Escape to a life less ordinary with a scenic yet spirited drive through northern Italy.

Text & Images By: Kenneth Tan

While Rome, Milan and Venice have long been the de facto destinations for travellers, there’s plenty else out there in Italy. In the country’s north-east, right smack in the middle of Milan and Venice – with an hour and half of drive each way – one finds Trento. This fairly old city includes an imperious cathedral with an underground crypt – where bishops from the past millennia are interred.

At the Piazza Duomo, where the cathedral naturally is, the cobblestoned square teems with life; laughing undergrads from the nearby University of Trento, waiters balancing steaming cups of espressos, children licking at frosty gelatos, diners tucking into an aromatic plate of pasta and pigeons cautiously making an approach on breadcrumbs. Here too, is where you should begin your road trip to discover the heart of la dolce vita. As navigating through the narrower parts of Trento may prove difficult with a gas-guzzling SUV, go eco-chic and opt for a hybrid or a small continental, such as a Volkswagen, Peugeot or Mini. While you will be tackling some slopes, the gradients are not particularly challenging, and it’s more important to find a car that can zip you through the twisty roads that lead into the foothills of the Alps.