragrant pies baked in a wood-fired oven and handmade tortelloni. For an authentic Bolognese lunch, owner Daniele Minarelli will welcome you at All’Osteria Bottega with plates of Parmesan aubergine or tagliatelle with salami.

Basilica of San Petronio, Piazza Galvani 5, 40124 Bologna
Mercato di Mezzo, Via Clavature 12, 40124 Bologna
All’Osteria Bottega, Via Santa Caterina 51, 40123 Bologna

Unforgettable Florence

In less than two hours’ drive you’re in the cradle of the Renaissance, Florence. Wander down narrow, cobbled streets and across squares such as Piazza San Giovanni opposite the city’s decorative marble cathedral, and enjoy an espresso on the terrace of Rivoire, with a view of Palazzo Vecchio, the town hall. The city’s oldest bridge and jewellery mecca, Ponte Vecchio, is a few minutes’ walk away, while the nearby picturesque street, Borgo San Jacopo, offers a relaxing hiatus from the crowds with scenic views of the river and palaces.

Rivoire, Piazza della Signoria 5/R, 50122 Florence
Ponte Vecchio, 50125 Florence


Home to Rome

Your final stop, Rome, is best experienced from the upper floors of the Colosseum, in all of its 360-degree magnificence. Visitors can now explore the underground passageways of the world’s largest ampitheatre, and visualise where gladiators and wild beasts once prowled. Later, take a less tourist-trodden path and head to the nearby Roman Forum where you’ll find the Temple of Antoninus and Faustina, constructed by Emperor Pius in 141 AD. Just five minutes’ walk away, Crab is a romantic restaurant with velvet chairs and striking artwork. It serves classic seafood tagliolini and tortellini with fish, prawns and cherry tomatoes.

Colosseum, Piazza del Colosseo 1, 00184 Rome
Crab, Via Capo d’Africa 2, 00184 Rome

If you’re ready for a memorable road trip, our concierges at Hotel Principe di Savoia in Milan and Hotel Eden.

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