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Italy (Emilia-Romagna, Tuscany, and Umbria)

from / to Bologna / Imola

Holiday in Europe
8 rental companies in 40 cities

Italy (Emilia-Romagna, Tuscany, and Umbria)

from / to Bologna / Imola

10 days / 850 km
Best time to travel: May to June or September to October

During this motorhome trip, you will drive from Bologna or Imola to Tuscany. Before the trip reaches Umbria, you will be given an opportunity to visit culturally and historically important centres, such as Florence, Lucca, and Pisa, and the towns of Volterra, San Gimignano, Siena, and Montepulciano towering on the hills. On the program in Umbria, there are Perugia, Assisi, and Gubbio. Through the Tuscan town of Arezzo, you will drive back to the starting point - with an optional stay in Bologna in Emilia-Romagna. As there is so much to see in this “World Heritage country,” you can split individual stages into two days.

Arrival in Bologna and collection of the camper

After arriving in Bologna, depending on your schedule, you can go straight to Imola, about 45 km from Bologna Airport, where you will pick up your camper.

Imola will be a special treat for motorsport fans, because of the known racing circuit, whose name in Italian is Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari. This northern Italian city has also a lot to offer in its centre. Worth seeing are numerous historical buildings: ancient palaces, medieval city gates and towers as well as the massive Sforza Castle.

Highlights & Tips
Recommended: A day in Bologna
Your actual camper trip starts in Imola, but the usual route goes through Bologna. Therefore, you can also plan a day at the beginning or end of your trip to see Bologna (see also the last stage).

Imola – Florence

Stage distance: approx. 100 km

Suggested route: Imola – Castel del Rio – Balberino – Florence

Shortly before the border of Emilia-Romagna with Tuscany, in the mountains of the Apennines, there lies Castel del Rio. This small town is known for its vast chestnut woods providing delicious chestnuts. Castel del Rio is a very beautiful old place with a lot of historic buildings, including an old castle, magnificent town houses, and a medieval arch bridge.

Continue through Balberino, where you should drive onto A1, until you reach Florence. With around 380,000 inhabitants, Florence is the capital and largest city of Tuscany. The city is very significant culturally, especially because of its impressive buildings from the Renaissance period, between the 15th and 16th centuries. There are numerous interesting places in Florence. Not without reason, the city is one of the top destinations in Italy for travellers from around the world.

The Florence Cathedral (Santa Maria del Fiore) is the fourth largest church in Christendom and many well-known artists have immortalized their names there. In 1368, construction of this powerful building, which started in 1296, was completed. The huge dome followed only in the years 1420-1434. Next to the cathedral, there is the campanile (bell tower), which was built between 1334 and 1359. It is considered one of the most beautiful bell towers in Italy. The Baptistery (Battistero di San Giovanni) is octagonal with white-green marble panelling, a mosaic floor from the 12th century, and a mosaic dome. Three bronze doors of the Baptistery are equally impressive. Alone the manufacturing of the Gates of Paradise, facing the cathedral, lasted for 26 years, from 1426 to 1452.

The Uffizi (Galleria degli Uffizi), was built between 1559 and 1581, in order to house the offices of the magistrates. In 39 halls on the upper floor, there is one of the richest and most famous art collections in the world, and the second floor houses a collection of 104,000 drawings and prints. The Italian Renaissance is the focal point. Showrooms for the “New Uffizi” are being built on the lower floors.

In addition to many churches and lavish palaces of the Renaissance, worth seeing is also Ponte Vecchio, the "Old Bridge" built in 1345, which is another construction dominating the city. Characteristic are the shops overhanging the bridge, where mainly butchers worked by the end of the 16th century. Due to the odour, the nobility later decreed that only goldsmiths and silversmiths were allowed to pursue their craft on the bridge. Even today, many jewellers can be found on this historic shopping street over the Arno River.

Highlights & Tips
Above the rooftops of Florence
Enjoy the beautiful panoramic views of the city from Piazzale Michelangelo, situated south-east of the old town, on the southern bank of the Arno. It was created in 1865.

Florence – Pisa

Stage distance: approx. 110 km

Suggested route: Florence – Pistoia – Lucca – Pisa

Today, you will travel to the west, from Florence to Pisa. The first stop, Pistoia, is one of the many medieval towns of Tuscany, with turrets, ramparts, beautiful squares, and palaces. Ecclesiastical monuments in the town include the octagonal Baptistery (Battistero di San Giovanni in corte), Basilica of Our Lady of Humility, and Pistoia Cathedral.

