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Help for first trip

Heading to Italy in April with my nephew, he wants to check out the Ferrari museum and the Monza race track. Basically none of the traditional tourist stuff. Because of this we plan on renting a car in Rome (we don’t plan on driving in Rome)1: is it scary to drive in Italy? 2: we will be mostly in northern Italy due to only having a short time there. What are your top things to see in northern Italy. We don’t want to go to Milan.
Any tips and advice is appreciated

Posted by
3248 posts

If you don’t already have one, buy a Rick Steves Italy guidebook. There’s a wealth of information in the book to help you decide what will be most appealing to you, plus there’s info on driving vs. taking the train, etc. For instance, it will explain the requirement of an IDP license if you’re an American driving in Italy. Also, it will explain the dreaded ZTL traffic tickets which are a common topic on this forum.

Posted by
5690 posts

How long will you be there, and how many days are already committed to your automotive interests?

Are your flights into/out of Rome, or do you have the ability/flexibility to fly into one city and out another?

Posted by
2 posts

I do have the book and although it is very insightful for major tourist stops, not so much for the off the beaten path trip. We fly into Rome and have a total of 6 days to see the sights. The only reason we plan on renting a car is because from everything I’ve read the trains aren’t going to get us into all the great hiking spots. Does that seem legit? Is the public transportation easy to navigate?

Posted by
3248 posts

Is your flight RT to Rome, or will you be leaving from an airport in northern Italy? And do you already have specific locations where you’re planning to hike, i.e. Dolomites?

If you can share your baseline itinerary idea, the forum participants can give you much better info - car vs. train, etc.

Posted by
5251 posts

https://www.ricksteves.com/travel-tips/trip-planning/comparing-guidebook-series

While the Rick Steves guides are good for the popular places Rick covers, they are as you observe, not comprehensive guides. Rick notes this about his guide books: " I insist on doing my research in the peak tourist season — from April through September. And I'm stubbornly selective, writing about fewer destinations than other guidebooks."

I go to Lonely Planet guides and Rough Guides and even those guides' coverage of off the beaten track places are between brief to silent. Rick's comments:

Lonely Planet: The worldwide standard for a solid guidebook, Lonely
Planet covers most countries in Europe, Asia, Africa, and the
Americas. The Lonely Planet series offers comprehensive, no-nonsense
facts, low- and mid-budget listings, and helpful on-the-ground travel
tips.

Rough Guides: This British series is written by Europeans who
understand the contemporary social scene better than most American
writers. While their hotel listings can be skimpy and uninspired, the
historical and sightseeing information tends to offer greater depth
than others.

Lonely Planet and Rough Guides are big and heavy. Great for research and planning but too comprehensive as a field guide. I make copies of the pages of interest and leave the books at home.

Posted by
5067 posts

Train to Bologna, rent car there?
Are you interested in food ? Lots of eating tours in that area.