Lucca, our next stop, is one of the most beautiful towns in Tuscany: with preserved city walls and towers, numerous churches, many palaces, and villas. Local attractions include the Lucca Cathedral and the mighty city walls with their many gates, as well as Piazza dell'Anfiteatro, a site of the former Roman amphitheatre. The birth house of composer Giacomo Puccini can also be seen in Lucca.

In the afternoon, you will visit Pisa with all its sights. The Leaning Tower is not only the symbol of the city, but also one of the symbols of Italy. The construction of the freestanding tower of the Pisa Cathedral with characteristic pillars began in 1161. Twelve years after the commencement of the construction and erection of the third floor, the underground began to undo what the builders had achieved up to that point. After a long break in the construction, the building process began again in 1372, in a way that was to compensate for the tilt. Even a few years ago, extensive rehabilitation work was needed to make the tower accessible again. The Pisa Cathedral (Santa Maria Assunta) is the church associated with the Leaning Tower. It was inaugurated in 1118, in an unfinished state. Old materials from destroyed buildings were used for its construction. It is visible in the design of the exterior façade. The baptistery of the cathedral was built in the years 1152-1394. It is the largest Christian baptistery in the world. In addition to the architectural wonders of Piazza dei Miracoli (formerly known as Piazza del Duomo), a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Pisa has also other attractions to offer.

Highlights & Tips
Visiting Pinocchio
The Pinocchio Park in Collodi, just north between Pistoia and Lucca, is a space created by artists, which arose on the ruins of the historic village of Collodi. It is devoted to the adventures of the character of Pinocchio, created by the writer Carlo Lorenzini.

Do not forget about the downtown of Pisa
Finish the day in downtown Pisa. It is often overlooked, because – coming from Florence – most of the people go straight to Piazza dei Miracoli, which is a tourist magnet. The old town of Pisa has its own charm, with many small churches, fountains, and statues. You can stroll along the Arno and stop off at one of the cafes or restaurants.

Pisa – Siena

Stage distance: approx. 140 km

Suggested route: Pisa – Volterra – San Gimignano – Siena

The pretty little town of Volterra is located just about 75 km south-east of Pisa. In the historic centre, you can admire Palazzo dei Priori from the early 13th century and the magnificent Volterra Cathedral from the 12th century. The well-preserved Roman theatre on the northern edge of the old town dates to the 1st century AD. However, Volterra was already colonized in pre-Christian times - by the Etruscans. You can learn many interesting facts while visiting the Museo Etrusco Guarnacci.

San Gimignano is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The town is especially known for its towers in the medieval centre, whose silhouettes can be seen from afar. In the Middle Ages, they served as fortified towers and power symbol of influential noble families. In order to limit the height growth for stability reasons, a maximum limit was set in mid-13th century: the highest tower is Torre Grossa at Palazzo del Popolo.

There are many “most beautiful cities” of Tuscany, but Siena is perhaps really the most beautiful one - and maybe even of the whole Italy. The largely car-free historic centre is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Siena is not only one of the oldest university towns in Italy (since 1240), but also, next to its "big sister," Florence, a cultural centre of the region.

Piazza del Camp is the centre of the old town. Even today, it is where the traditional Palio takes place. It is a historic horse race, with inhabitants of the 17 contrade (administrative districts) as competitors. The square is dominated by the town hall from the end of the 13th century and the sleek 100 m high Torre del Mangia, which was built in the 14th century. Siena Cathedral (Santa Maria Assunta), located west of Piazza del Campo, is one of the most important Gothic buildings in Italy.

Highlights & Tips
An iconic vehicle
The Piaggio Museum, owned by the Vespa manufacturer, is easily accessible on the way from Pisa to Volterra. It is a must-see especially for the fans of this iconic Italian vehicle. The Museo Piaggio is located in Pontedera.

Tasty souvenirs
Almost the whole Tuscany, but especially the area around Siena, is a shopping paradise for agricultural products of the region, such as olive oil, wine, herbs, and honey.

Siena – Perugia

Stage distance: approx. 140 km

Suggested route: Siena – Montepulciano – Perugia

On the way towards Perugia, we recommend a detour to Montepulciano. The town is situated on a hilltop and surrounded by a medieval wall. The name Montepulciano comes from the centuries of wine growing in the area, more specifically from the just as sonorous as tasty Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, which is considered one of Italy's best red wines.

Perugia, with around 170.000 inhabitants, is the capital of the Umbria region and the well-known university town. Perugia has two ‘sets’ of town walls: an Etruscan one from the 4th to 3rd centuries BC and a second one, from the Middle Ages, which used to stretch for 6 km and include five city gates. On Piazza IV Novembre, there are the most important architectural monuments: the Etruscan Arch is part of the Etruscan wall. The Fontana Maggiore, built from 1275 to 1278, is considered one of the finest medieval fountains in Italy. The impressive Palazzo dei Priori, built from 1293 to 1353, houses today the town hall as well as the National Gallery of Umbria. The rich architectural heritage also includes the early Christian Church of Sant'Angelo, which was built between the 5th and 6th centuries, and the Perugia Cathedral, a Gothic-style church built in the 15th century. You also cannot forget about Pasticceria Sandri, set among many pretty streets. It is the oldest café of Perugia.

Highlights & Tips
Upscale wine consumption in Montepulciano
You should treat yourself with a glass of Nobile di Montepulciano while visiting Montepulciano. The best place to do it is Piazza Vittorio Emanuele with stunning views of the old town.

Quite simply - the historic centre of Perugia
In order to visit most of the historic centres, it is advisable, in any case, to park the camper before the city gates. This also applies to Perugia, where it would be a very original transportation concept. With the cable car Minimetrò, you can go from the Porta Nova parking to the old town. The parking is accessible from exit “Perugia - Madonna Alta,” in the direction of the stadium.

Perugia – Gubbio

Stage distance: approx. 70 km

Suggested route: Perugia – Assisi – Petrignano – Gubbio

Worthwhile on today's route is an extended stopover in Assisi, the city where St. Francis of Assisi was born. Visit the beautiful hillside complex of the Papal Basilica of Saint Francis of Assisi and enjoy peaceful places, quiet lanes, and great works of art.

Next on, you should go to Gubbio - either by choosing smaller highways and going through Petrignano, or alternatively by returning to Perugia using the highway. This oldest city in Umbria has grown in the 16th century to the present form of the historic area and has preserved its medieval atmosphere. Gubbio is, therefore, one of the most beautiful cities of Umbria, full of notable churches and palaces. The imposing Palazzo Pretorio and the cathedral with a glorious façade are just as important as Palazzo Ducale (Ducal Palace) from the Renaissance period.

Highlights & Tips
Crafts and culinary in Gubbio
In the centre of Gubbio, there are many handicraft shops offering products made of ceramic, leather, iron, and gold as well as embroidery. Culinary lovers will find homemade pasta that can be served with white truffles and a wonderful selection of regional cheeses and sausages.

High above Gubbio
In Gubbio, worth a trip is Mount Ingino, which is located 908 meters above sea level. If you are not a particularly sporty person, you can take a funicular with basket-like open-air gondolas, linking the city to the scenic mountain. There, a little below the top station, you will find the Basilica of Sant'Ubaldo. The mountain is covered with beautiful pine forests and has a wonderful view of the valley and the panorama of the Umbrian-Marchean Apennines.

Gubbio – Arezzo

Stage distance: approx. 100 km

Suggested route: Gubbio – Città di Castello – Arezzo

From Gubbio, drive through green mountain landscape above Città di Castello, in the direction of Arezzo. Città di Castello is located in the far north of Umbria, bordering with Tuscany and Marche. Churches, towers, and palaces dominate the cityscape.

The old town of Arezzo presents great buildings, including the impressive Medici Fortress, a cathedral, and various museums. The Archaeological Museum exhibits valuable excavations of Etruscan times. The central point of the city is Piazza Grande, which is surrounded by buildings from different eras, including medieval towers and Renaissance arcades.

Highlights & Tips
Crafts in Arezzo
Arezzo is a city specializing in the art of goldsmith and in antiquity. Perfect for enthusiasts of handcrafts.

Arezzo – (Bologna) – Imola

Stage distance: approx. 160 to 220 km

Suggested route (shortest distance): Arezzo – Bibbiena – Bagno di Romagna – Cesena – A14 – Imola

Alternatively suggested route (shortest travel time): Arezzo – A1 – Florenz – A1 – Bologna – A14 – Imola

From Arezzo you can either return to Imola via Florence and Bologna (on A1), or via the shorter, but curved road through Bibbiena, Bagno di Romagna, and Cesena (on A14).

Those who opt for a final stay in Bologna should select the first proposed route. Bologna, with more than 380,000 inhabitants, is the capital of the Emilia-Romagna region and a place that is absolutely worth seeing. The historically significant buildings and places include the Basilica of San Petronio with the unfinished façade, Piazza Maggiore, Palazzo d'Accursio, two leaning towers (Garisenda and Asinelli) as well as Palazzo dei Notai and Piazza Nettuno. Canale delle Moline is part of the former network of water canals that once crossed the city.

Highlights & Tips
Shopping and eating in Bologna
Bologna offers many shops, which can also provide fun in the rain owing to the numerous arcade walkways in the old town. There, you can also try many appetizing specialties of the region. The city is also home of tortellini and ragù bolognese, the world famous Bolognese sauce, which is locally known simply as “ragù”.